Volume 130, Number 42

Tuesday, October 14th, 2003


"It's almost not the same room, anymore. We painted it purple, and I got a new bed and a couple posters. And Buffy says I play my radio loud enough to wake the dead, but if Hedwig's awake, she's not bothering me. Something bad has happened in almost every room there's ever been. Someone gets hurt or has a bad breakup or sat through an episode of Firefly, or something like that. You can't just tear down a whole cool house because somebody had a bad time in one room, can you?"

Peterson's Funeral Home and the First Lutheran Church have donated their services in order to put Hedwig to rest. The funeral will take place next Wednesday at one pm. Lyle and Daisy Pershing of Pershing Daisies have donated flowers to the church for the event, and an anonymous donor has paid for a burial plot in Shady Hills cemetary.

What Do You Think?

Newly discovered evidence, in the form of a diary and a dead body at Scobie Manor, suggest that Hiram Scobie may have been a murderer. Do you believe the evidence? If so, what should be done about it?

Amy Greyson, 19, student: Ugh. You mean the guy the hospital and the library and all that other stuff is named after killed someone? I say we take his name off everything. It's too creepy to leave up.

Peter Jackson, 37, writer: We can't panic until we know for sure that this evidence is for real. Then we'll need to consider what's next very carefully. After all, he built this town up from nothing. Do we really want to ignore all his contributions because of one thing he did? Still, it'd make a great movie script.

Elmer Gentry, 78, retired: I don't believe one word of all this horse hockey about Hiram Scobie. He served his country, he raised this town from nothing, and he endowed the hospital. Nobody who did all that could have killed someone. He'll be vindicated yet.

Cynthia Liu, 27, real estate agent: We'll need to consider very carefully what we do about this. There's no telling how this scandal will affect housing prices.

Karen Walters, 46, waitress: I feel sorry for Hedwig. I have a daughter just about her age, and every time I look at her lately, I think about everything that poor girl never got to do, and all she went through. It's time we all said we were sorry to her. That's why I'm going to her funeral.

Jalil Singh, 20, student: I know little of this question, having only been in Whispering Pines a short while, but murder is a terrible thing. If Hiram Scobie murdered someone, the truth should be known and spoken of. We must not let his victim be forgotten. Perhaps we should name a school after her.

New Scobie Evidence Found

by Claire Olney

Residents were shocked this week when evidence was discovered that Hiram Scobie, possibly the most revered of Whispering Pines' founders, may well have murdered a young girl in 1888.

The victim, Hedwig Swenson, age 21 at the time of her disappearance, has long been a figure of controversy among unsolved murder buffs for her connection to the death of Philip Scobie, Hiram Scobie's son, in the waning days of 1887. It has never been satisfactorily determined whether or not the baby was murdered, but Hedwig stood trial in the death. She was acquitted, but many felt this was a miscarriage of justice. When she disappeared shortly after her release from jail, general opinion held that she'd returned to her native Sweden. Despite years of research, however, nobody had found any evidence of what became of her. At last, the grisly truth appears to have been uncovered.

Newcomers to Whispering Pines who recently moved into the long-abandoned Scobie Manor discovered the evidence.

"We just moved in, and were still picking rooms and stuff," said Buffy Summers, 22. "My sister, Dawn, wanted the attic for a bedroom. When we went up there to do a little repair work so she could move in, we found a lot more than we bargained for. My friend, Xander, decided this one wall had some water damage and the boards needed to be replaced. When he took out the old wood, well, there was Hedwig. And the diary."

The diary referred to is Hiram Scobie's account of the months leading up to the eventual torture and murder of Hedwig Swenson. Gerald Hamilton, curator of the Scobie Museum, feels certain the diary is authentic.

"The handwriting matches that of several authenticated examples we have of Scobie's handwriting, the ink and paper appear to be appropriate to the time it was supposedly written, and it's filled with accurate details of life in Whispering Pines in the late 1880's. Of course, we're bringing in experts to confirm my opinion, but I think we're looking at a new and very disturbing fact about Hiram Scobie. As much as it pains me to believe it, it seems that Scobie went temporarily insane after his son's death. This diary is a tragic window into the dark side of a man's soul."


In one passage, near the end, Scobie, overcome with guilt and grief penned this entry:

"She is dead, at long last, by my hand, and at my will. And yet nothing will return my son to me. In some long-confused part of my mind I seemed to feel sure if Hedwig died, Philip would live again. A life for a life seemed so rational; so proper. And yet, it is not to be. May Heaven have mercy on her soul, if so foul a creature may be said to have one, and on mine as well."

Others, however, are not as quick to accept the diary.

Cal Gunderson, local expert on the Philip Scobie murder case, and author of The Hero and the Nursemaid, the best-known book in the subject, is not convinced.

"Hedwig was the only one who could have killed Philip Scobie. She was his nursemaid. She had plenty of opportunity to commit murder. As for the idea that Hiram Scobie would have killed anyone in cold blood, that's absolutely ridiculous. I think this is going to go down in the history of hoaxes with the Hitler diaries."

Coroner Susan Whipple is unwilling to give any opinion on the diary, but says if this is a hoax, it's a phenomenally good one.

"The body delivered to me is that of a Caucasian woman, approximately twenty years of age, who has been dead for over a hundred years. The remains show indications of prolonged malnourishment and violent treatment. If this isn't Hedwig, it's someone else who died every bit as horrible a death as the diary indicates, and around the same time. How would hoaxers come up with this level of evidence? And why?"

Gunderson has a theory about that, too.

"These people aren't from around here. They don't understand how important Hiram Scobie is to our community. Obviously, they think it's a big laugh to stir up trouble. I don't know where they found this body, or how they managed to confuse Dr. Whipple as to its identity, but this is simply not true."

Still, Gerald Hamilton is convinced.

"We'll add the diary to our exhibit as soon as it's properly authenticated. Hiram Scobie literally got away with murder for almost a hundred and twenty years. It's time to set the record straight. We owe it to Hedwig Swenson. We owe it to history."

As for Dawn Summers, the newest inhabitant of the attic room, when asked about living where a girl only a few years older than herself had been horribly tortured and eventually murdered, she showed a remarkably philosophic attitude.


Missing Persons

Arnold Henderson, 83, was reported missing from the Journey's End Retirement Home Monday night. Hendserson is 5'8" with grey hair, a short beard and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a red plaid robe over navy blue pajamas and a pair of brown bedroom slippers. There is no evidence so far of foul play. The Henderson family is offering a reward for information leading to his safe return.


Two unidentified teenage girls were taken into police custody Thursday evening outside the Nightowl Nightclub when they offered sexual services to an undercover member of the Whispering Pines PD in exchange for money. Both are now in Juvenile Hall.

Driving Without a License

Emily Granger, 32, was stopped by police yesterday for a broken headlight when she was discovered to be driving without a valid license. Granger's license was revoked last month for failure to pay over $500 worth of parking tickets. Granger's car was impounded and she is out on bail, pending hearing.


Rockland Piper, 22, was arrested last night in connection with an act of vandalism perpetrated on The Cook's Nook kitchen store. Piper spraypainted the legend 'the way to my heart ain't through my stomach, baby' across the front window in orange paint. The phrase was followed by an obscene drawing of the organ through which Piper believes his heart can be reached. Piper reached an agreement with the owner of the store to clean the window and do janitorial work for the store for a week in return for having all charges against him dropped.


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