Tag Archives: Rock City

Whoever She Was, I Liked Her

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I’m not very good with names. Never have been, even when I had a good memory. I could remember facts but the bucketful, but names have always eluded me. And as time passes, they elude me even faster.

Right after Christmas, we were at Rock City, TN, a tourist “trap” (but a pleasant one!), and we were wandering through the rock garden. There are some pretty amazing rocks and formations, but at one point, we came around a corner and saw this bronze statue atop some rocks. I looked to try to find out more about what it was, who made it, etc., but alas, no luck. I don’t know what it is or isn’t supposed to be, but I think she might be some sort of woodlands sprite or elf princess. Or, maybe she’s a siren from the sea who takes on human form on land and beckons the unwary to a watery grave.

What do you think?

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1922, police discovered the body of film director William Desmond Taylor in his Los Angeles bungalow. Lieutenant Tom Ziegler responded to a call about a “natural death” at the Alvarado Street home of Taylor. When he arrived they found actors, actresses, and studio executives rummaging through the director’s belongings.He also found Taylor lying on the living room floor with a bullet in his back–not exactly suggesting a “natural” death.

The murder of Taylor, 50 years old, became a nationwide scandal and proof to the nation’s moralists of Hollywood’s depravity. Two of the actresses linked to Taylor got caught up in the scandal and saw their film careers die a quick death following the murder. Comedian Mabel Normand had been linked romantically with Taylor, but was sent to a sanatarium to recover from tuberculosis, and died. While she was away, Mary Miles Minter, a teenager, became a star in Taylor’s silent films and fell in love with him. Charlotte Shelby, Minter’s mother, disapproved of the budding relationship.

After his murder, a love note to Taylor from Minter was found in his home, along with her nightgown in the bedroom. Other damning facts came to light. Minter had once tried to shoot herself with the same type of gun used in Taylor’s murder. Furthermore, Shelby had previously threatened the life of another director who had made a pass at her daughter. And to top it off, Shelby’s alibi witness received suspiciously large sums of money after the murder. Still, no one was ever prosecuted for Taylor’s death and the case remains officially unsolved.

Many years later, in Minter’s unpublished autobiography, she admitted that she and her mother were at Taylor’s bungalow on the night of the killing. Famous director King Vidor told people that Minter had ambiguously admitted that her mother had killed Taylor after finding her daughter at Taylor’s home.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: In 2009, DNA tests reveled that the skull fragment long thought to have been Hitler’s is that of an unknown woman under 40. Scientists don’t believe the skull belongs to Evan Braun because she committed suicide by cyanide rather than with a gun.