« True Murder: The Most Shocking Killers

HELL'S PRINCESS-Harold Schechter

2018-04-05 | 🔗
In the pantheon of serial killers, Belle Gunness stands alone. She was the rarest of female psychopaths, a woman who engaged in wholesale slaughter, partly out of greed but mostly for the sheer joy of it. Between 1902 and 1908, she lured a succession of unsuspecting victims to her Indiana “murder farm.” Some were hired hands. Others were well-to-do bachelors. All of them vanished without a trace. When their bodies were dug up, they hadn’t merely been poisoned, like victims of other female killers. They’d been butchered.Hell’s Princess is a riveting account of one of the most sensational killing sprees in the annals of American crime: the shocking series of murders committed by the woman who came to be known as Lady Bluebeard. The only definitive book on this notorious case and the first to reveal previously unknown information about its subject, Harold Schechter’s gripping, suspenseful narrative has all the elements of a classic mystery—and all the gruesome twists of a nightmare. HELL'S PRINCESS: THe Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men-Harold Schechter
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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you are now listening to true murder, the most shocking killers and true crime history and the authors that have written about Gacy, Bundy Dahmer, the night stalker Dgk every week? Another fascinating achter talking about the most shocking and infamous killers crime, history, true murder, with your host journalist and author Dan. This is Nancy good evening. In the back of serial killers, Belle Gunness, stands alone, she was the rarest of female psychopaths. A woman you engaged in wholesale slaughter, partly out of greed, mostly for the sheer joy of it between
in one thousand nine hundred and two in one thousand nine hundred and eight. She look the succession of unsuspecting victims to her Indiana Murder Farm somewhere tired hands. Others were well to do bachelors all of them vanished without a trace when their bodies were dug up, they had merely been poisoned like victims of other female killers, they'd been butchered hells, Prince this is a riveting account to one the most sensational, killing sprees in the annals of american crime. The show Fucking Series of murders committed by the woman who came to be known as Lady Bluebeard. The only defended book on this notorious case and the first veal previously unknown information about its subject. Harold Schechter is gripping suspenseful narrative
has all the elements of a classic mystery and all the gruesome twists of a nightmare. The book that we're featuring this evening is Hells Princess the mystery of bell. Gunas butcher of men, with my special guest journalist and author and Professor Harold Shea and we're waiting for Harold Schechter to connect to the program will give him a few minutes fascinating story. Harold Schecter's been on the program, and here we go. Welcome to the program, Harold Schechter. Thank you very much for this interview. My pleasure. Thank you for inviting me on. Thank you. Thank you. It's always a pleasure for me for this customary question. Why
Did you want to write this book? What was it about this book that so fascinated you well I've been wanting to write this book for a while and other projects intervened? You know I've been interested for a long time in the whole phenomenon of female serial murder and when I came across the case of well gonna switch. I did a number of years ago in a book called women and killed by the feminist author had Jones. I was very struck by certain features in her case, you know that made it unique
I've written about other serial female certain letters. Before in my book fatal, I wrote about a female poizner name, Jane TOP and who, until John Wayne Gacy Camel came along, was listed as the most prolific american serial murderer in the Guinness Book of its record. She confessed to thirty what killings a chain top and like other, but they used to call female american or, after you know, the notorious renaissance poor. Train top and poisoned her victims It was a private nurse, so they were all. Patients are some siblings, good friends that made Belle Gunness for you, the was the fact that she would put your of the bodies of her victims after killing. Will
it so you know that's a characteristic that usually don't so. State with female serial killers. So that was one thing that you know that caught my attention about the case. Certainly now just you talk about blue beard, but for those that don't know this legend or this story of Bluebird briefly tell us what The story of blue bird is before we talk about this little community of this city outside of Chicago called Laporte, where all of this happens tell us about the Bobard blue Beard is originally a french fairy tale that was written by Charles Parole,
collected in his famous early fairy tale anthology, tells him mother, goose, and in the Perot version. Blue beard is this creepy elderly aristocrat, with a blue dyed beard who webs a series of young women and takes them off to his castle and then test them by going off on a trip and leaving them with the keys to all the room room this is the castle and can go anywhere but just don't went to this one room forbidden chamber hand
as soon as he's gone. Of course, the young women's curiosity overcomes them. They enter this chamber uh. As soon as I do. He returns and said Is you know, you violated my trust in any chops them up and hangs all their body parts in the chamber, so he had. This bloody chamber full of the dismembered body, parts and decapitated heads of all his wives, so that you know that's the basic premise of the blue Beard story, supposedly It was inspired by an actual serial, murderer, dining machine older, a who was a french aristocrat and a com set an alarm to Joan of ARC, in criminology. Generally speaking to describe men who wed and murderer
series of wives You know there been some very notorious Bluebeard figures, who was a french blue beard, Name Audrey, Lange RU, Charlie Chaplin actually made a movie this year over do that was based on Landru in our own country. There's a guy name, Johan HAWK. He well that was one of his men aliases who married a string of wives and uh. You know knock them off, so yes, so so that's that's the derivation of the term blue beard right. You talk about support and outside of Chicago, but also you also talk about the prominence of Chicago in the late 1880s. So tell us a little bit about both of these communities. Well, the you Chicago, which, basically, good reduced to ashes by the great
conflagration of eighteen. Seventy two Do I believe anyway, had you know Chicago originally was nothing but a few kind of huts on the muddy banks of you know the lake and it grew at this phenomenal rate, but initially most of the buildings you know were built of wood in the sidewalks for wood planks. It was really kind of a tinder box, and then you know basically the whole city was destroyed in the great Chicago fire and they rebuilt it very, very quick. Wait was kind of this. Marble of urban growth was the first skyscraper city, so by the late nineteen century. You know it was the second largest urban center in the country after New York City, this great metropolis, which attracted these hordes of migrants from the surrounding countries
right after the civil war and yeah. So so that was Chicago and it had a very, very large relevant to my look at a very large norwegian population and port was this little city. You know located not far from Chicago. You know small community. With you know, a nice business district and a lot of handsome farms surrounding it, one of which one of which ultimately became the residence of Belle Gunness. Although the house that Let's moved into, it actually served as a brothel for the town ingesting. You also talk about that. The she's her name is Brynhild Paul's that restore lit
