Special to The Washington Herald.
Baltimore, Aug. 8- Haunted, she felt, by the headless ghost of her husband, Johanna D. Winkler, of Landsdowne, walked to her death early to-day on the tracks of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. A year ago Harry D. Winkler blew off his head with a shotgun; to-day, his wife’s decapitated body lies in the Mount Winans’ police station, and over all is the tale of the woman’s fear as she wandered through thirteen months of a life made tragic by the spirit which haunted her day and night.
|The Washington Herald 9 Aug. 1911|
Either walking in her sleep or leaving her home deliberately, Mrs. Winkler was ground under the wheels of the northbound Pittsburg-to-New York express, at 3:35 a.m. Her head was severed and hurled 100 feet away from the spot where her body was found, near the Landsdowne station, by William Files, engineer at the Monumental Yeast Works.
That the frenzied woman placed her head upon one of the tracks was the opinion of Dr. Robert C. Clark, coroner, who gave a verdict of suicide.
For months, Mrs. Winkler’s friends say she had been in a highly nervous condition over what she was sure were the visits of her husband’s specter. Headless and bloody, she said, it was always following her. Some time after his death she moved with her son, Oscar, to Highlandtown in the hope of shaking off her husband’s horrid wraith.
But it was always the same. Those who knew her say that with blind terror in her eyes she would hurry about glancing behind her to see the headless body of her husband ever following her.
It is thought that her mind became unbalanced through the great grief and shock of her husband’s terrible act, which is still vivid in the minds of the people of the little township. Placing a shotgun against his temple he pressed the trigger with one of his great toes, completely blowing his head from his body. This was in July, 1910.
Last Thursday Mrs. Winkler returned to Landsdowne. She secured accommodations with a family living there. Last evening she seemed particularly restless. At 1 o’clock this morning she came from her room, attired only in a wrapper. A member of the household was aroused and asked where she was going.
‘To buy a paper,’ Mrs. Winkler replied.
Several persons saw the figure of the woman, looking herself like a ghost, gliding swiftly up and down the tracks near the station. They did not stop her and went their ways to learn of the tragedy this morning when called to the inquest.”