Friday, February 14, 2020

Mabel Gant, Australian Poison Serial Killer - 1932


Note: So far, this long article from an Austrian newspaper, with a writer’s byline, is the only mention of this case discovered. Australian historical newspapers have been searched, but not all are online of yet. Thus we must consider this case to be questionable until an Australian source is found.

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FULL TEXT (translated from German): Australia, formerly a penal colony, is characterized by exceptionally low levels of crime, which is a constant source of pride in all its narrative practices. Even at the present time, during the period of crisis and state of latent state constancy, which, of course, exerts a far-reaching influence on the general situation, the number of crimes is as low as in any other country; and that, even though the “old families” are indeed descendants of serious criminals.

All Australians heard about it, as it became known that this continent (with its less than six million inhabitants) has a “case” which marches by its severity in the top group of capital crimes in recent years. In a recent dispatch from Melbourne, the 78-year-old Mabel Gant, who was under the suspicion of poisoning, was recently involved. A single poisoning is now a bad thing, but hardly suitable to excite the minds of millions. This only occurred when, during the interrogation, the old woman confessed to having carried out at least a hundred poisoning murders in the last twenty years. At first it was believed that they were dealing with a moron, but Mabel Gant brought her “books of business” for which she was able to document in detail each of the terrible deeds.

Gant, who provided for a small fortune and at the same time operated as an informant for good neighbors, and especially for the divorced people of both sexes, gave their “assistance,” had in many cases an extraordinarily simple remedy for their clients. She gave her customer a little flask with a liquid that had to be mixed in very small quantities into the game. She called the liquid “love potion”. After a few months, sometimes just weeks later, the death of the spouse occurred.

In Australian newspapers, a parallel is drawn between the Gant and the well-known Hungarian poison killer and concluded that Gant operated her trade in far greater style. She refused to specify where she took the poison from, and it will probably be difficult to uncover the mystery because the purge was found to have no trace of poison.

The killer enjoyed a great reputation in her neighborhood. No one knew they were dealing with a medieval-style poisoner. She gave the liquid to her clients, as mentioned, as a love potion, which had to be mixed unnoticed into the food. What is amazing is that until recently none the spouses of her clients survived. Only when the husband of a Gant client who surprised his wife as she mixed the poison into the food, and made the statement that it was an arsenic mix, was the mass crime was finally uncovered.

It is generally believed that Mabel Gant was insane, especially as she did not know her victims at all and demanded very little money from her “clients”. In many cases, if they were needy, she even gave her “love potion” for free. The case of this philanthropic poisoner probably stands alone in the history of mankind.

– Anton Kasper.

[Anton Kasper, “What's new? Hundreds of poison killer from - human love. Capital Crimes in Australia.” (Was gibt es Neeues? Hundertsache Giftmörderin aus – Menschenliebe.),  Kapitalverbrechen in Australien.” Frie Stimmen (Klagenfurt, Austria), 27. Februar 1932. p. 5]

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FULL TEXT: Australien, die ehemalige engliche Strafkolonie, zeichnet sich durch eine ausserordentlich geringe Kriminalität aus, worauf in allen antlichen Verichten immer wieder voll Stolz hingewiesen wird. Sogar augenblicklich, während der Zeit der Krise und des latenten Konsturszustandes des Staates, der natürlich aus die allgemeine Lage weitgehenden Einfluss ausübt, ist die Zahl der Verbrechen so gering wie kaum in einem anderen Lande; und das, obgleich die “alten Familien” durchaus von Schwerverbrechern abstammen.

Ganz Australian horchte demnach aus, als bekannt wurde, dass auch dieser Erdteil (mit seinen allerdings weniger als sechs Millionen Einwohnern) einen “Fall” hat, der seiner Schwere nach an der Spitzengruppe der Kapitalverbrechen der letzten Jahre marschiert. In einmem Vorworte von Melbourne wurde kürzlich die 78jähige Mabel Gant verhastet, die unter dem Verdacht stand, einen Giftmord begangen zu haben. Ein einzeiner Giftmord ist nun zwar eine böse Sache, aber Kaum geeignet, die Gemüter von Millionen zu erregen. Das trat erst ein, als während der Vernehmung die Greisin gestand, in den letzten zwanzig Jahren mindestens hundert Giftmorde ausgeführt zu haben. Man glaubte zuerst, es mit einer Schwachsinnigen zu tun zu haben, wurde indessen eines Besseren belehrt, als Mabel Gant ihre “Geschäftsbücher” herbeischaffte, aus Grund derer sie im einzelnen jede der furchtbaren Taten bis ins kleinste dokumentieren konnte.