and you say, there's not much, no, never very early years, but she was born in eighteen, fifty, nine and uh did she work to farms so tell us a little bit about early life was characterized by and also the religion that she practice here in her family practice as well. Well, you know, as you same in Bel, you know. Very very little is known about her shoes, obviously until her crimes uh you know were discovered completely obscure figure. She was the daughter of a poor sharecropper in this small norwegian town of Sailboat and uh. You know from what we know about her. She did all this kind of argue. This form labor as a child. There she was a no
May it again, whatever sort of drudgery that young children have to engage in. You know she did. She was apparently a very very devout churchgoer, you know the only thing we really know about her or the few documents that exists, that dismal records, and so on. You know once for crimes were discovered. There were all stories that grew up about her early behavior, but it's very very hard to know exactly how accurate those things are. I know a lot of urban legends or, I guess in her chase rural legends, immediately spring up. Excuse me about her. So again, it's a little bit frustrating when you're doing a book like just how little information is available about
You know about the early lives of these people, but other than the fact that she let this very very hard. So travel existence as the daughter of this poor sharecropper, we don't know very much about her early life you'd. You talk about, though, that she has an opportunity to move to the US, because of MR so tell us what those circumstances are and a little bit about her actually coming talk about name change. So what's her name now and tell us a little bit about those circumstances that she comes through the US. Well, her sister, her older sister had Emag if there was actually a you know, a large influx of norwex immigrants in the late nineteen century, something I guess that would take our current president very happy who's. Talking about more, you have a great
from Norway and Sobel sister no, that provider to come, live with her and you know they'll be the trends of light to cross and thought well, Brynhild debate the trains went to crossing. Is when she did she american Oyster name and became Bella Peterson. You know she went to work apparently is a domestic and horse maiden took in laundry. You know she came over here for reasons that many of the grants to you know you know to achieve the american dream I mean Bell was according to the testimony of people who knew including her sister. You know very the very kind of money. Craze and again, you know, having grown up under these very, very, very difficult straightened, indigent circumstances. She
is very eager to you know, make a good life for herself. You know in Chicago at that time, which had the first department stores. You know it was the impression you get with, always sort of should wander around and you know should have her she's like a kid, with her face, pressed to the glass of a candy store are all these are material of that she wanted to be able to indulge in so making money getting rich. You know be t very single minded focus for her you talk about soon enough? She is married to a man named. Add Sorenson is five years older than her he's just night, watchman and she's married at twenty four years old. You say she wore a black dress, which is very interesting now tell
just a little bit about this problem with conceiving and what this leads to for her an Mads. Well, I mean one of the interesting things about Bell. And one of the paradoxes of her character is that she had these very, very power full maternal impulses and was very, very, very desperate, really to have children. They did end up having Children, though again among the various mysteries surrounding her is the question of whether she gave birth to these children. You know whether these children were acquired. In other ways, the first child that she did raise was a false. Your daughter named Jenny Olson, who was an infant born.
This couple that she was friendly with The mother died in childbirth, Bell, persuaded that father to turn over the raising of this little girl to her get ultimately completely had number of other children. But again it's it's. Here, even though she claims she gave birth to some of them. Evidence seemed to just otherwise that she could either gotten orphanages or You know there were rumors at Bell. Herself had been with a school, a baby farmer, babe Farmers were women who would take him the unwanted children of port women wear. Illegitimate children, appointment And uh you know: when can you know they were kind of like make sure list orphanages, the baby farm.
Taking these infants and since the close place from another household over some very notorious big The farmers actually murdered the infants once they took them in anyway. So but yes, but Bell was always very, very desperate to be a mother. Right? You talk about also that when her lust for money and success, this match didn't make a lot of money. Eighteen dollars a week, but they did have another money to purchase this little candy store Tell us a little bit about that business venture and what have and in terms of mysterious fire. Yes, well, she said they they purchased. This little can dictionary shop and uh. Well, traveled. You know business ST, but it didn't do very well and then the candy store mysterious, we've burned down one day.
Nobody was there at the time, except Dell had her. Then maybe you know my God toddler daughter, Jenny, foster daughter. So you know there was an investigation, but ultimately the fire tool to be accidental and Bell do pain collected on this insurance money and they purchased, purchased. The little house in a slightly more upset well area of Chicago, and then there was a fire in that house. You know again not on like other female serial killers of her ilk. You know was very much into committing her crimes in order.
To collect the insurance money on them and at least two of them you know, are crimes of arson again not it's not unusual for serial killers to to adulthood or should and then, of course, her crimes escalated to homicide. You talk about homicide, you talk about taking in in eighteen, ninety six in eighteen, ninety eight couple you They became parents of more than four children and then as well. There was soon after two of those died and There seems to be no suspicion, but you talk about and enter and colitis and Hydro follow so that things were attributed to sort of. Mysterious elements, or least
all the time. But that was a characteristic of some of the people in her care. Wasn't it yeah again? You know if, if if it didn't turn out that Bell with a serial murderer. Those deaths not necessarily seem to be suspicious, because you know there was a very, very high mortality. Infant mortality rate at that time- and you know in the quality of medical treatment was such you know that you know sometimes, diseases that now would be very easily curable would prove to be fatal. So again we don't know whether those children died of natural causes or at the hands of Bell us because she decided there were too many mouths to feed again very, very character during the late.
19th century. You know just not that long before You know bell. Gunas was committing her atrocities. The number of very, very infamous female serial ports in this country, a woman named Sarah Jane Robinson, other woman named Lydia Sherman You know these were women who killed number of their own children, again, sometimes partly to collect on insurance. Sometimes because again they felt. You know the kids were just a drain on their energy finance, so I was very very possible again given Bell psychopathic nature. That does. LOS inference died at her hands, but again, at the same time, you know it is also conceivable that they died of natural causes. We just don't know.
