News & Updates

Without a doubt, the greatest detective in literature is Sherlock Holmes. When the world’s most foremost expert on Sherlock Holmes was found strangled to death, he left behind a mystery that may have baffled even the world’s greatest detective.

 

Notes:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2004/12/13/mysterious-circumstances

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1478814/Case-of-the-Sherlock-Holmes-fanatic-who-killed-himself-but-made-it-look-like-murder.html

History

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Kai Engel, Modum, Laceration, Floret, Rejecting the Sirens

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/

Naoya Sakamata, Sunset, Dissociation

Starvation is a terrible way to die. This is the true story of Linda Hazzard, a quack doctor who lived in Washington in the early 20th century. Hazzard’s bizarre treatments may have resulted in as many as 40 of her patients to starve to death.

 

Notes:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/doctor-who-starved-her-patients-death-180953158/

 

The Bizarre and Gruesome Saga of Linda Hazzard: “The Starvation Doctor”

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Naoya Sakamata, Dissociation, Engulf, Thought Amber, Atmosphere Op. 2, Outside of Misanthropy

The true stories of Charles Domery and Tarrare, two men whose insatiable hunger needs to be heard to be believed. Each of these men were able to eat insane amounts of food, and very possibly even other people.

 

Notes:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/66508/tarrare-greatest-glutton-all-time

https://io9.gizmodo.com/what-caused-these-men-to-eat-cats-and-candles-1685293458

https://munchies.vice.com/en_us/article/qkx7bb/if-youre-eating-fresh-puppy-hearts-you-definitely-have-an-eating-disorder

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Naoya Sakamata, Beyond the Poetry, Engulf, 9-2, The Intent of Revenge, Lost Road, Air of Iron

A full three years before Jack the Ripper stalked the streets of London, there was another vicious serial killer who terrorized people in the city of Austin, Texas. The killer known sometimes as The Servant Girl Annihilator murdered eight people and was never caught. This is the true story.

 

Patreon:

http://patreon.com/theconspiratorspodcast

 

Notes:

http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/investigation/texas-servant-girl-murders/

https://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Assassin-Scandal-Americas-Serial/dp/0805097678

The Servant Girl Annihilator

 

Music:

Chris Zabriskie, Undercover Vampire Policeman, I Need to Start Writing Things Down, There’s Probably No Time

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Coldnoise, Demise and Downfall

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Coldnoise/

A recent National Geographic poll showed that more than 77 percent of the public believes that aliens from another planet have visited the earth at some point in history. It’s disturbing enough when a person vanishes without a trace. But there have been a few cases of mysterious disappearances that defy logic and make you wonder if the truth might come from beyond the stars.

 

Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/theconspiratorspodcast

Patreon subscribers get access to all sorts of bonuses, including thank you cards, stickers, magnets, T-shirts and exclusive bonus episodes.

 

Notes:

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread1018462/pg1

The unexplained mystery of Granger Taylor

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/the-man-who-went-to-space-and-disappeared-the-story-of-granger-taylor

https://www.google.com/amp/www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4383030/amp/UFO-enthusiast-mysteriously-vanishes-Brazil.html

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.express.co.uk/news/weird/803839/Granger-Taylor-missing-UFO-alien-abduction-unsolved-Vancouver-Island-Canada/amp

 

The Mysterious Death of Zigmund Adamski: Alien Abduction or Crime?

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Kai Engel, Oneiri, Somnolence, Harbor, Mist and Clouds, Universe in Hands, Morbid Imagination, Difference, Rejecting the Sirens

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/

 

New York in the early part of the 20th century was struck by a typhoid epidemic. An investigator managed to track down the unlikely cause, a 37-year-old cook named Mary Mallon. Although would go on to earn a nickname that’s become infamous, Typhoid Mary.

 

Support us on Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/theconspiratorspodcast?alert=2

 

Notes:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-frightening-legacy-of-typhoid-mary-180954324/

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/typhoid/

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2014/10/30/360120406/awful-moments-in-quarantine-history-remember-typhoid-mary

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/

Coldnoise, Weakness, Remember, Chance to Change, Malaika, Tale for Mind

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Coldnoise/

Myuu, Lights Out

 

In New Orleans in the 1800s, a mysterious Turkish Sultan moved into a lavish mansion in New Orleans’s French Quarter. Legend has it that a bloody massacre occurred  and no one knows who did it.

This is my first bonus mini-episode. In the future, these minisodes will only be available to my Patreon supporters.

 

Support us on Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/theconspiratorspodcast?alert=2

 

Notes:

http://wgno.com/2014/05/21/the-bloody-truth-the-haunted-tale-of-the-sultans-palace-2/

https://ghostcitytours.com/new-orleans/haunted-places/sultans-palace/

 

Music: 

Myuu, Lost World, Into the Depths, Haunted House

 

In 1853, a reverend named John Murray Spear attempted to do something shocking. He believed he was receiving messages from spirits beyond the grave, who gave him instructions on how to build a mechanical messiah who would usher in a new age of man. What happened next carries echoes of Frankenstein, only this story was very real.

 

Notes:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Shelley

https://newrepublic.com/article/134271/frankensteins-monster-became-human

https://esoterx.com/2014/06/02/the-crucifixion-of-the-mechanical-messiah-john-murray-spear-and-the-synthetic-savior/

The New Motor: Building John Murray Spear’s ‘God Machine’ in Lynn, Massachussets

The Bizarre Mechanical Messiah of John Murray Spear

 

Music:

Naoya Sakamata, Thought Amber

Myuu, Reversion

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Kai Engel, Floret, Morbid Imagination, Rejecting the Sirens

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/

 

One common legend that appears over and over in many forms throughout cultures around the world, is the legend of the vampire. Listen to hear some vampire stories from history, including the real unsolved murder involving the Atlas Vampire, the vampire serial killer Bela Kiss, and the mass vampire hysteria that happened in 1969 around London’s Highgate Cemetery.

 

Notes:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/theunredacted.com/the-highgate-vampire-horror-of-the-dead/

https://www.google.com/amp/www.nydailynews.com/amp/news/justice-story/killer-murdered-24-pickled-corpses-barrels-article-1.1607445

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire_folklore_by_region

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/10/what-vampire-graves-tell-us-about-ancient-superstitions/280879/

https://www.google.com/amp/relay.nationalgeographic.com/proxy/distribution/public/amp/2016/10/vampires-europe-new-england-halloween-history

https://www.google.com/amp/amp.livescience.com/24374-vampires-real-history.html

https://www.google.com/amp/s/hauntedpalaceblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/the-legend-of-the-alnwick-castle-vampire/amp/

The Vampire murder mystery of Lilly Lindeström

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

All other music from this episode by the ridiculously talented Myuu.

In 1932, actress Peg Entwistle made a name for herself in Hollywood. But it wasn’t because of any movie role. Peg gained worldwide infamy by jumping off the Hollywood sign to commit suicide. And even long after Peg’s death, people claim to still see her ghost wandering throughout the Hollywood Hills.

 

Notes:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/12549/woman-who-jumped-hollywood-sign

http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-beat-peg-entwistle-tribute-20140918-story.html

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2014/10/hollywood-sign-haunted

Sign of the Times… Tragic Suicide Off the H: 1932

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

Coldnoise, Malaika

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Coldnoise/Who_We_Are/Coldnoise_-_Malaika

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Myuu, Walking Into Darkness

 

Naoya Sakamata, 9-1, Beyond the Poetry, Atmosphere Op 2

 

In 1946, the town of Texarkana was terrorized by a serial killer who stalked people parked in lover’s lanes at night. This mysterious madman has been the inspiration for countless songs, movies, books and urban legends. This is the true story, of the Phantom Killer, a murderer who has never been caught, even to this day.

 

Notes:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L5MQW2C/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Phantom Killer: The Unsolved Mystery of the Texarkana Murders

 

Music:

Kai Engel, Snowfall Intro, Changing Reality, May, Laceration, Tentative Steps

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/

Naoya Sakamata, Thought Amber, HorrorPiano

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/search/?quicksearch=dexter+Britain+the+tea+party

Myuu, Moonlight Menschen

 

 

In 1868, the cargo ship The Arran set sail for Quebec, Canada from Greenock, Scotland. Unknown to the captain, on board were a group of seven young stowaways. What happened to those boys is the stuff of nightmares. Those young boys endured a trip full of torture, starvation and eventually a harrowing journey across a massive ice field that turned into a battle for their very lives.

 

Notes:

http://www.worldofdante.org/inferno1.html

https://www.mun.ca/mha/mlc/articles/crew-but-not-regular-seafarers/stowaways.php

http://www.scotsman.com/news/the-arran-stowaways-thrown-off-a-ship-in-newfoundland-1-4305151

The tragic ‘Arran’ stowaways – cruelly abused, then abandoned barefoot on the ice fields of Newfoundland in 1868

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

 

Myuu, Round that Corner

Naoya Sakamata, Chemical Afterimage, Thought Amber, Atmosphere Op. 2, 9-1, The Intent of Revenge

Without a doubt the telephone is one of the greatest inventions in human history. But the invention also has a dark side. Listen to hear several true stories from history of unsolved murders, strange conspiracies and a series of phone calls that appeared to come from beyond the grave.

 

Notes:

PD James claims to have solved 1931 cold case murder | Liz Bury | Books | The Guardian

http://www.cracked.com/article_21794_hello-jfks-about-to-die-6-creepiest-anonymous-calls.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Herbert_Wallace

http://www.snopes.com/horrors/ghosts/deadcall.asp

http://gizmodo.com/5052314/la-train-victim-makes-35-phone-calls-from-beyond-the-grave

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/kupcinet.htm

http://articles.latimes.com/1992-08-19/news/vw-5724_1_phone-call

 

Music:

Philipp Weigl, Not the Streets You Used to Walk Along

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Philipp_Weigl/

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Lee Rosevere, At the Edges of Sleep

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lee_Rosevere/

Myuu, Down the Rabbit Hole, The End is Always Near, On the Chain

 

 

You can often judge a society by how it treats it’s least fortunate members. In particular, the disabled and the mentally ill. Throughout history, people with mental illness have been shuttered away in massive insane asylums, where the treatment they received was often more horrible and insane than the symptoms the patients were being treated for. Hear the history of London’s infamous Bedlam Hospital, the history of America’s Danvers State Hospital and more stories of the monstrous ways the mentally ill have been treated through history.

 

Notes:

10 Unsettling Mysteries From Asylums And Institutions

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/cemetery-danvers-hospital-criminally-insane

5 Insane Asylums and the Horrors That Happened There

https://www.danversstateinsaneasylum.com

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/techniques/bethlemroyalhospital

Bedlam: The Horrors of London’s Most Notorious Insane Asylum

 

Music:

Kai Engel, Silence, Seeker

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/

Coldnoise, Remember, Tale for Mind, Chance to Change, Fragments, Your Wonderland

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Coldnoise/

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

In 1896, the British decided to build a railroad across their colony in Africa. An Army colonel named John Henry Patterson was brought in to supervise construction of a railroad bridge across the Tsavo River. But Patterson never expected what would happen next. A pair of man-eating lions began to stalk and eat the workmen. This is the bizarre true story of The Ghost and The Darkness.

 

Notes:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/4/9/1250842/-Tsavo-Man-Eaters-The-True-Story-of-the-Ghost-and-the-Darkness

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/man-eaters-of-tsavo-11614317/

https://www.amazon.com/Man-Eaters-Tsavo-J-H-Patterson/dp/1438285701

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Coldnoise, Memories, Life of Butterflies, Demise and Downfall, Weakness

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Coldnoise/

Lion Sound Effect by Michael Koenig

http://soundbible.com/1415-Growling-Lion.html

During the early 20th century, America was caught up in a growing spiritualist movement that swept the nation. One hotspot for seances and new religious movements during the 1920s was Detroit. There, a self-styled “Divine Prophet” named Benny Evangelista met a brutal end. He and his entire family were murdered by an unknown assailant wielding an axe.  Here the true story of this bizarre unsolved murder, as well as the story of a man so determined to prove there was an afterlife, that he set in motion a plan to go there in person.

 

Notes:

http://weirddetroit.blogspot.com/2011/10/hauntings-have-been-part-of-human.html

A Ghost Story From Detroit’s Past You’ve Probably Never Heard

http://coldcaseshardcopy.blogspot.com/2011/07/divine-profetil-author-and-private.html

http://benny.weirdlectures.com

http://www.clickondetroit.com/features/st-aubin-street-massacre-1929-detroit-family-murders-still-unsolved

St. Aubin Street Massacre: The Benny Evangelist Family Murders

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Coldnoise, Tale for Mind, Memories, Who We Are, Malaika, Remember

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Coldnoise/

The first lonely hearts ads were published in 1695, just five years after the first newspapers were created. Almost from the very beginning, there have been criminals who have used these ads to prey on vulnerable people. Listen to three stories of different serial killers who found their victims through the lonely hearts ads.

 

Notes:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susie-lee/timeline-online-dating-fr_b_9228040.html

https://www.prairieghosts.com/belle.html

http://www.wvculture.org/history/crime/powers01.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/lonely-hearts-murderer-article-1.362857

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Fernandez_and_Martha_Beck

Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck: The Lonely Hearts Killers

Belle Gunness: The Black Widow of the Midwest Who Lured Numerous Victims to Their Deaths

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Rocco Granata, Lost Memories

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Rocco_Granata/

Phillip Weigl, Not the Streets You Used to Walk

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Philipp_Weigl/

Kai Engel, Silence

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/

Lee Rosevere, At the Edges of Sleep

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lee_Rosevere/

Chris Zabriskie, Stories About the World That Was, Virtues Inherited, Vices Passed On

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/

Throughout history there have been many self-appointed witch hunters who dedicated themselves to wiping out the minions of Satan. Hear the strange stories of witch hunts throughout history, including Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General, the Salem Witch trials, and the unsolved murder of the British man who may have been killed in the 20th century for being a witch.

 

Notes:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2041671/800-year-old-remains-witch-discovered-graveyard-Tuscany-Italy.html

http://www.sawneybean.com/horrors/matthew.htm

Was the 1945 “Pitchfork Murder” of Charles Walton the Result of Occult Activity?

http://www.salemwitchmuseum.com/education/

Hex Murder: Pow-Wow Witchcraft in York County, Pennsylvania

 

Music:

Kai Engel, Curtains are Always Drawn, Take a Look Around You, December, January, Tentative Steps

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Myuu, The End is Always Near

Naoya Sakamata, Chemical Afterimage

 

During the 1940s and early 1950s, a string of strange disappearances occurred around Glastenbury Mountain in Vermont. Theories range from alien abduction, to Bigfoot, to dimensional gateways, to a serial killer on the loose. The strange events that occurred throughout the region led to a writer dubbing it The Bennington Triangle.

