Courage

My writing/art project (the one I have been working on for 16 and a half years) is unfolding in new, fast and lovely ways. The ghosts are happy and all is locking into place.

The creative process has been a windy, strange and incredible path through a dense and dark forest until now. All of a sudden that path is straightening, flattening, welcoming me to the field- a sunlit meadow of flowers.

I had a stress dream last night that I lost control of the project again. I woke up in a sweat and ultimately a sense of relief that I am the gatekeeper – secure, older, wiser – and the ghosts are safe with me.

I have made a commitment to them to not agree to any new collaboration that feels wrong. To enter into the sharing of the project with open heart and delight. To not agree to anything that does not align with my spirit and with the narrative I have been entrusted to tell.

Pulled an angel card just now and lo and behind- these two popped out.

Finding Norah. #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER!

MOLLY- the graphic novel (model: Jocelyn Louise)

Recall my post about Molly’s mother: Hanora (Norah) Morris:

Norah’s relationship with her daughter was a complex one.  One that I hope to explore in the illustrations.

Tonight I had dinner with my dear friend, Tracey Bell.  Her beauty and spirit inspires me to no end.  Her outfit tonight was incredible.  I then realized I was looking at Norah.  Just as Jocelyn has become my Molly, it appears Tracey has become my Norah.  The photoshoots ahead will be truly awe-inspiring.

  

. . . nothing can compare with the Irish version: the poverty; the shiftless loquacious alcoholic father; the pious defeated mother moaning by the fire…

– Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes

Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the graphic novel project.  That’s wonderful and very helpful!!!  The rewards will stay the same as on Kickstarter.  Take a look at the rewards on the Kickstarter site.  You can donate via PAYPAL by clicking DONATE

Vintage fur coat arrived. Very moving. Photoshoot soon! #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER!

MOLLY- the graphic novel

Today , the furcoat I purchased on ETSY from wolfman1377 Vintage Clothing and Accessories arrived!  As it is very close to the original found at the crime scene, I felt quite shaken thinking about a woman covering her dead children.

Here is a look at opening the box.

The next photoshoot with Jocelyn and Jay is in the works!  It feels quite humbling to experience the story revealing itself.

From photo by wolfman1377

      

Recall my previous post about A WOMAN’S FURCOAT.

… Covering the bodies was the celanese lining of a woman’s’ coat and a small portion of the fur collar.  In the hairs of the collar were hemlock needles, which indicated that needles were falling at that time.

Later from the scant clues, city furrier R.J. Pop. Fifteenth and Granville, laboriously reconstructed a duplicate of the coat of such accuracy that the original button, later found at the scene was identical to the one put on the duplicate.

Police say it was worn by a chunkily built woman about 5 foot 3 or 4…

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953
EVIDENCE BOX 2 item 13: Woman’s fur coat- large bag containing fur coat remnant plus lining

The coat discovered at the scene was reconstructed and featured in an article in The Vancouver Sun on April 20, 1953.  Initially it was described as an “oilskin coat” but it turned out to be a fur coat with its lining facing out.  “[The victims] were covered with a cloth later found to be the lining of a woman’s fur coat of the factory mass production type.”

The article described the coat as a “dark brown Coney (dyed rabbit) with leg-o-mutton shoulders, popular in 1943.”  “The lining of Celanese material (a synthetic fiber first spun in 1921) indicated the coat had been worn two or three years.”

The coat was described as size 16 and 40 inches (101.6 cm) long.   “From the length of the fur coat lining which covered the skeletons, police believe it was worn by a short, stocky woman about five feet three or four inches tall weighing between 125 and 135 pounds.”

Remnants of woman’s fur coat with Celanese lining in evidence box. Video capture from Babes in the Woods Task Force meeting at Vancouver Centennial Police Museum, February 2004. 

See also:

Photoshoot 1

Photoshoot 2 

A woman’s furcoat 

Vintage furcoat

 

Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the graphic novel project.  That’s wonderful!!!  The rewards will stay the same as on Kickstarter.  Take a look at the rewards on the Kickstarter site.  You can donate via PAYPAL here: DONATE


Molly’s consequence. #graphicnovel #Vancouver


MOLLY- the graphic novel

There is no refuge from confession but suicide; and suicide is confession. – D. Webster

Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the graphic novel project.  That’s wonderful and very helpful!!!  The rewards will stay the same as on Kickstarter.  Take a look at the rewards on the Kickstarter site.  You can donate via PAYPAL by clicking DONATE

“Molly” model: Jocelyn Louise, styled by Jay Fisher

Visual input, planning and a visit from producer, @annatfabulous #graphicnovel #Vancouver


MOLLY- the graphic novel

As I work on finding the ultimate way to present the drawings in my graphic novel and juggling how much or how little I want to use text, I continue the creative process by sketching and visiting, photographing and soaking in location shots.

Anna Thorsen, my daughter and project producer, is up from San Francisco for Canadian Thanksgiving.  As the new year approaches we will be planning a later Spring 2012 art event to launch our self-published small run of the book.  The event will feature interactive art and the original drawings and the night will centre around a a 40s theme:

Jay Fisher consults with Anna then works his magic to create an inspiring retro look!

 

Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the graphic novel project.  That’s wonderful and very helpful!!!  The rewards will stay the same as on Kickstarter.  Take a look at the rewards on the Kickstarter site.  You can donate via PAYPAL by clicking DONATE

“Molly” model: Jocelyn Louise, styled by Jay Fisher

Molly’s mother, Norah, born 1900, #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER!

MOLLY- the graphic novel

YEAR 1900

Molly’s mother was born Hanora (also found spelled Norah or Nora) Morris (or Morriss).  Her birth date was February 19, 1900 and the passenger list indicates she was born in Ballagh, Ireland- likely the Ballagh in the county of Donegal and the northern province of Ulster[1]. On her death certificate, it says her parents were “not known.” The name, Morris, means “dark, swarthy” and is possibly a modern form of the ancient Irish name “O’Muirgheasa”.  The Morris ancestors stem from Galway, Tipperary and Waterford counties.[2]

The Morris family motto[3]: “A gair duw yn ucha”

(“The word of God above all” or “And the Word of God Highest”)


[1] The term “Black Irish” is a derogatory term has multiple meanings- one used by the Catholic Irish to describe the Protestants of Ireland who have historically supported the British Rule of Ulster… The Myth of the Black Irish- Spanish syntagonism and prethetical salvation, T. P. Kunesh
[2] Kane Strategic Marketing (1993) Kane Ancestral Map Ireland Harbor Springs, Michigan: Kane Strategic Marketing Inc. http://www.irishheritage.com

Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the graphic novel project.  That’s wonderful and very helpful!!!  The rewards will stay the same as on Kickstarter.  Take a look at the rewards on the Kickstarter site.  You can donate via PAYPAL by clicking DONATE

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

BOX 2 Item 30- 4 small rib bones, #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER!

