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Showing posts sorted by relevance for query true crime. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query true crime. Sort by date Show all posts

True Crime! William Edward Hickman "The Most Horrible Crime of the 1920's" and a Lurid Literary Genre


I read true crime books to relax. Somehow being reassured there are people in the world a million times more horrible than I is comforting. Despite lurid come-ons bellowing from every back cover, they don't "grip me with fear" they just put me to sleep at night, and that is goal enough. If I told you the number of times I've stuffed a book with the phrase "INCLUDES 16 PAGES OF SHOCKING PHOTOS" or "UPDATED WITH PRISON INTERVIEW WITH THE KILLER" into the trash after reading it, you wouldn't believe me.

The worst part of reading true crime is the raised eyebrows of the checkout clerk...but I'm not alone. The recent Casey Anderson fiasco proves public interest in the genre persists, despite appropriate criticism that only Caucasian blonds and pretty women receive public scrutiny. Even my little sister reads them, and she's normal as can be. In fact, most readers are women...a fact which I don't understand.

My favorite serious true crime book of the last few years is When Evil Came to Good Hart by Michigan writer Mardi Link.
HUGE steps above the crappy instant books cluttering the checkout lane, it is a direct, straight, beautifully written and edited work of art which should earn an honored place in the Dewey decimal classification "364" in every library and on every bookshelf. A University of Michigan Press book from 2008, I've linked to it and you will thank me for the tip.

But back to those "16 pages of lurid photos."

Long ago, I posted a highly embellished press photograph of accused murderer William Edward Hickman to illustrate both the editing of newspaper photos and an early example of the "perp walk" phenom. (Now more common than the "Cake Walk" from the same era...cue the Ragtime music) I took my information from the reverse of the photo...no big deal, just another warped creep with confused and deadly hormones. But when an anonymous writer asked if I had any more photos, which I do, I took the time to look the loser up.

Hickman's crime has been called "the most horrible crime of the 1920's" and I need not describe it here. Shocking and disgusting it was, but when your sleeping pill is a book about a mob hit-man who killed over 100, including some left near the beautiful Delaware Gap as rat food, it hardly stands out. The Wiki article, which is extensive, goes on to tell the story of another major creep, Ayn Rand, who planned a book on this little weasel to be titled "The Little Street" the notes for which were later published in her journals. She isn't the only major writer to find inspiration in pathetic murderers. (Truman? Norman?)

This could be a longer essay than it is, but I am all about photos and art, not crime and punishment. To the anonymous writer who asked "if I had any more..." here ya go!

Group of Original Press Photographs of William Edward Hickman, all dated 1928 Collection Jim Linderman

The Case of the Tasteless True Crime Talisman Lindberg and the Most Famous Ladder in History by Jim Linderman

Gosh, didn't cops back in the 1930s have great coats?  Check them out...thick, rich leather and thigh-length long, with great leather boots too!  You won't see THESE guys on a Segway at the mall.  Anyway, the photo shows two hog-riding constables checking a barn for clues in one of our greatest national mysteries, the Lindberg Kidnapping Case.

I won't go into detail on the crime, as there is certainly enough for you to find yourself...and the tousled-topped national hero turned out to sorta be a creep anyway by nearly aligning himself with THE WRONG SIDE during World War Two. How the...?  At so called America First Committee meetings, the airman apparently lambasted our impending involvement in the war by lecturing others on American Jews and their undue influence.  Well...best left forgotten.
This post centers on a small aspect of the crime.  The same one our tuff-dressed crime busters were centered on as well.  They may look like the guys from "American Pickers" entering a honey-hole, but they were trying to find a connection to the central piece of evidence.

The ladder.

Bruno, or whoever, had to climb up to snatch the child, a horrible thing...and he built a ladder to do it.  The ladder became what used to known as "The Macguffin" in Alfred Hitchcock movies.  A recurring element which might mean nothing, but could just mean everything.  Literally the O.J. gloves of the 1930s. 

As the investigation progressed into trial, a spectacle unlike any before due to the nascent and emerging mass-media, slimy vendors sold miniature kidnap ladders outside the courthouse!  That's right.  Tiny souvenir wooden ladders, an early example of crime capitalism gone crazy!  The tasteless newspapers ran tasteless photographs of tasteless spectators holding tiny tasteless ladders for the camera.
I have looked for one of those wee ladders off and on for a long time.  I've owned a few miniature wooden handmade ladders, but had no way to tell if they were a legendary murder talisman representing the double horror of crime and unseemly opportunistic greed,  or simply something a father made for his kid's Farmer Brown playset.

