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Episode 125: Paper Trails


Everyone longs for someone. That special partner who can enter their life and make is something better, something more. And while dating has taken many forms over the years, nothing is like a good, old fashioned personal ad—or the people who took advantage of them.


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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
He stood naked at the edge of the river it was morning, but the July son had already warm the stones beneath his bare feet. Is clothing was piled up behind him, a suicide note how down by the weight of his silver personalized pocket, watch ass. He stepped into the cold water of the Ohio River. He brought nothing with him, except a small burlap sack holding it up above the surface of the water. He turned northward and walked against the current, adding a good distance upstream and ass. He did his thoughts were consumed with the loss of his wife. Caroline her illness had arrived, suddenly
Or any one was able to help it had snuffed out her life. They had married April of eighteen. Ninety five and yet two months later, Caroline was gone. So now, with no reason to stay, Johan was making his own dramatic departure upstream. He found a pile of stones. Clearly, man made against them rested a small wooden boat inside it a pile of, actually folded. Clothing, waited for him on the small seat. After placing the small sack inside Johan climbed in dressed himself and then began to row into deeper water. After a few moments, he stopped and emptied the contents of the sack into the dark water, letting the river carry it away, and then he grab the oars and did the same with himself moving the boat into the stronger current, which slowly put distance between himself and the small town of Wheeling West Virginia.
The man who would find his pocket watch and suicide note would assume Johann had been successful in his dark task. Caroline was in her grave, and now her husband was gone as well drowned by the river and his sorrow. Life can sometimes be hard and bitter, but every now and then things aren't what they appear to be in an age when starting over evolve little more than packing up and moving on. It's amazing what some people manage to get away with con jobs,
insurance fraud in all manner of lies designed to fool the innocent, YO, HANS, fake suicide. Was it the only deception he had committed, and sadly it would it be his last I'm Aaron Monkey- and this is lore. Johann was born John Schmitz in Strasbourg, Germany in eighteen sixty. He was also borne five years, earlier in horror, Viler Germany only there he was known as Jacob Schmidt and honestly, There are more names and dates. Twenty five surname.
Almost as many first names and a whole list of home towns, which makes it almost impossible to kneel down the real Johan, and I suppose that was the point. over the years. He would do a lot of moving around and not just in Europe, but I'm getting ahead of myself. So let me back up. The first wedding we have on record for Johan, was in eighteen. Eighty one He married a young woman named honour in the austrian city of Vienna. Two years later, though, she passed away and no one was sure what the cause of death was. My Yahoo, wasn't the type to sit around grieving monthly. Here. He married his second wife, a wealthy young woman named Christine RAM, and this marriage seem to be the one they had four children together and shared roughly four years, but in eighteen. Ninety one Johan skipped town boarding, steamship bound for America
while on the ship he met a poor young immigrant women and the pair were married right after docking in New York but two months later, his new bride passed away cause of death, an unknown illness and again, rather than mourn her loss, Johan, packed up and moved westward, finally settling in Chicago in eighteen. Ninety two during his time in Chicago between one thousand eight hundred and ninety two and one thousand eight hundred and ninety five. He married at least six more times, most of them passed away within months of their wedding day, always tragic and unexpected to poor, unlucky, Johan, but not all of them. Sometimes he would simply disappear in the night changes name and go on to marry someone else and in early age,
ninety five one of those abandoned brides came back. The hunt him JANET Spencer, went to the police with her story, claiming that Johan under the new alias of Sea, a Calvert at a loped with her, then stolen. Hundreds of dollars of her own money before deserted her a short while later Johann was arrested, but somehow managed to avoid any charges once he was released, he packed his bags and headed EAST finally arriving in the bustling town of Wheeling West Virginia, which might sound familiar from the beginning of today's story. It was there that he met care
