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The Fan Dossier: What Sarah Palmer’s Sister, Beth, Was Up To On The Night Of August 5, 1956

Whilst researching Laura Palmer's mother, Sarah, I came across some very interesting information about her sister, Beth Ferguson.
This post was published a while ago. Please keep its age in mind and if you find any errors, feel free to comment.

The fan fiction below was written by Laura Stewart and submitted to Twin Peaks: The Fan Dossier, a writing contest hosted by Welcome to Twin Peaks with the support of Flatiron Books and Mark Frost. A new entry is shared every Fan Fiction Friday.

Bethan Jocelyn Ferguson (née Novack)

Whilst researching Laura Palmer’s mother, Sarah, I came across some very interesting information
about her sister, Beth Ferguson.

Beth was born on 5th August 1940, she lived as an only child until her sister Sarah came along in
March of 1943. It was a few months after her baby’s sisters birth that the family moved to a village
outside Los Alamos, New Mexico, as their father found a steady, well paid job with the Defense
Department on The Manhattan Project. Beth was just short of 6 years old when the Trinity bomb
was launched at White Sands. What effect that sort of event could have had on such an
impressionable young mind is anyone’s guess.

Beth began dating a local boy named Gabriel Romero when she was 15 years old and they went
steady for a few years. I was able to track Gabriel down, he still lives in Los Alamos, now aged 79, but
with a mind as sharp as a whistle. He reminisced with me about his first love Beth. On her 16th
birthday, on 5th August 1956, after dating Gabriel for a year, and them being very much in love, they
decided to give their virginity to each other. Gabriel drove the pair to Ashley Pond where they set up
a picnic blanket in the warm air. He had brought some Moonshine, stolen from his older brother, as
they were both a little nervous and needed some Dutch courage. The sky was black, no stars to
illuminate them, so they kept the headlights of the car blazing upon them. Gabriel said her milky
white skin and raven locks made her look like Venus in his eyes.

After their magical moment, they went back to the car as it was too cold to lay outside even for
August. They cuddled and listened to KJPK radio for a while and giggled that ‘their song’ My Prayer
by The Platters played as if it were meant for them. His expression changed from one of warm
nostalgia to confusion as he recollected that they had both fallen asleep suddenly. They put it down
to the excitement of the evening and the alcohol, but both felt very strange when they awoke. Beth
said that her throat hurt, and she had joked that she was going to be stricken with the lurgy for
giving herself up before marriage.

Beth and Gabriel continued their romance until 1958 when Beth was accepted into the University of
Montana, Missoula. They were both heartbroken upon her leaving, he swore he would follow her
there, but as the sole carer of his sick mother he could not leave Los Alamos. He never saw Beth
again. They wrote for a while, but the letters became fewer and fewer and he noticed that she was
talking about a boy in her class a lot, Donald. He decided that he couldn’t keep holding her back and
wrote to her ending their relationship.

It’s hard to say whether Beth was heartbroken or relieved of this message, but she did indeed run
into the arms of Donald Ferguson. They married on Valentine’s Day 1964 when Beth was 23 years
old. On June 22nd, 1968 their first and only child, Madeline, was born. Donald found a well paid
Engineering job and they set up home in Missoula.

It appears that Beth and her younger sister Sarah were close, and their daughters even closer. Laura
and Maddy looked remarkably alike, just their hair that would differentiate them. People would say
they were like the fairy tale girls Rose White and Rose Red when they saw them together. Maddy
with her raven curls, just like her mother, and in stark contrast Laura with her glowing halo of blonde
waves. Like Maddy and Laura, Beth and Sarah were both said to have an intuitive side, and seemed to know
when something wasn’t quite right.

As a special treat for their Silver Wedding Anniversary on February 14th, 1989, Donald took Beth to
Buenos Aires, Argentina, for a romantic getaway and as the place is so famed for its silver mines, to
buy her a precious gift of her choice. They stayed at the Palm Deluxe Hotel, and strangely enough
another named guest during the period they were there was a Sarah Palmer. Possibly a coincidence
and just another person with the same name but strange nevertheless, especially when you consider
that it was this very hotel that the long-lost Phillip Jeffries attended during that same week
apparently looking for a Ms Judy. Then disappearing and reappearing in the hotel lobby, with a short
trip to Philadelphia in between.

It would be a just over a year later that Beth’s niece Laura was murdered. Her daughter Maddy who
was so close to Laura, decided to travel to Twin Peaks to attend her funeral. By all accounts from
Donald, who was reluctant to speak to me but gave me a few vital pieces of information, Beth was
not happy about Maddy leaving to visit alone. She had a ‘bad’ feeling about it. Donald and Beth’s
marriage was starting to become a bit shaky and she was paranoid that he was having an affair. She
decided not to attend the funeral herself for that reason.

It seems that Beth had her mother’s intuition right down to a tee as her worst fears were realised.
Maddy was murdered on March 10th, 1989, aged just 20 years old. Sadly, we know only too well
how this story ends, with the arrest and subsequent suicide of Leland Palmer.

Beth never could forgive herself for allowing Maddy to leave, nor could she forgive her sister for not
seeing what was going on in that house. It appears that Beth was also right about her husbands
extra marital activities and Donald left her for his pregnant secretary in 1993. Beth, much like Sarah,
turned to alcohol and prescription drugs to numb the pain and suffering.

However, unlike Sarah, Beth couldn’t bear to live with the grief and on March 10th, 1999, on the 10th
anniversary of her daughter’s death, Beth plunged to hers from the top of the Space Needle in
Seattle. What she was doing there so far away from home is anyone’s guess. Inside her purse which
was left at the top was a note saying, ‘J’ai une âme solitaire’. Another lonely soul and yet another
terribly tragic ending to report upon for this dossier. I cannot begin to imagine the pain that both
sisters experienced in their lives. The dark forces that stem from Twin Peaks have a far and
devastating reach.

Founder and curator of Welcome to Twin Peaks since 2011. Bobsessed since March 1991.

What's your response to this?


  1. Melissa says:

    You know it isn’t possible to jump from the Space Needle?

    Other than that, I enjoyed the story.

  2. mwm says:

    I enjoyed the impossible part, too 😉

  3. Love that moment of convergence in Buenos Aires!

  4. Marta says:

    It’s easy to forget, as the story focuses on Laura, on the devastation Maddy’s death must have caused her own parents. Nice to give her family a story.

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