MOLLY- the graphic novel

PHYSICAL EVIDENCE

BOX 2 Item 30- 4 small rib bones

The most touching moment for me when inspecting the evidence in 2004 was coming across an unlabeled brown paper bag containing four small bones.  The bones appear to be rib bones and I speculate that these bones may be remains from one or both of the young victims.

Quick sketch made 2004

Study, October 2, 2011. China marker and white paint pen on newsprint. (18" x 24")

Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the graphic novel project.  That’s wonderful!!!  The rewards will stay the same as on Kickstarter.  Take a look at the rewards on the Kickstarter site.  You can donate via PAYPAL here: DONATE

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!


Vintage fur coat. Eerily perfect.. #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER!

MOLLY- the graphic novel

Today I purchased a vintage furcoat on ETSY from wolfman1377 Vintage Clothing and Accessories for use in the next illustration resource photo shoot.  It sends shivers down my spine as it is very close to the original found at the scene, including bakelite buttons.

From photo by wolfman1377

From photo by wolfman1377

ETSY ITEMSCRUMPTIOUS vintage 40s 3/4 length Bakelite button brown gray ladies rabbit FUR Coat size small

here is a great vintage ladies coat, 40s or early 50s, nice soft rabbit fur, browns and grays, two huge bakelite buttons,heavy shoulders, fully lined in gold tone satin, some fur lose on inside front panel right chest, some loss on inside 1/4 inch at collar, small section of lining could use few stitches, not noticeable when wearing but am asking less due to these issues, heavy and warm, a great vintage find, would look fab with jeans, measurements as follows with garment laying flat

bust 18″
waist 17″
hips 19″
length 38″

Recall my previous post about A WOMAN’S FURCOAT.

… Covering the bodies was the celanese lining of a woman’s’ coat and a small portion of the fur collar.  In the hairs of the collar were hemlock needles, which indicated that needles were falling at that time.

Later from the scant clues, city furrier R.J. Pop. Fifteenth and Granville, laboriously reconstructed a duplicate of the coat of such accuracy that the original button, later found at the scene was identical to the one put on the duplicate.

Police say it was worn by a chunkily built woman about 5 foot 3 or 4…

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953
EVIDENCE BOX 2 item 13: Woman’s fur coat- large bag containing fur coat remnant plus lining

The coat discovered at the scene was reconstructed and featured in an article in The Vancouver Sun on April 20, 1953.  Initially it was described as an “oilskin coat” but it turned out to be a fur coat with its lining facing out.  “[The victims] were covered with a cloth later found to be the lining of a woman’s fur coat of the factory mass production type.”

The article described the coat as a “dark brown Coney (dyed rabbit) with leg-o-mutton shoulders, popular in 1943.”  “The lining of Celanese material (a synthetic fiber first spun in 1921) indicated the coat had been worn two or three years.”

The coat was described as size 16 and 40 inches (101.6 cm) long.   “From the length of the fur coat lining which covered the skeletons, police believe it was worn by a short, stocky woman about five feet three or four inches tall weighing between 125 and 135 pounds.”

Remnants of woman’s fur coat with Celanese lining in evidence box. Video capture from Babes in the Woods Task Force meeting at Vancouver Centennial Police Museum, February 2004. 

See also:

Photoshoot 1

Photoshoot 2

Many have been asking if they can still contribute to the graphic novelproject.  That’s wonderful!!!  The rewards will stay the same as on Kickstarter.  Take a look at the rewards on the Kickstarter site.  You can donate via PAYPALhere: DONATE

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!


The year was 1947. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING in 5 hours on KICKSTARTER:

As of this moment [September 11, 2011], we’re 100% funded!  WOW!!!

You still have approximately 4 hours to be part of bringing this incredible story to life!

A huge thank you to all our backers so far!

Raising more than the goal is OK, though!  More than OK!!!

The TIMELINE of the story ranges from 1891-1968.  The main event in Stanley Park occurred in 1947.

Time to draw the story!  Thank you everyone!  Will blog about the process and stay tuned for an art event/book launch in Spring 2012!

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun rewards available for various donation levels!  In addition, backers who donate $100 and above will receive a signed copy of the book when it is published!  All backers who donate $50 and up will appear in the graphic novel in a cameo role!  

Photoshoot Part 2: Molly coming to life. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

As of this moment [September 8, 2011], we’re 97% funded!

BUT to get funding we need to reach 100%! That’s how Kickstarter works! Please help us make our goal by Sept 11 5:17 PM!  Raising more than the goal is OK, though!  More than OK!!!

Yesterday we did a photoshoot [for promotion and illustration resource purposes] on location with Jocelyn Louise as “Molly.”  Jay Fisher was our stylist and Fredrik Thorsen, our photographer!  Heart stopping!

See: Photoshoot Part 1

Today I share some more of my favorites.

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun rewards available for various donation levels!  In addition, backers who donate $100 and above will receive a signed copy of the book when it is published!  All backers who donate $50 and up will appear in the graphic novel in a cameo role!  

Photoshoot Part 1: Molly coming to life #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

As of this moment [September 7, 2011], we’re 96% funded!

BUT to get funding we need to reach 100%! That’s how Kickstarter works! Please help us make our goal by Sept 11 5:17 PM!  Raising more than the goal is OK, though!  More than OK!!!

Today we did a photoshoot [for promotion and illustration resource purposes] on location with Jocelyn Louise as “Molly.”  Jay Fisher was our stylist and Fredrik Thorsen, our photographer!

I was in ecstasy!  Seeing Molly come to life is a dream come true.

