Forever and Five Days … The Murder Nurses of My Roanoke Nightmare

Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Wood – Angel’s of Death and The Lethal Lovers.

When American Horror Story introduced the murder nurses in Chapter 2 of My Roanoake Nightmare it was actually these two women who inspired the characters and story revealed.

This depraved duo met at the Alpine Manor nursing home Michigan  They quickly became friends, and then lovers, in 1986. Two years later they both were facing murder charges for allegedly smothering five elderly patients as part of a “love bond”.

The details of the murders came almost entirely from accounts to criminal justice authorities by Wood, whose murder charges were reduced by a plea agreement so she could testify against Graham in Graham’s trial for first-degree murder. However, it has since been alleged that Wood deliberately placed the blame onto Graham as a revenge scheme for Graham leaving her for another woman.

According to Wood’s account, in January 1987, Graham entered the room of a woman who had Alzheimer’s disease and smothered her with a wash cloth as Wood acted as her lookout. The woman was too incapacitated to fight back, and thus became the pair’s first victim. 

 Wood claimed Gwen murdered the patient to “relieve her tension.”Each felt that the secret of the murder would prevent the other partner from leaving, thus cementing their bond.

Over the next few months, four more Alpine Manor patients were murdered by Graham, Wood alleged. Many of the victims, whose ages ranged from 65 to 97, were incapacitated and suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Wood testified that the couple turned the selection of victims into a game, first trying to choose their victims by their initials to spell M-U-R-D-E.  But when that became difficult, they began counting each murder as a “day,” as in the phrase, “I will love you for forever and a day.”

A poem by Wood to Graham, and introduced in the trial, concluded, “You’ll be mine forever and five days.” Wood also testified that Graham took souvenirs from the victims, keeping them to relive the deaths. However, no such souvenirs were ever discovered by police. Wood also portrayed Graham as being sexually, physically and emotionally dominant in their relationship.

The murder investigation began in 1988 after Wood’s ex-husband, whom she had told about the murders, went to the police.Detectives for the Walker Police Department extensively questioned Cathy Wood in a series of interviews. She incrementally leaked out her version of the homicides, portraying Graham as the mastermind and hands-on killer. The investigation led to the exhumation of two nursing home victims who had not been cremated. But when medical examination failed to reveal physical evidence of homicide, not entirely unusual in a smothering case, the county medical examiner nevertheless ruled the deaths homicides, basing it on the interviews Wood had given to the police. Warrants were issued for the arrest of Wood and Graham. On December 4-5, 1988, Graham and Wood were arrested and charged with two murders. Wood was apprehended in Walker; Graham in Tyler, Texas.

During the trial, Wood plea-bargained her way to a reduced sentence, claiming that it was Graham who planned and carried out the killings while she served as a lookout or distracted supervisors. Graham maintained her innocence, testifying that the alleged murders were part of an elaborate “mind game” by Cathy. Despite the lack of physical evidence, the jury ultimately was swayed by the testimony of Graham’s new girlfriend, who revealed that Graham had confessed to five killings.

On November 3, 1989, Graham was found guilty of five counts of murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder, and the court gave her five life sentences.

Wood was charged with one count of second-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. She was sentenced to 20 years on each count and has been eligible for parole since March 2, 2005.

However, as Lowell Cauffiel documents in his nonfiction book, friends, co workers, family members and others who knew Graham and Wood told an entirely different story than the one Wood spun as the key witness in Graham’s trial.

 They described Wood as both a coercive and seductive pathological liar who took delight in wreaking havoc in the lives of others. 

Forever and Five Days presents evidence that Wood planned the first murder after she found Graham with another woman. She involved Graham as an insurance policy to keep her from ever leaving her. When Graham left her anyway after the series of alleged killings, the maniacal Wood was willing to put herself in legal jeopardy by disclosing to police to exact her revenge. The book portrays Wood as a psychopathic criminal mastermind who manipulated the prosecutor and the jury to punish Graham. Psychological testing also revealed Graham could be easily manipulated, suffered from borderline personality disorder and lacked the sophistication to plan the series of killings, let alone adequately defend herself in her trial.

Wood, the book also reveals, later told inmates two other versions of events: The first, that she had made the entire story up to put Gwen away for life for leaving her for another woman.The second, that she had done all the killing, but framed Gwen, in retaliation for leaving her for another woman.

 This Blog and other true life inspiration can be found in the  American horror story legends section of the blog

American horror Story : My Roanoke Nightmare Chapter One

Shelby (Lily Rabe) and Matt Miller (André Holland) sit in an interview for a documentary called My Roanoke Nightmare.

