Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Louise Lindloff: Black Widow Serial Killer - 1912


Louise Lindloff Chronology:

Aug. 12, 1905 – Julius Graunke Graunke, died, Milwaukee; $2000 ins.
Aug. 28 (circa), 1905 – Charles Lipschow, boarder for 7 years, Milwaukee, died; $550 ins. (plus spent $15,000 inheritance during stay with Lindloffs.)
Nov. 1906 – marries William Lindloff.
1907 – Mrs. Bertha Nell’s baby, 5-months, dies.
Oct. 17, 1908 – John O. Lindloff , brother-in-law, dies, Milwaukee; $2000 ins.
Aug. 3, 1910 – William Lindloff, Chicago, died; $1625 ins.
Jan. 11, 1908 – Frieda Graunke Lindloff, 22, died; $1350 ins.
Aug. 4, 1911 – Alma Graunke Lindloff, 19, died; $2300 ins.
May 1912 – Miss Sadie Ray and Mrs. Katherine Dwyer, apparently poisoned.
June 13 (15?), 1912 – Arthur Graunke Lindloff, 15, died; $3375 ins.
Jun. 15?, 1912 – Louise Lindloff arrested, 41.
Jun. 17, 1912 – arraigned.
June 19, 1912 – autopsy reported showing arsenic in Arthur.
Jul. 2, 1912 – held to the grand jury, without bail.
Oct. 25, 1912 – trial begins.
Nov. 4, 1912 – convicted, sentenced to 25 years in penitentiary.
Mar. 9 (16?), 1914 – Louise Lindloff dies in prison; cancer.

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FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 11): Chicago – Equipped with a $500 crystal ball, containing—as she says —a tear dropped from the eye of the original Cleopatra, Mrs. Louise G. Lindloff, spiritualist medium and seeress, hopes to clear herself of the charge of murdering two husbands and three of her own children.

Five members of Mrs. Lindloff family have died in more or less mysterious fashion in the past seven years. Each carried a life insurance policy naming Mrs. Lindloff as sole beneficiary.

The five deaths netted the seeress $10,650.

When her son Arthur died the other day, apparently of poisoning, suspicions were awakened that led to her arrest on charge of murder.

She took her precious crystal ball with her to jail, and looked into it for the spirits of her dead. She says that she has communicated with Arthur, and that he tells her she will be exonerated.

She has protested her innocence, denying, indignantly, that she ever kept poison in her house, but the police, on searching her place, found there rat poison, a box of mercurial poison and several other bottles or boxes labeled “Poison.”

But the accused puts her faith in her magic crystal ball. Through the “counsel” she gets from the spirit world through this ball, she rests assured that she will be able to prove her innocence. Everyday she gazes into its mysterious depths and reads there “messages” touching the future.

Her latest information is that she will be released before the month is over.

The police say that the magic ball is common glass and is worth intrinsically, about fifty cents, but Mrs. Lindloff maintains that she paid $500 for it, and that its great value lies in the queenly tear that lies at its heart.

“That one tear enables me to read the future,” she avers. “When I gaze into the ball I see the tear at its center expand in size, and within I see what will come to pass in future years.”

Psychologists explain that the visions seen in such a crystal ball are “waking dream,” and are spun out of the “subconscious mind,” when the ordinary consciousness is dulled by long gazing at the fascinating crystal.

[“Crystal Gazing and Poison Are In This Strange Murder Case – Chicago ‘Seeress,’ Accused of Killing Two Husbands and Three Children, Puts Faith in Glass Sphere ‘Containing a Tear of Cleopatra’,” The Tacoma Times (Wa.), Jun. 26, 1912, p. 5]


FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 11): Chicago – In a cell in the matron's quarters of the Fillmore street police station day after day sits Mrs. Louisa Lindloff, a benevolent-looking woman, gazing into a great crystal ball, convinced that she can see in its kaleidoscopic depths the plots and machinations of her enemies who are accusing her of having murdered for money her whole family.

While chemical experts are testing bodies of her dead family to prove that they were poisoned with arsenic, Mrs. Lindloff sits serenely studying the events which, she says, the crystal reveals to her.

~ Consults Spirit World. ~

"I can see my family arising to defend me against this cruel charge." She said yesterday. "From the spirit world they come in filmy forms to stand beside me and protect me from my enemies."

Following the recent death of Arthur Lindloff, the fifteen-year-old son of the woman, she was arrested. Arsenic is declared to have been found in the boy's body.

