Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mrs. Otens’ Acid Ambush in New York - 1896

FULL TEXT: As William R. Denman, owner of the Bilenville, N. Y., electric light works and a citizen of that place, was on his way home he passed the residence of Archibald Otens, when Mrs. Otens sprang from behind a tree and dashed a bottle of vitriol into his face.

Mrs. Denman threw up his hand and struck the woman on the arm, scattering some of the vitriol on her face. Mrs. Otens disappeared, leaving her victim suffering alone. A passerby, hearing moaning, was attracted to the spot, and heard Denman cry “For God’s sake! won’t some one help me?”

He was soon removed to a drug store. He was badly burned about the head and face, and the sight of one eye is gone.

Suffering agony from her burns, Mrs. Otens was forced to seek a physician and the story was told. For a long time Mr. Denman had been on friendly terms with Mrs. Otens, and no secret was made of their friendship. Last fall Denman’s affection for her cooled, and was transferred to a young widow, Mrs. John Winslow. Becoming wildly jealous, Mrs. Otens wrote anonymous letters to Mrs. Denman, but without effect. Her next tack was to threaten to shoot Mrs. Denman. This he dared her to do one night when she met him with a revolver, but her courage failed.

She at one time posted on the tombstone of Mrs. Winslow a placard relating the widow’s infidelities and shortcomings.

Mrs. Otens was arrested and taken to the lockup, but her injuries proved to be so serious she was placed in the custody of a policeman.

[“Woman Throws Vitriol. - She Is Detected by Burns on Her Own Face Caused by the Fiery Fluid She Was Jealous.” The Kansas City Journal (Mo.), Oct. 30, 1897, p. 6]


 SEE: “Acid Queens: Women Who Throw Acid” for a collection of synopses of similar cases.


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