Sunday, June 18, 2006

Murders at Smuttynose

Just past midnight on March 6, 1873, two Norwegian women—Karen and Anethe Christensen—were murdered on Smuttynose Island in the Isles of Shoals by Louis Wagner, a German fisherman. A third woman, Maren Hontvet, lived to tell the tale. has Hontvet's testimony against Wagner, a list of other possible suspects, and poet Celia Thaxter's account of the crimes:
The moonlight shines full in his face; she shrieks loudly and distinctly, "Louis, Louis!" Ah, he is discovered, he is recognized! Quick as thought he goes back to the front door, at the side of which stands an ax, left there by Maren, who had used it the day before to cut the ice from the well. He returns to Anethe standing shuddering there. It is no matter that she is beautiful, young, and helpless to resist, that she has been kind to him, that she never did a human creature harm, that she stretches her gentle hands out to him in agonized entreaty, crying piteously, "Oh, Louis, Louis, Louis!" He raises the ax and brings it down on her bright head in one tremendous blow, and she sinks without a sound and lies in a heap, with her warm blood reddening the snow.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

There's a movie that I saw a preview of recently (in the last 6 months or so) that's based on that story, which I read about in a book full of stories about Maine islands... I'll see what I can dig up about it! :)