George Washington Digest – WIF Into History

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Lesser Known

Facts About

George Washington

Even as American values change and history is continually revised by new discoveries, George Washington remains one of the most venerated figures in human history. A highly esteemed soldier and general who became a pioneer politician, he appeals both to the intellectual types and those who liked to prove their worth through combat. Unfortunately, for all his acclaim, the casual reader only gets a vague impression of what he was like as a human. It’s unfortunate, because it leaves out a number of very interesting aspects of the life of a fascinating (if deeply flawed) man. Unfortunate for the average person, that is, not for George Washington. His legacy has literally been set in stone. So, let’s get to learning more about America’s most prominent Founding Father.

 10. Started the First Worldwide War

Although he’s a central figure in the American Revolutionary War, Washington had an even more significant role in a larger scale conflict that is often overlooked in American history. In 1754, Washington was a Lieutenant Colonel in command of forty troops that had been dispatched to intercept a column of French troops in Southwestern Pennsylvania. While this was technically still peace time, tensions were high, as the year before Washington had led a retinue to the French Fort Duquesne to demand they leave the territory, and it had been only through a mighty show of force that the French had surrendered the fort without a fight. So it was that on May 28, Washington’s small command found the French column, and despite having been ordered not to engage the enemy, Washington ordered a sneak attack. He was, after all, only about 22 years old and eager to prove himself, even if it meant defying orders. They killed a small number of French soldiers, wounded a few others, and took 21 prisoners.

 According to History.com, his small engagement was the flashpoint that led to the rival nations of France and Great Britain enlarging their armed forces in the colonies, and in time the war spilled over into Europe. It became known as the Seven Years’ War, and it was the deadliest conflict of the Eighteenth Century. Necrometrics. computes the number of dead from that conflict at 853,000, far exceeding the total combined forces engaged in the American Revolution, let alone the number of casualties. Makes the “Shot Heard Round the World” seem almost quaint.

9. Signed a Murder Confession

Well before it escalated to the Seven Years War, in the immediate aftermath of Washington’s unauthorized sneak attack it became clear it was a British/Colonial boondoggle. It turned out the French column was actually on a diplomatic mission, and Smithsonian Magazine states they had the documentation to prove it. The diplomat in question was an Ensign Joseph Jumonville, and according to Washington, he was killed in the immediate aftermath of the attack when a Native American, who went by the nickname Half King, put a tomahawk in his brain. A larger French force was dispatched to deal with the treacherous British and Washington responded by falling back to an improvised log defense dubbed Fort Necessity. Even after being reinforced by more than a hundred extra soldiers, Washington decided to surrender without another shot being fired. During the process Washington was made to sign a document, wherein he confessed to having murdered Jumonville.

In Washington’s defense, he signed the document under extreme duress and it was written in French, a language he was not familiar with. Rather than being court-martialed for disobeying orders and ignominiously surrendering, not to mention literally signing a confession, the British propaganda machine took Washington’s side. The British were determined to have North America for themselves and they needed to rally support for their cause instead of admitting defeat, and heaping scorn on the impulsive lieutenant colonel would do nothing to help achieve that goal. It took seven years of fighting, but eventually the British won and greatly expanded their American colonies, which as we now know would ultimately prove their undoing on that continent.

8. Did Not Have Wooden Teeth: Had Something Almost Worse

These days the historical trivia note that Washington had wooden teeth is so widely debunked that it’s probably harder to find someone who does believe it. This is not to say he had good teeth: he was having them taken out as young as 24. By 1789, the year he was elected president, he was down to one tooth still in his gums. The rest were his own refitted into dentures, nine were possibly form black people, and others were from whalebone. Even by the standards of the time they were unsightly, and the misconception they were wooden was likely due to their discolored appearance.

Although the dental problems so embarrassed Washington that he tried to keep them secret, they ultimately proved hugely advantageous in their own way. In 1781, a correspondence with a French dentist named Dr. Jean-Pierre Le Mayeur included notes that indicated Washington planned to stay in New York City. One of his letters was intercepted by the British, and they believed the letter indicated that it would be safe for a large contingent of British troops to move to a community called Yorktown. As it happened, Washington had changed his mind and moved to trap the British in the most decisive American victory of the war.