 

Notes:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bennington_Triangle

The Vanished Town of Glastenbury and The Bennington Triangle

http://www.benningtontriangle.com

Bennington Triangle: Strange Disappearances In Vermont

Why Do People Keep Disappearing From the “Bennington Triangle”?

 

Music:

Naoya Sakamata, E4@-24b

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Kai Engel, Mist and Clouds, Snowfall Intro, Oneiri, Silence

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/

 

One of the great myths about serial killers perpetuated by books and the movies is that they’re all criminal geniuses like Hannibal Lecter. In truth, the criminal mastermind is extremely rare. Back in the late 19th century there lived a serial murderer named Edward Rulloff, who was considered so brilliant by academics of the era that his brain was studied and put on display for many decades after. Rolloff is almost forgotten to history today, but back in the day he was considered one of the greatest criminal masterminds of his era.

 

Notes:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_H._Rulloff

http://murderpedia.org/male.R/r/rulloff-edward.htm

https://ithacavoice.com/2014/09/strange-case-edward-rulloff-1800s-ithaca-murderer-bar-namesake/

http://www.crookedlakereview.com/articles/34_66/62may1993/62wisbey.html

Big Head, Dark Heart: The Notorious Brain of Edward H. Rulloff

Music:

The Owl, Moon Saturday, Owl’s Secret

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/The_Owl/

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

In 1958, 19 year old Charles Starkweather and 14 year old Caril Anne Fugate, set out on a murder spree that shocked a nation. Was Caril an innocent victim, or was she as violent as her boyfriend? Hear the true story that inspired numerous books, movies and songs.

 

Notes:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Starkweather

http://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/killing-spree-transfixed-nation-charles-starkweather-and-caril-fugate-1958

“A Crime To Remember”: Teenage Spree Killer Charles Starkweather

http://trib.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/report-charles-starkweather-s-girlfriend-in-critical-condition/article_bef562e6-7997-5eaa-9eeb-6c9b78ae8028.html

Music:

Naoya Sakamata, Esteem

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party, Opus 4

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/

Kai Engel, Difference

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/Better_Way/Kai_Engel_-_Better_Way_-_04_Difference

Blue Dot Sessions, Cobweb Transit, The Envelope, Suzy B

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Blue_Dot_Sessions/

 

Logic tells us curses aren’t real. Yet history is full of instances that make you scratch your head and wonder. Hear some of the strange true stories, including the legend of King Tut’s curse, the serial killer who cast a hex on the courtroom that convicted him and the curse of an ancient warlord that some people think may have killed millions of people.

 

Notes:

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread758529/pg1

http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/tut.htm

http://www.livescience.com/44297-king-tut-curse.html

http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-myths-legends/ancient-art-magic-curses-and-supernatural-spells-002253

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19910504&slug=1281135

http://www.weirduniverse.net/blog/comments/jake_bird_hex

Jake Bird: The Strange Story of a Tacoma Serial Killer and the Hex that Made Him Famous

http://www.fayobserver.com/news/local/fears-of-curse-foreshadowed-mystery-death/article_d6e7ef60-918c-5054-a2b9-1eed1beb311e.html

http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/archaeology/curse-of-the-mummy/

The Curse of Ax Murderer Jake Bird

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Kai Engel, Floret

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/Chapter_Two__Mild/Kai_Engel_-_Chapter_Two_-_Mild_-_01_Floret

Daniel Powell, Niji

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Daniel_Powell/

Ars Sonor, Rgrdlzz

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Ars_Sonor/

Chris Zabriskie, Cylinder Seven, Cylinder Eight

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/

Myuu, Danger

 

 

 

Back in 1927, an immigrant named Lillian Alling grew fed up with life in the United States, and she decided she would return to her homeland no matter what. What happened next is one of the most remarkable stories of human determination you’ve ever heard. Listen to the story of the woman who walked 5,000 miles to Russia.

 

Notes:

http://www.utne.com/arts/lillian-alling-ze0z1303zsau

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/the-enigma-of-lillian-alling/article1370387/

http://mentalfloss.com/article/91243/lillian-alling-woman-so-homesick-she-walked-new-york-alaska

http://strangeco.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-long-walk-home-of-lillian-alling.html

http://caitlin-press.com/our-books/lillian-alling-the-journey-home/

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

All other music from this episode by Naoya Sakamata.

The Intent of Revenge, Bitterness, Atmosphere, Atmosphere Op. 2

Back in 1912, on a warm June night in the little Iowa town of Villisca, an unknown madman murdered eight people with an axe. Learn the horrifying true story of the Moore family murders, and about the terrible events that put this town on the map.

 

Notes:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villisca_axe_murders

http://www.villiscaiowa.com/history.php

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/8033156

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/picture-gallery/news/2014/11/07/13-photos-inside-the-villisca-axe-murder-house/3898221/

 

Music:

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/The_Owl/Fairy_Forest

 

Although there’s no accurate count, it’s estimated there are about 100,000 islands scattered around the globe. Sometimes, remote islands have been used to hide dark secrets, and stories of absolute horror and human misery. These are some of those stories. Hear the true story about a tiny island in a remote corner of the Soviet Union that turned into a real hell on earth.

 

Notes:

Gruinard Island, The Island Of Anthrax, The Island Of Death!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk/scotland/1457035.stm

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1359420/Legacy-of-fear-on-blighted-anthrax-island.html

https://www.bajabound.com/bajaadventures/bajafever/seri_indians.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibur%C3%B3n_Island_Tragedy

http://www.seattletimes.com/life/travel/a-mythical-island-on-mexicos-untamed-coast/

The Russian Island of Cannibals

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazino_affair

PHOTOS: Cannibal Island, Where People Ate Each Other to Survive

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Lee Rosevere, Dream Colors, Cosmic Drifting, First Light, At Edges of Sleep

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lee_Rosevere/

We’ve all heard the story about how John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theater. But did you ever hear the story about the men who drove a mummy around the U.S. claiming it was Booth? Or the one about the gang of criminals who tried to steal Lincoln’s corpse? Or how about the Army major who was in Lincoln’s box that night who later went insane and tried to murder his entire family? These are strange but true stories your history teacher forgot to tell you.

 

Notes:

https://memory.loc.gov/ammem/alhtml/alrintr.html

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/lincolnconspiracy/conspirators.html

https://www.google.com/amp/www.chron.com/life/amp/9-things-you-didn-t-know-about-the-Lincoln-7248125.php

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2015/04/13/politics/lincoln-assassination-at-150/index.html?client=safari

http://rogerjnorton.com/Lincoln47.html

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2007/06/24/a-plot-to-steal-lincolns-body

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/04/15/the-mystery-of-lincoln-s-assassin.html

http://m.mentalfloss.com/article.php?id=31845

Rathbone Ends Long List Of Lincoln Party Tragedies

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/videos/category/history/a-presidents-premonition/

http://www.theverge.com/2013/7/31/4395960/john-wilkes-booth-killed-lincoln-but-who-killed-john-wilkes-booth

http://blogs.weta.org/boundarystones/2013/02/22/little-known-victims-lincoln-assassination

10 Strange Fates Of People Connected To Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Julie Maxwell’s Piano Music, Dark Wonder

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Julie_Maxwells_Piano_Music/Piano_Soul/Julie_Maxwells_piano_music_-_Piano_Soul_-_18_Dark_Wonder

Myuu, Scent of Night, You, Morbid Mind, What Could Have Been and Wind’s Wreck

Fabrizio Paterlini, Autumn Stories

Throughout history, there have been a number of shadowy groups dedicated to the art of deception and murder. Today, we have a name for these people. We call them assassins. Hear the true story of the history of such groups, including the bizarre true story of the Indian death cult that may have been responsible for as many as two million deaths.

 

Notes:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thug_Behram

http://www.historynet.com/holy-terror-the-rise-of-the-order-of-assassins.htm

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2012/12/where-did-the-word-assassin-come-from/

http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/thuggees-cult-assassins-india-002145

10 Deadliest Assassin Organizations In History

http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/11/18/245953619/what-a-thugs-life-looked-like-in-nineteenth-century-india

The Thugs of India

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Kai Engel, Take a Look Around You, Realness, Changing Reality

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/

Myuu, What Could Have Been, Scent of Night, Take a Look Around You, The End is Always near, Facing Darkness, Tender Remains

H.H. Holmes was the alias of one of America’s first serial killers. In Chicago in the late 1800s, he built an enormous “murder castle” where he may have killed as many as 200 people.

 

Notes:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._H._Holmes

http://mentalfloss.com/article/72642/9-things-you-didnt-know-about-americas-first-serial-killer-hh-holmes

https://www.prairieghosts.com/holmes.html

https://www.amazon.com/Devil-White-City-Madness-Changed/dp/0375725601

Hotel of Horrors: The Murder Castle of Dr. H.H. Holmes

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Kai Engel, Heart and Mind, Floret, Rejecting the Sirens

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/

Peter Rudenko, When it Rains, Winter Sun

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Peter_Rudenko/

Nine Inch Nails, Corona Radiate

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Nine_Inch_Nails/The_Slip/Corona_Radiata

In survival stories, we often play the “what if” game, and wonder what we would do differently under the same circumstances. Here are two true stories of people lost in the jungle, including the remarkable tale of a teenage girl who fell 10,000 feet out of an airplane that crashed into the Peruvian rainforest.

 

Notes:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/24/death-on-the-serpent-river-how-the-lost-girls-of-panama-disappeared.html

These Haunting Photos Were Snapped Just Before These Tourists Mysteriously Disappeared.

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-17476615

Survival Stories: The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/07/02/germany.aircrash.survivor/

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Chris Zabriskie, I Need to Start Writing Things Down, I Am a Man Who Will Fight For Your Honor

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/

Kai Engel, Mist and Clouds

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/The_Scope/Kai_Engel_-_The_Scope_-_01_Mist_and_Clouds

On Christmas Eve, 1945, the home of George and Jennie Sodder was destroyed by fire. George, Jennie and four of their ten children managed to escape unharmed. But five more of the Sodder children mysteriously vanished without a trace. Did they die in the fire? Or did something even more sinister happen to them?

 

Notes:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-children-who-went-up-in-smoke-172429802/

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5067563

What Was the Fate of the Five Sodder Children?

Gone on Christmas Eve: The Sodder Children Disappearance of 1945

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party, Lost in Light

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain

Kai Engel, Snowfall Intro, Lost in Light, January, March

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/

Bensound, Relaxing

http://www.bensound.com/

Return to Normal, Lincoln Street Nocturne, Nokomis

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Return_to_Normal/

Long before the Zodiac Killer terrorized southern California, there was another similar string of murders in which a bizarre killer stalked and murdered people at local lover’s lanes then sent taunting, coded messages to the police and newspapers. Although the 3X killer is almost forgotten today, during the 1930s, the unknown man terrorized the entire city of New York, and launched one of the largest criminal manhunts in the city’s history.

 

Notes:

Famous Crimes the World Forgot: Ten Vintage True Crime Stories Rescued from Obscurity by Jason Lucky Morrow

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00R8U35GQ

http://zeldaandfscott.com/post/140032598477/the-agent-3x-murders-part-1

http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/fish-eyes-3x-june-1930-chapter-67-article-1.867342

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Kai Engel, Ouecumene Sleeps

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/Better_Way/Kai_Engel_-_Better_Way_-_08_Oecumene_Sleeps

Chris Zabriskie, Cylinders

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/2014010103336111

On April 7, 1994, FedEx Flight 705 took off on a routine flight from Memphis to San Jose. What happened next was anything but routine though. A rogue FedEx employee attempted to seize control of the aircraft, and this flight turned into one of the most harrowing and violent skyjackings in history. This is the amazing true story.

 

Notes:

http://www.tailstrike.com/070494.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_hijacking

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Bensound, November

http://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music/cinematic

Philipp Weigl, The Scent of Cedars and Subdivision of the Masses

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Philipp_Weigl/

Scott Holmes, The Fight Against Time

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Holmes/Music_for_TV__Film/Fight_Against_Time

Kai Engel, Rejecting the Sirens

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/Written_in_Ink/Kai_Engel_-_Written_in_Ink_-_09_Rejecting_the_Sirens

It’s bizarre enough when a single serial killer is terrorizing the community. But an entire family of serial killers is almost unheard of. In 1843, in rural Kansas a family of serial killers known as The Bloody Benders cut a deadly swath across the prairie.

 

Notes:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloody_Benders

http://mentalfloss.com/article/53672/bloody-benders-americas-first-serial-killers

http://www.prairieghosts.com/bender.html

Scary House On The Prairie: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Brush With ‘Bloody Benders’ Serial Killers

Little House of Murder: The Bloody Benders

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Chris Zabriskie, The Oceans Continue to Rise

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/Music_from_Neptune_Flux/ChrisZabriskie-MusicfromNeptuneFlux-04

Blear Moon, Gean

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Blear_Moon/Town_of_Two_Houses/Gean

Blue Dot Sessions, Cobweb Transit and In Paler Skies

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Blue_Dot_Sessions/Aeronaut/In_Paler_Skies_1276

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Blue_Dot_Sessions/Speakeasy_1959/Cobweb_Transit

 

In 1943, a group of teenage boys in England’s Hagley Woods discovered a woman’s skeleton inside the trunk of a gnarled old wych elm. Was it a bizarre occult murder? Or was it another type of evil entirely? Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm remains one of the most enduring unsolved murders in British history.

 

Notes:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_put_Bella_in_the_Wych_Elm%3F

https://theunredacted.com/the-hagley-woods-mystery-bella-in-the-wych-elm/

http://www.phantomsandmonsters.com/2016/10/the-hagley-woods-mystery-who-put-bella.html

Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm?

Witchcraft, Nazi Spies and Unsolved Murder

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Laszlo Harsanyi, Witchcraft

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Harsanyi_Laszlo/Witchcraft/

Kai Engel, Past the Lanterns

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/Paradigm_Lost/04_-_Past_The_Lanterns

Peter Rudenko, When it Rains, The Undo Spell, and What Follows Me

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Peter_Rudenko/

 

P.T. Barnum was many things in life–a showman, a con artist, a politician, and much more. This is the amazing true story of the man who managed to hoax the world.

