Connecticut January 11, 2018
Few People Know About The Horrifying Murder Factory That Operated Right Here In Connecticut
We learn quite a bit in history class. We study wars and presidents, but did you ever hear about the female serial killer that operated what was labeled as a murder factory in Connecticut? Maybe this alarming tale was just too horrifying to make it into any of the history books.
In 1907, Amy Archer and her husband, James, moved to the quiet town of Windsor to open a home for the elderly.
The couple ran the old age home together until James died in 1910 of kidney failure. Amy Archer had established herself as a respected member of the community of Windsor and continued to run the home by herself.
In 1913, Amy married Michael Gilligan, but the marriage ended abruptly after only three months by his death.
Amy Archer-Gilligan continued to care for the elderly until 1916 when her operation went awry.
It was discovered that between 1907 and 1916, 60 residents died at the Archer home.
It was only when one particular resident, Franklin Andrews, who seemed in perfect health died, did suspicions arise. The family of Franklin Andrews found documents in his personal items regarding a $500 loan to Amy Archer-Gilligan. His sister became suspicious and contacted authorities.
It was ultimately the investigation that was launched by The Hartford Courant that led to Amy Archer-Gilligan's arrest in 1916. The Newspaper ran headlines accusing her of running a murder factory.
The number of deaths occurring at the old age home combined with Windsor residents reports that Amy Archer-Gilligan was buying unusually large amounts of arsenic to deal with her "rat problem" created even more suspicion on the murderess.
The four week trial began in June 1917. Police exhumed bodies of former Archer home residents and poison was found in more than two dozen bodies.
Although the final body count of this serial killer has never been confirmed. Amy Archer-Gilligan was sentenced to death by hanging, however this verdict was overturned on a technicality. A second trial occurred and Amy Archer-Gilligan entered a guilty plea to a reduced charge of second degree murder and was sentenced in 1919 to life in prison.
In 1924, Amy Archer-Gilligan was declared temporarily insane.
Amy Archer-Gilligan spent her final years, from 1924 until her death in 1962, at the Connecticut General Hospital for the Insane in Middletown. It was a hospital operated by the state to treat people with mental illness. It is now known as the Connecticut Valley Hospital.
Amy Archer-Gilligan's legend lives on as the basis of the famous play, "Arsenic And Old Lace."
A New York playwright named Joseph Kesselring took the story and rewrote it as a comedic play. The play ran on Broadway for five years before it was adapted into a film starring Cary Grant in 1944. The play is still being produced in theaters around the country to this day.
Did you learn about Amy Archer-Gilligan’s murder factory in school? Let us know in the comments section below. You can read about a more recent serial killer that terrorized Connecticut