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Goblin Horror murder mesmerizes crowds


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ORWELL - They ran out of cider, they ran out of cookies, but they didn't run out of suspense.
The rustling leaves and misty moon added shivers to the twilight walk through the historic village here Thursday evening that celebrated Halloween by portraying the tale of a gruesome unsolved murder.
It was 150 years ago that Ann Beaton was ruthlessly murdered with a grubbing hoe a few short kilometres away and more than 300 visitors packed the Orwell Corner grounds to take part in the Murder at Goblin's Hollow. It was walking room only.
"We were hoping we might get 60 people,'' said village board chairwoman Elizabeth Leath. "We never thought we'd get this kind of crowd."
Organizers like village manager Tom LeClair were delighted with the turnout as cars filled the parking lot and families packed the grounds to hear P.E.I. historian Boyde Beck lead the lantern lit walk and describe the startling details of the horrible demise.
The 40-year-old woman was killed in 1859 and lived in the nearby Gaelic-speaking village of Rear Settlement or Lyndale. She was a single mother - a far greater sin during the religious temperament of the 1850s.
Despite two investigations, the murder was never solved and there was barely a mention of her 10-year-old son. Today, there are still those who say they see the ghost of Ann Beaton appearing in the mists of Goblin Hollow along the Queen's Road.
"In those days they didn't have CSI investigation techniques," said Beck, dressed in dark cap and clothing and carrying a lantern stick. "And there weren't any two-day wakes with visiting hours."
The deceased was laid out in a barn and villagers were required to pass by and touch the body. The belief was the touch of the guilty party would make the body bleed even more.
The Halloween event was so packed Beck had to conduct two walking sessions because the church, schoolhouse and blacksmith shop were too small to accommodate so many on the tour.
"This is so spooky,'' said Halle MacLeod from Charlottetown under a haunting moon. "I think I saw a ghost back there."
Orwell volunteers donned period costumes to represent the various characters of the story and Amanda MacDonald portrayed the leading lady - even as the corpse in the barn covered with a bloody sheet.
"It's a great idea and I don't see it ending here,'' said board member Kevin Doyle.
"People like good stories so Annie will be back."

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