 

Notes:

www.history.com/news/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-p-t-barnum

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._T._Barnum

http://hoaxes.org/archive/display/category/p.t._barnum

http://www.barnum-museum.org/manmythlegend.htm

P. T. Barnum: An Entertaining Life

http://hoaxes.org/archive/permalink/the_cardiff_giant

http://www.history.com/news/the-cardiff-giant-fools-the-nation-145-years-ago

http://www.livescience.com/55787-cardiff-giant.html

 

Music:

All music from this episode is by Dexter Britain.

The Tea Party, The Time to Run Finale, Juncture, Losing Love and Opus 04

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/

The story of what happened to Edgar Allan Poe in his final days has endured for centuries. In his final days, the writer disappeared for days, then mysteriously reappeared delirious and lying in the gutter in front of a Baltimore tavern. This is the true story of the life and death of one of the most famous writers in American literature.

 

Notes:

http://www.poemuseum.org/

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/ist/?next=/history/still-mysterious-death-edgar-allan-poe-180952936/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Edgar_Allan_Poe

http://www.biography.com/news/edgar-allan-poe-death-facts

The Mystery of Edgar Allan Poe’s Death: 19 Theories on What Caused the Poet’s Demise

http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/how-did-edgar-allan-poe-die

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe_Toaster

http://mentalfloss.com/article/73908/baltimores-new-poe-toaster-honors-edgar-allan-poe

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

All other music from this episode by Kai Engel.

Take a Look Around You, Better Way, Realness, Difference, Hopes and Dreams, Changing Reality, Ode to the World, Oecumene Sleeps, Crying Earth and Shinedown (PON VI)

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/

For three years during the mid 18th Century, the Gevaudan region of southern France was terrorized by a real life monster. To this day, no one knows precisely what the creature was, or where it came from, but in the end The Beast of Gevaudan has been accused of killing as many as 113 people. This is the true story.

 

Notes:

Monsters of the Gévaudan: The Making of a Beast – Jay M. Smith – Google Books

http://les.cevennes.free.fr/en/gevaudan.htm

http://fortean.wikidot.com/beast-of-gevaudan

http://www.unknownexplorers.com/beastofgevaudan.php

http://karlshuker.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-beast-of-gevaudan-wolf-manor-wolf.html?m=1

https://www.geriwalton.com/index.php/2016/06/the-beast-of-gevaudan/

The Beast of Gevaudan Terrorizes France

The Beast of Gévaudan: A Real-Life Werewolf?

http://io9.gizmodo.com/5871897/the-modern-day-hunt-for-frances-beast-of-gevaudan

http://www.historytoday.com/crispin-andrews/sherlock-holmes-and-beast-gevaudan

http://www.dark-stories.com/eng/gevaudan_beast.htm

http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2016/09/27/solving-the-mystery-of-the-18th-century-killer-beast-of-gevaudan/

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Chris Zabriskie, Cylinder Seven

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/2014010103336111/Chris_Zabriskie_-_Cylinders_-_07_-_Cylinder_Seven

Crimson Curtain, Vanishing

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Crimson_Curtain/Music_for_Vampires/05_MusicForVampires_-_Crimson_Curtain_-_Vanishing_1147_1300

David Cooper Orton, Soundtrack 2. Act 4

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/David_Cooper_Orton/Caligari_An_Exquisite_Corpse/Soundtrack_2_Act_4

Edmund Sullen, A Cry Within

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Edmund_Sullen/Music_for_Vampires/A_Cry_Within_1364

Mike Fazio, Soundtrack 1. Act 2

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Mike_Fazio/Caligari_An_Exquisite_Corpse/Soundtrack1Act2

Nevermore Eleanor, Invitation

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Nevermore_Eleanor/Music_for_Vampires/Invitation_1213

 

For centuries there have been stories of people who were buried alive. These are the macabre true stories of people who were declared dead and buried, even though they really weren’t.

 

Notes:

https://www.bizarrepedia.com/joseph-burrus/

Supposed Corpses: Almost Buried Alive

http://moviepilot.com/posts/2460850/amp

Angelo Hays: The Man Who Was Buried Alive

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mummies_of_Guanajuato

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duns_Scotus

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1257330/Lifting-lid-macabre-history-buried-alive.html

http://www.calebwilde.com/2014/05/true-story-essie-dunbar-lived-47-years-after-she-was-buried-alive/

I’m Not Dead Yet

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Kai Engel, December, January and River

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/

Phillip Weigl, The Scent of Cedars

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Philipp_Weigl/Sound-trax/Philipp_Weigl_-_03_-_The_Scent_of_Cedars

Sergei Chereminisov, Pulsar

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Sergey_Cheremisinov/

Julie Maxwell’s Piano Music, Dark Wonder

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Julie_Maxwells_Piano_Music/Piano_Soul/Julie_Maxwells_piano_music_-_Piano_Soul_-_18_Dark_Wonder

Scott Holmes, Secret Garden

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Holmes/Music_for_TV__Film_Vol_2/Strange_Encounter

Andrew Sack, 1a 01

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Andrew_Sack/IA879/IA_01

In 1961, millionaire Michael Rockefeller disappeared in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Did he drown as the official stories claim? Or did he suffer a much more grisly fate at the hands of native cannibal headhunters? This is the true story.

 

Notes:

http://www.outsideonline.com/1929556/mysterious-disappearance-michael-rockefeller

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockefeller_family

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/What-Really-Happened-to-Michael-Rockefeller-180949813/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milt_Machlin

http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/stories/whatever-happened-to-michael-rockefeller

Lost Lands, Cannibals, and the Mysterious Disappearance of Michael Rockefeller

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Kai Engel, Past the Lanterns, Rejecting the Sirens and Without Redemption

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/

Scott Holmes, Abandoned City

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Holmes/Film__Documentary/Abandoned_City

James Joshua Otto, Midnight Drive

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/James_Joshua_Otto/And_then_the_mountains_moved/Midnight_Drive

Jon Luc Hefferman, Treacherous Voyage

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Jon_Luc_Hefferman/Production_Music_2/Treacherous_Voyage

 

 

They say that revenge is a dish best served cold. History has many tales of people who took the act of revenge to a whole new level. In this episode hear the stories of The 47 Ronin of Japan, and of Olga of Kiev, the Russian princess turned Catholic Saint whose bloodthirsty act of vengeance wiped out an entire city.

Notes:

http://www.littlebudha.com/olga-of-kiev-bird-fire/

https://orthodoxwiki.org/Olga_of_Kiev

Olga of Kiev: One saint you do not want to mess with

http://russiapedia.rt.com/prominent-russians/history-and-mythology/princess-olga-of-kiev/

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/01/saint-buried-people-alive-burned-city-revenge/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forty-seven_Ronin

https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/punishment

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/revenge-evolution/

 

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

All other music from this episode by Kai Engel.

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/

http://www.kai-engel.com/

In the mid-1870s two of the most prominent paleontologists in the world, Edward Drinker Cope and O.C. Marsh, waged an epic and often ridiculous war against one another. This is the bizarre true story of The Bone Wars.

 

Notes:

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-lancashire-31623397

http://www.npr.org/2012/12/09/166665795/forget-extinct-the-brontosaurus-never-even-existed

Bone Wars! Othniel Marsh vs. Edward Drinker Cope

http://www.earthmagazine.org/article/benchmarks-march-1-1872-bone-wars-heat

http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2015/04/15/battle-for-the-bone-wars-beasts/

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/introduction/dinosaur-intro/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_Wars

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

All other music by Julie Maxwell’s Piano Music

The Place I Called Home

Forever In Your Arms

Someday

Redefining

Dark Wonder

Time Traveler

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Julie_Maxwells_Piano_Music/

http://www.juliemaxwell.com/

Have you ever been home alone and felt like you were being watched? Here are two stories of people whose killers may have been living with them unaware victims for months.

Notes:

http://modernnotion.com/hinterkaifeck-murders/

The Mysterious Unsolved Murders of Hinterkaifeck Farm

The Hinterkaifeck Murders

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Edward_Coneys

Spider in the Attic

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Bosques de mi Mente, Y de Repented de Curaste

https://bosquesdemimente.bandcamp.com/album/trenes-de-juguete

Kai Engel, Oneiri

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/ICD-10/Kai_Engel_-_ICD-10_-_06_Oneiri

Chris Zabriskie, Undercover Vampire Policeman

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/Undercover_Vampire_Policeman/07_-_Undercover_Vampire_Policeman_1990

During the 18th century in Britain, there was a thriving business in black market body snatching. An enterprising duo named Burke and Hare took the practice to its next logical conclusion, but murdering multiple people in order to provide the bodies. Learn the entire true story in here, along with the reason why Ben Franklin had a bunch of skeletons in his basement.

 

Notes:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burke_and_Hare_murders

http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=aa05

http://www.history.co.uk/study-topics/history-of-death/the-rise-of-the-body-snatchers

http://www.history.co.uk/study-topics/history-of-london/invasion-of-the-body-snatchers

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resurrectionists_in_the_United_Kingdom

The Skeletons in Benjamin Franklin’s Basement

The Mystery of the Burke and Hare Murder Dolls

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

“Impromptu in Blue” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

“Spacial Harvest” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

“Lightless Dawn” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

 

The true story of the Cleveland Torso Murders, and legendary lawman Eliot Ness’s investigation into the murders. Although officially the killer was never caught, did Ness actually discover the murderer’s identity?

 

Notes:

http://clevelandmagazine.com/in-the-cle/case-closed-

http://www.ifip.com/ness.html

http://www.clevelandpolicemuseum.org/collections/eliotness.html

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliot_Ness

http://www.torsomurders.com/

http://www.prairieghosts.com/torso.html

The Cleveland Torso Murders big on history, small on research

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

All other music from this episode was by The Blue Dot Sessions

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Blue_Dot_Sessions/

 

The strange true story of Jack Parsons, one of the co-founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and fathers of modern rocket science, as well as the member of a black magic sex cult with ties to the creation of the Church of Scientology.

Notes:

http://www.space.com/29295-rocket-history.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Parsons_(rocket_engineer)

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-last-of-the-magicians

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/jpl-jack-parsons

http://www.spacesafetymagazine.com/aerospace-engineering/rocketry/jack-parsons-occult-roots-jpl/

 

Music:

Bensound.com, Sad Day

http://www.bensound.com/

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Wayne Kinos, Settling In

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Interior_Melodies/Cat_Dreams/Settling_In

Blue Dot Sessions, Cobweb Transit

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Blue_Dot_Sessions/Speakeasy_1959/Cobweb_Transit

Blue Dot Sessions, Helmer Sprak, Zither Sprak

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Blue_Dot_Sessions/CloudCover/

 

 

The strange true story of The Galapagos Affair. On a tiny tropical island, a self-described “Baroness” mysteriously vanished after running afoul of a small group of settlers.  Was it murder?

Notes:

http://latinamericacurrentevents.com/headless-gringa-of-the-galapagos-islands/32118/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floreana_Island

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Galapagos_Affair

http://latinamericanhistory.about.com/od/20thcenturylatinamerica/a/09galaffair.htm

 

 

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Chris Zabriskie, That Kid in Fourth Grade Who Really Liked the Denver Broncos

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/Undercover_Vampire_Policeman/06_-_That_Kid_in_Fourth_Grade_Who_Really_Liked_the_Denver_Broncos_1128

Chris Zabriskie, Cylinder Three

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/2009_-_2014/Chris_Zabriskie_-_2009_-_2014_-_12_-_Cylinder_Three

Nonima, Shadow

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Nonima/Coma_Dives/Nonima_-_Coma_Dives_-_11_Shadow

Nonima, Chakici Inverse

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Nonima/Coma_Dives/Nonima_-_Coma_Dives_-_07_Chakici_Inverse

Dexter Britain, Telling Stories

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_5/12_Telling_Stories

 

http://thoughtcatalog.com/christine-stockton/2014/10/a-man-dug-up-the-corpses-of-29-girls-turned-them-into-dolls-and-lived-with-them-in-his-bedroom/It’s hard to let your loved ones go after they die. Some people find it so difficult, in fact, that they bring their remains home with them. Hear about the true bizarre story of Carol Tanzler, a man who was never able to let his true love go, even long after she was dead and buried.

 

Notes:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatoly_Moskvin

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Tanzler

Undying Love: Carl Tanzler’s Mummified Dream Girl

http://www.oddee.com/item_98862.aspx

Ghost Marriages: Why Are People Digging Up Corpses And Marrying Them In China?

http://www.vice.com/read/the-little-death-living-and-loving-as-a-necrophiliac-511

http://gawker.com/5579998/widow-who-lived-with-corpses-of-husband-and-twin-for-10-years-surprisingly-sane

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penthesilea

A Man Dug Up The Corpses Of 29 Girls, Turned Them Into Dolls, And Lived With Them In His Bedroom

 

Music:

Dexter Britain – The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Bensound – Relaxing, November, Ofelia’s Dream, Better Days

Music:http://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music

 

The Isdal Woman of Norway and the Somerton Man of Australia are two of the most famous unsolved crimes in history. Who were these mysterious people? No one knows. Here are their stories.

Notes:

The Strange Case of the Isdal Woman

Norway’s Greatest Mystery: The Isdal Woman

http://theunredacted.com/mystery-of-somerton-man-the-taman-shud-case/

Sorry, The Unknown Man is (very probably) not H. C. Reynolds…

 

Music:

Blear Moon, Cold Summer Landscape

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Blear_Moon/Town_of_Two_Houses/Cold_Summer_Landscape

Blear Moon, Gean

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Blear_Moon/Town_of_Two_Houses/Gean

Chris Zabriskie, Undercover Vampire Policeman

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/Undercover_Vampire_Policeman/07_-_Undercover_Vampire_Policeman_1990

Chris Zabriskie, Vices Inherited, Vices Passed On

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/Reappear/07_-_Virtues_Inherited_Vices_Passed_On

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

In 1961, an 11-year-old girl named Terry Jo Dupperault narrowly escaped death at the hands of a clever killer who murdered her entire family. Then she was forced to survive on her own clinging to a tiny raft in the middle of the ocean for days.