I even consulted a Lindberg Kidnapping expert at one time to see if he knew where I could get one.  He brushed me off, clearly so as not to reveal his own pursuit of the holy grail of true crime novelties.

Guess who else was obsessed with the miniature ladder?  No less than Maurice Sendak!    He apparently traded one of his drawings for one, and used a similar image of a kidnapper's ladder leaned against a window in one of his works. 

Once in a while I do a true crime story.  You can see some of the others HERE.

Original 8 x 10 glossy press photograph March 7, 1932 with Handwritten description Collection Jim Linderman


A True Crime Tale by Jim Linderman

I am pleased to have the following article published in THE CHISELER this week! The Chiseler is a highly regarded web magazine edited by Daniel Riccuito. It is a site much worth following. Special thanks to Jarett Kobek, who inspired the story, having transcribed "The Oldest History of the World" book and the story from which I originally found the information I used for the story. I purchased the photograph above intending it as a post on the old-time-religion blog...imagine my surprise at learning what was in my hand.

FAITH HEALER LEFT HEADLESS: A True Crime Tale by Jim Linderman

In 1932, according to an AP wire story which ran in several newspapers, including places as far afield as Sarasota, Florida and Spokane, Washington, Robert Harris, a negro and leader of a religious order with a membership of “about 100 negroes in Detroit” confessed to the brutal murder of James Smith, also a negro. Harris admitted that “he crushed Smith’s head with the rear axle of an automobile, then stabbed him through the heart.” Robert Harris apparently dragged Smith to “an improvised altar” in his home to finished him off.

Detroit in the late 1920s and early 1930s had a problem with religious cults.

Three years earlier, on a July 4th weekend, not far from where Harris killed Smith, Paul “Benny” Evangelista, known as a “Divine Prophet” was murdered along with his wife and four children. With an axe. Few axe murders are not gruesome, but this one was particularly so. The entire Evangelista family was hacked to pieces. The bodies in bedclothes. The divine prophet’s head was severed from his torso and placed on a chair in the family living room.

Also “cruelly hacked” was Santina, the prophet’s wife and Jeanne (eight years old) Angelia (nine) Margaret (ten) and the three-year old son Mario. One account puts Mario’s age at eighteen months. In addition to the prophet’s head, one of the girl’s arms was severed. Police suspected that wound was the result of a “miscalculated blow” intended for Santina’s neck, as it too had been hacked but the head was left hanging by a thread. Leaving the house on St. Aubin avenue, in the Italian district of depression era Detroit, the fiend and pervert left a bloody trail for police which went nowhere.

Benny was downstairs in pieces when found by a neighbor, real estate broker Vincent Elias. A friend of the family, just a day earlier Elias had completed arrangements for the purchase of a farm near Marine City, MI for the Evangelistas. Elias opened the unlocked door, saw the head and without looking further ran for the police. The children and wife were found by authorities upstairs.

In an understatement, Wayne county coroner James Burgess called the murder “an unusual case.”

A week later the entire family was wheeled down rain-slicked Woodward Avenue, parade-style, each in a coffin of appropriate size. The public funeral was an opportunity for police to look for the killer in the crowd, but to no avail.

A relative of the Evangelista family living in Coraopolis told police they must have been murdered by members of a “Black Hand” organization.

Benny was Benjamino Evangelista, a Neapolitan immigrant who claimed to be an herb doctor and faith healer. In other words, a criminal and fraud using religious superstition and jargon to steal. Like all “faith healers” he bilked rubes out of savings like a carnival barker, but his tools were voodoo, false claims of health, black magic and superstition rather than sideshow swindles. He overcharged desperate people for “love potions” and promises of cures. He provided “readings” for ten dollars. For these things, it appears, he and his entire family were sent to a violent and blood-sticky end. Benny pissed off a client with an axe.

Prior to being murdered, Evangelista wrote an enormous, self-published book of religious ravings based loosely on the bible. It took him 20 years. “The Oldest History of the World: Discovered by Occult Science” It is unreadable, useless and no one bought it. In the fictional account three prophets travel to “Afra” in order to “see what the colored people were doing…” but all they were doing was eating their food uncooked.

