Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Story Keeps Revealing Itself

East Hall, the dormitory on the Franklin and Marshall College campus for married students was where Ed and Helen Gibbs lived. I wish it was still standing. I honestly believe that we all have an energy and leave an imprint. Ed Gibbs pathos was exuded within these walls under the guise of normal day-to-day life.

I have been lucky enough to encounter someone who may give me a first hand account of what Ed and Helen were like, much as  anyone could have known of them from living in the space. The details are what fascinate me. I suppose that I still believe that I will someday, somehow come upon some seemingly insignificant little fact that will stun me and give me an "Aha!" moment. I truly believe that will happen. There is something more, something I haven't uncovered yet.

I have been contacted by several people with intimate knowledge of Marian, of Ed and Helen and the various aspects of their lives and personalities. The rub is this. In the late 1940s and into 1950, this was a very different world from the one we live in today. Things that we are becoming used to were shocking and kept well from public view and knowledge. People were much more aghast at horrific happenings then. Surely murders happened. Affairs and other sordid events happened. But they were kept secret. Appearance was everything. Especially to families like the Gibbs and the Woodwards, and even the Bakers, Smiths and O'Donels. It fit all families of that time. Things just weren't open for reveal or God forbid, discussion.

But human nature hasn't changed. The less detail and explanation, the more we question and search for answers that make sense. I know that  sometimes logic isn't logical and that there are no answers for some crimes. But I also know that in far more cases, what makes sense to the common person is exactly what caused an event or resulted in one.

As one friend said to me very recently, what's important is that the truth be told and it will fall where it may.

I have been very biased in my research and to this day hold Marian Baker in the highest regard. I have not changed my mind about that. No new evidence has yet been uncovered to change my mind. But as I progress with my pursuit of the total truth of this horrific tragedy I have to now remain open to all and any possibility.  Falsehoods and errors will fall away until nothing but the truth remains.

There is a reason why this case is still creating such an incredible stir sixty-five years later. It is because none of us have heard or read the total truth or the whole story. Once the facts are uncovered that lead to incontrovertible truth, the story will close and only memories will remain.

As long as the truth keeps quietly tapping on the door, whispering permission to come in, I will keep trying to pry that door open wide enough for it to enter.

This has always been a Marian vs. Ed thing. It has been all-or-nothing. No matter what events took place or what details remain, Marian never deserved to be murdered. Period. Her murder was horrific, senseless and a total tragedy. Even I have seen this as extreme ends of the spectrum. It only recently has become clear to me that human beings don't sit well on the ends of a ruler. No one fits on the ends of the spectrum. No one.  Like a teeter-totter, all humans are somewhere in between, balancing life a little more on one end and  then a little more on the other. It is in sad and pathological cases like Ed Gibbs where a human sits a little too firmly on the unstable and dangerous end. And when another human gets too close or enters the aura of that pathos, tragedy can and usually does, ensue.

Many questions remain about the events that led up to the murder of Marian Baker. Some roll easily off the lips. Why did she get in the car with Gibbs? Easy answer is that she thought it was a quicker way to return to the campus. Harder question: Marian was quoted as saying that Gibbs "disgusted" her. Why then would she get in the car with him? Another query....Why didn't she get out of the car when she saw they were going to a remote area at the Harnish cottage? Short answer: She may have been uneasy but no one, especially in that time period, would really believe that danger was present. Harder question: The Harnish cottage was in a very remote location. It was a bleak and cold January day. What scenic experience was there to have? What countryside drive was there to be had on that route, in that location? If you have accepted a ride from a man who you state disgusts you, and he has convinced you that it's fine to take a ride before returning to campus and work, what reaction do you have when he ends up on a remote lane, in a wooded area on a stark and drab, cold day? Was she uneasy? Was she fearful prior to his reaching over to choke her? What did she really say to him to make him want to choke the life out of her.

We all have to remember that we only have Gibbs story as to what went on in that car that day in January. I have to admit, it makes less sense to me today than it ever has. It just doesn't add up.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Marriage Record

It may be of no importance but according to this marriage license record Dr. Wilson's previous wife had only died less than 6 months before he married Helen Woodward Croghan. His late wife passed 6/12/69 and he and Helen married 11/29/69. She had a son, Thomas Woodward Croghan, who has born approximately 1955. She was then married to Francis Croghan. He passed prior to 1969.

Helen Woodward Gibbs...her name has changed several times but I am still so interested in speaking with her. I have not been able to get past my respect for her privacy but if at any time she wishes to speak with me, even over the phone, my interest continues. I have assured one family member that I would not violate per privacy.

Interesting to note...Since I have had some unexpected time off amd more time on my hands I came back to visit this tragedy. If I don't stay on it, time is going to run out for all important reasons. My revisiting this has caused a few differing reactions. Some are glad and hoping I keep pursuing my research and writing. Others have quickly told me to let it lie, to not pursue it. As I have said in the past, I have been given details that were never revealed at trial or to the general public. I wonder what it is that has made some urge me to let it lie? What do others know that they don't want dredged up? It's been years and years since the horrible murder but some want it left alone.
Marian Louise Baker was a victim from jump. Ed Gibbs was far sicker than was revealed. He will never be able to reveal the actual truth about that day and neither can Marian. The mystery to what really happened lives on although some of us have a deeper knowledge of what made Gibbs tick so pathologically.

Questions remain.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Peeking Out From The Shadows

Marian Louise Baker would never have imagined that all these years later she is still remembered and still part of the local news. I wonder how she feels about that.

Marian Baker Not Forgotten To This Day

Sunday, April 12, 2015


I need to thank another poster for sharing this photo.

It’s 2015. April, in fact. I am 55 years old.
No, I’m not. I’m 6 years old. In my jammies, riding in the station wagon with my Dad. The very early morning sun is yellow and pale orange. I have my spindly legs tucked under me, wiggling my toes in my fuzzy slippers. Waiting and waiting to make that  left turn onto Seymour Street.
There she is! Her silky scarf tied tightly under chin, her pocketbook hanging from her arm. She stands there waiting for us.
My Nanny. My grandmother. An angel in my life.
Weekdays, my father would leave our home on West Walnut Street in Lancaster, PA very early in the morning and head south. He would pick up my grandmother on the corner of Seymour Street and bring her back to our home, where my mother had her beauty shop. She would care for my brother and me while my mother worked and my father was working in Calendar at Armstrong Cork Co.
Whar a treat it was to be awake and be able to pester him to ride along :)
Seeing this photo online took me back to those golden mornings. Like it was yesterday.
I cannot remember what I ate two days ago but I can see Nanny in her midcalf coat, her pocketbook hung on her wrist, that scarf covering her head. I can smell her Cashmere Bouquet.
I hope and pray she knows that I am reliving those precious moments. I suppose it’s a curse of the human condition that we don’t see just how precious moments are until they are memories.