Gary Stewart, author of a new memoir The Most Dangerous Animal Of All, is the latest person to claim he has proof of the real, true identity of the infamous Zodiac Killer of 1960s northern California; he says the killer was his late father, Earl Van Best, Jr. Read the rest
Over the weekend, I read a couple of the posts blogger Ana Mardoll has been writing in which she deconstructs some of the weirder/more objectionable elements of the Little House books. That sent me looking for an essay I'd read several years ago on the actual history of how the Osage people were removed from southeastern Kansas ... which is given a prominent, if rather warped, role in Little House on the Prairie.
I didn't find that essay, but I did find several references to a story I had never, ever heard before. Turns out, the Ingalls family's sojourn in Kansas might have overlapped with that of a family of serial killers. At the American Indians in Children's Literature blog, Debbie Reese writes about stumbling across the story in the transcript of a speech Laura Ingalls Wilder gave in 1937. Here's an excerpt from that transcript:
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There were Kate Bender and two men, her brothers, in the family and their tavern was the only place for travelers to stop on the road south from Independence. People disappeared on that road. Leaving Independence and going south they were never heard of again. It was thought they were killed by Indians but no bodies were ever found.
Then it was noticed that the Benders’ garden was always freshly plowed but never planted. People wondered. And then a man came from the east looking for his brother, who was missing.
... In the cellar underneath was the body of a man whose head had been crushed by the hammer.
“There is significant evidence out there that suggests that not only did John Wayne Gacy not operate alone
, he may not have been involved in some of the murders, and the fact that he was largely a copycat killer.” Read the rest