Sunday, July 31, 2011

“Male Exploitation Is No Longer the Art It Used To Be” - 1928

Book Review: The most accomplished gold-diggers, husband poisoners and vampires of 1928 don’t know the ABC’s of male exploitation and could increase their efficiency 100 percent by the study of ancient history.

This conclusion is upheld by Frederick Arnold Kummer in “Ladies in Hades,” just published which points out by example how many sirens of the ancient world could make 1928 adventuresses look like rank amateurs.

“Male exploitation is no longer the art it used to be,” mourns Mr. Kummer. “The rise of women’s rights seems to have ruined its finesse. [Blogger’s note: We can forgive Mr. Kummer’s naïveté, in that he could not have foreseen the rise of cultural Marxism in 1928.] Take this business of gold-digging for example. Twentieth century vampires could profit from the methods of famous sirens of history.”

“The Queen of Sheba, for example, took the initiative in gift-giving,” Mr. Kummer points out in “Ladies in Hades.” “She starts all her affairs by presenting the gentleman in question with small gifts, her records show. This invariably won confidence

“When we got to Solomon’s palace, I showed him my presents,” remarks the Queen of Sheeba in “Ladies in Hades.” “I figured that no gentleman, not even a Jerusalem gentleman, would accept presents from a lady without giving her at least twice as much in return. This is the advantage of being the one to start these gift games.”

When it comes to bored wives who wish to get rid of their husbands and undesirable relatives, Lucrezia Borgia had it all over Ruth Snyder, Kummer declares. According to “Ladies in Hades” the simple mushroom was one of Lucrezia’s favorite weapons. Her records tell how she asked the doomed gentleman to select the mushrooms that looked good to him. Then she threw those away and served the rest.

“The greatest publicity stunt of all time was Salome’s dance,” declares Mr. Kummer. “The affair was put on over two thousand years ago and people are talking about it still. Theatrical press agents should go into the detail of the affair.”

Mr. Kummer completed “Ladies in Hades” following his recent severe illness which put his obituary in the papers. He is the only member of the American Society of Engineers who is also a writer. He has written many successful plays, novels and scenarios and contributes to current magazines.

[“Modern Gold-Diggers And Vamps Should Study Early Methods Of Male Exploitation, Author Avers,” The Mansfield News (Oh.), May 13, 1928, p. 17]

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mom Hates Little Boys, She Says, So She Murders Her Son: Georgette Brucks - 1949

FULL TEXT: Los Angeles, Jan. 26 —Mrs. Georgette Brucks, 21, wept in her jail cell today for the child she will bear next month, and whom she will never see.

The young mother, who killed her seven-month-old son because she “hated boy babies,” traded her unborn child and two other boys, Edmond. Jr., and Donald, 18 months.

~ Mother of Four ~

The pudgy brunette, already the mother of four children, pleaded guilty to manslaughter yesterday and Superior Judge Thomas L. Ambrose gave her a suspended sentence and six years’ probation on condition that she put her children up for adoption and submit to sterilization.

Mrs. Brucks agreed, alter consulting psychiatrists and psychologists. Then she returned to her jail cell and wept.

“I didn’t mean to do it,” she cried. “I have an uncontrollable temper and I beat him with my fists. I knew I should have stopped but I couldn’t.”

~ Better All Around ~

The sterilization order was believed to be the first ever given to a woman in local court history.

Mrs. Brucks is awaiting the birth next month of a child by Donald Redman, 23, a printer with whom she had lived for three years. He fathered the dead child and the other two boys. A daughter is in custody of her estranged husband, Edmond Brucks.

“I didn’t want to give up my babies, but it may be better all the way around,” she said. “I hope they will never know their background.”

She said she plans to divorce her husband and marry Redman. The court ruled she must never learn what families adopt her children.

The woman must spend two more months in jail as part of the probation.

“My attorney has assured me of a job when I get out of jail, and I’m looking forward to marriage and to picking up the pieces of my life,” she said.

~ Asked for Psychiatrist ~

“At the time Georgette was up for sentence I asked for the appointment of a psychiatrist,” said her attorney, Walter Anderson.

“Georgette came from a broken home and I believed many psychiatric and psychological factors were involved when the psychiatrists’ findings were returned, it seemed only feasible to recommend sterilization. She is only 21 and the mother of four children.”

He read from a medical report which called the woman “irresponsible.”

[“’Hate Little Boys’ – Mother to be Sterilized for Slaying – Killed Baby With Her Fists – Bargains Children Away for Freedom,” The Pittsburgh Press (Pa.), Jan. 26, 1949, p. 9]

















SEE ALSO: Gender Cleansing in 1940


Vera Renczi Used Men as Disposable Sex Objects - 1925

NOTE: The Vera Renczi story must at this point be regarded as fiction.

