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Murder at Teal's Pond

Murder at Teal’s Pond Summary

Murder at Teal’s Pond: A brilliantly researched reinvestigation into the nearly forgotten century-old murder that inspired one of the most seductive mysteries in the history of television and film.

In 1908, Hazel Drew was found floating in a pond in Sand Lake, New York, beaten to death. The unsolved murder inspired rumors, speculation, ghost stories, and, almost a century later, the phenomenon of Twin Peaks. Who killed Hazel Drew? Like Laura Palmer, she was a paradox of personalities—a young, beautiful puzzle with secrets. Perhaps the even trickier question is, Who was Hazel Drew?

Seeking escape from her poor country roots, Hazel found work as a domestic servant in the notoriously corrupt metropolis of Troy, New York. Fate derailed her plans for reinvention. But the investigation that followed her brutal murder was fraught with red herrings, wild-goose chases, and unreliable witnesses. Did officials really follow the leads? Or did they bury them to protect the guilty?

The likely answer is revealed in an absorbing true mystery that’s ingeniously reconstructed and every bit as haunting as the cultural obsession it inspired.

About the Author

David Bushman, a longtime TV curator at the Paley Center for Media, is the author of Conversations with Mark Frost: “Twin Peaks,” “Hill Street Blues,” and the Education of a Writer and co-author of Twin Peaks FAQ and Buffy the Vampire Slayer FAQ.

He is an adjunct professor of communication arts at Ramapo College of New Jersey, as well as a former TV editor at Variety and program director at TV Land. David lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters.

Mark T. Givens works as a consultant for the federal government and is the creator and host of the Twin Peaks–centric podcast Deer Meadow Radio ( He lives a sometimes strange and wonderful life with his wife and three children in Washington, DC, where he is currently brainstorming concepts for his next book.

Murder at Teal’s Pond Introduction

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Dusk descends on the mountains of Taborton, though inside the woods it is already darkening. Listen and you can hear the humming of insects. The cricket frogs call to her like marbles clicking.

The night is frightfully hot and still, though she shivers as an invisible gust of heat brushes past her, bending the patchy grass on the roadside as it sputters along and dies. Watch out for water snakes, she remembers; she has seen them here before: scaly, greenish-brown serpents with round heads, button-like eyes, and slender, banded bodies—three or four feet long when fully stretched.

Am I doing the right thing? a voice in the back of her head tugs, but she manages to quash it.

The morning before last, she had woken up in the same bed as she had almost every morning for the past five months, rising to the same melodies of chirping birds and the same view of the handsome homes across Whitman Court in fashionable East Troy.

Now, all that seems a distant memory.

My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. It was a favorite verse of hers from Sunday School—so long ago now, she recalls with an odd smile as she continues up the road.

She had left her parents as a teenager and, over the past five years, lived with and worked for three different families, but she wasn’t going to be a domestic servant toiling away for the elite of Troy forever, washing clothes and dishes and picking up after others’ children.

She had overcome her share of obstacles in life already. She had made plans and would see them through—whatever lay ahead, she was ready for it. She was fearless. Hadn’t a fortune-teller just warned her she would die a sudden death before year’s end? Hadn’t she simply laughed the dire prediction off?

Just then she hears a sound, a rustling in the trees. Campers? A drunken lumberjack? Probably just a deer or rabbit. She squints, peering deeper into the woods, but it is getting darker by the minute and she can’t make anything out. As long as it isn’t that Smith boy following her. He’s a nice enough fella, but she isn’t sure about the man who was with him in the buggy. She doesn’t need to be dealing with that sort of thing tonight.

Many women her age would have been spooked by Taborton this time of evening. Stories abounded of the dangers in these woods.

She remembers one in particular: on a cold winter night some fifty years ago, a farmer had killed his hired hand and dumped the body in that pond behind the field, where it lay hidden by dead leaves and rubbish. The following spring, when the snow had melted, a passerby had discovered it.

Nobody was ever arrested for the crime, but the farmer was driven so mad by guilt that he committed suicide.

Some time back, she remembers, Bertha Nennisteil, a local girl, had been accosted on this very road by two hooligans, but she fought them off and returned home safely.

Still, Hazel isn’t afraid. She knows these woods intimately, every twist and turns. Although she’s been in Troy for many years now, she grew up in woods like these, not far from here, and visited often when her family lived nearby, as a refuge from all the pressures of her life.

The air smells of damp grass and rich dirt, and she inhales slowly, savoring it. What does it remind her of? Home.

She looks down at her feet with mild disgust: her beautiful Cuban heels, once a shiny patent leather, are coated now with dust and mud.

She pauses to remove her black straw hat and stares briefly at the ostrich plumes. A hat, she once heard someone say, was more than an article of clothing; it was an extension of the wearer’s personality.

And what does that say about me? she wonders. She wipes at her brow with her sleeve. Her hair has dampened and matted in the heat. How many men had complimented her on her radiant blonde hair and glittering blue eyes?

The young woman chuckles to herself. “If they could see me now.”

As the moon continues its ascent into the sky, she is suddenly overcome with weariness, no doubt a reaction to the hectic events of the past few days. She collects herself, clearing those thoughts from her mind, and continues to trudge up the hill. Destiny awaits her, just around the corner.

She hears the screeching of an owl, and then another rustling sound.

Someone is here.

Saturday, July 11, 1908: It was a day like so many other days that summer in the sleepy town of Sand Lake, New York: oppressively hot. Across the state people slept in parks or on rooftops, or even on open streets, to escape the sweltering heat and humidity as temperatures soared above ninety.

Reports of deaths, prostrations, and “sudden insanity” poured into police stations. In Brooklyn, New York, two men—judged to have been driven crazy by the excessive heat—tried to kill their wives with carving knives.

Situated in the middle of Rensselaer County, the little town of Sand Lake is more or less equidistant from two major Upstate New York cities, Troy and Albany, about eleven miles southeast of the former and thirteen miles east of the latter.

Though small in both area (thirty-five square miles) and population (2,128), the town of Sand Lake comprised three official hamlets—Averill Park, West Sand Lake, and Sand Lake, which shared its name with the town—each with its own culture and identity.

The hamlet of Averill Park—named after wealthy lawyer and landowner Horatio F. Averill, who notoriously was run out of Troy after orchestrating the arrest of escaped Virginia slave Charles Nalle in 1860—was the hub of activity in Sand Lake. Over two hundred people—including women and children—were employed there at various water-powered mills, churning out everything from paper to woolen long johns to hosiery (Kane Mill alone produced thirty thousand pairs of hosiery a year). Other locals farmed their land, hunted, forged iron, sapped maple trees, or cut wood to earn their livelihoods.

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Murder at Teal's Pond

Murder At Teal's Pond PDF

Product details:

EditionInternational Edition
Posted onJanuary 1, 2022
Page Count335 pages
AuthorDavid Bushman, Mark T. Givens, Mark Frost

Murder at Teal's Pond PDF Book Free Download - Epicpdf

Murder at Teal's Pond: A brilliantly researched reinvestigation into the nearly forgotten century-old murder that inspired one of the most seductive mysteries in the history of television and film.


Author: David Bushman

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