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Category Archives: Murder

Grand Forks Daily Herald, November 25, 1883. Now there’s a headline to stir the blood, all quivering as it is with walrus-mustachioed dudgeon
and outrage and all good stuff like that. But the tragedy behind it is anything but “unparalleled”: We’ve got a father (fella named Finzer, in Pittsburgh) who’s unable to provide for his family (too sick to work) who solves the problem by murdering his dependents (a wife and two kids in this case) and then himself. Same basic thing happened all the time, folks. According to this very interesting book I read recently, German immigrants and German Americans had a particular bent for this kind of behavior when they were losing economic ground—it was the signature crime of the male German murder defendants. But there is one somewhat distinctive detail to this tragedy, viz: Read More »

Grand Forks Daily Herald, November 28, 1909. I think we’ve tracked down President Taft’s missing mince mega-pie. Read More »

Grand Forks Herald, November 28, 1909. Story anticipates what one researcher has identified as the world’s funniest joke.

Columbus Inquirer, September 24, 1908. “Possessed of unlimited resources for the gratification of his pleasure”—hot dog! This is another item ripe for adaptation for a handlebar-mustache version of Law & Order. The episode would cold-open with an Italian balloon vendor stepping into the bushes to relieve himself and tripping over the murdered monsignor, natch. Read more.

Omaha Morning World Herald, September 7, 1895. Sounds like lonely sport.


Kansas City Star, April 29, 1908. Sacrificing children isn’t just for Satanists, don’t you know.
Hmm, not a lot of clues as the exact denomination here, but I’m guessing they weren’t high Anglicans.
God can’t get up off the couch and smite his own five-year-old girls? For that matter, couldn’t he provide his servant Bachman with a first name?
“The Smiths and Bachman” has an odd ring to it, considered from a rock angle. No good could have possibly come from such an unholy combination.
Again, frustrating vagueness as to the doctrines and origins of “this new religion.”

Oog. Dating Oom the Omnipotent doesn’t look like such a bad choice all of a sudden.
Atta boy, Bachman: keep punchin’! No looking back!

New York Times, May 20, 1908. I don’t recall Yahweh signaling His opposition to May-December matches in Scripture, but in this instance He ostensibly sided with George Sterry Jr. against Sterry Sr.’s desire to take a second, younger bride. Read More »

Atlanta Constitution, January 31, 1907. “Undersized,” hey? Well, you never know who the Big Fella is gonna deputize to serve His mysterious ways. And someone was definitely looking out for Harry Howard when that angry mob came knocking. Shooting four guys and burning down the billiard hall would have been a pretty strong case for ol’ Judge Lynch in Wild West Virginia circa 1907.

Philadelphia Inquirer, April 6, 1890. It gives me the jibblies, the way some people shove religion down their kid’s throats.

Dallas Morning News, November 6, 1889. Time for some follow-up on that recovered memory-inflected FBAS (False Bender Arrest Syndrome) drama whereof we spake last month. Deviating from the journalistic norms of its day, the Dallas Morning News decided ahead of time that this story smells like bullshit. There can never be enough of this kind of skepticism, especially in journalism. Read More »

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