August 3, 2013

Bobby Never Came Home

The perfect murder. A contradiction in terms perhaps? Two young men by the names of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb thought they could premeditate and conduct the perfect murder, meaning they could kill someone and never get caught. The result when evil has too much time on its hands.
(Left) Leopold and Loeb (Right)

The year was 1924, and the scene took place in Chicago. The victim, was a 14 year old boy by the name of Robert "Bobby" Franks. Bobby as his friends and family called him was born on  September 19, 1909 to millionaires Jacob and Flora Franks. Bobby had a younger sister named Josephine,  and an older brother Jacob "Jack" Jr.

 Loeb and Leopold had spent months planning the "perfect murder". They put their morbid plan into action on May 21, 1924. Bobby was a cousin to Leob. Bobby was walking home from a baseball game that took place at the Harvard School For Boys. Bobby hitched a ride with Loeb and Leopold that day. He never made it home.
Bobby Franks

Bobby was struck with a chisel, his mouth stuffed with a sock. He was beaten until his death. Loeb and Leopold drove to Hammond, Indiana and stopped at a remote area and removed Bobby's clothes. They threw the clothes on the side of the road as they drove to a hot dog stand to have dinner. When they finished eating they poured hydrochloric acid over Bobby's poor lifeless body to make identification difficult and shoved his body into a culvert near the Pennsylvania Railroad.

They drove back to Chicago, mailed a ransom note to Bobby's parents, and cleaned the car, trying to remove all the blood stains. They also burned their clothes which had Bobby's blood on them. Leopold called Mrs. Franks.

Mrs. Franks was at home located at 5052 S. Ellis in Chicago. She was naturally worried because Bobby had not come yet. The phone rang, when she answered this is what she heard:
“This is Mr. Johnson. Of course you know by this time that your boy has been kidnapped. We have him and you need not worry; he is safe. But don’t try to trace this call or to find me. We must have money. We will let you know tomorrow what we want. We are kidnappers and we mean business. If you refuse us what we want or try to report us to the police we will kill the boy. Good-by.”
The Franks thinking their son was still alive, were now sick with worry about getting him back from the kidnappers.
Bobby and his Father, Jacob
A man named Tony Minke was walking near the Pennsylvania Railroad. He saw a small body in the culvert. The police were called, and an investigation started. The body was identified as Bobby Franks, and Bobby's parents were told the terrible news.

The perfect murder was not so perfect as Leob and Leopold quickly found out. A detective at the scene found a pair of glasses. The detective asked the Franks if Bobby wore glasses, they replied no. He had perfect vision. The glasses were discovered to have a rare hinged mechanism. The glasses were traced to Almer Coe & Company. Only three had been sold in the Chicago area. One of those customers was Nathan Leopold, neighbor of Bobby.

After being interrogated by the police, Leopold and Loeb's alibis fell apart. Leopold claimed he had lost his glasses bird watching and Loeb told the police that Leopold was with him the night of the murder. After one ratted out the other, both confessed to the murder, and were put on trail.

Dubbed "The Trial of The Century", the boys got the infamous lawyer, Clarence Darrow, who was against the death penalty. Darrow wanted his clients to plead guilty. He wanted to avoid a trial which he felt would come to the death penalty. Darrow spoke this now famous speech for the boy's defense: "This terrible crime was inherent in his organism, and it came from some ancestor... Is any blame attached because somebody took Nietzsche's philosophy seriously and fashioned his life upon it?... It is hardly fair to hang a 19-year-old boy for the philosophy that was taught him at the university."
Loeb, Leopold, and their lawyer, Clarance Darrow

Darrow made his point and the Judge gave Leopold and Loeb life plus 99 years each. They would avoid the death penality.

Loeb eventually died in prison in 1936. He was attacked by a fellow inmate, James Day in the shower with a striaght razor. Day claimed that Loeb tried to sexually assult him but there was no evidence to support the claim.

Leopold,was released on parole in 1958 for good behavior. He later formed the Leopold foundation to help disturbed, retarded, and delinquent youth. The foundation was voided by Illinois claiming it violated the terms of his parole.