 

Notes:

Alone: Orphaned on the Ocean, by Richard Logan and Tere Duperrault Fassbender

https://www.amazon.com/Alone-Orphaned-Ocean-Richard-Logan/dp/0425242080

http://www.salon.com/2012/08/04/bluebelles_last_voyage_a_true_crime/

http://www.today.com/id/36964672/ns/today-today_books/t/orphaned-sea-tere-now-tells-story/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluebelle_(ship)

 

Orphaned on the Ocean: The Unbelievable Story of Terry Jo Duperrault

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Chris Zabriskie, John Stockton Slow Drag

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/Undercover_Vampire_Policeman/02_-_John_Stockton_Slow_Drag_1468

Michael Bruckner, Fluchtig

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Michael_Bruckner/The_Giant_Illusion_A_Compilation/Michael_Brckner_-_The_Giant_Illusion_A_Compilation_-_10_Flchtig

Michael Bruckner, Island

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Michael_Bruckner/The_Giant_Illusion_A_Compilation/Michael_Brckner_-_The_Giant_Illusion_A_Compilation_-_09_Island

Kai Engel, March

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/Chapter_Two__Mild/Kai_Engel_-_Chapter_Two_-_Mild_-_02_March

Kai Engel, January

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/Chapter_One__Cold/Kai_Engel_-_Chapter_One_-_Cold_-_05_January

 

Episode 5: The Girl on the Water
One of the most common traits among all living creatures is the will to survive. Which only makes sense if you think about it because anything else would lead to the extinction of the species. Sometimes that choice is taken out of the creature’s hands, or claws, as it were in the case of the dinosaur. Although most modern paleontogists will tell you the dinosaur never went completely away. They just grew wings and feathers, and learned how to fly. In the case of human beings, people have proven especially adept at surviving in practically every climate and locale on earth. And for every story of a plane crash or a lost arctic expedition with no survivors, there are many other similar tales where people manage to survive miraculously beyond all odds. This is one such story.
On November 13, 1961, the Greek oil freighter Captain Theo was on its way through the Northwest Providence Channel, which bisects the Bahama Islands, on a trip from Antwerp, Belgium to Houston, Texas. Nicolaos Spachidakis, the ship’s second officer, was on watch. From his perch high up on the ship’s bridge he could see other ships scattered here and there across the vast ocean. As his eyes drifted over the white-capped waves, something caught his eye. He squinted through the sun’s glare at a tiny white speck bobbing in the distance about a mile off the ship’s starboard bow. He focused on it intently, trying to make out what it was. He didn’t think it was just simple debris, and the only other thing he could think of that size would be a fishing dinghy, but that didn’t make any sense either. No fishing dinghy would be out this far from shore. He summoned Captain Stylianos Coutsodontis to the bridge, and as the freighter drew nearer to the object the two men were stunned to realize it was not a dinghy, but a small white life float, and on top of the float was something impossible. It was a little blond-haired girl staring up at them and waving weakly.
The girl had on pink pants and a thin white blouse and she was sprawled backwards across the float, steadying herself on her elbows, with her feet dangling over the float’s side into the water. One of the crewman grabbed his camera and snapped her photo as she stared up at them, squinting against the sun. The captain ordered the freighter to come to a full stop and to toss a small raft over the side. He was worried that if they launched one of the larger lifeboats they might knock the girl right off into the drink. Dark shapes circled in the water, and the captain ordered his men to hurry, realizing there were sharks closing in on the girl. The crew quickly constructed a makeshift raft out of empty oil drums and one of the crew went into the water with it. He reached the girl and lifted her up off the float, and soon the crew was hoisting both of them back up onto the freighter’s deck.
The little girl was barely conscious, and it was obvious she had been out on the ocean for some time. Her lips were puffy and cracked, her skin was badly burned, her cheeks sunken from dehydration. They tried to stand her on two feet, but she collapsed. The captain carried her below deck to a spare cabin and laid her down on a bunk.  Teary-eyed crewmembers brought her water and fresh orange juice and gently wiped the salt from her skin with damp cloths. The captain tried to ask the little girl her name, but she wouldn’t respond. He told her he needed to know her name so he could get word to her family that she was alive, but she only shook her head, then lifted her hand and pointed downward with her thumb.  The captain realized what she was telling him. “You can’t be sure they are lost,” he said. But she shook her head again, only this time she said a single word, “Bluebelle.”
As time went on the gaps in the girl’s story would begin to fill in, revealing a harrowing tale of survival on the open ocean, and of her narrow escape from death at the hands of a clever killer who had eluded detection for decades.
I’m Nate Hale, reporting to you adrift at sea somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle, and this is The Conspirators.
Arthur Duperrault was an optometrist from Green Bay, Wisconsin who dreamed of the sea. During World War II he had served in the Navy, sailing the warm waters of the South Seas and he longed to return there someday. He often spoke about wanting to take a year off with his family, charter a sailboat and island hop his way around the world. By 1961, he had made enough money off his practice to fulfill his dream, so he closed up his office, pulled his children out of school and took his family on what would turn out to be their last trip together.
On November 8, 1961, Arthur Duperrault, along with his wife, Jean, his 14-year-old son Brian, and daughters Terry Jo, 11, and Rene, seven, arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where they rented a double-masted sailboat, The Bluebelle. The ship’s captain was a 44-year-old man named Julian Harvey, an experienced sailor and former fighter pilot in World War II and Korea. He was a bona fide, decorated war hero, and since Arthur was a fellow vet, he trusted the man immediately, knowing he and his family were in good hands.
Julian Harvey was the sort of man who naturally inspired confidence in others. He was Hollywood handsome, well-muscled with a thick head full of blond curls and chiseled features. He had actually once worked a brief stint as a male model for the John Robert Powers Agency.
After serving two decorated tours in WWII and Korea, he went on to own a number of racing vessels, before purchasing the Bluebelle, which he lived aboard with his wife of four months, a former TWA stewardess named Mary Dene. It was no wonder he was irresistible to women, although he seemed to have a hard time holding on to them. Mary Dene was marriage number six for him.
He was the son of a gorgeous Broadway performer. He never knew his biological father, who left his mother when he was still an infant. She went on to marry a vaudeville showman, and that man doted on Julian. He bought him his first sailboat for his 10th birthday, instilling in him his lifelong love of sailing. But the Great Depression hit the family hard. Julian Harvey’s mother and stepfather divorced and the boy went to live with a wealthy aunt and uncle where, according to reports, he developed a taste for money and the good life.
By the time Julian reached college his life seemed aimless. He was known to have a wild streak. He liked to drive fast and live recklessly. He joined the Air Corps in 1941, where he flew more than 30 bomber missions and gained a reputation as a fearless flyer. He earned a load of medals, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, and eventually achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel.
After the war, settling down just wasn’t in his blood. He met and married a succession of women. In 1953, he married a Texas businesswoman. This would be wife number 4 for those keeping score, but within three months of their marriage, Julian Harvey rejoined the military and left her. He flew 114 missions in Korea and earned another bunch of medals. But immediately after returning from the war, he got divorced again. Then married and divorced again, all of which led up to his marrying Mary Dene, the wife he brought with him on the Bluebelle.
The Dupperaults set sail with Julian and Mary Dene on Wednesday, November 8 on a course for the Bahamas. Their plan was to give it a week in the islands, and if all went well, they’d keep travelling all over the globe. 11-year-old Terry Jo shared her father’s love for the water and she, like her brother and sister, was thrilled by the thought of the adventure to come. The first stop on their journey was Bimini, where she had the time of her life snorkeling and collecting shells off the pink sandy beaches.  By Sunday they had sailed further east to Sandy Point, and that night around 9 o’clock, Terry Jo settled in to sleep in the tiny cabin below deck at the back of the boat. Normally, her little sister Rene slept there with her, but on this particular night Rene stayed up on deck with their mother and father while Terry Jo went to sleep by herself.
In the middle of the night she was startled awake by her older brother’s voice crying out, “Help, Daddy! Help!” She heard what sounded like running up on deck, followed by the sounds of loud banging and thumps, then nothing. After several minutes, Terry worked up the courage to crawl out of her bunk and into the main cabin, where she discovered to her complete horror her mother and brother’s bodies lying crumpled in a pool of blood. She crawled up the steps and on to the deck, where she found another puddle of blood and what she thought was a knife. She turned and suddenly Captain Harvey was there and he lunged at her. He shoved her back down the steps and ordered her to stay there.
She tried not to look at her mother and brother’s bodies as she made her way back to her bunk in the rear of the boat. She climbed onto the bunk and waited there in the dark, her heart thudding in her chest. After a while she began to hear sloshing noises and she could smell oily water. Terry Jo realized the ship was filling with water, but she was too scared to move.
Suddenly the doorway to the cabin was filled with the captain’s huge shape. He held something in his hands that she thought was a rifle. He stared at her for a long minute, and for a brief time she was convinced he was going to kill her right then and there. But then he just pivoted and walked away out of the cabin and returned to the deck. The water was rising more quickly now, and Terri Jo knew she had to get out of the cabin too. She waded through waist-deep water and found her way up to the deck. In the dim light she could see the ship’s dinghy and rubber life raft bobbing next to the boat. She asked Captain Harvey if the ship was sinking. He growled at her that it was, then he shoved a rope attached to the dinghy at her and ordered her to hold it. Terry Jo held it for a second, then she let it fall from her fingers. The Captain glared at her, then turned and dove into the water after it. He swam into the darkness after the dinghy, leaving Terry Jo all alone.
Terry Jo felt the ship tipping into the water. She recalled seeing a small cork float attached to the side of the main cabin. She ran for it and hurried to untie it. She yanked the float down and as soon as she had it in her handss the rest of the boat sank under her feet into the ocean. She clung to the float for dear life. She squeezed herself on top of the tiny wedge, terrified the captain was going to return and find her. She had no food, no water, and she only had on a pair of pink pants and a thin cotton blouse. She drifted in the dark, shivering and frightened and alone. It was only then that she began to wonder what had happened to her father. She never found out.
A rain shower drenched her later that night, chilling her even more. But it was worse in the daylight. The sun scorched her from above, burning her skin as if she were being held under a magnifying glass. Even worse, she realized the cork float was beginning to disintegrate under her. She was forced the dangle her feet in the water, and schools of parrot fish nibbled at her legs. She wasn’t hungry at all, but her thirst soon grew maddening. On Tuesday she spotted a small red airplane overhead and she waved at it frantically. The plane appeared to dip lower in the sky toward her, then turned and flew away.
Terry drifted for days and the cruel sun made her thirst grow worse and worse. As her tongue thickened and her throat began to constrict, she grew delirious and she drifted in and out of consciousness. One night she dreamed of her father sitting peacefully at a table where he offered her a glass of wine. It was a lovely dream, and she desperately wanted to join him in that glass of wine. All she had to do was let go of the float and allow herself sink into the azure depths. But still she held on.
By mid-morning of her fourth night on the water she dreamed she was drifting in the shadow of a massive whale. She opened her eyes only to realize it wasn’t a whale at all looming over her, but an enormous ship. At first she wasn’t sure this if this was another hallucination, but it wasn’t. Terry Jo had been saved.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the ocean, a different oil freighter came across a small dinghy bobbing in the sea. Inside the dinghy was Captain Julian Harvey and the body of Terry Jo’s little sister Rene. Within two days, Captain Harvey was back in Miami and undergoing an official Coast Guard investigation. In the hearing room, Captain Harvey told the investigators a tale about the Bluebelle getting caught in a storm, shattering the ship’s masts and causing a fire to break out. He said the only person he had been able to save from the ship was 7-year-old Rene, but tragically, the little girl drowned as they swam for the dinghy.
Although what happened next seems like the sort of contrived moment dreamed up by a Hollywood screenwriter this really happened. While Harvey was just wrapping up telling his phony story to the investigators, a Coast Guard official burst into the room and announced that another survivor had been found.
“Oh my God,” Harvey managed to stammer out, adding, “That’s wonderful.” Then Harvey rose from his seat and hurriedly out of the hearing room.
The next time the authorities saw Julian Harvey, they were staring down at his corpse in a Miami hotel room bathroom. He had committed suicide by slitting his wrists with a razor blade. He left behind a brief suicide note and a ten-dollar-tip for the hotel maid that he pinned to the pillow on his bed. The note read, “I’m a nervous wreck and just can’t continue. I’m going out now. I guess I either don’t like life or don’t know what to do with it.”
The truth had finally caught up to Captain Harvey. As investigators started to uncover what had happened that night, they learned that shortly before embarking on the cruise, Harvey had taken out a $20,000 insurance policy on his wife Mary. As they dug deeper into Harvey’s past they learned that Harvey’s third wife and his wife’s mother had also died in a suspicious car crash while Julian was driving, and that he had collected a large insurance payout then as well.
Back in 1949, while Harvey was living on an Air Force base in Valparaiso, Florida, he was driving home one night from a movie with his then wife and mother-in-law when, according to him, his car skidded out of control and went over the side of a bridge. Both women drowned. Harvey claimed he had been able to throw himself clear of the car moments before it went in the water, but even then investigators doubted him. Divers found that all four car doors were locked, and only the driver’s window was open as if Harvey had swum to safety, leaving the women to drown. But there was no proof that was what happened, so Harvey skated free. It should be noted that a military doctor who interviewed Harvey at the time wrote about him “that underneath his veneer of charm and sophistication was an amoral man with no real empathy for others, a man who could be dangerous.” Or, in other words, a true sociopath.
After collecting the insurance money from his wife’s death, Harvey quickly remarried and went on to purchase a couple of yachts, each of which sunk under mysterious circumstances, and in each instance, also paid out huge insurance settlements.
Investigators believed that Harvey had planned to murder his wife during the voyage, but Terry Jo’s father caught him in the act and tried to stop him, causing the captain to change plans and murder the entire family.
Terry Jo returned to Green Bay and lived with her aunt and uncle. The photo the Greek sailor took of her ended up being used in Life magazine, and for a while she became a media sensation. In fact, it was because of Terry’s case that it became the maritime industry standard for most emergency life jackets and life rafts to be constructed of vibrant colors like bright orange and yellow to stand out against the sea. Terry Jo wanted to avoid the spotlight so she changed her name and for nearly fifty years she avoided talking about the incident, until finally in 2010 when she finally decided to write a book that told the whole story. It was called Alone: Orphaned on the Ocean. In an interview with CBS News she told the reporter, “I always believed I was saved for a reason. If one person heals from a life tragedy [after reading my story], my journey will have been worth it.”
The Conspirators is written and produced by me, Nate Hale, an entirely fictional identity. If you enjoy the show and want to help it grow, please tell your friends and family about it, and leave me a review on iTunes. Thanks for listening.

Some people claim this photo taken by a French photographer is actually an image of The Axeman entering the home of his last victim Mike Pepitone.

Some people claim this photo taken by a French photographer is actually an image of The Axeman entering the home of his last victim Mike Pepitone.

