90 Year old Women Found Living with 3 dead siblings

Discussion in 'Bizarre and Off-Beat News' started by anthrobones, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. anthrobones

    anthrobones New Member

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  2. Wrinkles

    Wrinkles New Member

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    So, when brother Frank died in 2003:
    >>Five years ago, when neighbors noticed elderly Frank Bernstorff had quit puttering around his Evanston garden, they asked one of his live-in sisters if anything was wrong.

    No, Margaret Bernstorff said, there was nothing to be concerned about -- he'd gone to live with out-of-state relatives.<<

    Would it be fair to say that an explanation like the above would not be the sign of someone who is mentally disabled talking, but rather of someone purposely "not telling the truth." I mean a) "what's that smell in the house" and b) "Frank's gone, but all of his stuff is still here (not to mention his body)" and c) also, which of the bodies were covered with a blanket and who did the covering?

    Anita was evidently alive and living at the house at the same time, i.e. when Frank died (ref: "his live-in sisters). She was approx 93 upon her brother's death. She had been coming onto the family porch up until Spring this year, when people stopped seeing her and asked about her. She supposedly died in May 08. I wonder if people conversed with Anita in the years prior to 2003, what her mental estate was at that time, i.e. she wasn't oblivious to her brother suddenly "not being around" was she?

    We read that one person asked about Anita and was told she was sick and upstairs. The above mentioned article says this:

    >>Anita had become afraid to venture outside, Margaret Bernstorff said.<<

    Well maybe she did become afraid to venture outside, and maybe she was sick and upstairs, but at some point she was dead. Was she one of those who was covered? Again, Margaret appears to have been able to "not tell the truth."

    Now I've been seeing "bodies in bed" in my head, but the article says:
    >>"Some were partially clothed, some were wearing full clothes," said a source in the medical examiner's office. The bodies were covered when they were found, another source said.<<

    Did these people drop, and someone just went and put a blanket over them? Did they get carried and placed in a bed? The above says that the bodies were covered, so apparently they were "all" covered? I'd like to know "where" the bodies were found and whether there were flowers placed beside them or any other type of "good-bye" activity (pictures, etc.)

    >>neighbors stared at the yellow police tape around the Bernstorff home and spoke of Margaret Bernstorff as an an articulate, friendly and generous woman.<<

    Hmmm articulate, probably educated? Her father was a PHd, her mother was a PHb. They seemed to have money, so perhaps the children were all given an education? I wonder about "in what" and where. And if no education, why. And again, did any of these people have children? The inside of that house definitely has a story to tell.

    >>Neighbors said the Bernstorffs had lived at the Evanston home at least since the 1920s.<<

    The children were born between the years 1910 and 1920, the closest I can figure. I have to tell you that I might be very afraid of what could be found in boxes and bags in that house, in the attic (maybe babies that did not live?)

    At what point in time did this tolerance of death being in your midst begin in this family?

    >>But others noted that Margaret Bernstorff almost never invited neighbors into the house.

    "You didn't go inside," said one neighbor. "You left things at the back door."<<

    Huh, I guess if you DID you would be feeling very creeped out about now.

    >>Redmond said Margaret Bernstorff rarely let him or his workers inside. If Redmond asked to use the bathroom, she'd say there was something wrong with the toilet, he said.<<

    Now really... Is this again an issue of "not telling the truth?" I think that Margaret "knew" that there was something "not socially acceptable" going on inside that house, not just that it was "untidy."

    >>"She was very proud and private," said one neighbor. "No one wanted to pry. She had a real grace about her, and everyone wanted to respect that."<<

    "Proud and private" hmmmmmm and hmmmmm hmmm hmmm...

    Boy, I really hope that we soon get some more information from the police or the family members of these people.

    Wrinkles
     
  3. Wrinkles

    Wrinkles New Member

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    Another news blurb:

    >>Forensic services trucks were stationed outside the home Saturday, and workers wearing white suits and masks could be seen walking in and out.<<

    I think I would be wanting to wear a mask too ISH!

