Celebrated author Barbara Newhall Follett went missing in December 1939. She's never been seen or heard from again. Is the key to solving her mysterious disappearance in the books she left behind?
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
At some point, we ve all probably felt the call of the while the overwhelming urge to just retreat into nature disconnect and get away.
From the noise, the screens the monotony
Barbara knew how fall it certainly did at age. Eight she
hold everyone around her. She wanted to move to the woods or the mountains at each third
She set sail on the open ocean at nineteen she backpack through the French Alps and then at twenty five. She vanished into thin
we're leaving only the wind in her weak and her loved ones wondering what became of her, but maybe
they should have been asking. What did she would come
This is supernatural a par cast original. I'm your host, actually flowers,
every Wednesday I'll be taking a deep dive into a real unexplained occurrence to try and figure out the truth. You can find out episodes
were natural and all other par cast originals for free on Spotify. This week we are discussing the disappearance of Barbara New Hall. Fall it
an adventurous author who went missing in nineteen. Thirty. Nine did as day
no evidence has ever confirmed what happened to her. Her case has
examined by investigators, journalist relatives, you name it
as far as I know, nobody's.
Ever raised the possibility that her disappearance might have been supernatural least, not until now
all that and more is coming up stay with us. This episode is brought to you by Landrover. Don't follow the,
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learned more at eighteen, dotcom in nineteen. Twenty three Barbara New Hull fall. It tax a note on the bedroom door,
per Connecticut Apartment, it reads if the door is shut, tight and a person is in the room. The shot door means that the person in the room wishes
to be left alone, then she shut the door tight. Barbara is right.
her first novel and she's, given herself a very strict one year, deadline to finish board
at least she has almost no other obligations, which it is partly due to the fact that she has almost no fry
and zero job?
entirely due to the fact that she is eight years old when barbers telling people her book is about
child who runs away from loneliness to find companions in the woods she's literally a child herself so clearly
the prodigy and a precocious one at that.
barbers version of a good time include figure skating with imaginary dead, composers, like Mozart, other child prodigies, who'd struggled with relating to their peers and most of the time when kids ass
Barbara to play with them. She basically tells them to take a hike and get a job jeez too busy. Writing her novel and she's not kidding Barbara spends.
He's on end plucking away at her typewriter writing upwards of four thousand of five thousand words in a single sitting. I mean for perspective. Four thousand five thousand word is about the length of this episode, so I don't know what
You were up to at age eight, but I was probably
my backyard in a Mickey mouse tend to putting up posters of Jonathan Taylor, Thomas, not quite the same thing anyway.
Barbara's and militant discipline. She finishes the first draft of her novel in March, one thousand nine hundred and twenty three shortly after she blows out the candles on her ninth birthday cake. She calls it the adventures of a person.
With eager said being the name of her protagonist. Barbara then gives the book to her mother Helen
how long does it get to cherish the present for long? Because, in October, one thousand nine hundred and twenty three of fire rips through the Follett's home, destroying almost everything inside including Barbara's manuscript months worth of work, turns to ash in a
second devastated doesn't begin to describe barbers emotions
there are no hard drive. No, I cloud the only one
to recover. The story is too literally piece it back together again from memory, but that's exactly what she does.
A few short months later, Barbara sits back down at her typewriter and brings the adventures of deeper sip back to life.
As you can imagine, this process is painstaking and frustrating
this time around the story comes in bursts. She works on it in between other projects and a key
Finally sets aside for months at a time when, in the spring of nineteen, twenty six Barbara, basically climbs ever his twice, she finished
her first novel, or is this a second time and only twelve years old, which, if you ask me, isn't
just remarkable. It is miraculous. Now it's not a word for word replica Barbara does
care should actually likes this version even better and she
is it a new title, the house without windows? The book isn't beautiful for a twelve year old, it is just beautiful,
and it's worth a recap. So here it is in a nutshell,
A lonely little girl named eight percent decides that her families, little brown shingled cottage, is too restricted. So she asked her parents to build a garden in their backyard and they do they create this expansive fenced in Paradise, with winding paths, fruit bearing trees
and every color and species of flour imaginable, which attract all kinds of butterflies and birds at first Iep or sip loves her garden, but it doesn't
cure her loneliness, so eventually she runs away from home and into the wilderness. She travels
through the meadows to the sea and then the mountains and their surrounded by
insects, woodland creatures and ferries. Yes, fairies, she never feel
lonely. Again, of course, there's conflict in the book to eight percent
course, is her younger sister into the wilderness for a bit, but the sister gets homesick and adults periodically. Try to capture iii perception bring her back to civilization.
