Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Wood

One of the many things that I love about American Horror Story is that the creators, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk always take the “inspiration” from events that really happened.

As you might know I’ve studied forensic psychology and I have a “thing” for serial killers, not in a morbid way but more in a psychological way, if that makes sense… I hope it does. So, when I watch characters that are based upon real serial killers I’m just very happy. You can also imagine that my favourite episode during American Horror Story: Hotel was The Devil’s Night.

Anyway, yesterday I watched the second episode of the new season of American Horror Story and, of course, two characters are very similiar to two serial killers who really existed. I’m talking about the two nurses Miranda and Bridget, whose story (in the series they are sisters) and modus operandi remind the ones of Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Wood.

Gwendolyn and Cathy were lovers and used to work at Alpine Manor, a nursing home in Walker, Michigan.

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Their initial plan was to spell the word MURDER with the first letter in the last name of each victim, but the plan failed. 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. The woman’s death appeared to be natural, so an autopsy wasn’t performed.

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. They soon abandoned the spelling plan, but the murders continued as Graham tried to prove the love that she had for Wood, 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.” However, Wood and Graham parted ways soon after, Wood, feeling guilty, told her ex-husband about the murders, and soon, the police were informed.

Graham received five life sentences for the five murders and conspiracy to commit murder in 1989. To this day, she is serving her sentence in the Huron Valley Correctional Complex. Wood received a sentenced based on her guilty plea of one charge of conspiracy to commit murder and one charge of second-degree murder. She received 40 years, and is currently eligible for parole. She is in the Federal Correction Institution serving her sentence.

 

However, author Lowell Cauffield, who wrote about their story in the true-crime novel “Forever and Five Days,” believes that Wood was the real killer. It’s speculated that Wood framed Graham after Graham left her for another woman.

I’m really looking forward to watching the rest of the series as I’m sure there will be some unusual twists along the story. Who knows what’s waiting for us?! Plenty of blood for sure!

Elle. x

Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death

The “Crime Scene” is a place of intense activity where every element, however large or small, must be preserved as potential evidence.

Police teams work closely alongside an extensive network of forensic professionals under the direction of a Crime Scene Manager, drawing on a wide variety of expertise (including photography, entomology, bloodstain analysis and pathology) to scan the scene and retrieve important clues. Every fragment of evidence is individually recorded, packaged and sealed before undergoing the rigours of scientific testing.

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