Sunday, February 1, 2009

"But where, O where is her head?"

Today marks the 112th anniversary of the discovery of the body of Pearl Bryan. The murder victim's headless corpse was discovered in a farmer's field by one of the farm's hired hands on February 1, 1896 (see our article on the murder of Pearl Bryan). It was discovered that the dead woman was five months pregnant and that her stomach contents included a large deal of cocaine (a legal substance at that time). Evidence led to the arrest of Bryan's former lover Scott Jackson and his friend Alonzo Walling.
It was determined that the two men had attempted to poison the pregnant woman by mixing cocaine into a drink given to her. When she didn't immediately die, they apparently transported her across state lines from Ohio to Kentucky where she was beheaded. The crossing of state lines at two different stages of the murder led to later complications over where the men's trial should be held. This in turn further sensationalized the crime, leading to a murder ballad being written about Pearl's murder, in which the singer laments, "But where, O where is her head?" Jackson and Walling were found guilty and were executed, still professing their innocence as they stood side by side on the scaffold (see our article on the Campbell County Courthouse).

Pearl Bryan's head was never found. Some are said to have seen the spirit of Pearl Bryan wandering about the graveyard in Indiana in which most of her remains were buried. It is said that the apparition sometimes appears with her head and at other times without. If the spirit of Pearl Bryan is lingering in the cemetery, what is it seeking?

Pay a visit to the grave of Pearl Bryan.

-Tom G

1 comment:

Chris said...

Its a shame such violent crimes like this has to happen in the world but they do. Errie and very interesting about the head issue, You would wonder where they would have put her head, or maybe kept it as a trophy who knows lol