It’s time to pay another visit to the little house in Villisca that played host to one of the most horrible ax murders in history. This classic episode is presented with fresh, modern narration and production, as well as a brand new bonus story at the end.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I can still remember the first time I saw a nightmare on ELM street as a child, thus tense moments in the dark, but something of my heart's in my chest, the screams, but the decades have reduced much of those memories down to impressions and flashes of key images. The most important of those a course was the glove
Freddy Krueger Glove was iconic all leather and metal and fish knives. Just a glimpse of it was enough to send shivers down the spines of millions. It was one of a handful of weapons.
Became foundational to a new wave of horror movies that started by thirty five years ago. There were others, of course,
Jane saw with its screaming motor and biting teeth, filled many nightmares. The machete always takes
back to the hockey mask, wherein Jason for he's. In Friday, the thirteenth there are men
stories of a killer who uses a hook from. I know what you did last summer to an early episode of supernatural and who could forget the wooden stake that makes an appearance in almost every vampire movie, but no tool of destruction has been more prolific and more horrific than the axe. It's the stuff of nightmares, equal parts, passion and skill. It
a near mythic weapon. That instantly inspires fear, but a little over a century ago those nightmares became reality. I am Erin Man and this is low,
between January of nineteen eleven, an April of nineteen twelve, a killer travelled across Western Louisiana and EAST
Texas, and whoever they were. A trail of bodies was left on a scale beyond anything. We can imagine today
They were crimes of intense passion and brutality. They were calculated and merciless labour hate crimes to the core, focusing on victims of mixed race, and they were all committed with an axe
The first murder took place in rain Louisiana in January of nineteen eleven,
While a young mother and her three small children were asleep in their beds, somewhat entered their home
and brutally killed them all with an ax shortly after that, and just ten miles to the west in the small town of Crawley, the killer struck again, while Walter buyers and his wife and their six year old son slept in their beds, their lives were ended. There was a pattern forming something beyond the victim profiles and the murder weapon, but it was still too early for the authorities to notice it. This was an age before the internet before twenty four hour news networks, most information travel.
along the railroad and took days or weeks to spread effectively, which was unfortunate because it allowed the killer to move on and continue his work.
He was, he didn't wait long before making his next appearance. On February, twenty third of nineteen eleven someone entered the home of the Castaway family in San Antonio Texas and slaughtered every one in their sleep, a husband and wife,
and there are three children. They were never any signs of robbery
vandalism or other evidence of a reason for the murders, whoever the killer was? He entered each home with one horrific purpose and then moved on
The killer took alarm break in San Antonio, but when he reappeared he was back in Louisiana
on Sunday November, twenty six, the nineteen eleven in the city of Lafayette, all six members of the Randal family were butchered while they slept the authority said that each had been killed with a single blow to the back of the head right near the right ear and their weapon. They claim
was an ax shortly after that the police arrested a woman named Clementine Burn, a bad who claimed to have committed the crimes and Rain Crawley and laughing at her story
is an odd mixture of voodoo superstition and cult mentality. Due to her involvement in something called the sacred church, but in the end of the true killer, proved her innocence by continuing with his free while she remained behind bars.
in January of nineteen twelve Crawley experienced yet another tragedy at the hands of the acts. Man Marie Warner and her three
Children were brutally killed in their beds, following
pattern of the previous murders. Two days,
or in the Louisiana town of Like Charles people
Broussard and his wife and their three children became the next victims, one blow to the head for each just behind the right ear. But this was the moment the killer went off script. He left a note
wasn't incredibly helpful, but it did lend a small amount of humanity to the man behind the acts. The note red when he maketh the inquisition for blood. He forget, if not the cry of the humble Human five, no one knew what it meant
No one does to this day, but it help the towns along the southern Pacific railroad line understand that it wasn't some mythological beast. That was hunting them. No, the killer was a human still a monster, but of the human variety. The death toll continued to climb. On February nineteenth, it was Hattie Dove and her three children in Beaumont Texas. On March Twenty seventh, it was the Monroe family in the town of gladden. On April, eleventh, the killer returned to San Antonio to take the lives of William Burton and his family. Two nights later in Hempstead three,
or lives were taken. The killer appeared one final time in August of nineteen twelve in the home of James Dash, YO and San Antonio, but something went wrong. There
rather than never waking up. Missus Dashwood
opened her eyes as the killer missed his target. She screamed and he ran slipping away into the night and then
as if it had been nothing more than a hot wind blowing off the gulf. Everything just stopped: no more murders, no more blood, no more little coffins with no one left to weep over them just gone, but there's always and other acts. There's always another family and there's always another monster.
Tucked in the south western Corner of Iowa between the middle and west branches of the not away river is the sleepy little town of Alaska in eighteen, twelve, it was the sort of tat
where everyone knew each other, if not by name then at least by face
local man. Gillmore had been the star salesmen at a farm equipment, business run by another village, Scan Native Frank Jones, but had struck out on his own five years earlier, starting his own business,
He and his wife. Sarah had four children, ranging from five to eleven years of age in all of them, were well loved in town.
