The Haunting Truth of Bertha Gifford

Since 2002, when I first heard about Bertha, I’ve been trying to find out as much about her as I could. At first, information was hard to come by. The very first thing I had on her was in a forum on ghosts talking about an Angel of Mercy who would put sick people out of their misery, this was in October of 2002. Intrigued, I went to the Pacific, Mo library (I lived in Robertsville, Mo at the time) to see what I could find out. When I first mentioned Bertha and the angel of mercy moniker, the librarian got a bit uptight. She tried not to be rude but she came off as that. (Which I found out later that when Bertha’s name was invoked, it became very intense) She pulled out the magazine that contained an article about Bertha written by a Joe Popper and published around 1980-81. They photocopied it for me (which I still have) and directed to me to some other stuff. As I left I still had the feeling the librarian was not to keen with me at all.

      Later, I found out some other information on her but nothing major. Then in 2004 I came in contact with a woman who was married into Bertha’s family. Through her I was able to get photocopies of the original articles from her and a few photocopied pictures as well. That’s when I first heard about the book. A few years passed and I had collected some other information, such as Bertha’s father’s obituary and the cemeteries where some of the victims were buried. In 2008, I visited the Washington, Missouri History Musuem where I came into contact with Marc Houseman who told me about Bertha’s great grand-daughter, who was writing a book. He then let me see a file on Bertha and gave me a helping hand on some info. (Before he let me see the file, he did remove some sensitive material, as the book hadn’t been released yet)
      After a brief lull in the investigation, during which time I misplaced my binder containing my information for a bit, I was back on it. I asked the Librarian at Park Hills, Mo library if they could get a hold of a copy for me to read it. They actually bought the copy for the library and I was able to read Tainted Legacy, which is a truly wonderful book. Eventually I’ve come into contact with the author of the book, Kay Murphy, who is a wonderful person in her own right.
      So I finally decided that it was time to share what information I had of Bertha. I know over the past nine and a half years how awfully hard it was to find. I want to make sure Bertha’s story gets told.



2 thoughts on “The Haunting Truth of Bertha Gifford”

  1. Thanks for your kind words, and special thanks for getting the word out about Bertha Gifford. The story is absolutely fascinating. Everyone has the right to his/her own opinion–and I’ve heard them all!–about Bertha, but I believe that no one has the right to simply make stuff up and post it online about her, which others have done. Thanks for doing the research first!! Keep encouraging others to do so!

  2. Thank you, Kay, for taking the time to read and comment. It’s important for me to do this right. As I’ve said before it irritates me when people make up their own stuff and pass it on as fact when it’s not. Thus one of the reasons for my upcoming website.

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