    Wrinkles
     
  4. Wrinkles

    Wrinkles New Member

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    Hello Airplane,

    Thanks for doing some hunting... I found some "Bergolds" in a cemetery at Mount Pulaski Cemetery, Logan County, Illinois and wondered if this was Lilian's parents. I thought I might find the Bernstorffs buried there, as people are often buried in a family plot, but no such luck, although the cemetery information is probably not complete.

    http://www.interment.net/data/us/il/logan/pulaski/pulaski_b.htm
    Bergold, Barbara, b. 1850, d. 1936, K-7-6
    Bergold, Peter, b. 1846, d. 1910, K-7-6

    Lilian was born in 1881, so the above people might fit to be her parents or relatives. Of course, that is hefty guessing, I haven't been able to cross connect a family tree. Maybe someone in WS who is good with geneology could.

    As for the St. Louis thing, very interesting. I couldn't find what you did at the Find A Grave site, but am interested in the name of the person who died in 1961 (and how you found them, I'm trying searches and hitting nothing). St. Louis had come to mind because I know there was a large population of German immigrants there in the late 1800s, early 1900s and some of those were my relatives (German branch of family relatives still living there). Of course, Bernstorff may be a German immigrant name, or a Danish one (I think I saw Danish Bernstorffs on the web.)

    It would seem that Frank A Bernstorff who died in 1966 was buried somewhere, but where? And where was his wife buried?

    Wrinkles
     
  5. Airplane

    Airplane New Member

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    Wrinkles, it was James C. Bernstorff who was buried in St. Louis in 1961. To find him, I clicked on the search cemetery records link on the right hand side of the page. I started with Illinois and then went to places that I knew had large populations of German descent, like Missouri, and then went to all the rest. The only one I found was that one James C. Bernstorff.

    I suspect these people had OCD that manifested itself in hoarding. They hoarded absolutely everything including their dearly departed siblings. All those newspapers piled up is the tip off.

    Frank A. and Lillian might be in the basement or the backyard for all anyone knows. I am guessing that if they did anything with them, they might have had them cremated and then brought them back home.

    This story just fascinates me.
     
  6. Wrinkles

    Wrinkles New Member

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    More info:

    "Concerned neighbor" wrote "Margaret and her sisters had spent their life taking care of their brother who was special needs. Today they would all be in their mid to late 90's or older."

    They also wrote:
    >>The Bernstorff family had been very private over the years and this privacy was respected by the rest of the neighbors. Part of keeping to themselves was always assumed to be just because of the special needs of the brother.<<

    Hmmm, assumptions... Brother died in 2003 and sister Elaine was dead and in that house since the 1970s?

    Can anyone find a newspaper local to this case that has neighbors commenting?

    Wrinkles
     
  7. Beyond Belief

    Beyond Belief New Member

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    1920 United States Federal Census
    about Margaret L Bernstorff
    <TABLE border=0><TBODY><TR><TH width=219>Name:<TH width=404></B>Margaret L Bernstorff</TH></TR><TR><TH width=219>Home in 1920:<TH width=404></B>Evanston Ward 7, Cook, Illinois</TH></TR><TR><TH width=219>Age:<TH width=404></B>5 years </TH></TR><TR><TH width=219>Estimated Birth Year:<TH width=404></B>abt 1915</TH></TR><TR><TH width=219>Birthplace:<TH width=404></B>Illinois</TH></TR><TR><TH width=219>Relation to Head of House:<TH width=404></B>Daughter </TH></TR><TR><TH width=219>Father's Name:<TH width=404></B>Frank A</TH></TR><TR><TH width=219>Father's Birth Place:<TH width=404></B>Illinois </TH></TR><TR><TH width=219>Mother's Name:<TH width=404></B>Lilburn</TH></TR><TR><TH width=219>Mother's Birth Place:<TH width=404></B>Illinois </TH></TR><TR><TH width=219>Marital Status:<TH width=404></B>Single </TH></TR><TR><TH width=219>Race:<TH width=404></B>White</TH></TR><TR><TH width=219>Sex:<TH width=404></B>Female</TH></TR><TR><TH width=219>Image:<TH width=404></B>557 </TH></TR><TR><TH width=219>Neighbors:<TH width=404></B>View others on page </TH></TR><TR><TH width=219>Household Members:<TH width=365>Name</TH><TH width=39>Age</TH></TR><TR><TH width=219><TH width=365></B>Frank A Bernstorff</TH><TD width=39>48 </TD></TR><TR><TD width=219><TD width=365>Lilburn Bernstorff</TD><TD width=39>38 </TD></TR><TR><TD width=219><TD width=365>Anita D Bernstorff</TD><TD width=39>9 </TD></TR><TR><TD width=219><TD width=365>Margaret L Bernstorff</TD><TD width=39>5 </TD></TR><TR><TD width=219><TD width=365>Elame Bernstorff</TD><TD width=39>3 1/12 </TD></TR><TR><TD width=219><TD width=365>Delor Carskadon</TD><TD width=39>55 </TD></TR><TR><TD width=219><TD width=365>Marion Carskadon</TD><TD width=39>35 </TR></TBODY>
     
  8. Airplane

    Airplane New Member

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    BB, thanks for looking that up.

