The Witch of Staten Island

Way Up in the Attic

Polly Bodine

”This woman may, possibly, escape. For they manage these matters wretchedly in New York.” — (Then Reporter) Edgar Allan Poe: June, 1844.

(This story is not for the faint of heart.)

It all began on Christmas night, 1843 in Graniteville, then a small village on Staten Island. Two young boys coming home from a skating party that evening noticed smoke pouring from the home of  George Houseman, the brother of a woman named Polly Bodine. Police were called. Once inside the house, they discovered the grizzly murders of George’s wife Emeline Houseman and their infant daughter, Ann Eliza. Emeline’s throat was cut + both arms broken, her skull crushed + Eliza very bad indeed.

It was quickly determined that several items had been taken from the home including several pieces of silverware (engraved with the letters EH) + a watch among other things, the fire having been set to conceal the murders.


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Ex-Soviet immigrant turned wanna-be scribe. I bite off more than I can chew, but at least I've got good teeth.

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