You ut talk about of interesting development early on in eighteen. Ninety seven in October, when the couple was visited from a man from the? U Conn Mining and trading corporation into testing that later we find out what a master con artist. This woman is tell us about this mining in trading corporation idea, well So that's something actually very proud to have uncovered because well actually a real recruitment and covered it. You know, but nothing nobody's ever written about that wrote about Federal Guard to Bell. You know it's it it. You know its intricate out as it turned out to be a stamp. You know they were approached by representatives of this mining company um and they were going to be offered shares in these gold mines in return for Mads, going up
to the call- and you know and and working for the company but again the whole at, but it used, but they you know they could. How to put up a certain amount of money upfront supposedly to come you know them at the costs of meds transportation and equipment and so on and so forth, but In return for this investment, you know they were going to be getting Pearson, whatever, whatever gold was ultimately discovered, but whole thing turned out to be a complete scam and Madson Bell ended up suing the company, but it was an interesting episode. In terms of what it revealed about You know again, lust for money grew. Need for money. You know the fact that she had no qualms. You know that sending your husband off into the wilderness for a very extended,
We have time, you know she really, as her own sister testified. You know the only feeling she really had for her husband even though she was married to him for an extended period of time, and you know we served as the father of a child, but he was, it was just you know when she looked at them all she sore where potential dollar signs. You know she had no human feeling for him again, as we all know, very, very characteristic of the psychopathic personality. You talk about April tenth, another fire breaks out at their home, this one attributed to defective heating apparatus. And you talk about the life policy and sort of the luck that she had with the timing on that. Tell us a little bit about
what happens with Mads and this insurance and her behavior yeah. Well, I wouldn't call the timing, luck. Well I mean it basically, you know she had persuaded that stick out a life insurance policy which was read and and then well. I forget the exact about going to say two thousand dollars. You might remember better than I do But then she wanted him to take out another policy for more money like three thousand dollars or whatever it was. So there was one day. You know there was a it when the old insurance policy was set to expire. Moved the new life insurance policy would would go into effect? So there was one day.
You know on which both policies were in effect, and it just so happened that in a particular day, Mads came home from work seeming. Are you feeling as healthy as he had been when he left and then within a very very short time, suddenly got very, very sick and died So Bell ended up collecting on both insurance policies so, That was totally fortuitous or, as seems far more likely again, given but subsequently came to light about me know she kill the first husband yeah. You talk about right after this, windfall of Money she move
two eight or buys a home that was a former bordello and she doppler different name. And yes talk about when they were married, Magine Bella they had take in a border named Peter Gunness. Tell us a little bit this Peter Gunn S and his altered or stay with. Well done it. You know, we don't know it. The huge amount of details about got a small Peter Gunn. This is stay with him. He was again apparently briefly a border with them. They lived in Chicago and it moved into that nicer house that they had put just following the candy store fire. He was, you know from the one surviving photograph of him very, very strikingly hands. Young man He was a widower with
and again the details are a little fuzzy, but after Bell purchased, her farmstead stood, reconnect, with Peter and in a very short time they had become. Husband and wife can belt and Bella Sorenson with now Bella or belt goddess. There was some talk about, or controversy about how Mads had. Been killed or how he died, what what is made of that in terms of official cause of death yeah? Well, there were some suspicion given house suddenly and violently. He fell ill and died That you know there was some foul play in the balls
uh. There was a couple of doctors called to the scene, one of whom in particular suspected again that he might have been poison, but ultimately you know it was ruled natural death and again one thing that I have come to fear very strongly in during my researchers into these late 19th early 20th century. Mail. Serial poisoner's is how fortunate All of us are to be living today, the house of the kind of medical care you get. The medicine was so primitive back then that he, the
idea that matters had come to his to his fate by some suspicious circumstances. Tell us what, with the investigation revealed. Well, you know there was some one of the doctors suspected that possibly the drug test you know met that mad said: come back from work with this term headache and and Bella gone to the pharmacy and with the druggist accidentally, given her work fame instead of Quy nine to treat hundred with ten w's. You which which killed himself but again you know the ultimate diet. You know the ultimate medical judgments was that he had.
Died of you know some ailment and possibly by this by this accident. In any case, you know the main thing was you know: Bell was never really suspected at the time at the time, in of of having deliberately close her husband's death things were different, later went around. The crimes were discovered. Now you talk about Peters, brother Gus, Was suspicious of his brother's death and and. So what does he do as a result of that suspicion from okay? So we haven't actually talked about Peter's death, yet you know Peter type very shortly after marrying about again under highly suspicious circumstances, even worse, at least a suspicious as those surrounding mad stuff,
uhm. You know. Supposedly he had gone into the kitchen two or three issues which were warming up by the stove and when he stood up a meat grinder fell on his head and killed him, so So again, there is a lot of questions about you know about Peter Stephen, a whole inquest into it again. In spite of the strong suspicion of many many people that you know that That is suppose it accident was highly highly improbable and that, well it actually murdered him. You know the medical examiner ultimately ruled that have been accidental Ann Peter afterwards came and got him Peters, brother, I'm sorry, visited the farm,
Shortly thereafter and decided to take you to Peter's, I said the father, several children and the brother came in and took one of the rolls out of Bell Scare, because she was very, very worried about her. Well being he also asked her about the, two thousand five hundred dollars and she had said she told Peter that she had can did the mining stocks. But when he asked to see those stocks she couldn't produce them ha ha right. And she had also. She also asked him to stay and manage the farm. But what was his response to that? Oh you're, talking about the brother, yes yeah! Well, you know again he had grave suspicions about the manner in which his brother Peter had died.