Leopold then moved to Puerto Rico and married. He got a job at Catarner General Hospital as an X-Ray assistant. He published a book in prison, Life Plus 99 Years, and another in 1963 The Checklist of Birds of Puerto Rico and The Virgin Islands.

He died in 1977 from complications to diabetes and donated his cornea's to science.

Shortly after the verdict, Jacob Franks moved his family out of the family home at 5052 S. Ellis Ave. Besides a desire to leave the place where they were constantly reminded of their lost son, ghoulish tourists took photographs and knocked on the door at all times.

Bobby's coffin being carried by his classmates
The Frank's buried their boy in Chicago's Rose Hill Cemetery. Bobby's classmates placed his small white coffin into the family mausoleum. Written upon the crypt was:

Life is because God is, infinite, indestructible, and eternal. 
Bobby E. Franks 
Sept 19, 1909- May 22, 1924

Jacob Franks then moved his family out of their house on Ellis Ave and into a suite at the Drake Hotel on Michigan Ave. Jacob Franks died in 1928, and Flora in 1937.

For years there were rumors that you could see a boy with dark hair and a baseball cap playing with a baseball around Bobby's crypt. People said it was Bobby who wasn't at rest because his killers still lived.

Thanks To:
Here you can get a lot of interesting info on the Frank's Home

See pictures of Bobby's Mausoleum

By: John Theodore

Info on the Case

July 20, 2013

The Curious Case of Count Carl von Cosel

Elena Hoyos
Elena Hoyos was young, and beautiful by all accounts. She was 21 years old but her life was not ahead of her. She had the highly contagious disease tuberculosis, and in the year of 1930, it was almost always fatal. Her Father, Francisco worked at a local cigar factory in Key West, Florida. He had contracted the disease there, do to the close proximity and large number of workers in the cigar factories at the time, and unwillingly gave it to his daughter.

Count Carl Von Cosel, or Dr. Von Cosel, worked at the local hospital in the tuberculosis ward, wh ere he meet Elena, who was hoping to out live the disease. It is said that Carl fell in love at first site with the beautiful Elena, and made a promise right then and there to cure her of the disease. He would come to Elena's home with medicines and X Ray equipment trying to do the near impossible at the time, save a life from tuberculosis.

Carl Von Cosel
Cosel was in love, and he didn't want to loose his beloved Elena. He gave her gifts of jewelry, flowers, and clothing. He professed his love to her, every time he saw her. However, Elena did not feel the same. She just wanted, what seemed, this experienced doctor to some how cure her.

However, despite Cosel's promise, Elena succumbed to the disease on October 25, 1931. Cosel was devastated. Not only did he pay for Elena's funeral, he paid to have an above ground mausoleum built to house her body. He also, with out the family's knowledge, put Elena in an air tight casket, and had formaldehyde gas continuously pumped into the coffin to preserve her body.

Elena's Mausoleum
He visited her mausoleum every night. He claimed the spirit of Elena would come to him singing a Spanish song, begging him to bring her home. So in April of 1933 Cosel entered the cemetery under the cover of darkness and removed Elena's body from the mausoleum and carried it to his home in a child's red wagon. Once there he made a shrine for her complete with candles, and draping. He replaced her decaying skin with waxed silk. He tied her bones together with wire from coat hangers. He replaced her eyes, with glass ones. He made a wig out of Elena's own hair. He made a face mask out of plaster to place over the corpse's decaying face. He would treat the body with formaldehyde, perfume, and various chemical preservatives to help stop the decay. He inserted a tube in the vagina so he could have sexual intercourse with the corpse.

Elena's corpse with the plaster mask
Elena's sister, had heard rumors that Cosel had stolen Elena's body from the cemetery. With the police she went to the mausoleum and found her sister's body was indeed gone. Florinda then confronted Cosel. There Florinda found her sister's body in the  upstairs bed room looking more like a dummy than a human being.

Carl Von Cosel was arrested and was put on trial for the charge of "wantonly and maliciously destroying a grave and removing a body without authorization" On October 9, 1940 he testified declaring his love for Elena, and his reasoning for what he did. He was declared sane enough for trial. However, the case was eventual dropped due to the statute of limitations.

