Tag Archives: serial killers

Wisconsin Murders by August Derleth

4 stars

Published in 1968, Wisconsin Murders: An Enquiry into Mayhem and Homicide in the Midwest by August Derleth recounts 16 Wisconsin murders, most of which took place in the 1800s. The victims (and murderers) range considerably, from kidnapped children to spurned former lovers to seeming strangers. A surprisingly high number involve poison. The author clearly did his research and frequently quotes from newspapers of the day. Each chapter begins with the murder, names the suspect who eventually went to trial, and concludes with the result of the trial. Sentencing varied considerably, as did claims of guilt, innocence, or insanity. 

I personally found the author the best part of the book. The maxim ‘guilty until proven innocent’ clearly did not appeal much to him. ‘Guilty and anyone who says different doesn’t know what they are talking about including the misguided jury’ might be a better term. He frequently spurns psychologists and the insanity plea, mocks “modern” criminal justice reform, and bewails the lack of a death penalty in Wisconsin. You really have to appreciate his out and out gumption while reading. (That or you won’t make it far.) 

While a strong variety, this is a very random collection of murders and I really wonder what the criteria for inclusion were. 


Why I Don’t Watch Horror Movies

Grandma: may want to skip this one!

There I was. Stranded on a dark, rainy road in the middle of nowhere. My van decided to overheat and like the experienced driver of old vehicles I am, I instantly pulled over and called my Dad.

As the phone rang, I looked out my window and realized how much my surroundings resembled a horror movie. Wet. Cold. Dark. Late. Broken vehicle. I allowed my imagination to run wild for a moment…

And came up with nothing. Because I don’t watch horror movies.

But I know about serial killers. So I locked my van and contemplated that for about half a second.

Then the voice of reason in my head pointed out I live in the Midwest and at most someone would pull over and ask if I need help. Sure enough, within 5 minutes someone pulled over to check on me!

Thankfully, my car was fine for the drive back to my mechanic…aka, Dad. Hopefully I make it to Madison tonight!