Notorious People

Cauldron of Serial Killer Ed Gein sold to Ghost Adventures Host Zak Bagans

Well now, this is pretty unusual stuff. I just came across and unusual article about an auction item that Zak just recently acquired. We’re aware Zak has an eye for interesting trinkets and has been diligently working on building a dungeon for him home. Well, it seems he is now the proud owner of a cauldron. But why is that unusual and what makes it special? From the paperwork submitted, this is a cauldron previously owned and use by serial killer Ed Gein.

I’m not sure what uses this cauldron had when it was in Ed’s possession, but I’m sure it wasn’t anything good. For a short period it was turned into a flower pot, a small tribute to those who have passed.

Zak says he’s going to use the cauldron to try and contact the spirits. Interesting story and good luck with that.

Serial Killer’s Cauldron Sold to “Ghost Adventures” TV Host

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Dr. H. H. Holmes and The Whitechapel Ripper – A Review

imageYou would think by the title , Dr. H. H. Holmes and The Whitechapel Ripper, that such a book would contain all sorts of links, theories and hypothesis between the history we know of Holmes and the crimes we know of Jack the Ripper. It’s a fascinating and intriguing theory that’s bubbled to the surface in a couple of places, not the least of which was presented by the great-great-grandson of Holmes himself, Jeff Mudgett. Bloodstains gave an interesting perspective on Holmes being in London, committing the murders in order to sell skeletons and harvest organs. But that was hypothesis and speculation with a smattering of what-if. So does this new account from Dane Ladwig fill in the gaps and present us with compelling evidence to support the conjecture that H.H. Holmes committed the Whitechapel murders and that’s why Jack the Ripper was never caught?

To put it bluntly, no. For anyone familiar with the crimes of Holmes this book is repetitious and extremely jumpy. Pieces of crimes Holmes committed, the money he was paid for his "confession" and details about the Murder Castle are repeated several times. For anyone who’s seen "H.H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer" there is nothing new to be learned here. In fact, the chaotic writing style may even confuse and downplay the devious nature of Holmes.

The crimes of Holmes make up the first 70% of the book and then we jump into the a recap of the Ripper murders. The book goes over each of the murders in case we didn’t know what happened. It then goes on to dismiss or refute why different suspects should be discounted as the true identity of the Ripper. There’s even reasons why we should discount the "Jill the Ripper" idea.

Somewhere in all this are a couple dozen words that try to link Holmes to the Ripper murders. However, if you blink you’ll miss it. Despite the bait and hook of the title, there is no real evidence or argument to create a case that Holmes is Jack the Ripper. Yes, it’s a great idea and to me, it sounds just as plausible as any of the other theories, maybe even more so, but this book does not offer anything tangible or meaningful to add to the discussion. To be honest, this book is nothing more than a Primer on some of the crimes committed. And even at that, it’s far too long to be a summary, yet lacks detail to make it compelling.

With each chapter you keep waiting to see the link between these men. Yet it never comes. When you finally get to the portion of the Ripper murders it feels like you’re going to run out of time and pages to make the connections. And then you hit the credits and bibliography. Sadly, I was left wondering what the point of the book was. Bloodstains presented a fictionalized connection that makes you wonder if Mudgett’s evidence is real or imagined. The Whitechapel Ripper simply sums up the crimes of these two killers and let’s you decide if there is a link.

I was disappointed, confused and frustrated when I reached the end. There was nothing to be learned and I don’t believe this offers any real research to link these two sets of crimes. This is not a good book about Holmes, nor is a good book about Jack the Ripper. If you’ve never heard of these two criminals, this might be worth some of your time. In my opinion though, there are far better books on the subject. You’re better off with the above mentioned "H.H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer" or "Depraved".

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Aaron Kosminski Named as Jack the Ripper Through DNA Evidence

imageThe stories are popping up all over the place and so is a new book which names Aaron Kosminski as Jack the Ripper. This evidence comes to light from Russell Edwards who says he has DNA evidence from a shawl he bought at action that proves Kosminski was Jack the Ripper.

