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.