 

Through a combination of dramatic re-enactment and testimonials, the couple reveal that they fled to North Carolina from Los Angeles, after they were assaulted as part of a gang initiation that caused Shelby to miscarry their baby.

While in North Carolina, the couple find an abandoned colonial farmhouse that they purchase in attempt to start over again. Shelby and Matt (Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr. as re-enactors) buy the house in an auction, in which Matt outbids a hostile trio of local farmers.

The couple begin the process of restoring the house. That night, there is a squealing noise out in the woods and Matt goes to investigate. He sees the destruction outside and assumes that it was community hostility. While preparing her breakfast the next morning, Shelby is interrupted by a hailstorm. She heads outside to investigate the hail, and finds that they are actually human teeth.

She informs Matt but when they go outside to investigate, all the human teeth have vanished. Matt prepares to leave on a sales call, which Shelby secretly admits that she is happy to be alone, although she experiences sinister events. 

While she is soaking in the tub, she is attacked and forced underwater by a group of mysterious figures in colonial garb, carrying pitchforks and torches. Matt arrives home to find the house surrounded by police cars. A policeman interrogates Matt, questioning Shelby’s version of events and Matt defends Shelby, telling the police officer about trio of farmers. Shelby admits that she had began to fear the house but did not want to tell Matt that she wanted to move.

That night, Matt is awoken by the squealing noise again. He heads down to the back porch to find a butchered and bloodied pig left on the stoop. Not wanting to worry Shelby any further, Matt buries the pig without telling her about it. Before leaving for his call, he installs security cameras around the property and has his sister Lee (Angela Bassett as re-enactor) stay with Shelby.

 In an interview, it is revealed that Lee (Adina Porter) and Shelby do not get along. Lee also reveals that she has a background in criminal psychology, and used to be a police officer before an abuse of prescription pain killers led to her being fired. Lee witnesses Shelby drinking and tells her that she is barely holding on to her sobriety and would appreciate if Shelby did not drink alcohol around her. Afterwords, Lee goes to sleep but is awoken by squealing. Then, her door mysteriously opens and an empty wine bottle rolls inside. Lee angrily confronts Shelby about the empty bottle, however while they argue, the house is being surrounded by knife and torch wielding intruders.

 While in his hotel, Matt receives an alert showing the house being invaded. He frantically tries to call the two women but neither one pick up as they are both arguing. Matt hurries home to try to help Shelby himself. The women’s argument is interrupted when Lee hears an intruder enter the house. The two women follow the intruder down into the basement, where they find a television playing a creepy found footage film. The power fails and the two women are trapped in the basement.

When the power is restored, the two women find that the mob has strung up wooden dolls and totems across the entire upstairs. Matt arrives at the house but believe that people are playing elaborate pranks on the couple to drive them out of their home. Shelby, wanting to leave, tells Matt to do what he wants and then flees in Matt’s car. While taking a call, she collides with a woman on the road (Kathy Bates). Shelby goes out to investigate, but seeing her disappearing into the woods, runs off after her, getting lost in the process. While lost, Shelby comes across more of the totems that she found in her house. As she runs further into the woods, she is encircled by the mob that broke into her house and a man with his scalp removed from his head, exposing his brain


If you are as addicted as me to all things AHS be sure to check out the American horror story legends section of this blog which is filled with updates, theories, pictures and real life inspiration xxxx

American Horror Story : My Roanoke Nightmare Chapter Two


As the mob begins to surround Shelby, she flees further into the woods, hiding behind a tree in an effort to spy on the mob. 

They begins to enact a ritual where a man is burned alive while dressed as a pig in retribution for crimes he committed against the mob. 

After completing the ritual, one of the mob (Lady Gaga) sees Shelby spying on them and rest of the mob gives chase to her. Shelby flees out onto the road, where she is almost hit by Lee’s car. Shelby passes out in the middle of the road and awakes the next day in the hospital to an apologetic Matt who promises that they will find some other place to stay. Shelby tells Matt that the trio of farmers must have created an elaborate hoax to drive them away from the property, and that she and Matt shouldn’t give up their investment that easily.

Lee’s ex-husband Mason (Charles Malik Whitfield) brings Flora (Saniyya Sidney) to visit as part of the couples arranged custody schedule. Flora begins to explore the inside of house and talks to an unseen girl that she names Priscilla, whom Lee believes that Flora made up to get attention. Flora tells Lee that Priscilla offered to make her a bonnet if she and her family would help make all the blood stop. Then, Lee hears the sound of shattering glass and goes to investigate, finding a bonnet amid the broken remains of a vase. Later that night, Shelby is awoken to the sounds of squealing out in the woods. 