Afterward the bodies of the two dead husbands of Mrs. Lindloff and two others of her children were exhumed from the graves where they had lain for years, one of them seven years. Arsenic was found in the body of Alma Lindloff, who died last autumn. The examination of the other bodies has not been completed.

~ Double Murder Charged. ~

Mrs. Lindloff, professional spiritualist and clairvoyant, is charged by the police with two murders already. The charges are based on the deaths of Arthur and Alma. The police are confident other murder charges will soon be lodged against the woman.

In a period of seven years five members of her family died under mysterious circumstances. Every one of them, even the fifteen-year-old boy, carried life insurance in favor of Mrs. Lindloff.  If she collects the insurance on the life of Arthur, the latest of her alleged victims, she will have received in the form of life insurance in seven years no less than $10,050. At present she is penniless. When arrested she was preparing to spend the summer traveling.

~ Five Sudden Deaths in Lindloff Family ~

Arthur Lindloff, fifteen years old, son of Mrs. Louisa Lindloff, died suddenly June 13, 1912, at 2044 Ogden avenue, Chicago, of supposed poisoning. Life insured for $3,375.

Julius Graunke, first husband of Mrs. Lindloff, died suddenly August 12, 1905, at Milwaukee, Wis., where the family lived at that time. Carried insurance of $2,000. Died supposedly as the result of sunstroke.

William Lindloff, second husband of Mrs. Lindloff, died August 3, 1910, supposedly of heart trouble. Carried insurance of $1,025.

Frieda Graunke Lindloff, twenty-two years old, died January 11, 1908, supposedly of typhoid fever. Carried Insurance of $1,350.

Alma Graunke Lindloff, nineteen years, died August 4, 1911, supposedly of heart disease. Carried insurance of $2,300.

[“Seeress Accused Of Murders Asks Aid Of Spirits -  Five Members of Chicago Clairvoyant's Family Die Mysteriously.” The Washington Times (D.C.), Jun. 30, 1912, p. 4]

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FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 11): Capt. Baer of the Fillmore avenue police station yesterday came into the possession of information which has led him to revise his theory of the motive which, it is claimed, prompted Mrs. Louisa G. Lindloff to poison a number of the members of her family.

The original theory of the police in arresting Mrs. Lindloff was that she committed the murders in order to collect insurance on the victims’ lives. Captain Baer, as the result of the disclosures he says were made yesterday, modifies this by the declaration that vanity contributed to urge the woman to her crimes. He asserts that she deliberately planned her poisonings so as to fit in with her predictions as a seeress and that she killed her victims on a schedule which she made up at her clarvoyant séances.

~ Woman Tells of Seances ~

The police captain’s informant is a woman whose name he declines at this time to divulge, but who, he says, was a constant attendant at Mrs. Lindloff’s clairvoyant séances during the period of the murders of which she is accused.

“According to what I have learned,” said the police captain,” Mrs. Lindloff would give her ‘weekly circles’ to the unsophisticated. At these meetings she would tear up a handkerchief and scatter a piece of it in front of each person attending. Then she would pretend to go into a trance and do some predicting. These predictions proved fatal in several cases.

“Persons who attended the Lindloff séances have promised to testify in the case, and their testimony will show that most of the poison deaths were premeditated. Bot Coroner Hoffman and myself are busy on the case every day.”


~ Lindloff Guests Taken Ill. ~

That Miss Sadie Ray and Mrs. Katherine Dwyer, both of whom will be the state’s witnesses, became after ill after eating a meal at the home of Mrs. Lindloff developed yesterday in the state’s attorneys inquiry. The accused woman is said to have gone so far as to predict that Miss Ray, who was formerly employed at her home, would die on a certain day.

The meal in question was eaten several weeks before the death of Arthur Lindloff. On her way to her home at 1253 West Madison street, Mrs. Dwyer was seized with nausea and pains in the stomach.

~ Mrs. Lindloff Plays Football. ~

Apparently oblivious of the fact that additional evidence was piling up daily, Mrs. Lindloff spent part of yesterday playing soccer football in the yard of the county jail.

The other players included women accused of crimes ranging from shoplifting to murder. One of the latter was Mrs. Florence Bernstein, who surrendered herself Wednesday after an indictment had been returned charging her with the murder of her husband, George Bernstein.