Old notes: The veracity of this case is doubted by some. But it has now been confirmed to be an authentic case. According to my source in Romania, Lucian Vâlsan (writing in 2012), the Renczi case is known to be real. Banatul Sârbesc is, if I understand his notes correctly, the place that English-speaking journalists have called “Berkerkul.” “Vera Renczi” is the correct spelling for the name, which is Hungarian. She was born in 1903. She was sentenced to death in Yugoslavia, but the sentence was commuted and she was sent to a maximum security prison. Official custom papers exist which show that she left Romania with her parents in 1916 (right before Romania entered World War I) - so she left Romania at the age of 13 (rather than 10 as English language sources state). She died in 1939 (a few months before the beginning of WWII) in a mental institute in Serbia/Yugoslavia. There are supposed transcripts of the trial which are not to be regarded as accurate.

English language sources identify their subject as "Madame Renici" or "Madame Reniel" (such spelling variations almost always occur in English language reports including Eastern European names that have been anglicized or transliterated).

UPDATE: As of June 15, 2016, no original source information from the region ("Yugoslavia") has come to our attention as of yet. It seems very likely that Vera Renczi never existed or that if she did the sensational English-language reports of 1925 are wildly inaccurate.



FULL TEXT:  Paris – History, literature and ordinary philosophy represent man as the tyrant, the pursuer, the ravisher, slayer, and woman as the gentle, suffering victim.

But investigation shows that many women have been more merciless and heartless than any man could have been, who could have been more merciless and heartless than Queen Margaret of Burgundy, wife of King Louis X. of France? According to the chronicler Brantome, she used to lure the handsomest young officers in the army to her retreat, the Tour de Nesle, and then, “having obtained what she wished of them, caused them to be tied in a sack and thrown into the Seine.”

History swarms with women as cruel as Queen Margaret, if you look for them, Queen Tamyris, Queen of the Massagetae, once gave her enemies the blood of their conquered companions to drink, down to Madame Hera Mirtel, the French authorities recently convicted of cutting her husband to pieces and packing him in a trunk, there have been innumerable cases of utterly merciless, bloodthirsty women.

“There has been a conspiracy to represent the male “as the cruel sex,” said a leading Parisian lawyer. “It should not blind us against the many dangerous, cruel and merciless women by whom are surrounded. Given a man and woman equally devoid of moral character, I believe the woman will usually be found the more cruel of the two.”

An extraordinary case, reported from Kerekul, in Jugo-Slavia, is being widely discussed in Paris, and has given rise to the argument that woman is more cruel in man. A handsome young woman of wealth there is accused of murdering thirty-five husbands and lovers, simply “because she could not bear to think they might love another woman.”

As far as modern conditions permit, Madame Vera Renczi, of Berkereckul, is the reincarnation of merciless Queen Margaret of Burgundy, sitting in her fascinating Tour de Nesle and seeking for beautiful youths to destroy.

The complaint of a young married woman of the town that her husband, a leading banker, had disappeared after visiting Madame Renczi was the final stop that led the investigation of her career. Rumors of strangely missing men had been current for some time, but many persons feared to take action against the rich and distinguished widow, who seemed to exert a mysterious fascination over all who came contact with her. Nearly all the missing men were from distant places, and there was no relation at hand to investigate their disappearance.

At last, came the pointed demand from banker’s wile that the police should search the cellar of Madame Renczi’s home, an ancient chateau.

Realizing that the reputation of the town was at stake, the police acted with great energy. Before Madame Renczi had no idea of the charges against her they surrounded her chateau and broke into the cellar. To get there they had to go through long vaulted stone corridors and break through three iron doors. An old woman servant resisted their entry fiercely, and they were obliged to handcuff her. When at last they reached the vast, vaulted cellar an astounding sight revealed itself beneath the light of their electric torches. Neatly arranged around the cellar were no less than thirty-five zinc coffins, each of them bearing the name and age of the occupant. All the occupants were males.

The police immediately arrested Madame Renczi, who had been trapped in her luxurious boudoir. She was taken before an examining magistrate on charges of causing the death of Leo Pachich, the banker, and other persons.

Careful investigation showed that the coffins in the cellar bore the names of two of her husbands, of her young son [aged 10], and thirty-two men who had been her lovers.

At first she boldly denied her guilt and protested with indignation at her arrest.

“You have brought disgrace upon our town and I will have you all severely punished,” exclaimed the imperious beauty—with flaming eyes.

“Why did you have thirty-five bodies in your cellar?” she was asked.

“They are friends and relations whom I have cared for. Some of them were townspeople who were killed by the Germans when they passed through this place.”

The police went to work, patiently investigate every act of her life for years past, and soon found overwhelming evidence of her guilt. Every man whose name appeared on her coffins was traced to her house. From that moment his appearance in the outside world ceased.

In a secret compartment behind the wall of her boudoir was found enough arsenic to kill a hundred men. This poison is very common in Jugo-Slavia, being found in combination with metals in several mines there.

Madame Renczi had apparently used this poison on nearly all her victims. She gave it to them in the choice wines with which she lured them to their destruction. She fed it to them in the dishes of the delightful dinners she served them.

