cops and dicks

In 1943, Wayne Lonergan, who had been a young cadet in the Royal Canadian Air Force, killed Patricia Burton Bernheimer, heiress to a brewery fortune, after she filed for separation and cut her husband out of her will. She was found in their lavish apartment nude, her skull crushed with a silver candelabra.

image found here

After telling arresting officers that he had killed her, Lonergan then changed his story and said that he had spent the evening of the slaying with another woman. But witnesses gave a differing account. A male friend testified that Lonergan had come to his apartment immediately after the killing to change clothes. And the woman he supposedly had been with contradicted his alibi.

Lonergan then said that he had been with another man–that he had been the victim of an overbearing mother, which forced him into occasional homosexual periods. As the trial started  Time Magazine published this report

Against the windows of Manhattan’s Criminal Courts Building the bulletlike drops of the first spring rains beat and splashed with homicidal violence. The crowd of cops, dicks, court attendants, learned counsel, loafers and prurient goons who infest such scenes beat against the court’s doors. One of the most sensational murder trials in Manhattan’s legal history was just beginning.

Crowd of cops found here

The trial was also a clinical study of unusual interest to doctors and psychiatrists. For it was obvious last week that Defense Attorney Edward Broderick would make some plea of insanity involving homosexuality

There was already talk about his perversion: Assistant District Attorney Jacob Grumet testified that Lonergan confessed (this unsigned confession is now repudiated by the defendant and his lawyers) to homosexual relations, both before and after his marriage. One of the men involved is said to have been William Burton, Lonergan’s wife’s father.

image found here

To most people Lonergan does not look like a homosexual. Contrary to popular legend, homosexuals are not necessarily physically abnormal, though sometimes a glandular disturbance is involved. As a rule, homosexuals are made, not born. Psychologists W. Norwood East and W. H. Herbert list seduction in childhood as the commonest precipitating cause. Other causes: 1) a tendency to varied and primitive sexual outlets; 2) an inherited tendency. From Lonergan’s repudiated confession to the police he would seem to fall into the varied and primitive sexual outlet group.

image found here

The defense may try to prove that Patricia Lonergan led a lively life herself, that since Lonergan is a psychopath, his impulse to kill her was irresistible.  Testimony so far has been dull, and the only humorous sally of the first few days was macabre:

Defense Attorney Broderick asked the medical examiner: “Did you remove the calvarium of Patricia Lonergan by sawing from the superior orbital regions to the inferior occipital regions?”

Dr. Halpern: “Did I take off the top of her head with a saw?”

Broderick: “Yes.”

image found here

Not all the psychotics were in the courtroom. As the Lonergan trial got under way, novelist James Thomas Farrell (The Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan) was having trouble with the Manhattan police. His publisher was visited by four different parties of cops who professed to see a connection between Wayne Lonergan and Studs Lonigan. Later a cop from a prowl car tried shyly to buy a copy of the novel from a First Avenue bookshop. It was out of stock.

image found here

an authority on rock’n’roll

One of the greatest obituary writers of all time was Hugh Massingberd. This is what he had to say about Lord Moynihan

image found here

His chief occupations were bongo-drummer, confidence trickster, brothel-keeper, drug-smuggler and police informer, but ‘Tony’ Moynihan also claimed other areas of expertise – as ‘professional negotiator’, ‘international diplomatic courier’, ‘currency manipulator‘ and ‘authority on rock and roll’.

image found here

If there was a guiding principle to Moynihan’s life, it was to be found on the wall of his office in Manila, where a brass plaque bore the legend, ‘Of the 36 ways of avoiding disaster, running away is the best.’

Moynihan learnt this lesson at an early stage. The first time he ran away was in 1956, to Australia. There were two reasons for his flight. The first was to elude his father’s fury over a liaison with a Soho night-club waitress.

Soho nightclub found here

The second was to escape his wife, an actress and sometime nude model; they had married secretly the previous year, and she had now taken out a summons against him for assault. Her father had made a similar complaint – ‘I regret to say I gave him a swift right upper cut,’ Moynihan announced from Australia.

The idea was that he should work on his uncle’s sheep farm in the bush, but after five days he ran away to Sydney, where he made his debut as a banjo-player and met a Malayan fire-eater’s assistant who was to become his second wife.

image found here

The next year he returned to London, where he effected a reconciliation with his first wife and found a job as manager of the Condor, a Soho nightclub. The job did not last, and in 1958 he married the former fire-eater’s assistant, by now a belly-dancer working under his management.