Elena's body was examined by pathologists and put on public display at Dean-Lopez Funeral Home, where over 6,800 people filled past to see Carl's obsession. Her body was later returned to Key West Cemetery and buried in a secret location so she would not be disturbed again, by Cosel or anyone for that matter. 

Elena's body on display
It was later discovered that Dr Count Carl Von Cosel, was not a count or even a real doctor. His name wasn't even Von Cosel. It was one of the many alias he had adopted during the years. His real name was Georg Karl Tänzler.

Cosel died on July 3, 1952. His body was discovered on the floor of his home in Pasco County Florida, he moved there after the trial, three weeks after his death. Also discovered was an life size eiffgy of Elena, that Carl had made using the plaster mask he made after stealing her body in 1933. It seems love really did transcend death, or should I say obsession?

For More Info Visit:

The Strange Obsession of Dr. Carl Von Cosel
An YouTube video taken from the show Autopsy with Dr. Michael Baden on the case.

Elena's grave at Find A

Karl's grave at Find A

July 13, 2013

The Legend of Rudy

Women wanted him, and men wanted to be him. He was foreign, tall, dark, and handsome. He had all the makings for a leading man. However, we will never know how far his career could of gone, since his life was cut short at the young age of 31.

Rudolph Valentino was born in Castellaneta, Italy on May 6th 1895 with the long name of Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d'Antonguolla to his French Mother, Marie Berta Gabrielle, and his Father, Giovanni Antonio Giuseppe Fedele Guglielmi di Valentina D'Antonguolla. He father was a veterinarian who died when Rudolph was only 11 years old. He had 3 siblings, an older brother, Alberto, an older Sister, Beatrice who died when she was a baby, and and a younger sister named Maria. He immgrated to the United States when he was 18 years old in 1913.

Broke, and working as a waiter, and a taxi dancer (is a paid dance partner in a partner dance), he tried to make his way. In 1917, Rudolph was in San Fransico acting in a play called Nobody Home. He met Norman Kerry a fellow actor who told Valentino to try movies.

Rudy enjoying the view from Falcon Lair.
In 1921 Valentino got his big break, by staring in the silent film, The Sheik directed by: George Melford. The film helped to mold Valentino's image and success. He stared in other movies such as The Eagle, and The Son of the Sheik, and The Four Horseman of The Apocalypse, and The Hooded Falcon.

Valentino bought four acres out side Hollywood in 1925, and named it Falcon Lair. He built a mansion, in the Spanish Colonial style, complete with fountains, and Italian trees. It was his refuge from Hollywood life. He furnished it with antiques from his travels all over the world. It was truly, a gentleman's paradise.

Suddenly, on August 15, 1926, Valentino collapsed at the Hotel Ambassador in New York City. He was hospitalized for appendicitis. Valentino had surgery to correct the condition. However, he later developed peritonitis which is inflammation of the tissue that lines the abdomen. His doctors were optimistic that he would recover. However, on August 21 he was stricken with a bad case of Pleurisy. In other words he developed inflammation of the pleura, the lining surrounding the lungs. On August 23rd 1926, Rudolph Valentino died and Hollywood mourned. He was only 31 years old.

Rudolph laid out at Campbell's Funeral Home.
The fans outside Campbell Funeral Home in New York.
His funeral was held at Frank Campbell Funeral Home in New York. Fans by the hundreds waited outside the funeral home to get a glimpse of Valentino. Riots broke out and there were reports of suicides of  overzealous fans. New York police lined the streets to keep order.

Valentino's friend and screenwriter of The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse and Blood and Sand, June Mathis gave Valentino her purchased crypt, at was once called Hollywood Memorial Park, now know as Hollywood Forever, to Valentino. He did not purchase any burial space before his death, partly because he was so young.

Rudolfo's crypt which once belonged to June Mathis.
Every year on the anniversary of Valentino's death, a woman draped in a black veil and dress carrying a long stemmed red rose has come to visit Valentino's crypt. People have said it's a devoted fan, or a ex fiance or lover of Valentino's, others say that it was a publicity stunt. However, it still continues today.

