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crazy hedAI had to forage for more info on gun-wielding lunatic Thomas Lobb, and hully gee, was it ever worth it. The Onion-esque headlines above are from the Los Angeles Times for June 22, 1905. Ensuing reportage is excerpted from the San Francisco Chronicle of the same date.
rough houseI’m seeing a significant cultural shift here: I doubt an early-morning crowd of San Franciscans today would egg on a crazy person throwing furniture out of a fifth-floor downtown hotel room. And even if they did, they probably wouldn’t yell “Rough house! Rough house!”

1) How did the elevator operator know that the paper bag was full of strawberry tarts?
2) Was nobody concerned by the fact that the gentleman was carrying a shotgun and a revolver?
3) The Dutch?! Awesome! I’m not surprised to see the venerable Anglo-American tradition of rabid Irish-hating still in full effect in 1905, but who goes hunting humans because they hate the Dutch? Why not throw in the Luxembourgers for extra randomness points?
miss adamsTension-dispelling levity of this sort is what’s missing from news coverage of armed rampages these days.

look-seeI take it “whally mally” is vaudevillian chinkspeak for “what’s the matter.” I would have never guessed that “take a look-see” has a similar provenance, and I use that expression all the time. Anyway, blithe racism of this sort is what’s missing from news coverage of armed rampages these days. It adds to the gaiety of nations, wot?

currencyI want to believe this about the $50 and $100 bills, but it sounds pretty improbable. $100 in 1905 is the equivalent of about $2500 today, and you can see why nutty rumors would be flying around town after an event like this.

plasterWhew, really puts you there, doesn’t it?

copshutchings2Officer H.S. Hutchings, Edwardian supercop!

crazy comedyYeah, those sudden tonal shifts from crazy comedy to mad tragedy can really catch a lunatic-baiting mob off guard.

Below is the biographical skinny on the volatile Mr. Lobb. My favorite thing about him? Before turning maniac, he’d served in the Royal Canadian Mounties. Happy Canada day, tout le monde! bio


  1. what an amazing story!

    • Yeah, it’s one for the books.

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