Before the week ends, I wanted to share this with you.
Next month, March, we will be four months out from the release of Book One in The Nora White Story. To prepare for this, I’ve put together a Book Launch Schedule to help all of you to stay updated on this project.
To view the Launch Schedule and to stay updated, I have put together a temporary website dedicated to The Nora White Story exclusively.
You can help me spread the word by sharing and checking out the site HERE.
I’d also appreciate any shares of the site with those who you know are interested in this kind of story.
As the time draws near, I will give more information about the special events leading up to the release for that particular month. As you can see, yes, there will be a blog party! But I’m not giving out any details right now. I will real soon and your patience is most appreciated.
I’m not so sure we should call this a fun “Fact” Friday. It’s more like a Black History Fun Mystery Friday. Who wants to play? Get your magnifying glasses out, you’re gonna need them!
What if you were arrested and brought into jail, but upon entering were told that you had already been there? In fact, you were arrested before. “No I wasn’t,” you’d most likely say. The clerk will proceed to show you pictures of yourself. “Wow,” you think. “That’s my picture but I’ve never seen it before.”
That is what happened to Will West and William West. I admit this story is still controversial. Were they twins or not? I cannot say for sure myself. As a twin, naturally this story fascinates me. Was it a trick? Was it real? Did something supernatural take place? Maybe one man went back in time? Whatever happened, we have a real doppelganger situation on our hands (What’s a doppelganger? I take it you don’t watch Flash the TV show. A doppelganger is the version of you that exists in another timeline). I’m not joking. I think there really was something supernatural going on.
According to the story, Will West (or Will Tell, certain sources give different last names. Most of them use West so I will in this article) was arrested in 1903 and sent to the Leavenworth Penitentiary in Kansas. Back then they used a facial recognition system called The Bertillon System. The Bertillon System is a system developed by Alphonse Bertillon, a French criminologist who first developed the system of physical measurements of body parts, especially components of the head and face, to produce a detailed description of an individual. Invented in 1879, the system became known as the Bertillon system and gained acceptance as a reliable method of criminal investigation, though there were complaints that the system was flawed. The West case proved that it was in 1903 when two unrelated black men would inadvertently inspire the use of a different system, or at least that’s what is documented.
Will walked into Leavenworth in 1903 and caused the Clerk to double check his records. He was adamant that he’d seen this man before. In fact, not only did he see him before but it was two long years ago. Yes, he is sure of it. He had already arrested the man standing in front of him and his name was William West.
Using the Bertillon System would not help in this case, as the men had the same measurements and were identical in appearance. Let us imagine what the conversation was like. The clerk, whose name was McClaughty, pulls out Williams records, flips through them and looks up at Will. His mouth is twisted, his brow carving deep lines in his head. He looks away, staring at the files in front of him and then back up at Will.
“So, what you’re saying is that this ain’t you?”
The man turns the files around to show a photo of what looks to be the man in front of him.
Will’s eyes buck but he shakes his head.
“No. I mean, that’s my picture but I don’t know where you got it from. I have never been here before.”
The Clerk did more searching and discovered that a William West was arrested two years ago for murder and that Will was a different person altogether. The incident caused the move from The Bertillon System to that of fingerprinting in criminal cases. Or at least the start of its use in the U.S. Fingerprinting had been used before in other parts of the world. According to Google: “The English first began using fingerprints in July of 1858, when Sir William James Herschel, Chief Magistrate of the Hooghly district in Jungipoor, India, first used fingerprints on native contracts. (By the way, Twins have different fingerprints)
Here’s a side by side of Will and William:
Some sources say that the men really were Twins. If this is true, why would Will lie about it? I mean, he was being arrested. What would be the motive behind the twin’s actions? Did they commit a crime together and one just got caught later?
If you scroll up to the first photo of Will and then back to the profile of William, their heads are shaped differently. William’s lump is more pronounced and there’s more of a curve. William’s profile also shows that his cheeks are slightly more sunken in, which isn’t so in the first image. This would indeed show flaws in the Bertillon System, which gave the men the same measurements (but you can look at the back of their heads and see they are shaped differently). William is also wearing more of a frown than Will is. According to the story, William was arrested for murder two years earlier. By the look on his face, he appears to have been incarcerated longer. I won’t say that he did it because we are talking about 1903 here ( a time where black men were often accused of a murder they did not commit), but he does look to be more agitated than Will.
Will’s image is also lighter and that’s either a mole or ink above his lips and under the nose. Either way, it’s not in William’s photo. Neither is what looks to be a scar on William’s head present in Will’s picture. There’s enough evidence physically to see these may, in fact, be two different people. One thing’s for sure, these men look too much alike not to be twins, but who knows? Maybe Will is from a different timeline altogether or the men really were not related. After all, the truth is stranger than fiction.
Here’s a throwback for fun by the way. This is Tracey and me turning ten. I can’t use a recent picture because then it’ll be obvious. I have locs and she doesn’t.
Can you solve the mystery? Where’s EC? (Lol hee hee)
This book is close to my heart in more ways than one. To start, my mother happens to be sick at the moment. In Waiting in the Wings, Stevie’s mother Dot is also very sick and is getting worse as time moves on. Dorothy Eliza Wilkins or Dot had a breech birth. My twin sister was breech as well. It means that she was born feet first instead of head first. Sadly, Dot suffered a dislocated hip due to being pulled from the womb by her left leg (and developed osteomyelitis at four years of age after a fall).
This would play a great role in her adult life, especially as she ages and her body deteriorates and her mobility becomes limited.
As not to spoil it for you, let’s just say that the relationship between Dot and Stevie is one in which Dot has become the child and Stevie the adult. As mother and daughter both struggle to endure this transition, which understandably takes its toll on them both. Stevie helps her mom through her depression by reliving old memories. We are invited into Stevie and Dot’s past and watch how it influences Stevie in real time. We watch her examine her relationship with Dot while enduring the trials of caring for a sick parent while balancing her own illness.
This is not an easy thing to do and as I look at my sisters (who are in Chicago with my mother and experiencing it first hand), I can sympathize intimately with Stevie’s trials. As for Dot, the woman is hilarious! To find the courage and the will power to still be funny in regard to her situation is a testament to her strength. Again, I am reminded of my own mother (who I think is pretty funny). Though I do think Dot is funny without the intent, I fell in love with her personality and thought Stevie to be quite courageous to share such a personal story.
I’d like to write my own memoir one day and this book gives me the push I need. Again, I think Stevie is very brave. She lays it all out for us.