The book has been hand-typed from one of the few existing copies and digitally reproduced by the extraordinary Jarett Kobek. http://kobek.com/

Kobek is a brilliant scholar and is most certainly, despite the extraordinary story of Divine Prophet, himself a better story than the people and events he writes about. He also provides the most complete bibliography of period articles about the crime, and details such as the characters in the book existed also as puppets in a shrine in the Evangelista basement.

The gruesome crime was still unsolved three years later when the “rear axle murderer” above, Robert Harris confessed. Briefly, The police thought the crime solved. So did the press. “Confession by King of Weird Cult clears up Detroit Murder” read one headline, but it was not to be. Harris didn’t do it.

Neither did Angelo Depoli, arrested the day of the murder with a blood covered curved knife used for chopping bananas in his barn. A year later the family dog was still being sought as a witness. Detroit police were so desperate to solve the crime they tried to pin it on a man who escaped from a lunatic asylum and was presumed killed by a freight train two years BEFORE the crime. They didn’t have much, but they did have a pair of bloody fingerprints from the door latch. They were figured prominently in the bulletin from Superintendent of Police James Sprott along with the reward of one thousand dollars which was distributed far and wide to no avail.

The case is as cold as wind from Windsor blowing across the Detroit River in December.

by Jim Linderman

Jim Linderman uses photographs and ephemera from his personal collection to tell true stories. He is author of the Grammy-nominated book / CD Take Me to the Water and the forthcoming Heroes of Vintage Sleaze. His daily blogs are DULL TOOL DIM BULB, VINTAGE SLEAZE, and old-time-religion. He has also self-published a number of books which are available from Blurb.com.

Original Press Photograph Wide World Photos 7/5/29 Collection Jim Linderman

Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books and Ebooks HERE

True Crud from Newsweek and True Crime from David Jacobs

The Newsweek double issue last week was devoted to true crime, supposedly. Whadda ripoff...is anyone doing any research anymore? I paid $6.95 at the airport and received a mere ONE PAGE from the genius James Ellroy...but several more from Vincent Bugliosi...a yawn every paragraph from this whitewash writer of decades ago who couldn't even take a literary punch from tough-guy Truman Capote. Then a few vintage mug shots, the likes of which photo collectors on Ebay found so long ago they carry about as much shock as a hearing aid battery. I'd rather look at the new ones they post on the Smoking Gun showing pimps smiling through police brutality wounds and gold grills. Please...the reason magazines are going under is because they now "write" them with press-releases from publishers and wire stories linked on Drudge the week before. Don't they even have any INTERNS who know what is cool over there? The real true crime is the price I paid for this snore which crept over me faster than my sonata.

Here, however, is the real deal. David Jacobs, shown as "the man I would most like to have dinner with" compiles tales of true crime when it meant hoodlums, hopheads, hepcats, convicts, jailbirds, reform school girls, hellcats, vixens and vice dolls. All are true stories swiped from the SOURCE...pulp magazines from the 1950's Detective Rags. Each morbid tale written with few words over 7 letters and a punk gets what was coming to him at the end of every damn one. Each story a GEM edited tighter than the lyrics to a Hank Williams weeper. From back when hacks pounded typewriters..that's right....typewriters... on speed and had to backspace to cross out the mistakes in between gulps of vodka and smoke. Back when the spouse was the spell-checker. I link to the fattest one here..355 pages of greasy gals with gats in their garters. Now that's summer reading!

Lurid heaven from David Jacobs.

True Crime Dull Tool Dim Bulb. Lurid Drawings by a Young Woman Underworld True Crime Stories

Two lurid drawings by a young woman in 1947. These come from an album of original art (and a few tracings?) with the initials M.R. Lets assume these two weren't drawn from life. There were dozens of true crime pulps during the era, although most confused "true" with "fiction." Dad must have had these issues around, but Mom surely read them.

Killer Show Book Review The Best True Crime Book of the Year is also the Best Rock Book of the Year

The best true crime book of the year is also an unlikely candidate for the best rock music book of the year.  A major accomplishment on a dozen levels, and one which provides uncomfortable truths about show business, rock and roll, greed and brutal death.  Killer Show is horrendous, meticulous, and as gripping a book I have read this year.

Outside of the residents of West Warwick, Rhode Island few will remember the Station Nightclub Fire which killed 100 people in a scorching chemical inferno which lasted a brief five minutes.  It was a national news story for a few days, and the opening seconds of the harrowing, brutal video recording of the event were aired for all on the evening news, but as it is easier to forget horror than dwell, the story faded. 

