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Looking back: Kids find dead man in Blackfoot fairgrounds bathroom and ‘bubble-like’ objects appear in sky

A new bank opened at the Pocatello Mall in 1975. | Courtesy Idaho State Journal
IDAHO FALLS — EastIdahoNews.com is looking back at what life was like during the week of July 31 to Aug. 6 in east Idaho history.
1900-1925
BLACKFOOT — The decomposed remains of a man were found in a bathroom stall at the Blackfoot fairgrounds, The Blackfoot Idaho Republican reported on Aug. 4, 1905.
The discovery was made by some boys during a ball game at the fairgrounds. They were climbing over one of the stalls in an attempt to sneak into the grounds when they saw the “grim discovery.”
They immediately found the city marshal, J.C. Hilliard, who along with another man, went to the stall. Squire J.C. Fisher was summoned and took charge of the remains.
Hilliard was notified June 27 that Frank Marrin, a Blackfoot citizen was missing, and that he had “hinted several times he intended to do away with himself.” Hilliard had been investigating the case closely but “failed to unravel the mystery of his disappearance.”
“As soon as the discovery at the fairgrounds was known to him, he immediately connected the two cases,” the paper stated.
The remains were “decomposed to such an extent that positive recognition was at first made impossible.” Mustache hair helped play a role in confirming it was Marrin.
Marrin was “middle-aged” and said to have been “strongly addicted to the liquor habit.” He was married and had two children.
“The body was stretched out in a peaceful position in the stall, laying flatly on the back with the arms extended along the sides,” the Blackfoot Idaho Republican wrote. “The head rested on a roll composed of the dead man’s coat and shoes.”
It wasn’t exactly clear in the article how he died, but the article said it’s probable he “washed down a poison powder with the whiskey.”
The man gained entrance to the stall by climbing through a hole at the top where a board had been removed.
“The stench arising from the remains was barely discernible to the people on the grounds and had it not been for the boys attempt to beat their way into the game, the body might not have been discovered for weeks,” the article explained.
The door was locked with a pad lock and Hilliard passed it several times since June 27 while making his rounds looking for “hobos” who sometimes would hang out in the stalls.
1926-1950
POCATELLO — People in Pocatello saw ‘bubble-like objects’ in the sky, the Idaho State Journal reported on Aug. 6, 1950.
The objects resembled “large transparent bubbles,” according to witnesses. They told the Journal they were flying south over Pocatello at altitudes between 2,000 and 3,000 feet.
“They were reported to be in a group of between 500 and 1,000,” the paper mentioned.
Witnesses said the objects were traveling in a direction “opposite to that of the wind, which then prevailed.”
1951-1975
RIRIE — Burglars in Ririe tried to open a safe but were “frightened away,” The Rigby Star reported in its paper dated Aug. 6, 1953.
The attempted burglary happened at the Snake River Equipment Co. store. Ray Kelly, night watchman at Ririe, discovered the burglars. Sheriff Howard Shaffer assisted in the investigation. Shaffer said the job was “evidently that of amateurs.”
He pointed out the dial on the safe was knocked off and an acetylene torch of “unusually high pressure” was found.
“It is a wonder that they didn’t blow themselves up,” Shaffer stated.
The burglars escaped through the front door.
1976-2000
POCATELLO — A 28-year-old woman plead innocent to one charge of second degree arson and one count of third degree arson, The Idaho State Journal reported on Aug. 3, 1976.
The court ordered Aliene K. Merklein be transported to State Hospital South in Blackfoot for a psychiatric evaluation prior to any further legal proceedings on her case.
Merklein was was charged with setting fires at the former location of Paramount Cleaners in June 1976.
“Clothing items salvaged from a business in the flood-stricken Rexburg area had been housed in the structure and were destroyed by a fire Ms. Merklein allegedly set,” the article reads.
She was returned to custody of the Bannock County Jail pending transfer to the state hospital.
The post Looking back: Kids find dead man in Blackfoot fairgrounds bathroom and ‘bubble-like’ objects appear in sky appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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