7. Signed the Most Slavery-Friendly Law

As with many of the Founding Fathers, slavery was an un-erasable stain on Washington’s legacy and a fixture of his life. The New York Times said he was an owner of ten slaves when he was only 11 years old, after his father’s death. By the time of his marriage in 1759, the number had grown to 80, and by 1776 it was 150. By the time of his death, between he and his wife Martha Custis Washington, he had 317.

Certain historical notes may seem to slightly redeem or at least complicate his feelings. In 1778 he wrote about wanting to get out of the business of owning slaves. When he died in 1799, his will stipulated that he wanted all the slaves owned by his family freed (this amounted to about half of them). But all this is overshadowed by a particularly nasty piece of legislation he urged to be pushed through congress in 1793. Known as the Fugitive Slave Act, it stipulated that slaveowners could cross any state boundaries in pursuit of escapees. It put a fine of $500 on anyone who sheltered a runaway slave or even aided them, an amount History.org tells us is more than eight years’ salary for a teacher in Virginia at the time.

6. Spent Final Years Pursuing a Single Escaped Slave

The most remembered person ever forced into servitude under Washington was Ona “Oney” Judge, one of the slaves Washington and his wife had with him in Philadelphia, whose main duty was attending to Martha’s personal needs. In May 1796, she slipped out of the Washington home. She had no shortage of help, as Philadelphia was so anti-slavery at the time that any slave that lived there for six months was automatically freed (Washington had gotten around this by merely regularly rotating his staff).

An article about Ona Judge on ushistory.org reports that Martha, for her part, seemed personally offended that a slave she felt she’d treated well would want to leave, refusing to believe Judge would ever want to leave of her own free will. Meanwhile, George initially tried to keep the incident under wraps while in abolitionist territory. Eventually he relented, had notices posted offering a $10 reward for aid in recapturing her, and asked the Secretary of the Treasury for help in bringing her back.

After being smuggled to New York City, for a time the president was able to get back in touch with her. Naturally, George was unable to persuade her to return to bondage without threat of physical force, and was worried using physical force would have caused “a riot on the docks.” Eventually she made her way to the community of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She married a local freeborn black sailor and spent the final 50 years of her life a fugitive and favorite of abolitionist papers. Even when George Washington died three years later, he still had agents on the hunt for her.

5. A Moonshine Distiller

A popular misconception is that, since George Washington and other Founding Fathers grew hemp on their plantations, they must have been smoking it. That’s extremely unlikely, as they grew a species of hemp with little THC in it, which would have been nearly worthless for getting a buzz. Besides, Washington had a much more viable source of inebriation at Mount Vernon in the form of a huge whiskey distillery.

How huge was it? Big enough that it yielded more than 11,000 gallons a year, according to CBS, making it one of the nation’s largest. Of course, Washington couldn’t go through all that even if he threw lavish house parties, so he sold most of it off at a tidy profit. It’s enough to make you wonder if Sam Adams should really be the Founding Father whose name we most associate with alcohol.

4. HATED Becoming the President

An ambitious go-getter on the battlefield and a math enthusiast, you would think the highest office in the country of his birth would be a plum position for Washington. It should have seemed all the sweeter when the results came in from Congress on February 4 and said that of the sixty-nine votes, he’d won all of them. He was the only American president to be elected by unanimous vote. As History.org tells us, Washington was aware that in 1789 he had the support of the public as well as the landed gentry.

Nevertheless, Washington hated assuming the position. He’d spent months trying to get around being appointed to the position, or flat out refusing it prior to his unanimous election. In private, he removed any sense of ambiguity about his feelings, such as when he wrote to his friend Edward Rutledge that accepting the office meant “giving up all expectations of private happiness.”

3. Presidency Massively Criticized by Other Founding Fathers

Despite initial overwhelming support for Washington in Congress, the press, and the public, by the start of Washington’s second term it was a very different story. One of the milder critics was John Adams, who said the president was “too illiterate, unread, and unlearned for his station.”