Die Gant, die über ein kleines Vermögen versügt und sich nebenher als Veraterin für gute Nachbarn betätigte, vor allem scheidungslustigen Menschen beiderrlei Gseschlechts ihren “Beistand” gewährte, hatte für ihre Klienten in vielem Fällen ein ausserordentlich einsaches Mittel. Sie übergab ihren Kunden ein Flüschchen mit einer Flüssigkeit, die in ganz geringen Quantitäten in die Speilen gemischt werden musste. Sie nannte die Flüssigkeit “Liebestrank”. Nach Wochen, oft erst nach Monaten trat dannn der Tod des Ghegatten ein.

In australischen Zeitungen wird zwischen der Gant und der bekannten ungarischen Giftmörderin eine Parallele gezogen und festgestellt, dass die Gant ihr Gewerde in weit grösserem Stile betrieb. Sie weigerte sich, anzugeben, woher sie das Gift nahm, und es wird auch wohl kaum gelingen, das Geheimnis auszudecken, weil die Möhnung wurden keinerlei Spuren von Gift gefunden.

Die Mörderin erfreute sich in ihrer Nachbarschaft grossen Ansehens. Keiner ahnte, dass man es bei ihr mit einer Giftmischerin von mittelalterlichem Format zu tun hatte. Ihren Klienten gab sie die Flüssigkeit, wie erwähnt, als Liebestrank, der unbemerkt zwischen die Speisen gemischt werden müsse. Erstaunlich bleibt nur, dass bis zuletzt niemals der Ehegatten ihrer Klienten starben. Erst fürzlich, als der Mann einer Klientin der Gant, der seine Frau dabei überraschte, wie sie das Gift unter die Speise mischte, die Feitstellung machte, dass es sich um eine Arsenmischung handelte, wurde das Massenverbrechen ausgedeckt.

Man nimmt allgemein an, dass Mabel Gant irrsinnig war, zumal sie ihre Opfer überhaupt nicht kannte und ihren “Kunden” nur ganz wenig Geld verlangte. In vielen Fällen, wenn es sich um Bedürstige handelte, verabreichte sie ihren “Liebestrank” sogar kostenlos. Der Fall dieser philantroven Giftmischerin dürste wohl in der Geschichte der Menschheit einzig dastehen.

.– Anton Kasper.

[Anton Kasper, “Was gibt es Neeues? Hundertsache Giftmörderin aus – Menschenliebe. Kapitalverbrechen in Australien.” Frie Stimmen (Klagenfurt, Austria), 27. Februar 1932. p. 5]

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

“Do-Gooder” Female Serial Killers


She-wolves in ewes’ clothing.

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1868 – Marie Jeanneret – Geneva, Switzerland
The woman appears to have a monomania of crime, as she neither robbed her victims nor derived any benefit from their death; she is even said to have nursed them with great tenderness.

1865 – Martha Grinder – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
“She was professedly a religious woman, and of kind and agreeable manners, and while manifesting a tender and affectionate interest in her victims, was constantly dosing them with poison.” “Mrs. Grinder ,,, was regarded by her neighbors as an estimable and most kindhearted person.One of her predominating characteristics was her keen sympathy for bereaved families. In cases of sickness she was always among the first to volunteer her services as nurse, and she could always be relied on to assist in the neighborly task, which was commonly practiced in those days, of “laying out” the body. There was seldom a funeral at which she was not conspicuous among the mourners, and the family which death had robbed of a father, mother or child, always felt a certain amount of comfort in the acknowledge that Mrs. Grinder felt for them.”

1883 – Maria Swanenburg (Van der Linden) – Leiden, Netherlands
“Maria Catherina Swanenburg (in some sources her name is given as “Van der Linden" or "van de Linden")  (1839 - 1915) was a Dutch serial murderer. She was affectionately given the nickname of “Goeie Mie” (Dutch for “Good Me”), which she got for taking care of children and ill people in the poor neighborhood of Leiden in which she lived.”

1901 – Jane Toppan – Boston, Massachusetts, USA
“Selfless and good-natured, she beguiled Boston's most prominent families.” [Harold Schechter Fatal : The Poisonous Life of a Female Serial Killer, 2003]

1916 – Amy Archer-Gilligan – Windsor, Connecticut, USA
“Amy Gilligan (1901-1928) was known for her nurturing tonics and nutritional meals at her private nursing home in Windsor, Connecticut.” [Charles Montaldo]
“In a way, Amy Duggan Archer Gilligan might be considered a pioneer in health care in Connecticut. In the early part of this century, Mrs. Gilligan operated a home ''for elderly people and chronic invalids,'' in the town of Windsor. She offered some enticements for living there: Most of her clients were elderly men and they could get lifetime care simply by signing over their life insurance policies to her or by giving her $1,000, a healthy amount of money at the time, when they checked in.” [Bill Ryan, “Whatever Went Wrong With Amy?” The New York Times, Mar. 2, 1997]

