Friday, October 31, 2014

Rachel Clark, Pennsylvania “Young Girl” Serial Killer - 1816

FULL TEXT: Baltimore, January 21, 1866. – A most singular coincidence in reference to the case of Mrs. Grinder, who was executed at Pittsburg, on Friday last, for murder by poisoning, is the fact that one of her victims, Mrs. Caruthers, is the same name of an entire family of Caruthers, including father, mother, sons, and daughters, who were poisoned about fifty years ago in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, by a young girl named Rachel Clark, a domestic in the house of Mr. Caruthers.

If we are not mistaken, two, three, or more of the family died. Andrew Caruthers, an eminent lawyer of Carlisle, who had a very large practice and died a few years ago, it may be recollected, was very lame and much deformed, the muscles and sinews of his arms, hands, and legs being contracted and drawn up to a painful degree. This was the result of the poisoning referred to, from which he never recovered. It was alleged that jealousy caused the youthful murderess, who was represented as very handsome, to perpetrate the crime.

I have often seen notices in the public prints since the execution of Mrs. Surratt, and now, in commenting on that of Mrs. Grinder, that only a certain number of women have been hung in this country. The case of Rachel Clark, how ever, was always overlooked. She was publicly executed in Carlisle some fifty years ago [1816]. Her body was got possession of by Dr. Geddis, of Newville, Pa., who had the bones put on wires and set up in a box in his office, where there remained for many years, and possibly may yet be seen in the same town.

The general outlines of what I have here narrated are true, and will be sustained by reference to the history of the court proceedings in Carlisle. The whole case was a most singular and romantic one.

[“Letter From Baltimore. - Singular Coincidence.” The Evening Telegraph (Philadelphia, Pa.), Jan. 22, 1866, p. 5]


More cases: Serial Killer Girls


For more cases of this category, see: Female Serial Killers of 19th Century America (as of January 20, 2014, the collection contains 61 cases)


More cases: Youthful Borgias: Girls Who Commit Murder


More cases: Female Serial Killers Executed


Minnie Kratzenberg, 13-Year-Old Mass Poisoner - Chicago, 1888

FULL TEXT: Chicago, Oct. 3. – One of the most remarkable cases of youthful depravity on record came up before Justice Lyon Tuesday morning.

One of the defendants was the little girl Minnie Kratzenberg, at 3100 Wentworth avenue, who put “rough on rats” into the food of her family with the deliberate intention of causing the death of her relatives. Her companion in trouble was Mrs. Margaret E. Snyder, charged with having instigated her to commit the deed. Minnie is a well-developed maiden of of 13 years, with dark features, black hair and black eyes. In these lurk the spirit of intense hatred, which glowed out at the objects of her displeasure as she stood in the dock before the justice. She cooly admitted every charge made against her, professing not the slightest remorse for what she did. John Deitz, step-brother to Minnie, testified to the family having eaten of the beefsteak which had been poisoned by the girl Friday night. He himself had been taken ill, and the mother now lies in a critical condition. Lizzie, the sister of Minnie, said that she made some soup Sunday and took a little to her mother, who was lying ill from the effects of the previous poisoning. When she came back to the kitchen she examined the bowl of soup more closely, and to her horror discovered that it was permeated with rat poison.

“What’s the matter with the soup!” she asked.

“I didn’t put anything in it,” said Minnie, guiltily.

Dr. Lynch attended the family and found Mrs. Kratzenberg suffering great agony. He discovered symptoms of arsenical poisoning and administered proper relief. Minnie was called upon to say what she desired.

“This woman,” she said, indicating Mrs. Snyder, “told me to do it. I went to her house and said that my step-brother, John, had been scolding me. She said:’Why the devil don’t you poison him?’ I asked her how to do it. She told me to put carbolic acid in the milk, but said afterward that he would be apt to smell it. She then told me to put some ‘rough on rats’ on the beefsteak.”

“And you did it, did you?”

“Yes, sir.”

The young girl then went on to tell in the most heartless manner how she had administered the poison, and how the first dose failed to operate fatally.

“I went to Mrs. Snyder,” she said, “and told her that it didn’t work. She told me to try another dose, and I went home and put a quarter of a teaspoonful in the soup.”

“You wanted to poison in his plate alone then, and not in the food which the whole family was to eat?”

The girl could give no reason. The only cause for Minnie’s strange conduct that could be given was a scolding which had been administered to her by her step-brother six weeks before on her neglect to prepare supper for him when the rest of the family had gone away to a picnic. On this occasion Minnie ran away to Mrs. Snyder’s house where she stayed awhile. On this occasion a slight quarrel arose between the woman and Deitz, but nothing serious resulted at the time.

Mrs. Snyder unequivocally denied every allegation of the girl. She said that she never spoke on the subject of her, and that she never spoke on the subject to her, and that the girl had not been in her house more than twice without being accompanied by her sister. She had no reason, she said, to instill such a devilish idea into the mind of a child. Justice Lyon could do nothing under the circumstances but hold the two in bonds of $1,500 to the criminal court.

No one seemed seemed to know just why the girl had made this strange and murderous attempt upon the lives of her relatives. Several inclined to the theory that it was pure depravity which instigated her, others that she was a subject for a court of insanity. Justice Lyon thought that her brain was peculiarly susceptible to impression, and that she was mentally defective.

[“A Youthful Borgia – She Calmly Admits She Tried To Kill The Family – Minnie Kratzenberg, Aged 13, Confesses to Poisoning Her Mother, Brother and Sisters for Some Trifling Grievance – She Accuses a Woman of Instigating Her to the Crime – Both Held to the Criminal Court.” The Alton Telegraph (Oh.), Oct. 3, 1888, p. 2]



More cases: Youthful Borgias: Girls Who Commit Murder


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Winnie Ola Freeman (Winona Green), “The Cat Woman”: Arkansas Serial Killer - 1954

Murder victims:

Aug. 17, 1924 –  J. R. Green – father-in-law, shot to death, Little Rock, Arkansas
1924 – Mrs. Lena Green, mother-in-law, shot to death near Fisher, Ok.
1924 – "plotted" to murder husband, Leroy P. Green
Aug. 27, 1946 – Robert Sheldon Wilkinson, 33, Grand Lake, near Miami, Oklahoma.
Nov. 25, 1953 – Harold Jonassen, 78, California


FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 14): Bixby, Okla., Oct. 14. – The townspeople are talking today of the peculiar mentality of Winona Sprague [sic], the girl who used to “jerk” sodas and sell cigarets at the corner drug store six years ago.

