No. 584
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 7, 2022

A Man under Her Bed.

Had Miss Baker looked under the bed before making her toilet she would have postponed it.
September 26, 2016
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Not George Talkington, but there must have been a strong resemblance.Many people could be called “accident prone,” but, fortunately, few take it to the level of the subject of today’s post.  From the “Bath Chronicle,” November 21, 1833 (via Newspapers.com):George Talkington, once a celebrated horse-dealer at Uttoxeter, who died on the 8th of April, 1826, at Cheadle, Cheshire, in his eighty-third
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Strange Company - 12/7/2022
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Wishing you a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving Day! Lizzie is thankful for turkey and all the trimmings – and no mutton broth in sight!
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 11/22/2022
CAME NEAR LOSING HIS MONEYSan Francisco ChronicleMay 6, 1893(Click image to enlarge)  San Francisco Man Taken in by Denver Card Sharks "First time I ever got caught" (Soapy Smith) This post was originally supposed to be about a new "victim" (Charles Anderson) swindled by the soap gang that I recently uncovered during a search through newspaper archives, but in looking through my files I found
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 12/6/2022
On this date in 2002, Pakistani Mir Aimal Kansi, Kasi, or Qazi was executed by lethal injection in Virginia, U.S.A. “Real angry with the policy of the U.S. government in the Middle East, particularly toward the Palestinian people,”* Qazi on January 25, 1993 revenged himself on Central Intelligence Agency commuters queued for a left turn […]
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Executed Today - 11/14/2022
 When tried for the 1840 murder of Catherine Merry, Charles Cook pled innocent by reason of insanity. Despite a history of medical treatment for extreme melancholy, and strange behavior such as running through the streets of Schenectady, wearing nothing but a blanket, proclaiming himself to be the Savior of the world, the jury rejected his plea and found him guilty.Before his execution, Cook
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Murder By Gaslight - 12/3/2022
For years I’ve walked by the delightfully shabby Joe’s Tavern sign at the corner of Tenth Avenue and 25th Street. I’ve never seen the vintage vertical beauty lit up, unfortunately. Even stranger, I’ve never seen any sign of life inside 258 Tenth Avenue, which once housed what I imagine to have been an old-school neighborhood […]
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Ephemeral New York - 12/5/2022
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
Another Steamboat Disaster. | A Triangular Fight.

A Man under Her Bed.

A Man Under Her Bed

Had Miss Baker looked under the bed before making her toilet she would have postponed it. [more]

About two weeks ago a smooth-faced young man, who said he was Harold McLaughlin of Philadelphia applied to a Nathanial Horner, this city, for a room. McLaughlin had only been in the house a short time when the other borders began to complain that articles of value were missing from their rooms. Mr. Horner also discovered that $50 had been extracted from a roll of bills which he kept in his trunk. The other afternoon Miss Baker, who is also a border at 151, had a little experience.

“I went up to my room about 4 o’clock,” Miss Baker said, “and was surprised to find my door, which is furnished with a Yale lock, fastened, as I generally leave it open when I go out. I did not notice anything out of order in the room and proceeded to take a sponge bath and make my toilet, which took me nearly an hour. Then I lay down on the lounge to get a few minutes rest before dinner. The lounge is in such a position that I could see under my bed and something there attracted my attention. I wasted just long enough to see that there was a pair of feet clad in black stockings. I also caught a glimpse of a white shirt sleeve. These things had never been under my bed before, and they frightened me. I rushed into the hall and called for Mr. Horner. As I left my room some one ran past me and up stairs. I grew very faint and—well, that’s all I can tell about it.

Mr. Horner said: “McLaughlin, whose father is a conductor on the Pennsylvania Railroad, came to me about two weeks ago and wanted a room. He said he was going to work for Lippincott & Co. He seemed to be a nice young man, and for a while, I didn’t suspect anything wrong of him. Then things in the house began to be missed. One gentleman lost a diamond pin, and another a pair of field glasses, and some one stole $50 from my trunk. I noticed that my new boarder spent most of the day about the house, but we had no proof against him. The other night, though, we got him when Miss Baker ran into the hall and called out that there was a man under her bed, and then he fled. I went up to McLaughlin’s room and found him in his shirt sleeves and stocking feet, lying on the bed. I found a pin belonging to Miss Baker under his mattress. The detective found the other articles in a pawnshop, but I lost my $50. McLaughlin confessed that he had taken the things. I have written to his father. I guess the young man will be locked up for a long time. I hope so, anyway.”

McLaughlin, who is 17 years old, was arraigned at Jefferson Market Police Court, and Justice Ryan held him for examination.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, November 5, 1892.