Belle Gunness, Americas most prolific female serial killer by The Tales We Tell

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Show Notes
This week, Hannah tells Katy about Belle Gunness, a Norwegian gal who came to the states in 1881 to chase the American Dream, and found herself with more suitors than she knew what to do with and a whole lot of land that was good for digging.

Pour the drinks, update your Tinder profile, and get ready for the story of the Indiana Ogress, Lady Bluebeard, the Black Widow, Hell’s Belle, and the Mistress of Castle Death (aka: Belle Gunness).

Sources:
https://allthatsinteresting.com/belle-gunness
https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/562322/belle-gunness-murders
https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2008-02-12-0802120038-story.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belle_Gunness
https://www.historynet.com/belle-gunness-poisonous-pen.htm
https://laportelibrary.org/at-the-library/explore-local/belle-gunness/

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Transcript

(0s):
Hello, true crime fans. Before we get started, I wanted to tell you a little bit about today’s sponsor a book by John H Mudget called crazy is as crazy. Does the life of a serial killer it’s available now on Amazon and free for Kindle unlimited users. Now this book isn’t like other crime fictions crazy is as crazy. Does the life of a serial killer follows fictional serial killer John Goodman through his 75 year life. But here’s where it gets crazy. John Goodman’s life is rooted in real historical characters and events. Even John Goodman himself is stitched together from shreds of multiple serial killers and mass murderers lives.

(43s):
Do you think you’re a true crime expert? Will you be able to tell fact from fiction crazy is as crazy does the life of a serial killer is Goodman story and the twisted transformation of those around him, culminating in a shocking high stakes ending crazy is as crazy. Does the life of a serial killer by John H Mudget is available on Amazon and free for Kindle unlimited users. You got to check this book out. This is a must read for fans of true crime and crime fiction. Click the link in the show notes to buy it right now. Welcome to true crime by Indy drop-in each week we feature an episode from the best independent creators hit subscribe for more great true crime content today’s episode is from the tales we tell.

(1m 30s):
Don’t forget to check out the show notes for links to subscribe and follow us on social media. Enjoy the show. You’re listening to the tales. We tell a podcast about spooky stories and thought mysteries and local lore. I’m your host Hannah Park and I’m Katie. I can’t believe we hit that. Perfect. Like every time.

(2m 12s):
I mean, it was a real struggle. The first couple episodes I kept forgetting the name of the project. Oh, and then the tagline to you, you know, well, welcome again to my house. We were just talking about how we don’t have any announcements. And then I remembered that I do have one that’s a quick shout-out to our new follower, Amanda. She found us on Instagram and this sweet soul was like, started at one. And she was like, I just got to episode six and she likes it so far. And I was like, God, bless you first, starting at one and getting all the way to six and still liking it.

(2m 52s):
So I always tell every one of them might go listen to one of the recent ones. And if you like it, then you listen to a couple of reasons, ones, and then go back and listen from the start. Yes, she is on Instagram at Amanda dot Alice, a L Y S E that’s. How you say that it could be Alice or it could be Elise Elise, probably at least. That makes more sense. Anyway, she does Tara card readings. Fun. Yeah. So go check her out and thank you, Amanda, for listening. And I wonder if we could do a virtual Tara Reno. She actually, she flipped a card for us. Derek had been met or had been commenting on stuff and she flipped a card.

(3m 33s):
Those are very positive for us. So we need some positivity. You need some positivity. Well, I was just gonna mention too happy mental awareness month. The month of may is mental health awareness month. And so just like, and I say happy because it is happy that we’re living in a time. Now that mental health is no longer nearly as taboo as it once was. It’s recognized by everyone that this is, this is a thing and it, it needs treatment just like a broken bone or the flu.

(4m 13s):
Like if it’s you’re sick and you need treatment, there’s nothing wrong with that. We haven’t really used the word hysterical in quite a while. And Hey, the Catholic church banned, like, you know what, why don’t you go kick, get checked out by a couple of doctors before we do an exorcism. Just make sure you’re not, you know, just to make sure this isn’t a psychological property, which it probably kudos. Yeah. Yeah. And say, I just, yeah. Fun reminder to, you know, check in with yourself, you know, maybe check in with your therapist if you’ve got one, if you are lucky enough to not have any issues, I’m sure, you know, somebody or several somebodies in your life who do so check in with them.

(4m 58s):
Yeah. And I would also say don’t be afraid to talk to your primary care doctor. I think I shared this once on the podcast, but it was, I think it was, and that’s why we drink. The hosts were talking about, they’re just like run of the mill anxiety or something and talking about therapy. And it was the first time I think I had heard it talked about in just such a matter of fact way. And it really did kind of encourage me to talk to my primary doctor who shot me down and changed doctors since then. But I didn’t know, growing up that that was something you were supposed to talk to your doctor about at checkups or just any time.

(5m 38s):
And since I’ve started talking about it, my new doctor has been hugely helpful and yeah. So if you feel and stuff, talk to them. Yeah. Normalize, talking about mental health issues. Yes. Lord. You’re not here. You’re not broken. No. You know, nobody’s going to shame you for having cold or breaking your arm. No one should shame you for having an mental health issue. And strangely enough, today’s episode is actually not about someone who has like a, I mean, this person might be, it might be about probably a psychopath, but I’m not considering psychopath one of the mental health because there’s perfectly normal psychopaths or normal.

(6m 25s):
I guess being a psychopath is very much not normal, but there’s, you know, psychopaths out there who are living their lives, not murdering people. This is true. You know, probably the CEO of some major company. No, because no, that’s a statistic thing that I think statistically I’d have to, I’d have to go find the source. So nobody quote me on this. But I, I had read somewhere that CEOs are more likely to have psychopathy. It’s probably what makes them good business people though, you know, they can, you know, worry about the bottom line and make a successful company and not worry about, you know, people.

(7m 10s):
Oh, geez. I don’t know. Again, don’t quote me on that. Also. We are drinking a red today. I specifically got this for Katie because I think I got it. I texted Jerrick at lunch and was like, if you’re going to hear Cedar, can you pick up some wine and get a red this time? It’s also a little cold. Meaning it’s like 68 chili today. So I, I actually was, it had in my mind, oh, what are you going to torture me with today? This is also a red wine story. Like it very much deserves. Right? Oh good. So like dark and earthy and contemplated earthy. Oh, I like that clue.

(7m 50s):
Let’s dig right in. All right. Today, I’m going to tell you the story of Belle Gunness and she went by a couple other names. I’m going to wait to tell you what those are. Okay. Because that one it’s ringing some bells, some bells, what? Oh, okay. Okay. Bell was born Britain, Hilde. Paul statter sourced it on November 11th, 1859 in somewhere in Norway. I wrote down the name of the town and I used all the correct characters, but there’d be no way you’d be able to pronounce it properly.

(8m 31s):
I think it’s pronounced search and dialogue. Anyways, she was born there. She moved to Chicago in 1881 when she was 22. And at some point she changed her name to bell or she started going by bell. I can’t imagine why she was described. Let me find you a picture of her real quick. Don’t scroll by the way. Cause there were spoilers to come. Got it. She has been described as stout rugged. Some might say somewhat manly. It’s been a Saint burly, very strong. She’s a very sturdy woman. That’s it’s all hard woman. Yes. Sturdy gal. The sh this picture very much a take note kind of face.