June Mathis happened to die a year after Valentino on July 26, 1927 from a heart attack. She was only 38 years old. She was buried along side Valentino in the adjoining crypt.

Falcon Lair

June Mathis
Rudolph's beloved Falcon Lair, was left to Valentino's family after his death. It was later sold to Doris Duke in the 1950s. Duke sold it in the 90s and it underwent major renovations, changing the charm and historical value of the estate, in my opinion. It went on sale again in 2009 for a mere, 7.95 million. You can still see some orginial buildings of Falcon Lair today, however most of it is gone.

Valentino was a legend in his time, and his name still lives on 87 years after his death. He lived a life of fame, riches, and lust. Women wanted him and men wanted to be him. He died too soon, but he will never be forgotten.

For more info visit:

Falcon Lair - The Rudolph Valentino Homepage

The Death of Rudolph Valentino - Find A Death

The Rudolph Valentino Society


June 10, 2013

15 Ways We Handle The Dead

15 Ways We Handle The Dead - Listverse

Great Movie Vampires

                                                10 Great Movie Vampires 
Written by: Lists of Plenty

Vampires have become an integral part of modern culture, from true believers to those who love to be entertained with horror and blood lust. There have been countless movies made about vampires, all stemming from the original adaption of the Bram Stoker novel and the classic portrayal of Dracula by Bela Lugosi. Every fan will have their favorite, and indeed there are many notables, as far as vampires in leading roles go. This list presents ten of the greats, and since vampires never die, there will likely be many more to come

10. Blood for Dracula AKA Andy Warhol’s Dracula (1974)
Andy Warhol added his touch of arty pop culture to the vampire legend by making his own Dracula movie. Dracula is a beautiful, campy and sometimes scary character as only Andy Warhol could create. Count Dracula knows that if he fails to drink a required amount of pure virgin’s blood, he’ll die. His assistant suggests that the Count and he pick up his coffin and take a road trip to Italy, where families are known to be particularly religious, and therefore should be an excellent place to search for a virgin bride. They do, only to encounter a family with not one, but four virgins, ready for marriage. The Count discovers one-by-one that the girls are not as pure as they say they are, meanwhile a handsome servant begins to observe strange behaviour from the girls who do spend the night with the Count. It’s a race for Dracula to discover who’s the real virgin, before he either dies from malnourishment or from the wooden stake of the servant.

9. Max: Lost Boys (1987)
Max, the head vampire of the town, has a classic line in this movie: “Don’t ever invite a vampire into your house, you silly boy. It renders you powerless.” The movie combines humour, supplied by The Frog Brothers, and suspense very well, and is almost Stephen King-like with the small town-USA setting.
8. Marcus: Underworld: Evolution (2006)

Underworld: Evolution is the second film in the Underworld series, following Underworld in 2003. Evolution continues the feud between Vampires and Lycans (werewolves), but highlights glimpses of their origins some centuries ago. Just hours after the events of the previous film, Selene and Michael find themselves on the run from the other remaining vampires. However, a new threat emerges when Kraven, the villain from the previous movie, unleashes Marcus, the very first vampire. Marcus has been accidentally transformed into a vicious new hybrid of vampire that is incredibly strong and can fly.
7. Valek: John Carpenter’s Vampires (1998)

By night, vampires rise from graves in search of human prey. By day, vampire slayer Jack Crow leads a contingent of Vatican mercenaries in a long-waged war against these enemies. After Crow’s crew is brutally slaughtered by Valek, , a vicious 600-year-old vampire, Crow is determined to get revenge. Valek is nearing the end of a long search for the Berziers Cross, the implement of ritual that can give him all the vampires succeeding him omnipotent power to walk in the daylight, a theme that was also present in the Blade series.

6. Satanico Pandemonium: From Dusk Til Dawn

This movie is gritty, brutal and full of gore. It also features Salma Hayek as Satanico Pandemonium, a stripper who also happens to be a vampire. In fact, everyone in the bar is a vampire, which leads to a crazed all out battle in the final half of the movie. The main characters are on the run from the police, they escape across the border into Mexico and will be home-free the next morning, when they pay off the local kingpin. They just have to survive ‘from dusk till dawn’ at the rendezvous point, which turns out to be a strip joint infested with vampires.