Arsenic, as most people know, can be given in carefully measured quantities so as to cause death as slowly as may be desired. Given in this way, it does not immediately produce sickness, but makes its victims feel unusually well.

It was a strange end her victims met. Lured on by a beautiful and fascinating woman, entertained with banquets and wines insidiously poisoned, they were like men bewitched. Sometimes, apparently, they knew that death was coming upon them, but, like the knights in the Venusberg, they were powerless to flee.

In face of the overwhelming proof, Madame Renczi at last broke down and confessed her crimes. The police magistrate, a hardened official, was nearly overcome as he went through the terrible list of crimes with which this young woman had afflicted the world almost since childhood.

“Why did you kill all these human beings?” he asked.

“They were men,” she answered. “I could not endure the thought that they would ever put their arms around another woman after they had embraced me.”

It was shown that the woman was possessed by the passion of jealousy to a degree never before recorded.

“But,” the judge stammered, “you also murdered your own son.”

“He had threatened to betray me,” said Madame Renczi. “He was a man, too. Soon he would have held another woman in his arms.”

Madame Renczi was born in Bucharest, Roumania, and remained there till the age of ten. At about that period her father decided to go to Jugo-Slavia, then called Serbia, where a property inherited from an uncle who had recently died offered him an opportunity to build up a home. So Vera followed her father to Berkereckul.

One day a dog that had been given Vera was found dead in the garden. Her father asked the girl how it had died. 

“Oh,” Vera answered, “I poisoned it.”

The father looked surprised.

“And why did you do that?” he asked.

“Because,” little Vera answered, “it so happens that last night I heard you telling one of the neighbors that you were going to give him my dog because it barked too much at night.”

“So I did. But then, why did you kill it?”

“Because I do not want my dog to belong to anybody else. When he leaves me he leaves this world.”

The father did not smile at these last words. He gave his daughter a good thrashing to teach her that one must not be so jealous.

Little did he suspect that the same merciless jealousy would follow Vera all her life through – and that in the same cool way she had killed her dog she would murder men who had loved her.

She was married early to a wealthy business man in Berkereckul. At that time she decided that city life was too much of a strain for her and compelled her husband to live out in the chateau outside the town.

About one year later a child was born. Shortly after that it was announced that her husband had gone away on a very long journey from which he was only to return in a year’s time.

The days passed, and then the months, and finally two years. Then Vera said that her husband had deserted her.

Shortly after that she was married again, this time to a younger man. He remained with her for four months, and one fine day Vera came into the city to tell everybody that her second husband had also deserted her and had gone away – whither she did not know.

After that her life became more mysterious and rather that of a declassee. Nearly every night she would go into town and visit the cafes and night resorts.

 To the one or two better class cafes of Berkerckul Vera would come alone. She was known as the “Mysterious Huntress.” Her game, it appears, was always a young man.

Her appearance in these places became familiar. The natives of the town knew her well by sight, although few dared to speak to her.

At a certain hour, when entertaining friends from out of town, they would look at their watches and say:

“Now, look. It is 10:30. At 11 o’clock the ‘Mysterious Huntress’ comes in.”

The friends from out of town would immediately ask:

“And who can the ‘Mysterious Huntress’ be?”

The explanation would always be the same:

“Let me tell you: The ‘Mysterious Huntress’ is a Roumanian widow, a perfect beauty, and very rich. She has been deceived in love twice, each time by a husband, one who stayed with her a year, another for about half that time.

“Since those days she seems very strange. She comes into town looking for young men. When she finds one she takes him to her house. And after a while she comes in looking for another.”

“Some men remain with her for a week – some less than that and some more. She has never picked out any boy who comes from this town. They are all men from out of town.

“And they never come here again after she has had them. I am told she tells them to leave the country and to never come near her again – and they obey.”

That is the impression that Vera would give. Night after night she would come into the night places at a fixed hour. Her eyes would wander around the room. Every once in a while she would catch sight of a young man whose looks would strike her fancy.

Her face would remain impassive. Once every five minutes she would allow her eyes to rest on the young man she had marked.

Finally the glare of her brown eyes would fix him. He could no longer resist her. When she would arise to leave lie would feel that he simply had to follow her. Her last look toward him had condemned him to this.

Outside she would turn to him and say:

“You are a stranger here ?”

The man would answer: “Yes.” The woman always knew anyhow.

She would then ask:

“I live outside the city here. Do you want to visit my home?”

This would naturally perturb the youth, who had already been very deeply upset by the strange, penetrating way she had looked at him. Nine times out of ten he would say “Yes.”

Then she would take him back to her home. Sometimes she told her neighbors that she had sent him back to his country after she had grown tired of him. Little did the people in the cafes suspect how tragically these little affairs would end.

Some of the people whose sons or husbands or brothers had disappeared in mysterious circumstances in Berkereckul sent complaints to the police and investigation followed. Then came her affair with the local banker which trapped her.

The female Bluebeard confessed that tin motive for the killing was the same throughout.

“My first husband,” she said, “was the one who made me madly jealous of other women.”