And so yeah I mean he didn't want to hang around, which was a very very wise it turned out. You talk about the stress So this woman, in the size of Belle Gunness and the kind of work that she had to do often so as do in the book. Tell us a little bit about disturbed as it allowed refutes and kind of work that she had to do well it was a big bottom, you know she weighed probably between two hundred and eighty three hundred pounds. You know she will treat it done farm from the time she was a trial. So you know she murdered her second husband. She was basically there by yourself on the farm for awhile and she had to perform all the you know very, very arduous manual tasks that go with
running a form like that She was also hello, not verse, two and quite proficient in butchering the farm animals in. If you dress like a man so yeah she, you know she not only having to raise these children but take care of everything bald in and for you talk about by the winter of nineteen of four, she was in need of a man and she met. Olaf, limbo tell us how she approached these men are how these men heard about her and her farm. The long after Peter died. She began quitting classified advertisement, In various scandinavian language, newspapers papers up Midwest, initially the advertisements were
hired hands. Eventually, you know she basically putting me there's an you know, which sometimes would say you know come only widow, which was quite you know, fake news, false advertising. You know totally widow with this handsome farm. Looking for qualified bachelor You know they were parallel, come on so sensually you know true is then, who would be able to invest in the farm with Iprospect? Tomotley owes you know of marrying so. She went on it, go ahead. Sorry, You say she attracted a certain type of person as well, because there is that the victims are are numerous to show.
Example of the very first ones are indicative of her mo, at least when this Olaf disappears and and all his father rights inquiring about him. How does she deal with these people inquiring about their loved ones? Well, she service. Writing that. You know sometime I'm she would hello. Try to. You know she apparently got many many responses to these ads right yeah. She He would you know only. Shoe. Certain kinds of prospects. You know, ideally the ones that she would encourage You know we're guys who had very very few family connections that might come poking around.
Or whose relatives were all back in Norway or whatever, but and you know when friends or relatives, usually you know, did inquire about the whereabouts of their suddenly missing. Husbands. Are I mean brothers or whatever Nobel would always have some excuse? You know that We had left for other jobs or decided go back to Norway. You know, I, I think it was in the case of Limbaugh. You know that you said that he had suddenly decided you wanted to return tomorrow. To attend the coronation of the king, so she always had some good reason. You know for why they had left their farms and she was as surprised in his puzzled as anybody else that they had some absconded. You talk about also one of the characteristics that people saw was that
Each man would come with a low. Large trunk with his clothes and some of the things is belongings, and you say that what happened with those trunks? Well, they ended up Spain, you know being stored in the room in you know, in bells and bells farmhouse yeah. You talk about the summer of one thousand nine hundred and six in Bel Hires, a local man, William Braga Ski, to get him to do on on their farm. Well, among other things, she asked him to take these pulse these pits supposed. Only for her to toss garbage.
So, although he didn't realize it at the time, you know he was really being passed to perform the function of the grave digger, but basically he thought he was just taking out garbage pits. You talk to about, we talk about Jenny, Olson, and this is again the fall of one thousand nine hundred and six Into a pretty sixteen year old girl and had Bahama track Several male admirers and one of the Was email, greening and he's a farmhand? What happens that year that perplexes greening yeah? Well Jenny? Again by this point she was a foster daughter, kind of that Bell had your household back in Chicago from the time she was degrees. And, as you say, sugar on it too, it's very, very lovely blooming.
Sixteen year old girl and she suddenly announced that L was going to center. Way to cemetery in California and then She in fact disappeared again As far as everyone knew she was off in California after school uh email tried writing her number of times, but never got any response So you know he was to start, did puzzled about fat. He had been working at bells forum largely so he could hang around jetty. After she left. He quit that job, but he never heard from her. No but tried to contact her ever got any response. You talk about. But imo, greening quitting in June, one thousand nine hundred and seven and he is rip place my ray lamp lamp here
and he's thirty seven years old and tell us a little bit about Ray LAMP higher lamp here, yeah well, ready this little bit of there too. Well, he was, a a handyman get a bell. Had hired a series of handicraft folk cattle with the various tasks involved in her she apparently would not infrequently Take these guys is lovers, which was the case with Ray Lamphere. She put him up and I bet you are enjoying her own in the farm house
He for a while group was led to believe her somehow came to believe she was going to marry him and he would become the head of the pastor of this very, very helpful for students. So yeah I mean they were very very closely involved for awhile. But Ray was, you know, really was an alcoholic was apparently skilled carpenter when sober, but he was an alcoholic and again something of the black sheep of his family. You write of the summer of one thousand nine hundred and six, however Val, had embarked on a correspondence with a man named Andrew Haugland, and when he was a wheat farmer that saw her ad, tell us a little bit about this correspondence in and what she was trying to convince him to do. And how.
But well, Andrew and by the way I x league wins on a podcast, log ago with somebody of norwegian heritage who told me that The name which I didn't know until I spoke to a Skype call it's pronounce HAL Jelly and I also was always perhaps we get helgeland but Hell Gallia. So her correspondence withheld gallium lasted for about eighteen months. Constituted like around eighty two letters back and forth is really one. The most well, those are. Some of the most chilling documents that I turned up in the course of my reach. Search because Bell spent, as I said a year and a half setting this draft for this man, you know she decided
for a variety of reasons. You know that he was a very, very attractive victim, largely because she had this very successful farm. He had a fair amount of money, He was lonely not only for female companionship, but also very nostalgic, You know these norwegian experiences in terms of norwegian food and just know leisure and culture, and so on and so forth. You know that fell kept promising him. He would enjoy. So these letters, you know, which began relatively slowly quickly became very, very intimate. Very intense on bells Park. So yeah she just you know she. Word him and spent all
This time and energy and effort you know too over him to his destruction. But when you read the letters you know in you realize how Calcul waiting they are. You know Bell is presenting herself says this: So this this woman, who you know, can't wait, you know sort of how much she misses him. You know she longs for him how she can't wait to spoil him. You know with all her in Norwegian you down home norwegian cooking. You know- and there are all these sexual windows. You know, gives you this very, very powerful insight. You have no to help depraved her. Enter her sensibility was intent again. How cutting us.
