Elizabeth Short aka The Black Dahlia

It was the morning of January 15, 1947, when a mother was taking her child on a walk when she stumbled upon an ungodly sight: a young naked woman who was sliced in half at the waist. The body was so still that the mother originally thought it was a mannequin. Despite being cut in half and mutilated there was no blood at the scene which indicated that the young woman must have been murdered somewhere else.

The identifying of her body was quicker than one would think for 1947. The LA Police Department sent over her fingerprints to the FBI via a caveman version of a fax machine (which itself today is a relic). The fingerprints were luckily in the FBI database. The young woman was none other than Hollywood hopefull Elizabeth Short. She had been arrested for underage drinking a few months earlier and had applied for a job at the Army’s Camp Cooke a few years earlier which is why she was able to be identified quickly. The press labeled her Black Dahlia based on a movie that was out at the time called Blue Dahlia and rumor that Elizabeth liked to wear sheer black clothes.

To this day the killer has not been found. At the time over 60 people confessed to the murder but only 25 of them were considered viable suspects by the LAPD. Because of this legend, more suspects keep getting added to the list and now over 500 people have confessed to her murder (some of which weren’t even born at the time of her death!). Because of the clean nature of the cuts on Short’s body, the police believed the killer to be a medical professional.

Since this crime was committed 72 years ago, the odds of us ever figuring out who the real killer is are slim to none. It will forever be a mystery, a mystery that will go unsolved.

The Most Successful One-Armed Serial Killer You Never Heard About: Peter Stumpp

And no, we didn’t make that up. The one-armed madman’s last name really was “Stumpp” although it was also commonly spelled Stube, Stubbe, or Stumpf based on its Germanic roots. Good ‘ol stumpy was a German farmer, popular for his alleged love of witchcraft, cannibalism, and, oh yeah, being a werewolf. In the late Middle Ages, being a werewolf was as serious a crime as you could commit.

During his trial–once again, for being a werewolf–he was tortured by stretching. Sometimes the rack is just the only way you can get to the truth. Shockingly, poor Petey confessed. He learned the dark arts from a young age, practicing black magic by the time he was twelve. He was able to transform himself into a werewolf with the help of a magical belt gifted to him by the Devil. The Church believed the story, but oddly enough they never managed to find that darn belt.

Stumpp also confessed to cannibalism. According to his true accounting of the horrific events that led to the accusations levied against him, he chowed down at least fourteen kids. He liked the taste of human veal so much that he ripped the fetuses out of two pregnant women he’d already eaten, and wolfed them down too. He described the meals as “dainty morsels,” describing his hunger for raw, hot meat. Among the fourteen kids was his son. Stumpp ate his brain.

He also had an alleged incestuous relationship with his own daughter, who, no surprise, was obviously sentenced to die with him. You have to scour the infection completely, after all.

If these crimes weren’t enough, he also had sex with a succubus. Another gift from the Devil.

The execution of these truly heinous individuals put any act of brutality committed in the Roman Colosseum to absolute shame. Stumpp’s daughter was flayed living, and then strangled to death.

Stumpp didn’t have it so good. The flesh was torn from his body by heated pincers. His limbs were smashed with the flat side of an axe so that he could never be raised from the dead (always a concern). He was then beheaded. His body was burned alongside his daughter’s on a pyre. Done is done, or it would have been, but there was a point to be made. As a deterrent, Peter’s severed head was shoved atop a pole.

For some reason this version of events is contested. Some people believe that the whole charade was a political ploy by the Church to prevent anyone else converting from catholicism (as Peter had likely done). How silly!

The Greatest Medieval Serial Killers: Gilles de Rais

There’s just something special about the Middle Ages. Everything was grittier, darker, and more fantastical than it is today (even if the media would have us think differently). Gilles de Rais was a knight, a lord, and a companion to the famous Joan of Arc during the Hundred Years’ War. Sounds like a chaste guy, right? Oh, but he also enjoyed murdering children. In fact he enjoyed it so very much that he perhaps disposed of hundreds. An interesting fellow, to be sure.

