A person's last words are often revealing, telling us something about them and their outlook on the life. Coming, as they do, right before that person's death, it often doesn't really matter to that person what they say or how it's interpreted afterwards. From the intentionally funny (gangster George Appel), to the philosophical (spy Mata … Continue reading Famous (and not so famous) Last Words.
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..?
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 in death she seems to have shown considerably greater courage, fortitude and integrity than those who had conspired to place her there.
Mata Hari has long been the stuff of legend and myth, the glamorous, sexy superspy effortlessly using her feminine wiles and her physical charms to extract the highest level secrets from foolish, lecherous and indiscreet Allied officers through pillow talk before daringly passing the stolen secrets on to her German handlers. But how much spying did she actually do? What level of secrets, if any at all, did she manage to extract?…
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"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..?
True crime is one of the fastest-growing genres for writers today and it polarises opinion among readers and writers alike. Many consider it a genuinely useful genre that, tastefully and intelligently written, can contribute to greater understanding of criminals, their crimes and their motives. There are also those, especially of the more ‘highbrow’ mindset, regarding … Continue reading On True Crime Writing.
“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.
The Tower of London, nowadys a popular tourist destination. Once also a prison, defensive fortress, a crime scene (if you believe, as I do, that the 'Princes in the Tower' were murdered here) and also the site of a number of execution. Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey (who was the shortest-reigning Queen in British history, … Continue reading Josef Jakobs – the Last Execution At The Tower Of London.