Winona is now Mrs. Leroy Green and is in jail at Little Rock, Ark., where she has confessed to two of the southwest’s most gruesome crimes – the murders of her husband’s parents – plotted to slay her mate.

Much of Winona’s past life is told by William E. Pinion, city marshal of Bixby, who has served the law enforcement department of this little town many years.

~ Worked in Store ~

Winona lived with her father, a carpenter, according to Pinion. The father did odd jobs while the girl worked, first in the drug store, then in the office of Jessie Spurgeon, a teaming contractor. She was acquainted with virtually everybody in town and, Pinion says, she was a narcotics user.

She married a Tulsa newspaper man named Moore. Moore met her when he was sent to Bixby by his paper and later took her to Commerce, near Miami, the marshal said. Still later, the two were accused of taking a car that did not belong to them and driving it to Utah. They were brought back to Oklahoma but not prosecuted, Pinion said.

Winona was known as a girl who would take desperate chances. Pinion said, but no one thought she would go so far as to murder any one. But she has confessed she did and had plotted to kill another.

[“Bixby Folks Are Puzzled By Winona’s Murder Case – She Was Known to Be Desperate But They Didn’t Think She Would Slay,” Muskogee Daily Democrat (Ok.), Oct. 16, 1924, p. 8]



FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 14): Little Rock, Ark., Nov. 1. – Mrs. Winona Spriggs Green, 23-year-old confessed slayer of her parents-in-law, laughs at the electric chair.

She is certain she will escape jail – because she is a woman.

“Who ever heard of a woman being electrocuted or hanged in Arkansas?” she demands whenever the death penalty is mentioned to her.

Furthermore she is not remorseful.

“I’m not sorry for my deeds, she repeats again and again.

“I planned both murders, thinking them all out thoroughly in advance. Now that I have admitted everything, I am willing to meet whatever fate awaits me.”

~ Hoots at Insanity Plea. ~

Her attorneys are building up an insanity defense. Their alienists have examined Winona.

They report she is suffering from “paresis of the brain in active form.” They explain this makes the victim irresponsible, though there may be no outward appearance of insanity.

But Winona hoots at the idea.

Her husband, LeRoy H. Green, a railroad man, who up until her confession stood jointly accused with her, has turned against her.

He has notified his lawyers to bring divorce action.

~ Husband Pities Her. ~

“No, I don’t hate her,” the husband says. “I pity her.” She is crazy.

“But I am through with her. I don’t see how she ever could have killed my father and my mother. They always were good to us.”

Winona says she does feel sorry for her husband.

J. R. Green, Winona’s father-in-law, a railroad switchman, was shot and killed on the night of Aug. 16 while returning home from work.

~ Quarreled Over Money. ~

Winona, who had just come in from Pueblo, Colo., assisted the widow in the funeral arrangements and in settling up Green’s affairs.

Then she and the elder Mrs. Green left for Oklahoma. En route the mother-in-law was slain.

Winona and her husband were arrested here. After hours of questioning Winona broke down. The murder charge against her husband was dismissed.

Mrs. Green contends her mother-in-law owed her money. She decided first to murder the father-in-law, believing his wife would pay her back once he was gone.

Then after quarreling with the widow, Winona shot her, too.

[“Girl Who Killed Two Thinks Her Sex Will Save Her From Death,” syndicated (NEA), Nov. 1, 1924, p. 1]


FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 14): Like some terrible tale by Poe or a blood-drenched page from medieval history, the case of lovely little Mrs. Winona Green, self-confessed double murderess, has fascinated almost every alienist in America.

Why did Mrs. Green, formerly a calm, angelic-faced choir-girl, lie in wait for her father-in-law and fire upon him, leaving him to writhe out his life upon the ground?

Why did she simulate grief-stricken surprise when told by her mother-in-law of the strange tragedy, only to kill the elder woman herself, later, with supreme cunning?

Was it some hidden impulse of revenge, jealousy, cupidity or irrational fury which prompted her to turn assassin twice, or did the slight strain of savage, outlaw, Indian blood in her veins, curiously pulsating up into frenzy, actuate her admitted and dreadful deeds?

One of the weirdest commentaries on young Mrs. Green’s own attitude, toward herself is found in her poise, which is tinged with sheer indifference. Although facing trial on the charge of first degree murder of the wealthy Little Rock, Ark., property owner and his wife, their daughter-in-law seems chiefly concerned with the ravages that cell life may inflict upon her striking prettiness.

She summed up this astonishing feeling in the crisp words, “I wonder when I’ll see the inside of a beauty parlor again. Perhaps never. Thank goodness, my hair is naturally curly. That helps some. No, I never bobbed it. I was afraid it wouldn’t by my style. And Roy was so fond of my long curls?”

The “Roy” in question is Mrs. Green’s young and respected husband, Le Roy Green, who has been on the brink of a brain collapse ever since the chameleon-like Winona showed her true colors after the two slayings.

It was solely to exonerate him, Mrs. Green asserted, that she made a clean breast of the crimes of which she was accused. For Roy had been arrested and, tormented with the thought that harm might come to him, his wife, with cool candor, preferred to submit to her ordeal rather than chance one for him.

Psychologists agree that never in their experience of emotional “throwbacks” to primitive instincts has so amazing a “complex” been brought to light. As to Mrs. Green’s status, there is a variety of opinions. Some, including her heart-broken husband, attribute to her “brain waves.”

It will be on this plea that his own attorney (Green is still loyal to her) will attempt to save her. But others think differently of the matter. The police advance the theory that she is “stone-cold sane.” She admits that, although when a child she used to dash dishes on tile floor in fits of temper, she is perfectly normal.

But there remain still other theories which might account for Mrs. Green’s almost insoluble character. She does not deny that her racial background includes a dash of Indian – a tribe that many years ago was abused, hounded and annoyed. Can it be that this trace of the naturally rebellious outlaw motivated her violence against persons for whom she had conceived a grievance? Only a trained expert, after minute scrutiny of the evidence, can say.

