Murder By Frog With A Twist Of Faulkner, Part 1

It may have been my first semester in college when I read “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner but I loved his ability to wrap the reader around his pinky finger and perhaps add a touch of the macabre while tossing in the element of humor-edged surprise. But I have to tell you there was a down side to this too: As I said, he came from the 1800s and the South (he died in 1962)–and with contemporary efforts to focus now on intercultural relations in the world, including in the United States, sometimes remembering the necessity of context can be overlooked.
RoseI have no idea if Faulkner was a bigot, but the language he used in “A Rose for Emily” was relevant to the social mores of the period about which he was writing. Not terribly long ago although within the lifetimes of every one of my readers from the youngest to the oldest, the language he used in this story was misunderstood as bigoted and demeaning to a particular group of people. While I too find the word he uses in the story highly offensive for society today, it’s relevant to that period. As a result, I have not sterilized his language in “A Rose for Emily.” If you choose to read the story as I’ll ask you to do now, please consider this. It will help you to see the same parallels I did in my decision to write this article:

Miss Emily might well have been reincarnated from Faulkner’s fiction into modern day Wales about three weeks after Leigh Ann Sabine died in October 2015. What a shame she died on the 30th and not on the 31st, Halloween night. While the basic story is in place, many dates and even years still appear to be missing.

For 18 years, no one believed Leigh Ann, the woman who said she killed her husband with a frog. Then they found the body (Washington Post). No steely grey hair on the pillow and yet by the time we’re done, I suspect you’ll see Miss Emily in this story too.

I started writing this last weekend, but a family wedding precluded my finishing it before now. Still, it was a good weekend to start the story with the Full Moon–a blue one since it’s the second Full Moon in a month–and Mars was opposing the Sun. Set the stage, the lights and the music because this one deserves it!

In 1997, Leigh Ann Sabine had accused her husband John of being a womanizer and running off with the newest flame in his life. But don’t make the mistake of thinking she was a saint by any means: She had managed some extramarital escapades of her own with the best one–story-wise, at least–involving a hardened criminal who’d chopped off an accomplice’s fingers after the man hadn’t shared the loot of a recent robbery like he’d promised to do. (And they say criminals have no codes of ethics! 😉 ) He was brutal and yet Leigh Ann stuck with him as many victims of domestic violence do. But then we don’t know if Leigh Ann was actually a victim of domestic violence. Some stories indicated that she was; others said nothing.

Depending on who you ask, you’ll find people’s descriptions of Leigh Ann ranged from something of a nutcase, a liar, and a nice lady–to an “evil, evil woman.” In one story posted by Wales Online, she was referred to as an “ice queen.” On the other hand, John and Leigh Ann got together after he impregated her at 17 while he was married to someone else, so maybe he wasn’t all he seemed to be either! (But then he didn’t kill anyone that we know of and he went along with the idea of abandoning their children. Maybe it was his idea. I don’t know.)

So no, not everything about Leigh Ann was like Miss Emily, but the basic story line certainly is. Surely Faulkner would have been itching to write this! Was Miss Emily out of her mind? That’s hard to say. She was a “prevaricator” but she wouldn’t have seen it that way. She’d have been doing what she wanted as her father had taught her to do. So she wove her tales, and it would seem so did Leigh Ann Sabine.

She spoke about her having killed John and even told a few people who thought it wasn’t possible, that she must have been joking. She even told one friend how she had bludgeoned John to death with a very weighty stone frog and then hid John’s body under their marital bed for 18 years before deciding it was time to wrap him in 41 layers of plastic and foil apparently before burying him in or near the garden.

How she lived with the stench of that rotting flesh is simply hard for me to fathom! After all, she was telling the truth. It’s just that without a body, who would have believed her?? (Now imagine the amazement on hers and John’s five children’s faces, the children the Sabines had abandoned in New Zealand in the 1960s, when the children found out! For that matter, who abandons their kids like that?!)

Sometime after Leigh Ann’s death, a neighbor decided to pull a prank on a friend and got the body, thinking it was a skeleton. The body somehow got to the patio. Some of the story is still under investigation so bits and pieces are sketchy and are still coming out; but that just makes it odder, doesn’t it?

