Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Discredited Female Serial Killer Legends & False Reports


1364 – Countess “Agnes” d’Orlamunde, “White Lady”; Agnes, Queen of Hungary – Neuhaus Castle, Bohemia

“the Countess Dorlamunde, responsible for the death of her father, mother, brother, husband, three children and several friends” [“Women Poisoners Perverse, Liars, Says Pathologist,” Atlanta Constitution (Ga.), Jan. 20, 1928, p. 2]

[The Graphic (London, England), February 17, 1883; Issue 690 and early 20th century online for research.]

1519 – Lucrezia Borgia (18 April 1480 – 24 June 1519) – Italy

“Lucretia Borgia did not poison anyone and probably did not have an incestuous affair with Pope Alexander VI, her father, art experts and historians said yesterday [Feb. 9, 2010].” [Bruce Johnston, “Lucretia Borgia ‘not incestuous sex-mad poisoner,”The Daily Mail (London, England), Feb. 10, 2012]

1535 – Anna Neumann von Wasserleonberg “The Female Bluebeard of Noetsch” (d 1623) – Carinthia, Austria

“In the years between her birth on November 23, 1535, and her death on December 18, 1623, Anna, was married six times, bat she was never divorced. She disposed of her first five husbands more simply by rubbing them affectionately with an ointment that contained a mysterious and deadly poison.” [William C. Mccloy. “The Wasserleonerg Ghost.  – Woman Bluebeard Of Sixteenth Century. - History Of A Honeymoon Castle,” The Auckland Star (Australia), Jul. 10, 1937, p. 9]

1591 – Katheryn of Berain – Llanefydd, Denbighshire, Wales – died Aug. 27, 1591 – Wales; legend

[Katharine Olson,Did 16th century wealthy Welsh heiress poison three of her four husbands?” Western Mail (Wales), Mar. 26, 2011]

1763 – Marie-Josephte Corriveau Saint-Vallier – Quebec, Canada

“Marie-Josephte Corriveau (1733 at Saint-Vallier, Quebec – April 18, 1763 at Quebec City), better known as “la Corriveau”, is one of the most popular figures in Québécois folklore. She lived in New France, and was sentenced to death by a British court martial for the murder of her second husband, was hanged for it and her body hanged in chains. Her story has become legendary in Quebec, and she is the subject of numerous books and plays.” [Wikipedia]

[Accounts of the purported series of husband-killings: James MacPherson Le Moine, “Marie-Josephte Corriveau, A Canadian Lafarge, Maples Leaves, 1863, p. 68-74.]

The Corriveau legend has her murdering her first husband by pouring lead in his ear. “Ostander’s case, of an English woman who murdered six husbands by pouring molten lead into the ear. She was detected in the seventh attempt.” [Rudolph August Witthaus, Medical jurisprudence, forensic medicine and toxicology, Volume 3, 1896, p. 125; based on Ostander’s 1813 book] [Ostander [Friedrich Benjamin Osiander], Über den Selbstmord, seine Ursachen, Arten, medicinische gerichtliche Untersuchung und die Mittel gegen denselben. Hannover 1813, p. 395]

Some accounts describe her as English but unnamed in medical reference books and in English newspapers; story has her murdering 6 husbands, and attempting to kill another, by means of pouring molten lead into the ear. [English Black Widow – 6 hubs, 7th surv (“Ostander’s case” ), 1792]

1807 – Rebecca “Becky” Cotton – Edgefield, South Carolina, USA

The “Devil in Petticoats”

“In his later work, a sermon, the Rev. Weems tells the story of Rebecca Cotton, who, in the early 1800s, murdered three of the four men she married. Her schemed and brutal murders only ended when her brother stoned her at the county courthouse in 1807.”
 [Catherine Thomas, “The Edgefield Legend of Rebecca Cotton,” Aiken Standard (S. C.), Sep. 18, 1990, p. 7]

1820 – Lavinia Fisher (1793-1820) – Charleston, South Carolina, USA

“The legend of Lavinia Fisher has been told and retold since her execution in Charleston, South Carolina in 1820 and with each telling it has grown more extravagant and further from the truth. Today tourist pamphlets and web sites will earnestly tell you that Lavinia was America’s first female serial killer when, in fact, there is no hard evidence that she ever killed anyone.” [Robert Wilhelm, “The Legend of Lavinia Fisher,” Murder by Gaslight, Oct. 1, 2010]

