Writing Their Stories...

​Researching the lives of the past.

Bridget's Hanging​

by SheilaDuane

Telling Stories...

Do those in the media hold the power to determine a person’s fate? This is the underlying question of Bridget’s Hanging, a riveting look at a real-life crime and punishment that occurred in New Jersey in 1867.
Using historical documents, newspaper clippings, and public records, Sheila Duane reveals an unsettling scenario: An illiterate immigrant, Bridget Durgan, was immediately scapegoated when her mistress was murdered. The media played upon the prejudices of the day, printing more and more “evidence” against her until the whole country was convinced of Bridget’s guilt. By the time her trial actually began, everyone already knew how it would end—and no one was interested in alternative suspects.
With a tone that is objective yet compelling, Bridget’s Hanging serves as a meticulous bit of historical research, a murder mystery, and a cautionary tale of a media that pursues the story at the cost of the truth.

The Irish Echo

On September 21, 2016, The Irish Echo, America's oldest Irish newspaper, featured Bridget's Hanging and the true story of Bridget's short and tragic life (page 11).