From at least 1432 until 1440, a string of murders took place. They stopped when Gilles was found guilty, condemned to death, and sent to the gallows.

Gilles may have known something of the ancient Roman festival called Saturnalia. It was during this week-long celebration that a common subject was chosen from among the masses to be feasted with food and drink, to be pampered and loved. At the end of the joyous occasion, the subject was butchered as a representation of gluttonous evil overcome by the forces of good.

This is precisely how Gilles de Rais killed his victims. He would provide his intended victim with wonderful new garments, then a feast complete with copious amounts of alcohol. It was only then that Rais brought the victim to a kill room and took care of his baser desires by pleasuring himself. He would sexually assault the victim before the murder was completed.

The victims were routinely tortured. They were sometimes decapitated or dismembered. Other times their throats were cut or their necks were broken. Those who bore witness to these terrible crimes against humanity testified that Rais took immense pleasure in the pain he inflicted upon the children, and he also enjoyed the sight of their internal organs after they were dead.

Rais was only discovered after he kidnapped a cleric. An investigation was put forth by the Bishop of Nantes, and it didn’t take very long before Rais was found out. He was charged with murder, sodomy, and heresy. The court planned to torture Rais into confessing his sins, but Rais ruined the fun by confessing all on his own.

Most of the victims’ bodies were burned, but a grave of at least 40 was found. The total number of murders is thought to be between 80 and 200, making him perhaps one of the greatest serial killers of all time. His body was, perhaps quite fittingly, burned after his execution.

Then again, there are a number of counter-arguments and theories that claim Gilles de Rais was likely innocent of the crimes, and subject to a plot with ulterior motives.

This Dead Pope Faced Trial in The Year 897: Medieval Madness!

Sometimes all you have to do in order to realize that the modern age really isn’t so bad is look back. History has shown us that humans are capable of horrific things, great things, and–often–some absurdly crazy-weird things. In 897, Pope Stephen VI decided that his predecessor should be adorned in traditional pontifical garb and placed on a throne in one of the basilicas of Ancient Rome. The skeleton-man thus stood trial. Not surprisingly, it was called “The Dead Pope Trial.”

In 882, John VIII was the first pope ever assassinated after a brutal clubbing by hammer. Ouch. In the years that followed, three more popes passed through Rome. All died quickly. From 891 until his death in 896, Pope Formosus had the job. He was the first ex-communicant to enjoy the title. He died of a stroke and was interred in a vault at St. Peters. Not a wonderful couple of decades for the church.

Stephen VI was put into power by Formosus’ rivals, and they didn’t wait long before placing the dead man on trial for crimes innumerable. There was a meeting called the Cadaver Synod, attended by bishops and cardinals, before the matter was put to a vote and the corpse was removed from its resting place. Pope Stephen prosecuted the dead man himself. His first matter was appointing the defense–a fresh eighteen-year-old deacon. Sounds like the trial was guaranteed to be fair.

This is when it starts to get amusing!

Stephen posed a number of questions to Formosus, asking him why he committed his crimes. Because the dead man refused to answer such simple inquiries, Stephen decided that the Church should find him guilty. The bishops agreed.

When found guilty of egregious crimes, one must be punished. Formosus had the skeleton-fingers once used for blessings chopped off, he was stripped naked, and then his body was dumped in the Tiber River. This next part is straight out of A Game of Thrones: monks who believed Formosus to be innocent retrieved his body. It wasn’t long before word spread that miracles were taking place all along the Tiber–enacted by none other than Formosus himself.

A coup followed shortly thereafter, deposing and imprisoning Pope Stephen VI. It was there he was murdered. Formosus was returned to his resting place (St. Peter), exhumed, returned to its second resting place (the Tiber), and then brought back (St. Peter).

In 898 trials of dead men were banned by the new pope, John IX.

Thank god!

Who Is Michael Rockefeller?

If you are a history buff or conspiracy theorist, the last name Rockefeller is well-known. Nelson Rockefeller was a Vice President as well as the Governor of New York, garnering him Rockefeller Square where the famous Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place each year. Michael Rockefeller was the fifth child of Nelson and Mary Clark.

