No. 522
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
May 17, 2021

Crazed by Cocaine.

Doctor Borcheim, a prominent physician of Atlanta, Ga., in a fit of delirium blows his brains out.
April 10, 2012
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The following tale comes from that classic collection of mostly first-hand accounts of supernatural encounters, "Lord Halifax's Ghost Book."  It was related to Lord Halifax in 1920 by his nephew, Charles Dundas.  Dundas had recently heard the tale from a renowned Royal Air Force pilot named Edward Villiers.  (Later Sir Edward Villiers.)  It is one of the briefest stories in the "Ghost Book," but
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Strange Company - 5/17/2021

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LOOK OUT FOR "SOAPY" SMITHSt. Louis DispatchSeptember 23, 1897(Click image to enlarge) e reported himself in good health and money."   New information showing that Soapy Smith did go to St. Louis to check up on his ailing wife, Mary, after leaving Skagway.  Below is the transcription of the article from the St. Louis Dispatch, September 23, 1897. LOOK OUT FOR “SOAPY” SMITH ― The Smooth Man
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 5/11/2021

Born in 1870 and completed 13 years later (at a cost of $15 million and with more than 20 worker deaths), the Brooklyn Bridge is marking its 138th birthday this week. What better way to honor an icon than with a brilliant lithograph produced by a Pearl Street publisher depicting the fireworks, ship parade, and […]
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Ephemeral New York - 5/17/2021
Youth With Executioner by Nuremberg native Albrecht Dürer … although it’s dated to 1493, which was during a period of several years when Dürer worked abroad. November 13 [1617]. Burnt alive here a miller of Manberna, who however was lately engaged as a carrier of wine, because he and his brother, with the help of […]
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020
The crack of gunfire startled the residents of 88 Merrimack Street, a boarding house in Lowell, Massachusetts, around 10:00, the night of  August 31, 1876. The boarders rushed to Lulu Martin’s room on the third floor, where the shot was fired. The door was locked; they heard a man inside shouting, “Go for the police! She has shot me! I will hold her! Break open the door!”A group of men broke in
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Murder By Gaslight - 5/15/2021

Along with Bertie Whitehead, Abby’s half-sister, May 13th was also the birthday of Helen Craig, famous stage actress best-remembered for Johnny Belinda. Helen Craig, who played Abby in The Legend of Lizzie Borden was born May 13, 1912, a month after Titanic sank. Helen Craig was not a great beauty by Hollywood standards, but a very fine actress. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0185871/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1 Her portrayal of Abby Borden as a mean, greedy glutton, more than any other thing, has affected the way most people think of Abby Borden. Sadly it was not an accurate portrayal. Helen did some television in her later career, most notably The Waltons. She died in New York City in 1986. She was married to stage and film actor John Beal who played Dr. Bowen in Legend of Lizzie Borden. They are seen together in the publicity photo below.
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 5/13/2021
[Editor’s note: Guest writer, Peter Dickson, lives in West Sussex, England and has been working with microfilm copies of The Duncan Campbell Papers from the State Library of NSW, Sydney, Australia. The following are some of his analyses of what he has discovered from reading these papers. Dickson has contributed many transcriptions to the Jamaica Family […]
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Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
A Straw Ride in New England. | St. Valentine's Day.

Crazed by Cocaine.

Crazed by Cocaine Atlanta, Georgia - September 11, 1887: Doctor Borcheim, a prominent physician of Atlanta, Ga., in a fit of delirium blows his brains out. 

A special from Atlanta, Ga., September 11, says: Dr. L. E. Borcheim, one of Atlanta’s most prominent citizens committed suicide in his room at the Kimball this morning. He is a victim to the cocaine habit. Borcheim came to Atlanta about five years ago. He was of the Jewish extraction, has always been prominent in Jewish circles and soon built up one of the best practices in the city. He was a man not much over thirty years of age, stood well socially, was a member of the Capital City club and was surgeon of the famous Gate City Guard. The opium habit has been his curse. One result has been that his health has, for two years been quite bad. He is said to have had fainting fits, and on one or two occasions was believed to be dead.

About two years ago, while in New York, he went into one of the trances, was pronounced dead and was placed in a coffin for burial, when he recovered. About ten months ago he was very ill, a lung trouble having developed. By a wonderful display of will-power he fought his way back to live, although his case was pronounced hopeless by the physicians in attendance. As soon as he was strong enough he went to Philadelphia and when he returned, about five months ago, he looked as if he had completely recovered his health. He was full of animal spirits, and declared that he never felt so well in his life.

The act of suicide was committed at about eight o’clock this morning but not discovered until some time later, when a chambermaid went to his room. As she opened the door a most horrible sight met her gaze, and screaming, she fainted. The body of the dead man lay on his bed, and upon the upper sides of the room and even the ceiling were scattered his brains. A 44-calibre pistol was the implement of destruction, and when found was in his hand. The pistol is a six-shooter, and but one barrel had been loaded.

 


Reprinted from The National Police Gazette, October 1, 1887