Absolutely, and at the same time we have to remember that that Ray Landseer being the carpenter, farmhand lover is thinking he's God is going to be able to marry her we're going to use this area. There's an opportunity just to stop for a second to talk about our sponsor this evening, which is blue, apron blue apron is delete. Meal kit delivery service in the US and while many People know what they do. Many people don't know about the types of meals you eat when you cook, with blue apron you're, not just having burgers for dinner, making short rib burgers with a hoppy cheddar sauce on a pretzel bun you're, preparing seared steaks and in pan sauce with mashed potatoes, green beans and crispy shallots, all in under forty five minutes and without a trip to the grocery store blue apron is the number one fresh ingredient recipe delivery service in the country and blue apron's mission to make incredible home cooking accessible to everyone who apron achieve.
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blue apron is treating through murder listeners to thirty dollars off your first order. If you visit dot com, slash murder so check out this week's menu and get your thirty dollars off at Blueapron dot com, slash, murder, blue apron, a better way to cook that we're talking about Ray Lamphere and Andrew. Alkaline hell, Joe pardon me already bought Nokia little hell, Gillion pardon me Andrew Hell, Gillion. He He doesn't arrive right away. There's a many many delays and you you have that her urgency and desperation very evident in those letters to him when he fell when it does arrive, by January, one thousand nine hundred and eight. What does Bell say to rail and for her former lover and farmhand
well. Basically, she tells to go live the barn. You know, like Eragon, had been living in that bedroom. A Drake Jason to you know, with Jason, to bells you know fix Effexor sexual favors, suddenly Hell Galion shows up that. Please completely supplanted, you know, Obviously justifiably, you know very very resentful of this. For a whole variety of reasons. Now do you you talk about again, the the first National Bank in Lockport and Bell.
And Andrew, but not land is not. The only person tell us about this. Seen in the first National Bank welcome. Well, they go to the bank of supposedly in order to with role Hell guilliams money and then the teller. I told him that he's going to have to send these documents back to code. Is the bank local banks are going to have to wait, fill out that way, referring to yes, absolutely yeah yeah, so you know they come back when I for a week later and the money's there and Dell insists that held Galion. Oh, withdraw it all immediately it cash
b as hello, Kelly and disappeared yeah, the the other thing did you write in is contained in the letters is: what are the instructions to Andrew in terms of secrecy or privacy. Pub well Bell is very, very insistent that that hell Jelly and you know not informed any of it. Family members, where he's going you know she he held Kelly, has a brother has a sister in her letters keeps telling him you know. Let's not, you know, don't mention that you're coming here to get married it'll just be so much more exciting to it before them afterwards,
so yeah she is urging him to, do you know the keep it a secret? However, as it turns out, she doesn't really follow her. You know, follow her instructions on that score. Well, you talk but that his brother, he had told his brother who is going to be back in ten days and after ten days, there's no sign. So what does his brother Azle do in response? Well, his brother sends an employee over to Andrews Farm. Who do discovers this, the cache of letters from Val Goddess and his brother, whose name it
I I'm not entirely certain of the pronunciation of, but I think it's absolutely a Sally, so get a realizes. That Andrew has gone off, report Indiana? To finally beat this that he is been corresponding with for all that time. What happens meanwhile, for leg the rail and fear in terms of relationship with Belconis well raise relationship, you know the two get up. There is just terrible, just between the two of them in array. Again, who's been Pleat Lee, you know suddenly Ray who is really been going around sort of telling everyone. You know that it's only a matter of time because before he and they'll get married,
just going to become you know the coal owner of this magnificent farm. You know now realizes that uh You know, that's not gonna happen, yeah, you, you, you you, after well after the disappearance of yelling at Ferris, is dramatic rest between Del Rey. Where Bell kick of off the farm tells him to stay away really those to see his lawyer and says you know, he's left his tools on the farm and he goes back and tries to get the tools and you know Bell: has him arrested for trespassing asthma rested several times?
Trespassing, you know ultimately tries to get him declared insane. And institutionalized. So there is. You know this so vicious better. You know we get a break between the two of them yeah. Well, in the left It happens. She can but very also yep. But let me just tell me you know: there's there's one key episode there, which was The evening that helped jelly is suddenly disappeared, Bell said Ray off on an error to a neighboring. I told him to stay overnight. Somehow this transaction. You know that
lady was supposed to conduct fell through. Rei. Research that very evening went over to build farm house, and something happened that night, and that was the night that Hell Gallia disappeared and what, but apparently happened. Is that Ray somehow witnessed wells, murder of Hell Galion? And you know the You know the the the assumption, oh always was that already was somehow maybe blackmailing bell, and that was the source of this trouble between the two of them. You know Bell was just trying to get.
Right out of the way you know by having you committed- and you know, work Defy does is criminal, who had something against her sure. What's very, very interesting, too. Is that You know like a summary trial. There is an actual trial for rate Lamphere. And he hires again of a central figure in this story attorney work warden hum This cross examination of bell he he starts asking her Some very very pointed questions about mad Sorenson. Tell us to sort of the gist of, and the tone of this cross examination that at that last year's trial. Well, you know the word in and I get out of the the this would be permissible in a court of law nowadays, but a days
but warden. You know warded kept. Asking her questions you know about. You know about, all. You know all the suspicions surrounding his death. That you know there was always from the beginning a lot of questions about the way period. I'd make This whole story that this sausage, grinder, you know it's some have fallen off the stove. You know no for them on the head, and in a few hours late, it was dead from it. You know just struck. Many people is wildly improbable. So what the word was quite we understand about these charges against his client ray. You know he
just trying to cast suspicion. You know on Bel, you know there were suspicions that eating generally, it's kind of genuinely you know genuinely had said. She he also asked. One question I thought was incredible was that he asked when her Jenny Olson would be returning right so So yeah I mean obvious: we there was, you know him or did this mind. Already some suspicion that perhaps something untoward happened to Jenny. You say to meanwhile Azle is asking still about Andrew And you talk about another incident where.