 

More glorious photos will be shared in the next post but for now here are some shots I took of Jay, Fredrik and Jocelyn during the making of…

  

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun rewards available for various donation levels!  In addition, backers who donate $100 and above will receive a signed copy of the book when it is published!  All backers who donate $50 and up will appear in the graphic novel in a cameo role!  

Receive a cameo role in my #graphicnovel! #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

As of this moment [September 5, 2011], we’re 80% funded.

BUT to get funding we need to reach 100%! That’s how Kickstarter works! Please help us make our goal by Sept 11 5:17 PM!

All backers who donate $50 and up will appear in the graphic novel in a cameo role!  The era ranges from 1925-1953, from Ireland through Pier 21, to Alberta, to British Columbia!

Example: Jocelyn Louise on a tram in 1947...

And stay tuned for photoshoot on Wednesday on location with Jocelyn Louise as our model, Jay Fisher as stylist and Victor Bearpark as photographer!  Can’t wait!

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun rewards available for various donation levels!  In addition, backers who donate $100 and above will receive a signed copy of the book when it is published!

At the core of this story: child abuse. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous #ISPCC

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

As of this moment [September 5, 2011], we’re 80% funded.

BUT to get funding we need to reach 100%! That’s how Kickstarter works! Please help us make our goal by Sept 11 5:17 PM!

The case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers who deserve to be identified.

These children were undoubtedly not only victims of homicide, but also victims of child abuse.  As I work with children who have been traumatized by severe physical and sexual abuse, this case is particularly important to me.

These boys died without a voice and without a name.

I want to tell their story.

Please help me do so.

Related: article on the Irish Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children on The Complex Media & Design Blog

 

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's Summer campaign, I Can’t Wait Until I Grow Up. “The campaign, which will run for the month of May 2011, highlights that childhood is supposed to be one of the happiest and safest times in a child’s life, yet for many Irish children who contact Childline this is simply not the case.” - The Complex Media and Design Blog

“The ISPCC is the only organisation in Ireland providing 24 hour support services for children and young people through our Childline service. Childline receives the majority of its 2,300 calls per day after 6pm each evening, when most other support services are closed. 

Childline receives no government funding, relying on the generosity of donors and volunteers to help run this vital, unique service. 

ISPCC support workers and volunteer mentors also work with over 1,500 individual children and families nationwide each year through our TeenFocus, ChildFocus and Leanbh services. Our support workers encounter many issues such as emotional and behavioural problems, anxiety, grief, risk of drug and alcohol abuse and early school leaving. 

The ISPCC is a child centred organisation providing a range of independent and unique services which are preventative and empowering in nature.”  [SOURCE]

Extremely powerful video:

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun rewards available for various donation levels!  In addition, backers who donate $100 and above will receive a signed copy of the book when it is published!  All backers who donate $50 and up will appear in the graphic novel in a cameo role!

Why a #graphicnovel? @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

As of this moment [September 4, 2011], we’re 79% funded!!! YAY!!!

BUT to get funding we need to reach 100%! That’s how Kickstarter works! Please help us make our goal by Sept 11 5:17 PM!

Thank you everyone!  HUGS!

The case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers who deserve to be identified

So, why a graphic novel?

Many of you have wondered, why do a graphic novel?  Why not write a novel?  Or a movie script?

Well, I’m a visual artist, that’s why.

And this is how I need to tell this story.   And perhaps it will lead to dialogue, to new investigations and answers.

This is the story as I see it.  This is how I want to present my case to the world.   Maybe it’s the only way I can.

Through the visual.

New facts have a way of trickling out, confirming or challenging prior understandings.  And as they accrete, as they start to add up, sometimes anomalosuly, new possibilities present themselves.  The time arrives for an updated picture, a revision of past attempts at meaning making.  Not all revisions are revolutionary, but in the best instances, they add a few more form-creating pieces to the overall jigsaw, the life’s gestalt.

– from An Emergency in Slow Motion- the inner life of Diane Arbus, by William Todd Schultz

While words are a vital component, the major dependence for a description and narration is on universally understood images, crafted with the intention of imitating or exaggerating reality.

– from Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative, by Will Esiner

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun rewards available for various donation levels!  In addition, backers who donate $100 and above will receive a signed copy of the book when it is published!  All backers who donate $50 and up will appear in the graphic novel in a cameo role!

Mistaken evidence: they thought it was a boy and a girl. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

As of this moment [September 3, 2011], we’re 79% funded!!! YAY!!!

BUT to get funding we need to reach 100%! That’s how Kickstarter works! Please help us make our goal by Sept 11 5:17 PM! Thank you everyone!

The case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers who deserve to be identified.  Cranial reconstruction was performed in 1953, but the result was very generic and based on the belief that the remains were that of a boy and a girl.  Madame Erna von Engel-Baiserdorf created these plaster casts in 1953:

 

From The Vancouver Province, Friday July 17, 1953:

Madame Erna von Engel-Baiserdorf predicts it will take her several months to prepare busts from the weathered skulls of the two children murdered in Stanley Park more than six years ago. 

She’ll hand five busts back to police for each skull.  Mrs. Baiserdorf- as she’s been called since coming to Vancouver from Vienna five years ago- feels reasonably sure that two of the white plaster busts will be close to the way the children looked before the attack.

Pictures of the busts will be distributed across Canada and positive identification across Canada and positive identification of the tiny victims may be gained.

“It’s just a try, but I’m anxious to do it,” she said.

The skulls, however, won’t be the toughest reconstruction job handed to this Viennese anthropologist-sculptress.  She’s reconstructed countless ancient skulls dating back to Neolithic man. 

Her work- first with the Natural History Museum in Vienna, the in Vancouver Museum and finally in private studio work here at 245 West Sixteenth- had brought her world recognition. 

She is the only scientist in B.C. trained in physical anthropology, the field where skulls are measured.

“If bits of hair were found with the skeletons, it will make facial reconstruction much easier,” she said.

“If the police don’t bring me hair, it will be most difficult to judge the skin coloring.

“The skull will show a definite facial outline- chin, jaw, bridge of nose, forehead, cheekbones.  The soft parts of the face can vary.  Things like lips, tips of noses and ears.  That’s why I’ll give police about five busts each.

