I’ve been researching a story about vigilante justice, which was prevalent in the early 1900s, especially as you traveled out West.  I stumbled upon these small items, and began collecting them, with the intention of following up.

Although I could find nothing else on these particular stories, they do give you a glimpse into the types of events that were occurring during this time period.

A small peek into the blotter world of 1912…


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On August 2, 1912, someone threw a baby from a train, and miraculously the child survived.  Try as I might, I couldn’t find anything else about it.

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October 29, 1912 was a busy day for the news.

Apparently they get married young in Columbus OH, and they don’t mind a bit of blackmail.

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Two men drowned when they went over a damn.

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A mad cap “hazing” gone wrong, and an unusually lucky fall.

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A 15 year old girl ran away to join a “troupe” traveling  with “the Fair,” but decided to come home.

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six skulls

On June 26, 1968 in Bellaire Ohio,  Jim Cummins owned a piece of property, two miles south of Bellaire, that was formerly the city dump. Some people were still depositing their rubbish there illegally and Cummins sent his son out  to look through the garbage and see if he could find any clues that would indicate who had been doing the dumping. Instead, Cummins son would discover something out of a Stephen King novel.

“There were 6 skulls and what looked like the remnants of a 7th one, which was pretty well chopped up. ” Prosecutor John Malik stated “We have no idea how long they have been there or where they might have come from.”

Malik stated that the skulls were covered with skin and hair. All of the skulls contained teeth and 2 appeared to be African American (or “Negro” as Malik reported.) The prosecutor reported that one skull was possibly that of a young child.

The skulls all appeared to be those of  males.

Cummins state that he smelled a preservative fluid when the heads were found, but the County coroner stated that the skulls were definitely not from a morgue or Indian burial ground as some had suggested.

August 21, 1932, New Haven CT

Mystery surround the death of Miss Lavinia Moran, 89 year old teacher found dead in the bedroom of St. Louis Catholic Church rectory. Her  partially clothed body was found at the same time that the Pastor, Father Joseph P Cournoyer was found in his garage, killed by carbon monoxide poisoning.

The mystery deepened as further examination of Miss Moran’s body was ordered. The coroner refused to put forth any theories on the deaths or say whether the 43 year old priest died accidentally. Search for Miss Moran’s missing dress proved fruitless. The room bore no signs of a struggle. An autopsy confirmed that both Miss Moore and Father Joseph died around the same time, several days ago.

priest found dead

Item: July 30, 1959

In 1955, Patricia Faye Smith was ironing  clothes, when a man somehow slipped into her kitchen and grabbed her as she ironed. The pretty, quick thinking housewife, smashed the iron against the intruder’s face and the man fled, screaming that his face had been branded. This began a four year reign of terror for Patricia Smith.

Two weeks later Patricia  received a crudely written note which simply said:

“I’ll get you.”

The man appeared again in that time period and tried to rape her, but her children came home and he fled the scene.

Three times the Smiths moved, from one Los Angeles suburb to another and in 1959 they were beginning to feel safe in their Canoga Park home. But one Wednesday afternoon the man returned and Mrs. Smith, by this time 30 years old, recognized him. A long livid scar stretched from his ;eft eye to his mouth. Mrs. Smith claimed that the man forced her into the bathroom, pulled a penknife and told her “Now you are going to know what it’s like to be ugly. Mrs. Smith claimed he slashed her on the ankle twice, then slashed at her shoulders, arms and thighs.

Her oldest sone heard her screams and pounded on the locked door. Mrs. Smith said the man smashed her face with his clenched fist and warned:

“I’ll be back to finish the job!”

Police put out an all points bulletin for the scarred man, who’s identity is unknown.

Authorities were able to verify Mrs. Smith’s story of years of torment, through police reports.

branded assailantOfficers had been seeking her assailant since the first attack.