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Shady Lady Ghost Stories of (Mostly) New York and New Jersey
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Madam Murder: True Crime And Mysteries
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Madam Murder: True Crime And Mysteries

MADAM MURDER, A Mystery & True Crime Column

Phoebe and The Man
Who Became A Pocketbook

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The Sayres of Morristown NJ needed a gardener, some say, or a farmhand, and they turned to John P. Fusier of New York, who ran a boarding house and agency for servants who had emigrated from France. In late April 1833, Samuel Sayre hired Antoine LeBlanc through Fusier. Shortly after LeBlanc arrived and began working, the Sayres and Phoebe were dead. What became of the corpse of this killer may have been gorier than the crimes.

Madam Murder: Phoebe and The Man Who Became A Pocketbook

Murder in Greenwich Village: A Rafe and Masie Story

The street was very, very dark and very, very empty. Suddenly, Masie felt too alone and hustled out the Bedford Street end of the block. Looking behind her down the short block she had just left, she saw nobody, but felt someone was there in shadow. She could see the lights of busy Bleecker Street, where pedestrians were turning into Bedford, and her fears were calmed, but she wanted to know if she had imagined the whole thing.

Crime Fiction: Murder in Greenwich Village (Click)

Nobody Believed the Pig Woman

The 1922 Hall-Mills Double Murder in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Eleanor Mills was dressed in a red polka-dotted blue dress and black stockings. Her blue velvet hat was beside her body. Around her throat she wore a blood soaked, brown silk scarf. She lay stretched out at her lover's side, her left hand resting on his right knee. Rev. Hall's Panama hat covered his face, as if he were napping in broad daylight. His right arm was under Eleanor's shoulder, as if he could comfort her in death. She was 34 years old and he was 41.

Madam Murder: Nobody Believed the Pig Woman

The Harps, Big and Little

America's first known serial killers in 1798 Kentucky and Tennessee.

Big Harp confessed before dying in 1798 to 20 murders, probably not counting the babies. Estimates are as high as 40, but usually around 30. After two killings, one in Knox County and one on the Wilderness Trail, the Harps left Tennessee in December 1798 for Kentucky, where they killed two traveling men from Maryland. The Harps liked to gut their victims and fill the stomach cavities with rocks to weight them down so they'd sink in a river.

Madam Murder: The Harps, Big and Little: America's First Known Serial Killers

He Wore a Double-Breasted Suit

The Mad Bomber in 1940s New York.

It was November 16, 1940, and the man who would be known as The Mad Bomber walked into the Consolidated Edison office, dropped his toolbox, and walked out again. The small bomb never exploded. The Bomb Squad of the NYPD found no fingerprints or other evidence. It was wartime, everybody was busy, and after a cursory investigation, the case went away. But the Mad Bomber did not go away for 16 years.

Shady Lady: He Wore a Double-Breasted Suit

The Body In The Hudson

The death of the Beautiful Cigar Girl in 1840s New York.

On Sunday, July 25, 1841, Mary wore a white dress, with a blue scarf and a leghorn hat, and carried a parasol. She told her fiance, a boarder in her mother's house at 126 Nassau Street, that she was going to visit her aunt, Mrs. Downing, uptown on Jane Street. Daniel Payne promised to meet her that evening at the omnibus stop on Broadway and see her safely home. Daniel never met Mary at the omnibus stop. Her body was found three days later in the Hudson River near the shore of Hoboken, New Jersey. She had been tied with strips of her own clothing.

Madam Murder: The Body In The Hudson (Click)

She Looked Like Marilyn Monroe

On August 20, 1974, a schoolteacher who lived at 118 Waverly Place, complained of a leak coming through the ceiling of her top floor apartment. She and Mr. Johnson, the super, went up to investigate the source of the leak and found the body. There is nothing quite like New York in an August heat wave. It was 100 degrees. The horse flies had found the body first.

Madam Murder: She Looked Like Marilyn Monroe

She Went Out The Window

The Defenestration of Ana Mendieta.

The panty-clad sculptress came out a 34-story window with a sill as high as her chest. The windowsill had on it a goodly layer of soot, bearing no footprints, and not mussed in any way. She landed on the roof of the Montien Thai restaurant on Broadway in Greenwich Village, or what they now call NoHo.

(Excerpt from "She Went Out The Window")

She Went Out The Window

The Devil And The Dancing Fool

A short story based on the South Jersey legends of the Jersey Devil in the Pine Barrens and Joe Mulliner, a Tory bandit hanged in the Revolution.

Shady Lady: The Devil And The Dancing Fool

Themestream Journalist Second Prize in Fiction

An Excerpt From

Pretty Polly


Isaac Kruser takes a stick and begins poking through the smoldering pile in the corner. At a closer look, he sees what sends him screaming bloody, blue murder into the night. The baby daughter's skull is crushed. Emeline's throat bears a thin line as if cut. Her left arm is broken in two places. There is a jagged wound along the forearm. Emeline's skull also has been fractured. Her right wrist wears a black silk kerchief tied in a sailor's knot. The bedclothes are stained in blood.

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Pretty Polly

It is 1843 in the small crossroads settlement of Graniteville on Staten Island, New York. Did Polly Bodine murder her sister-in-law, Emeline Van Pelt Housman, and her baby daughter, Ann Eliza? Did she then set the house afire?

And will Pretty Polly hang for it?

Madam Murder: Pretty Polly: The Mary Housman Bodine Murder Case

Featured Links for Crime & Mysteries

Madam Murder Crime Links Delphi Forum

Crime Magazine: Encyclopedia of Crime

Nefarious - Tales of Mystery

Crime & Clues: The Art & Science of Criminal Investigation

Crime Fiction Database

The Crime Library

Crime Scene

Plots with Guns: The Hardboiled Internet Journal