Mrs. Baiserdorf will probably start work on the two skulls next week after a conference with Police Chief Walter Mulligan and Det.-Sgt. Perry Easler.

Photo retrieved from “Grisly murders unsolved after 31 years,” The Vancouver Sun, January 14, 1984

Video capture from Babes in the Woods Task Force meeting at Vancouver Centennial Police Museum, February 2004

The larger skeleton was referred to as the female victim in 1953 and was assumed to be the older child.  The smaller skeleton was referred to as the male victim and was consequently deemed the younger child. The skulls were described in The Vancouver Sun on April 15, 1953:

MacKay, a detective who has cracked some of Vancouver’s most baffling murders [said} “The [smaller skull] showed two clefts which fitted the blade of the hatchet.  The [larger skull] has one cleft.  This also fits the blade.  They were light blows that barely made a depression in the skull…

The [larger skull] had light brown hair and a very prominent lower jaw.  The [smaller skull] had dark brown hair and his lower jaw, while also prominent, was not as pronounced as the girl’s.

Both children had many cavities in their teeth, [the older child] especially, and doctors who examined the skeleton said [he] had been inclined to eat too many sweets.  [He] was of slender build while [the younger child] was sturdy. 

My sketch, 2004

Dr. David Sweet, forensic odontologist, performed DNA profiling on the teeth pulp.   In 1998, sex [two males] and age was determined but the profiles are unable to determine race.  I’ll discuss the DNA evidence in the next post.

Photo of skulls in evidence boxes

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun rewards available for various donation levels!  In addition, backers who donate $100 and above will receive a signed copy of the book when it is published!

Post War #Vancouver. #graphicnovel @Kickstarter

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

The case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers who deserve to be identified.

POST WAR VANCOUVER

I fall in love with Vancouver more and more everyday.  That’s why I love this story and that’s why I want to share it.  Here is a glorious film from the 1940’s showing Vancouver Parks:

But post war Vancouver was not all idyllic.

W.H. Mulligan- Chief Constable, in his annual report of the Police Department, City of Vancouver, BC, for the year ending December 31, 1947, submitted to the Chairman and members of the Board of Police Commissioners, Vancouver BC, discussed the influx of people into Post World War II Vancouver.[1]

An increase of nearly 15,000 in the population of the city during the year, and considerably greater seasonal unemployment…  [In 1947, there was a] considerable influx of men, mostly young men, into the city from Eastern Canada and the Prairies apparently in search of employment.

World War II had changed Vancouver and certainly the lives of women.

One million women worked outside the home during the war.  When the war ended, war industries shut down, and 750,000 demobilized servicemen went looking for jobs.[2]

Many women who had joined the work force during WWII returned to the home to raise a family. Postwar Europe, devastated from the war, continued to suffer poverty, starvation, and political unrest but North America experienced an economic boom.  In 1947, the baby boom generation began[3].

The 1947 Vancouver City statistical summary indicated the population of the city-proper was 350,642 in a 44 square mile area.   The number of telephones in service was listed as 110,025.  There were 122 hotels of all classes, 1498 apartment houses, 2635 rooming houses, 15 hospitals, and 5 systems of railroads with 3 terminals. Light, power and gas was supplied by the British Columbia C Electric railway Company, serving a territory of 1500 square miles. The Park Board tended 101 parks (2500 acres) and Stanley Park (1000 acres) was listed as world famous.  There were three English daily newspapers- two evening and one morning paper.

The Vancouver newspapers of 1946 and 1947 are full of lists of arriving war brides. War brides and their children arrived in Halifax from overseas, having been granted free passage by the Canadian Government.  The immigration of more than 47,000 war brides along with nearly 22,000 children created an unusual social problem. Some war brides found that their husbands had returned home to Canadian wives and families.  The scenario of a destitute mother and her dependent children, vulnerable to poverty and mental strain, is not hard to imagine.  Commonly, war and home children and war brides began their route in Great Britain.

Article Brides and Kiddies - Canada Bound, February 5, 1946 (Source: Sgt. K.M. Hermiston, CWAC Film and Photo Unit). Retrieved September 2, 2011 from http://www.canadianwarbrides.com/intro.asp

They frequently traveled by Canadian Pacific Steamship to Pier 21 in Halifax.  Some orphans were transferred to Children’s Aid Society in Toronto and these children were adopted or fostered out.  Those persons traveling via rail (CPR, or CNR) could end up on the opposite Canadian coast of Vancouver and here, many resided in Old Hotel Vancouver– a place for squatters, war vets and families.

War vets were often homeless and this included their families.  Vancouver has a long history of homeless issues and squatters. British Columbia is sometimes labeled a squatters province, in that European settlers occupy the territories of sovereign indigenous people without their consent.[4]

600 homeless and unemployed World War Two veterans occupied the old Hotel Vancouver in January of 1946.[5]  After about two weeks the building was converted into a hostel that provided housing for between 1000-1200 veterans up until 1948.

Retrieved September 2, 2011 from http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1205199&page=4 "Photo taken 10 July 1947 by The Movie Flash, 417 West Hastings St., Vancouver, B.C....The Hotel Georgia at 801 W. Georgia, Vancouver, opened 7 May 1927. The Devonshire just seen in the background was built in 1924 and destroyed in 1981."

The newspapers of the time were also filled with domestic violence accounts, stranger on stranger homicide, squatter revolt, labor unrest, child molestations and child homicides.  Prostitution, addiction and poverty were issues for women in Vancouver of the 1940’s.  In fact, the Downtown Eastside of the city the centre for these issues, just as it is today.

