Monday, November 2, 2009

Welcome to Murder by Gaslight

Greed, jealousy, revenge, obsession – the motives of America’s gas-lit murders are universal and timeless. Yet their stories are tightly bound to a particular place and time; uniquely American, uniquely 19th Century.

The goal of Murder by Gaslight is to bring them all together, the great and the small, to retell their tales, to point the way for those seeking more detail, and most importantly, to provide a forum to share facts and opinions. So here they are, America’s Victorian murders – sometimes gruesome, often shocking, always fascinating. Welcome to Murder by Gaslight.

Murder by Gaslight will update often, continually documenting our 19th century murders; a pool we see now as virtually endless. We will start with the famous murders of national interest and very soon begin documenting the no-less-fascinating regional murders. In each case we will include the salient facts, as they are known, briefly summarize the events, describe the trial and ultimate outcome of the case.

We will provide a list of resources for those who want to dig deeper into the story. We will link to sites that have a more detailed telling of the story or a unique point of view. In every case we will link to printed books, still the best source of information. If there is a song about the murder we will link to the lyrics and, if available, a recording. We will also link to gravesites, newspaper articles and anything else of relevant interest.

Most importantly we will provide a forum for comment, suggestion, discussion, and resource sharing. We encourage everyone who visits the sight to add their impressions, insights and personal knowledge on this fascinating topic.

Once again, welcome to Murder by Gaslight.

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Anonymous says:
April 8, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Never stop writing these posts! I'm enjoying them so much and look forward to more.

Thank you for making and keeping up this blog - I definitely appreciate it

Anonymous says:
October 24, 2010 at 12:04 AM

Hay, I am really being gaslighted. Oregon is not a place to be when you really need some help. No mental health, no womens resource, no ( absolutely not, will I deal with the courts here, they are so dirty and besides it appears the police are helping with this, I am a whistleblower who already had them burn my home down and now destroying my 21 yr old son. My husband is from Ohio, I have no doubt he was programmed as this is the capital of MKULTRA, MONARCH, MAFIA and TI abuses and harrassment. ( targeted individuals) here, I am alone and I want out of this but at 57 and no place to go, no work then what ? This is my home and cars, etc. He has literally stripped me of every dime. I can not even begin to explain who he does and what it is like to live with him........he is simple evil and no one sees it because he does this in the privacy of our home. Thanks for listening, and I have a friend whose ex husband also did this, now he has their own 21 yr old son locked in this same Pendleton, Oregon mental hospital/prison that this Frankie died in as it began as a mental ward in 1913 the same time this Governor spoke to Oregon Congress on genocide and experimentation of "useless people" see the 28 page terrorizing report" which is now, AGENDA 21.

Anonymous says:
October 30, 2010 at 7:53 PM

Well done site. I came here from the link you posted on Mudcat Cafe regarding "Tom Dooley."

That obviously identifies me as being more interested in the stories that inspire folk songs than in 19th century murders per se.

A suggestion, based solely on my own interest - it would be a bit easier if the ballad links were side-by-side with the appropriate murderer/victim link.

Off to read more of the stories behind the songs. Thanks!

Robert Wilhelm says:
November 11, 2010 at 5:18 PM

Thanks Anonymous #2. I came to this subject through the folk songs too, then realized the stories are interesting even when they don't have songs.

I hear your suggestion. It is hard to do much customization using a preformatted blog, but I do have a post that lists murders with their songs:

If you know of any American murder ballads that I am missing, please let me know an I will research them.


Anonymous says:
January 6, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Really enjoying your blog. Very informative. I love history and the darker side of things really interests me. These stories are really wonderfully reported. Thank you also for adding the folk song on some of these stories.

Robert Wilhelm says:
January 9, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Thank you! I do appreciate the feedback.

Anonymous says:
March 10, 2011 at 4:31 PM

I recently discovered this blog and I love it. Thank you for these fascinating stories.

Anonymous says:
February 4, 2012 at 12:46 AM

I am absolutely in love with this blog. I cannot get enough of these interesting articles. Thank! The photos, the music attached, the old news clippings, all of it just adds a rich texture to the story.

Anonymous says:
April 8, 2012 at 8:39 AM

Carl Panzram I found this name in an post on serial killers I dont think I've seen him in your blog, but he may be an interesting story for you.