A pretty heavy charge to throw down o be sure, but Edwards says he has conclusive proof to support his claim. The shawl was supposedly kept by one of the original detectives who investigate the murders. The office took the shawl to give to his wife. The blood soaked garment didn’t exactly woo the mrs and the item was put in a box where it sat for a hundred years. Supposedly it hasn’t been washed or handled so the DNA hasn’t been contaminated.

That same DNA was then tested against descendants of Kosminski to confirm the results.

As you recall, Kosminski has always been on the list of suspects and some feel he was the right suspect while others dismissed him. Many felt he didn’t have the skill nor mental capacity to be the Ripper. Kosminski was subsequently put into an asylum where he later died and that is what many think brought the killings to an end.

Many think that Aaron Kosminski was actually confused with another person with the same surname and that it was a completely different person on the suspect list. Also, many say the garment has been handled by too many people and probably contains the DNA of hundreds of people. It is even said that Kosminski frequented that part of East End to engage the services of the ladies and that his DNA on a garment owned by a known prostitute doesn’t prove anything.

So let the fervor begin! This seems to happen every few years. In 2002, Patricia Cornwell gave her conclusive evidence for Jack the Ripper. In 2011, Jeff Mudgett, have his view and theory on who Jack the Ripper might be. And I’m fairly sure in a couple of years from now another author will put forth yet another suspect with their conclusive evidence.

So what do you think? Will the DNA testing stand the scrutiny and peer review that is sure to follow? Did Kosminski possess the skills and mental faculties to carry out such dastardly crimes? Have we finally reach a conclusion to these 100 year old murders?

The book, "Naming Jack the Ripper" by Russell Edwards comes out September 9. Do you agree with the assessment and do you plan on grabbing a copy of this latest piece in the Jack the Ripper collection?

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Killer Contact – Lucrezia Borgia – S01E03

image For this episode the team heads to Ferrara, Italy to investigate the legend of Lucrezia Borgia who is rumored to have lured dozens of men to their death to increase the influence of her family. She is reported to have poisoned men as well as several of her fiancés met an untimely end before actually getting married. So was Lucrezia the female poisoner of the family or has history improperly tied to misdeeds based on her family name?

The team investigates the Castello Estense where it is believed that Lucrezia poisoned many men and even had a special room, The Chamber of Poisons built so she could perform her acts in private. As they investigate they get some contradictory feelings and impressions that leave them divided on whether Lucrezia is guilty or a victim.

Greg and Molly investigate The Chamber of Poisons where Greg feels something is putting pressure on his head. Molly makes a big deal about the fact that she can’t get Greg’s face in focus on the camera, but we later see the camera does the exact same thing in the Chapel. So is Greg having an experience or is the camera experiencing a malfunction? To me it looks like the camera is broken.

They next investigate the Chapel and that’s where team becomes divided. Adam and Hector feel a presence that gives them a sense of peace. They feel this is Lucrezia trying to tell them she is innocent of the charges people have leveled against her. Greg and Molly investigate the same area and feel something more sinister. They feel extreme cold spots and that they’re being toyed with. Molly feels uncomfortable in there and doesn’t have the same sense of peace.

Unfortunately, neither group captures any real evidence of what they see or feel. It is all impressions of the moment.

Another part of the investigation is to check the basement for arsenic poisoning. While they take multiple samples, there is nothing to indicate arsenic is lingering in the area.

Overall I’m not sure if this is getting better or not. Their methods are still pretty flaky, their evidence is extremely light and in some cases non-existent and they draw some wild conclusions without any basis in fact. The Borgia have an interesting story so it wouldn’t be too big a surprise if the rumors and stories were true, but this investigation didn’t add anything to the narrative. I’m sure they had a neat time in the castle, but in the end they really haven’t given us anything.

So, what do you think? Did they make contact with Lucrezia? Is she guilty of taking men’s lives with poison? What do you feel is the most compelling evidence?

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