The archives here at The Post-Journal are an amazing thing.
Sometimes you find just the fact you need, on some old yellowed piece of newsprint, within minutes. Sometimes you go in there knowing exactly what you want to find and, no matter how determined you are, you walk away completely empty.
And then there are those wonderful times when you not only find the answer to your question, but you also stumble upon some long-lost piece of history that is too interesting to keep to yourself.
While editing the layout for this week's travel page (E7 in the Sunday edition) featuring the centennial of the sinking of the Titanic, I learned that one of the most famous survivors of the tragedy was named Molly Brown. Two thoughts quickly went through my head:
1.) There once was a small amusement park in Lakewood called ''Molly Brown's.''
2.) I could vaguely remember a Titanic-themed slide there.
I knew the chances were small, but was it possible that these facts were connected in some way? The answer, I knew, lay in the archives.
The filing cabinets and envelopes back there quickly gave me what I wanted. Molly Brown's (also known for a period of time as ''Molly World'') was named for one of its original owners, Lakewood resident Molly Brown. The inflatable Titanic slide, meanwhile, arrived in 1999 - shortly after the ship became a pop-culture icon through the release of the blockbuster film.
(I probably should have known the origin of the name without looking it up. My apologies for not being a good local historian.)
More interesting than this, though, was an envelope I found tucked near those entries in the archives. Titled ''Molly: Cat controversy at Chautauqua Institution,'' it contains just one article - a sordid tale of ''plunder(ing) and kill(ing)'' that took place in 1978.
In an article with the bold headline ''Be On Lookout For Bad Molly,'' The Post-Journal shared with readers information about ''a notorious band of furry killers'' that was ''accused of disrupting the peaceful and serene surroundings of Chautauqua.'' Apparently, some neighbors were distressed by cats killing birds - and somehow they had fingered a certain gray-and-white one named Molly as the ringleader.
A case was on its way to Chautauqua County Court as of the Aug. 16, 1978, printing. (I put the date so you're sure it wasn't an April Fools' article.) The concerned citizens planned to force the cat's owners to ''show cause why they should not keep their cat confined to their premises.''
Unfortunately, as this is the lone article in the clip file, I am left without closure. Did Molly's reign of terror continue? Unless anyone remembers (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org), I may need to take a late night and a trip into the microfilm to find the rest of the story.