The foundation for horror entertainment, be it fiction or film has found inspiration in a variety of places. Be it historical events, or folktales and urban legends, or in the universe of paranormal research; horror entertainment at its root bears some level of truth or fact.
Usually the three blend and the dialect spoken from muse to artist creates wonder and terror. But there are times when the blend becomes a blur and the chicken and egg sleight of hand is best not studied; except for this curious tidbit.
The 1970s for those who are too young to remember or too drug addled to recall can be summed up as follows: everybody and everything sucked that decade with the exception of Led Zeppelin and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
New York City, where our focal point resides, was in complete free fall. The Big Apple was rotting, broke and a war zone. President Gerald Ford told it and everyone there to ‘DROP DEAD’.
Times Square was a haven for drugs, hookers and peep shows. Violent crime rose to the top of the to-do list. However, there was plenty more despair to spread around, especially the ‘spooky’ kind.
The story of the disappearance of Martha Wright or the ‘Time Tunnel’ is ingrained in internet lore, the source of which seems to be as missing as the aforementioned Ms. Wright.
The story appears verbatim, no matter what website you read. It is succinct and puzzling:
In 1975, a man named Jackson Wright was driving with his wife from New Jersey to New York City. This required them to travel through the Lincoln Tunnel. According to Wright, who was driving, once through the tunnel he pulled the car over to wipe the windshield of condensation. His wife Martha volunteered to clean off the back window so they could more readily resume their trip. When Wright turned around, his wife was gone. He neither heard nor saw anything unusual take place, and a subsequent investigation could find no evidence of foul play. Martha Wright had just disappeared.
The dream of many husbands while coming true seems to have ended here. Jackson Wright was only questioned, never arrested or charged and the matter faded into lore.
But is it true? Is there any basis in fact?
No missing persons report was ever filed with the New York City Police Department, The Port Authority Police, The New York State Police or The New Jersey State Police. The Charley Project, one of the largest missing persons databases has no record of Martha Wright. Understand their records reach back before 1975.
There is no known photograph of Martha Wright online and this oft repeated tale is lumped with other vague and some disproven tales of other disappearances.
As far as Jackson Wright is concerned there are two Jackson Wrights presently alive in the state of New Jersey whose ages would be appropriate. Neither has ever been associated with a Martha.
The line between fact and fiction is as thin as the line between love and hate and just as volatile. Urban legends abound so be mindful of what you read and what you believe.
Joseph J. Patchen stories have appeared in print, on the web and in podcasts. He is the literary critic for www.lurid-lit.com and has own website his own josephjpatchen.weebly.com. He write horror and humor and sometimes doesn’t see the difference between the two.