5. Miriam and John: The Hunger (1983)

David Bowie plays John, with Susan Sarandon as his vampire wife Miriam, who together haunt and hunt for prey in the New York City club scene. They come across an unsuspecting Catherine Deneuve, which gives the movie a high level of sexuality, and eventually turn her into a creature of the night. The film is stylish and despite being over 20 years old still seems current, and the vampires played by Bowie and Sarandon bring a good level of class and sophistication to the genre, without the usual blood letting that vampire movies are known for (not that gore is a bad thing in this genre!).


4. Peina: The Addiction (1995)

Christopher Walken plays Peina, the intellectual vampire who is steeped in philosophy. At one point in the movie he says, “Mankind has striven to exist beyond good and evil, from the beginning. And you know what they found? Me.” A New York anthropology grad student turns into a vampire after getting bitten by one, and then tries to come to terms with her new lifestyle and frequent craving for human blood.

3. Countess Marya Zaleska: Dracula’s Daughter (1936)

In the vampire genre fo movies, it is rare to see a female as the lead bloodsucker. This is a classic early movie, made when the legend was still being established as a Hollywood story line, and takes the perspective of the lineage of Count Dracula through his daughter. Professor Van Helsing has done the world a favor by driving a stake through the heart of Count Dracula and thus destroying him. For his trouble, Scotland Yard charges him with murder. Dr. Jeffrey Garth, a psychiatrist, may be able to act as an attorney and defend him in court, but Garth finds he has his own troubles when the Countess Marya Zaleska seeks his help. She wants to be released from her desire to drink the blood of the living. She steals the corpse of her father, Count Dracula, and burns it ritually, but can’t escape the thirst for blood.

2. Blade: Blade Series (1998)

Wesley Snipes plays one of the better roles of his career as Blade, the vampire who is half human and can “daywalk”. His assistant, played by Kris Kristofferson, is a lab rat and engineering genius who makes an arsenal of Bond-esque weapons and gadgets that Blade uses to fight the bad vampires (he is a good one). The movies are well made and gritty without being overly campy, and the Blade character manages to be cool, tough and sympathetic all at the same time.

1. Nosferatu : Nosferatu (1922)

 F.W. Murnau’s German silent classic is the original and some say scariest Dracula adaptation, taking Bram Stoker’s novel and turning it into a haunting, shadowy dream full of dread. Count Orlok, the rodentlike vampire frighteningly portrayed by Max Schreck, is perhaps the most animalistic screen portrayal of a vampire ever filmed. 
Dracula: Dracula (1931)

Bela Lugosi set the standard, and no list of vampire greats would be complete without his name. After realizing success in the role on stage, he was selected to play the character on screen. Some critics say that this is the movie that created the horror genre in film. Lugosi took an entirely different approach to the Dracula character, particularly when compared to the earlier “Nosferatu”, where Max Schrenk played the vampire as a monstrous rat like creature with no redeeming qualities. Lugosi’s vampire was charming, sophisticated, handsome and powerfully charismatic (well groomed also). Although he was forever identified with the Dracula character, he only played him on screen twice, in 1931 and 1948 (played Dracula in “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein”). He did play “Dracula like” characters in MGM’s “Mark of the Vampire” (1935) and in Columbia’s “Return of the Vampire” (1943).

Gay People Die Too.

Undertakers Offer Coffins For The Gay Market via

April 11, 2013

Did you Lizzie?

Like most little girls, I remember playing jump rope at recess while reciting these words as I timed my jumps to the swinging rope:

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one.

I was always curious about this Lizzie Borden. Even at an early age I remember wondering who Lizzie Borden was.

Even though her name has gone down through history as a cold blooded murder she was actually acquitted at her trail. The evidence is compelling that she did in fact murder her parents, but know one real knows. The trial had all the elements to make it a media frenzy, love, money, jealousy, and of course, bloody murder. It was the equivalent, in the eyes of the media, to today's OJ Simpson or JonBenét Ramsey murder cases.