Shelby and Matt both head into the woods to investigate, and in the process get separated and lost. When the couple finally reunite, they discover a massive totem that is being burned in effigy. 

The Miller’s extinguish the effigy and call the police, leading them to the charred remains. Shelby lays into the police officer (Colby French) about not caring about their safety and the officer says he will post an officer at the house 24/7. He also puts out an all-points bulletin for the trio of farmers. Satisfied, Matt and Shelby return home and go back to sleep. Later in the night, Matt is awoken by the telephone ringing downstairs. When he goes down to investigate, he finds a meat hook on the floor by the phone and a disembodied voice on the other end of the line.

 Then, Matt experiences a disturbing vision of two nurses (Maya Rose Berkos and Kristen Rakes) killing an elderly woman (Irene Roseen) with a shot to the head for refusing to take her poisoned medicine. The nurses laugh manically and spray paint the letter “M” on the bloodied wall, saying that the “M” is for Margaret.

Terrified by his vision, Matt runs out to the cop (Michael McCusker) and demands his help. The cop enters the house to find that there is nothing there. Lee worries that her brother and sister-in-law are getting a reputation for crying wolf, which will lead to the cops being less responsive. The next day, Mason arrives to pick up Flora, and finds her playing a game of hide and seek with Priscilla. Mason finds out that Flora offered her doll to Priscilla in exchange for not murdering her family but that since the trade was blown, she will merely be killed last. Hearing this, Mason takes Flora away from the house and promises Lee that she will never see her again. This leads to Lee ending her sobriety. Shelby and Matt find her in the kitchen slumped on the ground with all the kitchen knives stuck in the ceiling. Matt puts Lee to bed and, hearing Shelby calling for him, heads back down to the kitchen.

 Shelby sees an apparition of a women out of the kitchen window and Matt confirms that he also sees the same thing. The couple follow the apparition outside to discover a storm cellar in the backyard, which they open and begin to investigate. 

Meanwhile in the house, Lee experiences being watched by the two nurses, and sees disturbing visions. Upon the completion of their investigation, Matt and Shelby discover a tape that was recorded by one of the houses previous owners, Dr. Elias Cunningham (Denis O’Hare). 

Dr. Cunningham briefly details the haunted history of the house leading both Shelby and Matt to confirm what he is saying to be true. Much to their annoyance, they also find out that bank will not return the money that they bought the house with, despite not warning them about the houses gruesome past. As the bank agent (Jonathan Pessin) leaves, Lee arrives to the house with Flora. 

Once inside, Shelby draws Flora away from Lee so that she and Matt can talk. Shelby speaks to Mason on the phone and diffuses the tense situation between him and Lee. While Shelby is distracted on the phone, Flora is beckoned outside by a mysterious figure.

 When the adults are not able to find Flora, they frantically search for her all around the house and in the woods, leading to the discovery of Flora’s hoodie at the top of a pine tree that towers at least 100 feet above them and is stained with a bright red substance.

American Horror Story Legends is the dedicated area of this blog featuring updates, photos, theories and real life inspiration – be sure to check it out xxx

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American Horror Story : My Roanoake Nightmare Links to Murder House

“In 1590 on the coast of what we now know as North Carolina the entire colony of Roanoke- all 117 men, women and children- died inexplicably. It became known as The Ghost Colony because the spirits remained. They haunted the native tribes living in the surrounding area. Killing indiscriminately. The elder knew he had to act. He cast a banishment curse. First, he collected the personal belongings of all the dead colonists. Then they burned them. The ghosts appeared, summoned by their talismans but before the spirits could cause them any more harm the elder completed the curse that would banish the ghosts forever. – How? – By uttering a single word. The same word found carved on a post at the abandoned colony.
Croatoan! Croatoan.”

Billie Dean Howard to Violet S.1 Ep 11 Birth

American Horror Story Six : Theme Revealed

Well, my prediction was totally wrong wasn’t it ?!? 
Ryan Murphy has surprised and shocked fans yet again by totally mixing up the format , going against the pattern and creating something that actually feels more horror story and creepy than the last three seasons.

 Episiode 1. My Roanoke Nightmare


Told like a true life documentary with Lily Rabe and Andre Holland playing interracial couple Shelby and Matt narrating over the re enactment of their nightmare ( Sarah Paulson and Cuba Golding Jnr playing them respectively), it takes a while to get used to this new aspect of story telling for AHS.