The details of the two deaths almost surpass any novel of mystery and horror ever written. Here, in brief, is what occurred, according to the “chameleon choir-girl’s” first confession:

She lent Mrs. Lena Green, one of the victims, $4,000 at Christmas 1923, and on several occasions asked her to return the loan. The elder woman put her off. Meanwhile Winona and her husband had left Little Rock, for Pueblo, Col., where he got a job as a switchman.

The young wife later went back to Little Rock, after telling LeRoy that she was going to Kansas City for a brief visit. Arrived at her real destination, she picked her way to a short cut to his home, which J. R. Green, her father-in-law, was in the habit of taking.

Very soon he appeared and was accosted by the girl, who demanded $1,000, after explaining that his wife owed her a larger sum. Green refused to accede, with the curt remark, “I don’t believe a word of it,” and, turning on his heel, was about to walk away when a bullet struck him in the side. He fell to the ground.

Several other shots were fired into his head. The pistol was hidden in a nearby sewer, where it was found subsequently, by detectives. The magazine was empty, with one shell in the chamber.

The confession states that Little Mrs. Green returned to the railroad station and waited until the Sunshine Special pulled in. Next she telephoned her mother-in-law and announced that she had just arrived.

Incoherent with sorrow, Mrs. Green stammered out the news of her husband’s death. Mrs. Winona Green hastened to the home, where she tried to “console” the grieving woman.

Two days later Le Roy Green arrived post-haste and, with his wife, attended the funeral. From that time to the day of his mother’s disappearance the couple made their home with the widow.

Certain highlights of what ensued, as revealed in the confession, make unparalleled reading. Winona claims that she and Lena Green one day visited a bank, where each cashed draughts. She claims that her “in-law” had bought two railroad tickets to Kansas City and that she persuaded Winona to accompany her on the trip.

Once aboard the train, Lena Green changed her plans and woke the girl near Claremore, Okla., telling her to dress and get off at that town with her. after a plate of waffles, the two left for Tulsa. Arriving there, Lena raised the issue of the $4,000, complaining because she was so often reminded of it.

Becoming frightened, Winona managed to secretly buy a pawnshop pistol and cartridges. The women then rented a small motor car and started for a country ride. “Mother” Green wanted to shoot her son’s wife a house she owned. Out of Tulsa, through Red Fork and onto a dim mountain road, the pair shot in the hired auto.

The pivotal figure at this juncture of events proved to be Major James Pitcock, head of the Little Rock detective force. It was he who wrung the extraordinary confession from Winona Green and he who had found Lena Green’s body propped up against a stone in the wooded tract where she had been slain.

An ominously circling buzzard led the searching party to the spot – in itself an incident which no drama can match for suspense and utter horror. Identification, at that time, proved to be impossible.

But with the arrest of Winona Green and her admission of the two slayings, a flood of light was cast on the situation. What might have constituted merely a technical, legal puzzle was turned into a psychological one of the most intense difficulty.

The beautiful girl, with the faint tinge of outlaw blood and the unshaken mask of composure on her face, has proved an enigma which it will take a great mind to solve.

Cheerful, animated, yet with a paradoxical dignity, she has laughed and chatted with reporters through the bars of her cell. For more worried over her looks than her soul, she vows she is “ready for any punishment.”

With a visage as bright as that of a child, the pretty Winona consented to be interviewed shortly after her incarceration. Her voice was cool and flute-like; her bearing that of a young matron “receiving” at an afternoon tea.

“No, I have no actual regrets over the killing of ‘Mother Green,” she said. “I consider it self-defense, no matter what others may think of it. I do feel quite sorry, however, that I was goaded into taking Dad’s life. Was I crazy at the time? I guess I must have been. Otherwise I don’t think I’d have done it.

“But, then, I have a terrible temper. No, indeed, I am not troubled with bad dreams or nightmares, which are just exaggerated versions of bad dreams. I sleep as soundly as could be every night, and my appetite? It is just splendid!

“The food here is fine, contrasted with what ‘Mother’ Green used to give us, I assure you. One reason why I hated her so was because she was so stingy. She would walk two miles to save one cent on a pound of sugar. She saved and pinched whenever possible.

“Then she hated me on account of Roy. He was her only child, and she was jealous of his love for me.”

“But,” she adds with a winning smile, “please don’t look at my fingernails. They must be a sight, it’s so long since I had a manicure.” The lock of one who has been deprived of beauty parlors comes wistfully into her eyes, and while the alienists shake their heads, their “subject” thinks only of the refreshing joys of a shampoo, leaving “the dead past to bury its dead.”

[“‘Outlaw Blood Made This Choir-Girl A Demon! - Alienists See in Her Self- Confessed Slaying of Two Relatives a ‘Throwback’ to Weird ‘ Indian Tribal Vengeance,” syndicated, Springfield Republican (Mo.), Dec. 28, 1924, p. ?]



FULL TEXT (Article 4 of 14): Little Rock, Ark ., Jan 19. – Mrs. Winona Green, convicted here today of the murder of her father-in-law, J. R. Green will be the first woman in the history of the state to face electrocution if a recommendation for mercy accompanying verdict is not heeded.

[“Woman Sentenced To Be Electrocuted,” The Bee (Danville, Va.), Jan. 20, 1925, p. 11]


FULL TEXT (Article 5 of 14): Little Rock, Ark., Jan. 28. – Mrs. Winona Green today was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of J. R. Green, her father-in-law, after Judge Wade had overruled a motion for new trial filed in her behalf. The defense was granted sixty days in which to file its transcript of appeal to the state supreme court.

[“Woman Gets Life Term, Killed Father-In-Law.” The Chillicothe Constitution (Mo.), Jan. 28, 1925, p. 3]



FULL TEXT (Article 6 of 14): Memphis, Tenn., April 13. – Mrs. Winona Green, under life sentence for the killing of her husband’s parents, who escaped from the county jail at Little Rock, Ark., Saturday night, was captured Sunday walking along the Missouri Pacific railroad tracks near the Union station here.

Little Rock officers arrived late Sunday and started back to the Arkansas capital by automobile with their prisoner. Confirmation of the report of Mrs. Green’s capture here was withheld until the arrival of the Arkansas officers.

Mrs. Green’s re-arrest was due to over-cautiousness on her part. She alighted from a Missouri Pacific train in the Union station here Sunday morning, but fearing that she would be arrested if she went out through the main entrance of the station she strolled back into the yards.

