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.
The New Hampshire Horror
Thomas Samon put the body of Jane Ford in a trunk and rolled it on a wheelbarrow through Laconia, New Hampshire, looking for a place to leave it.
The St. Louis Trunk Tragedy
Hugh Motram Brooks left the body of Charles Arthur Preller inside a trunk in a St. Louis, hotel. He got as far as New Zealand before the body was discovered.
The Silver Lake Mystery.
The body of Mary Anne Reinhardt was found in a barrel buried on Staten Island. Her husband Edward did not dig deep enough to conceal it.
'Thus She Passed Away.'.
When Della Tilson told George Wheeler that she planned to wed another, he strangled her and put her body in a trunk.


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