On the night of June tenth eldest daughter, Catherine played host to a pair of local girls Lena and Anna still injure for a sleep over with a house, full the family retired to bed and soon all eight of them were fast asleep.
just after midnight. However, a stranger lifted the latch on the Moors family back door and stepped inside today we don't think twice about law.
Keen our doors and windows before going to bed, but invalid cut in nineteen twelve that would have been overkill crime wasn't a problem and everyone. Well, we ve already covered how friendly they were.
whoever it was that entered the Moor house, that night closed the door behind himself and then quietly picked up a near by oil lamp. This was the type of lamp with a glass chimney on top which protected the flame from gusts of wind, but it was also prone to toppling out if the lamp was Tipp too far. Breaking glass makes noise and that's probably why the intruder removed the lamps chimney and set it aside. He lit the lamp and turned the flame down as low as he could just enough to see by, but not enough to wake anyone up and then moving as quietly as he could. He walked past the room where the two still in your girl slept and slowly climbed the narrow stare
We know this because the town coroner did his best to later reconstruct the events of that night were told that the man first slipped into the room of Joe and Sarah more lay asleep in their bed. He set down the lamp. It would only get in the way when he started to use the other item he had brought with him.
acts when he raised the weapon over his head is scuff the ceiling of the room, but
either of the occupants of the bed noticed. You brought it down first on Joe and then on his wife too quick swings to sickening gods, and then it was over.
Next visited the more children asleep in the second upstairs bedroom. He quietly killed each of them with similar quick blows to the head. With an ax before returning to the stairs
back downstairs, he entered the room where the two guests slept and completed his MECCA mission. No one awoke no. Instead,
And no one was allowed a chance to warn the others until it was all over, but there
are signs that one of the still injure girls woke up. According to the coroner, her body showed signs of movement prior to our death. Perhaps the noises upstairs woke her. Maybe her sister screamed or some other noise disturbed her sleep, but by the time she was awake, it was too late. She quickly and join the others in their horrible fate. I wish I could say that the knights events were over, but the intruder, the killer, now wasn't finished after killing. All eight of the p
inside the house, he returned upstairs and systematically brutalized. There remains with his axe. There are details. I won't record details that most of us can do without no matter how strong some people's stomachs are, but its estimated that the killer struck Joe Morse face at least thirty times before. Moving on to his,
when he was done with this, the man covered each of the faces of the victims, all eight victims shrouded in clothing and bedsheets.
Then he moved on to the mirrors in the house draping each in turn, with more cloth, every reflective surface every place where it might be possible to see eyes staring back in himself. He carefully and deliberately covered each of them. They think the killer state in the house for a.
While after he was done, there are signs that he had taken a ball and filled it with water, where he washed his blood soaked hands
little before five. I am, the man picked up. The house keys turn off the lamp, lock the doors and vanished into the red morning. Sky
as it goes with so many small town tragedies the people of illicit went in search of some one to blame for the murders, one of the first suspects to be concerned.
Third was Iowa. Senator Frank Jones, if you remember Joe,
had been Joe Moors boss at the farm equipment business just a few years before, when he left a straw
got on his own down more had taken one of the most lucrative clients with him. There was no love between these two men. In fact they used to cross over to the other side of the street to avoid p
seen each other. There was also a rumour that Joe more had been having an affair with francs daughter, the theory around town at least, was that Frank hired a killer to get rid of more. He was never formally charged with the murders, but the news coverage ruined his political
rear. Another suspect was a local Manning Lynn. George Kelly aside from me
the towns Presbyterian Minister. He was
so a known sexual deviant with mental health problems. This is a guy
placed an ad in the local newspaper, looking for a receptionist and.
Women responded, he instructed them that they would be required to type in the nude super nice guy. If, by nice you mean we're,
but weird or not. He quickly admitted to the murders and to leaving town on a train the morning of their discovery. He was also left handed something the coroner had determined was a characteristic of the killer, but there were problems too
Kelly, was five foot to and wait a little over one hundred pounds, not the beast that people would have expected to find swinging and acts in the middle of the night when, fortunately, Kelly later recanted his confession and complained about police brutality,
One final suspect was William Mansfield, it was believed,
by some that Frank Jones had hired Mansfield to do the killing, while others just believe the man worked alone. Mansfield had a criminal record and at one point one of the detective agencies hired to investigate the murders claim that he was even a cocaine, attic, no one likes Mansfield and at sea,
like he was really. The guy Mansfield had been suspected in two other murders prior to Villisca, which didn't help his case, one
in pale, a Kansas had happened just four days before and another in Aurora Illinois. The locations of both of those murders were easily accessible by train and both had been committed with an axe.
that's not all each of the previous murder scenes were you really similar to in both homes, investigate
Found a lamp burning at the foot of the bed glass,
chimney missing mirrors,
both homes had been covered, and bowls of why
were used to wash bloody hands and they were found near the kitchen. No prints were found now suggesting
Miller, who was worried about being identified by prison records? Something Mansfield would have understood in
and though Mansfield was able to provide an alibi, his name,
was apparently on the payroll records for a business several hundred miles away, making it difficult to believe he could travel to Melissa to swing the axe. Someone did, though, which means the killer got away. He caught it
rain, skipped town and landed somewhere else. Who knows where that train might have taken him? The
Acts is about as iconic as it gets some of the oldest manmade tools that scientists have discovered our hand, axes, suggesting that their form and function is somehow part of our subconscious. They fit our needs and perhaps they fit our nature as well
in Valencia, like countless communities around the world at the turn of the last century. The acts was about his commonplace as the hand pump too well or the wooden outhouse. Everyone had one in every one took them for grants.