“I couldn’t endure the idea of his ever looking at them! And after a year I felt that he would soon turn away from me, not entirely, but just enough to make me jealous.”

“I swore to myself that he would never belong to another woman. So I killed him.”

My second husband did not last as long. I was obliged to kill him after four months because he talked to other women.

“From that time on it became a disease with me. I wanted young men. Yet once I possessed them I could not bear the idea that any other woman might come after me.”

“I had the power to tantalize them. They would follow me. Then, perhaps a week after they had remained with me at my house, I would notice that they grew cither distracted or would say something about having to return home. I would consider these first signs the beginning of the end. And, consequently, my first burst of passion for them would be followed by jealousy, and I would poison them without waiting any further.”

The Serbians are filled with horror at Madame Renczi’s crimes. In America and some European countries, notably France, it would be argued that, she was insane. In Jugo-Slavia they do not spend money hiring experts to prove that murderers are insane, and there is a general eagerness, among the public to see the beautiful monster of jealousy and passion sent promptly to the gallows.

[“A Real Female Bluebeard - Strange Tragedy of the  Jealous Beauty and Her Thirty-five Unlucky Sweethearts,” American Weekly (San Antonio Light Sunday magazine section), Aug. 22, 1925, p. 5]

FULL TEXT: Berlin, May 20. — Roumania Servia, and in fact the entire Balkans are excited over the preliminary hearings of the greatest female bluebeard of modern times. Madame Renici, a  Roumanian, aged 30, described as “beautiful as a picture,” charged with killing her two husbands, her ten-year-old son and thirty-two lovers.

The preliminary hearing, which have begun at Berkerkul, Servia, reveals that the prosecution alleges, she killed her 35 victims with arsenic and other poisons in their food. The bodies it is stated, she preserved by hermetically sealing them in zinc cans which she stored in her cellar. Each big can has the name and age of the victim and the length of time he was her lover. The average period which each remained favorite of the beautiful Roumanian was from six to seven months during which they lived in the greatest harmony and happiness, until the loved one would suddenly disappear.

The victims were all between the ages of 23 and 30, except the boy. Fourteen of them were Roumanians.

It is stated that the woman confesses to all 35 murders and in her replies to questions reveals an appalling cynicism.

Asked why she killed so many innocent persons, she replied:

“Out of jealousy, for I know that tomorrow they would run after another woman. So I said to myself they had better sleep quietly in my cellar without having to excite themselves.”

She said she killed her son because he knew about the contents of the cellar and she was in constant danger of discovery.

[O. B. Tolischus, “Woman Held For Killing 35 Persons - Slew Lovers and Preserved Bodies In Cans In Her Cellar,” syndicated (Universal Service), The Bee (Danville, Va.), May 22, 1925, p. 6]

Vera confessed to the police that on occasion she liked to sit in her armchair amidst the coffins, surrounded by all of her former suitors.

[Newton, Michael. The Encylclopedia of Serial Killers, Checkmark Books. 2000, p. 198]


NOTE: Some articles give the name as “Madame Renici” [“A Modern Borgia Found – Remorseless Woman Calmly Admits Slaying Two Husbands, Her Son and 32 Suitors, All with Arsenic,” syndicated (INS), Indiana Evening Gazette (Pa.), May 19, 1925, p. 1], [O. [Otto] B. Tolischus, “Woman Held For Killing 35 Persons - Slew Lovers and Preserved Bodies In Cans In Her Cellar,” syndicated (Universal Service), The Bee (Danville, Va.), May 22, 1925, p. 6]. The latter bears the byline of Otto B. Tolischus, a Pulitzer Prize-winning (1940) journalist, who was correspondent for the Universal Service in Berlin between 1923 and 1931. Tolischus reports that “The victims were all between the ages of 23 and 30, except the boy. Fourteen of them were Roumanians.” Yet another spelling variation is “Madame Reniel” [“Another Lucretia Borgia, Olean Evening Times (N.Y.), May 19, 1925, p. 1]





More: Champion Black Widow Serial Killers


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


For more cases like this one, see: Vamps – Femmes Fatales – Predatory Women


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ice Pick Chicks

Why collect these? Do we have a morbid fascination with gore? No; we have a healthy concern with academic fraud, censorship, authoritarian ideology, operative conditioned mental passivity, and bogus propaganda that has brainwashed people to ignore that historical fact that women are indeed violent and that their violence is – despite the lies we are daily fed – is not limited to defensive response.

1932 – Gladys Davis – St Petersburg, Florida

1943 – Mildred Davidson – Memphis, Tennessee

1955 – Rose Lee Demery – St. Petersberg, Florida

1955 – Willie May Lewis – Lumberton, North Carolina

1963 – Helen Byrd – St. Joseph, Mo.