(9m 14s):
Yeah. Yes. There was local local legend said that she could lift two, 100 pound hogs at once with each arm. So just to kind of give you guys an idea of what we’re working with and why she probably changed her name to bell, which is a much softer name, more feminine, a little bit more feminine in 1884, she married a man named Mads Sorenson together. Okay. There’s actually some debate about this. They had four children together. Although there’s a lot of sources that I read that said she didn’t have any biological children. So it kind of got the idea that maybe she was just like adopting kids. But then there were some sources that were like, and then with this husband, she had this child so debatable about how the children came about.

(10m 1s):
Was it possible that the husbands had the children from a previous marriage? There are some cases of that, but this did not seem like that case. Her kids’ names were Caroline Axel. No idea. If axle, nice boy or girl Myrtle and Lucy. Well, does she have three girls and a boy? Did it say somewhere? Okay. Is that’s what it sounded like. So Carolyn and axle actually died in infancy of acute colitis, which if you don’t know, colitis is basically as if I’m not mistaken dying of like diarrhea and dehydration.

(10m 41s):
It’s, it’s something that affects your colons and inflamed colon and my guests. I think that’s a good guess. It sounds familiar. Like I I’ve I’ve I’ve read it before in a book or something. And I think that you’re right. I mean, I know that I, this is inflammation of yeah. Modern colitis. The only cure for it is surgery. So basically like having your colon removed. And I think the symptoms are just like diarrhea and cramping and stuff like that. So it was kind of one of those terms. I think that it was like, well, they were really sick and then they died. So they probably had colitis.

(11m 21s):
Yeah. It was, these are some of the symptoms that they had are the same thing as this. And you know, we don’t actually have a full diagnosis for it. Yeah. Either way. Marble was probably some sort of bacterial infection, possibly like Eco-Line or something that could have been treated with some medicine and fluids. But this was the early 18 hundreds. So forget that lady. Oh, I’m sorry. You said when she was 21 and outside, I’m sorry. Myrtle and Lucy survived and continued living with her mother bell and Mads, which I’m hoping, I hope I’m saying his name. Right? It’s spelled Mads. They owned a candy store together in 1885, burned to the ground, not fun.

(12m 6s):
And then in 1900, their house also burned to the ground suspicious and they collected insurance payouts on both of those incidences convenient. And then on July 30th, 1900 mats suddenly died of a cerebral hemorrhage sudden. And it happened to be on the one day that his two life insurance policies overlapped very convenient. So he had one that was ending that day. And the other one started that day getting more suspicious. So Bell’s story is she said he came home and is complaining of a headache.

(12m 48s):
And so like a good wife. She gave them over the head. No, she gave him quite nine. Let me say that. Right. Probably suspicious. Now, when I’m saying words, I’m not familiar with quite night, she gave him quiet for the pain and he went to lay down. And when she checked on him later, lo and behold, he was dead. And I guess he had had, I think maybe I read somewhere else that he might’ve, they might’ve ruled it a heart attack, but he had a heart condition or his doctor said he had an enlarged heart or something. So they were like, well, it’s close enough, died of natural causes. Here’s a SIF 100, sorry, $5,000, which is the equivalent of about $150,000 today.

(13m 34s):
So I mean, she’s extremely unlucky, but also very fortunate that they’ve been, you know, very wise in the insurance department. Yes. So bell takes all this money and she packs up her two kids and she buys a 48 acre farm in LA Porte, Indiana, which again, I meant to look up the pronunciation of LaPorte. I’m going to say it a lot. Sorry if you’re from there and I’m saying it wrong. She, so she buys his big farm. She brings Myrtle and Lacey, her two daughters. And then she had a foster daughter at the time whose name was Jenny, who was a teenager and the following year in 1801, she meets and marries Peter Gunness.

(14m 16s):
So that’s how she becomes Belle. Gunness Peter had an infant daughter. She was a widow, also a widower. So, you know, two widows fall in love. And so he married bell and his baby daughter died shortly after their marriage. And I couldn’t find any information on how she died, but she died while in the care of bell while Peter wasn’t home so died in a way that wasn’t obvious enough to raise serious flags, but you know how babies sometimes suddenly die.

(14m 58s):
Unfortunately, that is true. But I’m going to Gander, not in this case. Eight months later, Peter also died of a skull fracture, but here’s what happened. Belle said he was reaching for something on the top shelf and silly meat grinder fell on his head. But also why are you storing the meat grinder up so high now don’t store your heavy things on the top shelf also at the same time. I okay. I it’s either. This is either an infomercial for like how you need a lid organizer in your cabinet, or it is a final destination scene because at the same time as the meat grinder fell, oh, crock of hot brine also fell on him.

(15m 45s):
Why do you have a crock of hot brine up on the top shelf? Why are you storing? Why are you storing a hot liquids up there? Unclear that on the stove to cool down before you store it up on the top shelf, I’m imagining that he’s trying to kind of climb his way at the shelf. And he puts like grabs the brine and like spills it on himself and then reaches to grab something else. And the meat grinder, the main fender on him. Yeah. So he died of a fractured skull. Tell me about the life insurance. It was active and they ruled his death and accident. And so she collected that insurance money getting some serious HH Holmes vibes.

(16m 29s):
Yes. And then Jenny, the foster daughter teenager. No, she was allegedly told a classmate quote. My mama killed my Papa. She hit him with a meat Cleaver and he died. Don’t tell a soul. And shortly after that, Jenny got sent to college in California and she just wasn’t allowed to talk to her local friends anymore. So, well, at least she was, well, I mean, could we verify that she actually was sent to California or was she air quotes sent to California and I’m going to leave that open-ended for now.

(17m 12s):
We’re going to find Jenny spotty by the end of this story. Maybe. So after the death of her second husband, bell is very lonely. I feel like she should just give up in the love department though. Oh, she does just the opposite of, I bet she starts posting personal ads in Norwegian language, newspapers, quote, personal comely widow, which calmly? Just a word of advice. Bell. Ooh, not starting off strong. Let’s not start. Let’s start with our suits. Maybe like physically able bodied and strong childbearing hips handsome.

(17m 57s):
It would might be a good way to describe her. That would be fair and accurate. Or let’s just not start with looks. Let’s just leave that off and we’ll get to it after we get to know you. I mean, she’s not like this hideous hag thing. She’s not, but don’t describe yourself. But also it’s like, her looks aren’t her best feature, I guess, as it should not be your let’s just not start there. She’s like plain face with a great personality. Okay. I mean, I would just start a personal ad with my look cider. So yeah, well we both met our husbands on dating apps so we know what we’re doing. Actually, I didn’t have to mention my lips cause there was a picture.

(18m 39s):
Oh, see, mine probably had a Snapchat filter on it. Cause that’s how I was playing the game then. Okay. Comely widow who owns a large farm in one of the finest districts in LaPorte county, Indiana desires to make the acquaintance of a gentleman equally well provided with view of a Jew of joining fortunes, no replies by letter considered and less cinder is willing to follow answer with personal visit. Try flour’s need not apply. Well. Now I know how old that learnt is tri triathlon.