And so the neighbor decided to unwrap the body…

“All this sludge came out over my hands and I was screaming, I was shouting ‘it’s a dead body, it’s a dead body’,” said the woman who actually realized it wasn’t a skeleton like they use in med schools but the real thing.. (See? Macabre, right? And remember, Leigh Ann is dead now so she’s not even going to be charged in the murder! She did, after all, say she had beaten him with the frog…)

John’s body was found in Beddau, apparently a relatively small community about halfway between Cardiff and Swansea, Wales on November 24, 2015–18 years after his 1997 disappearance! Surprisingly around the same time, she called a friend with whom she hadn’t spoken in a very long time and the conversation was on the bizarre side: Her friend joked that it had been so long since she’d heard from Leigh Ann or John, she figured one must have killed the other.

Leigh Ann gave the standard reply, “…funny you should say that,” and told the friend she indeed had killed John with a stone frog. Brilliant reasoning to plant the idea out in the open–or crazy? Of course the friend didn’t believe Leigh Ann. I mean, who goes around telling old friends that they’ve done away with their spouse? So it’s possible the friend thought Leigh Ann had gone over the edge with her husband’s disappearance and never dreamed John had actually been murdered!

I think of how Miss Emily’s neighbors had to surround her home with lime to kill the stench of the rotting body. People in the complex where Leigh Ann lived had actually noticed the stench. She even had barbecues and had entertained there! For the life of me, I can’t imagine how she masked that smell beyond those barbecues.

Wales - Murder by FrogNow please keep in mind this is an untimed chart. For all of the news stories I pulled to explore this story taking us from Wales to New Zealand to Australia and back to Wales again, it’s certainly colorful enough–but there’s no time mentioned except for one key point: 18 years represents a Nodal return! The timing, however, makes me wonder what might have occurred in the period between the Solar Eclipse that took place at 29 Pisces 27 on March 20, 2015 and when she died on October 30, 2015. Perhaps Leigh Ann was diagnosed with the cancer at that time, but I’m not so sure that’s enough for such a trigger.

The autopsy was performed just hours after John’s body was found; but because I have no time for the autopsy, I could only offer a noontime chart. Nevertheless, it offers us some uncanny points to consider. Let’s do this as a completely speculative thing since we have no more than an untimed chart. Obviously noon had to be in there somewhere: The element of surprise was already in place, so I’m considering Aquarius rising quite valid even if it’s not the same degree as it might have been when the body was discovered.

Note the Nodes falling on the 2/8 house cusps while Mars and Venus are placed in the 8th house. The midpoint of Mars and Venus–12 Libra 18–squares 12th house Pluto by a mere 1°33′ orb. Certainly this was a secret even if Leigh Ann tried several times through the years to point to the body. After all, even in plain view, John’s body was still hidden!

Second house Uranus–the chart ruler–formed a 41-minute partile orb of an opposition to Venus as well, establishing Pluto as the arm of a Cardinal T-square. Now while I don’t always use the Sabian Symbols, once in a while, the occasion just calls for my doing so–and this is one such time! Thanks to Lynda Hill for her generous permission to use passages or whole sections of her book, 360 Degrees Of Wisdom: The Sabian Oracle (© Lynda Hill 2004), the Sabian Symbols for the T-square and Mars just ring too true not to share!

Uranus at Aries 17 points to “TWO PRIM SPINSTERS SITTING TOGETHER IN SILENCE.” Now Leigh Ann was not a spinster; she had five children. As for the woman who discovered the body, I really don’t know whether she is; but the last sentence of the commentary, “Of course, the ‘Two Spinsters’ may not be together through choice, but rather through life situations” and the first portion of the Oracle are too on point to miss!

“In the situation facing you, remember that it is easy to become socially isolated when you hold on to conservative, judgmental, or moral ideas. Ask yourself if there is a select, restricted group with whom you are associating. Look for any opportunities to open you up to deeper and further levels of communication. Be wary that a false sense of security doesn’t isolate you from change and growth. People don’t want to talk to each other if they feel their relationship has become boring, with nowhere to go and without much of a future. If people have nothing to say to each other should they spend their time together? Unresolved issues may be too difficult to discuss, they can lie beneath the surface causing fear, isolation and loneliness. ‘Silence’ or quietness can conceal frustration or feelings of sacrifice and loss.”