Episode 4: The Axeman

When you think of New Orleans, a few things probably come to mind: fun things like Mardi Gras, the food, the drinks, or if you’re a football fan, the New Orleans Saints. Or perhaps you’re reminded of darker moments in the city’s history like Hurricane Katrina. One thing that probably should come to mind is the music, specifically, jazz. The history of jazz and the history of New Orleans are inextricably entwined. Jazz is part of the city’s life’s blood. Part of it’s very soul.

On the night of March 19, 1919, all the city’s dance halls were filled to capacity, and everywhere amateur and professional musicians played in venues big and small, from smoky barrooms to people’s homes. Wealthy white patrons hired musicians straight out of the city’s red light district to come and play private concerts for them in their living rooms. Those without the financial means to hire live musicians cranked up scratchy phonograph records and wore their needles down playing them over and over again. That night jazz echoed through the midnight air and all the way until the first light of morning split the darkness. Now you might not think there was anything unusual about all this reverie–New Orleans is no stranger to big parties–but there was. On this particular night, the citizens of New Orleans weren’t playing jazz just for fun. On this night they were playing for their very lives.  For you see, this city-wide concert they put on was meant for an audience of just one, an axe-wielding maniac who claimed to be a creature straight out of the foulest pits of hell.

Coming to you from inside a ramshackle gin joint on the wrong side of the tracks, I’m Nate Hale, and this is The Conspirators.

On May 22, 1918, a pair of brothers, Jake and Andrew Maggio were fast asleep in their room in an apartment they shared adjacent to the home of their other brother Joseph and his wife of fifteen years Catherine. Jake woke up first when he heard a noise coming from Joseph’s apartment that he thought sounded like groaning. Jake rapped on the wall but received no response. He shook Andrew awake, which was difficult because Andrew had gotten quite drunk earlier that evening celebrating his last night home before he was to be deployed to fight in World War I the next day.

The two of them went outside and around to Joseph’s back door. They found that one of the lower panels on the door had been removed and placed on the ground nearby. A wooden chisel lay on top of it. They went into the house and down the hall to Joseph’s bedroom. They found their brother lying on the bed in a pool of blood, his feet dangling over the bedside and several huge gashes in his skull. Catherine’s lifeless body lay on top of Joseph. Joseph was still alive, and when he saw his brothers he tried to get up off the bed, but he slid to the floor and stared pleadingly at Jake and Andrew as he exhaled his last breath.

Jake and Andrew called the police, who soon learned that Catherine had been killed by a deep slash across her throat that nearly decapitated her. Her face, like Joseph’s, had been severely damaged by what appeared to be the blade of an axe.

Police searched the premises and in the bathroom discovered an axe in the cast iron bathtub, along with a pile of blood-soaked clothes. Whoever had wielded the axe had tried to wash it off, but traces of blood remained on it. The pile of bloody clothes led police to believe that the intruder had changed into clean clothes before leaving the scene. They also found a blood soaked straight razor in the bedroom that they believed had been used to slice Catherine’s throat.  For a brief time, police suspected Joseph’s brother Andrew, since it turned out to be his razor, but lack of evidence, along with Jake’s alibi that Andrew had been with him blind drunk the night before made them look elsewhere.

The timeline of events seemed to indicate that after entering the home through the missing door panel, the killer went to the bedroom and struck Joseph down first with a series of blows to the head with the axe. Afterwards, the killer used the axe on Catherine, before cutting her throat ear to ear with the razor blade. Police found money under Joseph’s pillow and Catherine’s jewelry box lay untouched, leaving them to believe robbery was not the motive.

About a block away from the crime scene, police found a cryptic message written in childish handwriting with chalk on the sidewalk: “Mrs. Maggio will sit up tonight just like Mrs. Toney”. This message would lead police to speculate whether or not this crime may be related to a previous set of similar axe murders that occurred in Texas and Louisiana in 1911 and 1912. In total, 49 people had been brutally murdered in that series of attacks. The final victim of those attacks had been a man named Tony Schiambra. There was little evidence that tied the attack on the Maggios with the earlier string of murders aside from the use of the axe and the loose connection from the name Tony. But, in one instance, the earlier killer did also leave his own cryptic note behind near one of his victims: “When He maketh the inquisition for blood, He forgetteth not the cry of the humble, human five.” Police feared this could be the start of another series of murders. It wouldn’t be long before they discovered they were right.

A month later on June 28, a bread delivery man named John Zanca was making his regular 7:00 am stop at a grocery store run by a Polish immigrant named Louis Besumer. Zanca was concerned when he found the store’s front door locked, since it had always been open at that time he came. He went around to the back door and he got the shock of a lifetime when Louis himself came to the door drenched in blood. Louis told police that he and his mistress Anna Lowe had been assaulted by an axe-wielding intruder sometime between 2 and 3 AM the night before. Louis suffered a skull fracture after the intruder bashed him in the skull with what turned out to be Louis’s own axe. The intruder then slashed Anna Lowe over her left ear, leaving her in a bloody heap on the floor. She was still alive but unconscious.

Anna Lowe awoke while being rushed to the hospital, and at first she blamed a mulatto store employee for the attacks. But later changed her story to an even more bizarre admission that it had really been her lover Louis Besumer, and that he was actually a German spy. This caused a great deal of attention in the press, not just for the spy angle and viciousness of the crime, but also because of the scandalous affair that was revealed in the attack. A media firestorm ensued, with local newspapers reporting stories that police found secret spy documents in Besumer’s home and that opiates were found in the bedroom. Neither of these things were true. Besumer was tried in court, but was acquitted for lack of evidence of any wrongdoing. Anna Lowe died on August 5 from complications involved during plastic surgery in an attempt to repair the damage to her face caused by the intruder.

Coincidentally, another attack occurred on the very same day Anna Lowe died. On that day, a man named Edward Schneider returned to his home on Elmira Street after a long day of work. It was unusually quiet in the house. He went into the bedroom and found his pregnant wife bloody and unconscious, her scalp split open and several of her teeth knocked out.  When she awoke two days later in the hospital, Mrs. Schneider claimed she had little memory of the attack other than she had been attacked by a dark figure with an axe who resembled some sort of “phantom”. Despite the trauma of the attack, Mrs. Schneider gave birth to a healthy baby daughter a week later.

Police arrested a man named James Gleason who had run from them, but they had to let him go due to lack of evidence. By now, officers had begun to believe this attack was related to the two previous attacks on the Maggios and Louis Besumer and his mistress. The pattern became clear just five days later when another attack occurred.

On August 10, sisters Pauline and Mary Bruno were awakened in the middle of the night by eerie banging and thumping noises coming from their uncle’s nearby bedroom. When the sisters went into the hallway to investigate, they were startled when they were confronted by a shadowy heavyset figure in a suit and hat, who bolted when Pauline screamed. They found their uncle in his room covered in blood with several large gashes in his face. Although he was alive when he was rushed to the hospital, he died two days later. As in the attack on the Maggios, the killer had gained entry to the home by chiseling out a panel in the back door and left a bloody axe behind at the scene. In this case, as before, there were no signs that anything had been stolen, although the uncle’s room had been ransacked.

By now the newspapers had begun to refer to the mysterious intruder as The Axeman and it was clear the public was beginning to panic. People began barricading themselves in their houses at night. Many people began sleeping in shifts so that there was always someone awake and watching out for the Axeman at all times. A few people reported finding chisel marks on their doors. One man, upon hearing what he thought was someone chiseling away at his back door, fired a shotgun blast through the door. When he finally worked up the courage to open the door, no one was there, but he claimed he found a chisel lying there and several fresh gouge marks in the wood. Numerous people claimed they found axes lying around their property, or saw mysterious cloaked figures in their yards. Most of these anecdotes can probably be chalked up to mass hysteria.

The police were at a loss for answers. The killer left behind no fingerprints, and there was no clear connection between the victims. A retired police detective named John Dantonio speculated that the Axeman could be the same perpetrator behind the aforementioned 1911 attacks. He drafted what would today be called a psychological profile of the killer, believing that the individual responsible for the attacks might have a split personality, with an uncontrollable urge to kill, comparing him to the legendary serial killer Jack the Ripper.

Months passed with no new attacks, and for a time it seemed like the public’s collective fears might fade. Until the night of March 10, 1919, that is.

In an immigrant suburb called Gretna just east and across the river from New Orleans, a 68-year-old resident named Jordano heard screams coming from his neighbor’s home. He rushed next door to discover a horrific scene. A woman named Rosie Cortimiglia was cradling her dead two-year-old daughter in her arms. Lying next to them, in a pool of blood, was the unconscious body of her husband Charles. Charles, a local grocer, stumbled across a large man in dark clothing in their home and tried to fight him off, but was soon overcome by multiple blows to the skull. Mrs. Cortimiglia rushed out to see what was going on with her two-year-old daughter Mary in her arms, when the intruder turned on them. Despite the mother’s cries for mercy, the killer hacked the little girl to death, then bashed the mother mercilessly in the face, fracturing her skull.

Police searched and soon found the trademark bloody axe as well as the chiseled out back door. Once again, no money or other valuables were stolen. Remarkably, Rosie Cortimiglia later claimed that the killers were none other than Jordano, the man who had come to help her, and his teenaged son Frank. Charles Cortimiglia vehemently denied these accusations. And despite Jordano being severely overweight and in far too poor of a physical condition to have crawled through the opening in the door, both men were tried for the crime and convicted, with Frank receiving a death sentence and Jordano receving life with no parole. Later though, Mrs. Cortimiglia would retract her testimony, revealing that she had lied in order to remove the men as business competitors of her husband. They were released in 1920.

Three days after the Cortimiglias were attacked, The New Orleans Times Picayune received a bizarre letter from someone purporting to be the killer that read:

Esteemed Mortal:

They have never caught me and they never will. They have never seen me, for I am invisible, even as the ether that surrounds your earth. I am not a human being, but a spirit and a fell demon from the hottest hell. I am what you Orleanians and your foolish police call the Axeman.

When I see fit, I shall come again and claim other victims. I alone know who they shall be. I shall leave no clue except my bloody axe, besmeared with the blood and brains of him whom I have sent below to keep me company.

If you wish you may tell the police not to rile me. Of course I am a reasonable spirit. I take no offense at the way they have conducted their investigation in the past. In fact, they have been so utterly stupid as to amuse not only me but His Satanic Majesty, Francis Josef, etc. But tell them to beware. Let them not try to discover what I am, for it were better that they were never born than to incur the wrath of the Axeman. I don’t think there is any need of such a warning, for I feel sure the police will always dodge me, as they have in the past. They are wise and know how to keep away from all harm.

Undoubtedly, you Orleanians think of me as a most horrible murderer, which I am, but I could be much worse if I wanted to. If I wished, I could pay a visit to your city every night. At will I could slay thousands of your best citizens, for I am in close relationship to the Angel of Death.

Now, to be exact, at 12:15 (earthly time) on next Tuesday night, I am going to visit New Orleans again. In my infinite mercy, I am going to make a proposition to you people. Here it is:

I am very fond of jazz music, and I swear by all the devils in the nether regions that every person shall be spared in whose home a jazz band is in full swing at the time I have mentioned. If everyone has a jazz band going, well, then, so much the better for you people. One thing is certain and that is that some of those people who do not jazz it on Tuesday night (if there be any) will get the axe.

Well, as I am cold and crave the warmth of my native Tartarus, and as it is about time that I leave your earthly home, I will cease my discourse. Hoping that thou wilt publish this, and that it may go well with thee, I have been, am and will be the worst spirit that ever existed either in fact or realm of fantasy.

The Axeman

That night the city was alive with jazz as it pounded out of every home, club and restaurant. Many of them played a new composition by a well-known composer of the time named Joseph Davilla called “The Mysterious Axeman’s Jazz”. Whether the killer was being true to his word, or whether the letter to the paper was a hoax, we’ll never know. But no one died that night.

The killer did go on to claim four more victims that year, the last of which was a man named Mike Pepitone. In December 1920, a year after Mr. Pepitone’s death, police arrested the man’s widow in Los Angeles after shooting and killing a man named Joseph Mumfre, whom Mrs. Pepitone swore was the Axeman.

Reports say that Joseph Mumfre may actually have been a man named Frank “Doc” Monfre, a pharmacist by trade, although some investigators believe he had been leading a double life as an enforcer for the burgeoning Italian Mafia in New Orleans. In fact some people now believe the string of murders were really part of an ongoing gang war since so many of the victims were grocers, and grocery stores and other shopkeepers were being used at the time as fronts for extortion rackets and illegal gambling. We’ll never know for sure if Monfre was the Axeman, but modern investigators have pointed out several gaps between murders that occurred while Monfre was in jail, and that no more axe murders occurred after he died.

The Conspirators is written and produced by me, Nate Hale, an entirely fictional identity. If you like the show and want to help it grow, tell your friends and family about it, and leave me a review on iTunes. Thanks for listening.

On the night of March 19, 1919, all the dance halls and bars and nearly every home in the city of New Orleans was blasting jazz all through the night. But this wasn’t any ordinary night of reverie in the Big Easy, for this city-wide concert was meant for an audience of one, an axe-wielding maniac who purported to be a creature straight out of hell.

Show Notes:

The Axeman of New Orleans Murders

When Hell Came to Earth: The Axeman of New Orleans

http://blogs.forteana.org/node/70

The Axeman serial killer of New Orleans (1918-1919)

CREEPYPASTA: Does This 1919 Photograph Reveal an Infamous New Orleans Serial Killer?

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, The Tea Party

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Chris Zabriskie, Cylinder Four

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/2014010103336111/Chris_Zabriskie_-_Cylinders_-_04_-_Cylinder_Four

Kai Engel, Morbid Imagination

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/Chapter_One__Cold/Kai_Engel_-_Chapter_One_-_Cold_-_06_Morbid_Imagination

King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, Just Gone

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/King_Olivers_Creole_Jazz_Band/Antique_Phonograph_Music_Program_02172015/Just_Gone_-_King_Olivers_Creole_Jazz_Band

Mark Neil, 11 strANGE Ls

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Mark_Neil/Blue/11_strANGE_Ls

Podington Bear, Dark Matter

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Podington_Bear/Thoughtful/DarkMatter

Scott Holmes, Something In The Distance

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Holmes/Film__Documentary/Something_In_The_Distance

Scott Holmes, Abandoned City

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Holmes/Film__Documentary/Abandoned_City

Spin Day, Who

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Spin_Day/Spin_Day_and_the_Emotional_Godfather/Spin_Day_-_Spin_Day_And_The_Emotional_Godfather_-_02_Who

Stephan Siebert, Cecil

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Stephan_Siebert/Inward/Cecil

Episode 3: The Heiress

A common theme in a lot of fairy tales involves the poor peasant girl who one day becomes a princess, either by marrying the handsome prince, or finding out she was secretly royalty all along. There was a well-publicized case that was only resolved in 2016 involving a woman named Helen Kramer who claimed to actually be the long-lost daughter and heir to a large family fortune named Loraine Allison who reportedly died when she was two-years-old along with her parents on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. It made for a good story, but D.N.A. testing proved her to be a fraud. A good story though, is part of what helps sell such remarkable claims.

