From a 1992 story in The Marblehead Messenger
On March 23rd, 1942, in Marblehead, Massachusetts, the body of 28 year old newlywed Genoa Abbot was discovered in the home of her co-worker and close friend, Mary Crosswell. Arriving home around 10:30pm, Ms. Crosswell found Mrs. Abbot decapitated and hanging upside down from a chandelier in her foyer. Upon arriving at the scene investigators noticed several strange things. First, though Genoa Abbot had been hanging, headless, upside down for at least two hours, there was not a single drop of blood on the foyer floor. An examination of the body showed that she had not been drained and that there was a “normal” amount of blood still residing within her. Additionally, when doctors examined the neck wound, they found that it had been cut haphazardly with a rough instrument and there were no signs of cauterization. In the decades that followed, professional and amateur sleuths have put forth a number of theories to explain the gravity defying mystery but most people believe that the original documents were altered somehow, possibly during an alleged break in at the Marblehead Police Department in 1956 in which a number of photographs of Genoa Abbot’s body were stolen.
Only two photos of Genoa Abbot’s death are known to still exist. The first is a closeup of her left hand in which her ring finger has been cut off at the knuckle. Additionally, her middle finger has been cut off and removed completely. An exhaustive search of the property came up empty and the fingers were never found. Curiously, her wedding ring was not taken and had been forced onto her thumb causing it to grotesquely swell .
The second photo is a wide shot from shortly after police brought her down from the chandelier. Most of her body is blocked by police officers other than her feet and part of her right arm. The photo was considered uneventful until 1998 when an amateur investigator blew up the photo on his computer and came to believe that there was an image of a man, hidden in shadows, in the reflection of the second floor mirror that overlooked the foyer. Conspiracy theorists have posited that this may indeed be Genoa Abbot’s killer while others claim it to be nothing more than a trick of the light or simply a police officer searching for evidence.
To this day, the strange circumstances of Genoa Abbot’s death have stumped the Marblehead authorities who have been unable to answer even the most basic question of how Genoa Abbot was hung from the chandelier, which was 20 feet high, in the first place. In 1972, the Marblehead Police department officially closed the case due to lack of evidence.
Genoa Abbot’s death had a lasting impact on Mary Crosswell. A suspect early on, she was exonerated when it was proven that she was at a late night negotiation with an anonymous person over selling the rights to her land and textile business. After spending a short while institutionalized, Mary sold her holdings, moved away from Marblehead, and died during childbirth 8 years later.