Patrolman N. A. English saw her and approached to ask her why she was walking on the tracks. Believing he knew who she was, the woman disclosed her identity to him.

Mrs. Green, who confessed the slaying of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Green, her husband’s parents, and who pleaded insanity, sawed through three iron shutters at the county jail in Little Rock Saturday night and dropped twenty feet to the ground.

She declared that she rode  in a taxicab from Little Rock to Kensett, Ark., and later boarded a train for Memphis.

[“Woman Slayer Is Recaptured – Mrs. Winona Green Taken  After Prison Escape – Killed Two.” Syndicated (AP), The Lincoln Star (Ne.), Apr. 13, 1925, p. 3]


1926 – FULL TEXT (Article 7 of 14): Little Rock, June 16. – Beyond discovery of footprints indicating someone had passed through a field near the prison, no trace had been found today of Mrs. Winona Green, convicted murderess, and two companions who escaped from the State farm near Norman at Jacksonville, Ark., last night.

Mrs. Green was serving a life term for the murder of her father-in-law, J. R. Green, here in 1924. On her return to Little Rock she also told of murdering her mother-in-law near Picher, Ok., and the body of the elder Mrs. Green was found in a wooded section according to directions given by her. She was sentenced to life imprisonment on the first charge.

She escaped from the Puluski county jail early in 1925 but was recaptured in Memphis. She was then transferred to the State farm in Jacksonville.

[“Arkansas Woman Convicted Murder Escapes From Farm – Convicted of Murdering Father-in-Law; Confesses Another Murder,” Corsicana Daily Sun (Tx.), Jun. 16, 1926, p. 1; “pessed” in orig. corr. To “passed”]


1931 – FULL TEXT (Article 8 of 14): Little Rock – Because of objections of the board of trustees to her admission to the Booneville Tuberculosis sanitorium. Winona Green, under life sentence for the murder of her father-in-law and charged with the murder of her mother-in-law, who was given an indefinite furlough by Governor Parnell, recently, has entered a sanitorium in California it was learned Thursday.

The Booneville institution board, it was reported, objected to admitting prison inmates.

She was convicted in Pulaski county eight years ago.

[“Winona Green is Sent to California – Convicted Woman Slayer Is Given Furlough By Governor.” Hope Star (Ar.), Jun. 25, 1931, p. 1]


1935 – FULL TEXT (Article 9 of 14): Acting Governor Lee Cazort revoked Tuesday an indefinite furlough granted about five hours ago to Mrs. H. F. Jones, the former Winona Green, and ordered her returned to prison where she faces a life sentence for the 1925 slaying of Robert Green, her father-in-law.

Cazort’s action followed her arrest here Monday night for investigation in connection with an alleged attempt to cash a forged check.

[“Winona Green Is Returned to Pen – Murder Furlough Revoked Following Her Arrest for Forged Check,” Hope Star (Ar.), Nov. 19, 1935, p. 1]


1940 – FULL TEXT (Article 10 of 14):  Little Rock, Ark., April 8. – Governor Bailey’s office announced today that Winona Green, under life sentence for murder, had been given a 12-months extension of a furlough granted April 26, 1939.

Last year’s furlough was granted on certification of prison officials that she was ill and required treatment not available in the penitentiary. She was released to go to the home of a sister in Oklahoma.

Mrs. Green was convicted here in the 1924 slaying of her father-in-law, Robert Green.

[“Winona Green Gets Furlough Extension,” Northwest Arkansas Times (Lafayetteville, Ar.), Apr. 8, 1940, p. 4]


1948 – FULL TEXT (Article 11 of 14): Little Rock, Jan. 13 – One of Arkansas’ most notorious women criminals, Winona Green Sprigg, will be returned to the state women’s prison to complete serving a life term for murder.

Winona has been on continuous furlough since 1939 because of her poor health. State Parole Officer W. P. Ball said she had been ordered back to prison because of her arrest at Muskogee, Okla., on multiple charges of issuing and cashing “fictitious checks.”

As Winona Green, she was sentenced to life in 1925 on conviction of first degree murder in the fatal shooting of her father-in-law, Robert Green, retired North Little Rock railroad employe.

[“Former Winona Green To Return To Prison,” Northwest Arkansas Times (Fayetteville, Ar.), Jan. 13, 1948, p. 1]



1954 – FULL TEXT (Article 12 of 14): Salinas, Calif., March 15 – Gene Freeman, arrested Saturday on an Oklahoma murder charge, took the stand today as the first defense witness in the murder trial of his wife, accused of killing rancher Harold Jonassen.

Freeman testified he knew nothing about the shooting until he read about it in the paper December 5. Jonassen, a 78-year-old wealthy and retired rancher, was shot November 25.

Mrs. Winnie Ola Freeman, known as the “cat woman” because she kept 25 pets, said Jonassen was shot accidentally while they were rabbit hunting.

The Freemans were accused in Miami, Okla., last Saturday of killing Robert S. Wilkinson in 1946. Police Chief Arch C. Masterson said the accusation was based on circumstantial evidence.

[“Hubby Testifies For ‘Cat Woman,’” The Spokesman-Review (Wa.), Mar. 16, 1954, p. 1]



FULL TEXT (Article 13 of  14): Salinas, Calif., March 17. – The prosecutor asked the death penalty in the murder trial of Mrs. Willie Ola Freeman, but defense attorneys insisted she shot an elderly rancher accidentally and hid his body only because she feared being sent back to an Arkansas prison.

The case of the 53-year-old so-called “cat woman” – a parolee from a 1925 life murder sentence in Arkansas – was expected to go to the jury of eight women and four men about noon tomorrow.

In closing arguments today, District Attorney Burr Scott termed the shooting of Harold Jonassen, 78, last November 25 “willful, deliberate, premeditated murder.” He asked the death penalty, charging Mrs. Freeman forged checks totaling $734 in Jonassen’s name and “was out to take the old man for all she could get.”

Defense lawyers Burt Talcott and Paul Hamm, however, insisted Mrs. Freeman’s story of shooting Jonassen accidentally while they were target shooting with a .22 rifle was true. The woman, they said, was afraid no one would believe her and in fear of being returned to prison, hid the old man’s body, and told no one.

