Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Murdered by a Maniac" - Guest Post at "Murder by Gaslight"

In Memory of
Ichabod Umberfield
who was murdered by a maniac
Jan’y 1, 1856

Ichabod Umberfield Headstone (FindAGrave)
A few months ago I happily posted a guest article by Robert Wilhelm, an author and local historian in Massachusetts, who hosts two great websites - Murder by Gaslight and The National Night Stick.

His post (here), "Private Calhoun's Confession," was an excellent story about a Civil War soldier who was hung for the murder of a local farmer, who confessed to "an entire life of crime and dozens of murders."

In the few months since it appeared, Robert's article has already become the fifth most visited post on this blog, with nearly 900 hits!  And it's still movin' up the chart!  Well done, Robert!

In the past few days, Robert kindly hosted my own guest post at his excellent Murder by Gaslight blog.

You can see the post - "Murdered by a Maniac" - here.

The story is about three murders that took place between Christmas Eve 1855 and New Year's Day 1856, perpetrated by members of a bizarre cult in New Haven, Connecticut - the "Wakemanites" - led by their "Prophetess," Mrs. Rhoda Wakeman.

It's a grisly, but fascinating story, with connections to cults, Spiritualism, mental illness, journalism, court proceedings, incarceration, class distinctions, and much more.

Do me a favor and visit my post at Robert's blog and while you are there check out some of the great history he has shared about 19th-century crime!


Mark said...

Not to sound creepy, but I love old gravestones. I especially like the ones in New England, but this one's pretty good too...it just begs for someone to write a story about it;)

Jim Schmidt said...

Mark - Thanks - I absolutely agree! This one is from New England...in Connecticut...and I agree there is something special about the churchyards and cemeteries in the original colonies. There's even an Association of Gravestone Studies (http://www.gravestonestudies.org/)...who knew?!? And I do hope to write a story about this!