23 November 1905
Official transcript: portions of the damaged diary of Joanna Wozniak, as recovered by the police department of Erie, PA, on the evening of May 28, 1974.
I have determined to keep a record of all I have learned thus far of Abe and his story. I cannot continue investigating at the moment, as he has fallen terribly ill, but this information is too important to be lost as he recovers.
On the evening of Tuesday, the 21st of November, I received word that Abe had been bedridden all day and was refusing doctors. I made arrangements with my family, who were deeply frightened for my safety after an event earlier that day with the Reverend Halzberg, Doctor Price, and Old Tom. I know not the details, but Father warned me that my home may be less welcoming
I arrived around lunch on the following day, and found Abe in dire straits. He was delirious, his body bruised, and he was coughing up the most dreadful bile. He continuously muttered in a language I did not recognize, but would occasionally say fragments of a thought in English. It took me nearly the entire evening to piece these words together, and realized that he seemed to be claiming to need moving water. He appears to believe he has a connection with it,
I solicited help from my driver, and we carried Abe to the stream at the edge of the property. When placed in the water, his mood grew more stable, and his words became more clear. Within the hour, his symptoms passed to where he could maintain his own composure. I sent the driver away, and we discussed his condition.
Abe believes himself to be a spirit of a river, and not a native man at all. There is a part of me that wants to believe this is simply part of his poor health, a fleeting fancy that will pass as his mind grows strong again. But, it all makes sense. I fear that I have thrown in my lot with a pagan spirit, that the Reverend was right about him. No, I know Abe better than that. If he is a spirit, he is a blessed one, his heart pure and his touch soothing. If he is a spirit, let him be an angel. If he is an angel, let him be my angel.
pages from here until entry dated 30 November have been torn out
21 November 1905
Excerpt from the daily records of Dr. Harold Price, of Allegheny City, PennA.
Old Tom joined Reverend Halzberg and I on our Tuesday brunch. Tom reports that the river had a burst of dead fish this morning and fears the waters are cursed. He says the crew of the Hastings have reason to believe something was called from the water shortly before the savage arrived.
Concerned for the fate of the river, we collected a few more fishermen and made for the Wozniak estate. Viktor was welcoming, and heard our case for sending the boy away, but informed us that Joanna was in the City to-day and assured us that he had already seen to it that the savage was far from Allegheny. When pressed, he confessed that he had given the boy a parcel of land to live on!
We informed him that such sacrifices to a dark spirit would surely doom us all, but he was insistent it was the only option he had. We left feeling that we would get no resolution from the Wozniaks without more pressure, and spent the after-noon gathering supporters and posting flyers. We shall see their estate fall before we allow this curse to consume our city.
20 November 1905
I’ve just returned from a mostly delightful weekend with Abe at the old Madison house. Spending it here seemed unbearable with the judgement of so many friends, but he is such warm company and a light in the midst of a dark time. We were able to talk in peace and I learned much about what he does and does not remember. He has these glimpses, pieces of memories and dreams. He insists we was called Aaboukingon before, by his people, and he seems to recall exchanging favors and gifts with them, all tied to the river.
On Friday, while we were gathering wood for the fire, I cut my hand. He called forth water from a nearby stream, and ran it over my hand, and healed the injury! It showed so sign of having ever been hurt. I don’t know how he does these wondrous things, but it seemed to tire him this time.
He did seem to be suffering from his situation. I know not whether he was simply growing more homesick, or if he had caught an illness, but he talked of missing the river and of wishing he was not such a burden on me. Before he moved, we would visit every day, but he has no carriage in Madison and it is much farther. I promised him that I will make arrangements for him to visit it, or perhaps the Monongahela, which is much closer to him, soon.
I assured him that I would return soon. There are enough guest rooms for us all, we should arrange for you and Brandon to visit sometime. You must see what he’s done with the place, it is far more vibrant than mother kept it.
16 November 1905
Recovered from the logs of the riverboat Hastings
Something is wrong with the river today. Spotted many dead fish floating in the Allegheny below Pittsburg. Smell was disturbing to passengers. Asked Old Tom about it, said the fish that live ain’t biting today and expressed fear the river’s accursed. Doubt there’s much too it, but I’ve demanded Manfred explain the symbols on that silver bell of his. He said he’d bring his books round tomorrow to prove they weren’t nothing to worry bout.