Canada’s poorest postal code didn’t get that way by accident.  Its troubles are largely the result of policies that warehouse the city’s most disadvantaged.  Whether because of outright graft or for the convenience of residents from tonier districts who use illicit services here, this part of the city has always had different standards of policing, right back to the 20th century when Dupont (now Pender) Street was open home to houses of prostitution, and cops on the beat chose not to notice the opium dens and gambling parlours of Chinatown.[6]

News headlines paint the scene of the plights of war brides, war vets, war children and squatters:

Houses wanted for overseas brides- homeless vets camp on courthouse lawn The Vancouver Sun, January 1946

Mrs. Mary Hutchinson, 1250 East Eighth, and her seven children left their home this morning in Vancouver’s first eviction of 1947. The Province February 18, 1946

Vets living in ‘shameful conditions’ The Vancouver Sun February 22, 1946

39 war brides, 26 children BC bound The Vancouver Sun February 23, 1946

Vets new ‘goo’ knocks rats dead The Vancouver Sun February 25, 1946

Vet’s plight hints 40,000 homes needed The Vancouver Sun March 7, 1946

British boys here on way to Fairbridge School at Duncan The Vancouver Sun November 29, 1946

Vets living in Old Hotel safe till ’48 The Province December 3, 1946

Sick family living in discarded army hut face dreary prospect as Christmas nears The Province December 18, 1946

Veterans’ kiddies breathlessly await Santa’s arrival at Old Hotel Vancouver The Province December 24, 1946

Square mile of vice alleged in Vancouver- breeds crime, say social workers The Vancouver Sun July 2, 1947

Evicted mother, 4 children housed in hotel by sheriff The Vancouver Sun October 25, 1947

‘Army’ aids 2700 unwed mothers The Vancouver Sun November 3, 1947

Sea-bornes Shantytown- Vancouver would dearly love to cut the hawser on its 1800 tax-free houseboat colonists- but where else could they live?  Maclean’s Magazine November 15, 1947

35 women displaced persons arrive in city The Vancouver Sun December 9, 1948

Abandoned by their parents, these two little Vancouver sisters, aged 5 and 6, can’t understand why ‘Mummy’ and daddy’ don’t come for them. The Vancouver Sun October 31, 1949

After World War II, with war brides, war vets, unemployed, home children (children sent to work in Canada), squatters and the like finding themselves in the city, many persons were unaccounted for.  Many were homeless.  Children in these situations could certainly have slipped through the cracks and been forgotten by the community at large.

From the evidence examined in this cold case, it was apparent that the victims were not well off.  Their clothes may have been re-sewn from larger sizes.  One child was found with underwear size large held together with a safety pin.

The re-sewing of clothes for children was an activity done by philanthropist societies at the time.[7]  The make do and mend campaign continued post war.  Clothing rationing was introduced in June 1941 and continued until March 1949.  During the Second World War clothing and fabric was rationed. Women became expert at mending, altering garments and making their own clothes. “Make do and Mend” became the byword of the day. Pillowcases were made into baby clothes, father’s old trousers might become a skirt for his daughter, and old parachute silk was much prized as material to make blouses and nightdresses.  To save material, men’s’ jackets had fake pockets and trousers had turn-ups. “ [8]

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[1] Retrieved on August 27, 2003, from City Archives, Vancouver, BC, Canada

[2] Neering, R. (2005) The Canadian Housewife- an affectionate history, North Vancouver BC, Canada: Whitecap Books

[3] The official years of the “baby boom generation” are generally considered to be 1946-1964. In Canada, the baby boom is usually defined as the generation born from 1947 to 1966—Canadian soldiers were repatriated later than American servicemen, and Canada’s birthrate did not start to rise until 1947, and most Canadiandemographers prefer to use the later date of 1966 as the boom’s end in that country.  Retrieved November 6, 1006 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-WW2_baby_boom

[4] Salloum, S. (2003) Without Deed or Permit: Squatters in the Lower Mainland.  Raincoast Chronicles- stories and history of the British Columbia Coast.  Volume 19.  Madeira Park, BC, Canada: Harbour Publishing

[5] Wade, J. (1986) “A Palace for the Public: Housing reform and the 1946 Occupation of the Old Hotel Vancouver, BC Studies, nos. 69-70, Spring Summer 1986

[6] From The Vancouver Sun October 15, 2002: Downtown Eastside an artificial slum.

[7] In October 2003, the author and Sgt. Honeybourn read through minutes from meetings of the C.O.M.E.T. (Count On Me Every Time) Society in Mission BC in the late 1940’s.  The minutes listed sewing activities as well as milk deliveries, eyeglass fittings, shoe donations and the like.  The recipients of these services were impoverished children and families.

[8] Make Do and Mend retrieved September 20, 2006 from http://www.livingarchive.org.uk/nvq03/jill/mend.html

The murder weapon: a lather’s hatchet. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

The case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers who deserve to be identified.

By its very nature, physical evidence is circumstantial; it provides clues to a particular course of events, but does not do so directly[1]

LATHER’S HATCHET:

The lather’s hatchet was in a deteriorated state when found in 1953.  My father noted that the hatchet might have been broken off or cut at the sharp end.

 

A shingler’s hatchet or lather and shingler axe is a typical tool used when installing Cedar shake roofs.  It may also be called a “roofing axe”.  The axe weighs about 1.5-2 pounds with a short handle to ease the installer’s work on roof.  The flat head is used to hammer the end of the shake into position under the previous shake.  It is also used to hammer the nails through the shake and into the laths, which are horizontal strips of wood 3/4” x 2” place on roof.  Shakes that are too wide are split to narrow width with the axe blade while the worker is on the roof.  There are two different roofers: Lather (aligns and nails wood strips) and Shingler (places and nails shakes to laths, including splitting shakes for fitting).

A shingle is a sawn and tapered slice of wood cut from a pie shaped “bolt” of Western Red Cedar.  A shake is a board split from a bolt by hand or a machine, producing a rough face. The Greater Vancouver area in British Columbia has a history of cedar millwork.  In the 1940’s, there were a variety Shake and Shingle Mills in Mission, Pitt Meadows, Ruskin, and Maple Ridge.  It is important to bear in mind that the buildings found around Stanley Park in the late 1940’s were (and still are) primarily cedar shingle and shake construction. Many cedar shake buildings and roofs are found around the Children’s Miniature Railway, which is in the vicinity of the crime scene.  The Miniature Railway was completed in 1947.  I interviewed two maintenance workers at the Children’s Miniature Railway.  They indicated that it was their current practice is to simply discard broken tools, such as shingler hatchets, directly onto the ground where they are working.  They noted that squatters who reside in Stanley Park sometimes collect these tools.

