Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Guttenberg Murder.

On May 3, 1881, Mena Muller and Louis Kettler took the ferry from New York City to Hoboken, New Jersey. They were going to be married in Hoboken, although they each had a spouse already. The legality of the marriage did not concern them; they were returning to Germany and would start a new life there. But somehow their plans went awry; that night Louis Kettler returned to New York alone and ten days later Mena Muller’s body was found in New Jersey with a fractured skull.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Katie Hood's Fate.

Little Murders
Sixteen-year-old Katie Hood left the house the evening of Saturday, September 21, 1889 and never returned. She worked at Mike Schoenig’s saloon in Connersville, Indiana, and resided with her employer’s family. Katie was known to be somewhat wild, and at one point, Schoenig fired her and sent her from his home for staying out until two or three in the morning. On her promise to do better, Schoenig rehired Katie, and up until the night of her disappearance she appeared to have reformed.

Katie Hood’s reputation as a fast girl fueled speculation in Connersville that she had met with foul play. Some believed she had simply skipped town, but all she had with her were the clothes on her back, and most thought she was being held somewhere against her will. A rumor circulated that Katie had become an inmate of a brothel in the South End of Connersville, and on the night of September 27, a posse of men raided the house, sending the customers running in all directions. Reportedly, one respectable citizen jumped out of a window to avoid exposure. But when the dust settled, Katie Hood was not in the house.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Trunks, Crates, and Barrels.

Disposing of the body without being captured has always been a post-mortem problem for a murderer, but in the nineteenth century there always seemed to be a large receptacle handy—steamer trunks, shipping crates, and wooden barrels have all been used to a killer’s advantage. With a little body modification, a barrel can be used as a makeshift coffin or to float a body downriver. A large trunk can conceal a body while transporting it to a dumping spot or hide it long enough for a killer’s escape. The most creative method was to crate the body and ship it to a city far away. It is not known how many times this mode succeeded, but it failed enough times to demonstrate its popularity.

The Corpse in the Shipping Crate
John C. Colt put the body of Samuel Adams in shipping crate and sent it to New Orleans c/o General Delivery. If the ship had left on schedule, his plan may have worked.
The Great Trunk Mystery
A trunk bound for Chicago by train was found to contain the body of Alice Bowlsby, put there by abortionist Jacob Rosenzweig.
The Boston Barrel Tragedy
The dismembered body of Abijah Ellis was found stuffed inside two barrels floating down the Charles River. The killer’s identity was never known for certain.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Mystery of Zora Burns.

Little Murders
Zora Burns
Missouri Burns, better known as Zora, was nineteen years old when she left her father's home in St. Elmo, Illinois, to work as a domestic for the family of Orrin A. Carpenter, the richest man in Lincoln, Illinois. Carpenter was a grain dealer who owned a huge grain elevator as well as a farm and other real estate in Logan County. He was fifty years old with a wife and two daughters.
In newspaper reports, Zora Burns was described as a beautiful and captivating young woman: “Abundant hair of yellow-golden tint clustered about features as perfectly regular as those which Phidias chiseled from the marble of Greece. Her form was grace and symmetry personified, and despite her lack of educational advantages, her natural tact and quickness of intellect atoned in great measure for her deficiencies.” It is not surprising that Mr. Carpenter soon became infatuated with his young servant.

Monday, August 3, 2015

IAN Book of the Year Finalist.

I am proud to announce that my book, The Bloody Century, has been selected as a finalist in the

2015 Independent Author Network Book of the Year Awards.

Winners to be announced later this month.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The New Hampshire Horror.

After his wife left him in November, 1883, Thomas Samon began a weekend of drunken debauchery in Laconia, New Hampshire, with Jane Ford, the wife of his landlord. But when the beer ran out Saturday morning, events turned unexpectedly violent, ending in a horrible triple murder