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Serial killers. Gangsters. Gunslingers. Victorian-era murderers. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Each week, the Most Notorious podcast features true-life tales of crime, criminals, tragedies and disasters throughout history. This is an interview show, spotlighting authors and historians who have studied their subjects for years, and whose stories are offered with unique insight, detail, and historical accuracy.
 
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On this special Halloween-themed episode of Most Notorious, my guests - professors Lester Friedman and Allison Kavey - talk about Mary Shelley's early 19th-century literary classic, Frankenstein. They explore Shelley's creation of her timeless gothic novel and how her background and circumstances likely influenced her writing, offer some fascinatin…
 
My guest, Western author and historian G.R. Williamson, appeared on Most Notorious a couple of years ago to talk about gunfighters Ben Thompson and King Fisher. He joins me again, this time to tell tales from his book "Notorious Gamblers of the Old West", which includes accounts of colorful card-playing characters like Charles Cora, Lottie Deno and…
 
October 8th, 2021 marks the 150th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, the legendary disaster that destroyed a third of Chicago and made 90,000 residents homeless. While Mrs. O'Leary and her cow are usually portrayed as the culprits behind the catastrophic blaze, my guest, Carl Smith, doesn't believe history has treated her fairly. Professor Smit…
 
We're back again to the Hundred Years War in this episode of Most Notorious - this time in England. Sir William Cantilupe, a battle-hardened knight who had recently been acquitted of murdering his brother Nicholas, was discovered dead in a lonely field in May of 1375, in what appeared to be a staged crime scene. And it was his wife Maude and their …
 
On November 1st, 1843, a dejected servant named Amelia Norman followed her former beau Henry Ballard to the steps of the Astor House Hotel in New York City. There she stabbed him with a folding knife, barely missing his heart. The city's newspapers and moral reformers quickly embraced Miss Norman's cause, seeing it as an opportunity to change seduc…
 
In November of 1407, Louis I, The Duke of Orleans and brother of France's "Mad" King Charles VI, is murdered on a street near his home in Medieval Paris. A police investigation ensues, surprisingly as thorough and detailed as any modern day crime investigation. My guest, Eric Jager, is the author of "Blood Royal: A True Tale of Crime and Detection …
 
On April 24th, 1891, a Bowery prostitute named Carrie Brown (known locally as "Old Shakespeare") was found murdered and mutilated in the seedy East River Hotel. With the Jack the Ripper murders unsolved and still news, many believed that the notorious killer had traveled across the Atlantic to continue his bloody work in the United States - and thi…
 
On March 25, 1935, little George Weyerhaueser, heir to one of the biggest fortunes in America, was kidnapped on his way home from school in Tacoma, Washington. His abductors would keep him manacled in a pit in the middle of the forest as they negotiated a $200,000 ransom with his frantic family. What soon followed would be the largest manhunt in th…
 
In the spring of 1853 the ill-fated William and Mary, an American sailing ship captained by the incompetent Timothy Stinson, departed from England carrying over 200 Dutch, Scotch, Irish and English emigrants, all bound for New Orleans. The voyage was an absolute disaster, replete with illness, bad weather, starvation, a shipwreck, and ultimately th…
 
Do you have a criminal from your family's past that you've always wanted to learn more about, but don't know where to start? On this special episode of Most Notorious, prolific British author Stephen Wade offers helpful tips on how to maneuver through what can be both a daunting and thrilling experience - digging up sordid details of long-lost vill…
 
Of all of the Jack the Ripper suspects, Montague Druitt is the most maligned in modern times, my guests argue, despite the fact that many of his contemporaries believed him to be the murderer of the Canonical Five before drowning himself in the Thames. Jonathan Hainsworth and Christine Ward-Agius are the authors of "The Escape of Jack the Ripper: T…
 
The upscale Highland Park neighborhood in Saint Paul in the late 1940s was a fun place to grow up in. But there was a dark side to the area as well. A trio of gruesome murders of young women happened in a fifteen month period shocked the respectable community. The most memorable for the author was the 1948 murder of seventeen-year-old Geraldine Min…
 