Jonassen’s body, concealed in a clump of brush, wasn’t found until Mrs. Freeman, who had been picked up on check charges, led officers to the scene nine days after the shooting.

[“Death Is Sought For ‘Cat Woman’ – But Defense Insists She Shot Rancher Accidentally,” syndicated (AP),  March 18, 1954, p. 18]


FULL TEXT (Article 14 of 14): Mrs. Winnie Ola Freeman, the 53-year-old “cat woman” who lived in a shack with 25 cats, was sentenced Tuesday to life imprisonment for her second slaying.

Mrs. Freeman, on parole from Arkansas for killing her father-in-law, was convicted last week of killing Harold Jonassen, 78.

[“’Cat Woman’ Gets Life in Prison,” Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Ut.), Mar. 24, 1954, p. 8A]



Oct. 21, 1900 – born; Winona Green was born Winnie Ola Spriggs in Blue Mountain, Ark.
Aug. 17, 1924 –  J. R. Green – father-in-law, shot to death, Little Rock, Arkansas.
1924 – Mrs. Lena Green, mother-in-law, shot to death near Fisher, Ok.
1924 – "plotted" to murder husband, Leroy P. Green.
Oct. 1924 – arrested, Pueblo, Colorado.
Dec.? 1924 – confessed to two murders.
Jan. 19, 1925 – convicted of murdering father-in-law.
Jan. 27, 1925 – sentenced to life in prison for murder of father-in-law; Little Rock, Ark. (reported as “28” elsewhere).
Apr. 12, 1925 – escape, recaptured next day [previous escape alluded to in one newspaper]
Jun. 15, 1926 – escapes from “farm.”
Jun. 25, 1931 – Ark. Gov. furlough in California sanitarium; she soon went back to the penitentiary for check forgery.
Nov. 18, 1935 – arrested for check forgery.
Aug. 27, 1946 – Robert Sheldon Wilkinson, 33, Grand Lake, near Miami, Oklahoma, dies.
Jan. 1948 – furlough rescinded after arrest for forged checks in Muskogee, Ok.; returned to prison.
Nov. 25, 1953 – Harold Jonassen, 78, California, murdered.
Mar. 1954 – convicted of murder of Jonassen.
Oct. 30, 1974 – Winnie Ola Freeman, dies; the Arkansas Gazette reported that Winnie had passed away in a nursing home.


Other sources:

[Janie Jones, “Murder Mystery: If Justice is a Lady,” AY (About You) Magazine, Mar. 2012]

See Chapter 7, “The Cat Woman Strikes Again” in Lisa Eisemann, Murder, Salinas Style: Book One; True Stories of Murderers and their Crimes, Trafford Publishing (December 1, 2006)






















Sunday, October 26, 2014

Female Serial Killers of the Near East

5th C BC – Parysatis – Persia
316 BC – Queen Olympias – Macedonia
1871 – “Dahr-al-Ahmur Serial Killer” – Lebanon
1920 – Raya & Sakina Aly Hammam – Egypt
1923 – Marie Torosian – Armenia
1928 – Mme. Tamara – Greece
1946 – Marguerite D’Andurian – France, Syria
1950 – Miriam Soulakiotis – Greece
1962 – Ekaterini Dimetrea – Greece
1998 – Susan Ibrahim – Jordan
2005 – Shirin Gul – Afghanistan
2009 – Mahin Qadiri – Iran

Funeral Fetishism of Female Serial Killers

This collection contains cases involving particularly interesting aspects dealing with funerals and graveyards, most notably those in which the killer demonstrates an obsession with funerals.


1831 – Gesche Gottfried – Bremen, Germany

“She declared herself persecuted by the apparitions of her victims; and strangely enough sought refuge at the graves to which she had sent them.” [“Remarkable Female Criminals – The Poisoners of the Present Century. Second Part” (pp. 213 ff.). The Dublin University Magazine, Volume 29, Feb.1847, 222]

1850 – Marie-Catherine Moitrier Segard (Ségard) – Nancy, France

"When he died she displayed most unseemly joy—even the gravedigger, who attended the funeral repast, was shocked at it. “I have been,” he said naively, 'to a great many funeral repasts, but never saw one so merry.'”

She created some indignation were also exited by the proof  that she had herself written and caused epitaphs to be placed on the graves of her victims: –

“Here lies the body of Joseph Arsène Segard on the 15th of March, 1848, aged ten months.”

“Here lies the body of Anne Marie Florine Segard, who died the 28th of February, 1848, aged ten months.”

“Here lies the body of Anne Marie Florine Marchal, who died the 28th of February, 1848, aged eight years. This child, notwithstanding her tender years, displayed rare qualities of mind; her obedience and modesty caused her death to be deeply regretted by her mother, who has erected this monument to her memory.”

“Here lies the body of Jean-Baptiste Segard, aged thirty-seven. He was a good husband, an affectionate father, and a Christian devoted to the poor. To her dear and virtuous husband his grateful wife erects this monument. May he repose in peace.”

1866 – Martha Grinder – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Before she became a murderess, she loved to prepare corpses for burial. Eventually she satisfied her mortician mania by supplying the corpses herself, about a dozen of them eventually. She loved to watch her victims suffer from the arsenic she gave them. Her confession was a remarkable revelation of human depravity. She had become obsessed with the liking for scenes of moral agony, and her mania went even farther, making her revel in coming into contact with dead bodies, which she loved to handle and prepare for burial. In the early stages of this monomania she tried to satisfy her cravings of bereavement, and by assisting in bathing and dressing the remains. These natural deaths came too infrequently to satisfy her, however, so she desperately started out to manufacture funerals by supplying the dead bodies.

1881 – Jeanne Raies – Geneva, Switzerland

She was paid by funeral parlor a tiny amount to be notified first of recent deaths.

1892 – Ella Holdridge – Tonawanda, New York, USA

She was only 14 at time of her apprehension. Ella had a passion for attending funerals. When a lull came about, offering no opportunities for her favorite form of amusement, she solved the problem by poisoning a number of children in series. She remarked with respect to the corpse one of her victims, Louisa Stormer who she said “made the prettiest corpse ever put under New York soil.”

1894 – Martha Needle – Richmond, Australia

It is a bizarre fact that Martha Needle spent most of the insurance money she gained from murdering her family on an elaborate grave for her family, which she visited almost every day.