This comes out later, obviously, that two of Bell's children are near the seller in the home. An you talk about what happens, what they experience in terms of Bell's reaction to them being there that seller yeah well, I mean Bell was you know by all accounts and again this this summer, Paradise Circle aspect of her teacher you know a very loving caring father, but on this particular occasion with children, you know order to their you know: shut up at school. You get very, very upset, crying and sobbing, and they said that they had. Sort of venture down to the cellar and other hit to you know, go to a good moment. You know yelp from which was very unusual for her right.
You talk about also that there the incident, where the event where They have the new farm hand Jomax, and what and uh it's around eight hundred and thirty at night. He goes to bed and then there is Bell I was living with Lucy, Myrtle and Phillip and previously were playing some games. What happens that night? What does max and later talk about what happened? What he experienced well max- and you know, enjoy this field with fell in her three children, but he retired to his bedroom. At that point, Hell Gallium was gone. He was gone so Jackson was now opt applying that bedroom Jason to bells MAX and went off to bed leaving belle and her children. You know playing some kind of game uh the dining room floor and then
he awoke smell of smoke, hello Father was baby looking good. You know he woke up and then realized. The house is on fire and he the immediately to the next bedroom counted on the door, but you know by that time the fire was really blazing and he had to get out of there. There was no response, the, so he went back and window and a very short time. The entire farm house was completely in flames and ultimate they just burned down to the foundation.
Now, despite rumors there's, a share of sponsor who was involved with in on Ray, is been charged for trespassing and Bell has written letters to say that he is harassing her, and so what share of sir thinks that this raid lamp fear is the culprit and goes to look form? Does me yeah you know sponsored knew about the difficulties between over a data a belt. By the way, one is a very important moment that we have to collect. A commission was set up the day of the fire bell gone into made her looking, I went to a lawyers office made a last will and testament. You know told the number people, including her lawyer, that she was afraid that they was going to kill her
so. You know she really made it down somehow that she was an imminent danger of being killed by rail and fear. So so was very very very well aware of the you know the difficulty between Reagan and FL and he sought out. He sought out rate It turned out radius fact had been very close to the farm house at the time of the fire he claimed to have been walking to a job. He was doing and saw the farm house in flames, but he Alerted the anybody, for whatever reason so suspicion immediately, allied of all three for having to call to the flyer you the investigators go to that building the book the home and it
almost completely destroyed in the fire, was an intense fire as you as you right and then all this le does the seller, and so they start digging to try to find the remains of bell and her three children tell us about that. Effort to Find an identify and what happens in that identification and search yeah. Well, I mean once the act who said cool sufficiently investigators began excavating. Below is the seller, which was the only part of the house. It was last night yeah. Please wait the snow woman, whose body clutching The very very end of We have separated corpses of these three children. The immediate assumption was that Bell had awakened. You know, while the fire was blazing,
and uh? You know in him her chill. I haven't run into our bedroom and tell him you know taking their arms and maybe try to save them. But to save all died in the fire I mean initially in newspapers, Bell was portrayed as this area. Look mother, you know who perished in the spot. Conflagration you know why I like to shield her children one, you know one detail, one feature uh of the case. You know that was and even to this day you know, remains high really highly you know, Controversial temporaries is all kinds of questions about the case is that woman's body was lacking ahead. Who is just a torso and what was left of the limbs.
But you know the initial thought was somehow the head had disintegrated in the fire right. Now you talk about also that that is in this dig in this excavation at one point, they asked Maxon if there was ever any holes or dirt dug up in the spring, and so what does he say as a result in what is discovered. Well it mean initially well. What happened was that Easley held Elian um, who had been corresponding with patellar fit Colour at the Laporte Bank who had handled this trance for of Andrew's money,
received for this teller. The newspaper clipping about the fire at the gun's farm house can paisley again who, who that his brother had gone to visit Bell and it did corresponding with now. Actually, you know Bell had written back and basically said she had no idea where Android not he's, they decided to come to Laporte, investigate things for himself. So he arrived at, the poor, went out to the farmstead hum, and you know it's kind of poking around didn't see anything you know it
about to leave and then, as you say, you know suddenly occur to him to have snacks, and you know if there had been any places on the farm that had recently been recently been dug into and MAX had. There was in fact such a place and he led paisley to it and the two of them began digging picking up, and you know within very short, order: they uncovered the extremely grisly remains of Andrew galleons, decapitated and dismembered body. How many bodies, once they began The serious excavation were on earth and what was media response you talk about, you know
responsible journalism, and then you talk about the media at that time. It's reporting for. Well, you know they began searching through other what they called Softap spots Yard, it's a little hard to tell exactly how many victims they ultimately sell, because sometimes There were a bunch of bones mixed together Lee apparently a minimum of eleven victims that they dug up, one of whom turned out to be a Jenny, Olson, the foster daughter, who had presumably got off to a cemetery. California- and this whereabouts? You know you know who's faith that you know was ultimately discovered. So you know this was incredibly sensational discovery of it. You know healers this midwestern farm woman
who had you know, turned out to be. You know one of the most horrific well fit and how the term serial murder at the time, but that's what we would call her. Obviously you know serial murders would lure This whole string of lonely norwegian bat restore farmhouse. I've chopped up their bodies buried them hog lot, you know turned her farm into well. You know it became known as the murder farm yeah. You know, as you say, you know the newspapers back front to call the Yellow press, which was the precursor of the modern day tabloid. You know what triggered this case very, very sincere, maybe the once apparently so, safe yeah what would up with every piece of their disposal. So you know the Laporte murder form became really.