[“Lays Murders To Vanity - Mrs. Lindloff Suspected of Killing to Aid Name as Seeress. - Victims Die On Schedule. - Woman Who Attended Seances Said to Have Made Disclosures.” Chicago Daily Tribune (Il.), Jul. 6, 1912, p. 3]

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FULL TEXT (Article 4 of 11): Chicago, Oct. 26.—The trial of Mrs. Louise Lindloff was postponed until Monday when State's Attorney Claude F. Smith and Francis M. Long went to Milwaukee with Police Captain Baer to obtain statements from two women there. They are ordered to tell of experiments which Mrs. Lindloff is said to have conducted to test the effects of poisons in causing death and sickness, using animals as subjects.

[“Hold Up Lindloff Trial,” The LaCrosse Tribune (Wi.), Oct. 26, 1912, p. 6]

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NOTE: Two other deaths were suspected of being the work of Mrs. Lindloff.

EXCERPT (Article 5 of 11): “Mrs. Lindloff attend at the birth of my baby,” said Mrs. Nell, in telling her story to the investigators. “She posed partly as a midwife and nurse and took charge of the operation. She then attended me after the baby was born. Three weeks later the child’s legs came together, which according to toxicologists, is an indication of arsenic poisoning, and when a doctor was called he said the baby was afflicted with decay of the bones. Six months after its birth it died.”

Assistant State Attorney Smith said one of the most absolute evidences of slow arsenic poisoning was decay of the bones. He said this had been testified to in Chicago by Dr. Charles C. Haynes, a toxicologist of national reputation.

The uncovering of new evidence in the death of Charles Lipschow, a cigar maker, whose body were exhumed but found to be without any trace of arsenic, and who is said to have been a lover of the Lindloff woman, is claimed to be of material assistance in the state’s prosecution of the accused woman.

Lipschow, according to Capt. Baer, inherited $15,000 on the death of his mother. This money he is said to have spent while his relations with Mrs. Lindloff were pleasant. He lived in her house. He was insured in a local cigar makers’ union for $550, and when he became sick and Mrs. Lindloff was attending him, she paid the premium or dues said Capt. Baer.

Of the $550 she collected from the organization upon the death pf Lipschow, about $116 was paid out for his funeral.

[“Sensation Sprung In Lindloff Case – Mrs. Berth Neil Testifies to Belief That Woman Poisoned Her Baby When She Attended. – Get Additional Evidence – Chicago Officers Assert They Will Connect Defendant With Other Murders Besides Son’s – Examine Many Witnesses – Milwaukeans Important Witnesses in Hearing Which May Add Light to Now Noted Case.” The Milwaukee Sentinel (Wi.), Oct. 27, 1912, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT (Article 6 of 11): That a north side Milwaukee clairvoyant had fifteen years ago predicted her arrest and trial on the charge of murder was the statement of Mrs. Louisa Lindloff, who is being tried for the alleged murder of her 15 year old son Arthur, in Chicago. She said the medium had also foretold that all her relatives would die while she lived and finally she would be alone in the world.

“Through the strange powers given me by God, I knew that my second husband, William Lindloff and my two children, Alma and Arthur were going to die. I had visions, in which I saw three caskets, side by side. I could see the faces of my husband in one while the others seemed to contain all that I hold dear to me, two children. I was afraid – fearful of the powers of the great unknown but stoically awaited my portion of fate and when the time came when I was accused, I, a warm hearted mother, of the horrible, unthinkable and unnatural crime of murdering my own child, I was not astounded. I met my fortune calmly as one who has known and understands. But to think, that I his mother would harm a hair of my poor boy’s head is more than shameful, it’s inhuman.

~ Knows Son Was Poisoned. ~

“I know he died of poison, but I do not know how he got it. He was sick and I took the best of care of him, according to the orders of the physicians and then I took him to the hospital, where he died.

“I have put my trust in the almighty,” I feel sure that the spirits of my dear ones will arise from their bondages and help me. I am weary of the prison cell, tired of the taint and stigma of this awful suspicion. I’ll be glad when its over – when I’m free.”

The state expects to introduce testimony as to the death of Arthur Lindloff on Monday. At that hearing the state will also bring into evidence the famous crystal ball.

~ Dr. Ladewig to Testify. ~

An important witness for the prosecution is Dr. A. W. Ladewig, 1910 Fourth street, who attended Otto Lindloff, previous to his death, and Mrs. Ida Krueger, a sister-in-law of the accused woman, who was also taken sick of poisoning after she drank beer in Mrs. Lindloff’s saloon.

“Mrs. Krueger’s sickness was previous to that of Otto Lindloff,” said Dr. Ledewig. “She was taken sick, she told me, in Mrs. Lindloff’s saloon after having drank beer which Mrs. Lindloff served. Mrs. Krueger told me that she had been poisoned by Mrs. Lindloff, and although her case was not serious, there were some evidences of arsenic in the stomach.