Video captures from Babes in the Woods Task Force meeting at Vancouver Centennial Police Museum, February 2004

Photo in evidence box of hatchet fitting wound in skull

 She waved as she made her way to the back door and out to the fire escape stairs.  The firewood was stored under a musty tarp on the landing, and the hatchet [he] used to make kindling sat rusty and dull on top.  [She] never noticed the hatchet placed in that way before, not in all the weeks and months she’d been climbing these fire escape steps.  It was a sign, she knew, and though she wondered what exactly she would do with the hatchet if the footsteps followed her again, she snatched the thing up and rested it on her shoulder. – Lori Lansens Rush Home Road [2]

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

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[1] From Rudin, R., Inman, K. (2002) An Introduction to Forensic Analysis. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press LLC

[2] Lansens, L. (2002) Rush Home Road, Toronto ON, Canada: Vintage Canada

Who is this young man? Want to know? #coldcase #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

One of the main players. China marker on newsprint.

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun rewards available for various donation levels!  In addition, backers who donate $100 and above will receive a signed copy of the book when it is published!

 

Two children’s aviator helmets. Cold case evidence. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

The case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers who deserve to be identified.

By its very nature, physical evidence is circumstantial; it provides clues to a particular course of events, but does not do so directly[1]

Research into the clothing worn by the victims confirms that children of this age group wore these types of outfits in the 1940’s.   A good photo regarding the type outfits worn by the two victims is found in The Vancouver Sun in 1941:

In 1941, Vancouver witnessed its first wartime blackout.  Windows were covered with tarpaper, and automobile headlights were taped to reveal only a sliver of light.  Fear of a Japanese air assault gripped the city.  This policeman is enforcing the dusk to dawn curfew imposed on Japantown.”  From Vogel, A., Wyse, D. (1993) Vancouver- a history in photographs, Vancouver, BC, Canada: Altitude Publishing Canada Ltd. [Vancouver Pubic Library Special Collections, VPL 1345]

As mentioned in previous posts, the April 15, 1953 edition of The Vancouver Sun ran an article on the crime entitled ‘Babes in the Woods’ Slain by Mother- Police Reconstruct Deaths of Boy, Girl Found in Park.  As DNA results show the victims were indeed two boys, the “girl” in the article pertains to the larger skeleton and the “boy” pertains to the smaller skeleton:

The [smaller skeleton’s] head was encased in a leather aviator-type helmet and subsequent investigation revealed that his other clothing consisted of a red Fraser Tartan jacket of Canadian manufacture, cream or fawn corduroy trousers and scamper-type shoes with plantation rubber soles.  Identical helmet was found by the right hand of the [larger skeleton] but [his] other clothing was deteriorated almost completely. 

This ad appearing in The Vancouver Sun, November 5, 1947 gives an indication of the prices of new children’s clothing, including aviator helmets:
This photo (video capture from Babes in the Woods Task Force meeting at Vancouver Centennial Police Museum, February 2004)  shows me holding the remnants of one of the helmets:

Pertaining the aviator helmets found at the scene, a popular literary character from the 1930’s to 1960’s was Biggles– a WWII aviator with a distinctive aviator helmet.  The character experienced similar popularity to today’s Harry Potter.  Children collected the books and wore outfits to emulate their hero.

Johns, Capt. W.E. (1947), Comrades in Arms: Stories of Biggles of the R.A.F., ‘Worrals’ of the W.A.A.F. and ‘King’ of the Commandos, London, England: Hodder and Stoughton, Ltd

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun rewards available for various donation levels!  In addition, backers who donate $100 and above will receive a signed copy of the book when it is published!


[1] From Rudin, R., Inman, K. (2002) An Introduction to Forensic Analysis. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press LLC

Children’s tartan jackets. 1940’s. Case evidence. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

The case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers who deserve to be identified.

At the scene, August 27, 2011

The April 15, 1953 edition of The Vancouver Sun ran an article on the crime entitled ‘Babes in the Woods’ Slain by Mother- Police Reconstruct Deaths of Boy, Girl Found in Park.  As DNA results show the victims were indeed two boys, the “girl” in the article pertains to the larger skeleton and the “boy” pertains to the smaller skeleton.

“Reproduction of clothing probably worn by child murdered in Stanley Park.” Image appears in the Annual Report of the Police Department, City of Vancouver, British Columbia, for the year ending December 31st, 1953. W.H. Mulligan- Chief Constable. Retrieved August 27, 2003 from City Archives, Vancouver B.C.

The clothing [not including aviator helmets (I’ll discuss those next time)] was described as follows:

The [smaller skeleton’s] consisted of a red Fraser Tartan jacket of Canadian manufacture, cream or fawn corduroy trousers and scamper-type shoes with plantation rubber soles.  The [larger skeleton’s] clothing was deteriorated almost completely.  [His] underpants, however, were believed to be many sizes too large, the slack taken up with a safety pin which was found along with a piece of elastic. [His] shoes were identical but half inch longer than the [younger] boy’s and both bodies were encircled with black leather belts.  Peculiarities in the weave of the jacket worn by the [smaller child] by identified it ad the Red Fraser tartan.

In The Vancouver Sun January 14, 1984:

From bits of cloth found around the bodies, police re-created clothing likely worn by the victims. It was no easy task.  A small piece of soiled, rotted cloth was carefully washed and examined under microscope, revealing traces of red.  Rayon threads in the material had completely disintegrated, leaving four treads missing.

With help from the yard-goods manager of a Vancouver department store, the cloth was found to be of red Fraser tartan, a jacket of Canadian cloth.  The jacket’s waistband had three bands of elastic, while a manufacturer would have used on thick band instead of employing three separate stitching operations.

But the quality of the cloth was too cheap to have been used in a tailor-made jacket.  That meant it was likely produced at home out of an old piece of cloth, or an alteration to another jacket picked up second-hand or at a rummage sale…

Evidence Item 17: Small manila envelope with pencil notes: Paris Winley Mills Co. Ltd.; Paris Ontario; RP Roberts- 601 Bute St.; Mr. Hawe- textile sales 16-T’s- Artex Woolers, Kerr 28/3, 2134 W41; Canadian Construction Cloth; 18/36 Strawn to 1”; regent mills; black pattern- Deteriorated tartan cloth appears green/black/beige

Red Fraser Tartan, retrieved September 20, 2006 from http://www.thescottishweaver.com/

The following ad appeared in The Vancouver Sun, November 5, 1947 indicating a children’s plaid jacket:

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Beaver Lake, Stanley Park, BC. August 27, 2011

A child’s belt, safety pins, buttons. Heartbreaking case evidence. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

The case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers who deserve to be identified.

