The East Orange Bathtub Murder


A reading from America’s historic newspapers in the golden age of yellow journalism.

The Sad Death of Ocey Snead

Today’s story is about the tragic death of an apparently widowed young woman named Ocey Snead, short for Oceania, who was found drugged and drowned in a nearly empty house in East Orange, New Jersey. Three elderly sisters, Ocey’s mother and mother-in-law and aunt, were charged with her murder, but they say “suicide,” or maybe an accident. That Ocey and her husband were first cousins is one of the least sordid details of this tale.

Musical direction by Dave Sams (Welcome to the Crime Show, Dave!)


1909 1201 The_New_York_Times_Wed__Dec_1__1909_ 1909 1202 The_Brooklyn_Daily_Eagle_Thu__Dec_2__1909_ 1909 1202 The_New_York_Times_Thu__Dec_2__1909_ 1909 1209 The_New_York_Times_Thu__Dec_9__1909_ 1909 1216 The_New_York_Times_Thu__Dec_16__1909_ 1909 1217 The_New_York_Times_Fri__Dec_17__1909_ 1910 0724 The_New_York_Times_Sun__Jul_24__1910_ 1910 0812 The_New_York_Times_Fri__Aug_12__1910_ 1911 0122 The_New_York_Times_Sun__Jan_22__1911_ 1911 0208 The_New_York_Times_Wed__Feb_8__1911_


Sunday Magazine: A Trilogy of True Crime Adventures

“Turned into a Tigress by Her Borgia Blood”
“How a Criminal Acrobat Makes a Living Out of His Genuine Broken Neck”
“How a Little Dog Avenged the Murder of His Master”

Back when newspapers were still a big deal, the Sunday paper was really something special. A good metropolitan Sunday newspaper was huge, with plenty of special sections and thick with advertising.  One popular feature was the Sunday Magazine, where readers would discover feature length human interest articles, and true crime was a staple of those pages.

So today, I’m giving you three stories. The first is about an opera singer whose genetic past gave her a strange predilection for torture. Following that, you’ll hear about a former circus performer who became a grifter when a near-fatal injury gave him the ability to fake a broken neck. And finally, the tale of a whip-smart mongrel dog who helped solve a murder.

Music by Chuck Wiggins





little dog