Not this belly dancer

Soon after the wedding he made his first court appearance, accused of the larceny of two bedsheets. He was found not guilty, but as he walked from the court he was presented with another summons, this one over a lease. It was time to run away again.

With his new bride, Moynihan moved to Ibiza to set up a nightclub; when this failed he left his partner to pick up the pieces and fled to the mainland, before returning home once more.

His next venture was a coffee bar called El Toro, with a Spanish bull-fighting theme, at premises in Beckenham, Kent. But that, too, failed, so Moynihan set off with his wife on a belly-dancing tour of Europe and the Far East.

Manolete, the bullfighter found here

In Tokyo he challenged an American journalist who had disparaged his wife’s dancing; the critic elected martinis or cold noodles as weapons. In 1960s London Moynihan cut a rather ridiculous figure in kaftans, and worked for a time for Peter Rachman, the slum landlord, driving his maroon Rolls Royce.

After he succeeded his father in the peerage in 1965 Moynihan took the Liberal Whip in the House of Lords, where he was principally concerned in arguing that Gibraltar be given to Spain. The House was not impressed.

In 1968 Lord Boothby interrupted one of Moynihan’s speeches: ‘The noble Lord has bored us stiff for nearly three-quarters of an hour. I beg to move that he no longer be heard.’

Moynihan’s business career and personal finances had meanwhile given rise to a number of misunderstandings. By 1970 he faced 57 charges – among them fraudulent trading, false pretences, fraud against a gaming casino and the purchase of a Rolls Royce with a worthless cheque. To avoid disaster he fled once more, this time to Spain.

Rolls Royce motor-home found here

‘I knew of my impending arrest 48 hours in advance,’ he claimed. ‘I’d been approached by a CID man who told me that for £50,000 the case against me would be dropped. Because I believe in God and England I told him to get stuffed.’

His extradition was sought from Spain, but he disappeared, to resurface the next year in the Philippines. In 1968 he had married for a third time – another belly-dancer, this one a Filipino – and the new Lady Moynihan’s family had a chain of massage parlours in Manila, where Moynihan remained for much of the rest of his life.

As the 1970s wore on Moynihan found employment in the narcotics trade, as well as in fraud and prostitution. The first hint of this came in 1980, when he was named by an Australian Royal Commission as an associate of Sydney’s ‘Double Bay Mob’, engaged in the import of heroin from Manila.

No charges were brought, however, and Moynihan continued his life as a Filipino pimp under the patronage of President Marcos – ‘my drinking chum,’ as he called him. At one stage he ran a brothel within 100 yards of the British Ambassador’s residence.

Grandson of President Marcos found here

After the coup against Marcos in 1986, Moynihan’s position became exposed, and the next year he was forbidden to leave the Philippines pending investigations of his links with drugs and prostitution.

He was then vulnerable to pressure from Scotland Yard and the American Drugs Enforcement Agency to help them catch Howard Marks, a Balliol man who at that time controlled an estimated sixth of the global market in marijuana, and with whom he was already on friendly terms.

image found here

He approached Marks with a bogus offer to sell him an island in the Philippines, on which he could grow marijuana; and in return for his own immunity agreed to wear a secret tape-recorder to ensnare his friend.

Marks was convicted in Florida, with Moynihan as chief witness for the prosecution. The DEA gave him refuge and protection in the United States for a time, and hailed him as ‘a hero, one of the good guys’. Marks saw things differently. ‘I feel terribly betrayed,’ he said. ‘He’s a first-class bastard.’

In Manila, to which he returned after his sojourn in America, Moynihan had as his base in the city a brothel named the Yellow Brick Road. ‘I just sit back and collect the money,’ he said. ‘The girls do all the work.’

Real Yellow Brick Road found here

He frequently spoke of returning to England – ‘to clear my name,’ as he put it. ‘I miss things like decent roast beef and good newspapers, the civilised way of life.’

working the badger game

In 1905, Marshall Field, Jr. was found shot to death in the bedroom of his home on Chicago’s Prairie Avenue, reportedly the result of a self-inflicted gun shot. Field’s family told police the death had been an accident: Marshall had been cleaning a hunting weapon when it accidentally discharged. Others weren’t so sure, however, and soon there were rumors of Field’s dealings in the old Levee vice district. Had Field taken his own life to bow out of some untoward matter at Chicago’s most prestigious brothel, the Everleigh Club?