The Cherry Mine in Cherry, Illinois was built to be one of the safest in the United States. However on November 13th, 1909, it caught fire, killing 259 boys and men who were trapped inside, hundreds of feet below ground. A few miners eventually escaped - and later told the tale of their experiences battling darkness, thirst, fire and the ominous "B…
 
Roanoke Island is host every year to the famous "Lost Colony" outdoor drama. It was during the 1967 production that a young makeup artist named Brenda Joyce Holland went missing - her body eventually discovered floating in Albemarle Sound. A murder investigation ensued, with important evidence being mishandled and a slew of suspects to sort through…
 
On the evening of December 23rd 1881, three teenagers, alone in a farmhouse in Ashland Kentucky, were savagely murdered and the house set afire to cover the crime. What followed would be an investigation, trials, a lynching, and a massacre of Ashland citizens by state militia, in this fascinating and tragic series of events. My guest is Joe Castle,…
 
At the tail end of World War Two, a serial killer named James Waybern "Red" Hall, stalked the roads of Arkansas, Kansas and other middle American states, remorselessly murdering kind people who made the unfortunate decision to offer him a ride. My guest, Janie Nesbitt Jones, is the author of “The Arkansas Hitchhike Killer: James Waybern ‘Red’ Hall.…
 
When sheriff's deputies arrived at David and Allene Lamson's Palo Alto home on Memorial Day, 1933, they found David frantic over what he said was a terrible accident in their bathroom. Allene, he explained, had slipped when getting out of the bathtub and bashed her head on the sink, resulting in her death. Investigators, however, believed something…
 
In November of 1912, a young woman named Ella Barham journeyed home, on her horse, to her family farm in Boone County, Arkansas, but never arrived. After her body was discovered, murdered and dismembered, suspicions quickly centered on a neighbor, Odus Davidson, who was rumored to have been in love with Ella, a love never returned. My guest, Nita G…
 
Imprisoned in a Turkish war camp during WW1, two British officers pull off an unbelievable con against their captors involving a Ouija board, an angry ghost and feigned madness - leading to a truly astonishing escape. My guest is bestselling author Margalit Fox, author of "Confidence Men: How Two Prisoners of War Engineered the Most Remarkable Esca…
 
Albert Johnson is famous in Canadian crime history for leading Mounties on a sensational and deadly chase through the Yukon and Northwest Territories during the winter of 1931-32. How he managed to elude police over hundreds of kilometers in subzero temperatures through a mountainous wilderness is as much a mystery as his real identity. To this day…
 
Most of us are familiar with the critically acclaimed film called Catch Me If You Can, based on the autobiography of legendary confidence man Frank Abagnale. It's the story of a brazen teenage imposter who through charm and intellect was able to pass as an attorney, a doctor, a pilot and a university professor in the late 1960s and early 1970s. My …
 
In 1897 a Belgian named Adrien de Gerlache, in command of a ship called the Belgica, sailed to Antarctica with the intent to be the first to reach the south magnetic pole. On the expedition was Norwegian Roald Amundsen, who would later become one of the world's most famous explorers, and Doctor Frederick Cook, who would become one of America's grea…
 
J. Frank Norris rose to fame as the controversial fundamentalist pastor of America's first megachurch, the First Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. He used his pulpit, his newspaper and his radio station to battle his enemies in unscrupulous ways, and when one angry local businessman named Dexter Chipps marched into his office in July of 1926 to …
 
One of the more enduring mysteries in true crime history involves Vincenzo Capone, Al Capone's eldest brother, who abruptly left his struggling family in New York City one day, eventually resurfacing as a lawman with a new identity: Richard Hart. His rise to fame - becoming one of the most famous Prohibition agents of the 1920s - coincided with his…
 
Almost a decade before Bonnie and Clyde blasted their way into our collective public consciousness, Richard and Margaret Whittemore, aka "The Candy Kid" and "Tiger Girl" made national news, not only for their participation in deadly robberies in 1920s New York, but also for their romantic love story, played out through newspaper articles and photog…
 
The late 1960s and early 1970s were witness to some of the worst serial killers in American history. Ranking at the top was Gerard John Schaefer, a cop who used his charisma to lure unsuspecting females into his car before torturing and murdering them in brutal fashion. My guest is Patrick Kendrick, who has spent the past 35 years gathering informa…
 
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