but they always fail as the sun sets in the final moments of the book
a swarm of butterflies, whisper, a secret in too eager sips ear. You never find out what the secret is, though, because the butterflies form a crown
on her head to land on each rest and then well I'll. Just read you the final passage verbatim
she rose into the air and hovering an instant over a great Loro Bush vanished. She was a fairy, a wooden him
She would be invisible forever to all mortals save those few who have minds to believe eyes to see to these. She is ever present the spirit of nature.
bright of the meadow and I add of lakes, a nymph of the woods
that's the book. Barbara finishes when she's twelve, not bad right, barbarous father, certainly doesn't think so. His
Name is Wilson, followed and he's an editor for a prestigious publishing house in New York,
the position he landed after working for Yell University Press, dark at college and Brown University, in other words, do custom clout and because
Wilson believes in the adult size merits of his pint size, daughters book. He brings a copy to his boss,
the next thing, Barbara knows her novels accepted for publication. At first, the publisher orders, a twenty five hundred copy trial run.
but it's nowhere near enough word of barbarous talons travel fast and the book cells out before it even
shelves. Everyone wants to know. What's up with this wonder kind, novelist doings
I can run the house without Windows goes international and its embraced
the darling among literary critics, the New York Times fawns over barbarous,
bridled imagination, the New York world, recommends it too
one who appreciates quote beauty and good writing the Saturday.
Review of literature calls it almost. I'm bear ably beautiful
but as soon as publishers and readers start clamouring for a follow up. Barber surprises everyone.
Deciding to set sail on.
open ocean seriously
June. Nineteen. Twenty seven at just thirteen years old, Barbara, joins the crew
lumber ship called the Frederick H. She begins
Ten day long journey to Nova, Scotia and back as their coke cabin boy
Barber spends most of her time performing manual labor like cooking, sweeping and mopping which, like good for her family,
her dreams, but her time on board the Frederick isn't just for kicks its fodder for her writing career see before she's, even out of pure.
The barbarous manifested a life most writers only dream of having when she's. Not
adding to live. She is living to write on or off the page Barbara's. This war
King adventure. She feels on top of the world, but unfortunately that feeling
is short lived, just might,
after returning from sea, the rugs pulled out from underneath her dream, scape
life. As Barbara knows, it all comes crashing down her father Wilson, the man who acted as barbers, editor, hiking partner and most truck
did confidante reveals he'll, be moving to New York to be with his mistress. They ve been seeing each other for quite some time now, so in one
fell swoop. He severs ties with his old
Emily to start a new one
Wilson doesn't even pause for a second to look in the rear view. He just moves on now.
Barbara. I learned a lot from her father so far, but this important
lesson sticks with her. Most of all,
there are no consequences to running away coming up. Barbara goes into hiding.
Hi listeners, its Vanessa from park, asked when you think of a criminal, do picture a killer, a gangster, a thief,
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in May one thousand nine hundred and twenty eight a fourteen year old, Barbara publishes for second hit novel, the voyage of the Normandy, which is based on her time at sea with her
other out of the picture she's in no mood to celebrate the books. Success all
He really wants to escape. So four months later,
In September, nineteen, twenty eight Barbara and her mother Helen embark on an adventure for to be Lee, with only a suitcase and to portable typewriters. From
York, they head to the caribbean islands, they explore Barbados than to Hedy D
gee the tongue, the islands and Samoa before landing in Honolulu in May, nineteen. Twenty nine eight months later door
sounds like a dream vacation, but the trip doesn't go as planned. Barbara and her mother fight through a good portion of it and apparently bar
we're has a fool, emotional and nervous breakdown, her mother, Helen Rights,
a friend that she's afraid Barbara might actually take her own life like she uses the word suicide and she blames the whole thing on her ex husband, barbers father saying his quote:
and to smash his family for his own. Individual freedom has worked. One hundred per cent end quote, but on their way back to the states, things turn around four Barbara for the first time,
in her life. She falls in love with something other than freedom. His name is Edward Anderson, a sailor.
