Gypsy the Serial Killer Elephant

SERIAL KILLER CLIPS —

A reading of Yesterday’s News exploring some of History’s most prolific murderers…

Rampage At Valdosta

For this episode, True Crime Historian presents its first non-human perpetrator, a great big crazy brilliant elephant first known as Empress when imported into the United States in 1871. She killed so many handlers that she was sentenced to death many times, but doing so was so difficult that she was just passed from show to show. Along the way someone changed her name to Gypsy, and she spent the last decade of her tragic life with the Harris Nickel Plate Circus. She claimed at least seven victims, but she was crazy for a reason, and if you’re an animal lover, I’ve got to warn you that you’re about to get a big dose of outrage and indignation.

Theme Music by Dave Sams
Carnival of the Animals: Elephants by Camille Saint-Saëns courtesy Creative Commons.
Media management by Sean R. Jones
Production assistance by Emily Simer Braun

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The Polish Ladies Poison Plot


SERIAL KILLER CLIPS —

Stories of the world’s most prolific serial killers told from historic newspaper accounts in the golden age of yellow journalism —

The Many True Crimes of Tillie Klimek and Nellie Koulik —

So a man goes to a doctor because he’s not feeling well and the doctor says, Sounds like arsenic poisoning, and suddenly there are four women in jail who discovered that arsenic is more effective in getting rid of a husband than divorce. The ringleader of them all, however, not only poisoned her husband, but, well, just about anybody who crossed her. Including an annoying dog. Before it was through, more than 20 deaths would be attributed to Tillie Klimek. For our 100th episode, we will take a look at one of Chicagos most prolific serial killers and her disciples.

Theme Music by Dave Sams

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Poison in the Pepper Box

SERIAL KILLER CLIPS

A reading of Yesterday’s News exploring some of history’s most prolific murderers.

Although Louise Vermilya of Chicago was never convicted of a crime, history lays up to 10 deaths at her door, mostly family members and suitors.

She did go to trial once, and we’ll take a pretty close look at the drama, including a suicide attempt, that led up to her acquittal as we look at the wake of mysterious deaths throughout her life. This story allows me to bring back Emily Simer Braun, who did such a remarkable job giving us the confession of Anna Hahn a couple of months ago, to read the quotes attributed to Louise Vermilya in the Chicago newspapers.

Music by Dave Sams

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Killer Cat Woman

SERIAL KILLER CLIPS

A reading from America’s historic newspapers exploring our most prolific murderers. 

The Crimes of Winona Green Freeman

The centerpiece of this episode is a long report from the St. Louis Post Dispatch reporter Frederick H. Brennan on a visit to the Little Rock, Arkansas, jail to visit with accused double murderess Winona Green. I am particularly taken by Brennan’s description of Mrs. Green’s hold on the local law enforcement and press. In 1928, Brennan would be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting in another murder case. In the prologue, you hear about her final murder conviction as Winnie Ola Freeman, and after the Brennan piece you’ll hear about two other accusations of murder, which would bring her count up to five and the nagging feeling that there might have been more.

Musical direction by Dave Sams

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The Dark Strangler of the Continent

SERIAL KILLER CLIPS

A special edition of YESTERDAY’S NEWS exploring America’s most prolific villains.

The Heinous Crimes of Earle Nelson

For this episode, we go north of the border into Canada on the trail of the sinister killer known as “The Dark Strangler.” He killed at least 18 women in a half-dozen American cities, traveling thousands of miles and staying in boarding houses, leaving police without even a vague idea of his identity. Then he ventured north into Canada to continue his spree, but two murders in, the Canadian police join forces to track the man down by following the trail of the various hats he used to disguise himself.

The Dark Strangler of the Continent

Musical direction by Dave Sams

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