Everleigh Club found here

In November 1913, the New York Times ran this story

LOS ANGELES, California: Vera Scott, who says she is the wife of a Kansas City musician, and who is in jail here on a charge of vagrancy, in connection with an alleged attempt to work the badger game, told the police today that she shot and killed Marshal Field, Jr., in a Chicago clubhouse in 1905.

Not this Vera Scott

The Scott woman asserted that after the shooting, Marshall Field Snr gave her a large sum of money to leave the country. The woman asserted further that it was she who shot and killed Reese Prosser on a train in Montana in June 1910. (Prosser was killed by his divorced wife who was acquitted on the grounds of self defence)

1910 Train wreck Allard, Montana found here

The woman laughed heartily and often during the reciting of her story, at the ease with which she has been able to “handle” men. She told how she arrived in Los Angeles 8 months ago with only $3.00 and since then had made $60,000 by wheedling wealthy men.

some wealthy Los Angeleans found here

“I am the daughter of a wealthy French-born stockbroker” she said. “I went to New York and married Louis Clarkson, poor fellow he’s dead now. Then came Reese Prosser. We got along well until he turned savage. Besides, I wanted liberties, so I took them. In Chicago I was introduced as Vera Leroy to Marshall Field Jr.  who took a fancy to me and we went to the Everleigh Club brothel together. 

Princess Caroline weds her French stockbroker

He said something that offended me and I was so inflamed with wine I took his revolver off him and said I would teach him a lesson. The trigger must have been finely set, it just went off before I intended it. Marshall fell mortally wounded but was still able to say “Get me a cab out of here and don’t say anything”

some interesting old taxis to be found here

The next thing I knew we were in two separate cabs, he returning to his wife and children and me heading towards a hotel on the North Side. Next day, his father Marshall Field Snr, visited me and handed over $10,000. I was promised another $10,000 if I set sail for the Orient so I took that too.

Marshall Field Snr found here

 Later I returned quietly and went to Cleveland where my husband Reese Prosser was glad to have me back. Then in 1910 I met Leroy Scott and told Reese I wanted a divorce. I got one against his wishes and when he followed me on a train I had to shoot him in self defence. 

find out how to defend yourself in Bahrain

The story of Field Jr.’s death at the age of 38 continues to stir controversy today. Although officially ruled accidental, rumors have long circulated that he was in fact shot by a prostitute in the infamous Everleigh Club, or was despondent and was trying to commit suicide. The true story of his death may never be known.

sexciting and sexsational

Paul Raymond, publisher and property tycoon for more than 50 years, made his fortune by bringing pornography out of the back streets and turning it into an acceptable — or at least accepted — part of British life.

Paul Raymond found here

Born Geoffrey Anthony Quinn in 1925, he left school at 15 and worked as an office boy for the Manchester Ship Canal Company. Determined to get into showbusiness he bought a mind-reading act from the clown Ravel for £25 and got his first break appearing in a variety show on Clacton pier in 1947.

NOT this Anthony Quinn (the actor aged 13 found here)

Soon he was putting on strip shows with his then wife, Jean, a stripper and choreographer. That was, of course, after fathering a son with a woman who earned her living by selling horoscopes and riding the handlebars of a motorbike as it circled the Wall of Death.

Wall of Death found here

With the profits he opened the Raymond Revue Bar in 1957 as a private members club and presented lavish, colourful stage shows that included both male and female nudity — a type of entertainment then unknown in Britain. In its heyday the streets outside the club were packed with Jaguars and limousines and its patrons included top businessmen as well as gangsters such as the Kray brothers and the Richardsons. The club’s “padre”, Canon Edward Young, later became chaplain to the Queen Mother

The Queen Mother on her wedding day found here

Advertised as “Sexciting” or “Sexsational”, his shows had titles like Hot from Harlem, or “See the taunting, scantily clad Native Mating Dance”. One girl, Miss Snake-Hips, did an act with a boa constrictor. She had to be rescued from near-death once by Raymond, and a local ex-boxer he found next door, when the snake started squeezing.

image found here

Having tracked down an animal trainer who had once taught a lion to wear spectacles, Raymond asked him to find a horse that could be trained to undress one of his strippers. When Beauty started work, he had to be followed with a bucket as he was taken into the theatre. At the end of the routine the lady he undressed had to climb carefully on to his back because there was barely enough headroom for her to ride off.