He goes by Anderson and he's twenty five Novartis fifteen. At this point ten years, Anderson's Junior
He doesn't go into too much detail and her letters, but we know they have so called cherry and ice cream parties together aboard the ship and they
long walks through quote virgin forests
once there ashore so read into that whenever you well and if their relation
was sexual Anderson's behaviour would be considered. Statutory rape, l, fifty states today and in the majority of states, even then so he's not exactly
hero or a gentleman
but nonetheless barbers smitten
The letter to a friend she described her time with Anderson as the happiest month of her life with that
It is short, lived,
when they land in Washington their pulled in different directions. Anderson
to his ship and Barbara to Southern California, barbarous going to say
with a family friend in Pasadena, while her mother goes back to Hawaii to write a book now she not
passing along, but three may
You're events happened bar
in roles in school. She stopped
Seeing a psychiatrist and the great depression begin.
Now. You assume the great depression tops any list a disastrous failures, but Barbara is misery.
despite the worst economic,
disaster in modern history. The only thing she
it's more than the family friend she's. Staying with is formal education, not to mention
in her psychiatry is actually a convicted sex offender without any quality.
then, who moonlight as misused to Hollywood? Starlets now bar
never mentions any inappropriate behaviour directed at her, specifically by September,
eighteen, twenty nine. She does.
Aids to run away. It's hard
who imagine her mental state at this point, but before she goes, she writes this really I'd cryptic letter to her mother. She says quote
I'm not going to tell you for the time being where I'll be. I want to be
alone with my disillusion or my fairy tale, and I expect
be seeing you again in this incarnation end quote. Then she fleas
the San Francisco, where she runs a room in a boarding house. Under the pseudonym K, Andrews Natural.
The family friend she's been staying within Pasadena reports for missing, and it's not long before the cops track her down, just as she is about to jump out a window
now I dont know how high this window is. That info has been lost to time, but it could have been an attempt by Barbara to end her life, which casts a particularly door
light on the letter she just wrote to her mother. I want to be alone with my dear
illusion or my fairytale or she could have just been.
To get away in either case she's, desperate, but ultimately unsuccessful,
shows toss Barbara in a juvenile detention centre, but they dont know what to do with her. Exactly
Her mothers on an island it'll, be days before she arrives her fathers on a different coast, and she refuses to go back to that,
My friend she'd been staying where
Meanwhile, the press is having a field day, salacious
headlines are splashed across newspapers, girl, writer, fifteen,
rise suicide to cheat law in the
and Helen returns to the states and in June nineteen thirty they moved to New York City to begin yet another chapter.
in their lives bar
now watched her life burned down around her for the second time in sixteen years. First
literally and figuratively her
There is in New York are spent trying to once again reconstruct her dreams from the ashes, but success is harder to come by she's dead,
poor now and her name's losing social capital by the minute. So Barbara take the job. Writing synopsis of bad novels for
Oxfam, while in rolling in business classes.
the longer. She spends in this city the more her mental state suffers in a letter
a friend. She describes new work as the place where moths feed
the wings of your soul, in other words a place of loneliness and she needs to get away
So, in the summer of nineteen thirty one Barbara retreats to the Vermont Wilderness to swim, hike and write a new book, and while she is
Ere. She makes three friends there all kindred spirits in love,
but with nature and adventure and by fall, the four of them have made plans to quit their respective jobs and hide the appellation
trail, but when it's time to pull the trigger, only two of them are still committed, Barbara
in a recent Dartmouth, Rad named Nackerson, Rogers or Nick for short they're, not going to let the others hold
back. So in July. Nineteen. Thirty to the two friends Barbara Neck Venture
into the New England Wilderness alone. Now
like some of the appellation trail, but when it gets cold they had
we're seas to Spain from there they backpack across Europe hitting
Mediterranean Islands, France, Switzerland, Germany and living off. The kindness of strangers
clearly these two were not sick of each other and to avoid certain stigmas, they pretend to be married.