(19m 24s):
So she specifically, once she specifically looking for men who also have apparently large insurance payouts and so that, I mean she could always just marry them and then take a policy out on them. This is true. And so she’s only looking for rich guys basically. Okay, well wait a minute. She got an expensive farm she’s got to pay for. This is true. And she kind of interviewed the men that, so she got a lot of bites on this and she was kind of interviewing them like it was a position because it kind of was a short term. She was Loring Norwegian bachelors with the promise of quote down-home Norwegian cooking, which she didn’t actually mention in that target that ad.

(20m 13s):
But I was aware of hot brine on top shelf. Yeah. I do keep my hot liquids on the upper shelves viewer. Very reminiscent of the lonely hearts killers a little bit. Yeah. Crime junkie did an episode on that. And this is, I mean all the same things thinking as we’ve already done the, the dating site thing, cause I would be too scared to do it now. I was scared to do it then too. Like I never met anyone alone. I always went with someone or if I didn’t have anyone to go with, you know, I had someone who I called Emilia before. I was like, Hey, I’m at this place and I’m meeting this person and she down on me in an hour, I’ll text you intermittently.

(20m 58s):
And if you don’t hear from me for awhile, you know, start to worry good or really bad. But you know, I’ll, I’ll call you when I’m leaving or if we decide to go somewhere else or something. So someone always knew where I was and at least the name of the person I was with or the name that I knew in case it wasn’t their real name. So yeah. And you send a picture of where you’re going to send their picture profile. Yes. So she would also luring, she was targeting men. So Norwegian men because she was Norwegian, but also likely immigrants who came over and maybe left their family behind and were homesick or were didn’t have a lot of connections in the country.

(21m 43s):
According to one of her farm hands, his name was Emil greening. He said a different man came nearly every week to stay at the house. She introduced them as cousins from Kansas, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and from Chicago. She was always careful to make the children stay away from her cousins, which at least she’s looking out for the kids, I guess. But also what are you going to do now? When the whole Lucy goes to school and I was like, mom and cousin, cause then sleep in the same room together and make funny noises. Like I saw mom and cousins been wrestling one time and they didn’t have their clothes on. Don’t tell them you’re there. Your cousin kind of sleep with them.

(22m 27s):
Okay. She already said she interviewed them. And between 1905 and 1907, she had dozens of potential suitors coming to visit her at her home by 1907 bell had hired a 37 year old named Ray Lamphere to be a farm hand. And although he had a reputation to be kind of a drunk kind of a loser unreliable, unreliable, he ended up being a very good employee and worked really hard. Interesting. Also she started sleeping with him. So that’ll motivate you. You know, she gave them a room on the second floor of her house.

(23m 7s):
They’re like regularly having relations, but Ray was a farmhand. He was too poor to fit her requirement. And so, but also she took out a life insurance policy on him as her or as his employer, like a farm hand. There’s a lot of accidents that can happen fatal. Well, apparently Ray allegedly would get kind of jealous that she, that he was kind of falling in love with her. You know, they were living together and they were sleeping together. But then she was still bringing in all of these like random Norwegian that, and he was like to have a Timberland.

(23m 48s):
Yeah. Meanwhile, bell started a long distance relationship with a Norwegian immigrant in South Dakota named Andrew Holguin. I’m going to call him Andrew to call overseas 16 months. She wrote him approximately 80 letters and she was begging him to come to Indiana. This was kind of her long game. Like she’s writing a lot of letters. She’s really like building the, the relationship and she’s like over and over begging him to come see her. I miss the days of writing letters. Right? So shortly after we moved here, I had to go back to new Orleans to help with my dad after his hip replacement, because you can’t drive, his sits your right hip.

(24m 34s):
You can’t drive for four to six weeks after surgery. So I need to be there in case, you know, he had to go for a doctor’s checkup or if something was wrong, whatever. And so while I was back in new Orleans, I brought a whole bunch of stationary and stamps and every morning I wrote Shelton, the letter O he wrote me a couple of back to, I mean, we talked every day and texted him too, but I still just like a short letter. And I used to write Jerrick letters when we were dating and I would, I was really lame and I would type them on our typewriter because he bought me a typewriter, like one of the first gifts he ever gave type. Cool. Not lame. So yeah. And he found one of them recently and they’re, I mean, they’re not like mushy or anything, but it’s tough.

(25m 21s):
We also just got new stationary for the podcast. So if anyone wants a letter hit me up, I’ll send you a card and she’ll forge my name on it. I like, I definitely don’t do ever. So finally in January of 1908, Andrew finally comes down to Indiana to start his life with bell. So not just like a visit to see how things go, but he’s, he’s landed. Right? And so bell kicks Ray out. And a few days after Andrew’s arrival, they go to the bank and they cash three of Andrew’s certificates of deposit.

(26m 1s):
I’m going to assume it’s like a Traveler’s check or something, weaving them, or they, so it’s unclear how much they were for, but they left the bank with $2,839, which is approximately 80 grand. Just a lot of money. Yep. And also around this time, Ryan Bell got into an argument. So they, their speculation that he was angry about being demoted from farmhand slash lover to just farm him and kicked out of the house out of the house. So bell just fires him and hired a new farm hand named Joe Maxon.

(26m 42s):
And Ray didn’t take it very well. No, I don’t imagine he would. And so he spent the next three months kind of harassing bow. He was lurking. He was looking in windows. He was being a general nuisance. She had to call the law on him. He was moving the brine from the top shelf down to a lower, she had her Brian all around, so she couldn’t find it. And so bell placing the hot brine with cold bread. I know nothing worse than taking a sip of the brine and thinking it’s going to be hot and it’s cold that’s camp. It’s awful. She, so she’s making multiple complaints to the sheriff. She tried to have him declared insane and eventually, eventually she got the authorities to arrest him for trespassing.

(27m 25s):
And she’s just making sure that the whole town knows that this guy is harassing her. So when he winds up dead, it was self-defense because he was harassing her on, she’s just playing the alibi or planting the probable cause. And she really plays the part of like the poor widow. So on April 27th, 1908 bell goes to her attorney and has him drop her. We’ll just, you know, get things in order. And she tells him, she makes sure she tells him that she’s very afraid of Ray. And she thinks that he might harm her and the quote that, which I saw this quote different ways.

(28m 5s):
So this might not be a direct quote, but the one I got says, I’m afraid that full Lamphere is going to kill me and burn my house. Oh, more health insurance monies. Yeah. I know. They’re like, oh, a lot of fires on your properties. Meanwhile, I mean, for that day and age fires were actually a big problem. Everything was made of wood. Wasn’t it? That, and you know, especially in cities, everything’s so close together, but also not the modern safeguards that we have today.

(28m 46s):
Like a dedicated fire department, smoke detectors. But remember with the solder children, it’s a while it’s a ways away. And the chief can’t drive the trucks. Yeah. So anyway, like, Hey, you know, sure. Two fires totally, totally plausible. Yeah. The, the how close they were together. Yes. So also buildings that you have insurance policies on. Although I will say, I mean, it might be clever because you’re using kerosene lamps to, for your source of light and everything’s made of wood and you probably have all that pesky espestice insulation that I have no idea when asparagus installation came about, but I know it’s very flammable.

(29m 33s):
So I mean, probably not a bad idea on her part. Meanwhile, back in South Dakota, remember Andrew, okay. He had a brother named Osceola. I did look up his pronunciation and also had started to get a little worried because when Andrew left, he had told him that he was going to come back in a week and he was like, it’s been more than a week. Andrew’s not back. Andrew also never told him why he was leaving. And he hadn’t heard from him since he left. So also does some investigating and he eventually finds a stack of letters in Andrew’s home from bell.