Thomas Jefferson took a much harsher attitude in 1795 after Washington signed the controversial Jay Treaty, which gave favorable trading deals to Great Britain in exchange for moving British troops out of forts in territory outside the United States. He accused Washington of treason over that. Just before Washington left the office, Thomas Paine went to the press to accuse him of monopolizing for his own profit and his favorites, and depriving veterans. Amidst all this, many other newspapers criticized Washington too, of their own volition, and it was a large contributor to his decision to retire.

2. Invented Farming Equipment and Designs

After leaving the presidency, Washington devoted his twilight years to what had been his true passion all along: Farming. But being the sort of man he was, he of course needed to be in some way exceptional at it. He created an object called a “drill plow,” which was a huge time saver in that it planted seeds at the same time it tilled the soil.

But more significant was his 1797 innovation, the Threshing Barn. Essentially, it was a 15-sided brick building that was two stories tall, and the top floor was used to beat the wheat against the floor until the chaff was sorted out and the seeds fell to the bottom floor. Of course, it should be mentioned that working in it was something Washington delegated to the slaves.

1. Experimental Blood Transfusion Proposal

On December 14, 1799, at age 67, Washington passed away from an obstructive epiglottis, having only noticed the symptoms of it the day before. It must be said, though, that his condition was very likely not helped at all by the team of doctors dispatched to help him, and who concluded that bleeding was Washington’s best hope. Over 12 hours, they drained a staggering 40 percent of his blood. After he expired, in part because so much blood had been removed, a very odd proposal came up: Putting blood from another creature in. Yes, you read that right. Not another person’s blood. Another creature’s.

One of those present at Washington’s death was a William Thornton, a student from Edinburgh in Scotland. Since blood transfusions were relatively new to the field of medicine, some had claimed they could work medical miracles, including reviving the dead. Despite those outlandish claims, when he offered to give the corpse a transfusion of lamb’s blood, the family understandably declined.


George Washington Digest

WIF Into History

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 135

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 135

…Constance thinks she has made a breakthrough, when in fact, she is one conclusion behind…

“When I opened the door something smelled like it was burning, but there was no smoke and Simpson’s head was face down at his desk, blood trickling out of both ears.

“By then his secretary had come back to her desk and she saw me with blood on my hands, I had checked his neck for a pulse,” claims Agent Daniels.

“And she assumed that it was you who killed the man?” Ace guesses, getting into the investigative spirit.

“She told me that no one had been in his office since the morning startup meeting 2 hours earlier, that I was the only other meeting he had scheduled.

“I tried to explain that I found him that way, but she called down to the switchboard to send for security. I ran from the room, knowing that CIA people are not welcome in local jurisdictions and any excuse I would give them might not be well received. I ran out of the building and came here.”

Connie looked at Ace who had no opinion, “You said that the room smelled like something was burning?”

“Yes.”

“Did it smell like smoldering embers or singed flesh?”

“Yes, I have been at fires where people had 2nd and 3rd degree burns… a sense that you can’t forget.”

“In all your dealings with that Agnostica guy, did you ever meet him outside his safe-room?”

“Safe room?” Ace inquires.

“The room where that is so cold that water begins to ice over,” Connie answers Ace.

one step behind“No, I always came to him in one of those places.” Daniels answers Connie.

“I think we have a way of detecting that guy,” Constance thinks she has made a breakthrough, when in fact, she is one conclusion behind.

For the record, he sets her straight, “Miss Caraway, that “guy” as you refer to him, is not human.”

Ace is quick to jump in, “So you’re telling us that this “thing” is the Devil?”

“Yep,” Daniels goes on, “the fallen favored Angel of God himself. Look at the trail of dead bodies in his path:

  1. The Pope’s brother hangs himself, coincidence…?
  2. Miss Caraway has to kill two of FM’s goons after Dombroski’s wife is taken…
  3. Canisso, his lieutenant before me, struck by a lightning bolt sent from the Heavens. I saw it with my own eyes…
  4. Bartholomew Simpson is about to change what children are being taught about evolution in the schools, a huge revelation and he is being taken away by the Cook County Coroner as we speak…

…do I need to convince you further?”