1901 – “Kisoda Female Serial Killers” – Kisoda, Romania (“Hungary”)

The execution of this order met with unexpected difficulties. When the commission had the graves of the men who had died within the last few weeks opened, it became plain that the inscription on the graves had been falsified. The corpses of such persons as had born buried scarcely a month were quite decomposed. It was discovered that the crosses had been interchanged, obviously with a view to frustrating the judicial investigation. Consequently long and troublesome inquiries were necessary for the identification of any desired graves.

1901 – Jane Toppan – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

No one could have guessed that during her tenure at a Massachusetts hospital the amiable "Jolly Jane" was morbidly obsessed with autopsies, or that she conducted her own after-hours experiments on patients, deriving sexual satisfaction in their slow, agonizing deaths from poison. (Harold Schechter, Fatal)

1903 – Mary McKnight – Kalkaska, Michigan, USA

“Serial killer Mary McKnight, who between 1887 and 1903 murdered between 12 and 18 people with strychnine poisoning, including her whole family, just because she liked to go to funerals. Her crime spree stretched from Alpena to Saginaw.” [Ellen Creager, “’Blood on the Mitten’ recalls Michigan true crime tales,” Detroit Free Press (Mi.), Sep. 17, 2016]

1911 – Louise Vermilya – Chicago, Illinois, USA

In her flat her detectives say apparently the most cherished personal belonging was a big photograph of a well filled graveyard. They do not think it was preserved because of departed relatives, but simply because of the owner’s mental twist. This morbid characteristic is revealed likewise in the stories told the police by at least one undertaker in the small Illinois towns where Mrs. Vermilya lived prior to her residence in Chicago.

“I never saw such a woman for being anxious to work around dead bodies,” said E. M. Block, an undertaker at Barrington, in which town Mrs. Vermilya resided during their first marriage. “She actually seemed to enjoy it. I never employed her, but she went around and said she was working for me. at every death she would hear of it almost as soon as I, and wouldn’t be far behind me at the house to take care of the body. More than that, the woman seemed to glory in thinking about prospective deaths.”

1923 – Tillie Klimek – Chicago, Illinois, USA

She joked about discount for caskets.

When visiting a fabric store to purchase black material to make a dress for her fourth husband, Joseph Guszkowski’s funeral, the clerk offered her condolences and asked Tillie when her husband died. "My husband's," said Tillie. "When did he die?" “Ten days from now,” Tillie's next stop was at an undertaker's, where she bought the cheapest coffin in the place and had it delivered to the basement of the tenement. (Alan Hynd, Murder, Mayhem, And Mystery: An Album Of American Crime, 1958, p. 360)

“It’s too bad that I have such bad luck with husbands. I hope the next one lasts longer.” (Alan Hynd, Murder, Mayhem, And Mystery: An Album Of American Crime, 1958, p. 360) 

1924 Annie Hauptrief – San Marcos, Texas – 4 step-chn, 2 husbands (1 surv)

“Sympathy for the seemingly grief-stricken widow governed Hauptrief’s actions. He gave her the solace of a home and the comforts of a cheerful fireside. Hauptrief heard of his wife’s confession to killing her first husband only a few days ago, as his condition had been too serious. ‘Annie’s grief at Court’s burial was natural and unassumed, as far as I could tell,’ Hauptrief said. ‘Clad in black, and with her young eyes rod from long weeping, my heart was filled with sympathy for her as she became near-hysterical when they begun throwing dirt into the grave.’ At four other funerals the woman was a living picture of a mother overcome with life’s sorrows.”

1925 – Martha Hasel WiseValley City, Ohio, USA

“I liked their funerals. I could get dressed up and see folks and talk to them. I didn’t miss a funeral in twenty years. The only fun I ever had was after I kilt people.”

1926 – Anoinette Sierri (Scierri) – Nimes, France

Nurse – The only motive which the French police now hold in the mysterious poisoning of six persons by Antoinette Scierri, a nurse, is that she liked to see her victims’ death struggles. Although small sums of money were taken in several instances, it is believed that this was not the basic death motive. The nurse made wreaths for the graves of her victims and showed tender care during their last moments. 

1925 – Della Sorenson – Dannenborg, Nebraska, USA

“I had feelings which would steal over me at times forcing me to destroy and kill. I felt funny and happy. I like to attend funerals.”

1928 – Bertha Gifford – Meremec River, Missouri, USA

Nurse – Mrs. Gifford had a passion for death-beds and funerals of which she missed only one in 18 years. But just as youths sometimes become so overenthusiastic about running to fires that they finally get to setting some themselves, this death-bed fan, it is charged, could not resist the temptation, when anyone started to withdraw from the edge of the grave to just push him in with a little arsenic. She took command of the funerals too and liked to see everything done right, even going so far as to pay for the embalming of one of her victims.

1931 – Rose Veres – Detroit, Michigan, USA

It had been the custom each time one of her roomers died to have photographs made of the funeral showing her giving the corpse a final embrace.

1938 – Marie Becker – Liege, Belgium

Marie Becker was known to attend the funerals of her victims and to gesticulate wildly her grief over their passing. She was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.” [Jay Robert Nash, Look For the Woman, M. Evans and Company, Inc., 1981.] 

1952 – Marie Emilie Raymond – Galan, Hautes-Pyrénées, France

A serial killer nurse who kept a rake, because, as she said: “I love raking freshly filled graves.” 

1954 – Daisie “Nanny” Doss – Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Relatives who escaped Mrs. Nannie Doss’s arsenic-spiked cups of death disclosed that the gentle grandmother loved to compose epitaphs for tombstones. Three examples:
Arlie J. Lanning – Lexington, Kentucky - “We will meet again.”
Robert Lee Higgins – Jacksonville - “Darling how we miss thee.”
Frank Harrelson  - Alabama – “God be with you till we meet again.”

1954 – Christa Lehmann – Worms, Germany

“A weeping Christa Lehmann visited her dead friend’s family and told how the two bonbons she ate made her violently ill Saturday night. But she told the police a different story. After the funeral Christa threw a shovelful of earth on the dead woman’s grave and was taken into custody.”