Nude on Horse by Mark Seliger found here

Such immodesty attracted the attention of the police, who were obliged to spend much time on the premises; in its early years the Revuebar was raided several times, and in 1961 Raymond was fined £5,000 after a magistrate decided that allowing members of the audience to ring the Ding Dong Girl’s bells constituted an unruly house — and that, furthermore, Julia Mendez should not have swallowed the snake in public.

image found here

He became a familiar figure around Soho, with his long black fur coat draped round his shoulders, gold bracelet engraved with his initials, diamond and gold pendant worn over his tie, and a scrape-over hairdo. It was sufficiently long at the back to form a “valance around his neck“. He remained a louche and unhealthy man of vulgar tastes, though he wore good suits. Tall, with an artificial tan that mummified his skin like cracked toffee, a mane of hair like brittle silver lamé and a smear of moustache, he latterly evoked Dracula lurking in the guise of an Oxford Street spiv.

image found here

In the early 1970s Raymond launched Men Only and Club International, two porn magazines with a quota of factual and lifestyle articles. Although spurned by the main distributors, their glossy appearances enabled him to sell them through small, local newsagents. The “top-shelf” magazine was born.

image found here

Beset by court cases, in which Lord Longford always played a star part, and usually involving judges who would say things like “And what, exactly, is a G-string?“, Raymond somehow managed to stay afloat and prosper. He took full advantage of falling property prices, buying up Soho by the street. By 1980 he owned 60 of its 87 acres. The entrepreneur became, at one point, Britain’s richest man.

Sadly, in later life he became pretty much a recluse and died alone. Read more of the fascinating story of the “Captain of Skindustry” in the book Members Only: The Life and Times of Paul Raymond by Paul Willetts. 

soul searching

James Kidd was an eccentric copper miner with an interest in the supernatural

James Kidd was no relation to Jimmy the Kid

Kidd mysteriously disappeared in 1949, and was declared legally dead in 1965. Arizona authorities found among his possessions a handwritten will in which the prospector directed that his estate, worth $198,138.53, be used for “research or some scientific proof of a soul of the human body which leaves at death.”

Soul leaving the body found here

Although he boggled at the unusual bequest, Superior Court Probate Judge Robert L. Myers ruled that the will was legitimate, ordered a hearing to find out whether anyone could properly qualify to carry out Kidd’s wish. As the trial got underway, it was apparent that there were plenty of soul-searchers eager to tackle the task. No fewer than 17 organizations and 78 individuals put up the $15 filing fee and were prepared to stake their claims. Among them:

image found here

Nora Higgins, 57, housewife and self-described clairvoyant from Branscomb, Calif., who maintains that the soul has no physical substance but consists of a hazy, tinted form resembling that of the body. At the hearing, she insisted that she had detected Kidd’s soul in the courtroom, “pacing up and down with his hands behind his back, shaking his head at the proceedings.”

Peck in courtroom found here

Another California housewife, Jean Bright, 48, of Encino, who claims to be in constant contact “through my entire nervous system” with a dentist friend who died two years ago. She asks the dentist’s soul yes or no questions about the beyond, Mrs. Bright asserts, and it replies by causing her head either to nod or shake.

amateur dentist found here

William A. Dennis, 64, of Balboa, Calif., a geophysicist who contends that the soul is a center of cosmic vibrations. When the human body is alive, he says, vibrations from the soul give man the power to think and act. When the human body is dead, it is unable to accept or record these vibrations.

image found here

Virat W. Ambudha, 51, a lieutenant colonel in the army of Thailand and author of a book called Increasing Brain Power, who arrived from Bangkok on leave to fight his case, which he based in part on the enigmatic contention that the soul is a “most wonderful, delicate, small thing.”

Dr. Richard Ireland, founder of the University of Life Church in Phoenix, who claims the power to communicate with souls and frequently dons a blindfold to demonstrate his powers of mental telepathy.

image found here

Since the court hearing was announced, Judge Myers, an Episcopalian, has received more than 4,500 letters of advice suggesting proofs for the soul’s existence. Most of them argue that the answer is to be found in the Bible, although a letter from India suggested: “Take a man who is about to die into a small room. All the doors, windows and ventilators should be thoroughly closed so that there is no place for the soul to get out. As soon as the man dies, his soul shall pierce or crack the window glass, thus giving proof of its existence.” Courthouse observers estimate that the hearing will last all summer, but Myers considers himself fortunate in at least one respect: “I don’t have to rule whether or not man has a soul.” That, he explains, is a matter outside his court’s jurisdiction.

image found here

fasten your seatbelt, it’s going to be a bumpy night

Alfred Loewenstein (1877-1928) was, at one stage in the 1920s, called the richest man in the world.

image found here

Admittedly a brilliant financial mind, Loewenstein was devoid of either financial or personal ethics, with a reputation as a serial adulterer.