Killer Show brings it back with astounding documentation enabling the reader to absorb graphic, deadly evil without flinching.  The Great White Fire was horror.  True, unfathomable horror…but the author's anger and desire to name those responsible, in a detailed, step by step manner (as behooves a lawyer) removes all tawdry shock value…this is no cheap exploitative read, and years beyond an "instant" book pumped out to cash in on an event.

A University Press of New England book, with none of the greed and sleaze which distinguishes the criminal club-owners, promoters, a beer company, pyrotechnic manufacturers and even worse, the chemical soup created by "sound insulation" foam producers,  all who are forced into paying considerable fines reaching well over 100 million dollars to avoid being shamed in public court. 

This is an indictment, and expose, a tribute…but most of all a remarkable literary (yes, literary, heavy metal fans) accomplishment of the highest order, and one which takes the traditional true crime genre to a new level of achievement.  Once living and vital participants turned murder victims in a flash are located on the fortunate tape and sound recordings like ghosts who come back for justice.

If you want the gloss, razzle-dazzle and "glamour" sham of rock and roll, you know what to read.  If you want a serious, fascinating account of what really happens when commerce meets electric guitars, read this.  You will never enter a juke club without locating the exits again.  This book could literally save your life.

Author John Barylick is an attorney who represented victims of the Station nightclub fire.  With the damning, incredible preparation and documentation he provides here, it is no wonder a dozen companies, some who spend millions a year to make their names roll off your tongue, settled out of court.

After reading this book, you will no longer believe crooked politicians who argue for "tort reform" while taking funds from insurance companies and corporations.  If the victims and family members who suffered through this debacle lived for a purpose, it was to insure our legal system remains strong in the face of corporate interests who would like to legalize unabashed greed…and this book should be required reading for any future lawyer, not to mention nightclub promoters, their patrons and those in the insurance industry who aim to maximize profits rather than do what is right.  This book is an indictment, and the best argument for safety regulations you will ever read.  A "killer show" indeed, and one of the most important books of the year.

The Killer Show website is HERE.  The amazon Link is HERE

The Rise of True Crime: 20th Century Murder and American Popular Culture (and the delivery system missed)

An interesting read and a few tiny, hand-held examples the author missed. Jean Murley discusses the rise of "true crime" as a form of entertainment in a scholarly but readable manner. At least I read it all, and my attention span lasts as long as a grape fizzie in warm water. From pulp magazines in the 30's to websites trading rumors circling around the latest "missing white woman of the week" a very nice survey of media channels through history clamoring for the lurid market. You HAVE to love a book with the phrase "incendiary ambulance-chasing pseudojournalist Nancy Grace..." The trading cards date to the 1930's, a fabulous set of 240 true crime cards, each with the thrilling exploits of a lawman fighting a gunsel...and like it should be, the good guys always win. Book is linked at right.

Set of G-Men and Heroes of the Law Trading Cards, c. 1936. Collection Jim Linderman

Frozen Stiffs! True Crime True North: The Golden Age of Canadian Pulp Magazines

I haven't done a book review in a while, since like all the rest of us, I only look at pictures. It will be a few weeks before Kindle figures out how to incorporate graphics like these into their digital downloads, so I'll use the time to suggest a hardcopy purchase.

Canadian true crime pulp magazines! Written by Carolyn Strange and Tina Loo, I presume their real names...a fabulous collection of covers and entertaining text providing the history of detective rags from above. I suspect these magazines are FAR more scarce than those churned out in America during the 1940s and 1950s and as such seldom seen, so the writers have done us a service. As you can see, the covers are just striking. More primitive than ours, the Canadian illustrators opted for a sparse, open, esthetic as forlorn as their landscape during December. With their muted colors, these pulps seem as lonely as the folks who read them. Even the man on fire seems cold! I see a few soggy and nearly frozen pages of these in a pile on a cabin floor in my mind's eye as I type. The book, 100 pages of true north crime bliss was published 6 years ago, so my review is a bit late...but it doesn't diminish the appeal. Using images from the National Library of Canada and a wonderful layout and design, this is an inexpensive book as cool as a Canadian on a cooling bed...and even though it was published in 2004, It's still good...after all, it's a BOOK. Put on your cyber mukluks and go buy one.

(Book Linked at Amazon on the right here under "GOOD THINGS)

Human Detective Art versus the Courtroom Artist Pale by Comparison to Pulp

What do they mean here?  As opposed to bloodhounds?  Now that we rely on cyberslueths more than gumshoes, it is nice to be reminded of the days when a hard working human dick brought in the perps.