How Brown says:
April 8, 2012 at 7:41 PM

You have a very attractive,informative and high quality site, sir.
Much luck and success with it in the future.
I have placed your link on to our site.

Robert Wilhelm says:
April 9, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Thank you Mr. Brown, I am pleased to be linked to JTRForums. I am a regular follower of your site.

Anonymous says:
May 7, 2012 at 1:15 PM

i love your website and the stories keep up the great work

Robert Wilhelm says:
May 8, 2012 at 11:54 AM

Thanks ;)

Anonymous says:
October 25, 2012 at 9:21 PM

I ADORE your blog!!! Such fascinating cases ... a bit horrifying and disturbing but riveting. I appreciate all your hard work!


Robert Wilhelm says:
October 26, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Thank you so much Melissa!

bluangel says:
December 2, 2012 at 11:27 PM

I just love psychopathology + history. So here I am... and here you are! ...stuff you just can't make up! I know I shall enjoy myself immensely.

ingibjorgk says:
August 17, 2013 at 3:49 AM

Couldn't have put it better than bluangel here above. This side has caused some very sleepy mornings :-) Thank you very much

bluangel says:
August 18, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Yes, the mornings come too soon sometimes when one is immersed in intriges of yesteryear! I almost feel the spirits of some of these damaged souls.... oooooohhhh!

Unknown says:
March 21, 2015 at 10:11 AM

I love your site! I also blog about 19th century crime (European as well as American) and added your blog to my blog roll.

I recently bought one of your books, but haven't read it yet. Now that I've seen your blog, I'll be moving your book up to the top of my list! Keep up the great writing!

Robert Wilhelm says:
March 22, 2015 at 6:26 PM

Thank you Ann Marie, I have added your site to my blog roll as well.
Take care,

Unknown says:
April 28, 2015 at 12:39 PM

Love this site. Can't get enough. Thanks for taking the time to put it together and keep them coming!

Anonymous says:
May 20, 2015 at 8:43 AM

I just followed your Google+.It really helps me keep up to date.Keep writting these awesome stories please.
If you want to follow me here is me.

Time after Crime says:
May 3, 2016 at 4:26 AM
This comment has been removed by the author.
Time after Crime says:
May 22, 2016 at 6:41 AM

I really love this website its fascinating to read about how they conducted murder cases back then before Dna. This site combines both history and a who dun-it lol 😁 its great

Unknown says:
December 29, 2016 at 9:58 AM

Well it has been speculated that luzziw was molested by her father and as we well know this day in age that sadly happens too much... So what happens after??? The girl becomes a whore.. Or prostitute or terrible mother of 8 kids with 6 baby daddy right... Well now imagine what a girl in those days would feel... More conservative and reserved and not able to go to counseling or help or women's shelter for abuse simply cause it didn't exisit... She did all she could do to right then wrong her father felt he had a right to bestow on her... Honestly in her position in those days if she was molested I would've killed him and her in cold blood myself.

Loco says:
July 10, 2019 at 6:19 PM

Absolutely love your blog. It's a highlight of my week.

Anonymous says:
June 24, 2021 at 10:11 PM

Every source that I can find on the Internet says that Lizzie Lloyd King (a.k.a. Kate Stoddard) turned 174 years old this year! Can you find her date of death for me?

Donna says:
February 18, 2022 at 5:09 PM

Hi, I have a very strange story to tell, what I call my strange little serial killer story... I have discovered, through an almost unbelievable and incredibly serendipitous series of events, a previously unknown original photograph of Jesse Pomeroy. It is the image that the well-known drawing of Jesse was based on. I have contacted Harold Schechter, who wrote Fiend: The Shocking True Story of America's Youngest Serial Killer, and he agrees with my identification of the image as Jesse. I would love for my story and the photograph to be published. If you will email me, Mr. Wilhelm, I will give you all the details of this incredible story... Thank you, Donna

Patti-Ann says:
November 21, 2023 at 8:39 AM

Hello Robert. Will Murder and Mayhem be an audio book soon?

Robert Wilhelm says:
November 21, 2023 at 9:29 AM

Hi Patti-Ann, "Murder and Mayhem in Essex County" is published by History Press, and I don't think they have any plans for an audlo book. There are audio versions of two of my books "The Bloody Century" -
and "So Far from Home" -

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