The East Orange Bathtub Murder

YESTERDAY’S NEWS

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!)

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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

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Edmund Pearson’s “The Third Passenger”

PULP NONFICTION

A reading from the pioneers of true crime as a literary genre.

Or, What’s in That Package, Mr. Wainwright?

In this episode, I’m bringing you another story from Edmund Pearson, a late nineteenth/early 20th century true crime writer, a librarian by trade, who rose to fame with his account of the Lizzie Borden trial.
In this episode, he tells the story of an 1875 murder in old London town, which makes this my first episode involving a foreign crime. I have a lot of listeners in England, so let me know if you’d like to hear more stories from across the great pond.

Music by Chuck Wiggins

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The Demented Dynamiter of Bath

YESTERDAY’S NEWS  

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

The Michigan School House Massacre

In this episode, we’ll take a look at the most tragic school massacre in American history, this one perpetrated by the school district’s treasurer, upset over a recent rise in his property taxes to build a new school. So he decides to blow up  his own house and take the school down, too, claiming over 45 lives, including his own. If not for a faulty wiring plan, it could have been worse. Much worse.

The Lansing State Journal has a good slide show here.

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