Actually, no as You know it's a site of these horrors and you know immediately attracted because these kinds of places do you know these hordes of morbid curiosity seekers. Yeah. It's incredible. The huge crowds you're talking about that were wanted to witness this and then the selling of photos Ashley photos were a special really prized and that that many names in the press, female bluebird, queen of Crime- and even princess yeah. Well, you know again, as we do now, you know, whenever there's some kind of major serial killer. No either at large have been discovered. You know the press has a tendency to
video Bitcoin, some sort of or a movie or you know fairy tale ogre the person so yeah all these all these names. For The lady bluebeard, I mean ultimately, lady Blue beard. You know came to me the favor, because, obviously, both because of the number of victims she claimed it also very significantly, and this really links her to the virtual fairy tale character, blue beard, what or that, like a lot of like you know, a lot of the male Bluebeard's been real Andrew Hilton, HAWK they're called Bluebeard's because they murdered these wives. You know Bell is much more like the fairy tale Bluebeard in that she with dismembered the bodies of their victims,
you know which street fairy Tale Bluebeard did, but anyway yeah I mean you know the birds of the the first Sunday after the discovery of these products. This debate at sixteen to twenty thousand people. You know flock to the goddess. For that excursion trains run Chicago. It was you know, with the carnival they had. People setting up cake stands with a script standards, families. You know picnicking yards and you know people scouring the place for any little kind of relic. You know what the holidays would call Murderabilia and then people selling all these postcards some post, stores. You know, let's say after hell, gillions, you know dug up head. In fact, you know people listeners who are interested there can go. I mean go online and see a lot of these postcards and then they had
you know one of the most some of the basic features of this was the head. Put all of the decomposed remains of bell of the victims they had excavated it. Put. Some of this talent show this little out building on the form the you can see these photographs of you know it's like Disney World leaders like people lining up to go, see pirates of the. Libyan or something you know these huge lines of people- men, women, children, all dressed up in their Sunday finest. You know lining up site this carriage, yet so they could go in. You know file it. You know, would walk past view. You know these leaking. Roddick remains of these victims. So you know one of the things that always interests. Take research released books, you know
discovering you know that a lot of phenomena that people now think are very specific, You, you know we're all interested at this gruesome orbit stuff, you know how this is always been going of. This, too, is this is that there was a theory that, despite But again you can explain this. There's a corner MAC involved here that there's been charred remains are very, very small of a very big woman, but despite that, he had made his conclusions as to whether this is bell, but the media the press has a different story. In theory, about whether she's alive or not. Tell us about this play. My book is subtitled in mystery of algenist in one of the central Vista. There is which remains alive. To this day is whether survive a fire or you know, it was always a split opinion.
Yeah. On the one hand, you know with those who believes you know that Bell had perished in the fire. Again, then there's this other question good Bell set the fire herself you know. Did she realize that you know the law is finally closing in on her. She knew Paisley Hell Gallia, you know, had become very, very suspicious of her. Did she? Finally, you know just spiral out of control and commit suicide and killed herself and her children. You know that would that's a plausible possibility Another possibility was Generala fear and I will set the in revenge and anticipating art discussion a little, but you know he ultimately was convicted of arson and then the other possibility was. You know that the torso, the Womans
work, so that was found in the basement. Wasn't bell at all that she had stage the whole thing you know they should have lured some woman to the farm had killed her and decapitated her and murdered the children. It's it's set the whole thing up and set the fire in Bob's carpet got away with it. As you said, I mean the body. The woman's body that was found in the basement, you know, is much much much smaller than what Val Wade you know, but there were some experts. We testified of the body Could you shrunk as result of the fire? You know there are other experts who believe that I don't quite remember exactly with short torso. Where was like seventy five pounds, or so. You know whether you know two hundred and eighty pound woman could shrink that much even you know under
you know when subjected to that kind of intense heat, but that you know again. That remains a big question. You know there are people to this day. You know who believe that Bella got away with murder. Well, multiple murder, The thing is that there was a what's the word and after to be able to prove or disprove this, and I went about it a certain way. What was it the one thing if they were to search for that would conclude that she was still alive are part me still. Alive or died in that fire. Well, they knew that Bell had recently had this dental work done, but have had a bridge paid by the local dentist which had a number of gold teeth in it. So the feeling was if they could turn up this dental bridge, which might have survived the fire
Sorry, yes, the land so yeah, they decided that if they could turn up this dental correct, you know this would prove. Supposedly you know that the body was at a belt. You know because of strong sell my disintegrated, but you're not able to cheat in some help. Cold, you know, false teeth would somehow survived the flames, so they are listed the the of this. Early prospector, whose name inevitably was old Klondike. Well, that's what they call the head. He constructed this loose on the farm yeah this process of sifting through the ashes of the.
That were dug out of seller in this effort to locate this bridge and after about a weeks worth of effort. In fact, he did find this bridge work again. You know that turned out to be not as definitive as some people hoped it would pick a you know. There are people who believe well. Nfl was clever enough to have set up. You know that stage. You know this whole suppose, death of hers, if you could use late of managed to extract this bridge work even though was part of it, was connected to one of her molars There is also some neural, so so
Testimony by some I who claim that whole Klondike could planted the bridge work himself. So forget, You know that the discovery of this bridge you took part resolve the question of whether fell survive. The fire. Yes and as a result of that so. The media still speculated that there wasn't that, even though that they said that there was the part of her tooth. Why would she take one of her own? peace out instead of just throwing the bridge work will take one of her teeth out. So that was the question. Yeah. But some of this also came up at raid lamp fears. True, well because they were trying to give an altar.
Toure being the killer. Didn't they right? Well, you know we're warden. Who is? representing ray of the trial and his basic defense was you know that rate was brought into that, but bill got. It sets up a fire. You have a new, for example, that all blue day of the fire, in addition to calling up Well, look like everyone knows that she was afraid that Ray was going to kill her you're, also going to the general store purchase of some terrorists, the which choke back sir for him keypad testified, he had seen you know, stored inside perhaps but more than strategy. You know for defending his client was to try to persuade the jurors that that felt herself had set the fire that she was still live. You know that Ray was being framed for this. You talk
both the noble effort by warden to defend Ray Lamphere but also at the same time you talk about I'm notable, citing that you talk about all the sightings of Bell Gardens in the all kinds of various places, but in the book it's very very exciting when it looks like Belle Gunnes is discovered on a train. Tell us about this event very, very interesting part of this book. Well, thank you for saying so. Try to remember you well for you, the for about. I know there was a woman who was heading for New York is at the who was the widow and then that everyone seems to recognize. You know she was identified. You know by some fellow passengers. You know as bell.