Michael Rockefeller was reported missing on November 19th, 1961 and was declared legally dead three years in 1964. Until this day, his body has not been found and the details of his disappearance are unknown. This seems odd considering how much money and power the name Rockefeller contains.

After working with the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and studying the Dani Tribe, Michael left to begin studying the Asmat Tribe in Netherland New Guinea. During an excursion on a pontoon boat on November 17th, Michael, anthropologist Rene Wassing and two locals tipped over. The two local guides swam back to shore to get help. At this time, the shore was approximately 3 miles away. The boat continued to drift with Rene and Michael. Two days later on November 19th, Rockefeller told Rene that he felt he can swim to shore. At this point, the boat was estimated to be 12 miles from shore. Rene was rescued the next day (November 20th) and Rockefeller was never seen again.

There have been many speculations on what exactly happened to Michael ranging from drowning, eaten by a shark to being captured and eaten by local tribes. Investigations revealed that in 1958, Dutchmen murdered local Otsjnaep tribe members. Therefore it is possible then when the “white” Rockefeller landed on shore he was captured and killed. In 2014, Carl Hoffman published a book Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Micheal Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art. The book strongly suggests that Michael was murdered once arriving on shore. However, in 2011 Agamemnon Films released a documentary showing what appeared to be a white person with a long beard living amongst the locals. We may never know the truth.

Sharon Tate: A Light Extinguished

Sharon Tate has a legacy, but it isn’t one she was designed for when she first arrived in Hollywood. Her star was rising while her life was a wife and soon-to-be mother was in its nascent stages.

Then the flame went out – quicker than it ignited. And that has been her legacy for nearly the last 50 years.

Sharon Tate, married to iconic director Roman Polanski and more than eight months pregnant with the couple’s son, was brutally murdered by members of the Charlie Manson Family in August 1969, taking Tate’s star out of Hollywood just as it was shining at its most bright. She had earned a Golden Globe nomination for her work in Valley of the Dolls in 1967, and she was the headline actress in 12+1, when she was killed – the movie showed in theaters posthumously.

Sadly, though, her Hollywood career in life was not long enough to overshadow her death, though she was on the way to possible greatness in the wake of her most recent performances. However, it took the cult fame and cruelty of the Mason Family to take over the legacy and list Tate as just another one of Manson’s victims – though certainly one of the more famous ones.

Tate began in Hollywood as an 18-year-old in 1961 in Barabbas with Anthony Quinn, after entering in a few beauty pageants and earning a cover photo in a swimsuit on the U.S. military magazine Stars & Stripes, which garnered her some celebrity status in Italy, where her military family was stationed.

Her performance in Barabbas got her name in Hollywood and she moved on from modeling and started focusing more on acting. At the time of her murder, she had ascended to receiving top actress billing in her latest films, including a 1967 Polanski project called The Fearless Vampire Killers, where she had met Polanski and ended up marrying in January 1968.

While Tate’s actual murderer is unknown (she was killed along with four others inside the home she shared with Polanski), Charles Manson served the rest of his life in prison for running the Manson Family and guiding it through its crime spree that included several murders. Since her death, Tate’s mother and sister advocated for changes to California’s sentencing and criminal laws which led to Manson’s’ lifetime imprisonment. For their work, Sharon Tate’s life has served as a symbol for victims’ rights, as many of the reforms in California were implemented in other states as well.

Sharon Tate will sadly be known as perhaps the sot famous of Charles Manson’s’ victims, instead of being remembered for her beauty and promising acting career. It is another one of those situations where usually the last thing you do or have done to you that impact the most people is what will be remembered. But at the end of the day, Tate’s family will make sure that her name lives on and has a more lasting impression than anything Manson ever did.

Famous Criminal Defense Attorneys

Being a defense attorney is often a question or morality. In the United States, our constitution declares everyone is innocent until proven guilty. However, in the court of public opinion, there are many who are quick to judge and deem a guilty verdict before the trial has begun. And while many alleged criminals might actually be guilty of their accused crime, a defense lawyer doesn’t need to prove that the alleged criminal didn’t commit the crime, just show that the evidence presented by the prosecution is not sufficient enough to prove the alleged crime. Some defense lawyers are better than others. Here’s a list of the most famous defense lawyer.