(30m 14s):
And they said things like, quote, take all your money out of the bank and come as soon as possible or subtle now see all that you can get cash for. And if you have much left, you can easily take it with you as we will soon sell it here and get a good price on everything. Also leave neither money or stock up there, but make yourself free from Dakota. So you will have nothing more to bother with up there. I mean, with wines like that, I mean it’s basically poetry. Yes. How could a man not fall for that? And finally, I know that’s how I got Shelton. Hey, I want all of your money.

(30m 54s):
So everything you have yeah. Get rid of all of your stuff because it’s stupid and sell it and bring the money with you. Yeah. We’ll have the money together for sure. Yeah. She also said, do not say one word about it to anyone, not even your nearest relative, so sell all your stuff, come down here, but don’t tell anyone what you’re doing because it’s a big secret because secrets are sexy. Seriously. Subtlety is not her strong suit. So in personal ads, don’t start with your looks. Don’t start with com li hand don’t don’t try and be subtle.

(31m 36s):
Maybe keep the, yeah. So there are subtlety at the door, men like directness and Hey, you know, none of this playing games nonsense, just what you see is what you get. Yeah. So I, I’m just going to put it right up there. I want your money also. What’s he going to do? Like if he gets all the way down there and she’s not what he expected, like turn around and go back to South Dakota. Like that’s a huge hassle. It’s probably just easier to be like, no, I came on his leg as I live here. Now this is a nice farm, I guess I’ll stay well, that’s the other thing is like, why does she, I mean, other than just, you know, greed and wanting money, but it doesn’t sound like she’s trying to live some lavish lifestyle.

(32m 21s):
I mean, I know a large farm is expensive and having to make payments on that. But so farmers work on a farm. You don’t work every day. I don’t know how far I re I want to do that kind of work. Okay. I don’t want to sit at a computer. I already don’t have to sit at a computer that much. I do a lot of outside work of announcements on the LaPorte library website. They had a, they called it a short history for her, but I found it very interesting. And they said that her, she was kind of poor growing up in Norway. She had to kind of hire herself out from a young age as like a, like a milkmaid and like a farmhand and stuff like that.

(33m 2s):
And she kind of, I think, craved having more money. And she has a sister that said she was obsessed with money and it drove her crazy. Like her main motivation in life was getting more money. I know some people who are raised poor do just become so obsessed with them and it’s, they, they want to have enough to make sure that they don’t have to worry about money anymore, but it’s never enough. And it’s still worrying about you’ve never had it. Yeah. Usually sometimes a lot of times when you grow up poor, it’s like any money that you do get immediately gets spent on something.

(33m 45s):
And so it’s like you never, or you you’ve learned not to ever feel financially safe and secure. So you just want more and more and more. I mean, it makes them there. I grew up poor and now I’m, you know, sending personal letters out in Norwegian, speaking newspapers and hoarding all of my insurance money. They’re probably not very successful saying. And so you can’t pronounce any of the name? This is true. Okay. I mean, do you even know any Norwegian recipes while I’m styling hot brine in a crock, but where do you store your brine on the top shelf?

(34m 24s):
Top shelf, the meat grinder, top shelf brine. Do you know where I keep my meat grinder at the grocery store where it belongs so they can grind the meat from actually, I don’t like to buy a lot of meats on there, my husband to ground meat. So, but that’s just cause we’re lazy cooks and I don’t want to get too adventurous. Okay. So Osceola is like, okay, I’m very suspicious. And I’m going to write to this woman and find out where my brother is. So she seems like she’s very, a very honest, honest she’s straight forward, but not necessarily honest about her intentions.

(35m 6s):
So Oslo writes to her and he’s like, Hey, my brother came down to see you a while ago. Know where he is? And she was like, oh, actually he went to Chicago, he left. And he went to Chicago. He wrote me a letter and said he was in Chicago. He might’ve gone back to Norway to look for family members. I’m not really sure I haven’t heard from him. And so I was like, can you send me that letter? He sent you from Chicago. And she’s like, oh, you know, what’s the funniest thing I had it. And I laid it down. And then I went out to milk the Calvin and came back and it was gone and I can’t find it. So, no, I can’t send it to you. She literally said, she said it down, went out to do a chore and came back and it was gone. I mean, she does have children and things can go missing with children about children have come to see how’s Jenny, like in California, any letters from her that you’ve sat down and can’t find, I think actually at this point she signed people that Jenny has gotten married and is now on her honeymoon.

(36m 4s):
When people ask after Jimmy, how long she’s going to be on her honeymoon for, oh, it’s a extended. Yeah. They’re really treating themselves. So. Okay. Remember bell has met with her lawyer and she’s drawing up her will and she’s trash talking. Right? She’s laid the groundwork for a future arson potential murder in self-defense. Yes. Okay. So that was April 27th. So after her meeting with the lawyer, she goes to the store, she buys some food, she buys some toys and she buys two gallons of kerosene. And then she goes home two gallons of kerosene. Yeah. Just wrote count. You just wanted to try and throw that in there, but Nope, rehab, just your basic grocery list, you know?

(36m 47s):
So she goes home. She makes a meal for her children, by the way, there’s three kids. Now there’s a kid named Phillip and I have no idea when another foster, I guess I think he has the last name Gunness so I don’t know, but I think he’s, I think he came back after Peter died. So maybe he was in the other end when Peter died, who knows anyway, but then by Annette, I mean cooking in her womb because with bell, you’ve gotta be specific. You have to specify, you know, lagging accidents happen in the kitchen apparently. So kitchen’s very dangerous place. Nowhere for a child. There’s the hot brine everywhere. So that’s why you’re in the oven.

(37m 27s):
It’s to hide and protect yourself from the hot bar. Exactly. Hello, True crime fans. This episode is brought to you by Podbean. You might be listening to this episode and thinking you might want to start a podcast. In fact, every podcast you hear on this show is someone just like you, who thought of a fun idea and is making it happen in order to start podcasting, you’re going to need some tools. Pod bean is an easy, powerful way to start podcasting. They give you all the tools you need for a successful podcast, and there’s no difficult technology to learn. The people at pod bean are so friendly that you almost want to ask them a question just so you can spend 10 minutes nerding out about podcasting, head on over to pod bean at www.podbean.com/true crime.

(38m 16s):
That’s P O D B E a n.com/true crime for your first month of podcast, hosting for free, create something amazing. And maybe you’ll be on this show, hearing your own episodes. I surely hope so. Thank you so much to pod bean for sponsoring this episode and happy podcasting. So she is the three kids. She goes home and makes them a meal and she stays up and plays with them with, you know, gives them these toys. She bought for them, text them into bed. Why is there all this extra pine straw laying in the bed? When the all door protection just petting and couldn’t say, well, why does it smell like kerosene?

(38m 58s):
Don’t worry. Just go to sleep. Say your prayers, go to sleep. So you have lots of light. The following morning, April 28th, 1908 Bella’s house burned to the ground. Oh my God. What a shocking turn of events who could have foreseen this? Wow. I feel like there should have been some clues along the way. I know no one’s helping you prepare me for this. So authorities respond to the fire and inside in the basement, they find the body of a woman in the bodies of three children. Now the children were identified as Myrtle, who was 11 Lucy, who is nine and Phillip who’s five and the woman was conveniently missing her head.

