This story contains a bonus: mystery blood and mystery check marks! This brief, but highly unsettling tale appeared in the "Los Angeles Times" on July 23, 1912:
J.D. Smith, who lives at No. 420 East Forty-first street, returned home after a trip through the state yesterday and found that his house had been entered while he was absent. On the door was a mysterious check mark.
Smith noticed the pencil mark when he entered the front porch. When he entered the parlor he found lying near the piano was a soft, light gray hat covered with blood. There were blood stains on the carpet and blood streaks on the piano. The lid of the instrument had been cracked from one end to the other. An inventory showed that nothing had been stolen.
When Smith interrogated the neighbors he found that four other front doors had been marked with a similar check mark as that adorns his front door. No one professed to having seen either men or boys in or about the Smith house during his absence.
Detectives are investigating. They are inclined to the belief that boys entered the house and that the blood stains and broken piano resulted from a fight.
I have not found any more about this story, which is a pity. There was obviously some sort of "normal"--if creepy--explanation for all this, but I would sure like to know what in hell it might have been.