 However, despite a slow start by the end the suspense , creepiness and tension will leave you ready for episode 2.
Moving to North Carolina after a savage attack in LA, the couple buy a cheap farmhouse in an isolated forest much to the annoyance of local hillbillies who wanted the property themselves.
Soon things take a sinister turn with strange noises that sound like pigs squealing, showers of human teeth, an attempt at drowning Shelby and a dead pig on  the doorstep. Not to mention the strange people with torches and pitchforks who like to break in and decorated with little wooden Witch twigs like the Blair Witch Project. 

Add to the mix Angela Bassett as Matt s sister, Kathy Bates as a pilgrim ghost and Dennis Quaid as the strange video director who finds a Pig Man in the woods and you’ve got a jaw droppingly great start to the new series.

American Horror Story : Season Six 

With American Horror Story season six about to premiere in the USA tomorrow night , us in the UK still have to wait until Friday !!!

Frustrating for us fans there has been no reveal of this season theme, leaving scope for plenty of fan theories , red herrings and fakes.

Teasingly,  only one of the six trailers and posters are the real theme.

So, before the big revelation is before us I’d like to make my own predictions on what this series may contain 

Location: Middle America 

American Horror Story so far follows a pattern in all areas – West Coast (California), East Coast (New York), Middle America (New Orleans), East Coast (Florida), West Coast (California).

I m thinking because the deep south was used for season three , we’re probably looking at  middle middle America or Northern middle America. The poster of the house in the remote cornfields – which I believe to be the real one kinda backs this up as does the pattern.

Time: The 40’s 

I think we ll be getting a period season this time around , again if you base it against the previous pattern

Present, Past, Present, Past, Present

why the 40’s ? 

well if season 2 was the 60’s and season 4 the 50’s then it is logical to follow with the 40’s 

Theme : Orphanage/Sick Children Hospital 

Every season has a building/location as it’s name – Orphanage is just that plus it’s been strongly hinted that children play a vital part in this season. Added to the remote location and children of the corn vibe it gives off , it feels like it s deliberately isolated – like the children have some kind of illness/infection. 

I’m also getting the impression it’s going to be heavily influenced by Wes Craven , the hands coming from the stairs are reminiscent of a film called People under the stairs (I think?) which he directed

 *similar to Flowers in the Attic which he wrote a script for only to be turned down* 

plus one of the trailers/poster/leaks feature a trio of shadows man woman and child and the man gives off a Freddie Kruger vibe badly.

Anyway these are my current thoughts , I’m probably totally wrong but it’s been fun trying to figure it out and I cannot wait until I do find out. Knowing Ryan Murphy it will be shocking, amazing and something I could never have thought of in a million years !

Hogwarts : Of Heroism, Hardships and Dangerous Hobbies

Definitely my favourite of the three kindle books that were released last week to add to the Harry Potter canon.

Of Heroes, Hardships and Dangerous Hobbies is shorter than Hogwarts : An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide but feels more fleshy.

Four chapters dedicated to characters who’ve either been heroic, suffered hardships or indeed pursue dangerous hobbies , they each in turn are fascinating, heartbreaking, extremely vague or hilarious.

Featuring Professor Mcgonnegal, Lupin, Madame Trelawney and the first Care of Magical Creatures Professor before Hagrid. It not only comprises of biographies but also added detail on Transfiguration and Werewolves.

I absolutely loved this addition and of course I wanted more- J K Rowling hinted she had written complete biographies for all her characters so here’s hoping for more to follow !. 

Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide

Full of tantalising trivia, Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide is a fascinating short story book for any Potter fan .

Focusing on a dual purpose of providing the history of Hogwarts in bits and pieces it also offers insights from J K Rowling herself on plot development, inspiration and unused characters.

Potter heads  may be dissapointed at the fact there is apparently nothing new here , the contents already having been shared on the Harry Potter encyclopedia type website Pottermore.

Fans who are a little rusty or who (myself included) have found Pottermore difficult to navigate will enjoy the addition to the Potter canon.

It’s name is perfect , however , it does feel rather incomplete being only 8 chapters long and there’s a feeling there would be plenty more to really make this an amazing book .

For example, whilst there is detail dedicated to the  Hufflepuff common room , the other house rooms have been left out – granted fans have knowledge of them through the original books but a guide to Hogwarts really needs all four.

The same with the house ghosts, their backstorys in detail would have been a great addition as would more details on the house founders and headmasters.

