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Serial Killer Quarterly Vol.1 No.3 “Unsolved in North America”

Serial Killer Quarterly Vol.1 No.3 “Unsolved in North America”

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Serial Killer Quarterly Vol.1 No.3 “Unsolved in North America”

4.5/5 (2 évaluations)
185 pages
2 heures
Sep 29, 2014


Another triple feature! “Unsolved in North America” - the third issue of Serial Killer Quarterly - focuses on 6 American and 2 Canadian cases of multiple murderer in which the slayer has eluded justice.

Three years before Jack the Ripper stalked the streets of Whitechapel, a bold and barefoot killer was slipping into Austin's outbuildings to murder and rape black servant girls, sometimes after death. In his Servant Girl Annihilator, acclaimed true crime writer Harold Schechter drags this gruesome piece of Texan history back into the light for modern eyes to behold. 2500 miles north as the crow flies, and 20 years later, a series of bizarre decapitation/arson murders commenced in the gold-gutted Yukon.

Canadian serial murder specialist Lee Mellor takes a look at these slayings, along with providing nail-biting articles on America's most infamous unsolved serial murder case, the Zodiac Killer of San Franscisco, as well as the Montreal Child Murders: a spate of tragic pedophile killings which plagued the city throughout the Eighties.

Another Franco-American cultural centre was shaken to the core between 1918-1919, when the shadowy Axeman of New Orleans slashed and bludgeoned unsuspecting Italian couples in their beds. Grinning Man Press co-founder Aaron Elliott tells of this jazz-happy native of Tartarus, and his possible (but improbable) connection to organized crime.

The mob also appear as unlikely suspects in prolific author Michael Newton's The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run. Set against the backdrop of prohibition-era Cleveland, a seemingly-bisexual butcher left at least 10 victims dismembered and disfigured in and around the city while legendary detective Eliot Ness faltered in his attempts to capture the perpetrator.

In more recent events, Robert Hoshowsky and Kim Cresswell reveal the details of intriguing serial murder mysteries on America's two coasts: California's menacing Golden State Killer (aka the Original Night Stalker) and New York's Long Island Serial Killer.

Considering how many of these offenders may still be at large and lurking in a community near you, Grinning Man Press warns that “Unsolved in North America” may destabilize your sense of personal security, result in intense fear and paranoia, and lead you to invest great quantities of money in alarm systems, intricate locks, and firearms.

Sep 29, 2014

À propos de l'auteur

Harold Schechter is a professor of American literature and culture. Renowned for his true-crime writing, he is the author of the nonfiction books Fatal, Fiend, Bestial, Deviant, Deranged, Depraved, and, with David Everitt, The A to Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. He is also the author of Nevermore and The Hum Bug, the acclaimed historical novels featuring Edgar Allan Poe. He lives in New York State.

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Serial Killer Quarterly Vol.1 No.3 “Unsolved in North America” - Harold Schechter

Serial Killer Quarterly

Vol.1 No.3 Unsolved in North America

Grinning Man Press

Serial Killer Quarterly Vol.1 No.3 Unsolved in North America

© 2014 Grinning Man Press

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

eBook ISBN: 978-0-9938232-2-0

First eBook Edition *September 2014

Published by Grinning Man Press

Editor-in-Chief: Lee Mellor

Editors: Lee Mellor, Aaron Elliott

Art Direction: Jonathan Whitehead, Northbound Creations

Cover Image: William Cook




The views expressed by the editor-in-chief of Serial Killer Quarterly do not necessarily represent those of its contributing authors, illustrators, or designers. Similarly, the views expressed by individual authors do not necessarily represent those of Grinning Man Press, or any of the other authors. Duplication and/or distribution of any portion of the ‘Unsolved in North America’ e-magazine is prohibited by law, and may result in legal action by Grinning Man Press.

In this Issue Vol.1 No.3 Unsolved in North America

Introduction to Unsolved in North America

A Quick Note on Style

Letters to the Editor

The Servant Girl Annihilator (1885)

Harold Schechter

Barefoot intruder slaughters black servant girls in their homes in 19th century Austin and has sex with their corpses. Husbands pose no obstacle.

The Headless Valley Murders (1905-1946)

Lee Mellor

At least 6 gold miners and trappers meet foul play in Canada's South Nahanni Valley between 1905-1946, their bodies decapitated and/or homes burned down.

Artist Profile: John Borowski

The Axe Man of New Orleans (1918-1919)

Aaron Elliott

New Orleans, 1918-19: Italian families are butchered in their sleep by jazz-happy home invader who uses their own axes and straight-razors against them.

The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run (1933-1938)

Michael Newton

Celebrity detective Eliot Ness pursues homicidal mutilophile in prohibition-era Cleveland. Killer decapitates both male and female victims while they are still alive, dismembering and castrating.

