Evanston, IL USA: On the 10 PM News on Friday Night, a sordid story unfolded about an old lady -- over 90 years old -- who lived in a large Victorian Home in the glamourous Northern Suburb of Evanston. There in the compound of her Home, 3 bodies had been found -- unburied that -- the earliest -- it was learned had been dead since the 1980s. As grizzly, eccentric and electrifying was this Story appears ON THE SURFACE, it's very sad and depressing indeed, as it's the Account of a tragic End to not only 3 People (once vibrant and alive) -- but an old, old Woman who is NOW -- probably incoherent and dishoveled in a nursing home ... somewhere... after officials removed her from The Premise within the last 24 hours.
Call me curious, but since I do all my Eventological Writings and Research in Evanston since 1997 that is a 4.5 mile bike ride from my Studio and Home in Chicago, I know the town like the back of my hand. I had to see the Site where all this had transpired. Therefore, from approximately 12:30 - 1:15 PM I parked my Bike in front of 1216 Judson and talked to the Reporter, Mr. Stefano Esposito (of the Crime Unit) and Sam Stewart, the Sun-Time's Photographer as they interviewed the probably one and only person who knew of the Owner - the Woman who is now in custody for...
who exactly knows what Charges she will be charged with. Harboring 3 dead bodies is indeed strange but her Ties to them must be psychologically untangled, if it can be.
The old farmhouse-style manor was painted white in desrepair and evidently from the overall conversation that I heard from Al Redmond, who rented a garage for his vintage car in the rear of the building -- she kept to herself. He himself did some Construction jobs for her and she never invited him in. Her home was not even open if he had to go to the bathroom, he kiddingly told Esposito.
THE UNTOLD QUESTIONS WE ALL WONDER ABOUT:
Were the Deaths accidental?
If the Deaths were accidental, if they were thought they'd be next; if they were allowed 'The Run' of the House, what was the average day like in this House of Death?
Was it a question of Collecting their Social Security Checks.
What was the motive basead on? Insanity? Dementia? or Greed?
If the three siblings knew about 'The Others' Deaths' and remained mute to each of the Deaths?
Was it a Plot to 'take' the Other Siblings' Social Security to fund 'that expensive' Piece of
Evanstonian Property whose Property Taxes are (no doubt) quite exorbitant in any market?
Although I did not (yet) read the Chicago Sun-Times or the Chicago Tribune accounts of what transpired, we are all wondering:
HOW and WHO discovered the bodies?
Where is the Old Woman now?
How did she maintain a home of such great size with huge assets, etc.?
What will become of her?
What allegations will be made towards her considering her Age and advanced Years?
Does she know she went against 'The Grain' of what Civilization thinks of 'housing The Dead?'
What Term is it called when you harbor dead and rotting bodies?
Al was very insightful into the logistics of her edgey existence. He stood at about 5'10' tall and told the Messrs. Espositio and Stewart (the reporter/photographer) that she had piles of paper as tall as he was. We were all shocked when we heard that.
This tips off a Doctor as to her 'strange behavior.' At one time Al did come into her kitchen. Evidently, the Old Woman suffered from OCDC -- being a compulsive disorder -- or as we commonly call it being a: Pack Rat. In this case she went to the extreme. We have all heard of stories where People hoard cats - 100s of them; until she/he is found out. In this case, the woman concealed human bodies (of relatives) in rooms of th house for decades.
Maybe she thought funeral services were a bit too pricey.
Al had made a comment that she had a sister. When he would inquire as to how the Sister was in his 'talks' with her - she would say: "NOT well" and change the conversation.
Evidently, the Sister may have been one of the dead bodies found.
I am writing this all from on-site speculation and what I heard on TV & at the crime scene. Two IL Forensic Vehicles were parked out front, across the street. They had gathered evidence and were 'at lunch.' The Yellow/Black Caution - DO NOT CROSS POLICE TAPES - were wrapped and stretched around the trees to the house so no one could get near. I did take pictures that will be used in future writings on this Topic.
When Al said the home was heaped in Piles of Papers, to throw some humor into the Scene, I said: "Evidently, she was archiving copies of The Sun-Times." Although this was not funny, sometimes grief needs a bit and byte of humor and schtick to get through one's day.
Nothing can be done for those dearly deceased. Little did the Neighbors - her Neighbors -- know who was living there. Did kids come up on the porch trick-or-treating the last 25 years? Did she not answer the door? Did neighbors NOT smell something funny? Redmond stated she had stocks in GM and that's how she supported the expenditures of such a colossal house, but it was in great disrepair. My Thought is that the house will be demolished although an Idea did cross my mind that I would like to share with others who do believe in an Afterlife.
Before demolishing the House, conduct a Seance with a knowledgeable Medium who can figure out what exactly happened all those years ago. Invite some top Psychologists who know the Inner Workings of The Mind. There may not be too much Knowledge that the Old Woman remembers or cares to share since she is up in her years. Redmond commented she had a brother who lived out of state, but no one knows where or who he is or at this point in the case, if he, too, is one of the Bodies.