His first big break came when he joined the Belgian armed forces during the First World War and was sent to London, England where he was placed in charge of military supplies. Zeroing in on the incredible profits to be made contracting to the British Army, by the end of the war Loewenstein was a pound sterling millionaire. How he managed to accomplish this on the salary of a lowly captain was never explained.

Vote for Captain Kangaroo here

On the morning of July 4, 1928 a Fokker tri-motor aircraft took off from Croydon airfield just outside London, bound for Brussels. On board were the plane’s owner, 51 year-old Alfred Loewenstein, the pilot, former WWI ace Donald Drew, as well as mechanic Robert F. Little, a valet, a male secretary; and two female stenographers who had just been hired from a temp agency that day, making a total of seven people.

image found here

According to the four people in the passenger compartment, soon after the plane crossed the English coast off Dover, flying at 4,000 feet, Loewenstein, who had been reading a book, laid it down after carefully marking the place, took off his collar and tie, went to the washroom.

Onboard lavatories were a new development in aviation comfort, this particular model of Fokker being one of the first ever equipped with such an amenity. It was in a small compartment at the back of the plane. After passing through the compartment door, Loewenstein went to the left and entered the bathroom. On the right was another door, which led out of the plane. There was also a door in a bulkhead separating the head from the rest of the aircraft, so anyone coming and going into rest room was not visible from the main compartment.

aircraft toilet in its case found here

After about ten minutes they noticed he had not returned and his valet went to check on him and found…nothing. The ‘richest man in the world’ had vanished. 

After circling for a short time in an unsuccessful search for Loewenstein, at about 6:30 pm the plane landed on a deserted beach on the Normandy coast for half an hour, and no clear account was ever obtainable as to what the passengers and crew did there. The plane took off again and made a three or four-minute flight, landing a second time at a French military airfield nearby, where the crew told authorities that their boss Loewenstein was missing.

Omaha Beach, Normandy found here

Speculation surrounded the possibility that Lowenstein may have become confused when leaving the lavatory and opened the wrong door, plunging several thousand feet to his death in the English Channel.

 Officials of the Fokker Aircraft Corporation said indignantly that their doors were intentionally designed so that the blast of air would make it absolutely impossible for them to be opened in flight, except by the united efforts of two very strong men. 

image found here

Among the rumors surrounding his disappearance, some suspected a criminal conspiracy in which his employees murdered him, others speculated that a growing absent mindedness, noted by many of Lowenstein’s acquaintances, may have caused him to walk out the wrong door of the plane.

Because he had left behind a tangled web of business ventures, others theorized that his business empire was on the verge of collapse. Some even asserted that corrupt business practices were about to be exposed and that Lowenstein, therefore, committed suicide.

 Then there were those who believed he was an early model for D.B. Cooper, having originated the idea of parachuting out of the aircraft to be picked up by a waiting yacht and spirited off to an unknown destination in order to escape his collapsing empire. 

image found here

Immediately following Loewenstein’s disappearance an air and sea search came up empty-handed, but two weeks later his body was found, wearing only underpants and socks, floating in mid-channel by a fishing trawler.

An autopsy was carried out by Belgian authorities and it was discovered that Loewenstein did not die of drowning, but apparently of the pulverizing internal injuries which occurred when his body slammed into the ocean after falling for about four thousand feet.

Which makes Vesna Vulovic’s survival all the more amazing:

Vesna found here

There was really nothing special about this lady, except for the fact that she fell 33,000 feet and lived to tell the tale.

On January 26, 1972 she was working an extra shift due to a clerical error. She took the shift anyway to earn a little extra scratch, probably to supplement her bear-wrestling hobby or something. Anyway, some terrorists decided to blow up her plane and succeeded in doing so at the worst possible time, when the plane was really high up in the air.

image found here

Not only did she survive the explosion that blew the plane to pieces, but she was the only person to live after hitting the side of the mountain. It was winter so the mountain was also frozen 

She did in fact break a bunch of bones and fell into a coma, but when she woke up she looked around and asked for a cigarette. She was left paralyzed … but then regained her ability to walk through sheer force of will. She also didn’t suffer any of those New Age, sissy boy “psychological effects” and continued to fly like nothing happened. As a bonus she collected a Guinness World Record for her troubles.

