April 23 – Middletown 366

1903

The “Moodus Noises” Again Start Up

People Living Near by Jumped From Their Beds–Seemed Like Earthquake

Middletown, Conn., April 23.–The “Moodus noises” which occasionally have alarmed the inhabitants of the Connecticut River Valley in this neighborhood for 250 years, started again yesterday. The residents of Haddam jumped out of bed at 4 o’clock, when the rumbling noises began. The sound was similar to that of heavy thunder, but citizens who looked through their windows expecting to see an approaching storm were surprised to find the sky entirely clear.

Inquiry has failed to show any explosion occurred which would account for the disturbance. The only explanation is that it was the “Moodus noises,” about which there has been much discussion, and which are supposed to be connected with Mount Tom in East Haddam. The noise was also heard in Chester, several miles south, while on the opposite side of the Connecticut River, in Moodus, East Haddam, the phenomenon was even more distinct than on the Haddam side.

From the Harrisburg Telegraph (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), Thursday, April 23, 1903.

1962

Amy Archer-Gilligan passes away

“Sister” Amy Duggan Archer-Gilligan was born in Milton, Connecticut in October 1873. She was the eighth of ten children born to James Duggan and Mary Kennedy. Amy married her first husband James Archer in 1897 and in 1907 the couple to purchase their own residence in Windsor, Connecticut to open “Archer Home for the Elderly and Infirm.” James Archer died in 1910, seemingly of natural causes. Amy had taken out an insurance policy under his name a few weeks before his death. She was able to keep the home running after his death.

Amy married her second husband Michael W. Gilligan in 1913. He died the next year under the official cause of “severe indigestion.” Amy forged Michael’s will before his death and his entire estate was left to her.

There were 60 deaths in the Archer Home for the Elderly and Infirm between the years of 1907 and 1917. When one apparently healthy man, Franklin R. Andrews, dropped dead on May 29, 1914, his sister became suspicious. She found that Amy had been asking her brother for money. She discovered that Amy Archer-Gilligan’s clients seemed to have a habit of dying after giving her large sums of money.

The bodies of her second husband, Franklin Andrews, and three other clients were exhumed. All five were found to have actually died by poisoning. Local merchants also testified that Amy bought large quantities of arsenic under the guise of “killing rats.”

She was convicted of murder on July 18, 1917 and later transferred to the Connecticut Hospital for the Insane in Middletown in 1924. She remained there until her death in 1962.

Story contributed by Kimberly Singh.

 

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