|Brighton People (c) Justin Eveleigh|
A friend posted this on Facebook yesterday and I think this story scares me more than anything else I’ve read in a long time. Mostly because it could happen so easily to so many people.
On 25 January 2006, officials from a north London housing association repossessing a bedsit in Wood Green owing to rent arrears made a grim discovery. Lying on the sofa was the skeleton of a 38-year-old woman who had been dead for almost three years. In a corner of the room the television set was still on, tuned to BBC1, and a small pile of unopened Christmas presents lay on the floor. Washing up was heaped in the kitchen sink and a mountain of post lay behind the front door. Food in the refrigerator was marked with 2003 expiry dates. The dead woman’s body was so badly decomposed it could only be identified by comparing dental records with an old holiday photograph of her smiling. Her name was revealed to be Joyce Carol Vincent.
Carol Morley, a filmmaker and London resident, found a short article about the strange circumstances surrounding Joyce’s death in a newspaper someone left on the tube. The article contained very little information and didn’t even include a photo of the woman, but the article stuck with Carol. She wanted to know more.
Now, years later, Carol has produced a documentary called Dreams of a Life about Joyce Carol Vincent. She spent years tracking down people who knew Joyce and interviewing them. She collected photographs and anecdotes and bound them together into a beautiful piece on the isolation still possible in a world that’s constantly connected.
THIS is what I mean when I recommend finding inspiration in the world around you. No matter how outlandish a fictional situation seems, chances are you can find a real life moment with even more impossible circumstances. Finding the spark that sends you on a quest for answers is only a matter of time. And having your eyes open wide enough to see it.
To read more about Carol’s quest to tell Joyce’s story, read this article. You can also watch the movie trailer here or play it below.
I heard about this recently, and it made me so sad. Glad someone is doing a piece on her.
Wow, this is a creepy story. My sister-in-law raves that the best stories are found in real. Thanks for sharing this.
Sarah, I know! I saw this and it's really stuck with me. I think being forgotten is worse than dying. To sleep so easily from people's lives makes you wonder how much you mattered to them in the first place. It's a scary thought.
And definitely, Mary! Real life is creep-tastic. And impossible. And unbelievable. And amazing sometimes. 🙂