No. 643
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
February 29, 2024

Beat the Hypnotist.

Two girls, who had been ill-treated by a fake mesmerist, get revenge in Indianapolis, Ind.
July 2, 2018
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Tag: Pennsylvania

A Jealous Husband’s Mistake.

How a Reading, PA., merchant, broke open his wife’s charmer and discovered a supposed lover to be a harmless female cousin.

2/19/2018

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7/10/2017

A Square Meal.

A wolf in search of a square meal helps himself to a baby; Clintonville, PA.

3/21/2016

She Swallowed Her Teeth.

Mrs. Dunsford, of Reading, Pa., meets with a mishap in a theatre.

2/15/2016

Pugilistic Females.

Two Lebanon, Pa., girls live the same young man and biff each other on the street.

1/4/2016

Fatal Soda Fountain Explosion.

5/13/2014

Robbed of Her Tresses.

1/14/2014

Hallow Eve Sports.

The cool reception that some frolicsome young Doylestown girls gave to a verdant beau who was not posted as to the manners and customs of the Pennsylvania Dutch

10/27/2013

The “Prisoners’ March.”

Pennsylvania - Scene in the Schuylkill County Prison at Pottsville - The "Prisoners' March" for exercise in the corridor.

9/17/2013

Attacked by a Maddened Cat.

4/9/2013

A One Legged Baseball Club.

9/11/2012

Steam Powered Reformation.

8/14/2012

Steam Powered Reformation.

8/14/2012

Killed By Cowardly Anarchists.

4/3/2012

Pretty Female Billiardists

1/3/2012

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9/5/2011
Via Newspapers.comPhantom stagecoaches are always fun (especially when they generate manic headlines.)  The “San Bernardino News,” December 7, 1914:Have you seen the phantom coach that dashes madly, silently, down the steep, rugged mountain trail near Pilot Rock? It is a weird story, this. It deals with the apparently supernatural. Possibly it isn't that at all, maybe it is simply some
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Strange Company - 2/28/2024
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HE DUEL IN ELLEN'S HONOR. Soapy Smith’s grandmotherOn Wednesday, August 9, 1820, an argument between 17-year-old, James Bowe Boisseau (1802-1820) and Robert C. Adams (unknown-1820) vying for the attention of 18-year-old Ellen Stimpson Peniston (1802-1860), took a terrible turn. The happy party in her honor took a tragic turn when the competition for Ellen’s affections ended in a deadly duel,
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 1/10/2024
There’s nothing wrong with the MTA’s usual subway signage: the directions are clear, the design is simple. But when a contemporary sign happens to be stuck underneath original signage made with decorative tile and an unusual typeface—as it is inside the Sixth Avenue F and M station at 14th Street—the old-school sign wins hands-down. Subway.org […]
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Ephemeral New York - 2/26/2024
An article I recently wrote for the British online magazine, New Politic, is now available online. The article, “The Criminal Origins of the United States of America,” is about British convict transportation to America, which took place between the years 1718 and 1775, and is the subject of my book, Bound with an Iron Chain: […]
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Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
 Alice Hoyle last saw her sister, Lillie, the night of September 1, 1887, in the room they shared in Webster, Massachusetts. Lillie left to use the outhouse, and Alice fell asleep. Lillie never returned. The next morning, Alice went out, thinking Lillie had already left for work. That is the story Alice told the police— as the investigation progressed, she would change it several times.Read
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Murder By Gaslight - 2/24/2024
Included in yesterday’s trip to Fall River was a stop at Miss Lizzie’s Coffee shop and a visit to the cellar to see the scene of the tragic demise of the second Mrs. Lawdwick Borden and two of the three little children in 1848. I have been writing about this sad tale since 2010 and had made a previous trip to the cellar some years ago but was unable to get to the spot where the incident occured to get a clear photograph.  The tale of Eliza Borden is a very sad, but not uncommon story of post partum depression with a heartrending end. You feel this as you stand in the dark space behind the chimney where Eliza ended her life with a straight razor after dropping 6 month old Holder and his 3 year old sister Eliza Ann into the cellar cistern. Over the years I have found other similar cases, often involving wells and cisterns, and drownings of children followed by suicides of the mothers. These photos show the chimney, cistern pipe, back wall, dirt and brick floor, original floorboards forming the cellar ceiling and what appears to be an original door. To be in the place where this happened is a sobering experience. My thanks to Joe Pereira for allowing us to see and record the place where this sad occurrence unfolded in 1848. R.I.P. Holder, Eliza and Eliza Ann Borden. Visit our Articles section above for more on this story. The coffee shop has won its suit to retain its name and has plans to expand into the shop next door and extend its menu in the near future.
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 2/12/2024
Youth With Executioner by Nuremberg native Albrecht Dürer … although it’s dated to 1493, which was during a period of several years when Dürer worked abroad. November 13 [1617]. Burnt alive here a miller of Manberna, who however was lately … Continue reading
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020
Run on Max Greger's Hungarian Wines. | Broadway Omnibus Racing Season.

Beat the Hypnotist.

Beat the HypnotistTwo girls, who had been ill-treated by a fake mesmerist, get revenge in Indianapolis, Ind. 

There was a sensational scene in Indianapolis, Ind., the other day, when two good looking young women, who had been working as the confederates of a professor of hypnotism, turned the tables on him and gave him the beating of his life.

One of the girls had permitted herself to be put in a coffin and kept there for several days.

“Why,” said she, “I would have starved to death in that coffin had not an outsider carried me food. The professor promised to bring me wines and eatables, but not a mouthful did I get form him. Of course, I was not mesmerized any more than you are this minutes and I suffered awfully, too. My stomach and nervous system are still deranged from the effect of lying in that hard box. It was my first experience of the kind, and there is not money enough to hire me to repeat it. He promised me money, but I had no idea how I should suffer. Just look at my lips and cheeks where he forced needles through them. The pain was simply awful and I came near fainting while he was doing it.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, December 5, 1896.