1911 – Linda Burfield Hazzard – Ollala, Washington, USA
“Hazzard created a ‘sanitarium,’ Wilderness Heights, in Olalla, Washington, where inpatients fasted for days, weeks, or months on a diet of small amounts of tomato and asparagus juice and occasionally a small teaspoon of orange juice. While some patients survived and publicly sang her praises, dozens died under her care. Hazzard claimed that they all died of undisclosed or hitherto undiagnosed illnesses such as cancer or cirrhosis of the liver. Her opponents claimed that they all died of starvation. Local residents referred to the place as ‘Starvation Heights.’ She assured people that her method was a panacea for all manner of ills, because she was able to rid the body of toxins that caused imbalances in the body. During her medical career, Hazzard wrote two books about what she claimed to be the science behind fasting and how it could cure diseases. The first book she wrote was ‘Fasting for the Cure of Disease’ (1908). Her second book was ‘Scientific Fasting: the Ancient and Modern Key to Health’ (1927).” [Wikipedia]

1925 – Antoinette Sierri ("Scierri") – Nimes, France
“She was an excellent professional nurse and practiced her calling in St. Gilles and the surrounding country. She had a remarkably winning and ingratiating manner, both with patients and their families.” “The nurse made wreaths for the graves of her victims and showed tender care during their last moments.”

1928 – Bertha Gifford – Catawissa, Missouri, USA
“And “good old Bertha,” now 50 years old but once the belle of Meremec Valley, really was a Good Samaritan, provided her patients actually went through with the programme of dying as expected. In that case, with prayers, tears and tender ministrations, she eased their last moments, and she never asked money for her services.”

1950 – Georgia Tann – Memphis, Tennessee, USA
In 1924, Georgia Tann became the executive secretary of the Memphis branch of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, a charitable orphanage. Intelligent and well-educated, she quickly established herself as the foremost agent for adoptions, not only in Tennessee but in the entire United States. Her tenacity and foresight, and seemingly limitless passion for “infants of a tender age,” helped to transform adoption into a respectable cause, even chic within wealthier circles. Her reputation skyrocketed, placing her on the national stage, where organizations around the country sought her advice on all aspects of adoption and child-rearing. She spoke at conferences in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, rubbed elbows with celebrities, advised First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt on adoption matters, and was invited to the presidential inauguration of Harry Truman.
Unbeknownst to most, the unmarried woman widely recognized for destigmatizing adoption was also busy kidnapping, abusing, molesting, and selling children. Though the state required her to place babies solely with Tennessee parents for a fee to the charity not to exceed $7.00, she placed children in all forty-eight states with anyone willing to pay an exorbitant fee to her. With some paying more than $100,000 per child in today’s dollars, Tann soon became a millionaire and a dark force beyond reckoning. [except from: Phillip, Jett, “Georgia Tann: The Matron of Evil,” Criminal Element, Oct. 25, 2018]
https://www.criminalelement.com/georgia-tann-the-matron-of-evil/

1957 – Mary Perkins – Selma, Alabama, USA
Mary Perkins cooked some of the best food around, was not stingy about feeding the neighbor kids, or carrying plates of goodies to the Ebenezer church suppers. She nursed the sick with the passion of a Florence nightingale, was a typical minister’s wife. Then (at least from all outward experiences) life turned sour for Mrs. Perkins.

1988 – Dorothea Puente – Sacramento, California, USA
“In 1986, Puente approached social worker Peggy Nickerson with an offer of quality lodgings for elderly persons on fixed incomes. Referring to Puente as "the best the system had to offer," Nickerson sent her 19 clients over the next two years, growing concerned when some of them dropped out of sight.” [Dorothea Montalvo]

2008 – Helen Golay & Olga Rutterschmidt – Santa Monica, California, USA
“When Kenneth McDavid met Helen Golay and Olga Rutterschmidt, they must have seemed like guardian angels. Homeless, schizophrenic, and estranged from his family, McDavid probably wasn’t used to many people showing him kindness, but the little old grannies he met in 2003 at the Hollywood Presbyterian Church’s homeless program were different. Rather than begrudging him a hot meal or averting their eyes as he passed in the street, Golay and Rutterschmidt seemed only interested in helping him. Soon after meeting him, they found McDavid an apartment in Hollywood, paid his rent and bills, and asked nothing in return… nothing except for his signature on a few legal papers.” [Stephen Johnson, The Bizarre But True Story of “The Killer Grannies of Santa Monica” 13th Floor, Jan. 5, 2017]

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http://unknownmisandry.blogspot.com/2013/06/female-serial-killers-collections.html

SEE MORE: Female Serial Killer Collections

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Gloria Utter, 5-Year-Old Murderess – Colorado, 1930


Although some reports give Gloria Utter’s age as 3 and some as 5, the photos make it clear that she was at least 5 years of age.

