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Chicago Tribune, December 20, 1882. Hey, we’re back in business here at The Hope Chest. (And may I just thank the international service response team of the Hewlett-Packard corporation for fixing me up with working computer in just slightly more time than it would have taken for Rural Free Delivery to deliver me a can of Dapper Dan Pomade? Outstanding.)

Anyway, y’all remember the notorious Bender family, late of Kansas, where they ran a combination of roadhouse, seance parlor and murder factory before vanishing from the face of the earth? Well, per the excerpted article above, the unsolved case cast a long, long shadow, and lots of unlucky people were subsequently arrested for their crimes. I’m not if the given number of 100 is reliable, but this happened a lot–enough that it became sort of a national journalistic joke after a while. Anyway, as the feller above observes, the post-history of the Bender case “would prove a most interesting literary curiosity.” Toward that end, I’m gonna start processing all my Benderabilia in the hope that some sort of publishable story will emerge. Not sure where I’ll shop it: Maybe the National Police Gazette or somesuch?


  1. there was a bender in winnipeg back in the 70’s who took an axe to a couple of brothers after a seemingly harmless traffic infraction. one was dead and the other was left disfigured

    • glad to hear they are bad-asses wherever they go.

  2. As a long-time fan of cheesy exploitation films, it’s astonishing to me that, for all the films that have derived inspiration from the myth of the Bloody Benders (I’m looking at you, Tobe Hooper), no one has made a decent film based on the known facts.

    And this, in a nation that gave birth to both the Western and the Slasher film. Its a travesty.

    • Yeah: I’ve always loved a western-horror crossover from the time I saw Billy the Kid versus Dracula (starring poor old John Carradine as Drac) on TV back in grade school. Have you seen Ravenous, HP? Easily my favorite entry in the genre.

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