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1975, October 23: Maisie Deacon

The Legend:

These images record the last sighting of 11-year-old Maisie Deacon. They were taken by her older sister, Isabelle, on the morning of October 23rd, 1975. According to Isabelle, Maisie had been talking to an unseen person in the afternoon.

        When Isabelle, an amateur photographer, went outside to investigate, Maisie began struggling as if somebody was holding her against her will. Amused by Maisie’s seemingly innocuous antics, Isabelle photographed her sister only to be knocked unconscious by what she described as “a blunt gust.”

Maisie Deacon

        Isabelle was found against a tree, cradling the very same skull depicted in the photographs. Later dental record analysis confirmed that the skull belonged to none other than Maisie Deacon herself. The cloaked figure has never been identified.

Spooky!

        The story of Maisie Deacon's strange death has been circulating on the internet since sometime in 2012. If the details of the tale are true -- ignoring the references to the event happening both in the morning and afternoon -- then presumably the skull and the cloaked figure were not visible when the photos were being taken.

        Of course, I used the word "if," didn't I?

        A quick check on the internet turned up three interesting things. First off, there are more Spanish language sites discussing the Maisie Deacon case than English language sites; and the Spanish sites also claim the year of the occurrence is 1975 (and just a few claim it as 1991), which is a detail missing from English language tellings of the tale.

        Secondly, most of the Spanish language sites have also already identified the photos as the work of photographer Alison Scarpulla, and have turned up more examples from the photoset the 'Maisie Deacon' shots must have come from:

Maisie Deacon?

Maisie Deacon?

Maisie Deacon?

As a matter of fact, the last of the three shots above is available for purchase from Scarpulla's website as a print [link here]. She also uses the same skull in other photoshoots. This particular photoshoot is dated as taking place in 2009, so presumably the current Maisie Deacon legend -- with photos -- started sometime after that; the earliest I've traced it so far is to the year 2012. Of course, that's just concerning the photographic version of the legend...

Did Maisie Deacon Actually Exist?

        Despite numerous sites noting that the pictures associated with the event were clearly not related to the story -- which relies on the photos to prove it true -- one person still insisted that Maisie Deacon did actually exist, and did actually die under mysterious circumstances. A user at Reddit with the username of 'BrianDeacon' posted the following two comments on February 20, 2013, in response to a posting of the legend above:

"I'm a distant relative of Maisie Deacon. (Like her father would be my great-something uncle, I don't know exactly.) This story in our family is known as "that fake legend that grew up about how Maisie died". I can't remember too much about it, but I've never seen this picture before, and I don't remember anything about a photograph being part of the story. (I also recall that there were other variations of the story with different holes in them.) I think the "real" and boring version is that Maisie went missing at night and was found dead the next day with no visible injuries. So the no visible injuries is what made people think it was spooky. I think my grandmother (dead now) put together some clippings with debunking-type notes in a little scrap-book. I think my uncle has it now, I should give him a call."

"In addition to my family's story never mentioning a picture, the story to go with this photo has to be crap. That photo is the old silver-plate kind from the 19th century, isn't it? Weren't those cameras big-ass contraptions and you couldn't just quick snap another photo? Also, I don't remember anything about an Isabelle Deacon. Like I said, the real version was just that they couldn't find Maisie one night. Oh, I think I kind of remember one of the other fake stories. Something about 'Yah, I saw Maisie last night. She was riding out of town with Cousin Blahblah in his wagon. Talked with both of them for a few minutes.' But cousin Blahblah has been DEAD for three years! Dun dun dun!"

Given that the only connecting elements between the legend and BrianDeacon's account is that a girl named Maisie Deacon died under unusual circumstances, there is no real proof that the two Maisies were ever actually connected... it may have been luck that the same name was selected, or maybe someone else who had heard the old rumors decided to use Maisie Deacon's name in the tale. Since the actual origin point of the tale itself is currently unknown, it's impossible to prove a connection one way or the other. Perhaps needless to say, however, is that many people repeating the Maisie Deacon legend now offer up "that a Reddit user said he was related and it happened" without adding any further information.

       I'm marking this account a 'False Lead,' unless further evidence turns up to change my mind. I'll keep digging for the starting point of the tale... and I won't be surprised if it's in a Spanish website, given the amount of coverage this has gotten in that language. It's still a good creepy story, though.