Book: Bruce Orr, Six Miles to Charleston: The True Story of John and Lavinia Fisher, 2010

1831 – Annie Palmer – Rose Hall, Jamaica (reportedly died, 1831)

“The basis for most of the White Witch legend seems to come from H.G. de Lisser’s 1928 novel “The White Witch of Rose Hall”. This was a popular novel telling the gripping story of an Annie Palmer that lived a very different life to that indicated by the records available from the time. [The facts about Rose Hall,” Jamaica Travel and Culture] 

1834 – Delphine Marie LaLaurie – New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

“The legends have grown about this house and its namesake, twisting the real events into something almost unrecognizable. The phony body count attributed to Delphine seems to increase with each passing year. But the truth shows us that ‘Mad’ Madame LaLaurie was definitely not a saint, even if she wasn’t a murderer (and it is unclear if she was). She was an accomplice and almost certainly a participant in the slow, systematic torture of other human beings, and demonstrated zero remorse for her misdeeds.” [James Caskey, “The Haunted LaLaurie House in New Orleans,” James Caskey, Savannah Author, 13 Oct, 2014]

1867 – Sarah Jane Newman “Sally Skull” – Texas, USA

“Sally Skull may have killed two of five husbands. This is hedged with the usual caveat — she was never charged or convicted. They just disappeared.” [Murphy Givens, “Did husband No. 5 kill Sally Skull?” Corpus Christi Caller Times (Tx.), Jun 29, 2011]

1873 – Mrs. York – Moeaqua, Illinois, USA

The statement of Mr. Drake certainly shows that Mrs. York could not poisoned three of the persons she is said to have said to admitted killing, and hence it is very probable that the confession, if made, was uttered while suffering from mental aberration.” [“Discredited – What Mrs. E. R. Drake Knows of the Alleged Poisoning of Six Persons Near Monmequa – Mrs. York’s Death-Bed Confession Discredited.” The Chicago Daily Tribune (Il.), Jun. 17, 1873, p. 2]

1889 – “Cattle Queen Kate” Maxwell – Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA

“Ellen Liddy Watson (July 2, 1860 – July 20, 1889) was a pioneer of Wyoming who became erroneously known as Cattle Kate, a post-claimed outlaw of the Old West. The “outlaw” characterization is a dubious one, as she was not violent and was never charged with any crime during her life. Accused of cattle rustling, she was ultimately lynched by agents of powerful cattle ranchers as an example to what happens to those who opposed them and whose interests she had threatened. Her life has become the subject of an Old West legend.” [Wikipedia]

“Her husband died mysteriously. It was whispered that she poisoned him … she played every card game well and to fleece the innocent was only pastime for her and her husband. two men who mysteriously disappeared were traced to this deadfall, where they were, in all probability, murdered for their money.” [‘Cattle Queen Kate’ Maxwell,” Salina County Journal (Ks.), Aug. 1, 1889, p. 6]

1896 – Mrs. C. M. Powell (“Powers”) – Leonardsburg, Ohio, USA

[“Mrs. Powell Denies Stories. - She Says She Did Not Poison the Five Persons as Charged.” Newark Daily Advocate (Oh.), Feb. 1, 1896, p. 1]
[“Terrible Charges. - Several Murders Laid at the Door of a Springfield Woman,” Daily gazette, (Xenia, Oh.), Feb. 13 1896, p. 2]

1897 – Marie Ret – Paris, France

The account published by the New York World was possibly based on a novel, Adolphe Belot, English translation: The Stranglers of Paris, T. B. Peterson & Brothers, Phila., 1880.

1934 – Bonnie Parker – Sailes, Bienville Parish, Louisiana, USA (place of death)

Recent research holds that she did not personally murder anyone

2001 – Gisela Kandorfer  – Frankfurt, Germany

(hoax article) “A black widow killer slaughtered six husbands – then chopped up the bodies and ate them, shocked cops say.” [Cliff Linedecker, “Black widow bride murdered six husbands,” Weekly World News, Jan. 2, 2001, p. 4]

2012 – “Indonesian Cannibal” – Indonesia

An article, illustrated with several gruesome photos, was apparently a hoax. [“Female Cannibal In Indonesia,” Aaj News (India), Jan 27, 2012] 

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