Vesna receiving her award found here

the people skills of Basil Fawlty

John Fothergill was an eccentric restaurateur with the people skills of Basil Fawlty.

image found here

He turned the sleepy Spread Eagle Inn into one of the most famous hotels in England, if not the world. Some came for the food and the ambiance, others to marvel at John Fothergill’s eccentric personality. 

image found here

A curmudgeon and an obsessed puritan, Fothergill was not just any old snob. Sporting knee breeches, a dark green “over-garment that has been described as a cross between a page boy’s and a parson’s,” a flamboyant foulard, an Eton collar, buckled shoes, and a lorgnette that dangled on a black cord down to his navel, he inevitably cut a curious, if romantic figure. In summer, he favored a suit of white duck.

lorgnette for a fish goddess found here

He attended public school at Bath College in Cumbria, then studied at St. John’s College, Oxford, before dropping out after one term, having flunked his exams. Fothergill quickly fell in with Robbie Ross, a close friend of Oscar Wilde’s. At that early age, Fothergill was strikingly handsome, with a notable élan. Wilde, who cherished being in his company, called him the “architect of the moon”

Moon House by architect Antonino Cardillo found here

He seemed destined for a life as an aesthete, or at least a dilettante, surrounded by his gay artist friends. But he turned his back on the world of art and archaeology, and went straight, marrying Doris Elsa Henning. The marriage was a disaster from the start and ended abruptly with Fothergill suffering a nervous collapse. Finding himself, at 46, a broken man with few prospects, he was, as he says in his memoir, “counselled to take an inn.” In 1922, he and new wife, Kate Headley Kirby, heard about a place near Oxford called The Spread Eagle in Thame that was “very shabby but very possible.” Fothergill pulled together the money he needed and bought the lease.

Spread Eagle Inn found here

He channeled his enthusiasm for fine wine into creating one of the finest wine cellars in the area, and crafted a menu that focused on what he called “real food” — not the usual hotel fare of prepared meals, but an ever changing menu of tavern standards such as jugged hare or saddle of mutton, mixed with then exotic French dishes, and fanciful desserts such as “lemon flummery,” an 18th-century dish.

cribbage cards made out of flummery found here

What had been a run-down country inn soon became the country crash pad of high society. But not everyone was welcome. Fothergill had not shed his aesthetic standards. If a customer was “ill-shaped, ugly or ill-dressed,” he was known to snub them and to charge them an added fee, what he dubbed “face-money.”

refaced money found here

He also seems to have had a fetish for especially tall men, for whom he often offered a free pint. He kept a tally of them, with a measuring stick, marking their heights on a wall.  But beauty did not always guarantee special treatment. One boy who mistakenly ordered a pint of Angostura, thinking it was an aperitif, was given it and made to drink it. Another fellow who demanded steak, even though it wasn’t on the menu, had to eat a stringy tough cut of beef that Fothergill ordered directly from the butcher as punishment.

tallest man found here

He had a rabid distaste for travelers who stopped in merely to use the lavatory. Even though it was common practice among inns at the time to offer this service as part of an arrangement with the automobile touring association, Fothergill was determined to make it as unpleasant for uninvited guests as possible. If they didn’t personally approach him to thank him for his hospitality, he would follow them outside, berate them publicly and tell them never to set foot in his hotel again. Often if they slipped out before he could get to them, he would take down their license numbers and write them a scathing letter. One time he asked one of these intruders, a rather grand lady, for her home address “in case I need a pumpship when I’m passing your home.”

Magic Cone found here

This is an excerpt from an original review by Brooks Peters you can read here

a pimple on the arse of the empire

Sir Harry Oakes (1874-1943) was a wealthy goldmine owner who earned his fortune in Canada and moved to the Bahamas for tax purposes.

Sir Harry and the Duke of Windsor found here

On the night of 7 July 1943, Sir Harry Oakes went to bed in his magnificent home in Cable Beach. The next morning one of his house guests found the millionaire had been battered to death and his partly burnt body strewn with white feathers.

bearded white tit found here

The case that followed resulted in one of the most famous trials – and acquittals – of the day. His death is one of the great unsolved murders. It had everything: the involvement of the Duke of Windsor, who was governor of the Bahamas at the time; the Mafia; crooked lawyers; corrupt police; fake aristocrats and greedy playboys. There was even a walk-on role for the novelist Ernest Hemingway, and one of the American journalists sent to Nassau to cover the case was Erle Stanley Gardner, creator of Perry Mason.