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FULL TEXT: Denver, Aug. 4. – Six-year-old Rose May Etheridge was dead here today, slain by a three-year-old playmate during a quarrel over a rag doll.

“Rose May stole my rag doll – so I shot her,” was the simple explanation of the slaying given by tiny Gloria Utter.

Authorities were perplexed over disposition of the case. A Colorado statue sets the age of 10 years as the minimum for punishment of such a crime.

The tragedy occurred in the backyard of a home near Denver. Rose May, Gloria, and two other little girls were playing. Suddenly they quarreled. Gloria ran to a nearby garage, seized a .22 caliber rifle, hastened back to her playmates and shot Rose May.

[“3-Year-Old Girl Kills Playmate – Backyard Tragedy Follows Quarrel Over Rag Doll,” The Minneapolis Star (Mn.), Aug. 4, 1930, P. 1]

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FULL TEXT: Aug. 19. – Aid of Denver psychiatrists will probably be enlisted to straighten out the tangled sense of right and wrong of Gloria inter, Colorado’s five-year- old "elf” slayer.

The tiny miss created a profound social problem in Colorado recently when she shot and killed her six-year-old playmate, Rose May Ethridge, at Logantown, a suburb of Denver.

“She stole my rag doll — so 1. killed her.” This was the frank; confession that the child gave Logantown officials when they questioned her concerning her act – which left her as unmoved as the^ most seasoned Chicago gunman.

Joe E. Stone, district attorney of the Logantown district, refused to take any steps to punish the' child, with the exception of urging| her parents to place her in the state psychopathic hospital, where she might be observed and perhaps L- have some fundamental sense of social obligation established in her mind. Officials are of the belief that "with the brand of Cain upon her brow, her punishment in later years will be greater than any which the law might inflict.”

Stone is powerless to have the girl placed in the psychopathic hospital against her parents’ wishes as such action would necessitate a court declaring her so incorrigible that she would be a state dependent. Gloria found the .22 calibre rifle with which she murdered her playmate in her father’s garage. As a result, the girl’s father, Rovelle Utter, has been the target for a volley of criticism for leaving loaded firearms within the reach of such a young child.

"Placing any dangerous weapon available for possession by a child of immature years borders on criminal negligence,” according to Stone who declares also that “blame lies not so much with the child as with the person or persons who made the crime possible. Thus far the girl's parents have declared that the gun was not loaded when It was placed in the garage where Gloria found it when she carried out her threat.

Police officials have been unable to gain much information from Gloria, save that she deemed it just to take the law into her own hands and settle accounts for the stolen rag doll. Efforts to clear up the matter by questioning Gloria have succeeded in nothing more than making her tale a jumbled array of inconsistent facts.

The murder of the Ethridge girl was cue for a heated debate among Colorado psychiatrists as to Just what motive prompted the crime. A large number are of the belief that the girl was merely following a primitive instinct that is common to us all in early life while others are of the opinion that moving pictures of shooting arrays, bighted honor, etc., furnished the environment necessary to account satisfactorily for such an act violence.

[“Doctors Study 5-Year-Old Girl Who Slew Him,” Bradford Evening Star (Pa.), Aug. 25, 1930, p. 9]

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FULL TEXT: Cheyenne, Wyo., July 16. – Relatives from Denver today claimed the body of Mrs Beulah Ethridge, formerly of Logantown, Colo., who killed herself Here last night after a year's despon- detrcy and mourning for her six-year" daughter, Rose May who was shot and killed by a playmate a year, ago.

The body was to be taken to Denver for burial. Because authorities said there was no doubt but what death was by suicide an inquest was considered, unnecessary.

Mrs. Ethridge ran screaming from her room at a boarding, house and cried out that she had taken poison. In the room was found a clipping from a Denver newspaper of August 4  last rear telling of the tragic death of her daughter.

Apparently Mrs. Ethridge had been reading the clippings a short time before she took poison. She died before reaching a hospital.

Rose May was shot by Gloria Utter, five, at Logantown, the newspaper clippings said. The shooting, the story said, occurred as the climax to a quarrel over a doll.

[“Woman Suicide Year After Daughter Is Shot by Playmate,” The Greely Daily Tribune (Co.), Jul. 16, 1931, p. 11]

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