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

Torturing a Lover.

June 26, 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
Ararat: City of Refuge. | Napoleon's Oraculum.

Torturing a Lover.

Torturing A Lover

Louisiana, Sept. 1882 - A masher who fools a Louisiana girl is tied hand and foot, smeared with molasses and laid in the sun to be tortured by flies until he consents to marry.[more]

A Young Masher Fools a Girl in Louisiana and is Taken into Camp.

A young couple arrived in New Orleans on the 20th ult. Who excited some remark.  They were a bride and bridegroom. He was wrapped in bandages, limped and groaned at every motion as if he had been put through a threshing machine and was sore in every joint. She stuck close to him and watched him as a cat does a mouse. He could not make a move but that she was on his heels ready to pounce on him should he attempt to make his escape.

Several attempts were made to interview the young man but they were only partly successful, owing to the watchfulness of the catlike bride. It was ascertained however that he was a drummer for a New York house who had in his journeying through Louisiana scraped an acquaintance with the young woman. He had used all his metropolitan fascinations to such good purpose that she was in the worst sort of predicament. Her pap insisted that the young fellow should marry the girl but he respectfully declined and harnessing up his horse prepared to leave. The old man was no chump, though. He seized on that city chap and with the aid of the girl bound him hand and foot. Then they soused him in a hogshead of molasses and laid him out in the sun for the flies to settle on and torture until he made up his mind to wed. After the old man had secured a parson who lived a few miles away, he and his daughter, armed to the teeth, sat down and covering the dominie with their pistols waited until the young lady’s intended should weaken. He was covered with a swarm of insects who tortured him sore. His struggles and shrieks of agony had no effect on the determined father-in-law and he prospective bride, however. They silenced the parson’s protests and were deaf to the cries of their victim.

At last after enduring a great agony he gave in. The flies were brushed off and just as he was he was wed. Then they washed and dressed him and he insisted on starting for New York at once. His bride went with him for her wedding tour. He threatened to drown her if he recovered the use of his limbs on board the steamer, bug from his “all broke up” appearance there seemed little chance of getting square for two or three months, if ever.

 

From The National Police Gazette, October 21, 1882