Meanwhile, back at home, people are starting to wonder if there is any real chemist
behind this foe, marriage, and there
specially curious, considering her history with Anderson as in sight
or Anderson as in barbarous, first love, yet he's still in the picture.
turns out. They ve been exchanging letters for years.
and seeing each other when they can in times of upheaval like after the police captured
opera and through her in jail, Anderson literally dropped everything to be by her side but
since Barbara left, with Nick she's, most sleeping ghosting Anderson and on the rare
occasion she does send him a letter. She only vaguely refers to neck, so Anderson
on his ship scratching his head wishing red receipts were a thing wondering what's happening. Who is this other guy and then
knowing kills him well next prancing through the Alps, with Barbara Anderson, keeps writing bar
letters asking her. Why she's drifting away letters that end like this? If there is
ray of your affection? Laughed, don't try to kill it. For I love you
so from the outside. Looking in Barbara's at a fork in the woods one path leads to Anderson:
and another two neck
No one, not even her mother Helen, knows what her next step will be. That is until she returns to
states in November nineteen, thirty three and barbers choice becomes crystal clear. Coming up Barbara vanishes.
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now back to the story. When Barbara returns from Europe in November, one thousand nine hundred and thirty three, she moves her life from New York to Boston. She wants to be closer to the person she loves, Nick Rogers
so not Anderson. As far as I know, that's over Barbara in necktie than not
following summer in July of thirty four, and she decides
to try and a bit of domesticity for size, Barbara adopts the role of housewife and takes a job as a secretary
As you can imagine, it doesn't quite suit her there's nothing.
wrong with her life. She just feels like her character. Episode playing in her backyard garden is perfectly pleasant, but nothing
Is satisfying her need for adventure so annoying
thirty: nine five years into her new life, Barbara decides to pursue a new passion across the country
she and roles in the Bennington School of Dance in Oakland California, where shall study interpretive dance for the summer and mixed totally fine with them.
He has to stay behind in Boston for his job and he probably figures like in a span of a marriage. What's a few months apart. Well, it turns out of
months is more than enough time for Barbara to find inspiration and joy, and just enough time
neck to start seeing someone else and to make matters worse. Barbara finds all
Out in a letter, no joke Nick doesn't even wait for Barbara to come home to ask for a divorce like
True coward, he sends a message in the mail given her fathers betrayed
this is ready triggering for Barbara.
She's not going to let Nick off easy. She hops on the first bus back to Boston, deter
men to save her marriage and ok.
Here is where things start to get really messy,
the little surreal when Barbara arrives back home. This is August fifteenth she's expecting to confront neck, but there isn't even a whisper of a welcome
or an apology. Why? Because next am I a and sore many of his belongings,
Barbara doesn't really know what to do at this point is Nick gone for good
is this just like all weekend away with his mistress like as far as she knows, she may never see him again
and apparently she's distressed, because she calls up a doctor friend for support and the doktor,
brings over some non traditional medicine to nurse Barbara Sorrow, I'm talkin, hamburgers whiskey and a bunch of sleeping pills,
The combination soothes her anxiety, basically by knocking her out for a while and through
days in an unknown quantity of intoxicate later Nick returned home to find Barbara waiting for him. His only
explanation for why he was gone. A business trip and ok
even if he's telling the truth, it still sounds like a tired excuse. If you ask me, but I will let Nick have this one
There are more important things for him and Barbara to discuss like the divorce. He asked for
But here's where the specifics of the story get even more hazy. You would think that Barbara would kick Nick out.