“Otto Lindloff called up some woman, from my office. Her name was not mentioned. He asked her why she had tried to poison Ida. The conversation waxed rather warm and he then accused the woman of having tried to poison other members of the family, saying that he would not be surprised if she attempted his death next.

~Otto Lindloff’s Illness. ~

“Some time later Otto Lindloff was also taken ill and I was called. He was in bad shape when I first saw him and he told me that the Lindloff woman had now tried to poison him. I did not believe it, but later symptoms developed that showed me that it was no disease that had taken him off. Both times, if I remember right, the sick people were taken ill in the woman’s saloon.”

[“Says Clairvoyant Predicted Arrest – Mrs. Louise Lindloff Tells of Seeress, Forewarning and Describes Strange Visions. – Death of Kin Foretold – Dr. A. W. Ludwig of Milwaukee to Testify Concerning the Illness of Two Alleged Victims.” The Sunday Sentinel (Milwaukee, Wi.), Oct. 28, 1912, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT (Article 7 of 11): Chicago, Nov. 4.—Mrs. Louise Lindloff, spiritualist and crystal gazer, was found guilty of murder tonight, and her punishment was fixed at twenty-five years in the penitentiary. She was charged with poisoning her 15-year-old son; Arthur.

Mrs. Lindloff laughed hysterically and cast a sneering glance at the jury when, the verdict was read. Later she collapsed while standing in an ante-room, surrounded by friends. She was revived and led back to her cell in the county jail.

“There is no justice here,” the convicted woman sobbed. “Those that are guilty are turned loose, and those that are innocent get the worst, of it. I will show my innocence before I am through. It will be only a question of time. I did not kill my boy or any of the others. I am innocent, as God is my witness.”

~ Usual Motion Made. ~

A formal motion for a new trial was made by the woman’s attorney and the court set November as the date for hearing arguments.

Mrs. Lindloff is the first woman convicted of murder in the Cook county courts in three years. Seven women have been tried in the criminal court for murder, but in each case the jury returned a verdict of not guilty or disagreed.

The jury retired at 3:45 in the afternoon and a verdict was not returned until 9 o’clock tonight. The Lindloff boy died June 13 last, and the state charged that he was poisoned with arsenic.

Mrs. Lindloff was arrested June 14 on suspicion of having poisoned two husbands, and her three children.

The death out of which grew the police investigation was that of Arthur Lindloff, 15 years old.

~ Arsenic Found. ~

When she was arraigned in the municipal court June 17, charged with the murder of her son, she was ordered held without bail and by agreement of counsel the preliminary hearing was postponed until June 27 without the introduction of testimony. Meanwhile a chemical analysis oil the dead boy’s organs disclosed quantities of arsenic.

Exhumation of the bodies of William Lindloff, one of the woman’s husbands, and Alum. Lindloff, a daughter, was the next stop and on June 27 Professor Walter S. Haynes, who made the chemical analysis, reported that he had found arsenic in the internal organs of both. On June 29 came a dispatch from Milwaukee saying that arsenic had been found in the body of Julius Graunke, former husband of Mrs. Lindloff.

Police investigation proved that Arthur Lindloff’s life had been heavily insured and a motive for the alleged killing was believed to have been established.

[“Seeress Is Found Guilty - Poisoned Son, Says Jury - Mrs. Louise Lindloff Is Sentenced to 25 Tears; Accused of Other Murders.” The Salt Lake Tribune (Ut.), Nov. 5, 1912, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT (Article 8 of 11): Chicago, Nov. 6. – Fixing the punishment at twenty-five years in prison, Mrs. Louise Lindloff, spirit medium and crystal gazer, was Monday night found guilty of poisoning her son, Arthur Lindloff, for the purpose of collecting $3,500 insurance on his life. A new trial will be asked.

The verdict, reached after five hours and one minute of deliberations, came as a startling surprise to everybody who has followed the case and to all who have watched for the years the conduct of prosecutions against women for capital offenses.

“It has been so long since a white woman was convicted on a murder charge in Cook county,” said Judge Cooper, “that I cannot remember the last case that resulted that way. It must have been something like twenty years ago.”

Judge Cooper received the verdict for Judge Windes, who has been hearing the case and who was so wearied with the prolonged trial that he felt unequal to the added strain of waiting for the result.