 I suppose what I was hoping for was a more thorough guide to Hogwarts – something along the lines of Hermione s favourite tome – Howarts: A History 

Granted a £1.99 ebook cannot provide such content but I would be happy to pay 10 x that amount for a true paper back version of something more fleshy. With illustrations.

This book does contain some true gems though – The Ballad of Nearly Headless Nick is brilliantly awful and J K s anecdotes truly inspirational.

All in all, it’s a great read but it will leave fans wanting more …. luckily there’s two others in this series available but I m hoping this is just a taste of things to come .

Potty about Potter ? Check out my other blog posts ….

Harry Potter Book Box

Harry Potter Printables Free 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I know what you did this summer ….

Excuse the horror movie type title but I find by the end of the summer hols , it feels like I’ve survived some sort of zombie apocalypse and I m dragging my wounded carcass towards that school gate 😉

Some mums adore the summer holidays and either they’re lying or I desperately needed a double dosage of whatever they’re on !!! -They re probably the type of mums who use phrases like “spending time with the fam a lam” , “amazeballs” and “wine o’clock”. 

Unfortunately, I’m not that type of mum – I’m working class with middle class aspirations but with a hefty side dish of reality chucked in 😑 yet if I ever utter any of those phrases please feel free to shoot me. You’ll be doing me (and everyone else ) a favour !

I tend to greet the holidays with a mixture of fear/hope and even fill in a monthly planner with things to do each day so we have some sort of routine – 9/10 we don’t do them but it’s nice to have something down – I prepare by having bucket lists coming out of my ears (see my pinterest or even my blog Summer Holiday Bucket list)

But the truth is …. its long and boring and you need to sell a kidney to do anything remotely fun. 

Even the kids get bored …  no matter where you go … what fun things you have planned … what toys they have … by week five everyone’s wandering around the house aimlessly , too hot, too bored, too tired – even the kid from the other council estate who seems to have taken up permanent residence in your house.

Ryan who hates school even admitted he missed it …. heck child I miss it !!! 

Because it may be summer but nothing has really changed … you still get up at stupid o clock and there’s no such word as a lie in (apart from for anais who is the total opposite, wallowing in her pit until lunchtime if I’d let her ) … if I’m lucky you may have grasped the concept by week five but by then years of early mornings means my body clock automatically has me up at 7 am !!!

But still it’s summer which means obligatory fun days out and photo collages to prove we had a good time – if not to the world of Facebook then at least to myself and we do have some good times , we do make memories and it’s lovely to spend time together … but seriously does it have to be so much of it?!? 😂😂😂😂😂

The True CRIME Museum 

Any person fascinated with crime and all its gory splendor will be in heaven here – I know I was !

Get nicked in Hastings!

 Though a small venue , it is an IMPRESSIVE collection , even more so when you consider its the private collection of just one man!

Dare you strap yourself in ?

The variety of exhibits and the displays themselves are so fascinating and well put together – you can tell this is a passion for all involved. Even the staff travel from out of town in order to work there they love it so much !
With some great interactive features such as taking your own mugshot and measuring yourself against famous criminals and even an electric chair prop -this easily rivals any London exhibition and feels a lot less gimmicky and certainly more authentic.

The Krays display

A good hour can be spent here , and there’s a lot to take in – my reasons specifically for wanting to visit was The Krays display which contained a bullet found in the gun that jammed at the crime scene of the murder of Jack the Hat Mcvitie .

signed by both Reggie and Ronnie

 It included signed boxing gloves by the twins, a memorial service programme from Ronnie s funeral and even a bitter pump from the Double R club. It was not only fascinating but lovely to see these items in the hands of an enthusiast who not only cared for them but wished to share these with fellow fans.

Found at the crime scene

However, I was surprised at the items that really made an impact with me – Amelia Dyers , the infamous baby farmer s display with her own blouse I found really chilling .

Despicable woman, you can feel the evil

The six containers used in one of the Acid Bath Murders were an impressive addition , the death mask of the “beautiful woman found in the Seine” serenely beautiful and the most disturbing had to be John Child’s bathtub that he used to chop up his victims !

The mysterious beauty of the Seine

 Even more fascinating is the story of how that came to be in the collection so be sure to ask on your visit !!!!So if you have a fascination with crime or are simply in the area , The True CRIME Museum is a must visit . It simply is amazing , with friendly staff and a vast array of items. Plus it includes a well stocked book shop and some fantastic souvenir items to take away.

Yep, even i got nicked !!!!

Having visited I just know this collection is going to grow and grow and the museum with it – they already do special events which just sound amazing and hire the venue out privately and they were renovating other areas for future exhibitions when I was there – the perfect excuse to return soon I think 😉