    Wrinkles, I Googled it and the closest paper I could find was the Chicago Tribune. The article contained nothing we haven't read elsewhere.
     
  9. anthrobones

    anthrobones New Member

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    Beyond, do you have the link to that information? I assume the blue names are clickable somehow?

    I wonder who the last two people are.
     
  10. anthrobones

    anthrobones New Member

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    I looked for the last two names in the SS Death Index and they are not there....
     
  11. Beyond Belief

    Beyond Belief New Member

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  12. Beyond Belief

    Beyond Belief New Member

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    Not clickable, copy and pasting from ancestry.com. I no longer have a membership so this is all its giving me. You can search in there for free, but will only pull up somethings like am doing without a membership.
     
  13. Wrinkles

    Wrinkles New Member

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    Hello Airplane,

    This case fascinates me too, simply because it is just so hard to comprehend.

    BTW, thanks BeyondBelief for hopping in with us.

    Airplane, I could not find much about James in St. Louis, BUT I could find Mary Bernstorff's death certificate. Of course, it is entirely possible that she and Frank (Margaret's father) were not related at all. Mary died in 1941 (born in 1866), the informant of her death was "James Bernstorff." Her husband was Charles Bernstorff. Frank Adolph Bernstorff was born in 1871. Burial or cremation of Mary was in Valhalla Cemetery, hmm...

    Found DC on Charles Born in Germany 1866, he died at age 44 (April 02, 1911), he was a physician. His father's name was John. Informant appears to be "Paul" (but I can't read it clearly.) "Mo. crematory."

    I did not find "Marion Carskadon" I did find a "Marion CARSKADEN."

    Birth Date: 31 May 1905
    Death Date: 20 Jan 1993
    Localities: Shakopee, Scott, Minnesota

    This doesn't appear to be "the" Marion who would have been born in about 1885, in order to be 35 in 1920. I'm not sure who these people were (Marion and Delor), relatives? Help within the home?

    There are a number of differing spellings for CARSKADEN.

    "Elame" must have been "Elaine."

    Wrinkles

    Edited to correct Franks birthyear
     
  14. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    This has come up before and there are several of this type in the bizarre thread. Sometimes the family doesn't report the death because they want to continue getting SS checks. But those type usually hide the remains.

    There is another type and I suspect may fit this. They don't want to believe they are dead! So they leave them in bed, they may talk to them, but they won't admit they are dead.

    What makes me think this may be the case, 4 siblings living in the family home. Kept to themselves. Kept themselves isolated. Pretty odd, unless three or four of them were mentally handicapped somehow. And this woman at least doesn't give that appearance.
     
  15. Beyond Belief

    Beyond Belief New Member

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  16. Beyond Belief

    Beyond Belief New Member

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    I think theres more here than what we're seeing. Possible german connection from Hitlers era.
     
  17. Wrinkles

    Wrinkles New Member

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  18. MeoW333

    MeoW333 New Member

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    That Topix site is a crap site and most of those people aren't locals (you can see their state and location next to them).

    This is quite the interesting case. I wonder if we'll find out more..
     
  19. MeoW333

    MeoW333 New Member

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    http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_28987.aspx

    "The remains, some hidden under blankets, were located in several different parts of the residence, and included a sister who died sometime in the late 1970s, a brother who passed away at age 83 in 2003 and another sister who was 98 when she died in May."
    "No foul play is suspected and the final survivor has been taken away to a local care facility. She apparently identified what was left of her nearest relatives for police, who took the bones for forensic testing and autopsies that were conducted on Saturday. "
     
  20. MeoW333

    MeoW333 New Member

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    Do you think the family was hiding from repercussions of committing war crimes?

    That sure is something.. i wonder why each of the siblings agreed to live with the dead ones. Maybe they made some sort of family pact. It's a wonder none of the women married over the years. The brother was mentally incompetent.
     

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