1985 – Harriet Gale Davis – Lakeland, Florida

1989 – Vicki C. Clark – Gainesville, Florida

2008 – Sandra Matthews-Johnson – Xenia, Ohio

2009 – Maria Blanco – New Carrollton, Maryland

2009 – Caitlen Watkins – Springfield, Missouri

2010 – Elizabeth Cuevas Villanueva – Yorba Linda, California

2012 – Traneavious Watson – Memhis, Tennessee

2012 – Edweana Angelique Howard – Iowa City, Iowa


The Badger Game in Minneapolis - 1885

FULL TEXT: In this day of scandals, strange divorce suits and other social cyclones, it would be altogether unusual and unexpected if the female blackmailer and not come to the surface. That her presence has not been more extensively heralded is due to the discretion of her victims who, have not cried when the pressure upon their purses was brought to bear, and have been content to allow themselves to be bled in silence. About two weeks ago a prominent manufacturing firm of Minneapolis discovered that the bank account of one of the partners had been overdrawn. Explanations followed, and the partner showed conclusively that he had been induced to give up $500 “hush money” to mollify a female charmer who threatened to blast his social reputation unless her demands were complied with. It was the old story – a short acquaintance, which had followed upon the heels of a preliminary flirtation. A few notes of a tender nature had passed between them, presents of flowers and jewelry had been lavished; then a few clandestine meetings, and finally, to cut the story short, the denouement. The injured husband (?) unexpectedly appears. In fact, doesn’t take the trouble to knock, but kicks the door down. “Aha, madam, I have found you out. And you, villain, you shall suffer for this! I’ll teach you to steal from me my wife’s affections.”

Then comes the usual scene.

The ebbing wife prostrates herself at the feet of the man she has (to all appearances) promised at the altar to obey, love, etc. He is obdurate, and must have blood. He draws a revolver, which he flourishes with reckless abandon, and swears that the life of the vile seducer shall pay the penalty. “But it was my fault,” sobs the wife. This changes the complexion of affairs, and the second act of the drama, which has been previously rehearsed, comes on. “Then, madam, you shall be the one to suffer. To-morrow I will commence proceedings for divorce. The world shall know of your perfidy. The papers of this city shall ring with the story of your downfall. You, sir, I will brand as the invader of my home, and will make you a stench in the nostrils of all decent people. It will be useless for you to deny what I shall say, for I have witnesses to the revelations of this night, etc., etc.” This is probably the way the affair occurred, for all agree that there was nothing new or original in the modus operandi of the little scheme played by the blackmailer and her pal. The poor dupe thought it useless to kick, and arranged the matter by giving his check for $500, which, when cashed, overdrew his private bank account, and thus brought to the notice of his partners the little escapade.

The woman who figured in this romance, which did not have very much romance in it either, is a rather prepossessing brunette, tall and stylish. Her history, as far as Minneapolis is concerned, is somewhat interesting. She was brought to the city from Cincinnati about three years ago, by a leading young business man, who is considered quite prominent because of the honored name he has inherited rather than on account of any noticeable business ability or social graces. At the end of a year the woman hinted that she was about to become a mother, and desired a settlement. The prominent young business man possessed a wife and several children, as well as a summer residence at Minnetonka, and couldn’t very well have this thing come before the public, so he compromised by paying $4,000, the sole consideration on the part of the party of the second part being that she would maintain a discreet and very deep silence. It is, perhaps, needless to say that there was no truth in the woman’s assertions as to her maternity, but the scheme worked so successfully that within a few months another prominent business man was entangled in the meshes. This gentleman also holds his head rather high. He lives on the interest of money left him, which he has increased by a few real-estate speculations and a fortunate marriage. He was very sly about this little affaire d’amour – so devilish sly that he kept it entirely away from his intimate associates who would have probably protected him. When the “pinch” came, however, he did not give up with the desired alacrity. He had a young and pretty wife, who is not inclined to stand much nonsense, so he afterwards thought better of the matter and sent a friend to Cincinnati, where a settlement was made for $3,000. The woman is now seen almost daily on the streets, and seems to think that the climate of Minneapolis agrees with her better than that of Cincinnati. She probably has another innocent in tow by this time, and if he recognizes the cut accompanying this article he may perhaps be brought to realize what he is in for.

[“Female Blackmailer. - How Several Prominent Business Men of Minneapolis Fell Victim to Her Wiles. - The Injured-Husband Racket and Successful Threats to Make Other Hearts Ache. - A Cincinnati Siren Who Finds Minnesota Agrees With Her Financially. - A True Story Without Names, Which Carries an Unwritten Moral With It.” The St. Paul Daily Globe (Mn.), Dec. 5, 1885, p. 3]




Ollie P. Ellis ("The California Dutchess," "Chicago Daisy"), The Badger Game in 1886

FULL TEXT: Detectives Raff and Block yesterday afternoon learned that Ollie P. Ellis, alias The “California Duchess,” alias the “Chicago Daisy,” had returned to the city by the 10:40 train from Baltimore. She proceeded to a fashionable up-town hotel with companion named David S. Ketchum. They registered as man and wife. They had hardly settled down in their room when they received a call from the detective named.