Mrs. Lindloff heard the verdict without showing any visible sign the emotion it caused her. Supported by Sadie Ray and Mrs. Anna Wentzler, two of her strongest witnesses, she walked from the courtroom, and it was not until she reached the corridor that a sharp catching her breath, C. S. is a new Zealand bearing only the faintest resemble of a sob, escaped her. miss Ray and Mrs. Wentzler were weeping openly.

It was four minutes before nine o’clock in the evening when the crowd of spectators in the courtroom received the news that a verdict had been reached. There was intense silence as the jurors filed into the room.

Judge Cooper addressed the jury with the question:

“Gentlemen of the jury, have you agreed upon a verdict?”

“We have,” replied Foreman Felix Kalb, who thereupon handed a written verdict to Clerk of the Court Thomas Lavin. The latter returned to his desk, opened the paper and read:

“We, the jury, find the defendant, Mrs. Louise Lindloff, guilty in the manner and form charged in the indictment, and fix her punishment at 25 years imprisonment in the penitentiary.”

Then followed the formal polling of the jurors, each of whom declared that the verdict was his.

Whether the jury believed that the seeress poisoned the five other members of her family – her two husbands, her brother-in-law, and her two other children – could not be made known in the verdict. Evidence had been admitted to show five other murders in addition to the one for which the woman was tried. But the verdict, of course, covered only one.

[“Guilty of Murder – Mrs. Lindloff Gets Twenty-Five Years For Poisoning Her Son. – Unmoved At Jury’s Verdict – Lawyers for Crystal Gazer, Held to Be Slayer of Six Members of Family for Insurance, Demand New Trial for Client,” The Clinton Mirror (Io.), Nov. 9, 1912, p. 2]

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FULL TEXT (Article 9 of 11): Mrs. Lindloff, convicted of poisoning her son, predicts she’ll be freed Nov. 15.

[From “Local Doings in Tabloid Form,” The Day Book (Chicago. Il.), Sep. 20, 1913, p. 5]

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FULL TEXT (Article 10 of 11): Mrs. Louise Lindloff, sentenced to 25 years for poisoning son, suffering from cancer, has died.

[From “What Happened In Chicago,” The Day Book (Chicago, Il.), Mar. 9, 1914, p. 4]

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FULL TEXT (Article 8 of 11): Chicago, Ills., March 16. – Mrs. Louisa Lindloff, convicted on February 28 [sic; conviction was Nov. 4, 1912] of having poisoned her son for his life insurance and sentenced to 25 years in the penitentiary, died in the county jail here Sunday night Mrs. Lindloff has been in jail since her conviction, awaiting the result of an appeal to the supreme court.

When she entered the jail Mrs. Lindloff weighed 200 pounds. A week ago she weighed less than 100 pounds.

[“Woman Alleged To Have Poisoned Son, Is Dead,” El Paso Herald (Tx.), Mar. 16, 1914, p. 5]

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EXCERPT: “Evidence that Mrs. Lindloff also conducted a house of ill fame in Milwaukee was obtained Saturday night, the officials asserted.” [The Milwaukee Journal (Wi.), Oct. 27, 1912, p. 1]

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Click on image to enlarge
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Louise Lindloff Chronology:
Aug. 12, 1905 – Julius Graunke Graunke, died, Milwaukee; $2000 ins.
Aug. 28 (circa), 1905 – Charles Lipschow, boarder for 7 years, Milwaukee, died; $550 ins. (plus spent $15,000 inheritance during stay with Lindloffs.)
Nov. 1906 – marries William Lindloff.
1907 – Mrs. Bertha Nell’s baby, 5-months, dies.
Oct. 17, 1908 – John O. Lindloff , brother-in-law, dies, Milwaukee; $2000 ins.
Aug. 3, 1910 – William Lindloff, Chicago, died; $1625 ins.
Jan. 11, 1908 – Frieda Graunke Lindloff, 22, died; $1350 ins.
Aug. 4, 1911 – Alma Graunke Lindloff, 19, died; $2300 ins.
May 1912 – Miss Sadie Ray and Mrs. Katherine Dwyer, apparently poisoned.
June 13 (15?), 1912 – Arthur Graunke Lindloff, 15, died; $3375 ins.
Jun. 15?, 1912 – Louise Lindloff arrested, 41.
Jun. 17, 1912 – arraigned.
June 19, 1912 – autopsy reported showing arsenic in Arthur.
Jul. 2, 1912 – held to the grand jury, without bail.
Oct. 25, 1912 – trial begins.
Nov. 4, 1912 – convicted, sentenced to 25 years in penitentiary.
Mar. 9 (16?), 1914 – Louise Lindloff dies in prison; cancer.

