My version of 'thinking out loud' incoming. This will likely be of no value to anyone, even me.
We still have no idea what these 4 epitaphs are for.
- Illustrator Helen Wilde did not die in 1966
- Messman Valentine Baker did not die in 1942
- Seamstress Lily Wilson did not die in 1901
- Brandon Lachmann did not die in 1986
Okay, what do we know?
Helen Wilde was born Helen Ashman and was an art student. I can't find proof she was an illustrator, but it's a reasonable go to. She died in 1966. Her connection to the first puzzle was obvious because she was the first wife of John Wilde who painted the painting at the center of the first clue.
Valentine Baker - A British Air Force officer who died as a test pilot in 1942. I don't see how he fits the definitions I can find of 'Messman' which I see as a naval offer who works in a messhall. Baker started his career as a mechanic. I also see zero connections to the art piece. Do I even have the right Valentine Baker? I don't see another who died in 1942.
Lily Wilson. More or less a blank slate. I can find public records of a Lily Wilson who died in 1901 in Ireland.
Daughter of John and Agnes Wilson
Date of Death: 08/05/1901
No idea if she was a seamstress, or this is the right person. I don't see how she could be connected to the Lenape, or an art installation in the Staten Island Ferry.
- Brandon Lachmann - This one utterly confuses me. The death year is given as 1986 which should easily be recent enough to find records on. I can't find records of anyone with this name in search engines as doing anything alive, much less dying.
Also of interesting note. Brandon Lachmann has 7 letters in his first name, 8 in the second like the spaces we're looking for. So far using that name, or finding an anagram of Brandon Lachmann has proven useless.
While there started out a strong connection between the puzzles and the epitaphs it looks like they got more and more obscure as time went on.
Not being able to find information on 2 of these 4 is disturbing, but it's possible I'm just bad at it. I couldn't even find a fire at a Ferry Terminal on a given day in history. Perhaps someone else can dig up info on these people? If no information on them is available, then I suppose we have to guess that their backgrounds are unimportant to the puzzles at hand.
The theory I most liked so far is that these were people who had not died before our memories were wiped, but in this new world they had. But Lily died long before anyone's memory was wiped, and Brandon died long after. I'm not sure how those years tie into the whole concept of an alternate world.
The words above the epitaphs are 'HereNorThere' which is usually part of the phrase Neither Here Nor There, which means 'this doesn't matter'. Maybe this is all a wild random goose chase and not necessary.