Born Mary Polly Housman (ca. 1808–92), Polly Bodine was dubbed the “Witch of Staten Island” after she was accused of murdering her sister-in-law and infant niece at their Staten Island home in 1843. The Housman home was ablaze that Christmas night, and after the fire had been extinguished, investigators discovered Emeline Van Pelt Housman and her daughter, Ann Eliza, under a mattress that had been set up in the kitchen to keep them close to the wood-burning stove during the cold winter months. Murder was suspected when investigators found that ...

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