Johnnie Cochran  – Best known for defending O.J. Simpson when he was accused of murdering his wife Nicole Brown Simpson, where he famously said “If the glove don’t fit, you must acquit.” Cochran was successful and earned Simpson an acquittal. He has also represented other celebrities accused of crimes such as P. Diddy, Snoop Dogg, Rosa Parks, Michael Jackson, and Tupac Shakur. In the P. Diddy weapons charge case, Cochran was able to get him acquitted on all charges.

Mark Geragos – Best known for defending Scott Peterson who was accused of murdering his pregnant wife, Lacie Peterson, during the same time period where he was defending Michael Jackson, who was being accused of molestation. Attempting to defend two high profile cases at the same time became costly for Geragos; Jackson dropped him as a lawyer and Scott Peterson was found guilty and sentenced to death.

Howard K. Stern – Best known for representing Anna Nicole Smith and appearing on her reality TV show. The two of them dated in 2006 and were married in 2007. After Anna Nicole gave birth to her daughter Dannielynn, Howard was thrust into a paternity lawsuit against Larry Birkhead, which he lost. He was then arrested and tried for conspiracy surrounding prescription medications for Anna Nicole. However, these charges were dismissed as Judge Robert Perry believed that the fake names used in obtaining prescriptions were for Anna Nicole’s protection.

The Infamous Life Of Jordan Belfort

Ever since the hit movie “The Wolf Of Wall Street” premiered in 2013, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, Belfort’s personal life and story has become rather infamous. Although he scammed investors out of $200 million, he may be even more well-known for the activities and debauchery of his private life.

Belfort At His Peak

At his peak, socially and financially, Belfort could be seen by many as a legend — amassing an immense fortune and lifestyle to accompany it. At the age 31, he already was a multimillionaire stockbroker, in possession of a helicopter, yacht, plane, and more. But how did he make all this money? Well, Belfort founded the company Stratton Oakmont, a stockbroker firm based on Long Island. His success came from his incredible sales tactics, reportedly able to sell anything to anyone. He was able to transfer these tactics to young brokers, many of them fresh out of school. He handed them a script to read and trained them in his program, allowing them to successfully cold-call potential investors. These practices, along with some illegal ones that will later be explored, allowed Belfort to earn $50 million a year. However, the numbers get even more insane. Allegedly, he once made $12 million in just three minutes! However, these astronomical figures did not come without a cost.

The Darker Side

Jordan Belfort’s rapid success did not come without a cost. In addition to engaging in illegal trading activities, his life was filled with other debauchery — both legal and illegal. Perhaps most notable was his excessive drug abuse. He preferred the powerful sedative known as Quaaludes, a recreational drug banned in many different countries. He was said to have ran out of Quaaludes during a hotel stay in London, and had his secretary in New York send him an emergency supply at four in the morning. However, Belfort was not alone in his drug indulgence, as many of the brokers at Stratton Oakmont (also know as Strattonites) used cocaine regularly.

Illegal Trading Practices

In addition to Belfort’s illegal personal practices, he employed illegal market manipulation techniques at Stratton Oakmont. Most common were “pump and dump” schemes, a technique where Stratton’s brokers would buy up a bunch of shares of a company for their clients, causing the stock price to rapidly rise or “pump.” At this point, Belfort would “dump” his personal shares on the market, causing the price to collapse and leaving his clients with nothing. Further, he engaged in money laundering, or the concealing of illegally obtained money. Usually, this was done by transferring money to foreign banks, or funneling in the money through legitimate businesses.

Overview

Overall, the story of Jordan Belfort and his firm Stratton Oakmont is certainly a memorable one. Riddled with crime and ethical dilemmas, it is truly unlike any other. However, in present day (after serving jail time), Belfort is reportedly a changed man. He is paying restitution to his victims, and serving as a dutiful father to his children.

Who Is Frank Abagnale?