Case evidence:

In 2004, I thoroughly examined the evidence originally stored at the Vancouver Police Centennial Museum.  The items in the window display remain at the museum (open to the public) and the items in the two boxes are now stored at the Vancouver Police Department (not for public access).

I found the following pieces heartwrenching.

BOX 2 item 15: One belt 7 buttons pce. Safety pin- contains old rubber band; 7 assorted buttons; 2 broken safety pins; one leather belt done up to last notch; BOX 2 item 34: 53 One broken safety pin 

The smaller skeleton bore underpants that appeared to be many sizes too large for a child that age and size, “the slack taken up with a safety pin which was found along with a piece of elastic.”

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun rewards available for various donation levels!  In addition, backers who donate $100 and above will receive a signed copy of the book when it is published!

Eyewitness. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

Quote by James Ellroy

Our Kickstarter campaign ends on September 11, 2011 at 5:17 PM.  Please consider donating!  LET’S DO THIS!  Love, Anna (producer) and Katarina (writer, illustrator)

See more links and posts about this cold case and the project at GRAPHIC NOVEL.

1953 EYEWITNESS REPORT:

53-636-1

VANCOUVER CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT

REPORT Coroners BRANCH

TO: –

THE CHIEF CONSTABLE

DATE April 20th 1953

SUBJECT: Re Skeletons in the Park

D.O.                                  Jan 15-53

EXAMINED BY

L. M. M.

At 10:00 am this date, with Det. G. interviewed Mrs. C at the home of her mother Mrs. S.  As a result took Mrs. C and her husband to Stanley Park where she directed us to the vicinity of the skeleton discovery and described how on Oct. 5th 1947 in co. with an Air force man she had been walking up a trail from Beaver Lake toward Prospect Point and had come upon a woman with two children.

The woman is described as 5’3-4, dark hair, fair comp. (suggesting Italian) wearing dark fur coat, full sleeves, with a scarf or something blue at the neck opening.  As they passed the woman on the trail she saw the woman was holding a small rusty hand axe in her hand and against the bosom of her coat.

She called the boy, who was ahead on the trail back to where she and the girl were standing.  The girl was described as about 7 years fair hair and pale face, wearing trousers that were drawn in at the cuff a light brown or sandy color.  The jacket of the suit appeared to be rather dirty but she thinks the same color.  The boy seemed more lively than the girl… darker complexion and wearing a reddish dirty jacket and light colored pants.  Both had dark caps, which she thinks were the kind that fastened under the chin.

Mrs. C and her companion went on to Prospect Point and then returned to the area of the Rose Gardens.  This would be about 4:30 to 5 PM.  When they were at a point where the drive divides to go under the main road, Mrs. C. drew her companion’s attention to a woman, running from the direction of the bear cages toward the promenade and although it was rather a cold afternoon the woman had no coat, a light colored sweater and skirt and had only one shoe on.  She is positive that the one shoe was flat-soled because there was no perceptible limp.

Mrs. C did not connect this woman with the one who was accompanied by the two children until she saw the pictured story in the newspapers.

At the time she saw the axe the first thought was of cutting Xmas decorations, but she discarded the idea when she realized it was only October.  She describes the woman’s voice as low and soft.

–       C. M.

 

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun rewards available for various donation levels!  In addition, backers who donate $100 and above will receive a signed copy of the book when it is published!


 

An Irish Catholic childhood. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

Molly, Edmonton. (18" x 24," china marker on newsprint)

Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood. – Angela’s Ashes [1]

Families sometimes maintain secrets.  They may never discuss disagreeable issues concerning the family, either within the family or with those outside the family. Agreement to maintain the secret is often coerced through “shaming.”  In my research, I conclude  that Molly was the victim of physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of her family and within the Catholic Church.  These types of childhood experiences shaped her psyche…

See more links and posts about this cold case and the project at GRAPHIC NOVEL.

 

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun rewards available for various donation levels!  In addition, backers who donate $100 and above will receive a signed copy of the book when it is published!


[1] McCourt, F. (1996) Angela’s Ashes, New York: Touchstone

A child’s lunchbox. Heartbreaking case evidence. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

The case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers who deserve to be identified.

In a child’s lunch box, a mother’s thoughts. [Japanese Proverb]

“In charge of the case is Det. Don McKay… Police have few clues- the bones, a few fragments of clothing, a tin lunch bucket and a rusty hatchet… Nearby lay a little blue tin lunchbox, the paper lining rotted to a pulpy mass.” [The Vancouver Sun January 16, 1953]

The image below appeared in The Vancouver Sun on April 15, 1953 and the caption underneath read: “child’s lunch bucket was lying beside skeletons when park worker stumbled on them.  It is pale blue with white trim.

The “lunch bucket” or “pail” for children was used in the 1920’s and through to the 50’s.  Most were simple metal oval boxes with two handles.

The one handled  classic “lunch kit” (the “Hoppy” kit), illustrated below, did not appear until 1950.  It is believed that the murders took place in the late 1940’s.

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun rewards available for various donation levels!  In addition, backers who donate $100 and above will receive a signed copy of the book when it is published!

Primary sources. Molly, the #graphicnovel. #Vancouver @Kickstarter campaign

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

See more links and posts about this cold case and the project at GRAPHIC NOVEL.

Primary source is a term used to describe source material that is closest to the person, information, period, or idea being studied. [source]

Researching this case, I have gathered numerous primary sources.  It’s a veritable cornucopia of Vancouver history!  The sources include forensic evidence, news articles 1947-1953, autopsy reports, mental health evaluations, Cause of Death inquiries, registration of deaths, passenger lists, obituaries, eyewitness reports, genetic profile reports, historical photographs…

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!  The campaign ends September 11, 2011 at 5:17 PM.

Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun rewards available for various donation levels!  In addition, backers who donate $100 and above will receive a signed copy of the book when it is published!

