Real Name: Martha Brailsford
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Salem, Massachusetts
Date: July 12, 1991
Case[edit | edit source]
Details: On July 12, 1991, Salem artist Martha Brailsford went sailing in Massachusetts Bay with her neighbor, Tom Maimoni. The next morning, however, he returned alone. He told police that Martha was standing on the boat when a rogue wave hit it. He claimed that she fell off the side, into the water, and disappeared. He also claimed that he searched all night and found no trace of her.
For six days, police boats searched the bay but found no sign of Martha. One of the investigators called Salem psychic and witch Laurie Cabot. She asked for the victim's name, location, and date of birth. She then went into her "alpha state" and had a vision. She saw Martha on a boat with Tom. She claimed that as they relaxed, he began to make sexual advances against her. When she rebuffed him, he became angry. He grabbed her and dragged her across the boat. He then picked up a blunt object and struck her in the head with it. After that, he tied an anchor to her legs and a weight to her waist. He then threw her overboard.
Laurie told investigators that Martha's body was still anchored underwater. She claimed that it was near a small offshore island with a lighthouse in view. Within hours of Laurie's vision, a lobster fisherman found Martha's body attached to his fishing net. As predicted, an anchor was tied to her foot. A diving belt was around her waist. The location was exactly as Laurie had described.
Suspects: Tom Maimoni
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the October 25, 1996 episode which focused on Laurie Cabot's psychic abilities. This case was also profiled on City Confidential and Your Worst Nightmare.
Results: Solved. Soon after Martha's body was discovered, Tom Maimoni went on the run. Once again, investigators contacted Laurie. In this vision, she saw Tom looking in a mirror and shaving off his mustache. She sensed that he was planning to go to Canada. She offered to conjure up a spell to stop Tom. She created a straw doll which she named "Tom Maimoni" and she wrapped it in white cord. She then went into her "alpha state" again and projected that he do something stupid in order to get caught.
Three days later, a police officer in a town near the Canadian border arrived at a cabin. Locals had called police after spotting an unfamiliar car outside of the cabin, which was supposed to be vacant. The officer discovered signs of forced entry. Inside, he found Tom Maimoni. Just as Laurie predicted, he had shaved off his mustache and was planning to go to Canada.
At Tom Maimoni's trial in 1993, he proclaimed his innocence. The jury didn't buy it; he was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. He was denied parole several times. In October of 2017, he died in prison. Investigators believe that Laurie had a hand in bringing him to justice.
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- Convicted killer Thomas Maimoni tells new story in bid for parole
- Convicted killer of Salem woman dies
- Martha Brailsford Obituary
- Martha Laurel Conant Brailsford (1954-1991)