Frank Abagnale currently works are a security consultant for the FBI academy. However, he is more famously known for his criminal activity in his youth. He is a former check forger, confidence trickster, swindler, and impostor. It’s claimed he assumed at least eight identities and became known as one of America’s most famous impostors. In addition, he escaped prison twice before reaching the age of 21. For his past crimes, he served less than 5 years in a prison before being offered employment with the federal government.

Some of his most famous impersonations include a physician, an airline pilot, a lawyer and a prison agent. With a goal of wanting to fly around the globe for free, he decided to obtain a Pan Am uniform and a fake employee ID. Abagnale then went one to forge an FAA pilot’s license and managed to fly over a million miles with commercial airlines over 250 flights.

Abagnale managed to get a job as a lawyer by forging a law transcript from Harvard University and passing the Louisiana bar exam at just 19. It took him three attempts and eight weeks of intensive studying to pass the bar exam. He also claimed he worked as a teaching assistant at BYU, but the university denies the claim.

Abagnale’s father was the victim of the first con he carried out. The con involved him using a gasoline card his father had given him to pay for gas to get to work to buy tires, car batteries, and other car parts. He then asked the gas station attendants to exchange the products he bought for cash. His father ending up having to pay a $3,400 bill, as Abagnale was just 15 years old.

Drawing on his former life as a criminal, Abagnale wrote four books: Stealing Your Life, The Art of the Steal, Catch Me If You Can and Real U Guide to Identity Theft. He is married to Kelly Anne Welbes and the couple has three children. In addition to working for the FBI academy, Abagnale also runs a financial fraud consultancy firm called Abagnale & Associates. Lots of people in America might know Abagnale from his numerous media appearances over the years.

You can learn more about Frank W. Abagnale at abagnale.com. On the site, you can also learn more about protecting yourself from ID theft, forgery, and embezzlement. The internet has made it easier than ever for criminals to carry out ID theft, so you need to arm yourself with knowledge so you don’t fall victim to the crime.

10 Interesting Facts About Bernie Madoff

Who is Bernie Madoff?

Bernard Lawrence Madoff, more commonly known as “Bernie” is a well-known American-financier that executed the largest Ponzi scheme ever. He defrauded countless investors that accounted for billions over a period of about 17 years.

Despite, his claims of generating steady and large returns through the investing strategy known as “split-strike conversion”, which actually does exist, Madoff deposited his client’s funds into one bank account, where he would pay out clients that wanted a cash out. He funded these redemptions in the way of attracting “new” investors. He failed to maintain this fraud when the markets took a sharp turn in the late part of 2008. Here are 10 interesting facts about Bernie Madoff.

Facts About Bernie Madoff

1. Bernard Lawrence Madoff was born on the 29 April 1938, in Rockaways section of Queens, N.Y.

2. He went onto graduate from Far Rockaway High School. He met Ruth Alpern in high school who later became his wife.

3. When he finished high school, he went to the University of Alabama for a year before he transferred to the Hofstra University. In 1960 he graduated from Hofstra University with a degree in political science.

4. He went to Brooklyn Law School briefly, before leaving to start his company known as Madoff Investment Securities in the year 1960. He used the $5,000 he had managed to save from repairing and installing sprinkler systems and from working as a lifeguard.

5. His reputation and prominence started to grow and he went onto help pioneer electronic-trading. He also testified in front of congressional committees about financial matters, along with serving as a chairman on the board for the Nasdaq Stock Market.

6. He was also an avid golfer who belonged to several exclusive clubs.

7. His sons, Mark and Andrew were made senior employees in his company. They both turned their dad into the federal authorities in 2008, when the Ponzi scheme was made public.

8. The scheme was estimated at around $65 billion and is suggested as the largest in Wall Street history.

9. At the time of receiving charges for the fraud, he owned yachts in New York, Florida and the Mediterranean, a $7 million penthouse based in Manhattan, a villa situated on the French Riviera, a mansion based in the Hamptons, and a 56-foot boat that he named “The Bull.”

10. The 11 counts of theft, money laundering, perjury and fraud ended with Madoff being sentenced to 150-years in prison.

If you are a victim of a similar scheme, it is important that you speak with an medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Sometimes, these schemes are not only tried in a criminal court, but a civil as well.