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Monday, December 16, 2013

Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed (Báthory Erzsébet in Hungarian, Alžbeta Bátoriová in Slovak; 7 August 1560 – 21 August 1614) was a countess from the renowned Báthory family of nobility in the Kingdom of Hungary. She has been labelled the most prolific female serial killer in history and is remembered as the "Blood Countess," though the precise number of victims is debated. The stories of her sadistic serial murders and brutality are verified by the testimony of more than 300 witnesses and survivors as well as physical evidence and the presence of horribly mutilated dead, dying and imprisoned girls found at the time of her arrest
Despite the evidence against her however, Elizabeth herself was never put on trial because of her family's influence, being instead placed under house arrest. The stories about her vampire like tendencies (being accused of bathing in blood to rejuvenate her skin etc.) are much less verifable than those of her sadism as unlike the easily verified deaths of servants and young girls, these were generally recorded some years after her death. It quickly became part of national folklore.

After her husband Ferenc Nádasdy's death, she and four collaborators were accused of torturing and killing hundreds of girls, with one witness attributing to them over 650 victims, though the number for which they were convicted was 80. Due to her rank, Elizabeth herself was neither tried nor convicted, but promptly imprisoned upon her arrest in December 1610 within Csejte Castle, Upper Hungary, now in Slovakia, where she remained immured in a set of rooms until her death four years later.

The case led to legendary accounts of the Countess bathing in the blood of virgins to retain her youth, and subsequently also to comparisons with Vlad III the Impaler of Wallachia, on whom the fictional Count Dracula is partly based, and to modern nicknames of The Blood Countess and Countess Dracula.

Despite the overwhelming evidence aginst her however, in recent years various revisonists have attempted to allege that Bathory was in fact an innocent, advancing a variety of fanciful theories ranging from a catholic conpiracy to the claim that the sadistic Bathory was in reality an abortion doctor or a naturalistic healer.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
The story of Lavinia Fisher has been made into legend since her execution in Charleston, South Carolina in 1820. Lavina is known as America's first female serial killer.

The story told for the last 120 relates like this. John and Lavinia Fisher owned a simple hotel or inn, The Six Mile Wayfarer House, on an almost deserted road outside of Charleston, South Carolina. The building was well kept and was a good stop for the out of the way but often traveled highway , but it was rumored that sometimes guests checked in and did not check out. One night a fur trader named John Peoples stopped at the inn and was warmly greeted by the Fishers. The beautiful Lavinia Fisher was overly friendly and perhaps flirtatious. Peoples thought the Fishers were being a little too odd and, suspicious of their intentions, he went turned in early.

People's suspicions grew and he could not sleep. He decided not to lie in the bed but to sit in the corner facing the door so he could see if anyone came in to rob him. His suspicions were confirmed when a trapdoor sprung, dropping the bed into the cellar where John Fisher was waiting with an axe. Peoples escaped and hurried back to Charleston to tell the sheriff. John and Lavinia were arrested and their property searched. The human remains were found, including many bodies in a lime pit in the cellar under the trap door. The Fishers were convicted of murder and sentenced to hang.


On February 4, 1820 they were taken to a gallows erected on Meeting Street just outside the city limits of Charleston.  It was a public execution and everyone, including the fine ladies of Charleston, came out to see Lavinia Fisher hang.

John mounted the gallows peacefully but Lavinia had to be physically dragged to the platform where she beseeched the crowd to help her. According to one historian:

"She stamped in rage and swore with all the vehemence of her amazing vocabulary, calling down damnation on a governor who would let a woman swing. The crowd stood shocked into silence, while she cut short one curse with another and ended with a volley of shrieks." When Lavinia was quiet Reverend Furman read a letter from John Fisher in which he thanked the reverend for "explaining the mysteries of our Holy Religion." John then told the crowd he was innocent and blamed Colonel Cleary for coaching the witness who accused him.
Lavinia Fisher went to the gallows  wearing her wedding dress. John Fisher pinned all the blame on his wife, but he was hanged along with her. Lavinia's ghost is said to now haunt the Old Jail on Magazine Street in Charleston as well as the Unitarian Cemetary

The legend of Lavinia Fisher had probably already started but her (true) last words to the crowd at her hanging guaranteed her immortality:

"If you have a message you want to send to hell, give it to me—I'll carry it."

Thursday, December 5, 2013
Ectoplasm is a phenomenon that began in the early days of Spiritism also known as Spiritualism or in its ancient term...necromancy. It is said to be a physical manifestation that happens to a medium who is channeling a deceased spirit. The substance was named as such by one Charles Richet and was further defines a an external spiritual energy. The medium who was channeling or becoming the conduit for the spirit would excrete a gauze like substance from their orifices.It could also be a plastic or vapor substance. It was said to be present to allow a spiritual as well as physical connection to the deceased person, spirit , entity.
There are next to no modern examples of ectoplasm while those who have researched the instances have speculated that there exists within some individuals a psychode or psychic force which releases a fluid in order to influence surrounding matter. It was further noted that ectoplasm was susceptible to light and therefore seances had to take place in the dark or by candlelight.
Most of the earliest cases have been debunked yet the phenomenon was quite a thing to witness for 18th century spiritualists.