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FULL TEXT:

Mrs. Lindloff, Who His Averaged, for Seven Years, Income of $2000 Annually From Mysterious Deaths of Members of Her Family, for Which She Soon Is to Be Tried,  Declares That a Wonderful Crystal Ball, Containing Strangely Preserved Drop From the Eye of Egypt’s Greatest Queen, Enables Her to Read and Thwart the Plans and Machinations of Her Enemies – She Is Deprived of It Temporarily, However, by the Police, Who Assert That She Not Only Killed Her Relatives for Honey, but to Uphold Her Reputation as a Medium, Since She Had Predicted the Deaths of Her Alleged Victims at the Time They Occurred - - -

INDICTED for the alleged murder of her son, and suspected by the authorities of having poisoned her two daughters, two husbands, a brother-in-law and a boarder, whose deaths are unexplained. Mrs. Louise Lindloff occupies a cell in the Cook County Jail, in Chicago, bemoaning the fact that the police from her a large crystal ball.

“The precious material in the ball makes it so valuable,” she tells the police. “I wouldn’t willingly part with it for many times the $500 it cost me. It contains a love teardrop shed by Cleopatra, the Egyptian Queen. That one drop permits me to read the past and the future. When I gaze into the ball the teardrop expands, and before me I see what will happen in future years. With it I could read and avoid the machinations of my enemies. I place my hope on safety in it, and must have it.”

So, in her cell today, this woman, whom the police allege to be “a modern queen of murder,” bewails the love of the magic teardrop of Cleopatra, ancient queen of tragedy. History avers that Egypt’s Queen was fervent in loving. This is what Police Captain Baer, who has investigated Mrs. Lindloff’s case and observed her closely, says of the Chicago woman:

“Love is the one immediate quality we poor humans possess – with the exception of Mrs. Lindloff. She has no love for anyone or anything, so far as I have been able to ascertain.”

The police and the prosecution have built up two theories, suggested by circumstances to supply the legally necessary motive in the Lindloff case. Each theory assumes a most extraordinary situation. One is that Mrs. Lindloff for seven years has murdered members of her family, one after another, whenever she happened to need the money which their life insurance policies, of which she was the beneficiary, would bring. The other is that she brought about the deaths of her relatives to uphold her reputation as a seeress,” the woman having predicted that each would die at a certain time.

~ Upholding Reputation as Seer. ~

The police worked at first on the theory of Mrs. Lindloff’s greed for money. A little later they began the second even more startling explanation. Some of them now express belief in both theories which dovetail together, and it is promised that at the upcoming trial of Mrs. Lindloff on the indictment charging her with the murder of her young son, Arthur Lindloff, evidence will be introduced to support both. The trial is to open Sept. 16.

Mrs. Lindloff is 41 years old. She was married at a very early age in Germany to Julius Graunke and came to this country about twenty tears ago, the family settling at first in Milwaukee. Graunke kept a saloon there. In 1905 they removed to Chicago, where Graunke became a teamster and his wife set up shop as a spiritualistic medium of the crystal-gazer kind. She says she bought the big crystal ball with the precious teardrop of Cleopatra from a Chicago woman, but does not give a history of the preservation through nearly shed by the ravishing Egyptian beauty who ensnared the Roman Emperor, Marc Antony.

Julius Graunke Graunke died suddenly in Milwaukee Aug. 12, 1905, suddenly from sunstroke. Mrs. Graunke collected his life insurance of $2000.

In November, 1906, she married William Lindloff. He died suddenly Aug. 3, 1910, supposedly from heart disease. Mrs. Lindloff his life insurance of $1625.

The Graunke children assumed the surname of Lindloff at her mother’s second marriage. Frieda Graunke Lindloff died Jan. 11, 1908, aged, 22, supposedly from typhoid fever. Her mother collected her life insurance of $1350.

Alma Graunke Lindloff died Aug. 4, 1911, aged 19, supposedly from heart disease. Her mother collected her life insurance of $2300.

Arthur Graunke Lindloff, 15 years old, died June 15, 1912. He was insured in his mother’s favor for $3375. Mrs. Lindloff stands indicted for his murder.

