On This Day in 1917: Mata Hari. Top-level Courtesan And Second-Rate Spy.


Dawn, Vincennes Barracks, October 15 1917. Brought from her cell at the Saint-Lazare Prison less than an hour after hearing that her final appeal had been denied by the President of France, alleged superspy Mata Hari faced her firing squad seemingly calm and unafraid. She may well have led a somewhat ethically questionable life, but … Continue reading On This Day in 1917: Mata Hari. Top-level Courtesan And Second-Rate Spy.

Joel Singer and Jack Franck, the original Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.


  If you're a fan of Clint Eastwood then 1974's 'Thunderbolt and Lightfoot' distributed by United Artists, is probably in your DVD collection. Not one of his better-known movies and perhaps not one of his best, but well worth watching all the same. The movie, made largely because Eastwood felt like doing a road movie, … Continue reading Joel Singer and Jack Franck, the original Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.

On This Day in 1963: New York State’s Last Execution, Eddie Lee Mays.


Eddie Lee Mays, his Death House file at Sing Sing Prison. August 15, 1963 was an historic day in New York's penal history, although nobody involved knew it at the time. New York's lawmakers didn't know it. the Warden of New York's infamous Sing Sing Prison (now the Ossining Correctional Facility) didn't know either. Dow … Continue reading On This Day in 1963: New York State’s Last Execution, Eddie Lee Mays.

On This Day in 1890; William Kemmler – The World’s First Legal Electrocution.


August 6, 1890 saw the dawn of a new age for criminal history. At Auburn Prison in upstate New York there was the execution.of one William Kemmler, condemned for murdering girlfriend Matilda Ziegler with a hatchet. There was nothing remarkable about Kemmler (an alcoholic vegetable hawker with a vicious temper) or about his crime. There … Continue reading On This Day in 1890; William Kemmler – The World’s First Legal Electrocution.

Edith Cavell – Hand-wringing propaganda is not enough. Nor does it do her any service.


“I am glad to die for my country.” – The last words of Edith Cavell. Edith Cavell was shot by a German firing squad at the Tir National rifle range near Brussels on October 12, 1915, having been convicted by a German military court of aiding the enemy by helping Allied soldiers and escaped prisoners … Continue reading Edith Cavell – Hand-wringing propaganda is not enough. Nor does it do her any service.

Papillon – The Butterfly Pinned..?


Meet Henri Charriere. Frenchman, Venezuelan, career criminal, transportee to Devil's Island, denier of the murder that sent him there, happy to claim to have committed a murder while he was there and general storyteller and writer. Also known as 'Papillon (due to a butterfly tattoo on his chest) and writer of the eponymous book turned … Continue reading Papillon – The Butterfly Pinned..?

Edith Cavell – Selfless Martyr..?


"I am glad to die for my country." - The last words of Edith Cavell. Edith Cavell was shot by a German firing squad at the Tir National rifle range near Brussels on October 12, 1915, having been convicted by a German military court of aiding the enemy by helping Allied soldiers and escaped prisoners … Continue reading Edith Cavell – Selfless Martyr..?

Dawn Of Destruction – History’s First Air Raid.


  “Today I have decided to try to throw bombs from the aeroplane. It is the first time that we will try this and if I succeed, I will be really pleased to be the first person to do it.” 2nd Lieutenant Giulio Gavotti, Italian Air Force. November 1, 1911. It is dawn at an … Continue reading Dawn Of Destruction – History’s First Air Raid.

True Crime Blogs And Websites: Some Top Picks.


So, as you're no doubt aware, I have an interest in true crime and I ted to cover the more unusual bits and pieces. If you're interested in the subject generally then it's hard to avoid the plethora of websites and blogs out there that deal with it, although the tone and style of some … Continue reading True Crime Blogs And Websites: Some Top Picks.

The Strange Case Of Leroy Henry


The strange case of Leroy Henry attracts me for two reasons. One is that I like to look at the unusual. Even if posting on a widely-known and common story then I prefer one with a twist. It helps keep things interesting. Leroy Henry's case was very interesting. Private Henry was one of the hundreds … Continue reading The Strange Case Of Leroy Henry