(39m 44s):
And so they couldn’t identify her, but they’re like, this is probably bell. And they’re like, Ray, must’ve Ray cut off her hair. Remember how Ray’s been harassing her? Kept it as a souvenir. So they arrested Ray. When also heard about the fire. He comes down to Indiana because he’s like a smart guy and he’s looking for, it’s just the hearing center. So police were very cooperative strangely. And they’re like, oh yeah. Why don’t you just help us dig through the rubble of this house to look for clues because they’re like, we’re looking for this.

(40m 25s):
Lady’s head. You also look for that. But if you find some clues about where your missing brother is, you can keep them. Yeah. So, so you worry about your prime. We’ll worry about our crime. So he’s, he’s helping and he’s digging with Joe Maxon. Who’s the farm hand, the last farm hand she hired. And after a couple of days, he’s like, this is pointless. There’s nothing here. I’m going to leave. And right before he leaves, he was like, okay, wait question, Joe, were there any holes that maybe you had been dug on the farm this spring that, you know, whatever.

(41m 6s):
And Joe’s like, oh actually, yeah, there was a, they keep calling them a soft depression in the ground, over on the hog pin, about 50 feet from the main house. And that’s rebel was burying her trash, but she asked me to kind of fill it in and level it out some. And so he’s like, maybe we look there the question mark question mark. Let’s go dig through that Winky face. So this brother, this a smart cookie he’s, he’s much more clever than he’s smart for Andrew. So they go to the hog pen and they start to dig.

(41m 45s):
And in the hole that had been made, they find trash bears and trash really wasn’t lying really stinky trash kind of rotten trash. So like maybe some adipose tissue take the trash out of here. And what’s under that. It’s a burlap sack. Okay. What’s in the burlap sack. What do you think? Some of the burlap sack, two hands, two feet and a head is what was in the sack. Let’s try to think of some funny cause set of hands, a set of feet and one head that poor aunt Paula was like, Matt’s black brother, Andrew. So I have a picture of that actually.

(42m 29s):
And I’m very sorry. All right, again, don’t scroll. Cause I have one more awful picture to show you then rewatching bones lately. So I was watching it right before I came. There you go. There’s actually surprisingly a lot of photos from this case and they’re as bad as you might think they would be. So they dig up this corpse and they’re like, man, this is really bad. So it was the full court. Not just, I think it was the corpse in pieces. So I think instead of, I think it was, I don’t know if he was all in the sack. I don’t know. She just put the hands in the feet in the sack, but he was definitely not whole and whole like in a whole band.

(43m 20s):
I missed that one. We are not good on our punts. We’re really not. There’s a lot in this one too. So they’re, they’re like, look at their like, you know, standing, this is awful, this is terrible. And they start kind of looking around and they’re like three of them. They’re like, it seems like there’s kind of a lot of trash building depressions in this. Maybe, maybe we should dig in these other areas where it looks like something was recently buried while someone had their head on straight that day. Probably wasn’t wasn’t oh, this is the worst.

(44m 2s):
They’re terrible people. On the first day of digging, they unearthed five bodies. On the second day they found four bodies, all of the bodies that they found where all these bodies coming from, our story didn’t have this many characters in it. Oh, just wait. I have a list at the end. So they’re all cut into six parts. So legs cut off at the knee. Arms cut off at the shoulder, cut off at the head and the torso. Most of the heads.

(44m 43s):
This is the last picture I’m going to show you. And again, I apologize because this is also not a good one. That’s one of the heads that they found. Yeah. That looks like something from like a, a horror looks like a prop, right? Yeah. It’s a human head. Good teeth though. I noticed. Yeah. Most of the heads should gash marks that indicated blunt force trauma and many of the bodies had been doused in quick lime to accelerate the decomposition in total, they found 11 bodies buried on her. Farm. Four were adults of unknown gender, meaning they were just so poorly or so badly decomposed that they couldn’t identify could tell by the pelvis.

(45m 29s):
I think the bone was thin. It was 1908. They don’t do that. Surely they had some sort of forensics. No, nothing. None of that. They could identify the gash on their head. There was so for adults of unknown gender, one adult woman, one adult man, one adolescent male, one adolescent of an unknown gener gender, Jenny Olson, Jenny Jenny, her last name is Olson. So they found Jenny. She, I think was the second body that they found. They found Andrew obviously. And they found a guy named Olie boots, boots, Berg, who was a suitor that came down from Wisconsin. So is it likely that the, the males and then the unidentified potentially the male suitors?

(46m 15s):
Yeah. That’s what they’re thinking. Autopsies revealed that some of the bodies had traces of strychnine in them. So I mean, at least, I don’t know. That’s not a good way to go. So no, I don’t know what I was going for a fun poison. No. So it didn’t take long for police to kind of piece together that it was like you said, the male suitors that had come to visit that were probably most of the unidentified ones. Everyone thought her cousins were coming and going. It turns out they were only men. Sorry. It was an obvious joke I had to make. We can cut it out though. In case it’s inappropriate for all ages, Crow it out.

(46m 58s):
But no, really they, they were coming and going or they were coming and going to the afterlife, just going into the dirt. Yeah. So the press starts to call her. These are the fun names. The Indiana ogress oh, wait, lady blue beard. The black widow. My favorite Hells bell and the mistress of castle death, which is a mouthful. Is there a book on her? Yes.

(47m 38s):
Okay. I think I have that book that I got from Amazon Kindle reads, but I haven’t read it yet. Oh my gosh. There is how I hope. I think the ogress one is my favorite. Oh yeah. The oversea or the Indiana. Ogress that sets that’s choice. Right? They’re pretty good. They also called her property, the horror farm and the death garden. Should I like death garden? That sounds like a rock band name, but they had hogs and stuff. These were found by the Hawks, not the gardens. So the Hawks didn’t do anything except act as whites missed out on a tasty meal. I know. I don’t know why you would bury in the hog farm because they, to the hugs, actually I think that is a, that’s a, a myth that, you know, the hogs can eat an entire human body and destroy all the evidence.

(48m 30s):
Pretty sure there was a serial killer that Khurram janky covered of a guy who had a pig farm. And it was like feeding bodies to the pigs we’ll fact check later. So all of this news, you know, it’s 1908 and what I’m saying, there’s still going to be leftover evidence. Oh yeah. Yeah. For sure. So it’s 1908. We know that there’s no, it’s very boring time in history. So people read the news and they’re like, Hey, let’s take the kids out to the murder farm for the weekend, 25 cents a tour. And they, I don’t think they even charge people and you got to pay the ogres. Oh, the ogress would not be happy if they’re not charging admission to her horse.

(49m 9s):
So they have it. I read as many as 20,000 people, one weekend came out. It was literally like a county fair. Like they sold food there. It was a whole thing. And they were just gathered around to watch the police like dig up these bodies, like the ones that I showed you, which it’s so funny to me when people say how the Coliseum was so barbaric, gosh times have not changed. We just don’t watch it happen. We watch it portrayed in movies and film and TV shows. We listened to the stories on podcasts.