Ernest Hemingway found here

Suspicion fell on Sir Harry’s son-in-law, Count Alfred de Marigny, a French Mauritian. The “Count” was not popular among the Bahamian set. He was considered a cad, a fake aristocrat, and a gold-digger. Married twice before, he had eloped with Sir Harry’s teenage daughter, Nancy, the day she became old enough to inherit her father’s fortune. The Duke of Windsor despised De Marigny, describing him as “an unscrupulous adventurer with an evil reputation for immoral conduct with young girls”. De Marigny was equally rude about the Duke, dismissing him as “a pimple on the arse of the Empire”.

Count Alfred De Marigny found here

Sir Harry had been struck twice on the skull with a sharp instrument. There had also been an attempt to set his bedroom on fire, using inflammable insecticide. The case against De Marigny centred on discovery of his fingerprints on a screen in Sir Harry’s bedroom. But the defence proved the fingerprint had been lifted and placed in the bedroom, almost certainly by the Miami detectives. Despite being acquitted, De Marigny was deported. He fled with his bride to stay with their friend Ernest Hemingway in Cuba.

1940s Cuban postcard found here

The lack of a conviction led to speculation, including talk of a Mafia hit in revenge for Sir Harry’s opposition to the legalisation of gambling on the islands. His friend Harold Christie, a former rum smuggler as well as a property speculator, was also a suspect. Others named the tycoon’s lawyer, Walter Foskett, as the man responsible for the killing. Further evidence suggests the Duke may have stifled the murder inquiry, possibly to save his reputation and to protect two of his friends who fell under suspicion.

Duke and Duchess and friend found here

Oakes’s murderer was never identified by official investigation, and there were no subsequent court proceedings after de Marigny’s acquittal. The case received worldwide press coverage at the time, with photos of the beautiful and charming Nancy de Marigny in court. It has been the subject of continuous interest ever since, with several books and films, even into the 21st century.

Nancy Oakes found here

De Marigny and Nancy separated in 1945, and were divorced in 1949. Nancy left Cuba in the late 1940s, and lived in Hollywood, where she had a long love affair with 1950s actor Richard Greene. They remained close friends until his death.

Richard Greene found here

Lorena and the crazy man who loves

Abdala Bucaram was President of Ecuador for six turbulent months.

Bucaram (on right) found here

In an effort to take attention away from a growing list of scandals and corruption allegations, Bucaram began to do what he did best – be himself. It started with the release of his music CD titled “A Crazy Man Who Loves”. Continuing to exploit the media, Bucaram shaved off his trademark moustache on live TV.

image found here

Alas, he had but one moustache to shave for his country, so he followed that up by inviting another famous/infamous Ecuadorian, Lorena Bobbitt, to have lunch with him at the national palace. Bucaram and Bobbitt both became godparents of the baby daughter of an Ecuadorean singer in the port city of Guayaquil. It isn’t known whether the cutlery included knives that day.

Lorena found here

President Bucaram not only attended the World Banana Queen contest, he grabbed the microphone and crooned to the winner, surrounded by scantily clad contestants. By this time, many in Ecuador had thought Bucaram’s antics had gone past comedic and into the realm of lunatic. When he slandered an ex-president by comparing him to a “burro” (donkey), he didn’t help matters. His public apology – not to the politician, but to donkeys – just made things worse.


Mr Bucaram cast a long shadow after he was stripped of his office on the grounds of mental incapacity in 1997 and the fabulous stories – of banknotes stuffed into rubbish bags and paintings removed from the walls of the presidential palace in the dying hours of his administration – began to come out. With demonstrations in the streets and the economy in shambles, the Ecuadorian Congress impeached Bucaram on the grounds of “mental disability” and he quickly flew to Panama to escape looming corruption charges.

image found here

In 2005 he returned to Ecuador after eight years in exile. First he descended from a helicopter into a pre-prepared adoring crowd (though not, as was his habit 20 years ago, in a Batman suit). Then he burst into song. Finally, he mounted a horse, declared himself “as crazy as ever”, and trotted with his lieutenants across a public park to Guayaquil’s waterfront, looking, in the words of a local lawyer whose office windows gave him a front-row seat, “like Attila and his Barbarian hordes”.

