I like to peruse the garage sales that pop up on long weekends during the short Canadian summers an I remember a couple of years ago I was at one particular sale that was sketchy right off the bat. I was afraid to touch anything and the large, scraggle-bearded man who hacked between drags on his cigarette kept trying to push various superfluous, dust covered items into my hands. My interest in his ramshackle garage sale was dwindling until I saw a stack of 6 cardboard boxes labeled “Mystery box” with prices anywhere from $5.00 – $10.00 on them. I am a sucker for a mystery. Hesitantly, I picked up one box, handed a crisp bill to the man and left with my box of secrets. I justified by thinking that the mystery itself was worth the cash I had spent…I was wrong. In the box was old camping gear which included plastic cutlery in a smoky plastic bag, a crumpled plastic tablecloth, and capped off by a roll of age-yellowed toilet paper. Needless to say, I kept nothing.
I tell that story because it is what popped into my head when I read an article about an unsolved mystery in New Hampshire. In 1985 in Bear Brook State Park a man found a lonely barrel in a meadow and eagerly opened it to discover the mystery inside. Hauntingly, the contents were far worse than a rusty hunting knife and withered matches. Inside the barrel were the decomposing remains a young woman somewhere between 23 and 32 years old and a small child. Both died due to blunt force trauma and their identity was unknown.
In 2000 the case was reopened and a second barrel was found about 300 feet away containing yet another two female children’s bodies. More shockingly, the bodies DNA showed that all were related to one another.
The homicide was massively investigated but even a 3-D rendering in 2003 provided no matches to missing persons. The violent murder of four women whose bodies were shoved into barrels remains tragically unsolved.