Marlin Bressi's Lamb's Gap Murder Presentation - Pennsylvania Oddities
Above, Mr. Bressi is talking/discussing about the case and the interesting circumstances surrounding it, along with his wife.
Back in 1924, when the Pennsylvania State Police was still young, a murder occurred along Lamb's Gap road, during an age of prohibition and moonshiners, and when forensic evidence was barely established. A pair of lovers, Harry Ganster and Leah Ellenberger, were off in the woods to collect wildflowers--one of Harry's hobbies, as he liked to study them--and never returned. The following morning, Leah's uncle and Harry's father went in search of them around 4 am. What they found was a crime scene that would captivate the nation's interest for months to come.
Harry and Leah were both shot to death with an undiscovered weapon, no footprints in the area, and no apparent struggle that took place. So what did happen? The murder sight was so close to police boundary lines, that the investigation was muddled from the start. To make matters worse, the evidence was further contaminated by the on-lookers and local gawkers, leaving any real clues left among the forest floor beyond of any help to the officers. That being said, a few pieces were found: Harry's detailed notebook, a presumably empty syringe, and their bodies lying in the open for anyone to see traveling down the road.
Harry Ganster was known as an amateur detective in the local community, for taking photos in the woods, and for reporting on moonshiners to the police two years prior to his untimely demise. But did the moonshiners seek revenge for what he did? After he informed the officials of where the still was located, the massive system was destroyed, since it was during prohibition. He supposedly had received death threats from them, his father confirmed that, however, they were never reported to the police and the note he had on his person that day strangely disappeared by the time the police showed up at the scene.
Did an altercation with a fellow student in high school, about the same time as the moonshiners, bring about their early deaths? When followed by a recently expelled student, Harry found himself being harassed by thrown rocks and shouted insults until the bullets began piercing the walls of the cabin he was trapped within. Harry fired back, striking the student in the leg and was not convicted due to a lack of evidence, the charges being dropped. With the family sore at his acquittal, did the father and son of the family seek retribution for the damages he caused?
And there was always the angle of a murder-suicide. Was it possible from the trajectory path of the bullet? Was their only one bullet or multiple? Only one was discovered at the scene, but that did not mean another one did not become lodged in the trunk of a tree. Later on, it came to light that the bullet was one that could have been placed in either a rifle or a pistol, adding to the list of possibilities rather than helping the police in narrowing down the field.
Was it a hermit people knew to live nearby, but was not actually found? With so many questions still surrounding their murder, the only thing that seems certain is that the truth will never be known. The killer's identity was sealed in their graves.
During this fascinating presentation, Mr. Bressi started his talk with a few facts from the case before proceeding onto a video detailing out the crime of his and his wife's own creation. Over the years, he has accumulated various newspaper articles from different sources in the hopes of discovering something new in the case. Samples of what the relatives had to say, what the newspaper articles printed, and some of the images from the case were shared before Mr. Bressi posed one question to our audience: What did they think happened?
As you can see, we had a lot of our readers turn out for this event. It was a great program and we enjoyed listening to all of the unique particulars this case had to offer. If you are interested in other events we host, like this one, be sure to sign up for our mailing list on the homepage of this website, and stay tuned to our social media pages for upcoming author and PROMM events. Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you next time!
A special thank-you to Mr. and Mrs. Bressi for stopping over to do this presentation and a thank-you to our staff members who took the above images.