On February 26, 1928, a young woman calling herself Anastasia Tschaikovsky arrived in New York City and promptly announced to the world that she was really Grand Duchess Anastasia, the youngest daughter of the murdered Czar Nicholas Romanov II of Russia. She claimed that she alone had escaped the execution that took her entire family following the Russian Revolution of 1917. Mind you, this wasn’t a unique claim. Several women throughout the years had come forward claiming to be the last remaining Romanov heir, although time after time these stories were all quickly disproven. But in this particular instance, the woman’s story stuck.

She told reporters a harrowing tale of a desperate escape through Europe that eventually led her to American shores. Many Romanov relatives and people who personally knew the royal family were impressed by this young woman’s resemblance to the Romanovs, and even though people were able to poke holes in her story, whenever the woman was questioned too hard about certain personal details she claimed she was so traumatized by what had happened that she couldn’t remember.

A lengthy legal battle ensued over the woman’s claim to the Romanov family fortune that dragged on for decades and resulted in a string of losses for her. In 1954, a French play about her life story called “Anastasia” debuted. A film version starring Ingmar Bergman appeared two years later.  The woman, who had come to be known as Anna Anderson, married and settled down in the U.S. In 1970, she lost her last major lawsuit and her ultimate claim to the Romanov fortune. In 1991, amateur Russian sleuths uncovered what they believed to be the burial site of the Romanov family. Among the remains discovered were those scientists believed were that of Anastasia. Tissue samples from Anna Anderson were later used to try to capture a D.N.A. match against the remains of Czar Nicholas’s brother. The results proved conclusively that Anna Anderson was not a Romanov. They did however prove beyond a doubt that she was actually a poor Polish munitions factory worker who had suffered a head injury and disappeared decades earlier.

Life just doesn’t work like a fairy tale. We cast our lot in life and try to find our place in it. Along the way we ask ourselves the vital questions. Who am I? Where do I come from? Where do I belong? Helen Kramer and Anna Anderson weren’t the only people who ever made remarkable claims about their origins. One of the more intriguing stories to ever spring out of Detroit, Michigan involved another woman with a mysterious past who may also have been a kind of royalty. Her search for her past would unlock keys to a mystery that may have been put in place by a wealthy family with a massive fortune and a dark secret to protect.

I’m Nate Hale reporting to you from inside my palatial family estate somewhere in the Swiss Alps, and this is The Conspirators.

In 1968, a 54-year-old woman who would eventually come to be known as Frances “Pat” Mealbach discovered, much to her surprise, that she was adopted. The man she had known as her father had died recently, and during the reading of his Last Will and Testament she was shocked to hear her name referred to in the will as his “adopted daughter”. The only things her father left her were a box full of photographs and documents, and even more questions.
One of the photos jumped out at Pat immediately. It was a photo of her as a baby wearing a fancy dress and pearls, seated next to another nearly identical child wearing a matching outfit. She had never seen a photo of herself as a baby before, and she had no memory of where this photo was taken or who the child next to her was. Among the documents in the box was a birth registration dated 1941, which was also odd because Pat believed she had been born in 1914. For some reason the document hadn’t been officially registered for 27 years. The first name given on the document was “Frances”, but she had been called Lucille her entire life. The surname on the document was “Manzer”, that of the man she had believed was her father, but there was no indication of who her actual birth parents were.

Much of Pat’s early childhood was lost to time and memory. It had been a generally happy childhood she recalled, but for the most part unremarkable, and she never had any inkling she’d been adopted. But one particular memory did stick with her. She recalled being picked up at her home by a red-headed woman who rode with her in a large automobile to a grand home in a wealthy Detroit neighborhood. She was led up a long, winding walkway into the house, and from there up a massive staircase to visit a woman in an upstairs bedroom. The woman was visibly ill, and she lay in a large sleigh bed. After visiting with the woman for a brief time, Pat remembered being taken downstairs to another room where she was fed milk and cookies. And after her snack the red-headed woman took her home. When she returned home she told her parents over and over about the beautiful rose colored drapes she had seen in the sick woman’s bedroom, and eventually her father would make her very own set out of crepe paper which he hung in her bedroom window.

Before you disregard this story as just the fanciful memories of an imaginative child, there was in fact a house on Detroit’s Boston Boulevard that matched Pat’s recollections, right down to the rose colored drapes in the upper bedroom. It was built in 1906 by none other than John Dodge, who, along with his brother Horace, started the Dodge family automotive empire.

John and Horace Dodge got their start in the automotive industry supplying engines and transmissions for Oldsmobile and Ford Motor Company. They rolled their first Dodge car off the assembly line in 1914, and soon their company became the number two auto manufacturer in the country. They originally owned a 10% stake in Ford, and when Henry Ford bought them out in 1919 for $25 million, it made the two already rich men much, much richer. The Dodges were, by all accounts, inseparable. Though they weren’t twins—John was four years older than Horace—they might as well have been. They were known as temperamental workaholics, along with being serious binge-drinkers with a wild streak a mile long that was frowned upon by their high-society contemporaries. John was the first brother to marry. He had three children with his wife Ivy Hawkins: Winifred, Isabel and John Duval. After Ivy died of tuberculosis in 1901, he married Matilda Rausch with whom he had three more children, Daniel, Anna Margaret and Frances. Interestingly, John also had a secret second marriage to a woman named Isabelle Smith, though the marriage didn’t last long, and as far as anyone knew, produced no children.

All of this brings us back to Pat Mealbach. Pat wanted to know as much as she could about where she came from. She reached out to a cousin with a friend in the Detroit City Council building in an attempt to get a look at her adoption records. The person in the records office let Pat take a brief peek at the documents. The name listed as Pat’s birth mother was someone named Emma Jane Nelson. Although there was no direct evidence it was the same woman, Pat would later learn that Emma Jane Nelson was also the name of a maid who worked in the Dodge mansion.

Another piece of the puzzle Pat recalled from her childhood were a pair of frequent visitors to her family home named Frank and Viola Upton. Growing up, Pat thought they were just friends her parents knew through church. But, as it turns out, this particular Frank Upton was John Dodge’s personal secretary and close personal friend. Pat questioned Viola Upton shortly before her death about the possibility that John Dodge was her biological father, but Viola refused to answer, telling her she had made a promise to her late husband to never speak about certain secrets he had shared with her. Whatever answers Viola had, she took them with her to her grave.

Pat sent a letter to a Michigan records office requesting her birth information. She used the name Frances and her maiden name Manzer on the request form. The records office sent her back a copy of a birth certificate containing the name Frances Dodge, with a checkbox next to the spot for “multiple births”.  At first Pat thought there had been some mistake and she sent the birth certificate back, but the state later sent the birth certificate back with a letter stating that there had been no mistake and that it was, in fact, her birth record. The date of the birth was listed as November 27, 1914, four days after the date Pat had always thought of as her own birthday.

Pat hired a lawyer to obtain the rest of her adoption and birth records. She was astounded when she walked into court and there was a group of Dodge Family attorneys waiting to contest her ability to obtain her own birth records. The court fight over Pat’s birth records dragged on, and at times it got pretty nasty. The Dodge attorneys tried to paint Pat as a conniving gold-digger. Pat simply claimed that she just wanted to know who she truly was.

There are a few possibilities as to what might have happened. The simplest solution is that Pat was simply mistaken and she took some circumstantial evidence to the wrong conclusion. Another possibility was that since John was a known womanizer he possibly could have gotten his maid Emma Nelson, or some other woman pregnant. Another potential suspect was John’s sister-in-law Amelia Rausch, with whom Dodge was also rumored to have had an affair. In fact, the year before Pat was born, John Dodge sent Amelia Rausch off to live on his farm Meadowbrook. Pat wondered if this perhaps may have been to cover for the woman’s pregnancy. Probably the strangest theory is Pat’s idea that she was one of two conjoined twins. In fact, Pat did bear some unusual scars on the back of her neck that she thought might have come from surgery to separate the pair as infants. And apparently there would have been some social stigma behind a couple of the Dodge’s status having conjoined twins, since back in the day, conjoined twins were still appearing in travelling freak shows. But that’s all still just conjecture. There’s no direct medical evidence Pat had been a conjoined twin of Frances Dodge. But, during the course of the legal proceedings, a few witnesses did come forth who knew John Dodge personally who claimed that the auto magnate had told them he’d had twins.

John Dodge disinherited one of his children, and in the trust he left behind after his death he stipulated that his fortune would be distributed among his remaining grandchildren after the death of his last child. So even if Pat Mealbach wasn’t his daughter, it’s no wonder the grandchildren would want their lawyers there when this mystery woman appeared out of nowhere and threw a monkey-wrench into the distribution of their inheritance. A Judge did ultimately split the trust among the grandchildren, but the court battle to prevent Pat from obtaining her birth records dragged on for eight more years. Against the wishes of her attorney, Pat claimed she submitted her D.N.A. for genetic testing, but the results were never brought up in court and she never received the results of the tests. When Pat pressed the University of Michigan hospital for the lab results, they claimed to have lost them.

On February 20, 1990, the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed a probate ruling and finally allowed Pat to view her birth certificate and adoption records. She was escorted into the records room by a pair of armed guards. She was allowed to bring a handwriting analyst with her, but the certificate was to be kept under glass at all times. Pat and the handwriting analyst both claimed the certificate was in poor shape and it showed numerous instances where it had been visibly altered. The mother’s name was listed as “Emma Jane Nelson”. The birth name said “Remilda May Bornalive”.

The adoption records also confirmed Pat’s mother’s name as Emma Jane Nelson. The records further stated that after being born, Pat had spent the first six months of her life in a Niles, Michigan Tuberculosis Sanatorium. No medical reason was listed why this infant girl was placed in the Sanatorium, although one of the witnesses who gave a deposition claimed she had witnessed Pat’s adopted mother applying mustard packs on her chest as a small child for lung issues. Pat speculated that perhaps she had been the weaker of two twins, and that was why she was sent to the Sanatorium. It should also be noted that Niles, Michigan was where John Dodge grew up as a boy and he still had relatives in the area. At the very least, it’s unusual that Pat was sent to a tuberculosis sanatorium in Niles, many miles away from Detroit where she was born when there were much closer facilities she could have been sent to. Both John Dodge’s first wife Ivy, and years later, John himself, died of tuberculosis.

The adoption records listed the name of the hospital where Pat was born as “Woman’s Hospital of Detroit”, but even though the hospital had kept meticulous records, there was no record of an Emma Nelson being a patient there around the time Pat was born. They also had no record of employment for the doctor bearing the name of the physician who allegedly delivered Pat. The adoption records listed Pat’s name as “Frances Lucille Manzer”, with no mention of the name “Remilda”, the name mentioned on Pat’s official birth certificate.

In 1984, Pat Mealbach filed a claim in court for $3.2 million of the $40 million Dodge family fortune. The following year a probate court judge dismissed the case on the grounds that the estate had already been divided and it was too late to file additional claims. An episode of the TV show “Unsolved Mysteries” about Pat reignited interest in the case for a time in the late 1980s, and a book was later written about her. But that’s where things ended. Pat had taken her quest for answers to her lineage as far as she could go. She spent the rest of her life, right up until she died in 2009, believing she knew who she was, but ultimately never being able to prove it.

The Conspirators is written and produced by me, Nate Hale, and entirely fictional identity.
You can hear other episodes, get transcripts and show notes at the conspiratorspodcast.com. Thanks for listening.

Episode 3: The Heiress

In 1968, a Detroit woman discovered she was adopted. Her quest for the truth about her past would lead her down a path leading to an automotive fortune and dark secrets one wealthy family may have tried to keep quiet.

Links:

http://www.irishcentral.com/roots/history/Titanics-last-great-mystery-solved-as-Canadian-heiress-is-exposed-as-a-fraud.html

http://unsolvedmysteries.wikia.com/wiki/The_Family_of_Pat_Mealbach

http://hubpages.com/family/tangledweb

http://www.nytimes.com/1984/11/18/us/tangle-of-heirs-to-the-dodge-fortune-develops-a-new-knot.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Anderson

 

Music:

Chris Zabriskie, “I Need to Start Writing Things Down”

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/The_Dark_Glow_of_the_Mountains/

Chris Zabriskie, “I Am a Man Who Will Fight For Your Honor”

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/I_Am_a_Man_Who_Will_Fight_for_Your_Honor/I_Am_a_Man_Who_Will_Fight_for_Your_Honor

Marion Harris, “Don’t Leave Me Daddy”

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Marion_Harris/Antique_Phonograph_Music_Program_01192016/Dont_Leave_Me_Daddy_Marion_Harris

Dexter Britain, “The Tea Party”

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

 

Episode 2: The Monster Studies
Back in 1961, a Yale University Psychologist named Stanley Milgram placed an ad in the local paper offering $4 to individuals willing to take part in an hour-long experiment. Over the next two years, hundreds of people took part in the test, which would turn out to be one of the most infamous and controversial psychological experiments in history. Milgram was trying to get to the bottom of what could motivate large numbers of ordinary citizens in Nazi Germany to follow orders so blindly and to perform acts on other people so abhorrent that political theorist Hannah Arendt once described them as “the banality of evil”.

Milgram’s experiment went like this: a pair of volunteers were introduced to one another where they drew straws to see who would be the tester and who would be the test subject. While in the same room would be a rather official looking fellow in a lab coat to monitor the experiment. What the person who got to be the tester didn’t know was this was all theater, and, in fact, it was really he who was being tested. The tester and phony test subject were separated into two rooms where they couldn’t see one another. The doctor in the lab coat would ask the phony test subject a series of questions, while the tester was made to sit at a desk in front of a control board with instructions to administer a series of ever increasing electrical shocks to the person in the other room if they answered incorrectly. In every test session, the phony subject would begin answering questions wrong and pretend to be in increasing pain every time the person flipped the switch. If the person in control objected or tried to quit, the man in the lab coat would calmly order them to keep going. In many cases, the person in control would get all the way to the top level of 450 volts, and in those instances, the person in the other room would begin complaining about his heart condition and soon fall eerily silent.