Lizzie Borden was born in Fall River, Massachusetts on July 19th, 1860.
Lizzie Borden
Her Mother died when Lizzie was only three years old. Her father Andrew, remarried to a woman named Abby Gray on June 6th 1865. (On an interesting side note it was 3 months after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated) Although Abby raised Lizzie, by all accounts they weren't close and had a tense relationship. Several times during the subsequent trail Lizzie made the point that Abbey was her step mother, not her mother.

On August 4, 1892 Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally murder in their home, located at 230 2nd Street, in Fall River, Massachusetts. 
Abbey Borden
Andrew Borden

The maid, Bridgett Sullivan was resting upstairs after cleaning windows. She heard Lizzie call for her to come downstairs, saying her father was dead. The family doctor was called, and Abbey was then found in the bedroom.

Andrew was found laying on the family couch. He had laid down to take a nap after returning home from errands. His skull was crushed and his left eye was slashed with an axe, suggesting he was asleep when he died.
The body of Andrew Borden
Abby was found in the upstairs guest bedroom. She had been making the bed and was found laying next to the bed face down with wounds on her back, and scalp. Her braid had been hacked off during the attack.

The body of Abbey Borden

The only people who were in the house during the murder was Lizzie, and the maid Bridget Sullivan.
Bridget Sullivan, the house maid
Lizzie's sister, Emma was away from the home at the time of the murders, along with their uncle, John Morse, Lizzie's biological mother's, brother, who was visiting at the time. John's visit was to facilitate transfer of a summer home for the Borden daughters.
Emma Borden
Lizzie was upset with her father about his decision to divide property among relatives before his death. Abby's (Lizzie's step mother) relatives received a house. Lizzie and Emma demanded a rental property. It is thought by some that Lizzie's frustration about her Father's choice of benefactors after his death, fueled Lizzie to commit the murder.

Lizzie was arrested on August 11th, and a grand jury was convened on November 7th.

Interesting Facts With The Case:
  • A hatchet was found in the basement of the Borden home. It was missing its handle and was free of any blood.
  • Bridget Sullivan, the maid, testified in court that she was laying down upstairs, on the morning of the murders. Around 11:00 am she heard Lizzie calling for her, saying someone had killed father.
  • Lizzie tried to buy prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide) by local druggist, Eli Bence. She was denied the sale due to not having a prescription. Lizzie claimed she need to clean a seal skin cloak.
  • In early August, Andrew and Abby Borden became violently ill. Abby Borden suspected poison.
  • On August 7, Lizzie was seen burning a blue corduroy dress in a fire. Lizzie said she was burning the dress, because it was ruined by a paint stain.
  • Due to the illness that struck the Borden's before the murders, their stomach contents were checked for poison, during the autopsy. None was found.
  • Andrew died without a will, because of this, Andrew's estate went directly to his daughter's, Emma, and Lizzie.
  • Contrary to the popular poem, Abby suffered fifteen blows to the head and Andrew received nineteen.
On June 20, 1892 after deliberating an hour and a half, the jury acquitted.

After the trial Lizzie, and Emma moved into a larger more modern house in Fall River, that they called, "Maple Croft".

Lizzie was once again brought into the spotlight when she was caught shop lifting in Rhode Island in 1897.

Lizzie became good friends, with silent film actress Nance O'Neil.
Nance O'Neil

Emma moved out in 1905.

Lizzie died on June 1st, 1927 due to pneumonia. Emma died on June 9th, 1927 at a nursing home due to nephritis.

The sisters were never married. They were buried next to each other in the Borden Family plot at Oak Grove Cemetery.

Lizzie left her estate to the Fall River Animal Rescue, a total of about $30,000.

The infamous house located at 230 2nd Street is now a Bed and Breakfast, which takes great pride in it's macabre history.

Check out these links for more information on the famous Lizzie Borden:

The Lizzie Borden Trial
Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast
Lizzie Borden Virtual Museum
Find A Grave- Borden Plot