Our favorite genre is alive with so many interesting happenings in books, magazines, newspapers, radio, and online that it’s hard to keep up, but here’s the news and sites I’ve noticed last week and recommend.
Outstanding Case-Specific Websites There are a lot of true crime encyclopedias online (the best are listed at right), but some authors and devotees continue to create new case-specific sites devoted to forgotten stories, half-remembered mysteries, landmark advances in crime detection, and immortal names in the history of true crime. The best of course is the old Casebook, devoted to Jack the Ripper but delving into other mysteries as well. Here are three other outstanding sites.
Shark Arm Case One of the most jaw-dropping Australian true crime stories of all time was the Shark Arm murder. In 1935, a shark captured for an exhibit belched up the human arm of a murder victim – and it got stranger from there. Read the rest here.
Murder by Starvation Gregg Olsen has raised his online profile considerably with a popular blog. He shares the pleasures and burdens with another true crime author, M. William Phelps. Not that he necessarily needs to do this; many of my true crime buddies and some true crime authors I’ve interviewed for Clews have named a Gregg Olsen title among their best true crime reads ever. My favorite Gregg Olsen book, naturally enough, is Starvation Heights. The Starvation Heights website has a beautiful typeface and lots of content to enjoy it in, as well as photos and original documents from the infamous case of the interrupted practices of Dr. Linda Hazzard.
The Boorn Brothers: Conviction by Gossip This is an amazing “I Should Not Be Alive” story from Vermont. For those who believe that murder cases can be solved with gut instincts, psychic visions and gossip, it’s a warning that the corpus delicti can never be ignored.
And In Newsprint Thanks to the internet, you and I can read newspapers from far-flung lands like Jamestown, New York. The Post-Journal of that city published a mesmerizing article last week: Murder on the Chadakoin by Jan Kurth. This absorbing piece delves into a 100-year-old mystery in that town that had striking parallels to another case you've heard about out of New York State around the turn of the nineteenth century. From the lead:
One hundred years ago this past summer, the real-life crime that inspired Theodore Dreiser’s classic novel, An American Tragedy, took place in the Adirondacks.
While out on Big Moose Lake, Chester Gillette murdered his pregnant factory-worker girlfriend, Grace Brown, while taking her out for a boat ride. The 1906 murder has been commemorated in a variety of settings and continues to inspire television shows, books and films.
But few people realize that seven years before this murder, a bloody slaying with eerie parallels to An American Tragedy took place right here in Chautauqua County.
Enjoy the rest of this historical mystery at The Post-Journal’s website. The author wonders why two very similar cases can prompt such a different response. Why is Chester Gillette a well-known figure in certain circles, while Frank Wennerholm was equally atrocious?
True Detective on the Cutting Edge True Detective ended its spectacular run in 1995 when it was sold to a British company that turned it into a tabloid. But there’s still some interesting journalism going on in the publication. Todd Matthews, the first person to ever hunt for clews the internet to name a Jane Doe murder victim, has been following the impact of such technologies on cold cases on a website, https://www.technicriminology.info, and he’s going to have a regular feature column in True Detective starting next month.
From this month’s issue:
It all started with an interesting story Wilbur Riddle told his future son-in-law, 17-year-old Todd Matthews, about the time he found a woman’s corpse back in 1968. Todd bought a copy of an old Master Detective which told the mystery of the woman dubbed the Tent Girl… the same woman who Wilbert had found. Todd was hooked and for over a decade he tried to crack the case. By 1998 he had some of the answers, and the Tent Girl had a name and Todd had a new career….
In True Detective No. 7 Todd will have a column where he will share new information from the world of technocriminology. If you would like to tap in to Todd’s experience, connections and expertise in the fascinating field of technocriminology, then please email him at email@example.com.
And on the Radio The same fellow, Todd Matthews, is also pioneering a radio program called Missing Pieces. The show is on Tuesdays at 8 pm Eastern, 7 Central, and you can listen online at https://www.WCANradio.com. This Tuesday’s guest is Tracie Fleischhut of https://www.NYmissing.com and https://www.Hope4theMissing.org.
Some upcoming guests include these folks:
Wayne Leng - https://www.Missingpeople.net
Elizabeth Hudson - author of Snow Bodies
Laura (Allen) Hood - After October of 1978, Laura's brother - Tony Allen - never called or came home again. https://www.associatedcontent.com/article/60875/facing_ghosts_from_the_past.html
Patty Starr - www.GhostHunter.com
Louis C. Smit - The NOMIS project
Todd was nice enough to ask your correspondent to be a guest on the show. I can't imagine being as interesting as these folks, but we might work something out so you can hear some Clews on the radio.