The Townfrit Murders

Elaine Townfrit had always been suspicious of her husband’s beard. Ever since it started growing it had seemed to have a mind of its own, and now that it had grown past his waist she was sure of it.

Often it seemed to change position without him noticing. It would find its way into soups, stroganoffs, and water jugs. She would wake up and find it wrapped around her hand or near her throat. She had recorded these instances in her journal.

“3 October, 1910

Woke to a strange scratching sound and thought I saw the beard attempting to unlatch the window.”

“13 November, 1912

I woke once again with the beard under my person. I don’t know what to do about it. Perhaps I can cut it off without Tom noticing. But he’s sure to know it was me when he wakes.”

She approached her husband about the beard having a life of his own but he seemed non-plussed and chalked her behavior up to hysteria. He was sure that she had imagined it; people see and imagine strange happenings at night when the lights are dim and the wit is numbed by sleep. She believed him for a time, but still recorded strange happenings at night.

“4 June, 1917

We awoke to a crash in the middle of the night. My mother’s ceramic waterjug had been pulled from the dresser and smashed against the floor. Both Tom and I were in the bed, the only thing that could have reached that far was the beard.”

Another entry.

“22 February 1919

I am convinced the beard is possessed, or has some sort of sentience. When Tom is walking it seems to raise itself up beside him when it is outside his notice. When people are about it falls back at his waist. I believe I am the lone witness of this behavior.”

The final entry of the journal is quite strange and reads:

“24 Mary 1414

I am unsure of the magnitude of the fight in front of me but I will face it in full. I will cut the demon from his being and we will be free of its presence for good.”

The next day a neighbor noticed that there was no smoke issuing from the Townfrit chimney, so he went to Thomas and Elaine’s residence to make sure that everything was all right.

Upon knocking and hallooing the house, he entered when there was no reply and found the couple dead in their bed. They had both been garroted with something like a thick rope, though not so rough, as there was bruising around the throat but no scratches on the skin. The investigating officers believed the weapon to have been something along the lines of a cloth sash or ribbon. The officers found a pair of shears lying next to the bed, open and with a stunted strand of hair stuck to one of the blades that matched the coloring of Thomas’. The shears had not been used as a murder weapon.

Thomas lay with his mouth and eyes open. Elaine lay still and closed, her body slightly turned in. Judging by the marks on the neck both had been killed with the same garrote. Thomas had obviously seen and perhaps recognized his attacker, Elaine seemed to have asphyxiated in her sleep while the attacker choked her—in fact it was debated as to whether she woke at all during the attack. The strangest part of the whole scene was that Thomas’ long and identifiable beard had been roughly hacked away.

The officers were at a loss and eventually rounded up the typical tavern goers and trouble makers; however, they were all eventually freed after a short period of questioning. The murder was never solved, and Thomas’ beard was never found.

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