~ Over $14,000 in 7 Years. ~

Other deaths which the police suspect Mrs. Lindloff of bringing about were those of Charles Lipschow, who boarded with the Graunkes in Milwaukee, and John G. Lindloff, a brother of William. Lipschow died two weeks after Graunke. Mrs. Graunke, now Mrs. Lindloff, collected his life insurance, $2000. John O. Lindloff died in Milwaukee Oct. 17, 1908, leaving $2000 in life insurance to his sister-in-law. The chemists have reported that they found arsenic in his viscera.

Thus it will be seen that in seven years Mrs. Mrs. Lindloff has profited $11,275 by the series of deaths, not counting the $3375 insurance left by her son, payment of which has been held up by her arrest. Including the amount of this policy, Mrs. Lindloff would have had an income of a little more than $2000 a year as beneficiary of life insurance.

Young Arthur Lindloff died in a Chicago hospital, to which he was taken against his mother’s protests. The physician in attendance diagnosed his case as one of arsenic poisoning and notified the Coroner. The post-mortem examination disclosed large quantities of the poison. That was the occasion of Mrs. Lindloff’s arrest and indictment. Since then, early June, the probe of investigation has been sent deep into her past, the net result to the present being the two theories upon which the prosecution bases expectation of conviction.

Bodies of Lindloffs who died earlier have been exhumed. Large quantities of arsenic were found in the organs of Julius Graunke, first of those to die suspiciously, seven years buried. Charles Lipschow, the boarder, also dead seven years, was exhumed and arsenic was found. Other exhumations, including that of John O. Lindloff, revealed traces of the poison.

The prosecution expresses the opinion that Mrs. Lindloff poisoned all the persons mentioned, seven in number, to collect their life insurance, and will introduce evidence to support this belief at the trial on the charge of murdering the son.

Since the exhumations of the revelations attending them, persons have come forward with the the statement that several of the Lindloffs died on the dates predicted for their deaths by Mrs. Lindloff as a seeress, and this has led to the theory that she committed the murders to uphold her reputation in her “profession.”

Miss Sadie Ray, formerly housekeeper for Mrs. Lindloff, has told the authorities that she was taken suddenly ill after eating dinner at the Lindloffs home a week before Arthur Lindloff died. Another woman, who also ate there at the same time, has complained of having been made sick in the same manner. Miss Ray declares that Mrs. Lindloff made a prediction that she would die on a certain date, and also that the seeress predicted the deaths of several of her relatives, who actually died on the dates set.

~ Kept Ledger, Showing Deaths. ~

A ledger found hidden behind a secret lock in the closet in Mrs. Lindloff’s home is said by the police to show a complete record of the deaths of members of the household, together with the amounts of insurance collected. This book, written in German, is regarded by the prosecution as circumstantial evidence to uphold the theory of murder carried on as a cold, commercial proposition.

It is held by the prosecution that in this book Mrs. Lindloff kept careful account of her resources and that whenever she needed money she planned a death. Suspicion was diverted, it is believed, by her frequent changes of residence.

Just now the police are searching for Mr. and Mrs. Raabe, stepfather and stepmother of William Lindloff, the second husband of the accused woman. All trace of them for eight months has been lost. The death records have been closely examined, but no trace of their names can be found. It is believed that they could throw light upon the case.

Search of the Lindloff residence following the death of her own son resulted in the finding of the large crystal ball, which the seeress said was worth $500. She said she bought it from Mrs. Anna D. Haubka, 333 South Dearborn street, and used it her spiritualistic seances.

Beside the ball, upon a small table, the officers found a typewritten horoscope sent to the woman by a New York astrologer. It contained the following ominous prophecy:

“You shall have a little trouble in 1912, and one of your immediate relatives to die. You will heir to some property and cash, but will have trouble in collecting it. After you have secured your legacy you will spend the rest of the year in travelling.”

A box of rat poison, a small bottle of arsenic and several other bodies were taken by the police for examination. Mrs. Lindloff denied that there was any poison in the house.

She was arrested as she was preparing for the funeral of the latest of her alleged victims. The boy had died at University Hospital and the remains had been taken to the house, when Coroner Hoffman halted the funeral. His attention had been directed to the case by the attending physician, Dr. A. S. Warner.

“I was thoroughly suspicions of the case,” said Dr. Warner. “After a very careful diagnosis I was convinced that the boy was suffering from arsenic poisoning. I called Dr. Joseph I. Miller into consultation and he reached the same conclusion. We had difficulty in persuading Mrs. Lindloff to let him be taken to a hospital.”

An autopsy held by Prof. Walter S. Haines of Rush Medical College, an expert chemist, revealed the presence of abundant arsenic in the stomach and viscera to cause death.