Saturday, November 30, 2013
Bathsheba Sherman for all intents was a simple farmers wife. Born in 1812 in Rhode Island she is rumored to be descended from Salem witches. Not much has been done to prove or disapprove this claim but only lends to the mystery of this story.

antique sewing shears
At the age of 37 Bathsheba and Judson had a son, Herbert. Historical evidence only provides us proof of her having 3 children of her own. However, Bathsheba was often a midwife or caretaker. It is on one of the instances that an infant in her care that the child died. A later medical review revealed a mortal wound to the forehead of the infant. It was determined that it had been made using sewing shears.

Folklore states that she hung herself from a large tree in the front yard of her farmhouse rather than be brought to justice. Another story that will keep you up tonight is that it is reported that Judson walked in on his wife sacrificing the infant and speaking incantations over a fire. For fear of his own life, he did not tell the truth of Bathsheba's consorting with devils until his last breath.

Fast forward to the early 1970's. The Sherman home is sold to the Perron family of 5.The family was from a large bustling city and so at first the creaks and sounds,draftiness and such seemed just some of those things that one would need to become accustomed to in the country. The mother Carolyn  began experiencing restless nights. It became apparent that something odd was occurring in the night. bruising and marks were appearing on her skin. Carolyn's wounds resembled a circular stab wound made with....sewing shears.
Lorraine and Ed Warren

With the realization that something unnatural was happening in their new home, The Perrons sought out renowned paranormal expert Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens were known for their lectures on haunting and demonic possession. Additionally they were authorized exorcists under the religious authority of Rome. They also had a museum dedicated to artifacts that they had exorcised at previous investigations.

Lorraine was the first to suggest to The Perron's that Bathsheba Sherman was the responsible disembodied spirit for the attack on Carolyn. Further research uncovered the possibility that Bathsheba had cursed the house.The Black Book of Burrillville, the town's former public records book, reveals that over the course of its existence the property had been host to two suicides by hanging, one suicide by poison, the rape and murder of eleven-year-old Prudence Arnold by a farmhand, two drownings, and the passing of four men who froze to death, in addition to other tragic losses of life.

Following the successful exorcism of Bathsheba from the Perron's life, subsequent owners of the home have reported minor noises , occasional fog and once a blue light. It is bvelived by some paranormal experts that Lorraine bound Bathsheba but did not expel her completely. Will Bathsheba come again.....?

Later in life Andrea Perron wrote and published her own story of the events  titled
,House of Darkness House of Light: The True Story Volume One (Volume 1) .
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Linda Burfield Hazzard (1867–1938) "Therapeutic Fasting" Practitioner and Osteopath. Born 1867 in Carver County, Minnesota, died during a fast in 1938. Despite her lack of a medical degree, she was licensed to practice medicine in Washington. A loophole in a licensing law grandfathered in some practitioners of alternative medicine who didn’t have medical degrees, including Hazzard. According to her book "The Science of Fasting", Burfield studied under Dr. Edward Hooker Dewey M.D one of the two pioneers of fasting (the other was Dr. Henry S. Tanner M.D. who famously fasted for 42 days in 1877).

She created a "sanitarium", Wilderness Heights, in Olalla, Washington, where inpatients fasted for days, weeks or months, on a diet of small amounts of tomato and asparagus juice and occasionally, a small teaspoon of orange juice. While some patients survived and publicly sang her praises, more than 40 patients died under her care. Hazzard claimed that they all died of undisclosed or hitherto undiagnosed, serious organic illnesses such as cancer or cirrhosis of the liver. Her opponents claimed that they all died of starvation]Local residents referred to the place as "Starvation Heights". She assured people that her method was a panacea for all manner of ills, because she was able to rid the body of toxins that caused imbalances in the body.In 1912 she was convicted of manslaughter for the death of Claire Williamson, a wealthy British woman, who weighed less than 50 pounds at the time of her death. At the trial it was proved that Hazzard had forged Williamson's will and stolen most of her valuables. Williamson's sister, Dorothea, also took the treatment, and, it is alleged, only survived because a family friend showed up in time to remove her from the compound. She was too weak to leave on her own, weighing less than 60 pounds. She later testified against Hazzard at trial. Hazzard was sentenced to 2 to 20 years in prison, which she served in the Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla. She was released on parole on December 26, 1915 after serving two years, and the following year Governor Ernest Lister gave her a full pardon. She and her husband, Samuel Christman Hazzard, moved to New Zealand, where she practiced as a dietitian andosteopath until 1920. In 1920 she returned to Olalla, Washington and opened a new sanitarium, known publicly as a "school of health" since her medical license had been revoked,[3] and continued to supervise fasts until it burned to the ground in 1935; it was never rebuilt. Linda Burfield Hazzard died in 1938 while attempting a fasting cure on herself. On March 28, 1910, Earl Edward Erdman, a City of Seattle Civil Engineer, died of starvation in the Seattle General Hospital. He had kept a diary which detailed Hazzard's treatment during the preceding weeks that provides an insight into the treatment Hazzard prescribed to her patients. The following are excerpts from his diary:

