For almost two years in the early 1960s, women in Boston lived in fear of a killer who became known as the Boston Strangler. Thirteen women were killed, and the murders were eventually attributed to Albert DeSalvo, based on his confession, details revealed in court during a separate case, and DNA evidence linking him to the last murder victim. It’s been over fifty years since DeSalvo was imprisoned on unrelated charges, leaving many people to question whether he was really the lone killer.
got us thinking about serial killers in Boston. In this week’s show, we’re revisiting two classic episodes about Boston’s lesser known serial killers. Meet The Nightmare Nurse and a chilling figure who called himself The Giggler.
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 Bostons youngest serial killer.
Everyone knows the story of the Boston Strangler. Fewer people know the tale of The Giggler, Bostons 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.
In 1901, a woman named Jane Toppan was arrested on Cape Cod for murder. By the time she went on trial, she had confessed to killing 31 people in Boston, Cambridge, on the Cape, and around the region, and she’s suspected of killing 100 or more. From a tragic childhood, she grew up to be a nurse. She tortured and murdered her patients in dark experiments, while being praised for her caring bedside manner. Before she was caught, she had graduated to killing entire families. Learn about the life and crimes of Jane Toppan, Nightmare Nurse in this week’s show.