from Angela Fina
Date: Thu, Jan 22, 2009 at 10:25 PM
Subject: from Angela Fina
Dear Dr. Lee:
I enjoyed the tour of The Grange this past Sunday and have a few thoughts about the Mary mystery. I hope none of you are taking seriously the various mediums who claim to see ghosts. I hope you stick to science and anthropological investigation and not superstitious charlatans.
1. The investigation of folk practices in her hometown and home area of Ireland will be your most productive line. In different parts of Ireland different customs were practised to placate the fairies to protect the house. These wax packages look to me like such magical appeasements...offering food and body fluids and body parts like fingernails and hair...very powerful.
2. The loose brick in the kitchen floor is a common hiding place. An easily moved piece of furniture, even a chair, may have been over it to hide it. Also the narrow door to the hidden workroom may have had furniture (which could have been slid aside) in front of it or even shelves attached which would have disguised it.
3. She had to know the butler was observing her....houses were very quiet then....and it went on for years. Also, if there were other Irish servants, they were probably aware of or even complicit in her protecting the house with magic.
4. Was there a summer kitchen? That basement kitchen may not have been used for months in the summer, leaving it free for her to do her wax works and excavation.
5. Servant women knew how to do very dirty work in their long dresses. In the 1960s I was a nun in full 18th-Century habit with full-length serge skirt and layers of underskirts, wide long sleeves, and a floor length veil. We climbed trees to pick apples, dug in the garden, cooked for 400 in huge pots which had to be scrubbed in deep sinks, scrubbed floors on hands and knees, and in minutes could appear clean and neat. One pinned the hem around the waist, pinned the sleeves up and tight, and wore a big thick apron. The underskirt might get dirty, but it didn’t show when the skirt hem was dropped. Mary did not have to remove clothing to dig out the clay for her large poured wax creation.
6. The hiding place by the stairs has brick at the back. Was that an outside wall then? She could have loosened a brick on the outside to put the bundle in the wall, rather than messing up the wall where it would have looked like vandalism and be noticed.
You have probably thought of all this, but I wanted to pass on my conjectures. It is such a fascinating mystery. I’ll keep watching the website to see what turns up. Good luck in solving it all.