1957 – Mary Elizabeth Wilson – Jarrow on Tyne, England

One of her gruesome jests which led ultimately to police inquiries was voiced at a reception following her marriage last October to 76-year-old Ernest Wilson. A friend asked what she was going to do with a large number of cakes and sandwiches left over. “Keep them for the funeral,” she replied. Wilson laughed with the rest – and lived just 15 days more. Then it was recalled the widow of Windy Nook made another of her jokes at the registrar’s office, where she had been married and had then returned to record her husbands’ deaths. “There should be a discount for me,” she quipped.

1992 – Karla HomolkaSaint Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Karla Homolka complained her parents spent too much on her sister’s funeral. She wanted the money to be spent on her upcoming wedding.

1978 – Velma BarfieldLumberton, North Carolina, USA

 “Velma always attended the funerals of her victims and appeared to grieve genuinely for them.”

1986 – Marybeth Tinning – Schenectady, New York , USA

“Marybeth Tinning loves the attention she receives after her third child died of meningitis as a baby. To keep receiving that attention she quietly kills her other eight children over a span of years. She's seen as a woman with a series of unfortunate events, until she goes one step too far by smothering an adopted child.” [Wikipedia, “Deadly Women Episodes”]

Histrionic grief behavior at victim’s funerals: her own children. 9 deaths.

1996 – Waneta Hoyt – Tioga County, New York, USA

“She fainted during the first burial; during another, she was so overwhelmed by her emotions that she hurled herself to the ground.”  [Joyce Johnson, “Death Runs in the Family,” New York Magazine, Apr. 10, 1995, p. 58]

2009 – “Sunday” – Juban, South Sudan

On November 3, 2009 a woman identified by police as “Sunday” was arrested in Juba in Southern Sudan after she was found in a cemetery near Konyo-Konyo market feasting on a corpse of a child.

Female Serial Killers Who “Predicted” Their Victims’ Deaths

► 1) To Fulfull a Prophecy

1816 – Susannah Holroyd – Ashton-Under-Line, England

She told her that she had had her fortune read, and that in the course of one week, and within the period of the ensuing six weeks, three funerals would go from her door. She did not delay her destined purpose, however, until the six weeks of the fortune-teller had expired; for in about a month afterwards she went to the shop of a chymist, and purchased an ounce and a half of arsenic, to fulfil the prophecy. [archaic spelling in orig.]

1903 – Anna (Caroline) Przygodda – Allenstein, East Prussia (Germany)

The motives of the murderess remain a mystery, but it is stated that a fortune-teller once informed her that she was destined to have six husbands before attaining happiness with the seventh. It is suggested that the woman shared the superstition common in East Prussia, and got rid of her husbands to fulfil the prophecy.

2) Premonitions of Deaths

Early 1600s – La Toffania & Hieronyma Spara – Italy

In 1659, it was observed, at Rome, that many young married women were left widows, and that many husbands died when they became disagreeable to their wives. It was at length discovered that the mischief proceeded from a society of young married women, whose president, a little old woman, pretended to foretell future events, and who had often predicted, very exactly, many deaths to persons who had cause to wish for them. The old lady’s name was Hieronyina Spara. She was a Sicilian, and had acquired the art from Toffania, at Palermo. She, her assistant and three other women were hung.

1680 – Catherine Deshayes – Paris, France

Wikipedia: During her work as a fortune teller, she noticed the similarities between her customers wishes about their future: almost all wanted to have some one fall in love with them, that some one would die so that they might inherit, or that their spouses would die, so that they might marry some one else. Initially, she told her clients that their will would be true if it was also the will of God. Then, she started to recommend to her clients some action that would make their dreams come true. These actions were initially to visit the church of some particular saint; eventually, she started to sell amulets and recommend magical practices of various kinds. The bones of toads, teeth of moles, Spanish flies, iron filings, human blood and mummy, or the dust of human remains, were among the alleged ingredients of the love powders concocted by La Voisin.

Finally, she started to sell aphrodisiacs to those who wished for people to fall in love with them, and poison to those who wished for some one to die. Her knowledge of poisons was not apparently so thorough as that of less well-known sorcerers, or it would be difficult to account for Louise de La Vallière's immunity. The art of poisoning had become a regular science at the time, having been perfected, in part, by Giulia Tofana, a professional female poisoner in Italy, only a few decades before La Voisin.

She arranged black masses, where the clients could pray to the Devil to make their wishes come true. During at least some of these masses, a woman performed as an altar, upon which a bowl was placed: a baby was held above the bowl, and the blood from it was poured into the bowl. She had a large network of colleagues and assistants, among them Adam Lesage, who performed allegedly magical tasks; the priests Étienne Guibourg and abbé Mariotte, who officiated at the black masses; and poisoners like Catherine Trianon.

1831 – Gesche Gottfried – Bremen, Germany

In the meantime, Gottfried’s proposals were not forthcoming; and, believing him to be withheld by the objections her parents made to the match, on the one hand, and by the consideration of her having a family of children on the other, she thought it was time to remove these obstacles out of his way. She said that her resolution, with respect to her parents, had been fortified by the pious and frequently-expressed wishes of the old people, that neither might long survive the other. She also consulted several other fortune-tellers, who all predicted the mortality that was to ensue amongst her connexions. She made no secret of this prophecy, but, on the contrary, frequently lamented that she knew she was doomed to lose her children and all her relations. She always concluded these communications by pious ejaculations, expressing a most perfect resignation to the will of Providence. "God's will be done! The ways of the Lord are inscrutable, and we must bow to His decrees," &c. [Catherine Crowe, Light and Darkness: or, The Mysteries of Life, Part I - The Poisoners (pp. 23-136), 1850, London: Henry Colburn, Publisher]

1883 – Maria Swanenburg (Van der Linden) – Leiden, Netherlands

She [Van der Linden, or, Swanenberg] went the length of marking down her victims beforehand. “It will be your turn in a month,” she openly told one man, who had been bemoaning the sudden death of a relative. The month passed, and this man was carried to his grave.

1886 – Sarah Jane Robinson – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

“Testimony showed that Annie Freeman was stricken with pneumonia in her home in South Boston. She was gradually improving, but took a turn for the worse after Mrs. Robinson fired her nurse and took sole charge of her sister’s health. Mrs. Robinson had a premonition that her sister would never recover, and, sure enough, Annie died soon after. She convinced Prince Freeman to move his family to her home in Cambridge and few weeks later, one-year-old Elisabeth Freeman died. Mrs. Robinson had another premonition; her dead husband appeared and told her that Prince would soon die. This premonition came true as well.” [“The Massachusetts Borgia,” Murder by Gaslight, online, Mar. 2, 2013]

1900 – Nikola Bettuz – Kissoda, Romania

The fact is that the men were murdered by their own wives or sweet hearts. The instigator of all these heinous crimes is Nikola Bettuz, the seer of the town, who sold the subtle poison with which the murders were committed.