Human Detective was lurid, but then so is 48 hours (and the knock-off on A&E The First 48) both which are gripping…and as long as we have criminals, we'll have headlines, even if they come in digital form.

The best Human Detective covers are painted.  Later, tricked-up photographs were used, but one could hardly tell the difference, with all the hyper-realistic color and primary color luridness added.  Still great. 

Here is a question:  How come today's courtroom artists suck by comparison to the old-timers?  Seems to me that market, if one were a commercial artist looking to dominate a field, is ripe for a lurid illustrator rather than a quick sketch artist.

Two lovely books which reproduce covers of True Crime pulps are, first, the way totally cool Cyanide and Sin: Visualizing Crime in 50s America, which was published in a limited edition of 3,000 copes (and comes with a huge fold-out cover) and True Crime Detective Magazines 1924-1969.  Both are great.

True Crime Lost in Time ? Siple RELEASED? Hex Ridden Witchcraft Murder

True Crime Lost in Time ?  Siple RELEASED?  Hex Ridden Witchcraft Murder.

Well, I'm not quite sure how one makes a mistake about a faith healer killing his family, but sure enough, read the small notation scribed by someone down at the paper.  "Siple was released"


"Father seized in "Hex" Death"

"Howard Siple, 33 year old faith healer and head doctor, has been jailed at Clarksburg, W. VA, charged with the "witchcraft murder," of his 12-year old daughter, Helen, and the poisoning of six others of his nine children.  Siple migrated to Clarksburg from the Hex-Ridden farmland near York, PA.  Siple is shown above left standing beside a state policeman.  7/3/34"

Now here is a real mystery for you.  Why is Siple smiling if his family was murdered?  I can only think it was a mistake, maybe involving a bad furnace and carbon monoxide?  But even so, why is Siple SMILING?  What is a "Head" doctor?  For that matter, what is a "Hex Ridden Faith Healer?"

I looked around a little and found less.  Short of calling the town historian, I'm not quite sure how to figure this one out.  As you can see, they cops "collared" him…but the touch up guy at the newspaper actually drew in the collar.

Howard Siple Original Press Photograph 1934 Collection Jim Linderman

Shallow Grave Snapshot? True Crime in the Garage

Shallow Grave?  Unless these cops are digging for taters, I believe we have here the staple of murder and true crime, the shallow grave.  I am going to HOPE they are after some less gruesome  contraband.  The cops are taking a break to pose, while the grunt does the heavy work.

Click to enlarge...something looks fishy in the background.  Is that a backdrop?  A curious photograph.

Anonymous Snapshot, no date.  (Said to be Marshall, Michigan)  Collection Jim Linderman


Mark Schneider Master Artist of the Pulp Sir! Neglected Hero of Magazine Illustration Sir! Mark Schneider Sir!

As something of a researcher, I am reminded daily the inadequacies of the internet. If you kids out there think you're writing a good paper based on what is available at your fingertips, you have more learning to do. A case in point is Mark Schneider.

Go ahead, look him up.

Lots of fake Mark Schneiders trying to cash in on the master artist's name, right?
Pfft!. Let's remedy that right now. Henceforth, when one searches for Mark, hopefully they will find this small tribute to the strange painter of pulp who has eluded webdom until now.

God Bless Taschen books, for they at least gave Schneider his brief brush with fame for his paint brushes instead of the brush-off. A paragraph in their colorful tome True Crime Detective Magazines 1924-1969. Okay, so they besmirch by calling him "...a marginal talent at best" and practically blaming him for the demise of painted covers on magazines...in this case saying SOMETHING is still better than saying nothing at all.

Schneider was the house artist at Volitant Publications, AKA Histrionic Publications, AKA Mr. Magazine Inc. See why I like "true" crime? You can't make it up! When Mr. Magazine Inc. needed the lurid, they turned to Mark. He must have been working on a short deadline too...just look at his work. Let's say the editor needed..oh...I dunno...a freaking atom bomb going off while a couple prepares for coitus or a pondering Yeti considering his cold, lonely plight. Not an easy photo shoot. Call Schneider!

Now in full disclosure, regular followers of this blog know virtually everything I post comes out of a shoe box behind me. In this case, having come to the appreciation of Schneider, it should be confessed I had to crib these images from the very web I chastise. The owners might not know what fine pieces they have, but they do now.