Line fell in love and married her in April of eighteen, ninety five and then, of course, she passed away two months later and the month after that, Johan staged his dramatic fake suicide, fooling everyone into thinking that he had drowned himself in the river. Well, not everyone, local minister, Herman Hoss hadn't cared for Johan from the moment. He laid eyes on him when he saw the man taken interesting, Caroline hope. A wealthy young widow in his church pasture Hoss was said to have warned her Caroline, as we already know that it listen and the pair were married a short time later. After Caroline took ill. The good Reverend did what he did for all of his unwell parishioners. He visited her at home while he was there chatting with her and offering kind words and encouragement. Johan came into the room Hoss watched as
YO poured a small amount of white powder into a glass of water before handing it to his wife and just assumed it was a medicine of sorts, but Carolines death cast that moments in a new light and hoss was getting to have doubts, even though Johan had apparently ended his own life. The minister went to the police and ask them to open an investigation and some time after dragging the river for bodies and coming up empty. Some one else noticed another unusual detail. Airlines grave. Had been tampered with, no one knew why, though, and they wouldn't at least not for another few years- because, rather than being dead at the bottom of the Ohio River, Johan had returned to Chicago once there
He married a woman named Maria Stein, Bachar and wouldn't you know it she passed away as well. Just four months later. One thousand eight hundred and ninety six was a busy year for Johann over the course of twelve months. He married seven times in five different states, and while he was doing so, Reverend Haas was back in West Virginia obsessively dig for any new information he could find. There was a single witness who claimed to see Johan crossing the river that fateful day in July of eighteen, ninety five and while the police didn't believe the man Hoss certainly did
so. He spent a good amount of his spare time, reading personal ads from across the country, looking for a clue as to Johan Whereabouts, which might require a bit of explanation. So let me fill in the blanks for you Back in the late eighteen, hundreds and early nineteen hundreds men women who are looking for love, often placed adds announcing their intentions in the local paper today, you really need to do is downloading app and swipe left or right, but back then it was a different world. The first known personal, add that historians have been able to pinpoint was published in a newspaper in the late. Sixteen hundreds by the time Johann was around. Most people didn't think twice about placing or responding to a lonely hearts add it was culture, the Johann, had been taking advantage of four years, and while it had been wildly successful, it also left a paper trail eventually,
Reverend Hoss felt that he had enough circumstantial evidence to reach out to the police. He suspected that Johan had moved back to Chicago, so he reached out to an inspector their named George ship but Shippy had been chasing the case from the opposite end. He had a series of mysterious deaths to account for, but no suspect had materialised as yet. The letter from Hoss provided him with the missing He's in nineteen hundred chippy boarded a train and travelled to willing to meet with Hoss in person and extend his investigation. After talking with the local police, he convent, them that poisoning was the most likely cause of death and a simple exclamation of Caroline hoax body should settle the matter except that's when they had. Nag remember how I mentioned that Carolines grave had been tampered with, but no one knew why well once or coffin was open and her body was visible.
Everyone knew the answer. Some one had opened her grave shortly after her death removed all of her internal organs. And then we buried her and the only reason to do that would be to hide the evidence of poisoning, whoever It would also most likely a place those organs into a small burlap sack carried them away and disposed of them elsewhere, maybe even in the river and just like that shipping knew that Johan was his man. All he had to do now was find That would be harder than he expected, though, between eighty Ninety seven and one thousand nine hundred and four Johann married at least twenty six more times. Most of those marriages ended with him disappearing in the night, while at least eight of them ended with the death of his new So one December third of nineteen o for Yahoo, found himself once again, lonely and looking for love, which is why he placed an ad in the Tribune.
The woman who answered it did so on behalf of her sister Maria. It seems that more was a relatively wealthy owner of a local candy store, and while she was too shy to respond herself, her sister Bertha was more than happy to get involved she centre sponsor Johan and gave the address and schedule for Maria store inviting him to drop by any time he wished and Johan did exactly that. Three days later, he and Maria connected immediately and soon enough we're having a meal together in the back room of the store that was December. Sixty four days later, the couple were married. In a week, after that. Maria was sick in bed, with pain in her stomach and lower abdomen. Johan play the part of the distraught husband like a pro he'd, had dozens of chances.