Kenneth Mains Interview

The Zodiac Killer (1968-1969)

Lee Mellor

Attention-seeking serial killer terrorizes San Francisco area during the Sixties, taunting police and threatening citizens with creepy phone calls and letters to the media.

The Golden State Killer (1976-1986)

Robert J. Hoshowsky

Ski-mask clad rapist escalates to murder in suburban California before disappearing forever on May 4, 1986. Leaves trademark diamond-knot at crime scenes.

Killer Flicks: Grinning Man Reviews Serial Murder Films, Past to Present

The Montreal Child Murders (1981-1992)

Lee Mellor

One November day in 1984, three boys disappear from east Montreal. Two victims are later found murdered. Are they linked to further child slayings?

The Long Island Serial Killer (21st Century)

Kim Cresswell

Remains of 10 victims—almost all sex workers—are discovered along New York's Ocean Parkway from 2010-2011 in the most notorious unsolved of 21st century

Profiling the Servant Girl Annihilator and Mad Butcher with Det. Kenneth Mains

A Preview of the Next Issue: Cruel Britannia


Introduction to Unsolved in North America

Shall I begin with a confession? Unsolved in North America is the issue of Serial Killer Quarterly I've been most looking forward to publishing all year. As a consultant on numerous cold cases, I've always been particularly interested in the murderers that got away with it...particularly repeatedly. As with the ubiquitous image of the top hat and cape associated with Jack the Ripper, we construct shadowy portraits of these perpetrators in our collective mind's eye. These depictions are inevitably larger-than-life and more sinister than the bland serial slayers we locate and contain within the walls of our prisons. Artist William Cook's cover illustration of The Servant Girl Annihilator is a testament to this phenomenon. Unlike the scourge of 19th century Austin, I have always imagined Cleveland's Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run to be a towering bearded man, belly bulging through his blood spattered apron. The Axe Man of New Orleans appears to me only in silhouette, his weapon glinting in the lamplight. In other cases such as the Golden State Killer, Zodiac, and Long Island Serial Killer", surviving victims and witnesses have reported details of the murderer's physical appearance. However, given the notorious inaccuracy of eye witness recall, to what extent can these be trusted?

The reader will likely observe that I have included an inordinate amount of personal contributions in this issue. When the editors at Dundurn Press noted that the manuscript for my book Cold North Killers: Canadian Serial Murder (2012) was going to push the publication into the 500 page plus range, they encouraged me to cut a great deal of the material, and the unsolved cases seemed like the most logical place to start. Three years later, I have taken two of the more fascinating leftovers from the original Cold North Killers manuscript—The Headless Valley Murders and The Montreal Child Killings—stitching them into the patchwork of dead cases that this issue is comprised of.

In addition to the seven cases included in 'Unsolved in North America,' I was also fortunate to interview visionary detective and AISOCC (American Investigative Society of Cold Cases) founder, Kenneth Mains, along with profiling that most wonderful creator of serial killer documentaries, John Borowski. Due to a swell in the volume of content, I have made an editorial decision to significantly reduce the number of side boxes that pervaded the first two issues of Serial Killer Quarterly. Please write lee@grinningmanpress.com and tell us what you think of these changes.

Finally, I am proud to announce that Serial Killer Quarterly is now also available in ebook format, including our back issues '21st Century Psychos' and 'Partners in Pain.' Current subscribers will receive future issues in both of these mediums.

Now, enough of this filler, let's get to the killers. With Harold Schechter and Michael Newton providing features, this one is sure to be a classic.

Enjoy it (but not too much...),

Lee Mellor

Editor-in-Chief, Serial Killer Quarterly


A Quick Note on Style

For those of you who are new to Serial Killer Quarterly, I wish to explain Grinning Man’s unique stance regarding format and tone. Though our company is based in Montreal, Canada, the online nature of our business model allows us to publish for an international audience. For this reason, we have chosen not to select one style of English over another. American authors are free to lose the u’s and extra l’s, while Canadians and Brits can keep them. Thus, our magazines may contain alternate spellings of words such as behavior/behaviour or travelling/traveling in different articles. Let’s face it, we inhabit a globalized world, and bickering about correct language at this level is a futile and pedantic pursuit.

Any names followed by a * are pseudonyms, and are typically employed to protect the identities of surviving victims.

You will also observe that the tone of the individual articles in Serial Killer Quarterly range in degrees from the impressionistic/subjective to more traditional journalistic approaches. Though some readers will likely prefer one style over another, we have tried to incorporate a multitude of voices into Serial Killer Quarterly in order to keep the material varied, and to provide numerous lenses through which to view the topic. Charles Manson—incidentally, a psychopathic cult leader, NOT a serial killer—has been quoted as saying: Look down at me and you see a fool; look up at me and you see a god; look straight at me and you see yourself. In this spirit, we will look from whatever angle our contributors see fit, and maybe, one day, glimpse the full picture.

