Episode 55: The Boy Fiend, Boston’s Youngest Serial Killer

Jesse Pomeroy was a Victorian era serial killer who stalked the streets of Boston. He predated Jack the Ripper by a decade, and the Boston Strangler by almost a century. At only 14 years old, he was known as the Boy Fiend, a child who tortured and killed his fellow children, becoming Boston’s youngest serial killer.


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Episode 49: The Tong Wars and the Great Chinatown Raid

This week’s episode takes on the early history of Boston’s Chinatown, two murders that took place there at the turn of the twentieth century, and a terrifying crackdown on Chinese Americans in Boston that sparked an international incident and has parallels in today’s headlines.  


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Episode 45: The Skin Book

The Skin Book was written by highwayman George Walton and dedicated to the only man to best him in combat.  While he was a prisoner at Charlestown Penitentiary, Walton wrote a memoir.  According to his wishes, after his death, the book was bound in Walton’s own skin and given to the man who defeated him.  Today, this example of anthropodermic bibliopegy is a prized possession of the Boston Athenaeum.


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Episode 43: The Case of the Somnambulist

When young Albert Tirrell killed his lover Maria Bickford on Beacon Hill, it sparked a scandal that rocked Victorian Boston in the 1840s.  It was a tale of seduction, murder, and the unlikeliest of defenses.  In the end, he would be found not guilty, in the first successful use of sleepwalking as a defense against murder.

We apologize for Nikki’s head cold, some rough cuts that resulted from editing out her sniffles, and the couple of sniffles that made it into the final cut.


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Episode 38: The Reign of Charles “King” Solomon

 

This week’s show is about Charles “King” Solomon, also known as Boston Charlie, whose criminal enterprise placed him at the head of organized crime in Boston throughout the prohibition era.  He reached influence at the national level, set policies in play that led to tragedy at the Cocoanut Grove, and in death, left a wake that may have led to the rise of Whitey Bulger.


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Episode 32: The Gruesome Tale of the Giggler

Everyone knows the story of the Boston Strangler. Fewer people know the tale of The Giggler, Boston’s lesser known serial killer. The victims fit no pattern, they were a young boy and girl, a grown man, and an old lady.  The Giggler would simply feel what he described as an irresistible urge to kill.


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Episode 30: Resurrection Men, a brief history of grave robbing in Boston

Boston, today a city rich with world-class hospitals and medical schools, has a long history of medical innovation.  This week, we take a look at the characters who laid the foundation for these advancements – Resurrection Men. What founding father was a member of a secret grave robbing club?  What were the steps to pulling off the perfect heist?  Tune in this week to find out!


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Episode 27: Burned at the Stake!

Despite what a lot of people think, the victims of the Salem witch trials were hanged, not burned at the stake.  However, in the history of Massachusetts, two women were executed by burning them at the stake, one in 1681 and another in 1755.  If witchcraft was a crime against both the state and God, what crime could be worse in Puritan Boston?  A note about the content this week.  We frankly describe acts of brutal violence, and we at times use the racial language of our 17th and 18th century sources.  If you usually listen with children, you might want to listen to this episode alone first and decide if it’s appropriate for them.

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Episode 24: The Parkman Murder, Boston’s Celebrity Trial of the (19th) Century

In 1849, Boston was rocked by the crime of the (19th) century when Professor John Webster murdered Dr. George Parkman in his lab at Harvard Medical School. The world was riveted by the investigation and trial that ensued, while the Boston Brahmins were shaken to the core by the scandal in their ranks. The courtroom drama lived up to our modern-day CSI standards, offering one of the earliest uses of forensic evidence and a legal standard still in use today. Listen to the show!

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