Friday, September 12, 2008

Patty Cannon - An early Serial Killer/A Haunting?

The story of Patty Cannon is an interesting one. She was a very bad woman with a deceptively sweet name. Patty committed her crimes beginning in the early 1820's, but they were so ferocious they are still remembered throughout Delaware and Maryland today.

Because her house sat right on the line between the two states, Patty could literally kidnap and kill someone and then just walk a few feet to dispose of their body in another state. This practice eluded authorities for years!

Patty Cannon was a large, unkempt, unruly woman who headed up a gang that kidnapped free black people from Delaware and recently freed black slaves from Maryland to sell them into, or back into slavery. However, if her kidnapped subjects were unhealthy, injured or weak or for some other reason Patty didn't think she could garner a good price for them she would kill them in a hideous way and steal their meager belongings to sell on the second hand market, right down to the teeth in their head and the clothes on their backs.

The subjects she decided to keep alive to sell were kept chained by the neck and ankle to the wall in her basement until she collected enough of them to arrange a makeshift slave-auction. Those not "lucky" enough to be sold were butchered and then their bodies were loaded up and taken by night to an abandoned field and buried in the night.

Law enforcement finally able to catch up with Patty when members of her gang were caught and jailed and decided to turn state's evidence against her for lesser sentences. She was taken into custody amidst cheering crowds, hoards of spectators and overwhelming evidence against her. So much so that the judge found her guilty and ordered her execution by hanging for the very next day. The lines for the execution were stretched for blocks as everyone wanted to be able to tell their grandchildren they saw the notorious Patty Cannon pay for her crimes, but Patty had the last laugh. She committed suicide by drinking a vial of arsenic she had hidden in a secret pocket of her skirts and thereby cheated her audience out of their grand finale. Patty was buried in a paupers grave and was laid to rest for decades, her notorious deeds able to slip into memory....for awhile.

Many years later, Reliance officials decided to enlarge the Sussex County Courthouse and Jail so the paupers grave's had to be of those was Patty's. Somehow, someone got hold of her skull and passed it from hand to hand and it eventually got donated to the Dover Delaware Pubic Library with enough documentation to authenticate that it was indeed Patty's skull, but library officials insist the library where Patty's skull is sometimes put on display for Halloween and NOT haunted. Her another story.

Patty's house still stands. Some owners have reported hearing strange sounds, footsteps in rooms that are empty, doors opening and closing on their own and other ghostly goings-on. So, the question is, is this Patty making her presence known or is it one of her more than 40 victims? Any thoughts on this....or does anyone have any more information on this infamous Patty Cannon? Any information or comments, as always, would be welcomed and appreciated!!!


Nanticoke said...

98 percent of this information is pure crap.

Anonymous said...

incredible, howe a broken soul have comited such terrible crimes

Kennan Brooks said...

Dear Anonymous, I agree with you. If this legend is true, Patty must have been very disturbed and broken. You must be a very compassionate person. Thanks for reading and I hope you come back soon. Your comments are always welcome!

Anonymous said...

I recently read a book, Song yet sung, which was loosely based on patty cannon. As a Blck woman the story still causes great sadness not just for me but for all of humanity. there are people like her all over the world even today.I feel sorry for her because it is impossible to love or truly be happy with that kind of hatred in your heart.

Anonymous said...

the house pictured is not her original house, it is on the site but the house where the horrendouus acts took place was torn down in 1948.

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