(49m 53s):
We go visit, you know, going and visiting the place to, just to see and take a piece, take a raise in from the cake. Gosh, the reason cake pers, we have not changed. We have not. No, no, we have not. We were still 100% in the Coliseum watching people get eaten by lions. Yeah. Or watching Russell Crowe kill all the other gladiators. Yeah. I don’t remember part of that. Maybe. So the news also attracted a flood of inquiries from people all across country who had, had loved ones who had disappeared to marry a mysterious widow in Indiana, which this, this reminds me of the, the lady who remember the women’s history story, the woman who would take in babies that farm, I’ve been thinking about that the whole time.

(50m 46s):
And like reading that in the paper and realizing that that’s probably what happened to your baby. So yeah, this episode is a mix of the baby farm, but also the lonely hearts club killers. So some of the names of people who may have been her victims, which these are just people who kind of put forth names of loved ones that they think kind of fell victim to her, what did they do with the unidentified remains? Well I’m am I jumping ahead? Well, I want us to, I’m actually not sure. I want to say that they hopefully buried them. But also when I was looking on the, they have a museum for this incident in Indiana and one of the displays look like possibly a human skull and I believe it was labeled and identified person.

(51m 37s):
Even by a skull. You can tell if it’s male or female, Katie. I don’t know. That’s all I to know is if they’ve been, if they preserve the unidentified remains in order to potentially identify in the future while I am suggesting Indiana and this specific museum as one of our field trips to our road trip list. Okay, well then you can find out, take your little measuring utensils and measure the skulls here. I don’t have to measure. You just have to look at the problem before Raymond Magnum. I don’t know what you’re saying. So I hope science words. I hope that they were buried and that was just a recreation.

(52m 17s):
But I, I did see a picture that looked like maybe they have some of those remains on display in a museum somewhere. Cool. Cool. So speaking of showing respect to these people who might’ve died, these are names of some of the people who may have disappeared. There was Christie Hulk, VIN, Olaf, Jensen, Burt, chase, TJ Tiflis, and Charles Nyberg. I got to correct myself. It’s not the frame and Magnum, it’s forget the actual name. You’re tapping your orbital area right here is the brow bone tapping your eyeballs, tapping my orbit and the frame. And Magna is the great hole.

(52m 58s):
It’s the large oval opening in the occipital bone of the skull on humans. No one knows what you’re talking about. It’s the whole of the base of your skull man. So, or your neck, that’s it. Okay. The headphones connected to the neck bone, which goes into a hole at the frame of may. Okay. Shortly simplify anatomy. Okay. So in addition to the 11 bodies that they unearthed, they believe that Belle likely killed Myrtle and Lucy and fill up the boy. Plus the unidentified headless woman found in the house. So they’re starting to suspect no way.

(53m 39s):
That’s built that that’s not her. The ogress has uprooted and skipped town possibly. They also believe she killed both of her husbands. Obviously we knew that from the story they believe she killed Caroline and axle. The signs of colitis can also be signs of poisoning. And in the early, late 18 hundreds, who knows. And they think, obviously she killed Peter Denis’s infant daughter that she was left alone with, which brings her likely total for known deaths to 19. Nice. So now police have a slightly bigger problem than they first realized, which is without the head, there’s no way that they can definitively identify this body as bells.

(54m 27s):
So a lot of people were skeptical even with the head. They can’t, I know it could just be a skull and they wouldn’t know. So a lot of people were skeptical because the, okay, this again has a couple of different sides. A lot of sources read, oh, it was a small body. It was kind of a petite body. And we know Belle was not a petite gal. Nope. The, I read that, that there was this calmly, she was commonly, there was a study in 2008 where they exude that body. And the evidence according to this study showed that that body was between five, six and five nine.

(55m 9s):
But she was described as stout. She, while she was five, eight, she was so large and stout. I normally think I’m for somebody. That’s probably because I’m a little teapot that I assume I associate stout with a short stature, as well as a stockier. Yeah. Stock. You would probably a better term for it. She shopped at the big and tall probably. Yeah. I couldn’t tell. Cause she was sitting in a picture so she could have been short or disorder. I was thinking, you know, 5, 6, 5, 5. Yeah. Well other reports say that the body found in the house was five, three and weighed only 75 pounds.

(55m 49s):
That is minus the head. So add whatever had waste without the brain. 75 pounds is three and a half pounds. Very small. And Belle we’ve already said she’s five, eight. She would upwards of 250 pounds. So she was a big gal. It’s not built it wasn’t you couldn’t leave your charred body in a house and be like, it’s hand on his body. Like we have very different body types. Yes we do. And I feel like that would be very apparent even in a fire. So anyways, we’ll just our skeletal structure. Different. Yeah. I, you probably have a normal spine. Whereas mine is somebody talked to a Jack hammer, shook a jackhammer to it, charred body.

(56m 31s):
And it’s got like a shriveled up like centipede spine it’s Katy. And not that bad. It’s just twisted. I feel like, I feel like you’re like somebody like rung my spine out, like a towel. I feel like, okay, back in our old apartment, we used to have these, I called them centipede bugs, but they were little tiny. I don’t know, centipede things. And they would crawl very, very slowly. And they would always get in our house when it was wet outside, they doodle books. Some people call them really pulling now. They were long, but when you killed them, they curled up like a rolly Polly. And that’s what I imagined your spine doing when you die, just like rolls up to a spiral or like when spiders died all they’re like, well, we’ll see one of these days.

(57m 16s):
Hopefully not today though. Hopefully not today in, oh, sorry. Okay. On May, 1980 Saturday though, after Hillary Cinco party. Oh gosh, I’ll be wine and designing on Saturday. So also might have to see for me, we’ll see how I’ve last time I whined and designed was my bachelorette party. And I accidentally put my paintbrush into what I thought was my water cup, but it was my wine cup and it’s extra flavor. I was actually very sad. I had to throw that out and get more on May 19th. A pair of dental bridges were identified. So they found them in the rubble of the house and they identified them as belonging to bell.

(57m 56s):
And so they were like, okay, it’s the, body’s probably hers then. Cause here’s some of her fake teeth or she could have just taken them out of her mouth and left them in the house because she’s smart, which is exactly what police thought they said. Maybe she could have removed them and just left them there to throw everyone off. I mean, she probably had the money at this point to go get new teeth. So also new teeth disguise note was in teeth, working in the county has made me come to realize that teeth provide a great deal of structural support to your face. And you can tell if someone does not have all of their teeth without them necessarily having to open their mouth.

(58m 39s):
Oh yeah, no. Their mouth is just like sunken in. It’s really a weird stretch. Somebody did a photo compilation to show the importance of teeth and the appearance. And they took a whole bunch of pictures of celebrities and photo-shopped out all of their teeth. Oh gosh, it was so creepy. And it was just like, you know, teeth make the man. Huh? Chris, Brett. Yeah. Teeth are one of those things that like dentistry and dental stuff. Just, it cut me out. So yeah. I am not a fan of the inner workings of a dental stuff, but I don’t mind the dentist.

(59m 27s):
I’ve never been one of those people. That’s like terrified of the dentist. I mean, I can see like some people are, but I’ve, I’ve always loved the dentist. You actually, my dentist back in new Orleans, I miss him. Like if I could be able to travel back to new Orleans every six months for my checkup, I still would schedule a visit around going to see him. He was a one time my mom was there for a checkup and he and I got into a water gun fight or I say water gun, but the little sort of red things. Yeah. We got into a fight like over her, in the chair with her mouth open and like stop please.

(1h 0m 11s):
Okay. So it was fresh water falling in her. Not like unless he was using the sucky one that they used to suck all the spit out of your mouth. No, no, it was, it was both water. Fresh water is also the only man who’s ever called me princess and live to tell the tale. Oh, that’s sweet. Well, he might’ve had control of your dental facilities, dental. I don’t know what I’m saying. We technically, we were in his dental facilities cause it was his office or his practice whenever. So where did the why’s nobody call me princess, if you want to keep all your teeth. Good, good drawback to where we’re at.

(1h 0m 53s):
So rumors began to fly that bell had perhaps hired a young housekeeper days before the fire. And that was actually the headless body that they found. Which bell, again, another tip for you. If you’re going to do that, hire how hard is it to hire a housekeeper that has the like general same body type as you? I mean, I feel like bell might be a little bit of a, a diamond in the rough Kenneth. She’s one of the kinds. Yeah. So, wow. Whatever. So meanwhile police, so I just, what did she do with her head?

(1h 1m 33s):
Did she abscond in the night with her belongings and head in a satchel? Well, they actually think that there were probably a lot of bodies that they missed on the farm because they weren’t able to do like a full I’m, just 40 some acres. Well, and also how many, how many years had she been there at this point? Let’s see, she bought the farm 1901 and it’s 1908. So seven years of winters too. And like heavy winters, snow gets rid of evidence real well and nature also like being able to grow grass back in places.

(1h 2m 19s):
So I’m sure if you put some GPR album out there, you might find some more goodies. I’m very interested in that. Yeah. GPR is a really cool tool. I wish I got to play with it more, but I don’t, by the way, apologies for all of the loud outdoor noises that is happening. We had a bird earlier who was very disrespectfully chirping. And now a plane just sounded like it buzzed the tower, which the tower was our house. Also want to point out a GPR for those who don’t know sounds stands for ground penetrating radar. Yes. I knew that. I believe you did. And I’m sure most people listening do as well, but I just wanted to put it out just in case you want to know what happened to Ray the place, tell me the police, let them go.

(1h 3m 11s):
Oh no, they arrested him. And they were like, well, you’ve already admitted that you were near the farm when it burned down. And also you, he drunk when they arrested Hardy. He also admitted that you didn’t call the police because you were afraid that you were going to be implicated, which is exactly what we’re doing. So self fulfilling prophecy. So he goes to trial. They charged him with arson and murder. The defense argued for him that Nanna. No. Remember how Bell’s been going around town, framing him this entire time. She probably lit the fire. The fact that bell had benefited from the deaths of her first two husbands, as well as had other fires that she had benefited from was also helpful.

(1h 4m 3s):
Yeah. The big fascinated her character called her character into question. Is that reliable against them? They, the big thing was that they had a chemist that came in and was able to testify that the children’s bodies, he had found traces of strychnine in them strict, strict man. Sorry. Have I been saying around one? Okay. Now you said it correctly. The first time I have a lot of fanatical spellings in here. So they found traces of strict men in the children’s bodies. So that was how they were able to say, okay, well the fire didn’t kill them. So if we’re going to convict you of arson, we would also have to have a separate child to convict you, of poisoning the children, which they don’t think he did.

(1h 4m 44s):
So Ray gets acquitted of the murder charge, but they do convict him of arson because they’re all someone has to go to jail for this. He goes to jail. And after only a year in prison, he dies of tuberculosis because early 20th century. But allegedly he made a deathbed confession, which take it with a grain of salt because who knows how to read this. As he claimed allegedly that he had actually helped Belle kill and dispose of 42 men. He said that she would poison them, hit them over the head and cut them up.

(1h 5m 24s):
So she did all of the hard work and just dug the hole and she would like give him body parts in bags and he would just go bury them. I believe that it does. It is very possible. He also said that he would throw some of them in the lake. And I don’t know if he ever like Drudge dragged the lake, the re dredged. Drudged not dragged. I mean, same thing. The reason I totally believe that is because for years he was living in the house with her. And when he wasn’t sleeping with her, when, you know, one of her cousins came to town, kissing cousins, cousin didn’t leave.

(1h 6m 8s):
Yeah. And then all of a sudden her bed was open for Ray again. I mean, there’s no way he could not know what was going on. So cutting of a body is very dirty, messy business. So like, I feel like it’s hard to do that without someone else knowing about it, especially if there’s more than one person. Yeah. Well, I mean, if you’ve got livestock on your farm, they’ve probably she’s, you know, they don’t have like big slaughterhouses like now. So you have to do all of your meat processing, you know, on the premises. Most likely that’s true. So, I mean, she probably had a meat processing area that was, she had a meat grinder. We know that well, and she certainly had, you know, butchering tools in order to chop them up.

(1h 6m 53s):
So this part actually also makes a ton of sense. He said that they, that he demanded hush money from her after Andrew, the last one. And that’s what they were fighting about right after Andrew got there. And that’s why she fired him was because he was like trying to, you know, get in too big for his britches. He also allegedly verified the housekeeper rumor and said that he had actually helped bell go out and find that woman and kill her and decapitate her and put her in X again, deathbed confession. So I will counteract you. I want to believe that because it makes the most sense to me, but it is also possible that he didn’t know any of that.

(1h 7m 41s):
Right. Because if he did know and help her with what’d you say 42 bodies. Yeah. You’re not going to just fire someone with that kind of knowledge. I mean, yeah. He might be the town drunk, but I don’t know. I mean, you’ve, you’ve had some suspicious deaths. Yeah. Your husband and your husband’s daughter, very, you know, it’s suspicious. And now there’s guys saying that you’ve killed all these other men that have been coming in. Well, you never see them leave. But I think in last year was just like so crazy in love with her that he was just willing because to follow that through, you also have to think that he agreed to this plan of, okay, I’ll take the fall for you can fake your death.

(1h 8m 36s):
I’ll take the fall and you can run away. And I’ll also help you chill your children. I don’t think he was fully in, on the faking the death plot. I think, you know, I, yes, if he was in, on, you know, helping her dispose of these bodies and she fired him, she probably fired him and was like, you know what? It is risky, but I’m going to start planting seeds that, you know, he’s deranged and going to kill me and sorry, I forgot it.

(1h 9m 17s):
Start spreading these rumors. You know, that he’s crazy. And he might kill me cause I can probably use this to my advantage. And then as soon as the Andrew’s brother started poking around, she’s like, yep, Nope. I knew it was coming sooner or later, I’m going to have to leave and go somewhere else. And you know, now that now she’s got people, she, you know, she’s spread all over town that, you know, poor Ray is gonna kill her. Right. Poor her poor widow. Remember I think poor, poor me, poor Ray to us. Ray’s going to kill her and burn the house down.

(1h 10m 1s):
Gotta be specific. Arson is involved. Yes. Ray did it or we’ll do it. Sorry. And so I think she was very smart and kind of knew that one day she would have to leave before she got caught. And she built Ray into her escape. I think she was, I think he was only a willing sparked. I think he was only a willing participant in the disposal of bodies. True. Not the killing or dismemberment, but probably yeah, probably just the burial. I don’t think he ever admitted to actually helping with the killing part.