At first Mrs. Lindloff showed great indignation at her arrest. She remained icy and indifferent when questioned regarding other mysterious deaths in her household. Naturally sneering of expression, she has since her imprisonment retained an air of indifference and activism, and she expresses confidence in her acquittal.

~ Mrs. Vermilya Calls to See Her. ~

“The list of unexplained deaths may be lengthened considerably before the investigation closes,” says Police Captain Baer, who has the case in charge. “How many names will be included we cannot tell, Mrs. Lindloff is, of course, standing trial on the one case, that of her son, Arthur Lindloff. If a conviction is reached in that case, may not be necessary to make special effort to clear up the other deaths.”

Jailer John L. Whitman recently permitted Mrs. Lindloff to receive a call from Mrs. Louise Vermilya, charged with causing nine deaths by arsenic poisoning. Neither would make comment upon the conversation.

As the time of her trial draws nearer, the mail brings to the accused woman many letters from women in all walks of life offering sympathy and inclosing financial aid. It is state that more than $1000 has been received by Mrs. Lindloff in this manner since her indictment.

Miss Sarah Hopkins of Tinley Park, Ill., a member of the Cook County League of Woman’s Clubs, is among those who have expressed  a desire to help her.

“We are determined that no injustice shall be done because the prisoner is a woman,” she says. “It is a terrible thing to wrongfully charge a woman with murder and to ruin her whole life. For that reason we shall assist Mrs. Lindloff to the extent of seeing that justice is granted.”

Miss Hopkins figured prominently in aiding Ella Gingles, the Irish lacemaker, who told a story as sensational to some of some of its details as that of Evelyn Nesbitt Thaw when her case was tried. Miss Gingles has since returned to Ireland.

Chicagoans are said to have little expectation of the conviction of Mrs. Lindloff. Records of the criminal courts of that city that during the past four years about twenty women have been on trial charged with murder and that but one was convicted and she was acquitted on a second trial. In nearly every instance the woman was accused of murdering her husband or some other member of the family in order to get money from life insurance.

It has come to be a matter taken for granted that a woman charged with murder cannot be convicted in Chicago. Court attaches say that no woman defendant is so ungainly but that she can spruce up and make a tolerably good appearance before a jury. If she is pretty her battle is half won already. If she is weak and is frail physically that helps her, on the ground of compassion. If she alternately smiles upon the jurors and weeps real or crocodile tears at psychological moments, she is aiding her counsel in a most artistic way.

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Chicago newspaper reporters have marveled at the indifference and mental poise of Mrs. Lindloff in the face of that charge that “she has murder a trade” and that, for seven years, she has enjoyed an income of $2000 annually through the insurance on the lives of seven relatives, one of whom, it is alleged, she killed each year during that period. But alienists who have examined her see in her a type that retains its self-possession under all conditions. They point to her face as an unerring index of the studied indifference to what people think about her, which is the most striking trait of her character. The eyes, the nose, the mouth combine in a sneer that is a challenge to her enemies and an assurance to her friends. A careful study of these psychological features reproduced herewith, in connection with a recent portrait of her, will go far in aiding the reader to understand this extraordinary woman, who, notwithstanding the horror of the crimes of which she is accused, still has the power to draw wealthy and influential friends closer to her, with open purses, ready to help her in the crisis that confronts her.

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~ NOTED CHICAGO POISONING CASES ~

The trait of arsenic in bodies of the Lindloffs recalls a list of noted poisoning cases in Chicago, which bear out the statement of Coroner Peter Hoffman that arsenic is the most popular of poisons with murderers and that some method should be devised for placing closer safeguards around its sale. Among the most noted of these cases are:

Herman Billik, murdered six with arsenic, serving a life sentence in Joliet penitentiary, commuted from death sentence.

Johann Hoch, bigamist, charged with five poison deaths, hanged in February, 1906.

the Philadelphian, of “Holmes Castle” notoriety, charged with 47 poison murders, hanged in 1898.

Adolph Luctgert, sausage manufacturer, charged with poisoning his wife and destroying her body in a vat of caustic soda, died in jail.

Mrs. Louise Vermilya, charged with causing nine deaths by arsenic poisoning. The jury disagreed at her trial on the first indictment and she is now out on bail.

[“Cleopatra’s Tear Drop of Love” – Hope of Seeress Accused of Poisoning Seven.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Mo.), Aug. 4, 1912, Sunday Magazine, p. 6]

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For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.

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For more cases of this type, see: Occult Female Serial Killers

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