By the time Milgram concluded the experiment, roughly 65 percent of the test subjects had cranked the juice up all the way. Although some reporters and other psychologists who have looked into these results think that number may be high, since some of the participants claim to have known all along it was a setup. Several of the participants who didn’t catch on to the trick though did panic and beg to be allowed to stop. In three instances, the participants were so distraught they suffered uncontrollable seizures. In the end, it’s difficult to say what the ultimate result was of Dr. Milgram’s experiment. Maybe it shows that we all have an inherent dark side, and a secret desire to follow people in authority blindly. Or maybe it shows a side of science we may not care to examine, one where scientists set aside their sense of morality and their humanity and instead end up inflicting terrible, sometimes long-lasting harm on their subjects, no matter the cost.

I’m Nate Hale, reporting to you from inside my personal Skinner Box, and this is the Conspirators.
Wendell Johnson was a tall, gangly Iowa farm boy when he arrived at the University of Iowa in 1926 to study English. He was bright and funny, having been both his high school class president and class Valedictorian, but he also had a problem. You see, Wendell stuttered. A lot.

At the time, the University of Iowa had the most famous stuttering research program in the world, and Johnson soon switched majors to study psychology in hopes of becoming a speech therapist to help others like him. Many of his fellow graduate students were fellow stutterers, and they’d often use each other as guinea pigs. They ran each other through a battery of blood and reflex tests, administered electro-shock therapy to one another and even were known to shoot guns off near their ears to see if they could startle the stutter out of them. While many of his peers believed the stutter was centered in a physical problem in the human brain, Johnson believed that it was actually learned behavior from childhood, citing his own pattern of development as evidence. Johnson spoke fine until he was five or six. But when a teacher suggested to his parents that he was developing a stutter, the idea caught fire in Johnson’s mind and he began to worry about the way he was speaking so much, his speech patterns became increasingly hesitant, and his stutter grew exponentially.

In 1938, Johnson had an idea for a study: was it possible to take normally speaking children and and actually make them develop a stutter by convincing them they were speaking incorrectly? He enlisted the aid of 22-year-old graduate student Mary Tudor and the two of them went to the Soldiers and Sailors Orphans’ Home where they conducted this study on the children living there. What the two of them did to those children would come to be known forever after as the Monster Study.

The Soldiers and Sailors Orphans’ Home was originally founded as a place for children left parentless by soldiers killed in the Civil War. By 1939, the Great Depression was at its peak, and the home housed more than 600 children, including many whose parents were still alive, but were so poor they could not care for them on their own. It was a dark and forlorn place, made up of individual cottages where the children lived and rose at the crack of dawn, and where they spent their day in a regimented existence that wouldn’t be out of place in a military school.

A group of 22 children, ranging in age from five to fifteen, were selected, half of whom received positive speech therapy from Mary Tudor, offering them encouragement and praising them for their speech, while the other half received just the opposite. To them, Mary would interrupt them repeatedly during therapy, insulting and belittling them at every turn. 5-year-old Norma Jean Pugh spoke normally before her first session, but was so overcome with anxiety by her second session she hardly spoke at all. 11-year-old Clarence Fifer began stuttering constantly, stopping to correct himself every time he opened his mouth. In all, many of the children developed some sort of speech impediment and other social problems, and a few of those carried the problem with them throughout the rest of their lives.

By the time World War II broke out, and word of Nazi experimentation on human beings began to filter back to the states, Wendell Johnson decided not to publish the results of his experiment for fear that if it became public that he had experimented on orphan children it would tarnish his reputation. The only record that the test ever took place was that of Mary Tudor’s dissertation on the experiment.

Did the Monster Study live up to its name? Perhaps. I think we can all agree that experimenting on children is beyond horrific, although Wendell Johnson really did have the best intentions at heart in trying to get to the bottom of why some people stutter. But as the old saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and in the case of the Monster Study, the test ultimately turned out to be a complete failure, since in the majority of cases the children’s speech eventually returned to normal.

Being wrong is part of the scientific method. But sometimes a test can go so horribly wrong that even the researchers involved realize it was something they never should have attempted in the first place.

In the summer of 1971, Professor Phil Zombardo of Stanfotd University conducted an experiment to see how individuals could adapt to being forced into a powerless situation. The experiment was supposed to last for two weeks. It ended after only six days. A total of twenty-one students were chosen and divided into two groups: 11 “guards” and 10 “prisoners”. The guards were sub-divided into three groups to work a series of daily eight hour shifts, and each were outfitted with a uniform and a pair of mirrored sunglasses.
Each of the prisoners were picked up at their homes, charged, handcuffed and warned of their legal rights, then carted off to a makeshift prison in the basement of the campus psychology building. Each prisoner was given a smock with a number, and a lock and chain to be worn around one of their ankles. A nylon stocking was pulled over their heads to simulate the effect of having their heads shaved.

Dr. Zimbardo and his staff encouraged the guards to be as strict and cruel as they wanted to be. There was only one rule: no physical abuse. The guards were instructed to encourage a sense of powerlessness and frustration in the prisoners by ordering them to perform a series of mindless and repetitive tasks each day.

For the first day, nothing much happened. Dr. Zimbardo was dismayed because the prison guards didn’t seem very much into the role play. Eventually he decided to spice things up by playing the part of a cruel prison guard himself, hoping the other guards would follow his example.

That seems to be the spark that lit the fuse. By day two, things escalated quickly. The student guards began torturing the prisoners, and they quickly tossed aside all rules against physical abuse. They sprayed prisoners with fire extinguishers, deprived them of sleep and forced them to do pushups while stepping on their backs. They built their own solitary confinement cell out of a janitor’s closet and forced inmates inside, stripping them naked and putting bags over their heads beforehand. Some of the prisoners were so traumatized by the abuse they were removed from the study by day five.

One of the most abusive guards would later remark with amazement at how much leeway he was being given. As he continued pushing things further and further, he kept expecting someone to step in and tell him to stop, only no one did. Not even Professor Zimbardo, who himself claimed he had gotten too much into the act and “gone native”. By day three the professor was sleeping in his office and mentally separated himself from the fact that he was the person in charge and should probably do something to stop what was going on.

The spell broke when a former graduate student and current girlfriend of Professor Zimbardo stopped by to see how things were going. She was horrified by what she saw. Professor Zimbardo was shocked and ashamed by her reaction, and he called a premature end to the study by day six. The American Psychological Association later conducted their own investigation into the conduct at Stanford and determined that no ethical standards had been violated during the experiment. Although this investigation, along with previous case studies such as the Milgram experiment and the story that follows would later push them to create new ethical standards for human experimentation.

One of the most infamous experiments that ever came out of Harvard University was conducted in 1959 by Professor Henry Murray, part of the university’s Department of Social Relations. Murray was an interesting individual, to put it mildly, with a rather unique worldview. Raised in a wealthy, blue-blood household, Murray grew up with a strict sense of right and wrong and he saw society as it entered into the Second World War as engaged in a real battle between the forces of good and evil. With the advent of the nuclear bomb, he feared for the fate of the planet and he actively advocated for a single world government as the cure to all of society’s ills.

He was a devoted scientist as well as a humanist, and he applied his considerable skills in psychological manipulation during World War II by joining the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA. At the OSS, Murray was the chief psychologist who, according to none other than legendary psychologist and proponent of psychedelic drugs Timothy Leary was “the wizard of personality assessment” and personally “monitored military experimentation on brainwashing and sodium amytal interrogation.”

Some people believe that after the war, as Murray settled into his new career with Harvard, he carried on his work, only this time with students.

In a study that Murray began in 1959, the professor encouraged the 22 student volunteers he selected to develop and articulate their own personal philosophy in life. Then each undergraduate student was pitted against someone they thought was a fellow psychology student in order to debate that philosophy. But this wasn’t any friendly debate in the school auditorium. No, the test subjects were strapped into chairs and wired up with electrodes. They faced a one-way mirror with hot lights glaring down on them and, as it turns out, the person on the opposite side of that mirror wasn’t a fellow psychology student at all, but a particularly aggressive law student who had been instructed to say whatever he needed to in order to tear their arguments to shreds.

Afterwards, the students had to watch videos of their session over and over. Many students were known to leave the test chambers sobbing on a regular basis. Murray himself called them, “Vehement, sweeping and personally abusive attacks.” And did I mention that this harsh interrogation went on like this for THREE YEARS?

The identities of many of the students who participated in Murray’s study are still unknown. Subjects were assigned code names and many remain anonymous to this day. One student who came by the code name of “Lawful” we do know something about. He was a genius for one thing, a child prodigy with a gift for mathematics who finished high school at age 15, and enrolled in Harvard shortly thereafter. Reports say that the student known as Lawful took the psychological abuse particularly badly. He was, after all, younger and more impressionable than his peers. It’s difficult to say what lasting effects the test had on him. But being younger and smarter than many of the students around him was isolating. Add on the stresses of being belittled day after day and it does help paint a picture of a particularly troubled young man.

After earning his undergraduate degree at Harvard, the young man went on to earn his PhD in mathematics from the University of Michigan. At the age of 25, he took a job as an assistant professor at the University of California, only to resign two years later. He mostly dropped out the public eye after that, moving to live an isolated existence in a cabin he built himself just outside Lincoln, Montana where he dedicated himself to a new occupation.

Over the next two decades the man who had once been known as Lawful built and mailed out a series of increasingly sophisticated explosive devices to different locations around the country, killing three people and injuring 23 more. If you haven’t guessed by now, Lawful’s real name was Ted Kasczynski, only he came to be better known as the Unabomber.

It’s impossible to say how much, if any, of a role Murray’s experiment played in creating the Unabomber. Murray led a respected career long after, and is still well-regarded among psychologists today. At least to my mind, what he did to his subjects was cruel, but it’s impossible to draw a direct correlation between Murray’s experiment, and the death and destruction Kaczynski would reap later in life. There is another human experiment though, one that an opportunistic doctor performed on an innocent child, managing to tear apart the lives of the child’s entire family in the process.

David Reimer and his twin brother were born in Winnipeg in 1965. When he was 8 months old his parents took him to doctor for a routine circumcision. But the doctor made a grave error by using an electrocautery needle instead of a scalpel to remove the foreskin, and accidentally burned off David’s entire penis. David’s parents were referred to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, where they met Dr. John Money, a leading expert in gender identity. Dr. Money took one look at the family and their unfortunate circumstances and saw this as the opportunity of a lifetime for himself to finally prove that nature, not nurture determined gender identity and sexual orientation.

Doctor Money recommended that David undergo sex reassignment surgery, seeing David’s twin Brian as the perfect control group for his experiment, a genetically identical child raised as a boy. The surgery would be the first of its kind ever performed on a developmentally normal child.

According to Money’s published reports throughout the 1970s, the experiment was a success and the twins were happy in their assigned gender roles. The experiment made Dr. Money famous. Time magazine featured him in an article and entire chapters were devoted to him in textbooks.

The truth was though that things weren’t going well at all in the Reimer house. David—now Brenda—rebelled against the female identity assigned to her. She tore up her dresses and preferred to play with her brother’s toy cars and guns over the dolls that her parents gave her. She was teased constantly by other children for her masculine tendencies. She complained to her parents and teachers that she felt like she was a boy. Dr. Money swore Brenda’s parents to secrecy, and insisted that they keep her in the dark about what had been done to her. Dr. Money told them that it was only a phase and eventually Brenda would come to accept her gender.

The guilt tore at Brenda’s parents. Her mother attempted suicide, while her father became a raging alcoholic.  Brenda’s brother Brian felt so neglected he fell into clinical depression, descending into drug use and petty crime. In 2002, Brian would die of an overdose of antidepressants.

At the age of 14, another psychiatrist convinced Brenda’s parents to come clean. She became David again, spending years going through another round of painful and difficult sex reassignment surgery to make her male once more. This included a double mastectomy to remove the breasts that estrogen therapy had grown, and creating a prosthetic penis and testicles to replace the ones David lost as an infant.

David tried to lead a normal life, but he spent his adulthood haunted by his mutilation and by Dr. Money’s experiment.  David married a woman and for 14 years tried to make things work between them, but the death of his twin, financial troubles, and a series of dead-end jobs left him spiraling into a deep depression. Eventually, when David was 38 years old, he and his wife decided to separate. Two days later, David’s wife received a call from the police telling her that David had committed suicide. Although Doctor Money had long since stopped publishing about David, he insisted for the rest of his life that David’s sex reassignment had been a smashing success.

The Conspirators was written and produced by me, Nate Hale, an entirely fictional identity.
You can find show notes, transcripts and other episodes by visiting theconspiratorspodcast.com. Thanks for listening.

