back

There were many theories put forward to explain the letter. There were whispers of the supernatural, the Occult, and creatures from outer-space. Pseudo-psychologists discussed ‘self-harming’ and the dangers of repressed anxiety, while sceptics argued Alice never existed, that the whole affair was an elaborate hoax.

Indeed, other than the actual letter itself there are few facts to go on. Without a surname or any other personal details to guide us, searches of public records have proven futile. Nobody from any employment agency or ‘business-to-business’ magazine remembers a freelance picture editor called Alice, no landlords have reported any missing tenants, and the ‘bastard doctor’ who proscribed Alice her sedatives has yet to be identified.

Of course, the circumstances of the letter’s discovery will always raise more questions than it answers. It was widely reported at the time how the letter was handed in to a police station by an unidentified, aged homeless man. The policeman on duty at the time, Desk Sergeant William Rockwood (now retired due to a ‘nervous condition’), has generally avoided commenting publicly about the night in question. But in a rare newspaper interview last year he is reported to have said:

“The tramp was too old and frail to have harmed Alice. In my opinion, he probably found the letter when he was scavenging at one of the city’s rubbish tips. It would be my assumption that the note was still in the wardrobe after some unscrupulous landlord threw it out when Alice hadn’t paid the rent. The tramp probably broke the wardrobe up for firewood, saw the letter and decided to keep it. Those homeless guys keep all kinds of weird stuff...”


next