"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Calling this one merely a "Mystery Blood" story doesn't really do it justice.  File this one under "Just Plain Freaking Weird."  From the "Statesville (N.C.) Landmark," March 15, 1928:

Mooresville Enterprise, 15th

Mr. and Mrs. Thad Lowe received a severe shock Monday evening at about 6 o'clock when they returned to their cheerful cottage home on North Main street after their day's work was done. The bath room and kitchen were bespattered with blood, and in the bath tub Mrs. Lowe found several clots of dark blood, and wash rags and towels reeking in damp splotches of blood. In the kitchen there is an arcola heater, and within fourteen inches of the door to the furnace there is a kitchen sink. On the end of the sink there were great splotches of blood. There was evidence everywhere that some one had been in the home and that something unusual had taken place. [Ed. note: You don't say.]

Mr. Lowe is associated with the Sherrill Motor Company, and his hours are from early morning till about 6 o'clock in the evening. Mrs. Lowe is bookkeeper for the Mooresville Flour Mills, across the street and within several hundred yards of her home. It is her custom to leave home for her work about 9 o'clock every morning, returning to her home after 5 o'clock in the afternoon. Mr. and Mrs. Lowe take their meals with Mr. and Mrs. J.D. Cranford, parents of Mrs. Lowe.

When Mrs. Lowe entered her home Monday evening she was greeted with a great volume of smoke, the smell of burning flesh, and the heat was so intense that she could not remain in the house. She walked through the house and opened doors and windows and passed out for a while. When Mr. Lowe returned home a short while later they were discussing the cause of the smoke and having occasion to enter the bath room Mrs. Lowe found the terrible spectacle of blood and the condition of the room as described above. Policemen and others were called in to help solve the mysterious affair. No one had been seen entering the house during the day and no one had been noticed leaving the building since early in the day when Mrs. Lowe went to her work. There were workers building a drive way within fifteen feet of the house but none of the workers had seen anyone coming and going from the house. However, there were tracks of a woman's shoe of the common sense type leading up the drive way between the Lowe house and the residence of Mrs. W.W. Rodgers.

An investigation was started Tuesday morning to unravel the mystery. Two theories are advanced. One is that some one committed murder, probably a human being, and burned the remains of the victim in the heating furnace. Another theory is that some woman gave birth to a child, either dead or alive, and destroyed the body by cremation.

W.M. Lentz, Policeman Brown, C.E. Earnhardt, and a newspaper man examined the ashes and unburned coal taken from the furnace Tuesday morning, and found charred bones that crumbled when mashed. These charred bones were not scattered among the coals, but appeared to be all in one place when the receptacle was emptied.

Is some one guilty of infanticide? or has there been a murder outright? The mystery has puzzled the occupants of the home as well as the entire police department.

Whoever the strange and unwelcome visitor was, evidently was familiar with the coming and going of Mr. and Mrs. Lowe and timed their nefarious work accordingly.

The same newspaper had a follow-up story on March 26:

Mooresville Enterprise, 22d.

While the county coroner, Solicitor Zeb Vance Long, Sheriff Alexander and the local police force, with private detective C.E. Earnhardt, have been working industriously on the mysterious blood stained bath tub incident at the Thad Lowe home on Monday, March 12th, there are no developments that gives any clue to the perpetrators of the apparent murder. The mystery is baffling to everyone, and while every suggestion that might lead to some solution of the crime have been run down, there is nothing tangible, and so far no one has been identified in connection with the affair.

Rock S. Witherspoon, a well-known citizen, says that on Sunday, March 11, while sitting in his automobile in front of St. Mark's Lutheran church, about 10 o'clock in the morning, he saw a man visit the Lowe home, pull back the screen from the door and finding the door locked, took a key from his pocket, unlocked the door and entered. Mr. Witherspoon says he did not remain there very long, and did not see the man come from the house. He described the man as being about 5 1/2 feet tall, and wore light colored hat, suit and overcoat. He did not recognize the man, but knew that it was not Mr. Lowe. Mr. and Mrs. Lowe had gone to Sunday school. All of this happened the day before the blood-stained bathtub was discovered.

All evidence points to a crime having been committed, but the solution of the mystifying incident rivals anything our local officers have ever had to unfathom.

And, as usual, that appears to have been that. I have yet to find any other references to the matter. I suppose all one can add is that borrowing a home to commit a gruesome murder, without even asking permission first, seems unneighborly to the highest degree.


  1. You would think that an incident such as this would attract the greatest notice and urgency. Yet the investigation was started Tuesday morning. I suppose the police figured it was after quitting time Monday afternoon... And I love the name of a witness: "Rock S. Witherspoon". You can't make that name up.

    1. This is one of those old stories where I particularly wish I could have found more information. I would have loved to have seen what possible explanation they might've come up with for this baby.

  2. I love the "woman's shoes of the common-sense type." Did Mrs. Lowe wear frivolous shoes? And I trust Mrs. W.W. Rogers was alive and well.

    It is curious that nothing more ever came out about this...


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