Wednesday, June 6, 2018

"The Horror, the Horror!"

From Apocalypse Now.  No, nothing like this.

Sep. 29, 1912, Charles Pfanschmidt, his wife, daughter and a school teacher who lived in the same house were dismembered, beheaded, skulls split open, and their bodies burned before the house was set afire.[1]  His son attempted to hide Charles’ body, in the hopes Charles would be blamed for the murders.[2]  He was eventually convicted of the murders.[3]
Category: Family.
Suicide: No.
Cause: Apparently, greed.  Murderer attempted to buy 20 used automobiles.[4]
Weapon: axe, at least.[5]


[1] “Four killed in Sleep in Farm Home,” Rock Island [Ill.] Argus, Sep. 30, 1912, 1; “Burned Bodies in Stove,” The Daily Gate City [Keokuk, Ia.], Apr. 8, 1913, 6.
[2] “Demands Death for Pfanschmidt,” The Day Book [Chicago, Ill.], Apr. 19. 1913, 3.
[3] “Delay for Pfanschmidt,” Rock Island [Ill.] Argus, Oct. 18, 1913, 14.
[4] “Burned Bodies in Stove,” The Daily Gate City [Keokuk, Ia.], Apr. 8, 1913, 6
[5] “Horrible Deed of Despondent Man,” Dubuque [Ia.] Telegraph-Herald, Dec. 28, 1911, 87

Interestingly enough, I was looking for mass murders not in the Wikipedia list.  The phrase "mass murder" appears to be uniquely 20th century.  So I hunted for family and murders within 10 words of each other.

1 comment:

w rorke said...

Again, I recommend the book The Man from the Train. By Bill James (known as father of Sabremetrics).