The Quarterdeck at the Des Moines Marina continued its 2022 Story Pub storytelling events on March 9 with “A Body on the Beach,” the tragic tale that began on the day a Tacoma socialite was found dead on Woodmont Beach in 1933.

Hosted by Steve Edmiston and the Woodmont Union of the Unexplained and Unresolved (the “WUUU”), the event explored the February 20, 1933, death of Tacoma socialite Mary Fitzgerald.

National Scandal
Edmiston took the sold-out audience through tabloid-style, day-by-day newspaper coverage that followed the discovery of Ms. Fitzgerald’s body on Woodmont Beach. After reviewing a week of wild speculations by law enforcement, revelation of a love triangle, and shifting theories of motives, murder and suicide, Edmiston posited that the final, surprise determination by the formal inquest – that Ms. Fitzgerald was alone and was blown off the Woodmont Dock from a seated position by a gust of wind – was a political decision made to end an embarrassing scandal, and a decision that literally defied the laws of physics.

The audience gasped upon learning that on February 28, 1933, all of the prior published theories had been discarded overnight by law enforcement, in favor of the “gust of wind” theory.

Accident theory challenged
In an update to the story researched by the WUUU, Edmiston provided weather information for Ms. Fitzgerald’s date of death, as well as the physical force required for wind to move a human body.

Edmiston also noted that there was no other evidence to support the conclusion, that “moderate to fresh” winds range from 13-24 mph, that Woodmont Dock had a rail at least 30” high, and a 45-mph wind – tropical storm force – is required to move a 100-pound human from standing still, and a 75-mph wind is required to overcome the force of gravity.

The talk concluded with a long list of unanswered questions about the case, including the mysterious (and temporary) re-opening of the case by a then-young lawyer named Warren G. Magnuson.

The Story Pub also raised $180 in donations for the Des Moines Historical Society.

Three special-guests will start the evening, then the audience takes the microphone to share stories from the past – (almost) anything goes! Open Mic Night special guests include:

  • Julie Seitz and Dean Bey, grassroots advocates working to save the 2-acre historic Seattle Pet Cemetery (in Kent). Channeling Stephen King (“Cats were the gangsters of the animal world, living outside the law and often dying there. There were a great many of them who never grew old by the fire.”), Seitz and Bey will tell the tale of “What the cemetery cat doesn’t like at the Seattle Pet Cemetery, and what it did about it overnight.”
  • Joel Underwood, one of Quarterdeck’s favorite singer-songwriter-musicians, will mix history and music with a tale of “Woody Guthrie, Bonneville Power, and the Columbia River Songs.” Underwood is an award-winning independent artist, and founding member of Paper Moon, a father and daughter duo whose acoustic folk, country, and even classic rock can be heard at coffeehouses, wineries, and festivals throughout Washington, Oregon, and Northern California.
  • Des Moines’ favorite son Dan Eernissee (Mt. Rainier High School graduate and Husky Hall of Fame inductee), takes a break from making Everett the most business-friendly city in Washington (as Economic Development Director), and returns home with his trademark sense of humor to tell a most-local tale.

Tickets for Open Mic Night are on sale now at Tickets are $10 per person per event, and the price includes one drink (any beer, cider, or $8 wine). With limited seating, the first two 2022 Story Pubs (“The Birthplace of the Men in Black,” and “A Body on the Beach”) sold out in under 24 hours.

The Quarterdeck serves beer, wine, and coffee, all enjoyed with the best view in Des Moines. Bringing outside food is encouraged! (The Quarterdeck encourages patrons to utilize local restaurants and delivery services.) Learn more at

The WUUU was originally established to be a go-to private organization for ongoing criminal, psychical, and theosophical investigations radiating from the Woodmont Country Club (founded 1915 in Des Moines, Washington).  The WUUU seeks to explain and resolve the inexplicable and unsolvable – local ghost stories and sightings, national scandals, and yes – even murder.

Edmiston is an appointee to the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, and has keynoted the Washington State Historical Society, Smith Tower Rumrunners Club, McMenamin’s History Pubs, conferences, festivals, historical societies, and business groups.  He is also a business, entertainment, and IP attorney, and independent film screenwriter/producer. He is credited with four feature films, and his award-winning shorts include The Maury Island Incident, The Day My Parents Became Cool, and Thr33. More info at

The Quarterdeck is located at 22307 Dock Ave. S. Unit 1 Des Moines, WA 98198: