Murders That Made Headlines: Crimes of Indiana

Murders That Made Headlines: Crimes of Indiana

Murders That Made Headlines: Crimes of Indiana

Murders That Made Headlines: Crimes of Indiana


Even the most sensational and scandalous crimes can disappear into history, the spine-chilling tales forgotten by subsequent generations. Murders that Made Headlines reveals some of these extraordinary but forgotten true events that captured the public's attention in the course of the last 200 years. Jane Simon Ammeson recounts the astonishing and sometimes bizarre stories of arsenic murders, Ponzi schemes, prison escapes, perjury, and other shocking crimes that took place in the Hoosier state. When we think of bygone eras, we often imagine genteel women, respectable men, simpler times, mannerly interactions, and intimate acquaintances, but Murders that Made Headlines reveals the notorious true crimes lurking in our history.


When people asked what I was working on and I told of days reading newspaper accounts, culling death certificates and trial transcripts of old murders, and learning about such products as the wonderfully named Rough on Rats, they reacted in two distinct ways. Some were rather appalled that I revel in news articles about midnight exhumations, beheadings, and running a burial service for murderers who need a place to hide their bodies (a true niche business). Others were just as fascinated as me.

The settings for the murders I included in this book take us from the late 1850s to the Jazz Age; from travel by horse and buggy and riverboats to Hudson sedans and Cadillacs; from women wearing long dresses to flappers in short skirts; from gas lamps to electricity. But the passions that led to murder are similar to what we read and hear about today: unwanted babies, financial gain, or an impediment to marrying. Indiana was also the locale for one of the largest mass murders in the country, committed by a woman no less. Juries were just as whimsical and unpredictable then as we think of them today.

But there were differences too.

Lynching was still abided; authorities often looked the other way and perpetrators were not punished. Although I had known that the lynching of African Americans continued long into the . . .

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