True Crime Chronicles volumes 1 & 2 are my recent works. The books are filled with shocking true crime stories from the 1800s as they originally appeared in newspapers. My commentary accompanies each story. Unlike today, these articles detail the grisly killings, the investigations, and in many cases, the unearthing of bodies the killers buried in gardens or fed to the hogs. In the 1800s, these stories mesmerized the nation.
The stories range from the assassinations of Presidents to incredibly bizarre serial killers, outlaws, and lawmen.
As a detective in Los Angeles, I visited many murder scenes, viewed autopsies, and interrogated witnesses, killers, robbers, kidnappers, and investigated every crime imaginable. I thought I had seen and heard it all, but I was wrong. I was stunned by the appalling nature of these stories. Surprisingly, all these remarkable true stories were overlooked during the last century. But now they have been resurrected.
The 1800s saw numerous serial killers practice their diabolical trade. Some were convicted and executed, while others escaped justice. As an example, Belle Gunness ran an early B & B, which served as cover for her murder farm. She systematically killed her overnight guest, buried their bodies in her garden, or fed them to her hogs. No one knows how many she killed.
Dr. H. H. Holmes build a “Castle” and methodically killed his victims in a variety of sadistic ways. He disposed of the bodies in his basement. Either in his vats of corrosive chemicals or his private furnace transforming the bodies to ashes. Adding to his atrocious behavior was paying another to reassembled some of his victim’s skeletons for his bizarre viewing pleasure.
And I cannot forget the true story of Bigfoot, not the legendary hairy beast said to inhabit parts of the US, but Bigfoot, the murderous renegade. He was the leader of a band of Paiute Indians who ravaged wagon trains and others traveling along the Emigrant Trail near the Snake River. He was brutal, killing many with his hands, guns, knives, and clubs. Bigfoot was an appropriate name. His foot measure 17 ½ inches, he stood a reported 6 ft 8 inches and weighed in at over 300 lbs. of solid muscle. I was fascinated by his story.
By far, the most shocking stories in my books are the “Baby Farmers.” The farmers were women paid to care for babies the mother could not keep. The farmers would promise to raise the child or have them adopted into a loving family. Immediately, after taking control of the baby, the farmers would kill them and toss their tiny bodies into the river. Even today, the cold, heartless acts of these women shock the conscious.
I, like most people, heard the tales of Wyatt Earp, his brothers, and Doc Holliday. They were tough gunslinging lawmen from Tombstone, Arizona. To my surprise, the articles I discovered tell a vastly different story. That is the story of the Earp’s dark side and their criminal activities. Did you know that Jesse Earp, Wyatt’s younger sister, eloped with Ike Clanton while in Gunnison, Colorado. The Earp’s and Doc Holliday gave chase and located the newlyweds having dinner in a restaurant. They fired a volley of shots through a window, fatally wounding Jesse. It is a remarkable story that changes history.