practice. After all, so early on in Maria's illness, he wrote a letter to another of her sisters, Amelia requesting that she come to visit. Ten help take care of Maria, but Amelia didn't or than help. Apparently she and Johan did a lot of flirting she later mailed him a photograph of herself which he claimed would never leave his breast pocket. Amelia return in January of nineteen o six in the morning. After a nasty argument between Johann and Maria about her jealousy over Emilius presence, Maria was dead. the next day as Amelia was helping the newly widowed Johan remove his dead wife's betting. He proposed to her because He was either insanely, charming and charismatic, or entirely absent, of a single out of tat either way. I can help a cringe at the thought. Amelia turned him down, but three days later. She changed her mind. They were married on January, twenty first, just three days after Maria's funeral, but I have
believe it Amelia saw the warning signs. There was nothing normal about her marriage to Johan and there were a whole lot of questions surrounding her sisters, death. It would have been impossible to be complete at peace, and yet, when Johan asked her to withdraw the modern equivalent of twenty thousand dollars from the bank and just give it to him, she played along, which might and why her other sister Bertha, the one who had set up Johann and Maria just weeks before in and told Amelia what she suspected that Maria had been poisoned and Johan was the killer. At that moment, every
clicked for Amelia. She gathered whatever evidence she might have had and prepared to confront him that very day, but that opportunity never arrived. Johan did what he was so very good at doing. He escaped
In the end, the thing that made Johan hope who he was turned down to also be the thing they got him captured. He was a predictable criminal who left a very public trail behind him, newspaper advertisements, marriage certificates and sometimes even dead Brien's. It was the very nature of his criminal life that made it easier to chase him down after Johan slipped away from Chicago the police, their started to use that against him they sent his photo two newspapers across the country and had posted with a warning and request for information. It was the equivalent of an incriminating video being passed around on social media just a century before. That was a thing, which is why Catherine Kimberly caught her breath. While she was reading the morning paper in late June, be wary of nineteen o five. The man who had arrived just days earlier to rent a room from her. The man who had flirted inside
ITALY and made a marriage proposal the day after they met that man was staring back at her from the page. Catherine sent word to the police in Chicago That the man they were looking for was in her New York home within days. He was captured and arrested and his possessions research. Among his few belongings was a fountain pen that seems suspicious to the investigators when they opened it. They discovered it contained a white powder, arsenic to be exact. Johan hope was brought back the Chicago where Inspector George Chippy interrogated him for information about his past. Johan wasn't completely forthcoming, but they did manage to get some names from him. Fifteen ex wives that were still alive, all of whom claim that he had tricked them out of a small fortune.
To make matters worse for him later that same January, the police managed to have Maria's body exude, probably after getting permission from her sister Amelia. What they found confirm their fears, Maria Stomach, showed traces of arsenic and because she had been embalmed with chemicals. That did not contain that particular substance. The police were able to connect Johan to her death. the trial it followed, took almost four months to complete during the proceedings. Witnesses in the courtroom claimed that Johan looks almost happy to be there whistling and humming as his crimes were presented and deliberated over. Naturally, the press had a field day with it and word spread about the infamous lay, Killer in May of nineteen o five, the jury deliver. Their verdict, Johan Hope, was found guilty of the murder of Maria Walker.
Sadly, the police were never able to tie enough evidence of the other murders to him like that of Caroline Hoke in Wheeling West Virginia. So those were left unaccounted for, but inspector Shippee had to be pleased in the end he caught the killer and justice was going to be served, but not so fast, even though his execution was scheduled for June of one thousand nine hundred and five, there were more complications headed their way and they probably won't make a lot of sense to most of us. Is he despite the fact that you Hon wasn't in the most attractive man to begin with and that he was now a convicted murderer awaiting execution behind bars? Some women still couldn't resist him. Think about that. This was a mandatory cely famous for killing his wives and yet ass he sat in jail. Several marriage proposals were sent to him by strange women from all around the country it.
Concept that psychologist refer to as Hebrus to failure when individuals find themselves attracted to those who have committed violent crimes. Other well known criminals to receive marriage proposals include Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer and TED Bundy. One of those proposals came from a woman named Cora Wilson, who lived right there in Chicago. She was seen oh and wealthy, and wanted to try and see. Yo before it was too late, she requested a stay of execution from the governor, who, surprisingly agreed to even took the decision to the Supreme Court. But after months of legal battles, Miss Wilson's efforts were ultimately shut down HANS execution date was set for February in the weeks leading up to it. You might expect that he changed his tune and attempted to leave the world with a clean conscience, but that's not how Johan handled it. Instead, he sent a message.