Show Notes:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2000/06/harvard-and-the-making-of-the-unabomber/378239/

http://m.mentalfloss.com/article.php?id=62564

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2004/06/gender_gap.html

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monster_Study

http://brainz.org/10-psychological-experiments-went-horribly-wrong/

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/16/magazine/the-stuttering-doctor-s-monster-study.html?pagewanted=all

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/03/stanford-prison-experiment/

Episode 1: The Glow
Tracing the course of the atomic age of human history will also lead you along a timeline of death. There are plenty of accidents—people who got too close to radiation and paid the ultimate price for it. Marie Curie, the Nobel Prize winning physicist whose work led to the discoveries of polonium and radium, and eventually to the development of X-rays, died from aplastic anemia due to prolonged exposure to radiation. She was known to take her work home with her you see, carrying radioactive isotopes around in her pocket, often commenting to friends how pretty she thought the bluish-green light the test tubes gave off looked in the dark. Louis Slotin, a Canadian Physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project developing the first atomic bombs was killed by a lethal dose of radiation during an experiment after his hand slipped while using a screwdriver to separate two half-spheres of beryllium around a plutonium core. I repeat, the man died while using a screwdriver to stop a nuclear reaction between two pieces of plutonium. Sometimes it’s hard to believe the atomic bomb ever got built in the first place. But if you look elsewhere throughout our atomic history, there are other deaths that weren’t accidents at all. People who were murdered because they knew too much.
Coming to you from inside my top secret nuclear fallout shelter, I’m Nate Hale, and this is The Conspirators.
On the night of November 13, 1974, a 28-year-old woman left a union meeting at the Hub Café just north of Oklahoma City clutching a thick manila folder full of documents. She got into her white Honda hatchback and headed to another meeting with a reporter at a nearby Holiday Inn. She never got there.
Not long after the woman left the union meeting, police were summoned to the scene of an accident along Oklahoma’s State Highway 74. The woman’s car skidded off the road and smashed into the wing wall of a concrete culvert. She died there on that lonely stretch of highway. An autopsy would later show that the woman had a large dose of narcotics in her system. Under most circumstances this would have been an open and shut case for the police. But these weren’t normal circumstances. You see, this particular woman had been in a battle with the large nuclear facility where she worked, and it appeared to a number of people that somebody there wanted her dead. Her name was Karen Silkwood, and she may have uncovered secrets that people would kill to keep quiet.
In 1938, a pair of German chemists did something remarkable; they split the atom. It’s impossible to undersell this game-changing moment. The enormous power of nuclear fission was now in the hands of men and the possibilities seemed limitless. In the right hands it could be a source of energy that could power the world and push humanity into a new technological era; but in the wrong hands it could also be the source of its ultimate destruction.
Albert Einstein knew the potential disaster that could result if the Nazis were able to build a functioning atomic bomb, so in 1939 he sent a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt with his concerns. As it became frighteningly clear that a nuclear bomb was not just possible, but a near certainty, Roosevelt initiated the U.S.’s own think-tank known as the Manhattan Project with one clear goal: build a working bomb before the Germans.
The U.S. won the race and the two bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed more than 200,000 people, abruptly bringing World War II to an end. The people caught in ground zero of the explosion were instantly carbonized. Those further away from the blast zone either died from severe burns or were crushed by the concussive force of the blast wave. Many of those who managed to escape the initial blast were still fated to die because of the massive doses of radiation they absorbed. Human beings and radiation don’t mix. Massive doses of ionizing radiation can cause the breakdown of normal cellular replication in living things leading to a horrible, horrible death. Hair loss, skin lesions, anemia, bleeding gums, destruction of stomach and intestinal fluids, the list goes on as the body breaks down and the radiation victim transforms into something that would look more at home on the set of The Walking Dead. Just ask Alexander Litvinenko (Lit-Vin-Nyenko). Oh wait, you can’t, because he’s dead.
Litvinenko had been an officer with the Russian FSB, the successor to the old spy agency known more famously as the KGB. While still living in Russia, he became a vocal critic of the Vladimir Putin regime, which, as you can imagine, was a really bad idea. He fled to London and eventually became a British citizen. While in London, it is alleged that Litvinenko began working with the British Secret Service investigating Spanish links to the Russian mafia. On November 1, 2006 he took tea with a couple other former Russian agents in a London hotel. Soon after, Litvinenko became extremely ill and spent the rest of the night suffering with a bout of severe diarrhea and vomiting. Three days later he was admitted to the hospital where his condition only worsened. He died on November 23, defiantly proclaiming to the bitter end that Putin had him assassinated. Forensic pathologists who studied Litvinenko’s corpse determined that he had been poisoned with a radioactive substance called Polonium-210, most likely administered in his tea during his sit-down three weeks earlier with the former Russian agents. The former agents, of course, denied everything.
There is another case of mysterious deaths which may or may not have involved radiation that bears mentioning. Either way, it’s really freaking weird. On August 20, 1966, a young man from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil found the bodies of two men on Vintem Hill. The young man alerted the police, who investigated but were as much at a loss to explain what actually happened to these two men as everyone else has been for fifty years after. The two deceased men, Miguel Jose Viana and Manoel Pereira da Cruz, were found wearing suits and raincoats, and they both had strange lead eye masks with no holes, such as one would wear to protect them from radiation. The police found near the bodies an empty water bottle, two towels and a notebook. The notebook only deepened the mystery. Inside were a few scribbled notes in Portuguese that translated to: “16:30 be at agreed place,” and “18:30 swallow capsules, after effect protect metals wait for mask signal.”

Toxicology produced no results for poison or other ingested materials, but the coroner’s office delayed doing an autopsy for so long the state of decay in their organs made the tests inconclusive. Police retraced their steps leading up to their death. The two men worked as electronics repairmen in a nearby town. They left town three days earlier telling people they were going to buy supplies for work and a car. Reportedly, they had cash with them, although no money was found at the location where they died. The two men later stopped at a bar where they purchased the bottle of water. They kept the receipt for the bottle, which indicated they planned on returning it later. The bartender told police the men seemed to be in a hurry and that Miguel Viana kept checking his watch. That was the last time anyone saw the men alive.

To this day no one knows how they died, or whom, if anyone, they were meeting that day. Some theories suggest that the men were part of a strange “scientific spiritualist” movement, and that they were attempting to contact extraterrestrials. Indeed, some of the local people claimed to have seen strange lights in the sky around the time the men met their fate on that hill. One other strange item of note, it took several years before grass grew again where the bodies were found. Before you go jumping to conclusions, one of the most logical explanations for this is that the coroner dumped formalin around the area to mask the smell of decomposition and that this contaminated the soil. But really, much like everything else surrounding this case, who knows?
Let’s face it; we all love a good mystery. It’s that not knowing that sucks us into its vortex. It’s the thrill of speculation, of playing detective, and of maybe, just maybe, knowing that we figured out whodunnit. But mysteries are only sometimes wrapped up as tightly as the stories we see on TV. In the case of Karen Silkwood, what we’re left with are more questions, and the disturbing sense that someone may have gotten away with murder.
Karen Silkwood was born in Longview, Texas where she was a straight-A student in high school. She earned a scholarship to attend Lamar College in Beaumont, Texas, where she studied medical technology with dreams of a career in science. She quit school after her freshman year when she met and married her husband, an oil pipeline worker with whom she had three children. The marriage fell apart, and in 1972 she left her husband and kids to start a new life in Oklahoma.
She moved to Oklahoma City where she took a job working for the Kerr-McGee Cimarron Fuel Fabrication Site making $4 an hour as a chemical technician. While working for Kerr-McGee, Karen Silkwood began dating a fellow worker named Drew Stephens. Stephens, who often expressed concern over safety issues at the plant, convinced Karen to join the Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers Union. Three months after starting her job at the plutonium plant, Karen took part in a strike for better pay and working conditions. In July 1974, Karen discovered for the first time that she had been contaminated with plutonium. Since she was the sole worker who had been contaminated she began to suspect someone had done it to her on purpose.
Karen was elected to the union’s bargaining committee where part of her responsibilities was to investigate health and safety violations within the company. She soon gained a reputation among her peers as a troublemaking whistleblower, citing in her reports a laundry list of health and safety violations, unsafe storage practices, faulty equipment, and what she believed to be evidence that the company had been doctoring x-rays to hide hairline cracks in the fuel rods. The union enlisted Karen to gather conclusive evidence of the tampering. During her investigation Karen managed to smuggle out a number of sensitive documents from the facility that showed not only had the company been tampering with the fuel rods, but there was also at least forty pounds of the plant’s plutonium that had gone missing.
On November 5, 1974, Karen discovered, to her horror, that her body contained almost 400 times the legal limit of plutonium. Kerr-McGee sent her home with a self-test kit, and although she didn’t handle any dangerous material after that, the following morning she tested even higher for radiation. Later, in court, the company went so far as to accuse Karen of deliberately poisoning herself in order to make them look bad.
Karen agreed to allow her home to be tested where it was discovered that there were high levels of radiation everywhere throughout her house, all the way up to and including the bologna in her refrigerator. Despite the massive contamination, Karen’s roommate Sherri Ellis showed only minor levels of radiation. To Karen, the evidence was clear; somebody in the company wanted her dead.
By November 13, Karen and her union contacts decided to go public with the story. Just after 8 pm, Karen was on her way to meet her boyfriend Drew Stephens, a national union representative and a reporter for the New York Times when her car went off the road, skidding for a hundred yards, before hitting a guard rail and plunging off the embankment. Witnesses who saw Karen earlier in the evening claimed they remembered her carrying a manila folder full of documents with her before she got into her car.
The Oklahoma State Trooper who investigated claimed it was a classic case of the driver falling asleep at the wheel, and, I have to admit, this story does make a degree of sense. Karen was a heavy smoker with asthma who had lost 20 pounds in the weeks prior to the accident. She also had a prescription for Quaaludes and the autopsy would show she had the drug in her system at the time of the crash. Put it all together and it sure sounds plausible that she could have fallen asleep. Plausible, until you hear the other details left out of the official police report.
Later on, a private investigator looked into the matter and concluded that the evidence showed Karen had been awake during the accident. The same autopsy that revealed the drugs in her system also showed that a significant portion of the pills hadn’t dissolved in her stomach yet, indicating she had only taken them a short time before getting behind the wheel. The investigator also discovered damage to the Honda’s rear bumper that indicated it had been struck from behind by another car. The investigator found skid marks on the road matching Karen’s car. He believed that Karen may have tried to regain control of the vehicle after being struck from behind. One other thing to keep in mind, the folder full of company documents Karen had with her mysteriously vanished. A state trooper claimed he had seen a number of papers scattered in the mud, and he actually collected them together and tossed them in the back of Karen’s car, but by the time the wrecked vehicle reached the tow yard, the papers and the manila folder were nowhere to be found.
Months later, government reports would show that many of the problems Karen had reported with the plant had been right on the money. They also noted that Karen could not have irradiated herself as Kerr-McGee claimed because the plutonium she was contaminated with came from a restricted part of the plant that she had no access to. And do you remember the missing forty pounds of plutonium? Well, it never was located, but reporters from Rolling Stone and other publications discovered evidence that suggested Karen may have stumbled onto a plutonium smuggling ring within the plant.
In 1976, Karen’s father and children filed a civil lawsuit against Kerr-McGee and were awarded $10.5 million in punitive damages. Kerr-McGee appealed and eventually the case was settled out of court for $1.38 million. In 1976, Kerr-McGee shut the plant down for good. According to Time magazine, “Westinghouse, which had been buying its fuel rods complained of their poor quality and refused to renew its contract.”
You can make a case either way whether or not Karen Silkwood was murdered. Truth is elusive like that, like trying to catch water between your fingers. If you believe Kerr-McGee’s lawyers, Karen Silkwood was a drug-addled lunatic with a grudge against the company. If you believe the union and Karen’s friends and family, she was a martyr who paid for uncovering the truth with her life.
In 1983, Karen’s story was turned into a movie starring Meryl Streep. It was nominated for five Academy Awards. It didn’t win.
The nuclear fuel rods that Karen Silkwood claimed were damaged in her reports continued to be used for years after in the Department of Energy’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation in the shadow of the state of Washington’s Rattlesnake Hills, where, officials claimed they performed both safely and well. Although I’m not sure how much stock you can put in that. The Hanford site is currently the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States, with as much as two-thirds of the nation’s high-level radioactive waste by volume. In April 2016 a leak in a nuclear waste storage tank at Hanford grew large enough to set off alarm bells. Cleanup is still ongoing.
In 2006, Anadarko Petroleum Company purchased Kerr-McGee, effectively ending the company forever.
The Conspirators is a bi-weekly podcast produced by me, Nate Hale, an entirely fictional identity.
You can find other episodes and show notes for the episode you just heard at theconspiratorspodcast.com.

Links:

http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/einstein/peace-and-war/the-manhattan-project/

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-19647226

http://www.nytimes.com/1985/12/07/us/silkwood-epilogue-fuel-rod-debate-lingers-on.html?pagewanted=all

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanford_Site

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/the-case-of-karen-silkwood-19770113

Music:

Civilized, by Plastic Flowers

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Plastic_Flowers/none_given_1489/01_Civilized

The Tea Party, by Dexter Britain

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/dexter_britain/creative_commons_volume_2/the_tea_party

Hiroshima, by Gallery Six

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Gallery_Six/Hiroshima/

Cylinder One, Cylinder Three, Cylinder Four and Cylinder Eight, by Chris Zabriskie

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/

Changing Immobility, by Elya

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/ELYA/Glaciers/ELYA_-_Glaciers_-_06_Changing_immobility

Episode 2: The Monster Studies

Psychologists have been experimenting on humans for as long as the profession has been around. But what happens when the experiment goes too far? Listen here and find out about some true stories of disturbing psychological experiments from history.

Links:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2000/06/harvard-and-the-making-of-the-unabomber/378239/

http://m.mentalfloss.com/article.php?id=62564

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2004/06/gender_gap.html

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monster_Study

http://brainz.org/10-psychological-experiments-went-horribly-wrong/

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/03/stanford-prison-experiment/

 

Music:

Dexter Britain, “The Tea Party”

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Volume_2/The_Tea_Party

Dexter Britain, “From Truth”

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dexter_Britain/Creative_Commons_Selection/From_Truth

Scott Holmes, “Abandoned City”

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Holmes/Film__Documentary/Abandoned_City

Kai Engel, “July”

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/Chapter_Three__Warm/Kai_Engel_-_Chapter_Three_-_Warm_-_05_July

Kai Engel, “Far From Home (PON VII)”

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/Chapter_Three__Warm/Kai_Engel_-_Chapter_Three_-_Warm_-_08_Far_From_Home_PON_VII

Kai Engel, “Oneiri”

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/ICD-10/Kai_Engel_-_ICD-10_-_06_Oneiri

Kai Engel, “Somnolence”

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/ICD-10/Kai_Engel_-_ICD-10_-_01_Somnolence

 

Episode 1: The Glow

Death has always followed the nuclear industry in one way or another. Usually those deaths are accidents, but in some cases it’s murder. Listen to the stories of murdered Russian spies, strange cultists and a nuclear activist who may have been killed because she knew too much.

 

Links:

 

http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/einstein/peace-and-war/the-manhattan-project/

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-19647226

http://www.nytimes.com/1985/12/07/us/silkwood-epilogue-fuel-rod-debate-lingers-on.html?pagewanted=all

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanford_Site

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/the-case-of-karen-silkwood-19770113

Who Killed Karen Silkwood?

The Nuclear-Safety Activist Whose Mysterious Death Inspired a Movie

The Lead Masks Case

Music:

Civilized, by Plastic Flowers

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Plastic_Flowers/none_given_1489/01_Civilized

The Tea Party, by Dexter Britain

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/dexter_britain/creative_commons_volume_2/the_tea_party

Hiroshima, by Gallery Six

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Gallery_Six/Hiroshima/

Cylinder One, Cylinder Three, Cylinder Four and Cylinder Eight, by Chris Zabriskie

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Chris_Zabriskie/

Changing Immobility, by Elya

http://freemusicarchive.org/music/ELYA/Glaciers/ELYA_-_Glaciers_-_06_Changing_immobility