The definitive account of the only case of its kind in Northern Ireland, the ongoing campaign for justice and a labour-of-love in memory of the victim of a murder mystery still officially unsolved after 31 years
By Keeley Moss
PART 19 - CONTENTS Chapter 50: The Everlasting Chapter 51: The Ghost of You Chapter 52: Your Time Will Come Acknowledgements for Part 19
Chapter 50: The Everlasting
The highest purpose of art is to inspire
One of the most fitting and bittersweet things about the movement that has grown up around the campaign for Inga is the increasing amount of artistic projects that are being inspired by her memory. Fitting because of course, Inga was an artist herself, very talented at drawing and making Papier-mâché figures as well as possessing a lovely singing voice and playing the guitar. And bittersweet because out of her murder, which exemplified the depraved depths certain individuals are capable of descending to, here we see a great contrast with the beauty and creativity that other human beings are capable of ascending to. Although at the time of writing Inga’s case remains officially unsolved, it is my information that the police have never been closer to bringing the case to a successful conclusion. In the meantime while we await further developments, Inga’s artistic inspiration is finding new frontiers.
One example of this is Ballycastle artist Oliver McParland who has painted a beautiful mural of Inga entitled The Girl With the Mockingbird based on the photo of her at the zoo first published in Part 12 of this blog last September and to which Oliver had the great idea to add the perfect poetic touch of a mocking bird resting on Inga’s outstretched hand. Regular readers of this blog may remember that in the same Part 12 it was revealed that Inga’s favourite song was ‘Mocking Bird’ by Barclay James Harvest. I later had the idea to use a line from this same song – namely, “Time will see your tears run dry, there’s a mocking bird singing songs in the trees” – for the inscription stone that rests in Ballypatrick Forest as I felt those lines echoed the circumstances of what had happened to Inga there and that as that song meant so much to her those lines would hopefully prove to be most fitting.
It was a masterstroke of Oliver’s to take those two separate elements – the mocking bird of the song, and the photo of Inga at the zoo – and fuse them to form the painting that is the main cover image of this instalment. As quoted at the beginning of this chapter, no less a cultural icon as Bob Dylan once said that the highest purpose of art is to inspire. Well, although Inga was denied the chance to create any more art herself as a result of her murder, remarkably, thirty years after her death she is inspiring new artworks to be born. It’s a bittersweet but beautiful legacy. And in doing so it shows the sheer force of Inga’s cause. I know the impact she’s had and continues to have on me, and likewise the impact she’s had on John Dallat MLA as well as practically an entire community of North Antrim who have taken her to their hearts. In a case awash with so much sadness and human misery, the emergence of these artworks amounts to a rare shaft of light.
This is why I wanted to make it the subject of this instalment. I know that there are some people out there, although fortunately not many, who find the artistic aspects of this blog, the lyrical quotations, the music and poetic references somewhat pointless. But that I think is precisely missing the point. Inga’s case is unique, and so it’s only appropriate that this blog should chart a singular course. Obviously the investigative aspects of the case are vitally important, and I’ve covered them extensively in various parts of the blog. Other true crime blogs tend to focus solely on criminology, on facts and fractures, on gore and gruesomeness. But this is not a true crime blog – it’s the Inga-Maria Hauser blog. One of my central goals with it is to create and maintain a presence for her in the modern world that she was denied the opportunity to see or become a part of. And so the things that were most important to Inga – music, art, people and travel – will continue to loom large across the landscape of this blog. I see this as more than a mere blog, it’s the ongoing chronicle of a crucial crusade. A vast portal, a world within a world. As the philosopher Hegel once wrote, “The truth is in the whole”. And as a result, what John Dallat and I believe is Inga’s legacy as a cause and a muse can be granted yet more ground on which to grow.
After the dying of the light – the everlasting afterglow.
Chapter 51: The Ghost of You
Still I can’t escape the ghost of you
Duran Duran – ‘Ordinary World’
I was contacted earlier this year by a poet from Northern Ireland named Colin Sloan who in an interesting coincidence had lived in the student district of Inga’s home city of Munich in 1988, the year she was murdered in Northern Ireland, and having read this blog, got in touch with me. He has written a poem inspired by Inga that is published here for the first time. It’s a brilliant piece, incredibly moving and with such an authentic-sounding voice it’s as if the words are being intoned by Inga herself. On the one hand it’s Colin’s hypothesis (certainly one of the more plausible ones I’ve come across) of the events that transpired on the fateful night Inga arrived on these shores. And on the other hand it’s something else – a poet grappling with his craft to summon Inga’s voice to rise from the silence, and offer us, the readers, a vision of the possible events of that night from Inga’s perspective.
I think of the songs, books, movies and poems I love as being a doorway to another world – a means to venture beyond the often mundane routines and confines of daily life. The beauty of art is the scope it gives us to enter the ether of another space, where life can take on a different shape, or be shown for exactly what it is, in all its ugly reality and beauty. And to me Colin’s poem very much has that quality. Every time I read it I surrender my surroundings and enter another realm altogether. A mindscape. For the minutes that my mind wanders through his words, I’m there. In the darkness of that beautiful forest on that heartbreaking night.
By Colin Sloan © 2018
Splintering pines perforate this clearing
Sap resin hardens over tears under foliage
Along the lines of broken trees.
You ought to know the way blindfolded
As you have walked it often enough
Without a thought before you met me.
I am the unintended opportunity
Alone with my thoughts
In an unguarded moment
And you latched onto that
Hatching deceit as you befriended me
By the fruit machine in the bar on the ferry crossing over.
I misunderstood the lame excuse
To drive through these woods in that dialect you use
I struggled with my seat belt as the trees began to thicken
Whilst you punched me at will unremittingly
Steering one-handed over the ruts within the fire break lane.