Constance Caraway P.I.

The Devil you Say

Forever Mastadon


page 118

Halloween Legends or Myths – WIF Quiz

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Halloween Urban Legends

(Can You Tell Which Ones Are Real?)

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Halloween is a time that is filled with myth and lore and there are some creepy legends surrounding the spookiest day of the year. In this list, there are some entries that are fictional stories, while others really happened. Can you figure out which ones are true and which ones are merely urban legends?

10. The Ghost Who Solved Her Own Murder

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In the winter of 1896, Elva Zona Heaster married blacksmith Erasmus Shue, in Greenbrier, West Virginia. Rumors swirled around Shue, such as he was married twice before and both of his wives had died, perhaps not of natural causes.

A short time after getting married, mysterious bruises started appearing on Heaster, but she claimed it was her own fault. However, it was obvious that Heaster was a victim of spousal abuse. Then three months after the wedding, Heaster became mysteriously ill and no one was really sure what was wrong with her. Because she was sick, she was unable to do things around the house so Shue hired a young boy to do the chores.

Shue told the boy that if no one answered the door, he should just go inside the house. When he did, he found Heaster on the floor. He ran to get Shue, who summoned the physician. When the doctor arrived, he found Shue had put a shirt with a high collar on his wife and wrapped his arms around her neck and wept. The doctor was unable to get the body away from him, but he was able to confirm that Heaster was dead because there was no pulse on her wrist. The doctor initially cited the cause of death as heart failure.

At her funeral, her husband dressed her in a scarf, saying she was very fond of them, but no one remembered Heaster ever wearing one.

Heaster’s mother was suspicious of the death, but she had nothing to back it up. That was until she washed the sheets that her daughter’s body had been wrapped in and they turned pink. Later, she was visited by the ghost of her daughter, who stood in the corner of her bedroom wearing the same dress that she was buried in.The ghost said that she had been strangled to death by her husband after an argument because she hadn’t cooked meat for dinner.

Heaster’s mother went to the prosecutor and told him about the ghostly apparition, and amazingly, he believed her. The body was exhumed and Heaster’s death was ruled a homicide; she had been strangled to death. When Shue went to trial for murder, Heaster’s mother took the stand and the defense tried to make her look crazy for her story about the ghostly visitation, but she stuck to her story and the jurors liked her honesty. Shue was sentenced to life in prison.

9. The Candyman

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On Halloween night 1974, in Houston, Texas, eight-year-old Timothy O’Bryan was out trick-or-treating with his sister, his father Ronald, and another family. When the group got to a house, Ronald would walk up to the house with the children, while the other father stayed on the sidewalk. When they came to one house where no one answered the door, the kids ran to the next home. Less than a minute later, Ronald caught up with them with five pixie sticks. He said that the person came to the door just a few seconds after the children ran off.

A short time later, it started to rain and everyone went home. An hour after returning home, Ronald called 9-1-1 because there was something wrong with his son Timothy. He was taken to the hospital and he was pronounced dead. It turns out that he had ingested cyanide, and it looked like it was from the candy he ate.

After the police investigated the death, they concluded that Ronald was actually the one who put the cyanide in the Pixy Stix. Ronald, who had a history of insurance fraud, had taken out a $20,000 life insurance policy on both of his children. He poisoned the Pixy Stix to kill both his children for the money, and then, he wanted to poison other children to hide his crimes. He was arrested, convicted, and executed for the murder of his son in March 1984.

8. The Outlaw Who Wouldn’t Give Up

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In 1976, a television crew arrived at the Nu-Pike Amusement Park in Long Beach, California, to shoot an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man. They were shooting in a funhouse, and when the crew moved a prop of a hanging dead body, the arm fell off. When they looked at the arm, they saw it had a human bone in it.