It was incredibly common to see them lane on a person's porch or protruding from a large piece of firewood in the yard.
which means that there would have been no need for the violence. Could acts murderer to carry his weapon with him? It was a weapon of convenience. It was the easy and logical choice. The perfect tool for the perfect crime,
As a result, our scary stories are full of those brutally sharp iconic weapons. There vicious arc is the stuff of nightmares and for the more family, those nightmares became real
We encounter William Mansfield one more time in the historical records shortly after his trial,
and release. A man named are H. Thorpe from near
I shall in came forward with a story accordingly,.
Him he saw a man fitting man, fields, description board, a train the morning of the murders within walking distance of town.
Maybe it was someone else maybe,
was Mansfield himself caught in his own lie. There's no record that the IMF
parties followed up on that led by other things, followed him in the years to come. In
I have one thousand nine hundred and fourteen a full two years after the events in Villisca Mansfield was arrested one more time this time in Kansas City. The reason is former wife, along with her parents,
her infant child had been found dead in their home in Blue Island Illinois. According to the authorities, they had
brutally murdered in their sleep during the night in a killer and used and acts.
From the horror films of the last few decades to tales of Lizzie Board and in her forty wax, no artifact of violent crime has reached the status of folklore, quite like the common acts, and because of that, there is no shortage of stories that feature its brutal blade, along with a whole bunch of mystery. Stick around through this brief sponsor break. You hear about one more
the headline in the local paper, the Crowley Post Signal in the Wheezy Anna
to say it all brutal
Murder of negro family is discovered in West Crawley. If you were faint of heart or tended to be a bit squeamish
That was probably enough information, but there is some
much more, and let me say if the store,
of Alyssa has tested your limits or made you uncomfortable. This tale might not be for you
as always I'll, do my best to keep the gruesome details to a minimum. But if you're
donation is a bit overly active. Consider yourself warned Walter buyers worked in the local rice mill. He, along with his wife and son, seem to be the perfect neighbours. Folks in town said he was a hard working man. He served as the volunteer
secretary at his church and was described in the newspaper article as peaceable, it sounds
most stereotypical, but that common eyewitness on the street testimony we ve all heard a hundred times here
great neighbour, a quiet man, and we always
I ve been said hello. All of that is entirely applicable here, like I said, Walter buyers was the perfect neighbour, quiets kind and helpful looking back, though. Maybe that makes the rest of the story. All the more pain
on Tuesday evening, the twenty fourth of January of nineteen eleven. If you're keeping track of the details, one of the buyers neighbours saw Walter's wife, Slovenia, a little after dinner time. After that things,
quiet at the buyers house, no one in the neighborhood saw or heard from them at all the next day. I imagine this,
cool wondered where the little buyers boy had gone and the mill probably thought it was odd that Walter failed to show up
but it wasn't until the day after that Thursday afternoon, that someone paid them a visit.
The article only refers to her as a little girl on an errand. But whatever.
why she needed it brought her to their front door. She knocked and waited, but no one answered. While she stood there, though, she noticed an odd smell, a bad smell, the smell of death and because the door was locked, she ran home and told her parents
who called the authorities to come and give things look when they got inside the scene. That was waiting for them was horrific.
All three members of the buyers family were found in bed together, Walter and his wife side by side, with their son stretched out at their feet. Leaning against the head of the bed was along handled, acts covered and blood and bone and hair, and that wash of red carries over the entire bed, where the sheets had tried and failed to soak in all of the blood that had been spilled by the killer. Each of the victims had been struck in the head, a blade of the acts splitting their skulls death was most likely instantaneous, which honestly seems like the only
Mercy in this entire story, their deaths would have been incredibly painful, but at least they were very quick around the bed were more pieces of the story. A nearby washstand held a half filled basin of water on top, and the water inside was pink with blood. Clearly, the killer had stopped to clean himself before leaving, although when they did, they left bloody footprints. On the floor that led out of the room- and that was all they would
ever know about the killer, whoever they were wherever they came from men, whatever their motive might have been. All of that was a mystery. The only truth the authorities could be certain of is that they killed the buyers as they slept wash their hands and then walked out of the house.
and into the night all they left behind was the axe. The blood in the broken bodies of three innocent victims
Sadly, there would be more killings like it in the area over the coming months, the Andrews family from Lafayette in February, the castaways from San Antonio in March,
and while the authorities chase leads and arrested suspects, no definitive answer was ever found. All were left with is blood blood and the acts.
This episode of war was researched, written and produced by me, Aaron Mahnke, with music by Chad, Lawson
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Transcript generated on 2022-02-22.