Now she got off the train who was arrested in you know what held over by yeah the yeah the proved to be a. I'm sorry, doctor chapter member who she was, but yet you how she was the l goddess viewership it up suing the police. But after you know it's it's still like L, the side exit way you now wanna be went over there's. So you know some notorious criminal who is on the loose police, Jenn updated with you know, sightings of this person uh. You know there are people who sworn they had run it to Bell. You know that they had run it to Bell seen her
not far on the road, not far from her farmhouse. When I checked, I recently was contacted by a woman, I haven't had a chance to speak through yet uhm, you know who contacted Maine good to say that her grandmother had known Bell Dennis. That was one of these people who swore she could see Bell in the vicinity after the fire. So young. Very very common bell was in a few years here decades. Really, you know, ask You know. After these events, there were sightings a bell and all different parts of the country, sometimes out of the country. Well,
you alluded to or mention that Ray was finally convicted of arson, Dallas above just a bit about the trial and why he was not convicted of anything else and what was the sentence for the arson in the end? Well, he it was yeah. I was a little. It was a little like a little peculiar. He was, you know, convicted of setting the fire but acquitted of murder, which you know his warden himself pointed out that it really make a lot of sense because you know, presumably, if you set the flyer, you know he was also responsible for for the murders, but you know he was sent to prison. He died. You know she certainly there. After have tuberculosis. You know always protesting his his innocence. Again
With so many other features of the Gonna space, there's all all this temperature the surrounding raise last days because there were claims made by a minister who be friended him that raise you know had made a confession, but then you know that the Minister Zone story, you know, is called into question again. The the yellow press enter only left all over this. You know and- and you know printed all of these- you know try NEWS, you know lady supposed confession, but then it turned out that the whole thing might have. You know just been this concoction, so. You also talk about Ray with this at the trial, they date Oct, one of the things that he couldn't get.
Asked was when he had said that he had ran past that flyer and and said that he didn't want to. It would be one of the mind his own business, so he had saw the fire. So there was that that evidence at that. I need to say, then he he this a way shortly after from tuberculosis, what happens? with this story in terms of it fading away or remaining in in the public's eye. Well, as I said I mean, you know, cure logically there would be these stories about people who claimed that so that they had seen Bell or Fisher that person this year. That paper they were sure, was pelagornis. I mean there really exploded back into the headlines in the 1930s when
a California woman named Esther Carlson who, poison, this employer of hers, It was suddenly suspected of being belle Gunness investigate there searching fewer possessions, discovered some photographs of children that were identified is Belle Gunness children, family people from Laporte Indiana who are living, in LOS Angeles at times You know who came to view Esther calls Infestor before she could be brought to trial for the murder of this employer herself died of tuberculosis.
But there would be some bad who had bone Bell Gunas very well, who came to view her body in the morning and Inv Attic Lee. You know declared that she, Who is Bell Gunas, so you know for very very long time. The belief was, you know that. This woman Esterlyn spell Ganas and again. This became you know, there's a lot of publicity attached to this. Absolutely you'd. Also talk about just with this as well that the newspaper is printed the letters from Belgium this to Andrew again, very, very sensationalistic up. Portrait of this relationship and these letters yeah well one of the interesting things about that. Um is
one of the most infamous letters that Bell had supposedly written to It's a letter that is it's something like you know, be prepared to stay forever and you know. That letter got a lot of publicity and people who wrote about the Gunas case for many years afterwards I mean even like, Up until very recently, you know what often slate that is the most chilling of the letters. You know that Pelagornis wrote turned out. You know that letter was a complete concoction by one of the journalist who is covering the case of the time.
It was a very, very quietly on early readings of the gunners case. I always assume that that was an authentic letter. You know that really field. Some monster spell goodness was you know that she was sort of statistically taunting him that way What I discovered was that letter was a complete forgery, but it was published at the time of the newspapers is a real thing for me to give you real You know insight into the journalistic ethics of the time. You know these writers for the Hearst newspapers in the post, in newspapers compunction about just making stuff up to make the story more sensational now No, you talk about the letters and for those who will read this book, there are all kinds of examples of all gonna send her correspondence with various people, including Andrew how Gillian and
and also what I wanted to mention to is that there seems to be an absence of photos in a lot of these books, but in your book some incredible amazing photos. Included, so I want to delete you on that. Incredible research in this book and just one incredible story I want to thank you very: much Harold Schechter for coming on and talking about health princess the mystery of Bell Gunas butcher of men for the do you have a facebook page? How could people find out more about your work, which is incredible prolific Tell us how they might do that, but well you know what I suggest closed is just googling, my name. I do have a facebook page, which actually is maintained by somebody else for something really a social media person.
But you can find it out. Harold Schechter were Harold, Schechter dot couple hello, but yeah group, one Harold Schechter, will turn up lots of stuff. Let me just make one slight, even patient, who one of your remarks of the the actual hard cover book does not have illustrations, but I but there's certain the book with all so published to this new format, for Kindle emotion, is really very, very exciting, had not only that very, very richly illustrated, but the alterations actually move insulate
you know there's this little animation that goes on it, so yeah. So so I mean the hardcover book is very, very beautiful. Have to say the actual cover the book beneath the dust jacket is real, striking the other alternative? The Kindle in motion has all these illustrations. That's what I got was the Kindle version, and it's incredible again the photos of you don't see so much anymore and there were striking an incredible- and really added to the story. Thank very much Herald for coming on hope to talk. Do you again real soon? Thank you have a great evening: Q figure there plenty goodnight.
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Transcript generated on 2019-10-19.