Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Jack the Ripper

August 7, 1888, marked the beginning of the investigation into the infamous and terrifying ripper killings with the murder of Martha Tabram, stabbed 39 times. Exactly who the first Ripper victim was is still hotly debated, as well as this brutal killer’s identity. The infamous Whitechapel murders, as they are also known, remain officially unsolved to this day.

More Haunted Crime Scenes

A scary collection of classic murder cases in which the ghosts of the victims continue to dwell in the places they were killed.

Fifteen Things Found in Ted Bundy’s Stolen Car

An FBI inventory from a February 13, 1978, search of one of the cars Ted Bundy had stolen. The items listed are the typical stuff you’d find in a messy car: snack wrappers, cigarettes and the like. Bundy abandoned this Ford Station wagon and stole a Volkswagen Beetle, in which he was arrested two days later.

How Catherine Cassler Escaped the Executioner — Twice

People who knew the portly and bespectacled Catherine Cassler were unlikely to guess that this woman, who seemed so ordinary, would twice live in the shadow of execution – and twice escape with her life.

The Story of Mata Hari

The story of legendary exotic dancer Mata Hari, aka Margaretha Zelle, accused of being a double agent for the French and Germans during World War I, she was tried and executed before her true allegiance could be learned. The reputation she earned as a great seductress, however, lives on.

An American Tragedy, the Murder of Grace Brown

The true story behind Theodore Dreiser’s wildly popular novel An American Tragedy inspired by the brutal July 11, 1906, murder of the lovely Grace Brown by her lover Chester Gillette, who did not want to marry Brown after she became pregnant with his child.

The Bloody Benders: Horror in the Old West

A weary traveler in the desolate Old West is relieved to see an inn. He is invited in and the owner’s beautiful young daughter makes conversation with him as he relaxes. Suddenly, he’s hit on the head with a hammer and his body is dumped through a trap door. This is how the Benders–the quintessential demented family of murderers seen so often in horror movies–operated.

The Peculiar Story of Penny Bjorkland

On February 1, 1959, police found August Norry’ s car at the end of a “lover’s lane.” The vehicle was ominously bloody and riddled with bullet holes with spent bullets inside it. Officers’ fears that Norry had been killed were confirmed the next day when his bullet-riddled corpse was found in the San Bruno Hills.

The Deadly History of Dueling

An examination of the history of dueling — a primarily, perhaps almost exclusively, male activity in every culture in which it has existed — the rules, the forms, historic duels and famous winners and losers.

Joe Ball: The Butcher of Elmendorf

Did this legendary serial killer, the inspiration for the cult thriller Eaten Alive, really feed anywhere from 5-20 of his victims to his pet alligators?