By having a legitimate Seance, more answers can be shed that are more than a few seasoned crime reporters can gather and assume from a yard-full of ticker tape and a few eye-witnesses who really didn't get to know the Real Woman behind these bizarre Events.
AFTER 1:15 PM UPON MY LEAVING THE CRIME SCENE:
While biking back north to the Library which was my next destination, the USPS truck had parked and unloading his day's work was the mailman. "How are you going to deliver to 1216?" I asked, motioning to the Polce Tape surrounding the entire property - from house to front sidewalk. "I guess I'll have to skip it for awhile" he answered looking past me and to the now hallowed grounds, the burial site of 3 family members who never got their right and just burial.
During the Afternoon of this 'Curious Saturday,' I spoke to two of my favorite Librarians at the Evanston Public Library where I went to post this Edition of Koopersmithin'. Kathy (one of the librarians) stated the Situation was very sad and her blue eyes swelled up with tears as we spoke. And,"In the End, it's who CARES about us that truly matters" she whispered. After all, this is a Library. Had this old Woman no one who cared about her? Was this her Way of coping or holding on to love by not burying these Deceased Family Members? Who it not be horrific moreso if she had had them taxidermied and set up in the Living Room? Was there any family members alive who could shed more light on this Tragedy or was the Family now numbering at only ONE -- the Loneliest Number...the Old Woman who was now in custody?
Nancy, the other librarian who had overheard Kathy and me discussing this horrific Incident that happened in a quiet town on a tranquil block wondered 'how long was she alone?" These are indeed questions that Aging Woman do have in the back of their minds as many more Women outlive their Husbands and Male Friends and ultimately are 'on their own' in their last Days on Earth.
We all have our On-Off Switches and Breaking Points.
Only a week earlier, Trick or Treaters may have run up on her broad porch to her very doorstep and rang the front doorbell as they had for so many years before. Did the Old Woman keep her shades down and her lights off? So many Questions on the surface and below are asked at a precarious time like this.
How did it feel to go in there? What would they find?
Mr. Redmond had stated piles of papers as tall as his 5'10' frame enclosed the few rooms he had been in of the structure. Logic would tell you the entire house was in a shambles and disarray.
Were the Forensic Team Members hooded? Who had initially 'broken' into this home and found out about the 3 bodies? Who escorted the Old Woman out? Did she know - was she cognizant of what was happening to her in the twilight of her life?
If I had arrived earlier, I would have known all this and more.
As we (Mr. Esposito, Sam & Mr. Redmond and me) looked from afar -- from the leafy maple leaves that the wind had spread and heaped across Judson Street -- into the windows and wondered about what transpired inside that Home, what may have been prevented, we begin to see the Delicacy of our Own Life and how fragile each breath we take is and how every Move we make becomes a story in and of itself. How will we be remembered...if at all? Does anyone care to look in on us? Do Wisteria Lanes across America and The World foretell of other puzzling Family Plots just waiting to open as the Tragedy on Judson foretold -- that are discovered too late and too unarming to make a difference? The Gentle Tranquility of Evanston is certainly crushed with this Incident.
IN CONCLUSION: We're all human. Many of us can't bear to part with a loved one. The cold, wet ground of a grave is too repulsive and too cruel in which to plunk the ones we love into. Maybe this was her way of keeping them with her. In the early 1970s, my Aunt Eva (of Texas) lost her 22 year old Daughter weeks before her wedding in a dreaded car accident caused by rain. My Aunt never 'took' Cousin Sharon's bedroom down. Cousin Sharon's Bedroom remained with her wedding and shower gifts staying 'in tact' for 30 more years till Aunt Eva died -- in 2006. We all pay tribute to our Loved Ones in strange and odd ways. This indeed is one of those Stories with no happy Ending.
The Twist about this Incident is that the neighborhood is so docile, quiet, peaceful, north-suburbanly with style and elegance. Little do you know who lives next to you...or do you? Indeed this was the Talk of the Town, but it's the Story of our Lives that really hits the hardest.
Witnssed and Penned by:
ASK: Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith
'America's Premier Eventologist'
Founder of AFSEE:
Advocates For Senior Equality & Enrichment (C)2002
Chicago, IL USA
Posted: Saturday, November 8, 2008 - 1:52 PM CST
IF THERE IS A MORAL TO THIS STORY:
I plan to read the Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune Full Accounts of this to see how my Story differed. Rest Assured, it's time We all came to the forefront and checked in with our Neighbors - wellness checks are mandatory...and in this case, gruesomely so.
UPDATE OF SUNDAY: November 9, 2008 - 7 AM
NBC Morning News relayed that the three bodies (all siblings) of the Old Woman of Judson Avenue died of natural causes. This, at least, clears her of any murder charges in her Twilight Years. All in all, it's a Sad Story of what happens to a Life and how it affects the surrounding Community.