The man was stabbed twenty times by his lover. The killer, whose name was Antony - a bit of Shakespearean irony - then proceeded to cut open his own stomach, finally bleeding out on the parkway, not two hundred feet from the steps leading to the art museum. The papers ran stories for nearly a week, the high drama too much for them to resist.
I know what really happened.
The murder victim had simply made a meat dish on Good Friday and Antony, being the devout Vatican I Catholic he was, and this being 1939, could not take the shame and guilt. I know this because I can hear their final argument. It is still in the air.
The voices of the dead are a shrill chorus indeed.
Consider the man stabbed over his Social Security check, his final pleas lingering at Fifth and Jefferson Streets.
Or the teenager shot for his bicycle, forever crying at Kensington and Allegheny, right in front of the check-cashing emporium where the regular customers pass by with smug indifference.
Or the grandmother bludgeoned for her purse at Reese and West Dauphin, her voice to this day howling her husband's name, a man dead for more than thirty-five years.
It is becoming harder to keep them out. When I bring one to the other side, it quiets for a while. But not for long.
I push through the huge rusted gate, drive along the overgrown lane. I park in the pooled darkness, remove my shovels. The voices calm for a moment. All I can hear, as I begin to dig, is the slow, inexorable descent of leaves falling from the trees.