The Bloody Benders


Original newspaper accounts of America’s most prolific murderers.

This episode, we’re looking at the legend of a Kansas family that killed at least 11 visitors to their roadhouse in the early 1870s. They aroused suspicion by choosing as a victim a well-known physician, whose family soon pulled out all stops in a search until they uncovered his body, along with 10 missing travelers, on the Bender property. The Bender Family was nowhere to be found, and never were. Sightings and even arrests were regular for many years, even into the next century, but the second act of this episode purports to tell the true story of what happened to the mass murdering hostelers.

Music by Chuck Wiggins.

The Murderpedia entery on the Bloody Benders has photos of the scene and drawings from newspapers.


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Bald Knobber: The Giant Vigilante Captain Nat Kinney


Taney County, Missouri

After the Civil War

Captain Nat Kinney was a large man, both in stature and reputation, and both of them seemed to grow to mythic proportions among the citizens Taney County, Missouri, deep in the Ozark Mountains. Kinney was the king of the Bald Knobbers, a group of Christian citizens who organized to police themselves against the ruffians and hooligans who would interrupt their church services and raid their homesteads. The presence of the Bald Knobbers deeply divided the region between those would let the law take its course and those who would take the law into its own hands.


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