It turns out that the body was real and his name was Elmer McCurdy. In 1911, he was killed in Oklahoma during a shootout after he robbed a train of $46 and twojugs of whiskey. He was embalmed and the funeral director thought he looked good in death, so he set the dead body up in a chair in the back of his parlor. He then charged people a nickel to see McCurdy, who was labeled “The Outlaw Who Wouldn’t Give Up.” People would put the nickel in McCurdy’s mouth and the director would get them afterwards.

In 1915, two men who said they were McCurdy’s brother showed up to claim the body. However, it turned out that they were carnival that wanted to buy the body earlier, but the director had turned down their offer.

McCurdy’s body travelled with the carnival for a while and then he was passed around for several decades. He was featured at amusement parks, a wax museum, and in a few low-budget films before ending up in the funhouse. When the crew ofThe Six Million Dollar Man found the body, it had been hanging there for four years.

7. The Masked Killer

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It was Halloween 1962, and the small town of Ketchum, Idaho, was throwing their annual Halloween masquerade at the town’s community center. The party was more popular than ever this year, with over 200 people attended.

Around 10:00 p.m. the picture above was taken by one of the guests at the dance. Shortly after the picture was taken, the man in the black mask grabbed a knife from the community center’s kitchen and began stabbing people at random. This caused a panic and people fled. When the police arrived, no one was inside the hall, except the people who had been stabbed. They also found the mask that the man was wearing. Police said that the killer removed his mask to blend in with the crowd and he got away.

In total, seven people were killed and the masked man was never identified. The murder has haunted the town of Ketchum, because, to this day, they do not know if the murderer was a stranger, or one of their neighbors.

6. The Crying Baby

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In 1998, it was getting close to 11:00 p.m. on Halloween night in Gainesville, Florida, and a woman, who lived alone and who was only identified as Rachel, was starting to get ready for bed. Suddenly, there was a loud knock at the door and it made her jump. As she neared the front door, she could hear a baby crying. She looked through her peephole, but there was no one outside. She also couldn’t hear the baby anymore.

Thinking that this was all too weird and worried for the safety of the baby, Rachel called 9-1-1, and explained that there was a knock at the door, and then the sound of a baby crying. The dispatcher told her to stay in the house with the doors locked and he was sending the police.

Within minutes, two squad cars arrived and the area was canvassed. The police couldn’t find a baby, but there was evidence of someone hiding in the bushes outside of Rachel’s house. Also, two neighbors also said that they heard a crying baby.

The police believe that it was all a trick to lure Rachel out of the house so she could be kidnapped. They also believe that the person who did it used the trick on two other women and sadly, both of those women were murdered.

To this day, the identity of the Babysitter, as he was dubbed in the media, remains a mystery.

5. The Halloween Decoration

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In October 2015, in the town of Chillicothe, Ohio, people in one neighborhood noticed a grotesque Halloween decoration hanging from a chain link fence. It looked like the body of a dead woman, but the face was unrecognizable because it was all bloody. Everyone thought it was a sick joke, but no one actually went near it until about 8:30 a.m. on the following day. A construction crew went to move the prop and they discovered that was a real body.

The police were called, and the body was identified as Rebecca Cade, 31. On the day she was killed, Cade had gotten into a fight with her boyfriend, Donnie Cochenour Jr., 27. She tried to run away, but she fell into the fence and Cochenour hit her with a rock. He then proceeded to beat her to death, disfiguring her face enough to make it look like a Halloween prop. Cochenour was arrested and is currently awaiting trial.

4. The Physic and the Sorority Murder

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In the late 1980s, Daytime talk shows would often have psychics on the show. Most of them were pretty forgettable. However, one appearance on The Geraldo Show in October 1989 stands out among the rest. Jeanne Dixon, a well-known psychic, said that on Halloween night, there would be a murder on, or near a college campus, somewhere in America.

Well, that prediction turned out to be true. On Halloween Night, someone broke into the Chi Omega sorority at Louisiana State University. Only three girls were home because the rest of the sisters were at a party. Sadly, Susan Prescott, Cheryl Milne, and Rebecca Dion, all 20, were murdered. They had all been stabbed to death. After killing the girl, the killer simply walked off into the night and no one knows his, or her, identity.

