PLATTSGURGH — Larry Gooley has always had a penchant for exploring and explaining the region’s history in a way that people can clearly see and understand.
As owner of Bloated Toe Publishing with his wife and business partner, Jill Jones, Gooley has both written books on topics of regional history and has published other writers’ renditions of the way things are and used to be across northern New York.
“I enjoy finding unknown stories and solving them,” Gooley said recently from his home and business in Schuyler Falls of this desire to uncover the region’s many mysteries.
Gooley’s wisdom will soon be transformed onto the screen when he is featured as a guest commentator on an upcoming NBC Peacock Production airing on the Investigation Discovery channel.
The producers of the program, which is scheduled to air around Halloween, were looking for murderers named Mary as their focus. In his collection, “25 Diabolical Adirondack Murders,” Gooley had written about a “particularly gruesome murder” near Watertown carried out by a Mary Farmer.
The story, “Evil Personified: Neighbor in a Trunk,” described the events leading up to and following the April 23, 1908, murder of Sarah Brennan, Farmer’s neighbor, friend and landlady.
“This woman and her husband were trying to steal land from Sarah Brennan,” Jones said as she and Gooley described the events that led up to Farmer’s killing and the dismemberment of Brennan by ax.
The Farmer tale is one of 25 stories Gooley included in his anthology covering the Adirondacks and neighboring communities.
“I thought I was going to collect 50 murder stories, but that would have become a ‘door-stop’ book,” he said of the extensive work put into researching past atrocities across the region.
“Out of 130 stories I collected, I picked 50 that were really good and then had to trim down to the 25 best. Hers was one of them.”