I had come a long way to the place where you left me.
I had placed trust in you to see me right along the way.
I lay in that clearing for two weeks until they found me.
I will not rest in the memory until your dying day.
Chapter 52: Your Time Will Come
No force on earth can stop an idea whose time has come
But that is not all. Others inspired by Inga’s memory to create new artworks include Clare McCotter, whose superb triptych of poems about Inga are featured in Part 15 of this blog (these poems Clare gave a reading of at Inga’s memorial ceremony in Ballypatrick Forest on the 30th anniversary earlier this year) and John Dallat MLA, whose touching poem No Beauty Hath Ever Been Seen was also featured in Part 15 and that I included on the back of the booklet given to all those who attended the memorial event.
In recent times, Clare was inspired to write a further poem about Inga. It is entitled Memorial Deer and in addition to it having been featured in the quarterly collection of poetry FourXFour Poetry NI I have obtained her permission to publish it here.
After visiting Inga-Maria Hauser’s memorial
By Clare McCotter © 2018
from the bracken margins
one seemed to clock me
standing beside the date
your tiny hand
starfish from the air
when you scratched
but if turned to stone
like the fawn
when a shadow stoops
in long grasses
or the listener
with dark news
pointed at his chest
you might still be here
and loved less
asked to tell
why no bruises
were ever seen
why you didn’t scream
the cedars down
why you couldn’t read
scent messages on the wind.
The deer fled
hill mist in their eyes
their hearts snow-drenched tulips.
Stunning. One line in particular brings me to tears – The date your tiny hand first plucked starfish from the air. Such poignancy. Visualising Inga as a baby. Because that is what she once was. Long before she became a face on a million printed pages. Long before she entered the annals of crime history. Long before she boarded that bastard boat. Long before she was driven to her death by that hulk of nothingness, that’s what she was – her tiny hands plucking starfish from the air as she opened her eyes for the first time in a Munich maternity hospital ward in May 1969.
And now here we are. Forty-nine years on from her birth. Thirty years on from her death. This is what’s left. This is all there is. But it’s more than all there was for a very long time. In the continued absence of justice, creativity can offer some solace. Inga believed in art and music, she believed in it enough to devote precious time to creating it. And I do too. To quote one of the first songs in the playlist that accompanies this blog, I believe in you.
And so, for the final example in this instalment of creativity inspired by Inga’s case – Inga’s cause – I’ve decided to follow Oliver’s painting and Colin and Clare’s poetry with a piece of my own. In this instance, the words of a song. All the way back in Part 4 of this blog, I made available a song I’d co-written and recorded called ‘422’ – 422 being the total number of passengers on the Galloway Princess the night it sailed from Stranraer to Larne with Inga on board. There is a further significance to the number 422 – this number included Inga, and one of those responsible for her murder. The song ‘422’ can only be heard in Part 4 of this blog, unlike ‘Plundered Past’ it isn’t on Spotify or YouTube, even though I think it’s one of the best songs I’ve been involved in writing. I thought it would be more special for it to only exist in one place. But because I don’t like separating my song words from where they ‘live’ – i.e. inside the song – I never printed the lyrics alongside the clip in Part 4. But seeing how this instalment is all about the creativity that Inga and her case have inspired, and we’ve so far had a painting and two poems, I thought that on account of how much of a big fan of music Inga was, it would be remiss of me not to include the words of a song she inspired.
So here are the words to the song ‘422’ for the first time. Unlike ‘Plundered Past’ which lyrically is a tapestry of facts, memories and excerpts from Inga’s diary that flash back and forward between her childhood and her trip through the UK in April 1988 that culminated in her arrival in Larne and the harrowing events that followed, ‘422’ is a more sombre and reflective piece that focuses on a number of different aspects. The verses are sung from the perspective of the RUC detectives who worked on the original 1988 investigation in the initial stages of the inquiry, and also allude to what happened to Inga. The chorus meanwhile speaks of my belief at the time when I wrote these words (in 2016) that despite the case appearing impossible to resolve, having gone unsolved for 28 years by that time, I felt that the truth would in time emerge. In the chorus I also sing of my belief that some or at least one of the people who are in a position to assist the investigation would do so. I would say that developments over the past ten months in this case have shown that to have been prescient.
Though still the wait for the final reckoning goes on – that day, I believe, will come.
By Keeley Moss © 2016
Four hundred and twenty-two people
Four hundred and twenty-two paths
Which of them to grill?
And which of them to ask?
Four hundred and twenty-two stories
Four hundred and twenty-two lives
The shadow of Inga-Maria grows behind your eyes
Truth will out
Time unzips lips and mouths
Truth will out
Time unzips lips and mouths
Four hundred and twenty-two bodies
Four hundred and twenty-two minds
Most with an innocent hobby
Some crave the fiendish kind
Four hundred and twenty-two reasons
Four hundred and twenty-two flags
She came in on the evening ferry
And left in a body bag
Truth will out
Time unzips lips and mouths
Truth will out
Time unzips lips and mouths
May 28th 1969 – April 6th 1988. Never forgotten.
© Keeley Moss 2018
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form without the permission in writing from the copyright owner.
Acknowledgements for Part 19
With thanks to Oliver McParland, Clare McCotter and Colin Sloan. There is a light that never goes out.
Cover painting by Oliver McParland © 2018 used with kind permission
Memorial Deer by Clare McCotter © 2018 used with kind permission
Inga by Colin Sloan © 2018 used with kind permission
‘422’ lyrics by Keeley Moss. Published by Copyright Control © 2016
‘Ordinary World’ written by Le Bon/J.Taylor/Bates/Cuccorullo. Published by Screen Gems-EMI Music Ltd. © 1993