to those involved in his conviction that while he was convinced Maria had been murdered, he was not the killer. It didn't matter, though. On February twenty third of nineteen o six, he was led onto the platform in Chicago where a noose was placed over his head after a few formalities. In a moment with a priest, the lever was pulled and the trap door fell out from beneath him. There would be no faking it this time. Johan hope was officially dead, Johan Hope was a monster. I don't think there's any doubt about that. He used core human needs. The need, firm,
community, companionship and love to lure in women and take advantage of them, and the horrifying results speak for themselves. During his interrogations with Inspector George Chippy, Johan was said to have professed his reasoning behind all those crimes. Marriage was purely a business proposition. He said when I found they had money. I went after it. He was what some historians have come professional bigamist, someone who made a career out of marrying as many women as possible in order to steal from them a report from the women's Rescue league in one thousand nine hundred and five estimated that more than fifty thousand women have been victims of similar crimes. Up to that point, Johan Hulk, as far as historians can gather, was personally responsible for nearly sixty of them. Experts and authorities tried to warn people to way back in eighteen. Eighty for nearly a decade
or Johann, arrived in Chicago and began his murderous activity. The Chicago Tribune ran a massive five column article that walked people through how this type of crime worked and how they can protect themselves against it. The author of the article even placed fake marriage ads in the very same paper and then studied the nearly forty responses he received. The results were eye opening because they show just how quickly some people ignored common sense when it came to their own search, were companionship and love every one longs to find their special someone, but not everyone. is who they claim to be criminals like Johan Hoax, stepped in, to take advantage of that naive attack, but don't assumed that this, was a male only feel between one thousand nine hundred and twenty and one thousand nine hundred and fifty four Nancy Hazel killed four of her husband along with a handful of others who got in the way she did it for the insurance money and earned her the new
the black widow Vera Rancey was a romanian woman, convicted of killing thirty five husbands and lovers between nineteen, twenty and nineteen. thirty using YO, HANS, favorite, murder, weapon, arsenic, but the most famous female lonely hearts killer and American his three might have also been the most local to Johann Hope. Belgian S followed the same recipe for her own murderous ways. She placed personal ads local papers, explaining that she was looking for a wealthy husband and a Did anyone interested to come and speak with her many of those unwitting, and would eventually disappear and Bells Bank accounts would grow a little more. But here's the craziest part of her story, Belgian s was married in Chicago in ten eighty four and was still shown is living there on the? U S census in nineteen hundred, which means that for a number of years Bell and Johan lived in the same town. Naturally, that may
we wonder, did either of them read the other person's ads and if they did, did they ever consider replying or was it far too easy for each of them to see through the lies that had been printed on the page Perhaps they occasionally ran across the obituary of another mysterious death and nodded knowingly. After all, it takes a black heart to do the things that each of them did and we'd like to believe those types of people are rare If history has taught us anything, though, it's that sometimes we get it wrong
The story of Johann Hook reveals a lot about human nature and naturally, it captured the attention of a lot of people at the time during his trial. The press, dubbed him Blue Beard, hope a call back to an old french fairytale and if you ve never heard it before its story worth repeating, stick around after this short sponsor break to learn all about it. This episode was made possible by staff stock. Come if you're, a small business owner you're busy enough as it is needed and to deal with the hassle of going to the post office with stamps dot com. You can skip the trip and never waste another dollar or minutes steps that comments. You print official postage right from your computer, so you can spend less time at the Post office and, more time running your business simply put stamps that calm, saves time, money and stress for northern twin
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Save time and money this year was stamped Stockholm sign up with a promo code law for a special offer that includes a for weak trial, free postage and a digital scale, no long term commitments or contracts just go to staff. Dotcom click on the microphone at the top of the homepage and then type in the word more that stamps dotcom offer code more staff. Stockholm never go to the post office. Again. It's often said that life imitates art that the decisions we make. The paths we pick and the mistakes we stumble into are all echoes of something already found in the world of art weather.
