Category: Odds And Ends

Smaller trivia pieces that might be made into something bigger.

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…

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,…

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


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. Dow Hover, New York’s last ‘State Electrician’, didn’t know it. 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…