Thursday, September 22, 2011

English Black Widow Who Poured Molten Lead into the Ears of 7 Husbands - 1792

This story has been discredited. It turns of to be a version of the French legend of La Corriveau.” [see: Saraline Grenier, “The Legend of la Corriveau,” Oct. 13, 2009]

An English woman murdered six husbands by pouring molten lead into one of their ears while they slept. She was detected in the seventh attempt.

The date of 1792 given here is provisional. This is the year of the earliest reference located so far.

[Sources: Referred to as “Ostander’s case” in Rudolph August Witthaus, Medical jurisprudence, forensic medicine and toxicology, Volume 3, 1896, p. 125; Ostander, über den Selbstmord, seine Ursachen, Arten, medicinische gerichtliche Untersuchung und die Mittel gegen denselben. Hannover 1813, p. 395; Ostander refers back to another source: “C. E. Mangov, communicate. Act. Reg. Soc. Havn. Vol. III. Havn. 1792. p. 187.”]


Another reference to the case, but again with no date, from an 1847 newspaper:

FULL TEXT: A lady in London having buried six husbands, united herself to the seventh. For months the newly-married couple lived happily together, the lady frequently declaring that at last she had met with a good husband, all her former ones having disgusted her with their drunkenness. To ascertain her real character, her seventh mate pretended drunkenness, which provoked reproaches and menaces. He returned home another evening apparently very drunk, and, having gone to bed, affected to be asleep. While he was in that state the wife took from her gown sleeve a piece of lead, which she melted, and then, approaching her husband, attempted, by means of a pipe, to pour it into his ear. He instantly started up, seized and accused her with the crime, which she could not deny. The bodies of her six husbands were disinterred, when it was discovered that they all died by the same means. She was hung, amidst the execrations of the people. To this wholesale tragedy we are indebted to the law which forbids the interment of a body without a proper certificate of the nature of the disease which caused death. Until lately a personal inspection by searchers was requisite; and to this fact also is the origin of coroner’s inquests attributed.

[“Origin Of The Coroner’s Jury.” The Nonconformist (London, England), Feb. 17, 1847, p. 105]

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