"The Box of Serpents"

Art and research by Wade Gyllen Tordoff

"Examination" - Dan McNeil 2002

The following parchment is a journal entry from one Thomas Kinkead, NY referring to one Mrs. Susan Fillmore, Boston dated 1789 full of anguish and almost psychotic anger over Mrs. Fillmore's decision to leave NY to marry a man of wealth from Boston.  It ends with the mention of sending a puzzle box as a wedding gift.

Further research has shown that the newly wed Fillmores and most of the servants died
within the week of the nuptual ceremony.  Transcribed accounts from the two survivors
taken at the local sanitorium were deemed "nonsensical ravings" by the investigating officer.
This text is taken from the personal notes, dated September 29, 1789,  of the chief investigator of the "pyculiar happeneings"at the estate of John Fillmore Esq., "on eventide September twenty and one, in the yeare of our Lord, seventeen hundred eighty and nine".

Copied by W. Gyllen Tordoff,  the original papers having reached such a state of degration as to render common digital transferrence methods unacceptable.  Perhaps with the equiptment and photo imaging equiptment accessible to professional restorers this may be preserved.   I,  however am a collector,  not a restorer.

The  notes go on at length: descriptions of the deceased,  the house, grounds and contents,  the grisly remains,  interviews with the nearest neighbors and those who discovered the horrors.  Of the two survivors,  both in the sanitorium,  one suffers from extreme dementia and can do nothing but gibber and scream tearing at his own skin if unrestained.  He also suffers from such terrible wounds to make identification impossible.   He is not expected to survive.   The other, one of the junior housemaids, suffers from similar symptoms yet manages moments of lucidity.

As follows:

" Stay them .  Stay them, please. it was them. See them there in the cracks?  Blackness and crying and laughing and noise no christian soul should ever hear.  She locked us out, locked us out to keep it all for herself but we knew, the whole house knew when she opened it.  Old Mary, she knew it was a box of serpents, knew it werent a proper gift, it werent christian from the first, she did.  It smells of death, of flowers, things rotten dragged into the light.... they came... they came from the walls, the cracks in the walls like the hose was coming apart. Wider, gaping maws to swallow us...theyre there.  I can see them staring from the pale, watching, full of needles and pins, wearing skins like clothing in pieces and unsewn at neck and waist and she opened the walls for them, opened the door.  The pretty little door.... All them wedding gifts and she wanted what was inside, could not stand not knowing, not having it all if there was more...

 The devils came for supper, they did.  Clicking and scraping, sharpened teeth and sharp dead eyes. They smiled and offered the missus more.... They took them all, the master and cook and Constance and tore Bridget's hair from her skull and old Mary and little Peter....could not run, could not cry....

 Devilwomen all tied up together, joined together with spikes at knee and ankle and elbow and chains and hooks at parts not christian to speak of....

 She could have stopped, nothing good enow for her, one could tell, old Mary knew her for trouble....stop it, STOP IT.  Whispering at me, still watching, they will come for me, take me too, like the others, not dead, gone, not ever dead.  LET ME GO, for the love of God, the cracks that's where they are, please let me go they will kill me and kill me and kill me, never die....never die... touch me with their pale skin, open me like a box.... a pretty little box.... see whats inside, hungry for more..... like the new missus...."

Further notes indicate the first survivor swallowed his tongue three nights later.

The second gradually lost all lucidity and was of no further assistance.

Mrs. Susan Fillmore was not found as was believed to have either perpetrated the crimes with a partner and fled or
was taken by the murderers for unholy reasons.

Since nothing appeared to have been removed from the estate, save Mrs. Fillmore, the former was discounted.

 The house,  remaining unsaleable,  eventually fell into ruin.  All the estates contents,  things taken for evidence
(incl. "puzzle box-1- org. unk.),  were sold at auction.

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