Next, consider Mars at Libra 7, “A WOMAN FEEDING CHICKENS AND PROTECTING THEM FROM THE HAWKS,” and a reference to some of the news articles indicating that John’s body was buried in or very near the garden where Leigh Ann held her barbecues. Talk about watching the chicken coup! Lynda writes, “The ‘Woman’ is responsible for the well being of the ‘Chickens’ and has to ensure their safety. With ‘Hawks’ around, she could find it difficult to relax. There is the perception that one’s guard can’t be let down without someone, or some thing, taking advantage.”

And then we get to the Oracle again, where she says in part, “There is a need to look after those in your care, whether they are people, things or ideas. If you put yourself in the position of being the caretaker, you must take responsibility for their care, nurturing and well being, together with other necessary tasks. The ‘Woman’, who has become the ‘Chickens’ carer, has not only to ‘Feed’ them, but ‘Protect’ them from any dangers. There are possibly dangers that no one else seems to be taking seriously. Making sure that safeguards are in place and working well will ensure that things don’t go wrong. However, those in a position of care need to recognize the fine line between protection and overprotection. There is always more to responsibility than meets the eye. Over-sheltering can lead to alienation from the carer. A statement often associated with this is “I only did it to protect you”. This can apply in another sense; it can indicate keeping people in the dark and not letting them know what’s really going on—”for their own good.”

Now how can we ask Leigh Ann to give her accounting of events that took place 18 years before? Perhaps we can’t, but Venus in the 8th at 18 Libra points us in that direction as well: “TWO MEN PLACED UNDER ARREST GIVE AN ACCOUNTING FOR THEIR ACTS BEFORE THE TRIBUNAL OF SOCIETY” Yet unless it isn’t quite clear yet, consider Lynda’s observation, “They are standing before some representative or authority and speaking about how they have acted against the rules and codes of ‘Society’. The fact that they are ‘Placed Under Arrest’ doesn’t have to mean that they are literally taken away by the police. It can be that they are held back by circumstances, people or experiences and they feel stuck, unable to move or stripped of their freedom. This can be rather compromising to one’s integrity, ideals and strength of character.”

Here, however, Leigh Ann will have no case to plead since she’s already gone in an ironic twist. It would seem she got away with it. “People’s ideas or actions may be under criticism or examination, to the point of feeling that someone has offended social responsibility and acceptability. They may have to justify or explain themselves, and relationships can be held in limbo until all the facts come to light.” On the other hand, Lynda also points to the keywords that remind us “Karma to be worked out.”

And finally, with Pluto at Capricorn 14, the focus turns to John’s remains with “AN ANCIENT BAS-RELIEF CARVED IN GRANITE REMAINS A WITNESS TO A LONG-FORGOTTEN CULTURE.” Here, we see the hints of the situation in the Oracle in the following snippets, “Spiritual messages may be coming out of the past (or out of time and space), perhaps speaking through ‘Granite’, concrete or things “written in stone,” and “We can feel stuck and frozen if we’re not able to move on in the life we live in the here and now. This can also apply to the rules of our culture or the common practices of an individual’s heritage, family history or even past life experiences. These can be an undertone to current realities and times.”

Lynda suggests in The Caution, “Memories frozen in time. Feeling stuck, like no growth is possible. Frigidity of feelings,” clearly all pointing to John as he lay there in his “chemically mummified” state, waiting to be discovered so his story could be told.

The timings for both the discovery of the body and the autopsy were also unmistakeable. While the noontime chart offered the Sun-Midheaven (MC) conjunction, Mercury and Saturn formed a stellium with the 10th I said public even though Pluto also pointed to John’s body having been hidden in plain view. Leigh Ann didn’t lie. She just didn’t tell the whole story to everyone; but then Neptune is placed in the 1st house and one can’t get more hidden in plain view than that–or can they?

On to part 2

©2016 Michelle Young