Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Tragic Ghost of a Murdered Mother

In 1998, a teen named Jeffrey Franklin murdered his parents with the blunt end of an axe.  He then went on to try to kill his siblings.  One sibling was at dance and escaped the madness, but the other three were attacked with cruel brutality.  This event occured a few blocks from where I lived.  The Franklin family went to my church.  My mother taught Jeff in religious education and was friends with Mrs. Franklin.  In my small community, this was an earthquake.  A few days ago, a Huntsville local sent me this ghost story.  I've edited place and people names for obvious reasons, but left the rest of the story as it was sent to me.  The writer said I could post the story as long as I left the place names etc. out. 

"In 2005, I was working at A. Rehab  . Well, I'd heard stories of a phantom nurse who was said to walk the halls at night, but being a veteran of several nursing homes, I'd heard a lot of stories like that, seems like every nursing homes has it's resident ghost. Turns out that this one was a little different. I was speaking to a couple of the night shift CNAs, (cna, in case you don't know, is a Certified Nursing Assistant, which I was at the time, waiting on my nursing license to come through), and they had both told me of watching a nurse they didn't recognize, walk down the hall and into a residents room, when they followed after her, and entered the room, the only ones there were the two residents that shared the room and they were sleeping, but the curtain between the beds was moving as if it had been pushed or disturbed. I dismissed it as a neat story but nothing more. The next week, I was waiting to clock out after finishing up my shift, and was standing at the time clock, with about 5 minutes to go, when I noticed that across the hall from where I was, the lights were on. The room I was looking into was the physical therapy department, it had double doors, and each had a window in the center. I thought maybe someone had just forgotten to turn off the lights, so I was going to go do that. I crossed the hall and looked into the room. Now this room is a rectangular shape, and if you were looking into it from the door, you would be looking in from one of the long sides of the rectangle, and the other side of the room was lined with windows looking out on an open area outside. It was 11:00 at night so it was dark outside, making the windows into the room very reflective and mirror-like, as I was looking in, I saw the reflection of a nurse, in front of me, slightly to my left, walking very fast, moving from right to left. Well, my initial thought was that someone was in that room and they were exiting through a side door. I saw this very clearly, it was a female, dressed in a white nurses uniform, white skirt, and top, no hat, she was about 5'5" or so, with dark hair just below her collar. She didn't look left or right, but moved straight ahead, very fast and with a purpose. I grabbed the doorknob and tried to open the door, but it was locked, upon further investigation, it turns out that someone had apparently left the lights on, and that there was no other door way to enter or exit, also, after looking in for a while, I realized that due to the windows on the other side of the room, I could see the entire room, and it was completely empty. Then I remembered the phantom nurse story and the reality of what I had seen started to set in and I got creeped out, I crossed the hall, clocked out, went home, and didn't sleep well.


What does this have to do with poor Mrs. Franklin? Here's how it came together for me. 6 months later, I was now an lpn, and I worked at another nursing home in  Huntsville, one night over dinner, i was talking to another nurse and I happened to tell her this story, when I described what I'd seen, her eyes got very large, and her exact words were, "I bet that's Cynthia!". Not being from this area, I didn't know who she was talking about. She then went on to tell me that "Cynthia" was Cynthia Franklin, and that she had known her and that they worked at A. Rehab together. She went on to tell me that her son Jeffrey had, in the late '90s, flipped out and murdered her and other family members. At the time, I thought that even if this was this Cynthia, why the heck would she hang around a nursing home she worked at after her death. Jump forward a couple years, I'm currently employed at another nursing home here in Huntsville, I was telling this story to another nurse and when I got to the part where the last nurse had told me her name, the one I was speaking with told very matter of factly, "Oh, yeah, I was working with Cynthia when it happened, I knew her very well", and here's when it all clicked. The nurse I was talking too, was a lady named Jane Doe who had been there at A. Rehab , she and Cynthia worked together and she explained to me that Cynthia would often stay at work until 2 or 3 in the morning, because she was afraid of her son  and she didn't feel safe or comfortable in her own home. Stella told me that the only place she felt safe was at work, so she stayed there as much as she could. So know for some reason, I, a complete stranger to the Franklins and for no reasons other than sheer coincidence had learned the identity of the phantom nurse at A. Rehab, and as a bonus, I even understood why she was there. It was the only place she felt safe for her, so she comes back. If you ask day shift personnel, they'll tell you they've never heard of a phantom nurse, but you ask the night shift CNAs, the long time employees, and you'll get a different story, if you can get them to talk about it at all.

I have to say, I don't tell you this lightly, and I don't know if I would like for this to be made public, after all, her kids are still alive and this would I'm sure be a very sensitive subject to them and others who might have known and loved this lady. Also, it seems that I cannot escape the Franklin case as it turns out that upon over hearing me talking to Jane Doe, one of my CNAs had currently been working Huntsville Hospital at the time and she was one of the aides that helped take care of the children there. According to her, those children were the most pitiful that anyone had seen, and everyone worked very hard to help them, but they all thought those kids' story was one of the sadest they had heard, you could hear the sadness in her voice and see it in her eyes when spoke of them. I just thought it was strange how all these details kept revealing themselves to me, and how I keep getting glimpses into this case that I have no ties to, or reason to know these things."

9 comments:

Pam Morris said...

hey, that was a very cool story...did you know them as well (the family)?

Jessica Penot said...

I didn't know them. I was at that age when older teens try to do as little as possible with their family. I think I was a Sophmore in college. I heard my mother talk about them, but I never met them.

Brenda said...

Such a tragic story.

Adsila said...

Great story Jessica!

Bear said...

Empathy and serendipity! great read! Thanks!

PaleMother said...

Very memorable story. Wow factor. I wonder if anyone has ever tried to help her. Such tragedy.

Real friend said...

I think you wrote this story with some sort of personal agenda. You didn't even know the family? How do you think they would feel if they saw this ridiculous story written about their wonderful mother and their tragic story. I think you should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

@real friend - I never wrote this as a story, I NEVER had any sort of agenda, What I wrote was a detailed account of bizarre facts that, for whatever reason, revealed themselves to me over a period of time. I never knew the family, but as I stated in the telling, I met and worked with people directly involved with the family, the children, and the case.
Until I moved to Huntsville in 2005, I never knew anything about any of this. I'm sorry if this upset you, but I never did any of this for any kind of publicity, I sent it to Jessica because I read her write up of the Franklin murders, (again, info that revealed itself to me unsolicited). I wrote it all down because I thought that the way that it unfolded for me, from my own personal sighting to the way the information just seemed to reveal itself, was strange, and I didn't want to forget it and maybe I was meant to share it. I rarely even tell this, never intended any harm and actually almost didn't share it for fear of upsetting the any of the family if they ever saw it. In the end, I did it because I felt that maybe I was supposed to. After all why would all this information come together for me just so I would be the only one who ever knew?

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for sharing this story. My name is Sara Franklin (well, Deitzman now). Cynthia was my mother. To me, this story is not upsetting. It is amazing to hear about my mom after almost 15 years, to find out that she seems to be continuing what she did after death. Do you still see her?