Chicago Tribune, July 3, 1899. “Spiritualist” is a pretty broad and diffuse category at this time, but basically we’re talking about someone who saw dead people, or at least purported to communicate with them. The bit about the killer losing $250 to his victim is intriguing. Was she the local “conjure woman,” scamming credulous neighbors? Was he a paranoid psychotic who randomly fixated on the blameless Swedenborgian lady next door? I say we hold a seance and interview the principals of the affair.
The word “genius” in “evil genius” is being used in its old, almost forgotten sense of “spirit,” as opposed to “clever bastard” or “MacArthur Grant recipient.”