A woman’s fur coat. Heartbreaking case evidence. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

In this post, I continue to share a piece of actual evidence from this cold case.  I will do it daily until our Kickstarter campaign deadline is reached on September 11, 2011 at 5:17 PM.  Please consider donating, even just $1!

See more links and posts about this cold case and the project at GRAPHIC NOVEL.

In the cool twilight of a January afternoon about six years ago, a fur-coated murderer crashed a shingler’s hammer into the heads of two small unsuspecting children, laid their bodies between a rotting log and clump of maple in Stanley Park, and fled…  

Detective Don McKay, head of the investigation team, and senior police officials, believe that either the children’s mother or a guardian struck them down from behind, covered their bloodstained bodies with her fur coat and then threw herself into the waters of nearby Burrard Inlet…

Each covering of leaves, each blanket of pine needles, was carefully removed and from this they determined the year and the season the children were placed there.[1]

Covering the bodies was the celanese lining of a woman’s’ coat and a small portion of the fur collar.  In the hairs of the collar were hemlock needles, which indicated that needles were falling at that time.[2]

Later from the scant clues, city furrier R.J. Pop. Fifteenth and Granville, laboriously reconstructed a duplicate of the coat of such accuracy that the original button, later found at the scene was identical to the one put on the duplicate.

Police say it was worn by a chunkily built woman about 5 foot 3 or 4…

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953
EVIDENCE:

 

BOX 2 item 13: Woman’s fur coat- large bag containing fur coat remnant plus lining

The coat discovered at the scene was reconstructed and featured in an article in The Vancouver Sun on April 20, 1953.  Initially it was described as an “oilskin coat” but it turned out to be a fur coat with its lining facing out.  “[The victims] were covered with a cloth later found to be the lining of a woman’s fur coat of the factory mass production type.”

The article described the coat as a “dark brown Coney (dyed rabbit) with leg-o-mutton shoulders, popular in 1943.”  “The lining of Celanese material (a synthetic fiber first spun in 1921) indicated the coat had been worn two or three years.”

The coat was described as size 16 and 40 inches (101.6 cm) long.   “From the length of the fur coat lining which covered the skeletons, police believe it was worn by a short, stocky woman about five feet three or four inches tall weighing between 125 and 135 pounds.”

Remnants of woman’s fur coat with Celanese lining in evidence box. Video capture from Babes in the Woods Task Force meeting at Vancouver Centennial Police Museum, February 2004.

This ad reflects the coat mentioned in the original news articles and appeared in The Vancouver Sun on October 6, 1943:

“The coat was reconstructed right down to the button by Vancouver furrier R.J. Pop.”   The button is in the evidence boxes (see BOX 2 item 22: One large button- Dark brown with tulip pattern- likely from fur coat).


Button from woman’s fur coat in evidence box. Video capture from Babes in the Woods Task Force meeting at Vancouver Centennial Police Museum, February 2004

A good comparison photo:

Bettie Page, Christmas, Nashville 1944 “I loved that old rabbit fur coat!”

Essex, K., Swanson, J.l. (1996) Bettie Page- the Life of a Pin up Legend, Santa Monica: General Publishing Group

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun rewards available for various donation levels!  In addition, backers who donate $100 and above will receive a signed copy of the book when it is published!


[1] “MacKay was [in 1953] in charge of the sudden death detail.  His report for the day noted that it was ‘not known how much leaf deposit had been scraped off by workmen in clearing land.’ “ From The Sun January 14, 1984

[2] “It is not until late summer that the nearly fully-grown chicks fledge.  The hemlock’s needles begin falling quickly, littering the ground.” The Secret Life of [Hemlock] Snags retrieved October 9, 2006 from http://www.spruceroots.org/April%202003/Snags.html

A child’s shoe. Heartbreaking case evidence. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

I must address why my daughter and I are championing this project.  There are many reasons besides the simple artistic one of my dream to create a graphic novel.  It is a grandmother-mother-daughter project, and now that my mom, Karin, has passed, my daughter and I need to see this project to fruition to celebrate her memory.  The story belongs to Vancouver, and this is the perfect project to rekindle the discussions around the case.  But most importantly, the case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers who deserve to be identified.

*** I will share a piece of actual evidence from this cold case daily until our Kickstarter campaign deadline is reached on September 11, 2011 at 5:17 PM.  Please consider donating, even just $1.

All the evidence is moving, but it was particularly heartbreaking for me to hold and to sketch the remains of a child’s shoe:

The shoes worn by the children had rubber soles according to the newspaper accounts. This rubber was not used in Canada before 1947, though it was available in Asia. In fact, according to the 1953 investigation the “rubber-soled shoe” worn by [the younger] victim… [had] a leather top and was allegedly manufactured by an Eastern firm in only one year, 1947.  When considering ALL the evidence, the estimated time of death for the two brothers is October, 1947.

The following ad appeared in The Vancouver Sun on September 1, 1949 and shows the crepe sole:

New child’s shoe ordered by police in 1953 was compared to shoe found at scene:

Video capture from Babes in the Woods Task Force meeting at Vancouver Centennial Police Museum, February 2004, as we look at the shoe evidence:

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun rewards available for various donation levels!  In addition, backers who donate $100 and above will receive a signed copy of the book when it is published!

Vintage photos- perfect inspiration for the Graphic Novel.

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER:

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

 

My Graphic Novel is in the post-research, now-start-drawing phase.  I purchased some amazing photos from the ETSY shop VINTAGE WAREHOUSE.  The 1940’s style depicted is exactly the era I need.  I can’t wait to see what I do with them!

A sampling:

By the way, this shop is incredible!  Visit it!  In fact, I’m going to visit it now and see what else I can find!

My son and his girlfriend also gave me some vintage photos yesterday that they bought on Main Street and I am so inspired!  For example:

I love fantasizing about who these people were. What their family secrets may have been…

Photography is all about secrets. The secrets we all have and will never tell.  – Kim Edwards

To help fund this graphic novel go to KICKSTARTER!

Note: All backers will receive a mention in the book (if they so wish).  Take a look at the fun rewards available for various donation levels!  In addition, backers who donate $100 and above will receive a signed copy of the book when it is published!