I had an Executed Today entry posted on Sunday: Five men were hanged at York Castle on August 19, 1786. They had all committed relatively minor offenses by today’s standards, thefts, not violent crimes, but under England’s Bloody Code it didn’t much matter.
I’ve got a new Executed Today entry up: Hans McFarlane and Helen Blackwood, a pair of common murderers in Scotland who actually got MARRIED while standing on the platform with ropes around their necks.
Another Executed Today entry I wrote, this one about John Montgomery, who cheated the hangman by taking prussic acid the night before he was supposed to be hanged for counterfeiting. The hangman had to be satisfied with just hanging William Rice, a thief, instead.
This was in the days of Britain’s Bloody Code, when just about every offense from shoplifting on up was punishable by hanging.
Another Executed Today entry by me, this one about the massacre of 3,500 Jews in Zloczow, occupied Poland on July 3, 1941.
My biggest source for this entry is the wonderful diary by Ephraim Sten, 1111 Days in My Life Plus Four. It is, hands down, the greatest Holocaust diary I’ve ever read, and I’ve read EIGHTY of them. It’s beautifully written and tells a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat story.
Ephraim was a thirteen-year-old Jewish boy and he was not present at the massacre, but his father was and miraculously survived it. For awhile, anyway — his father’s health was ruined by the physical and mental trauma and he died later that year. Ephraim and his mom survived the war, hidden by some Ukrainian Catholic heroes.
Got another Executed Today entry for y’all, the first in quite awhile: Seisaku Nakamura, the Hamamatsu Deaf Killer, a teenage serial killer in World War II Japan. He didn’t prey on deaf people but was himself deaf.
Nakamura was able to rack up a considerable body count for his age. He was hanged at the age of nineteen.
I’ve got an Executed Today entry up, first in awhile: Karol Kot, the Vampire of Krakow, a young Polish man who tried very hard to be a serial killer but didn’t quite make it. Perhaps he should have studied those anatomy textbooks better.
He was executed by the Communist government of Poland on this day fifty years ago.
Another ET entry: two men were lynched on this day in 1868 in Cheyenne, Dakota Territory (it didn’t become part of the state of Wyoming till 1890). One had shot a man; the other rustled livestock. They didn’t seem to have anything to do with each other and I think it’s just a coincidence that they were both hanged on the same night.
Happy St. Paddy’s Day, everyone. I’ve got a new Executed Today story for you: Robert Emond, hanged on this day in Scotland in 1830.
It’s a sad and all-too-familiar story of family problems, domestic violence and a loser who finally acted out in a jealous, paranoid rage.
The state had an ironclad case, and in the end Emond itself admitted his guilt. One question remains, however: according to the evidence, Catherine Franks’s body lay in the pigsty for two days or more, and the neighbors finally found it when they came to investigate the pig’s squeals of hunger. Why did the pig not eat HER?
I’ve had a few entries run recently on Executed Today that I hadn’t mentioned on this blog yet, so here goes:
- January 14, 1792: John Phillips hanged for robbery in Dublin, Ireland. Little is known about the case, but he would probably have been reprieved but for a little snafu with the paperwork.
- January 18, 1884: Maggie and Maggie Cuddigan lynched in Ouray, Colorado. They had adopted a little girl from an orphanage and proceeded to starve, neglect, maltreat and abuse her for months until she finally died.
The outrage must have been tremendous even by lynch mob symptoms — how often do you hear of white women, particularly visibly pregnant ones, getting lynched? The dead man’s own brothers did nothing to help him, though they might have been able to stop the lynching, and afterwards, the local priest refused to perform the funeral service and none of the local cemeteries would accept their bodies.
- February 20, 1948: Thomas Henry McGonigle gassed in California for the 1945 murder of fourteen-year-old Thora Chamberlain.
This was a murder-without-a-body case, one of the first in the state. (Though, after I’d already written the entry, Tad DiBiase told me it wasn’t actually THE first.) Thora is featured on Charley.
I’m really glad they took the risk of prosecuting this. They had a very strong case, but many prosecutors wouldn’t have wanted to touch the case without Thora’s body. McGonigle was clearly a very dangerous man and sounds like a serial killer in the making if he wasn’t one already.
Some unexpected — but awesome — things have happened as a result of the Longreads article that came out a few days ago. I don’t want to say anything more because nothing may come of it.
I’m working on hammering out the dents etc. on the new website format. Right now, my priority is re-adding the cases that mysteriously vanished off the face of the earth. Then I will focus on re-adding the details of disappearance to cases where that information vanished off the face of the earth. This is a pain and is taking awhile but I shall prevail.
I have a new Executed Today entry, one I had agonized over for quite awhile and am very proud of. The reason being that the executed person was almost certainly transgender, but this all happened in the 1940s before most people knew transgender was a thing. I wanted to do right by her/him without playing down the seriousness of the crime.
Anyway, back to work.