Louis Wagner added to list of American Psycho Killers- Innocent or Guilty?

Louis Wagner was recently featured in the Huffington Post article here titled 10 Killers That America Forgot.  

We on Star Island have not forgotten the Smuttynose Murders, and there is also evidence that Louis Wagner may have been innocent!  I have compiled some of the resources on the Vaughn Website under http://vaughncottage.omeka.net/freelouis

One of the other rumored suspects was Karl Thaxter, Celia Thaxter’s oldest son.  She would have been especially motivated to become involved to make sure her son was safe.  She wrote a letter about the murder available here, and also wrote A Memorable Murder on Smuttynose about the tragic event.

Just last night Ann Beattie presented Murder on Smuttynose Island at the Historic Star conference on island this week- the theme this year is Mystery & Mayhem! She presented a good case for Louis’ guilt, so perhaps it was him after all.

At the Discover Center there is currently on display the murder ax, shown above, on loan from the collection with a note that says there is definitive proof that Louis was indeed the murderer.  There is more information available at Anatomy of an Ax Murder and other books and resources at http://vaughncottage.omeka.net/freelouis so you can decide for yourself!

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Pelican Pranks- Night Crew Ghosts

This year in Vaughn Cottage I had an exhibit of Pelican Pranks.  I wasn’t sure how I would make those available to you, but I’ve decided to put a few installments on the blog.  If you have more stories to share, email me at saggerer@gmail.com and maybe I’ll share yours as well!

Practical jokes are a way to pass the time on Star, a remote island in the Atlantic.  There is a long history of our staff (called Pelicans) making fun and giving each other a hard time (lovingly of course).

Paraphrased from talking with Sumar Maji:

When I was on night crew we teamed up to scare folks on the front porch on windless nights.  We would choose someone to be nonchalantly hanging out on the porch and someone would go underneath the porch.  We tied a string to the back leg of a rocking chair and the string hung down under the porch.  The person under the porch would tug on the string and make the chair rock back and forth.  You had to do it on a night with no wind, when all the other chairs were still.  The person on the porch would exclaim something about how the chair was moving and get everyone excited about it.  Once we didn’t tell one of our crew members what we were doing and when someone went to the desk to ask him if this ever happened before he launched into a story about Continue reading

Dave Pierson passes away, another beacon of Island history to honor and lift up.

Sad news descends on the Isles of Shoals community once again, as a beloved member passed away.  Dave Pierson worked at Star Island for 25 years, from 1969 to 1994.  He was Island Engineer and winter caretaker with his wife, Edith Pierson for 18 years.

Dave Pierson by chapel, Portsmouth Herald September 20, 1991

There will be a memorial service for Dave and Andy Gordon, who we lost in the spring, on September 2nd, during the Pelican Reunion conference at 2pm in the Star Island Chapel. Continue reading

Boat sank off Star Island – our staff rescued 3.

In Isles of Shoals history there have been many sunken ships, some of their stories are available in books and at the ISHRA website.

More recently there was a lobster Boat in 2008 where Chris Tobey was lost.

The most recent was this July.  You can read the article from Seacoastonline.com here.  The outcome was far better than previously noted, including the recently discussed drowning of the waitresses in 1902! Marshall Frye and Drew Clark, star island staff, were able to rescue the three aboard the 35 ft. vessel which hit halfway rock (halfway between Star and Lunging Islands).

After the three aboard the vessel were safely brought to Star Island their boat drifted and sank. Here is the salvage boat by Appledore Island as it floated and towed the boat out to the mainland.