Letters to the Editor

Are you enjoying this issue of Serial Killer Quarterly? Hating it? Do you have any questions, comments or opinions regarding the magazine or the cases in ‘Unsolved in North America’? Well, dear reader, we’d love nothing more than to hear from you. In the coming issues, this section shall be your soapbox. However, unlike some fiery-eyed street preacher, we do get to respond to you. Sound like fun?

Please send any communications through email to lee@grinningmanpress.com. Enter "Serial Killer Quarterly— Letters to the Editor" into the subject line of your email, and we promise to publish and respond to as many emails as possible in our next issue, ‘Partners in Pain.’ We also welcome suggestions for new stories, issue themes, films to review etc.

Grinning Man Press also accepts manuscripts for full length books, short stories and articles in the genres of true crime, science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, the paranormal, erotica and generally anything that pushes the boundaries of human thought, imagination, convention and comfort. Please send queries to lee@grinningmanpress.com or befriend Grinning Man Press on Facebook, and shoot us a message.

The Servant Girl Annihilator (1885)

Exactly why certain homicides attain legendary status while others, equally or even more heinous, quickly fade from public memory, is a question of compelling interest to aficionados of true crimemurder-fanciers, in Thomas de Quincey's famous phrase. Certainly, setting is often a factor. So is the social status of the victims.

A case in point is the horrific series of killings that took place in Texas in 1885. If the butchery had happened in Manhattan or Chicago instead of Austin, or if the majority of victims had been white and not colored (as the newspapers described them), the crimes, now almost entirely forgotten, would undoubtedly have gone down in the annals of murder as the American equivalent of the Whitechapel horrors. Indeed, there are some who believe that the perpetrator was none other than Jack the Ripper himself. That theory, of course, is approximately as convincing as the one that identifies Lewis Carroll as the Ripper. Still, there is no question that the string of serial killings known as the Servant Girl Murders was every bit as horrific as the atrocities committed a few years later by the Whitechapel phantom.

Founded in 1839 on the site of a remote frontier hamlet called Waterloo, the city of Austin, capital of the newly established Republic of Texas, underwent a dramatic transformation in the following decades. By the 1880s, the sleepy little cow town, initially populated by just over 800 inhabitants (a fourth of them slaves), had evolved into the Athens of the West, a bustling city of 23,000 that boasted mule-driven street cars, Greek Revival mansions, an opera house, three colleges, and the beginnings of a magnificent pink-granite Capitol, which, upon completion, would rank as the 7th largest building in the world.

For local, national, and world news, residents looked to the Austin Statesman, the capital's only morning paper, offering stories compiled from daily Associated Press dispatches, along with full market reports, transcripts of state legislative proceedings, and general information on all subjects, particularly about the great state of Texas (as it proudly advertised).

On the first day of the New Year, 1885, readers of the Statesman were confronted by a singularly shocking story. BLOODY WORK, screamed the headline. In the melodramatic tones typical of the time, the article went on to detail what it called a fearful midnight murdera deed almost unparalleled in the atrocity of its execution.

It happened at the home of William K. Hall, an insurance man lately from Galveston, residing on the western edge of Austin. At around 3:00 AM on Wednesday, December 31, Hall's 17-year-old brother-in-law, Thomas Chalmers, was startled awake when someone stumbled into his bedroom, gasping: Mr. Tom, for God's sake do something to help me. Somebody's nearly killed me. Springing from his bed and striking a light, Chalmers saw Walter Spence standing before him. A young colored fellow, Spence was the boyfriend of the Hall's recently hired cook, Mollie Smith, and had been living with her in the relation of man and wife for the past several months. In the glow of the oil lamp, Chalmers saw that Spence was bleeding freely from several ugly gashes on his head. Exactly how they got there, Spence couldn't say. All he remembered was going to sleep with Mollie in her small room behind the kitchen and waking up some time later in skull-shattering pain, his face slathered with blood, the bed beside him empty.

Evidently assuming that Spence had been injured in a lover's quarrel that had gotten out of hand, Chalmers instructed him to go to the doctor's and get his wounds dressed. Staggering off, Spence managed to make his way to the home of Dr. Ralph Swearengen, who found that the young man had suffered five fearful injuries, including a fracture beneath one eye that had left part of the orbital bone pressed back into the cavity against the eyeball. After resetting the bone and cleaning the various wounds, Bart assured his patient that, though badly hurt, his chances of recovery were favorable.

A few hours later, when the members of the Hall household assembled for breakfast, they were surprised to discover that the kitchen hearth was cold and the dinner table bare. Mollie, who was usually about her duties before sunrise, was nowhere to be seen. It was not until 9

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