For good or give him some sort of ultimatum. At least talk about.
how to move forward, but instead Barbara and Nick seem to just
carry on their marriage as if nothing happened, like
We get home on a Tuesday, Nick, it's home on a Friday and by Saturday, there vacationing together in Vermont. So if you visit,
their emotional repression at its finest or theirs
suddenly living in a bizarre o, parallel universe, where Nick didn't just try to detonate their marriage. It
until a few months later, when she and Nick, or exploring the beaches and towns of Cape cod daydreaming and pretending to pick out the summer home of their dreams, that Barbara decides to confront tat. She turns to Nick Inches asks him point blank. Do you want to make a go
things, and he apparently says yes, but there's more to it than that, because just as barbarous face lights, up Nick adds don't get too excited. I'm not sure
can't, but Barbara doesn't seem worried, she replied
and well. Wanting is more than half the battle with both of us wanting it so much and pulling as hard as possible. I don't see how there can be any failure,
so clearly she's hopeful and we'll
how about this conversation, because afterwards she writes about it in a letter to a friend
later, she writes a follow up letter with an update. She said quote on the surface, things are terribly terribly com and wrong, just as wrong as they can be
I still think there is a chance that the outcome will be a happy one, but I would have to think that anyway, in order to live end quote barber
drops this letter in the mail in November nineteen, thirty nine- it is probably the last thing she ever rights.
barely a month later on December, seven, nineteen, thirty nine Barbara walks out of the front door of her apartment with
note book and the modern equivalent of five hundred fifty dollars cash and then she's never heard from or seen again okay. So some of this makes sense.
Right wing. Barbara had always been a little flighty and impulsive. It's not hard to believe that thing.
got even more sour with next, so she just up and left but to disappear.
A word to any one. She cared about that's suspicious and as far as the details of how she laughed that's all, according to Nick aside from his
Estonia, we don't actually know when she left what she took with her or even if it was voluntary
so here's what we know for sure at ten p,
am on December, twenty First Nick Rogers reports, Barbara missing too the Brook line police. This is fourteen days after he says she wept. He
howls them about the missing notebook and cash and admit they had an argument before she left Nick, doesn't say what the arguments about, though, he's more focus on asking police to keep a low profile, barbarous, still relatively famous, and he doesn't want publicity which can seem.
fair, but on April eighteen of nineteen forty, this is four months after his wife's alleged disappearance. Nick change
his mind now he wants to get
media involved so
two days later, the Brookline Police Department releases statement to eight surrounding states. It includes the date barber went missing and this description
Barber Rogers married age! Twenty six, five foot, seven inches a hundred twenty five pounds bear complexion black eyebrows brown eyes dark off
Herr worn in a long Bob left shoulders
Lee higher than right a case
where's horn, rimmed glasses, noticed they use Barbara Rogers Nick gave them Barbara's married name.
the press. Still has no idea that Barbara New Hall followed the selection
Kid writer is missing and they won't for another year
until in May nineteen, forty one Barbara's Father Wilson fall. It publishes an open letter in the Atlantic, its titled to a
after one year lost and its clear from his words that he,
fully believe barbarous still alive. He actually goes as far
as to scold her for running away, and then has the audacity to lecture her on how to maintain a healthy marriage two more years
and on December, fourteenth of nineteen forty three for you,
almost to the day since barbarous disappearance, Nick files for divorce. Then,
He immediately marries a woman named an Bradley, the same woman he'd cheated on Barbara, with no up until this point
barbers mother Helen, also believed her daughter was alive somewhere and
been under the impression that Nick was doing everything he could defined her daughter, but after the divorce Helen digs deeper
in the actions officials took after barbarous disappearance, and she,
and how Nick kept the meat
out of the investigation which she thinks is highly suspect. Helen basically spends the
rest of her life, writing letters to the Brookline Police Department, desperately searching for answers and pointing fingers and next direction.