They were taken to the fifth Precinct Station-House and locked up on a charge of being suspicious persons. This is the third time that the woman has been in the custody of the authorities here. The police say the object of the pair was to work the “badger game,” which is simply a bald-faced blackmailing scheme. They were both before Judge Snell this morning on the charge being suspicious persons. Judge Snell required them to give bonds or be committed for three months to the workhouse. He also forfeited the bond given by the ”Daisy" at her last trial. The money was paid and the two left at 12:10 on the B. & O. railroad.

The “Duchess” has had a wonderful career, having worked her schemes in every large city in the Union, and, it is said, has made $60,000 by blackmailing. She is fine looking, rather portly in appearance and a fascinating talker. Her plan was to set up an establishment, passing herself as a lady of means, get some prominent compromised with her, and then demand hush money.

In one of her recent visits to this city she blackmailed an amorous member of one of the foreign legations here out of $500, she threatening exposure of the distinguished foreigner if he did not give her more hush money, but he at last absolutely refused to yield further to her importunities. It is said that some spicy correspondence took place between the “Duchess” and the gay foreign Lothario, which, if published, would cause a social scandal of rare magnitude.

She arrived in the city yesterday accompanied by Ketchum, whom she intended to pass off on the distinguished foreigner as her brother come to demand satisfaction, and require a large sum of hush money to keep the matter quiet. This was the little game that the police spoiled. It is also said that on her former visit the woman blackmailed a prominent hotel man for a large sum.

A CRITIC reporter found the Duchess, dressed in a magnificent costume, resplendent with diamonds and jewels, sitting disconsolately in the little whitewashed waiting-room of the Police Court this morning. “All these stories, about me are base fabrications,” she cried, her fair breast heaving with emotion and her pretty black eyes snapping. “I cannot understand why I am persecuted this way by the press and the police. I have never blackmailed anyone, and I haven’t the sensational career that the papers represent. I am a married woman, and have five children. My daughter is now in Europe being educated, and my son in California. I expect him here shortly, and he will make it hot for some of these people who have been persecuting me.

“Our family has been persecuted over since I can remember. Colonel Snelbaker was the cause of my sister’s ruin and of my father’s death. It is true that I have seen considerable of the country, for I have had the money to travel, but I am perfectly innocent of all these charges about blackmailing any one here.” Detective Raff stated Kethcum admitted that he know the character of the woman, and that he was discharged from his position of clerk of the Clarendon Hotel in Baltimore on her account.

[“Her Latest Victim. - The Duchess Returns to Blackmail a Foreign Diplomat.” The Washington Critic (D.C.), Feb. 21, 1886, p. 1]



Fayne Moore, Champion Badger Game Dame – 1898

There are a great many newspaper articles on the remarkable exploits of Fayne Moore. Here are two.


FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): When the case of William E. A. Moore and Fayne Moore was called in a New York court Tuesday, Mrs. Moore’s entrance created a sensation. They are accused of working the “badger game” on Martin Marion.

Mrs. Moore’s beauty struck everybody in that crowded court room as she walked to the rail. There was a buzz of admiration from the 150 talesmen [the jury pool] and the throng of spectators in the rear of the court room. Recorder Goff looked interested, and the lawyers turned to discover the cause of the stir.

Mrs. Moore was perfectly composed. She might easily have been the most unconcerned person in the court room.

She was handsomely, even gorgeously dressed. She wore a dark green skirt, trimmed with heavy black braid. Her waist was of a light red silk. She wore a watch, crusted with jewels, on her bosom, and on her fingers sparkled several, magnificent rings. In her ears were large diamonds.

Mrs. Moore’s picture hat was a wonderful creation. A dozen large black ostrich plumes of the most expensive sort trembled upon it and had shaded her face on one side. Mrs. Moore wore this wonderful hat tilted a little over left ear.

Mrs. Moore bowed to Recorder Goff, with a little smile, shook hands with Mr. Levy and then looked calmly about her. Every pair of eyes in the big court room was turned upon her, but this did not seem either to surprise or disconcert her. Her expression was one of amused interest, as though the proceedings did not concern her personally in the slightest.

She took a seat beside lawyer Levy. On her left was her husband. She bowed to him in a matter-of-fact way.

And then was noticed a remarkable peculiarity of this most remarkable prisoner.

Asst. Dist. Atty Daniel O’Reilly stood in front of the counsel’s table and next to Mr. McIntyre. Mrs. Moore turned her wonderful blue eyes on Mr. O’Reilly and he blushed like a schoolboy. A moment later she caught the eye of Register Isaac Fromme, who happened to be in the court. Mr. Fromme is not easily discomfited, but he could not withstand that gaze. He blushed, too, then turned and walked into a far-off corner.

Others who mot the calm gaze of those bewildering orbs of deepest blue shared a like fate.

Nobody cared what transpired in the court room. Every eye was upon the beautiful prisoner.

During all this time not a word had been spoken. The silence was becoming oppressive.

“I must insist that this woman leave the court room,” said Mr. McIntyre, addressing Recorder Goff. “I have my reasons.”