1906 – Rosa Vrzal – Chicago, Illinois, USA

1912 – Louise Lindloff – Chicago, Illinois, USA

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. "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."

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.

“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.”

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.”

1912 – Frieda Trost – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Summoned to Philadelphia, the bother-in-law told his story. He told of the time when Frieda’s second baby was born, Frieda had said that the spirits had told her that the baby would not live a week. And the next day the baby died.

1922 – Tillie Klimek – Chicago, Illinois, USA

"Tillie Klimek (or Tillie Gburek) (born 1876-1936) was an American serial killer. She poisoned in turn her husbands John Mitkiewicz, John Ruskowski, Frank Kupszcyk, Joseph Guszkowski, and Anton Klimek, as well as three neighborhood children and others. She became known as a fortune-teller, for predicting their deaths in advance. She also had sex with all of them before she killed them." Source:

1932 – Anna Allas, Mary Chalfa & Gizella Young Allas  Munhall, Pennsylvania, USA

Mary, he said, visited his home so frequently at one time that he protested to his wife. She answered, Young said:

“Oh, that’s all right. I just told her fortune,”

“What was it?” Young said he then asked and his wife replied:

“Well, she’s having a lot of trouble with her husband, so I told her to insure him and he would die in three months.”

Trial of the two women lasted two weeks and was featured by the testimony of Mrs. Gizella Young, an alleged fortune teller, that the women came to her for “card readings” as to when the two boys would die. The defendants built their case around a claim that anything they had done was done while under Mrs. Young’s “spell.”

The women claimed they went to a fortune teller, Mrs. Gazella Young, who immediately put a magic spell on them. They said she would lay out her magic cards, brought from Czecho-slovakia, and predict death for members of their families. Then, they said, she would advise them to take out large insurance policies on their husbands, children and cousins and even go so far as to send insurance men to their homes.

1958 – Anjette Donovan Lyles – Macon, Georgia, USA

“Jackson also remembered Anjette’s prediction that Martha would die within a day or two of entering the hospital.” [Michael Newton, Bad Girls Do It! 1993]

1989 – Maria Aldrete – Matamoros, Mexico

3) Victim who predicted her own murder

1925 – Birdie Strome – New Carlisle, Ohio, USA

The girl died Saturday under mysterious circumstances. It was said she had twice predicted she would die soon, once three weeks ago and the second time the day before her death.

4) Premonition Of Fires

1886 – Harriet Nason – Rutland, Vermont, USA –  “predicted” two fires

Neighbors of Mrs. Nason ascribe to her remarkable powers in the way of prophesying fires. Her house on Grove street, it is said, was burned in accordance with her prediction about three years age. Subsequently she had another fiery vision. This alarmed another family in the same block and a watchman was employed. But the second fire occurred on scheduled time, though not until Mrs. Nason had been notified by the owners of the property to vacate. The popular impression is that Mrs. Nason is afflicted with a most dangerous and insidious form of insanity and that all the results of her secret work are not yet known.

5) Fortune-tellers (without premonitions of victims’ deaths)

1679 – Marie Bosse – Paris, France

Fortune teller and poisoner; burned at the stake May 8, 1679.

1808 – Mary Bateman – Leeds, Yorkshire, England

During the 1780s, Marty Bateman became a minor thief and con artist who often convinced many of her victims she possessed supernatural powers. They called her the “Yorkshire Witch.” By the end of the century, she had become a prominent fortuneteller in Leeds who prescribed potions which she claimed would ward off evil spirits as well as acting as medicine. [Wikipedia]

1868 – Fanny Lambert (Joye) – Marseilles, France

EXCERPT: The fortune-teller, Fanny Lambert, had aided the wives in procuring the poison, and was even charged by the woman Ville with having first instigated her to the crime. The man Joye added the profession of fortune-teller to his trade of herb-seller, and two witnesses who had consulted him as such declared that he had first suggested to them that they were unhappy in their married life, and then offered his services to rid them of their husbands. His method was first to propose supernatural means, and then gradually accustom them to the idea of employing poison. One woman he had instructed to procure a nail from a coffin in a certain cemetery, and to plant it in the ground while pronouncing the name of her husband; he then added, “After that come to me and I will give you something that will do the rest.” The substance which he usually employed was arsenic, of which a large quantity was found concealed in his shop.

1873 – Kate & Katie Bender – Cherry Vale, Kansas, USA

“Kate was the most outgoing of the Benders, and advertised herself as a fortune teller and healer. It was rumored that she and her mother practiced witchcraft. Kate was attractive, and her psychic abilities drew extra customers to the inn, when she wasn't traveling to give lectures on Spiritualism and holding healing services.” [Miss Centania, “The Bloody Benders, America's First Serial Killers, Mantal Floss, Nov. 14, 2013]

1882 – Sophia Ivanovitch & Anna Minity – Melencse, Hungary

It is stated that no fewer than 80 women of the Servo-Magyar village of Melencie are accused of having poisoned their husbands and other near relatives, and that they procured the deleterious stuff from two professional fortune-tellers, Sophia Ivanovitch and Anna Minity, who drove a regular trade in noxious drugs, and earned considerable sums of money thereby.

1924 – Anastasia Permiakova – Perm, Russia

She settled down as a clairvoyant at Perm. She had a huge clientele of women, many of whom mysteriously disappeared. The crimes were undetected till Permiakova called at a solicitor's house and told his beautiful daughter her future. She ordered the girl to bare her neck to see if she had a lucky mark and then murdered her with a hatchet. The police found in the woman's flat ten bloodstained hatchets. Thirteen other accomplices received long sentences.

1941 – Leonarda Cianciulli – Correggio, Reggio Emilia, Italy

Mrs. Cianciulli claimed the power to foretell the future, to hypnotise people, and police believe that her three known victims were so influenced by her as a clairvoyant that she was able to lure them to her neatly kept house, where she murdered them and cut each of their bodies into nine separate sections.