I have a bone to pick here with Pulp Magazine collectors. (A bone to pick not unlike the vultures hope for from the fellow lacking Vitamin E above) For some reason, Pulp collectors seem to like GOOD art. A big mistake. Folks might like and might appreciate your collection, but a LAUGH is worth a thousand "good" covers. I got one at each and every Schneider cover I found here. Now you guys start doing some real work and load the Mark Schneider archives up on here. My neck hurts.

Dull Tool Dim Bulb Book Catalog HERE


Jack Webb Stiff Dick with Deadpan Delivery The FIRST annual Dull Tool Dim Bulb Lifetime Achievement Award™

It was fashionable among my peers growing up to lambaste Jack Webb. At the time, he was busting happy hippy hedonists on TV but they looked like the GOOD guys to me. Of course, this was the second incarnantion of Dragnet, the one with the future Sherman Potter of M.A.S.H, one Harry Morgan, who was raised in Muskegon Michigan just 12 miles north of here. ( By coincidence, so was young James Osterberg, nee Iggy Pop, who just might be the winner of the second Dull Tool Dim Bulb Lifetime Achievement Award™ but that is another story or two) In retrospect, it turns out Jack Webb was not only a cool dude, the fellow you saw walking around on TV stiffer than a cast-iron Viagra pole was exactly the same fellow in real life, and how many actors can you say that about?

Big Jack was born in 1920 and suffered from asthma his whole life. A trait I identify with, but you never saw jack turn from the camera and take a puff of albuterol. He was born in a slum in L.A, so he comes to his toughness through authenticity. He was a crew member of a B-26 bomber during the big one, and that assignment had just about the highest mortality rate in the war. So Jack was tough as nails as well as stiff as one. After the war he commenced his lifetime advocacy for the rule of law and hatred of the nefarious. He first played hard-boiled detective Pat Novak on the radio, where he delivered with sound waves as flat as his crewcut. Later, he played a character in "One out of Seven" who stood up against racial discrimination long before it was fashionable.

Of course, Dragnet is the stiff stuff of legend. There were two, the first black and white from 1951 to 1959. From this came "The story you are about to see is true, the names have been changed to protect the innocent." The second, the one I grew up laughing at, started in 1967, in glorious anti-psychedelic color, and ran 3 more years. How many actors can you think of who starred in two TV series, both with the same name...with virtually no acting talent?

Jack spread his dragnet over some serious tail as well! He loved Jazz and played the cornet, so he romanced and married the most luscious MOR jazz dame of all time, Julie London. It was the first of FOUR marriages (including another hot score not of a musical scale, Miss USA Jackie Loughery)

At the time of his passing, Jack was working on another revival of Dragnet. Remaining true to his tight moral standards, he turned down the role of Dean Wormer in Animal House. When he hung up Badge number 714 for good, the flags of Los Angeles were ordered flown at half-mast.

So how can you get close to the now dead legend? First, read his book The Badge, fabulous true crime stories he wrote in 1958. Tough as shoe leather but easy to find on Amazon. Second, see if your hands measure up to his on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Third, listen to Jack's silver chords on the Rhino records compilation of singing actors. Fourth, watch his 1962 short subject The Commies are Coming, The Commies are Coming. (which features hot little minx Billie Jo from Petticoat Junction) also available on Rhino. 30 minutes of red-baiting bliss. Finally? The stunning minute long tirade below. Take THAT Hippie!

Illustrations hand-embellished additions to Jack Webb's Safety Squad Coloring Book, 1956. Collection Jim Linderman

Startling Detective Work for Genealogists! A Genius Tool from Patterson Smith

A group of Startling Detective Magazines I keep in a library periodical box behind me, just like in a real library! No, I do not keep them in date order. So that these were all published in the 1950s by Fawcett publications, a company founded by Wiliford "Captain Billy" Fawcett in 1919 is a good story, but I wanted a better one. So I fished around.

My definition of genius is putting something old to a new use. Patterson Smith qualifies. Why? He uses his enormous database of True Crime magazines to help family members, genealogists and collectors find grisly tidbits from the tons of pulp produced from the 1930s to the 1990s. Now personally, If I were doing some family research I would selectively NOT include this source. Some of the goobers in these tales don't belong in any family, certainly not mine. But there you go. An enormous resource, as just one issue here includes 14 lengthy stories, all true, and each has dozens of names, though I am going to guess Mr. Smith doesn't index the names with an asterisk. You know...the names changed to protect the innocent. Check THIS out.

Group of Startling Detective Magazines, 1956-1957 Collection Jim Linderman

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