Mrs. Moore looked displeased. She frowned at Mr. McIntyre. Then she smiled at Col. Gardiner. She smiled at the judge and leaned back once more.

Finally Mr. McIntyre consented to Mrs. Moore remaining in the court room. He insisted, however, that she be placed in a far-off corner, inside the judge’s railing. This was done.

Mrs. Moore arose from her seat. She bowed to a court officer who approached her, and then followed him inside the inclosure and sat down in the far corner of the court room, from where she cannot see the witness chair nor the jury box.

After the session was concluded Asst Dist Ally McIntyre made the following statement to a reporter:

“I believe that there is such a thing as hypnotism. During my experience as an assistant, district attorney I have come across many such cases. This has every indication of being a genuine instance.

“Mrs. Johnson, with whom Mrs. Moore boarded in this city, has assured us that she is capable of hypnotizing al most any man. Her eyes are wonderful. Had I allowed her to sit before the jury there is no telling what would happen.

“I am hypnotism proof, I knew what Mr. Levy was after when he tried to have Mrs. Moore remain at his side during the trial.

“I am certain of the conviction of the defendant Moore, and the trial of Mrs. Moore will promptly follow. They have no place in thin community.”

[“Mrs.  Moore’s Eyes Dazzle A Court. - Assistant District Attorney McIntyre Compels Her Retirement from Jury’s View.” The Boston Daily Globe (Ma.), Dec. 1, 1898, p. 9]


FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 2): Almost every year of her life, one of the richest women in the world used to travel 2000 miles to eat Christmas dinner with her old mother in America The war changed the schedule of these pilgrimages. The latest visit came this summer.

The rich woman began these pilgrimages soon after the time, 20 years ago, when she stepped from the stage of the London Gaiety Theatre and into the arms of the Diamond King of Kimberley. For eleven months in the year she divides her time between her palatial London home, her English country estate, Tans and the Riviera, but for one month she packs her trunks, crosses the Atlantic and journeys far into the sunny South just so she can sit down in a small, one story cottage and care the Christmas turkey for a white-haired old lady who calls her “my little girl, Pet.”

~ A Strange Life Drama ~

The life story of this woman reads like fiction. The “toast of the town” in a big southern city; a principal in a “badger” game in which a New York millionaire was the victim, the wife of a convict sentenced to 20 years in Sing Sing, the sensation of Parisian boulevards because she threw a bottle at a marquis; a London chorus girl; the bride of the Diamond King these might form the titles to lurid chapters in her career. The South knew her as “the sweetest girl in Dixie.” New York called her “the beautiful blackmailer.” In London and Paris she was a stage favorite with a reputation for temper as well as for looks. She is chiefly famous today for the $300,000 rope of pearls she wears in London drawing-rooms. But to the little old lady, her mother, she will always be just “Pet.” Mrs. Fayne Strahan Moore Lewis to give “Pet” her full name is the daughter of the late fudge Reuben Scott Strahan, who was chief justice of the state of Oregon when “Pet” was born there 35 years ago. Her mother was Sara Wilson, a daughter of the famous Kentucky Wilsons, the bluest blood of the Blue Grass.

~That “Fatal Gift”~

Almost from infancy “Pet” was beautiful.

“When she was a little girl,” says her mother, “her hair fell below her knees in a thick rope of gold. It was the richest, finest hair I’ve ever seen, and her eyes were a peculiar greenish blue. She had beautiful white teeth and everyone agreed her figure was perfect.”

“Pet” still retains that beauty today, for, according to her mother, she has always taken the most scrupulous care of her looks, dieting when she threatens to become fat, so that she never allows herself to weigh more than 115 pounds. But it was her beauty, too a ruinous beauty that “Pet” sorrow and as well as fame and riches.

She was living in the city of where her mother moved because of her health after Judge Strahan’s death, when she first felt the lure of the footlights. Already she was the most beautiful girl in a city of beautiful girls. Staid citizens who today are judges of courts and in the business world of Atlanta used to sit for hours on the Strahan porch, playing their banjos and for the benefit of little “Pet.” She danced in Atlanta’s Kirmess so gracefully that, says her mother, in a week she had three proposals. And she was only 18.

When she was 20 “Pet” went to New York to study art. That was in the early There she met and married William A. F. Moore, a relative of the wife of the late Senator Mark Hanna. Then came the episode that stirred the country as no criminal case has since, with the possible exception of the Thaw trial. Mr. and Mrs. Moore were arrested on a charge of attempting to blackmail Martin Mahon, a New York millionaire, out of $50,000. The old “badger game” was said to be the means they used. The trial was the sensation of the decade.

According to the testimony, “Pet” was ordered by her husband to undress to her chemise in the hotel room they occupied and to telephone downstairs for Martin Mahon, who owned what was then one of New York’s most palatial hostelries.

Mahon, even then an old man, entered his room and closed the door behind him. Almost before he had time to say anything, a double rap sounded at the door. The woman motioned to him to creep under the bed and Mahon. Bewildered and frightened, did so. Enter then William Moore, who called to him to come out, threatened to shoot them both, and finally, Mahon testified, agreed to “keep quiet” if the old man gave him a check for $50,000.

