The envelope (pictured above) received by Dr. Susan Carter from Sir Ralph Burke. Contained within this envelope were four letters dated as far back as 135 years ago.

Letter A, dated 1875


Letter B, in reply, dated 1875.


Transcripts of Letter A and Letter B.

Records from St. Vincent’s Seminary in Cape Girardeau, Missouri (“The Cape”) indicate  Brother John Paul Hahn passed away three days after he received William Carter’s letter and penned a reply, although he was never able to mail it. The medical examiner’s report claimed the body was covered in blood, emaciated and bloodless inside, and that he had no visible wounds.

Both letters were packed up along with Br Hahn’s material possessions and, since he had no living relatives, stored in the Seminary attics.

Letter C, dated 1955.


Transcript of Letter C.

Terry “Tooter” Lockett was a hooligan and petty thief, renowned in his home town for his talent at fixing  and racing hotrods. His older brother, Professor Edward Lockett, had once been on the same destructive path until an unexpected incident in the woods turned him around; while Edward would occasionally mention the incident to friends and family, he never revealed the specifics of what had happened.

In 1955, hoping to turn their younger son around, the Locketts shipped Terry off to the same boys school Edward had attended: St. Vincent’s Seminary. Terri accidentally found Br Hahn’s and William Carter’s letters late one night while hiding out in the school attic, smoking a cigarette. He sent the letters to his brother, who was teaching American History at Oxford, knowing he would find them interesting.

The day he mailed the letters to Edward, Terry died in an automobile accident.

Letter D, dated 2010.


Transcript of Letter D.

In 2010, Professor Sir Ralph Burke at All Souls College in Oxford, England, lost everything he owned when the old furnace in his building started a fire.  With nowhere to go, he took new quarters on campus, quarters that once belonged to Professor Edward Lockett. Lockett died in 1975. While setting in, Burke inadvertently found a old shoebox under a loose floorboard in the study containing all the letters. Although Lockett must have secreted them away sometime before his passing, there was one particularly curious item in the box: a Polaroid photo with the date “1981” scribbled on the back.

The Polaroid

It did not take Burke long to connect William Carter, the first writer, to his modern living descendent: Dr. Susan Carter at Darlette University in Sugar Creek, Missouri.

An hour after mailing the letters to Dr. Carter, Burke choked to death on a small piece of squid sushi while taking lunch at a popular Japanese restaurant near campus.