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Category Archives: Unhappy families


Macon Weekly Telegraph and Messenger, October 3, 1884. “Nothing intelligent could be obtained” from him, huh? I wonder what sort of witty palaver were they expecting from Michael Shay.

When I find a local atrocity like this and an address is given, I look up the location of Google Maps just to see what the lay of the land is now. 409 Clark would seem be a construction site at the moment. Does the bad mojo from an event like this dissipate when the building it took place in is destroyed, or does it linger out of doors a while and then roll forward into the new premises?

New York Times, June 16, 1858. Demented French brothers clad only in straw belts, dropping by in the wee small hours and claiming to have killed their sister: That does set the stage, doesn’t it? It would make a great cold open for an episode of Law & Order: Antebellum Michigan, “ripped from yesterday’s headlines.” Read more.


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 »

Forgot to cross-post this one. Pretty astounding.

Chicago Tribune, September 15, 1897. Veteran Hope Chest readers will surely recall the notorious Bender Family of Kansas, whose frontier depredations set the contemporary bar for homicidal family enterprise. This here Staffleback crew strikes me as small potatoes in comparison–murder seems to have been less their “trade” than a sideline–but their operation was not without a certain Gothic panache. Abandoned mine shafts are always good value. Read More »

National Gazette and Literary Register, August 4, 1825. Yeah, he sounds pretty genteel and agreeable in manners.

Chicago Inter-Ocean, August 11, 1874. It was strongly talked of, see? It was not the passing subject of gay badinage and persiflage, nor something obliquely alluded to in a manner that went over the heads of most. The talk of lynching was strong.

Omaha Morning World-Herald, May 13, 1895. Even as tied-to-the-tracks dramas go, this story’s a weird one. Or even as real-life precursors to Park Chan-wook films go, for that matter. Read more.

Savannah Tribune, November 9, 1922. Call me judgmental, but that is just plain bad parenting.

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