Mahon signed the check then and there, but it was never cashed. Two minutes after he had left the room the pair were arrested.

Moore was sentenced to 20 years in Sing Sing prison, but “Pet” went free. The evidence was strong against her. but her old friends from Atlanta fought hard in her behalf. A young Atlanta lawyer, one of her suitors, now a supreme court judge, traveled to New York to defend her gratis. The jury was so moved by her beauty that one juryman, interviewed after she was acquitted, declared that no judge or jury in the world would believe anything ill of such a wide-eyed innocent looking girl.

~ Her Career in London ~

The world next heard of “Pet” abroad, when her portrait appeared in some of the sensational newspapers of the day, under such captions as this:

“This lady will be remembered as the wife of the gentleman who is at present lingering in Sing Sing for having attempted, with the assistance of his wife, to ‘badger’ the late Martin Mahon out of $50,000. For some reason the subsequent case against Fayne was not pressed, and she is at present in Paris, where she recently proved herself, in a cafe, a perfect lady by hurling a bottle at a marquis who, she considered, was staring at her too strenuously. Then she repented and asked the waiter to introduce the marquis, and all went merry as a marriage bell – a simile which should not be taken too literally. Fayne Moore and Florence Crosby, also in Paris and ‘very popular,’ according to the cable dispatcher, have met and taken a great liking for each other, each of them no doubt acting as a restraint upon her companion, in case of excess of exuberance. Shortly after the Martin Mahon affair Fayne was engaged to appear at Koster & Bial’s Music Hall in  ‘Round New York in Eighty Minutes,’ but changed her mind at the last of the eighty minutes and moved to Europe. Oh, woman, in our hours of ease!”

Another paper hail the following item: “Fayne Moore, the woman who once upon a time declared that she would stay in New York and tight as long as she lived for the pardon of her husband. William A E. Moore, who is serving a sentence of 20 years in Sing Sing prison for attempting to ‘badger’ Martin Mahon out of $50,000. But the charming Fayne was altogether too young and vivacious to enact for any considerable length of time the role of a martyr. She prefers a livelier type and, according to report, is playing a small part under an assumed name in ‘The Messenger Boy,’ now running at the Gaiety Theatre in London. It is whispered also that she will soon marry again.”

~ Again a Bride ~

That “whisper” came true, for in less than three weeks after he had secured her part at the Gaiety, “Pet” Strahan, divorced from her convict-husband had become the bride of Henry D Lewis, son of Isaac Lewis, who, with the late Barney Barnato, is reputed to own the biggest diamond mines in the world, the famous Kimberley and De Beers mines in South Africa

The wedding was an international sensation, but in marrying a millionaire while she was a chorus girl, “Pet” Strahan only ran true to form, for the Gaiety girls have ever been famous for just such alliances. From this theatre such famous actresses as Edna May, Fanny Ward, Madge Leasing and Helen Ward all went into homes of xx wealth, the brides of rich Englishmen.

Of them all, however, none got a richer prize than did “Pet” Strahan Moore and Fanny Ward, for they married into the same family and some idea of its wealth may be gained when it is stated that the Barnate Lewis interests paid more than $100,000,000 in war tax alone to the British empire.

Fanny Ward married an uncle of “Pet’s” husband, a brother of Isaac Lewis. And the strange part of the story is that Fanny Ward’s daughter Dorothy, at the age of 17, married Barney Barnato’s son. Capt. Isaac Barnato, an officer of the Royal Air Force who served with distinction in the Dardanelles.

~ Romance at the London Home ~

The two met in the London home of “Pet” Lewis, and it was she who engineered the marriage, which was performed secretly at her home.

But, like her own first marriage, it was doomed to tragedy Young Barnato died after he and his girl bride had had only one Christmas together, leaving Dorothy grief-stricken but with some consolation in the two millions to which she fell heir.

It is a notable fact that the biggest things in the lives of these two famous women, Fanny Ward and “Pet” Lewis, is the love of the one  for her daughter, and of the other for her mother.  Almost the same time that Fanny Ward was crossing the ocean to England to console her little girl over the death of her husband and to see to the settlement of the estate, “Pet” Lewis was crossing the ocean in the opposite direction to visit her old mother.

The two had been separated for four years because of the war four years when “Pet” was not able to come home for that annual Christmas feast in the little vine-covered cottage.

But the last thing she said as she left her mother in Atlanta to return to England after a visit of ten days this summer was: “I will be back to eat Christmas turkey with you.”

[Ward Greene, “Why Beautiful Fayne Moore Comes Back America - The Extraordinary Life of the Principal Figure in a Notorious “Badger Game” Trial, Now Married to the “Diamond King, “ and Who Once Again Has Crossed the Sea to Visit Her Aged Mother in Atlanta.” Syndicated (Newspaper Feature Service), Aug. 9, 1919, magazine section]










For more cases like this one, see: Vamps – Femmes Fatales – Predatory Women