(1h 10m 42s):
He just wasn’t accessory. Was it accessory after the fact? Yeah. In 1931, a woman named Esther Carlson was arrested in LA for poisoning, a Norwegian American man named August Lindstrom and attempting to steal his money. Well, this sounds like someone we know asked her, worked as Mr. Windstream’s housekeeper and he had conveniently just deposited $2,000 into a joint bank account that he had with her. I don’t know why he had a joint bank account with his housekeeper weird.

(1h 11m 22s):
And she, so she gets arrested and she unfortunately died of tuberculosis while she was waiting for her trial convenient. But two former LaPorte residents, I don’t know why they called them in, but they called them in and they were like, look at this body. And they were like, that looks a lot like Belle Gunness, here’s a picture of the two women together. So the obvious difference is that Esther is, is kind of gaunt looking. Yeah. But this is also the 20 years later. So, and I mean, well, w when was the original photo of Belle taken?

(1h 12m 6s):
Let’s see a picture of her with her four kids probably close to 1908 because the kids look maybe a little before that, because Phillip was five when he died. And in that picture, he’s maybe three. So she was, so it was probably 1906, which making me do math really quick would make her she’s 22 and 81. So someone call in and do the math. Right. And so she was 22 and 81. So she was 42 and oh one K. So she was in her early forties in that picture. Yeah. And then fast forward another 20 years and she’s in her sixties.

(1h 12m 48s):
Right. So she would have been 71 in 31. I did do that math. So I think if you, well, I also looked it up. I think if you take the woman that we know as bell Guinness and you take off maybe a hundred pounds from her and you age her, I think the eyes are the same. I think the mouth is the same. The melt is the same. The, the nose, it’s hard to tell because of the shadows, the nose looks the same, her eyes kind of, except as Esther, her eyes have more of like a sparkle to them.

(1h 13m 30s):
Well, she’s been, she’s been alive for 20 some years. Oh, also dammit. I didn’t read this part down. I have it on my paper net somewhere. She only had, it was like $700 left in her bank account at the time of her alleged death when her house burned down. And she had a mask, many, many more monies than that through all of her insurance scams. So she cleaned out her bank account. So yeah, we’re not all the money again. They also brought in another former LaPorte resident who I was she working as a housekeeper? Well, I don’t know.

(1h 14m 10s):
Also if she was in her seventies and had all that money, you think she’d be not working. Right. Unless she just squandered all her money on, I don’t know, buying a new identity. I don’t know. She okay. So they had another resident who came in and they identified a picture that they found among Esther’s belonging. And he was like, that looks like a picture of belittle Guinness’s children. So they have, I mean, unreliable people to identify a body, but that’s the speculation. In 2008, they did do DNA analysis on the exude body of the woman found in the house.

(1h 14m 58s):
I want to say they also, at some point did a DNA analysis on Esther, but the DNA sample that they got, which was from a letter, you know, how bell like to write letters was too degraded to get anything off. Well, they could exam the bodies of her children. They cut. And I think they offered, I think her sister offered or her not her sister, but her, like, it would be her either her niece or her great niece. One of her sister’s kids or descendants offered her DNA to like compare. And the last thing I read was that they couldn’t afford to do it. Like it was just a money thing. Like they couldn’t afford to run the tests.

(1h 15m 38s):
So I don’t know, maybe we’ll know one day my last, they got to go fund me. We can make one. Certainly my last piece of alleged information is that apparently the new owners of the property, the murder farm or death garden built a house on the old foundation and also put up a swing set about 50 feet from the old hog pen. So that’s nice. Well, I mean, horrible things happen everywhere. And then you just got to move on, right? Sure. I mean, if we sacrificed every house or a piece of land where a horrible atrocity would have had happened, there, there would be nowhere for us to live.

(1h 16m 34s):
Maybe don’t build a house right on top of a place where at least 19 people died, it would be like, you know that church in downtown that have you been on the go store? No, not yet. Okay. Well, spoiler alert. There’s a big church downtown. The one with all the disputes, you know about it. There’s a huge, beautiful church. Downtown’s hall, Spanish Moss. It’s really beautiful, has like an outdoor place and you go on the go store and they tell you about it. And they’re like, by the way, this is, you’re standing on a mass grave because a bunch of people died of yellow fever and they just throw thousands of in the ground. So, and there’s a playground.

(1h 17m 14s):
There’s literally playground on it. Oh man. I don’t know. Well, I don’t see as much of a problem with what you know, with that, I guess crazy person who will now tell us what are, where people could find us apparently in the same insane asylum, because I’m RACI what our socials were on Instagram at the tails. We tell podcast, we’ve got our own website that tells me, tell podcast.com. We also have a red bubble store go red bubble.com/or search search and a Patrion.

(1h 17m 54s):
And of course, if you go to our Instagram bio, we have a link tree that takes you to all of those wonderful, magical places. And just want to, again, throw that patriotic. We have several wonderful, beautiful, lovely supporters, and we love and adore them. And we would love to have more of you to love and adore. So if you can please join the patron, it means the world to us. It does also, we we’ve got, you’ve already got several bonus content things. They are, we will send you cards and letters and stickers and goodies.

(1h 18m 36s):
And we also are, oh yeah, I forgot about this. Yeah. So you know, our little I’m using air quotes, your alter, AKA the little shelf where we feature in a lot of our pictures that has all, you know, a bunch of our spooky stuff or candles for wine. It’s where we keep my, I keep my ones. It’s at a weird angle. I can’t get it there. So anyway, we want, you know, all of our current patrons and any of our new patrons, I think it’s our, we’re going to put a limit on the first 10. I think 10 is good. At two, we want to invite you to send us a little goodie, to put a little token.

(1h 19m 16s):
Yeah. You know, it can be a picture or a little figuring or something so that you are represented in our spooky on the spookier. The better we currently have the doll that I’ve named Annabel. Cause I’m not creative. It’s a little porcelain doll who is very creepy. She did break a table one time in my house. We have our Onyx Crow. Who’s my favorites. I love him. We have a skull head. We also have a scholar we’ve recently named fire crotch because he is a skeleton. Yeah. Sorry. Yeah. Skeleton. Not a skull, but he’s kind of straddling a candle. Well, she’s just bones.

(1h 19m 57s):
Not even skin and bones. He’s just bones. You got to keep him warm. Yeah. And we also have some tiny whiskey bottles, which might eventually get consumed. So we’ve also got a adorable little ghost painting by Chris lane. Yep. What’s his insert again, sees I think it sees the underscore lane underscore art. I’ll double check real quick. And we also have our awesome what the Crow candle. Yes. From the smell of fear on Instagram, we love her. She made a custom candle for us. Precious and adorable. By the way, Chris’s Instagram is CZ, a underscore lane underscore art.

(1h 20m 40s):
So become a patron and we’ll reach out so you can send us. Yeah. I’ll try to alter contribution if you’re so inclined. I thought we say altercation. I’ll try to put some more pictures of our little altar on here, but thank you guys for listening. Thank you. Any new listeners like Amanda, longtime listeners like emeralds. Thank you everyone. Who’s listening at all. And we will see you guys next week. Thanks again for listening to true crime by Indy. Drop-in if you would like your show featured, reach out to us at Indy drop-in on all social media or go to Indy, drop in.com.

(1h 21m 25s):
See you next time.

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