Category Archives: Crime

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 […]

December 03

The Vanishing of Agatha Christie

“Do you know the feeling you have when you know something quite well and yet for the life of you can’t recollect it?”, is the opening line in Agatha Christie’s semi-autobiographical novel Unfinished Portrait. The book was published in 1934, eight years after her mysterious disappearance from her house in Sunningdale. On the 3rd of […]

November 15

Truman Capote: In Cold Blood

On the 15th of November 1959, Mr. and Mrs. Clutter, their son Kenyon and daughter Nancy, were murdered in their farm house in Holcomb, Kansas. The two men responsible for their deaths, Richard ‘Dick’ Hickock and Perry Edward Smith, were executed by hanging five and a half years later. The gallows from which they were […]

November 13

David ‘Carbine’ Williams: From Prison to Hollywood

There are quite a few stories of criminals, whose exceptional intelligence gets them out of prison. We are talking here about characters such as, for example, Frank Abagnale, whose life story is probably best known from the 2002 movie Catch Me If You Can. However, today, on the 114th anniversary of his birth, we recall […]

November 11

Ned Kelly: The Rebel and Nolan’s Muse

On the 11th of November 1880, Ned Kelly, an Australian bushranger, was hanged in Melbourne. At the time of his death he was only 25 and already a legend. By some perceived as a criminal and villain, by others as a rebel or even an Australian equivalent of Robin Hood, Kelly was and still is one of the most controversial […]

October 15

Jack the Ripper’s Letter from Hell

15 October 1888 – says the postmark on the letter received by George Lusk, the then head of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. The sender of the letter was allegedly the serial killer and bogeyman of Victorian London, Jack the Ripper. The cryptic message in the letter read as follows: From hell Mr Lusk Sor I send […]

August 21

Apollinaire and the Theft of the Mona Lisa

On the 21st of August 1911, the most famous painting in the world, the Mona Lisa, was stolen from the Louvre. The absence of the painting was first noticed by the painter Louis Beroud, who in the morning of the 22nd of August made his way to the Salon Carré where the Mona Lisa had […]

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 […]