She even rights. Nick a letter on March Eleven nineteen, fifty three, it says, quote
this silence, on your part, almost looks as if you had something to high concerning barbers disappearance, you
not believe that I shall sit idle during the last few years and not make whatever effort I can to find out
their bar is alive or dead. End quote now. Nothing ever actually comes out against
Maybe because he's innocent, maybe because the dead can't talk whatever the case. The police don't come across any leads nowhere
info, no sightings. Nobody
unless someone somewhere made a huge mistake. You see five years before Helen sent a letter to neck
November nineteen. Forty eight officials in New Hampshire get a call
some human remains found near Squaw Lake. Is it just south of the white mountains? It's not much. Most fragment
have been scattered by natural forces that animals the brook the wind, but they find
snow belongings as well. There's a purse, an empty medicine bottle a flask tarnished shoes and a pair of worn rimmed
lasses investigators determined. The remains belonged to a young woman around the age of twenty five who died at least eight years ago, which is almost
an exact match for an open missing persons case, a local woman named Elsie, Whittemore Elsie disk-
here at twelve years earlier in nineteen thirty six at the age of twenty five,
so one December. First, nineteen forty eight officials release a statement to the press. Saying Elsie
Whittemore body has been found, forensics found barber
to its in the medicine bottle. So her death is ruled a suicide, but here's the catch. The cops didn't
bother ten mention any of the discrepancies else.
Whittemore was about three inches shorter than the estimated height of the young woman. They found the shoe
is found at the scene, didn't match Elsie's size and Elsie, didn't wear glasses at all
I mean don't get me wrong. The timing, thats the age, fats, even a location, fair, because Elsie lived just a few miles away from the swarm wake area where the remains were found, but this could have easily been a case, a mistaken identity,
lead. Why not seriously consider Barbara to for one day,
swarm Lake had sentimental value to Barbara. She and Nick had spent two weeks camping near the lake during their first trip together
when they set out to hide the appellation trail and like Elsie, Barbara disappeared. More
eight years before there remains were found, and she was also twenty five, but get this. She was taller,
then I'll, see, and we know she wore Horn rimmed collapses. So all of the things that don't match up for Elsie they work for Barbara
Unfortunately, we may never know the truth. I'd say we could testing
remains and see if the dna matched either of them. But nobody knows where the remains are. People have looked, but all records of their whereabouts have mysteriously vanished. So
maybe Barbara, ran away and started a new life, never pausing to look in the rear view, or maybe her life was cut short
the hands of someone she loved or even her own. But I'd like to think there's a third option, something besides life or death.
maybe Barbara, fulfilled the same, ending she'd written for ever set when she was just twelve years old
she ran away from loneliness into the woods to find companionship
somewhere amidst a sea of butterflies. She transformed into a fairy spirit of nature s bright of the meadow. A nymph of the woods.
And she still out there somewhere waiting to be found. Sure it sounds pretty out there
If there is one thing we know about Barbara, it says she always defied the odds and she disliked
anything ordinary or predictable. This is,
woman who spent her entire life, questioning why humanity built a world of glass and called it civilization when we're not actually superior to the natural world and the grand scheme of things
We are no better than a worm, let alone a butterfly. If anything we're the problem and we need to start acting like it before it's too late, so yeah, maybe
just, maybe barbarous waiting for us in the forest where she'll be invisible.
all the mortals who don't have minds to believe or eyes to see the truth,
thanks for listening I'll, be back next week with another episode. If you're interested in learning more about Barbara, I found the research and writing a barbarous half nephews, define cook absolutely invaluable. You can find all episodes of supernatural and all other Spotify originals from Parkhurst Whore free on Spotify
we're natural stars, Ashley flowers and is a original from PAR cast its executive produced by MAX cut
with sound design by carry Murphy and production assistance by IRAN, Shapiro
Charlie Madden in Erin Larsson. This episode of supernatural was written
by Conor Sampson, with writing assistance by alley. Wicker fact checking by on your barely and research by me.
He Taylor, do your more stories hosted by me, check out crime, gently and all audio chuck, originals.
Transcript generated on 2021-03-18.