That's universally, true or not, is open for debate, but in the case of Johan Hope, we can certainly see the roots of his actions in something much older, a fairy tale of Bluebeard. In fact, it's those very same similarities that led the press to refer to him ass, Bluebeard hope as if it was a modern version of a classic story. Cell was first written down by author Charles Perrault, who published his collection of french fairy tales in one thousand six hundred and ninety seven. The book was called hills and stories of the past with morals, and it was inside it that many readers first encountered the legend of Bluebeard. It said the blue beard was a wealthy landowner who could buy anything his heart desired. Massive homes, golden carriages, works, art and gilded decorations and he held that same attitude about a lot of things, including marriage and.
We meet him in the story. Bluebeard is on the prowl for his seventh bride is nickname, apparently came from the fact that he literally died his beard. Blue something the locals around him found repulsive if because none of the people in town knew what happened to the man's previous six wives. They use that Blue died beard as an excuse. Perhaps they said it was his ugly beard that frightened them all off. Soon enough, though, he took notice of the daughter of his neighbour and after spending weeks to win her affections, she consented to marriage If she had concerns about marrying a man who had walked the aisle six times before, we don't know all were told is this unnamed young woman agreed to be his wife, shortly After their wedding Bluebeard told his wife tat. He must go away for a short trip. He tells her she's welcome to explore the house.
Then use any room in it as if it were her own and gives her the master key that unlocks all of them. The only catch is that one particular room was off limits and he warned her to stay out of it Not long after he left the young bride decided to host a party at the house. She had married up in the world after all and wanted to show her friends. The new wealth she had entered into As the evening war on her guest ass for a tour of the mansion and she happily complied in them from room to room so that they can admire every inch of it, except for that one room. Now she probably made a polite excuse and laughed it off and then walked every one past it, but it was hard to ignore the one door in the house. She was and allowed to unlock. So after everyone had left the party and the house was empty, she slowly crept back to the room and unlocked the door inside. She made a grisly discovery there in
center of a pool of dark red blood. Lay the bodies of six dead women. Bluebeard wives had not run away. After all, Instead, they had been murdered and left hidden Play behind one door that she was not allowed to open brightened, she dropped the key and then quickly retrieved it from the floor. And then she ran from the room, careful to lock the door after herself, lest her husband learn of the discovery, but there was problem. The key had somehow landed in a pool of blood and it was now covered in it she returned to her room and clean the key, but after a dried blood return over and over, she wiped it clean and each time she did the red Stain returned to its metal surface, which is when she realized what had happened. The key was enchanted as part of blue beards way of pay acting the locked room when he returned the following day. The first thing he asked for was the master key. His young wife did her best to make excuse
since for not having the key with her, but he insisted that she retrieve it at once and give it back to him finally unable to hold him off any longer. She returned to her room, picked up the key and placed it in his hand immediately. He knew that she. to fight him. You wanted to enter the room, he screamed at her. Well, madam you so enter it and take your place. on the Ladys. You saw there, but here's where art takes a left turned from real life rather than killing her immediately. He agreed to let her take a brief moment to pray for her soul, something she had to beg him for. Fifteen minutes was all he would allow, though, so she rushed back into her room and then opened her window and cried out for help. Thankfully, her brothers
still lived in her father's house next door and they heard her desperate screams immediately, both of them rush to Bluebeard House knocked down the door and chased the murderous man down before running him through with their swords, and then it was over. She had Survive and soon found herself the sole air to blue beards immense fortune. Later, it said that she married again this time to a good man who didn't tell her what to do or what rooms to leave locked and unlike much of it life she and her new husband lived happily ever after.
in the centuries since the story was published, Bluebeard name has been dusted off in use countless times to refer to those criminals who love killing more than they love their spouses and each time it happens. It makes one thing abundantly clear: the fictional Bluebeard, just like Johann Hook only took part of his wedding vows seriously till death. U S part. This episode of law was written and produced by me. Aaron monkey with research by
Michel mood, oh and music, by Chad. Lesson. Lore is much more than just a pod cast though there is a book series available in bookstores in online and two seasons of the television show on Amazon. Prime video check them both out. If you want a bit more lore in your life, I also make two other podcast errand making cabinet the curiosities and unobserved, and I think you'd enjoy both each one explores other areas of our dark history, ranging from bite sized episodes too. He's in long dimes into a single topic you can learn more about both of those shows and everything else going on over in one central place: Thou world of lore dotcom, slash now and
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-12.