  February 1- Saw Dr. Hazzard and began treatment this date. No breakfast. Mashed soup dinner. Mashed soup supper.
 February 5 through 7- One orange breakfast. Mashed soup dinner. Mashed soup supper. February 8- One orange breakfast. Mashed soup dinner. Mashed soup supper.
 February 9 through 11- One orange breakfast. Strained soup dinner. Strained soup supper.
 February 12- One orange breakfast. One orange dinner. One orange supper.
 February 13- Two orange breakfast. No dinner. No supper. 
February 14- One cup of strained tomato broth at 6 p.m. 
February 15- One cup hot strained tomato soup night and morning. 
February 16- One cup hot strained tomato soup a.m. and p.m. Slept better last night. Head quite dizzy. Eyes yellow streaked and red.
 February 17- Ate three oranges today.
 February 19- Called on Dr. (Dawson) today at his home. Slept well Saturday night.
 February 20- Ate strained juice of two small oranges at 10 a.m. Dizzy all day. Ate strained juice of two small oranges at 5 p.m. 
February 21- Ate one cup settled and strained tomato broth. Backache today just below ribs.
 February 22- Ate juice of two small oranges at 10 a.m. Backache today in right side just below ribs. February 23- Slept but little last night. Ate two small oranges at 9 a.m. Went after milk and felt very bad. Ate two small oranges 6 p.m.
 February 24- Slept better Wednesday night. Kind of frontal headache in a.m. Ate two small oranges 10 a.m. Ate on and a half cups hot tomato soup at 6 p.m. Heart hit up to ninety-five minute and sweat considerable.
 February 25- Slept pretty well Thursday night. Ate one and a half cups tomato broth 11 a.m. Ate one and a half cups tomato broth 6 p.m. Pain in right below ribs.
 February 26- Did not sleep so very well Friday night. Pain in right side just below ribs in back. Pain quit in night. Ate 1 and a half cups tomato broth at 10:45 a.m. Ate two and a half pump small oranges at 4:30 p.m. Felt better afternoon than for the last week....
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Amelia Dyer
Arguably the most prolific killer in Victorian England was Amelia Dyer she has estimated to kill up to 400 and infants from 1882 1896. She is often referred to as "the angel maker" Her shocking crimes in 19th-century England forever changed the view of women in the criminal justice system if the time.
Mrs. Dyer as she was often referred to appeared to most to be a genteel older woman who was compassionate on single unwed mothers.

 Life in Victorian England was particularly hard for unmarried mothers and Amelia preyed upon this weakness. She placed a wanted ad in the miscellaneous column of the Bristol Times andMirror   newspaper offering to take care or adopt healthy children and raise them on a farm.When Amelia's daughter ,Polly ,curious about the babies that kept appearing in the household and then disappearing asked ..Amelia gently said that she was "sending sweet babies to Jesus". Her murder weapon of choice was often measuring tape or string or cord to strangle the babies.

Unlike many of the time Amelia was not a poor peasant woman. She was the daughter of a shoemaker ,was well learned and taught literature and poetry. Amelia soon became a midwife and well respected in her village near Bristol.

She soon found "baby farming",as it was called in the day,to be much profitable she would take in these babies for a small sum of money and if the family was well-to-do a large sum of money she learned to starve these children and eventually came to murder them instead. Amelia moved frequently throughout Bristol, Reading, Cardiff and London ever evading police . She wasn't caught until once after doctor was called to certify the death of one child too many raised the alarm to the local authorities. However instead of manslaughter she was convicted of neglect causing a child to die and served 6 months hard labor.
Newgate Prison

As always Amelia returned to her baby farming after being released from prison. Eventually she got her entire family involved in the killings. She learned her lesson though longer calling the doctor to issue a death certificate and began disposing the bodies herself.

The murdering only stopped after a boatman who was pulling a cargo ship on the Thames at Reading saw I brown paper bag floating in a shallow bank of water. Fishing it out he found a small leg and tiny human foot. Police inspection revealed the body of a little girl age 6 to 12 months and the tape that was knotted around her neck read "Mrs. Thomas" and an address in Reading. Four days later on April 3 Good Friday ,police raided the address that was on the tape and were immediately met by the stench of human decomposition though nobody was found in the residence. In the home they found all the evidence needed for the undoing of Amelia Dyer. Police found adoption inquiries, pawn  tickets for children's clothing ,receipts for advertisements and letters from desperate unwed mothers .

The little Polly ,Amelia's daughter, had grown to help her mother in the demise of these infants. She soon turned evidence against Amelia and testify to the jury who convicted her in under four minutes. Polly did not face conviction for reasons unknown .But many years later however railroad workers uncovered a small package that had been placed in a carriage . Inside the brown bag was a 3 week year old girl. She was the daughter of a widow who had given the child to a Mrs. Stewart for a menial amount of money .."the little one would have a good home and the parents love and care ", Mrs. Stewart had written to the widow. She had picked up the baby at Plymouth and dumped her on the next train . Who was this Mrs. Stewart for Amelia had already been executed years before that. evil had gone free it seemed Mrs Stewart  was none other than Little Polly ....



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