Category Archives: Crime

June 17

The Guillotine: Does death by decapitation equal instant death?

On the 17th of June 1939, Eugen Weidmann, a convicted murderer, was guillotined in Versailles outside Saint-Pierre prison. He was the last person to be guillotined in public. Since then, until the 10th of September 1977 and the last ever execution by guillotine performed on Hamida Djandoubi, all executions by guillotine were done in private. […]

May 23

A Historical Framing of Bonnie and Clyde

On the 23rd of 1934, Dallas outlaws and robbers Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow were ambushed by police and killed in Bienville Parish, Black Lake, Louisiana. Their exploits captured the attention of the American public during the “public enemy era” between 1931 and 1934 in the Great Depression. Though known today for his […]

May 19

Oscar Wilde in Prison

On the 19th of May 1897, Irish writer Oscar Wilde was released from prison after serving a two year  sentence for criminal sodomy and “gross indecency”. He had to go through hard labor and major deprivation, a very problematic situation for a hedonist accustomed to his creature comforts. His experiences in prison were the basis […]

April 29

Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho and the Question of Madness

On the 29th of April 1980, Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock died aged 80 in Bel Air, California. Justifiably crowned with the title of the master of suspense, he produced and directed some of the most iconic films in the history of world cinema. The magazine MovieMaker, for example, has described him as the most influential […]

April 16

Adler’s Bordello: Jewish Female Paths in America

On the 16th of April 1900, Pearl (Polly) Adler was born in Ivanava (Yanow), Belarus, as the oldest of 9 siblings in a traditional Jewish family. When she was 12, her father, a successful travelling tailor, decided to send her ahead as the first link in the Russian “chain emigration” to the United States to […]

March 11

Victor Lusting: The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower… Twice!

On the 11th of March 1947, Victor Lusting, a Czech con artist, best known as ‘The man who sold the Eiffel Tower’, died in Springfield, Missouri. At the time of his death, he was still serving his sentence of twenty years in Alcatraz Island for major money forgery. A glib and witty man, he spoke […]

February 12

Art Theft: Munch’s Oslo Museum ‘Scream’

 On the 12 of February 1994, the day of the opening of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, two men broke into Oslo’s National Gallery and lifted its version of The Scream. The painting had been moved down to a second-level gallery in honour of the Olympic festivities, presumably to become more accessible to the […]