The only clue to who killed the three girls is that a witness saw a man wearing a Bo-Peep costume that was covered in blood. However, since it was Halloween, it’s unclear if the man was the killer or if it was just someone with a strange Halloween costume.

As for the psychic, critics think it was just a lucky guess while believers point to this as proof that some people do have psychic abilities.

3. The Spared Roommate

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Sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 2:00 a.m., on Halloween 2004, a woman named Lauren living in Napa, California, saw her security light turn on and heard her dog bark. She just assumed that it was the cat that belonged to her roommate Adriane Insogna and went back to sleep. A short time later, Lauren heard someone come into the house. Lauren assumed it was her other roommate’s, Leslie Mazzara, boyfriend, and she again fell back asleep.

A blood curdling scream awoke Lauren next. It came from upstairs, where both of her roommates slept. Lauren stepped out of the bedroom and was suddenly frozen with fear. That’s when a man came barreling down the stairs. Lauren ran out the backdoor, but the problem was that the backyard was surrounded by a 6 foot fence and there wasn’t any way to get out, so she hid until everything went quiet.

Lauren didn’t know if the intruder was in the house or not, but she ventured back in. She tried to use the phone, but found that the line had been cut. She then ventured upstairs and in one of the bedrooms, it looked like a scene straight out of a horror movie. Both bedrooms were covered in blood, and Mazzara was dead, while Insogna was slowly bleeding to death. Lauren called 9-1-1, but sadly, it was too late for Insogna and she died at the hospital.

Eleven months later, the husband of one of Insogna’s friends, Eric Copple, confessed to the murder. He says that he was drunk when he broke into the house and went into Insogna’s room. He fell asleep on a pile of clothes, and when she woke up she screamed. So he attacked her with his knife. He then went down the hallway and stabbed Mazzara to death. As for why he didn’t kill Lauren, Copple just said that she was lucky.

2. The Cannibal in the Haunted House

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In October 2015, visitors at the Fright Night Haunted Dreams attraction in Austin, Texas, got a little more than they were expecting for their $15 admission. A few visitors to the attraction, which is a maze filled with terrifying scenes, came across a scene of a man with face tattoos eating a screaming teenage boy in a bloody bathtub. As they got closer, they realized that it wasn’t some skit and the man was eating the teen. They called 9-1-1 as they ran back to the entrance.

When the police arrived on the scene, they had to taze the man. However, it was too late for the victim; 17-year-old Tanner McMillan was pronounced dead at the scene. The cannibal, 27-year-old Phillip Harris, was taken into custody and PCP was found in his blood stream. He was sentenced to life in prison in July 2016.

1. The Trick-or-Treat Murder

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It was Halloween night, 1973, in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and Arlene Penn had just finished work. After work, she was supposed to go with her boyfriend, Gerald Turner, to her mother’s house for dinner. However, when Penn got home, Turner said he wasn’t feeling well and that she should go to her mother’s without him. Penn drove over and when she got there, she realized that her mother wouldn’t be home for another hour, so she returned to her home where she snuggled and watched TV with Turner and then left again for dinner.

Nine months later, Penn was shocked when Turner was arrested for the murder of nine-year-old Lisa French. On Halloween night, while Penn was still at work, Lisa left her home dressed as a hobo. She knocked on Turner’s door, but instead of giving her candy, Turner somehow lured Lisa into the bedroom he shared with Penn. Once there, he assaulted Lisa before strangling her to death. Her body was found dumped along a roadside three days later.

That means, Turner killed Lisa either before Penn got home from work, or he killed Lisa when she drove over to her mother’s house. When she returned home to await her mother, Lisa’s body would have been in the bedroom on the floor above. Also that night, Penn slept in the same bed where the little girl had died just hours before beside the man who had killed her.

Turner was arrested and given a life sentence

Which ones are true?

10. The Ghost Who Solved Her Own Murder

9. The Candyman

8. The Outlaw Who Wouldn’t Give Up

5. The Halloween Decoration

3. The Spared Roommate

1. The Trick-or-Treat Murder


Halloween Legends or Myths

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WIF Quiz