I knew everyone was once again thinking the investigation was over, but I needed to get into that attic. I suggested we go up there for just a few minutes. I wanted to see that window, and see if there was any chance we could find some remnant of the past.
The stairs were incredibly narrow and steep, and there would have been no way an elderly and infirm woman would have been able to climb them. Dan had to move some boxes for us to all get up there, and then moved several more to give us space to squeeze through to different sections.
Lisa Ann did a bit of a balancing act by walking along beams out into a section that didn’t have floorboards, but was rewarded by finding some newspapers from 1905, and a marvelous 1905 Macy’s catalog which really gave a sense of the time with its fancy clothing, household items, jewelry, etc. (Including diamond rings for less than $10!)
I got on my hands and knees and crawled under a progressively lower slanted part of the attic in the back of the house. Poking around in the hundred-year-old dust I joked with Dan, "Is this your stack of hundred dollar bills back here?"
"Yeah, those are mine," he replied, "I wondered where I put them."
Of course, it would have been great to find a hidden stash of money, but in ghost investigator terms I was just about to find something priceless. I came upon on old photo of a woman on the beach (circa 1920s?), a piece of an old tortoise shell comb, an addressed envelope, and some bits and pieces of paper. Then way in the back I found a small, thin book covered in dust. At first I was disappointed that it appeared to be only an old school book, until I opened it.
The book was from 1902 and the owner had inscribed it Mary E. Drake. Of course, this didn’t mean it was the Mary in question (Cheryl always referred to the spirit as Mary, as she thought it was the woman from the grave marker. Perhaps she had been using the right name, but for the wrong reasons?) At the back of the book there were a couple of handwritten pages, but in the dim attic light they were hard to read.
We brought our findings down to the kitchen and tried to decipher all the writing. Mike’s detective skills helped, and an angled flashlight brought out more detail to some of the faint, penciled words. He also pointed out how the pressure and style of the writing changed, suggesting that it had been written at different times, and under some emotional strain. I photographed everything, thinking that I might further enhance details on my computer later.
The two pages of handwritten notes in Mary E.’s book were indeed somewhat disjointed and rambling, and it was difficult to tell if she was writing to someone, or keeping a diary of sorts. There was a line about someone "being admitted to the bar," a paragraph about embroidering towels for some female friends, and curious emphasis on the line, "It had better be announced."
The real mind blowing sentence was to be discovered by Lisa Ann, as she slowly made out each word and read, "I ain’t…got…nobody to…call me…mom…"
I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that there were five completely stunned people in the room at that point. This was all too incredible! How many times had Lisa Ann repeated that this old woman had no children of her own? Why had I felt compelled to stay, and what were the chances that I would find a book in a remote corner of the attic that contained these words!
Talk about being stranger than fiction! I knew at that instant that this was one of my most remarkable cases ever. Just let a skeptic try to explain all this as mere coincidence.