Gerard Butler as Attila the Hun found here

squads of tailors on permanent standby

Kaiser Wilhelm II, the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, was a grandson of the British Queen Victoria, and related to many kings and princes around Europe. He also had a uniform fetish.

Wilhelm with his father found here

During the course of a levée he will change his uniform five or six times. For instance, if the son of a deceased general of artillery comes to announce the death of his father, the Emperor does not fail to put on his artillery uniform to do honor to the officer who has died in his service. He wears the uniform of a general of artillery, of cavalry, of infantry, or the naval uniform, according to the person he receives and the position that person occupies. If the Emperor receives representatives of military attachés of foreign powers, he wears the uniform of the army of the country which the visitor represents, or at least the orders belonging to that country.

image found here

By one account he possessed exactly 295 different uniforms, thirty of which were in constant use. Fourteen valets, plus two head valets, were in charge of his uniform wardrobe. Three branches of service were put in motion every time the Kaiser wanted a costume — the garments department, that of the accessories, and that of the decorations.

image found here

Wilhelm made it a rule to always wear the uniform of the principal regiment garrisoned in the place visited ; the attendant unable to draw from among the baggage the military dress desired would quickly find himself dropped from the salary list. When one realises that a cavalry uniform, for instance, consists of fourteen distinct parts, it’s easy to see the amount of work involved in these sudden journeys, for one uniform would of course not do ; there must be three or four in reserve, and also civilian and hunting dress.

image found here

Wilhelm had a strong preference for male company, especially with tall and handsome officers and even taking male partners at regimental dances. He often attended the all male “white stag” dining club, where very bizarre actitives took place…. it is said that Wilhelm took great delight in asking the fellow diners to kneel over a chair, whilst he smacked them on the behind.

man in uniform found here

During the period 1907 to 1909 Wilhelm’s cabinet and entourage was rocked by the Harden-Eulenburg affair, the controversy surrounding a series of courts-martial and five civil trials regarding accusations of homosexual conduct, and accompanying libel trials.

Harden as a young man found here

The affair centred on journalist Maximilian Harden’s accusations of homosexual conduct between Philipp, Prince of Eulenburg-Hertefeld, and General Kuno, Graf von Moltke. Accusations and counter-accusations quickly multiplied, and the phrase “Liebenberg Round Table” came to be used for the homosexual circle around the Kaiser.

Kuno von Moltke found here

The incident which provoked the affair followed on the heels of a public relations gaffe by Wilhelm while on vacation at an estate in the Black Forest. One evening after dinner, chief of the Military Secretariat Dietrich, Graf von Hülsen-Häseler, was performing a pas seul dressed in a woman’s ballet tutu when his heart failed and he died. Ottokar von Czernin, also in attendance, remarked, “In Wilhelm II, I saw a man who, for the first time in his life, with horror-stricken eyes, looked upon the world as it really was.” Despite the Emperor’s fears, the incident, with its implications of homosexuality at high levels, seemed successfully hushed up.

image found here

Between 1906 and 1907, six military officers had committed suicide after blackmail, while in the preceding three years, around twenty officers were convicted by courts-martial, all for homosexual acts

Harden outed Eulenburg in 1907, confirming the identity he previously had parodied as “the Harpist” (Eulenburg), along with “Sweetie” General Kuno Graf von Moltke, in 1906.

“General Sweetie” by Jonathon Meese

Testifying against Moltke were his former wife of nine years, Lili von Elbe, and Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld. Elbe described the lack of conjugal relations, happening only on the first and second night of their marriage, Moltke’s overly close friendship with Eulenburg, and her ignorance of homosexuality. Hirschfeld, based on von Elbe’s comments and his courtroom observation of Moltke, testified that Moltke most certainly had a feminine side and was homosexual even if he had never committed sodomy. On October 29th, the court found Moltke homosexual and Harden innocent.

Hirschfeld co-wrote and acted in this film

Elbe, through a diagnosis of classical hysteria, and Hirschfeld, by retracting his earlier testimony, were discredited and Harden was convicted of libel and sentenced to four months imprisonment. Two weeks later Harden’s conviction was overturned and a second trial begun.

After the first of 41 witnesses, including ten witnesses who described watching Eulenburg through a keyhole in 1887, the trial was delayed because of Eulenburg’s ill health. As Eulenburg’s wife later commented, “They are striking at my husband, but their target is the kaiser.”

Peeping Tom – a seriously scary movie

There was never any evidence that Wilhelm’s and Eulenburg’s relationship went beyond friendship.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 166 other followers