As 4th July celebrations are well under way and the United States of America celebrates Independence since 1776, I took a look at 7 infamous creepy connections betweeen the USA, Ireland and Britain. Each starts or ends in America and is case is more chilling than the next!
Typhoid Mary, New York
Mary Mallon was born in Cookstown, County Tyrone in 1869 and left to begin a new life in America at the age of 15. With a natural talent for cooking, she began to take up placements in wealthy homes as a cook – and that’s when her reign of terror began.
Based in New York, from 1901, Mary left a trail of sick and dead as she moved from post to post. The cook was impossible to trace, as she would leave as soon as typhoid took hold. Mary eventually changed her name to hide from the authorities, as she continued to spread the disease and avoid detection.
Typhoid Mary was quarantined for the last time in 1915. She was sent to Riverside Hospital on Brother Island in New York, where she remained until her death in 1938. While only 3 deaths were officially attributed to this silent killer, many more have been linked. Typhoid Mary continues to haunt Brother Island, proclaiming she has done nothing wrong.
Bridget Sullivan, Maid of the infamous Lizzie Borden, Massachusetts
Bridget Sullivan was a 26-year-old maid from Ireland, working for the Borden family in Fall River, Massachusetts. In 1893 she was the star witness for the prosecution in the case against Lizzie Borden – on trial for the gruesome murder of her father and stepmother.
Both were axed multiple times in the family home, the motive being that Lizzie resented a will change in favour of her stepmother. Due to a lack of evidence, Lizzie was acquitted.
The murder house is now a B & B and is such a hotbed of paranormal activity that the likes of Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters have filmed here. Disembodied voices and apparitions are rife, however the most meaningful sighting is that of Bridget Sullivan doing her chores and trying to speak – perhaps to say what really happened that day.
RMS Queen Mary, Long Beach, California
The Queen Mary was a Cunard Cruise Liner built in England to compete with European superliners. Her maiden voyage was her assigned route between Southampton and New York in 1936. With the outbreak of the Second World War she was seconded to military service and used to ferry and deploy Allied Forces.
After more than 30 years of service including wartime, the Queen Mary left Southampton for her last voyage and docked in Long Beach. In 1971 she was officially opened as a tourist attraction and then a year later as a hotel.
In recent years she has been the subject of several paranormal investigations including television’s Ghost Hunters.
Listed in Time Magazine as one of America’s Top Ten Haunts, RMS Queen Mary is subject to the sounds of ghostly child laughter and the apparition of a sailor killed in the engine room. There are also reports of unidentified spectres and the spirits of crew members who died when the Queen Mary collided with the HMS Curacoa, just off of the coast of Ireland.
With almost 50 official deaths on board in her lifetime and more still undisclosed by the military, the British ship Queen Mary may well be one of America’s most haunted places.
Francis Tumblety, suspect in the Jack the Ripper Murders, New York and Maryland
Francis Tumblety was an Irish-born American citizen who practiced as a doctor of sorts. With a seeming distaste for women, he gained wealth and social standing but not without incident, as he was arrested for being involved in the Lincoln assassination.
It was while he was in London in 1888 however, the murders of five prostitutes took place. These brutal killings were were attributed to an unknown assailant labelled Jack the Ripper – and Tumblety was a prime suspect.
Having been arrested for an unconnected charge by the Metropolitan Police, he absconded and fled back to the United States once he discovered he was being investigated for the Whitechapel Murders.
The matter was publicised and Scotland Yard pursued Francis, however no extradition ever took place. Jack the Ripper was never caught.
Doctor Crippen, Murderer, Michigan.
Hawley Harvey Crippen was a homeopathic medical practitioner in the United States. Upon the death of his first wife, he moved to New York and remarried Cora Turner. Together they moved to England in 1895.
Unable to sustain a decent career as his time was spent socialising and managing his wife’s failing stage career, they moved to an address in Holloway, London and took in lodgers to supplement their paltry income.
Following a January party at their home in 1910, Cora disappeared, with Crippen claiming she had returned to the U.S.
On further investigation, Scotland Yard began to suspect Crippen of foul play but there was no evidence and no body. Spooked by the enquiries, Crippen went on the run and boarded a ship called the Montrose, bound for Canada.
Following a further extensive search of the house, human remains were discovered, buried beneath the cellar. A wanted notice had been put out for the fugitive and the captain of the Montrose recognised Crippen with his lover.
A wireless telegram was sent to Scotland Yard and Chief Inspector Dew in charge of the case pursued on a faster ship, arriving in Canada ahead of the Montrose.
Crippen was arrested and returned to London, where he was convicted and hanged on 23 November 1910. His waxwork is one of the most notable exhibits in Madame Tussaud’s Chamber of Horrors in London.
Goody Glover, Witch, Boston, Massachusetts.
Ann ‘Goody’ Glover was born in Ireland and during the time of the Cromwellian wars was arrested alongside her husband because of her Catholic faith.
The pair were sent to Barbados as slaves, where her husband died, tormented for his religion. Ann and her daughter found themselves in Boston in 1680, where she took work as a servant in the home of John Goodwin.
In 1688, as the maniacal puritan obsession with wiping out sorcery was beginning to take hold, the children of the house all took ill. The doctor attending stated that it could only have been caused by witchcraft and Goody was the prime suspect.
The eldest daughter stated that she became sick immediately after an argument with the housekeeper. At trial Ann Glover refused to speak anything other than Irish. As a result her testimony was declared invalid and it was considered further proof that she was a witch.
Goody Glover was convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to hang in November 1688. While undoubtedly mentally unwell, in later years the Irish Catholic was deemed to be have been persecuted for her faith and on the 300th anniversary of her execution was memorialised and given her own commemorative day on 16th November in recognition of the injustice done.
Roanoke, the Lost Colony, North Carolina
During the Reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Walter Raleigh was tasked with founding a settlement on the east coast of North America. In 1584, the first meetings took place with local natives on Roanoke.
The first attempt at settling was fraught with battles with indigenous dwellers and the lack of a relief fleet. Finally Sir Francis Drake rescued the settlers who wished to leave and returned to England.
In 1587, led by the artist and appointed Governor John White, 115 British men, women and children, including his own granddaughter arrived at Roanoke to create a new colony. When they landed, they discovered that the few settlers who had remained previously had disappeared, only a single human skeleton remaining.
Terrified they tried to re-board the ship, however the Captain refused them passage and insisted they remain behind as instructed. As the state of unrest continued, Governor White returned to England to beg for leniency and the return of the settlers.
Due to the Spanish war and bad weather, White was unable to return to Roanoke until the summer of 1590, where he found… nothing. Not one colonist, or one tool and the fort was completely dismantled. The men, women and children of the Roanoke British Colony had vanished.
The only clue was the word ‘CROATOAN’ carved into a tree. Both English and Spanish forces began a hunt for the lost settlers, carrying on until at least 1600, believing the colony to have relocated – they were never found.
Theories of slaughter by natives, integration with locals or relocation abounded, however no bodies, evidence or artefacts were ever found. To this day the 115 remain the lost Colonists of Roanoke.
Happy 4th July!