The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956

December 28, 2014 · Posted in Famous Writers, Historic Crimes, Russian History, This Day in History · Comments Off on The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956 

The first volume of The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956, a history and memoir of life in a Soviet Union prison camp, written by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, was first published in Paris in the original Russian on Dec 28, 1973.

“… authorized for Western publication only after the Soviet secret police seized a copy of the manuscript last August, …”

The Soviets arrested Solzhenitsyn on February 12, 1974 taking away his citizenship and deporting him.

Solzhenitsyn warned the Russian people, citizens of a severely, censorial, 1973 Russia, in the preface of his book The Gulag Archipelago (a three-volume work), that they must consider the reading of his writings as a “very dangerous” act.

Learn more about life in Stalin’s Gulag.

Lizzie Borden Lives On

November 30, 2013 · Posted in Historic Crimes · Comments Off on Lizzie Borden Lives On 

Lizzie BordenThough the infamous ax murderer, Lizzie Andrew Borden, died years ago on June 1, 1927, her biology lives on. Scientist James Fallon found out that not only was Lizzie Borden a distant relative, but that he also shared her psychopathic brain. It was during a family research project on Alzheimer’s disease that he saw his own PET scan, not knowing it was his, and recognized the hallmark neurological deficits of the psychopathic population he was studying.

As a neuroscientist Fallon worked with experts on brain abnormalities of the criminal kind and so was familiar with the brain scans that psychopaths present with. He was shocked to find out that the image he recognized as abnormal was his own. In retrospect and with family members’ input he concurred that there were tell tale signs that he had such a brain, but thankfully, without the unlawful and violent behavior. He does however have traits of aggression, risky and impulsive choices and an inability to connect on a deep intimate level even though he is married with children.

Unfortunately, for Lizzie Borden and her murdered parents, it was believed, that she was of the violent type. Although she was acquitted of the heinous murders in 1893, rumors to the contrary have outlasted her trial and life. A case in point is the popular children’s rhyme that was and is so often used when jumping 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.” The author of this rhyme is unknown, but speculated to be anonymously contrived in order to sell newspapers, while others give credit to Mother Goose.

For additional reading on James Fallon’s experience check out his book The Psychopath Inside


American Outlaws: Billy the Kid

October 11, 2013 · Posted in Historic Crimes · Comments Off on American Outlaws: Billy the Kid 
Billy the Kid

Billy the Kid

Billy the Kid had many names. He was born William Henry McCarty Jr. on November 23, 1859 in New York City. Some of his aliases were Henry McCarty, Henry Antrim, and William Bonney.

His life of crime started in youth after the death of his mother to tuberculosis when he was only 15. He and his brothers partook in thievery, before The Kid joined a violent gang in the west part of the country.

Billy the Kid was shot dead July 14,1881 in Ft. Sumner, New Mexico. His executioner was Sheriff Patrick Garrett. Garrett wrote the first account of the Outlaw’s life helped along by other writers to follow in making Billy the Kid into the western outlaw sensation we know of today.


Billy the Kid is arrested for the first time. (2013). The History Channel website. Retrieved 3:33, October 8, 2013, from

Gunfight at the Ok Corral as in the Movies

July 4, 2013 · Posted in Historic Crimes, This Day in History · Comments Off on Gunfight at the Ok Corral as in the Movies 

The movies Tombstone and Wyatt Earp, from the early 1990s, were not quite historically accurate dramatizations of the infamous gunfight at the OK Corral. See Facts 

A shootout of all shootouts having great popularity in the history of the American Wild West, though rumored to have lasted a mere 30 seconds or so.

It was 3pm on Wednesday, October 26, 1881, in Tombstone, Arizona Territory. At the rear of the Ok Corral and then several doors west, outlaws (Billy Claiborne, Ike & Billy Clanton, and Tom & Frank McLaury) and lawmen (Marshal Virgil Earp, Marshal Morgan, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday) shot it out.


St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

February 14, 2013 · Posted in Historic Crimes · Comments Off on St. Valentine’s Day Massacre 

It was about 10:30 in the morning on a cold Chicago day, Valentine’s Day to be exact, when seven men were gunned down gangster style in the Clark Street garage at 2122 N. Clark St.

All of the victims, but one, (an unlucky optician who enjoyed the company of criminals) were gangsters marked for killing by Al Capone.Though Capone was the one behind ordering the killings, he wasn’t present that day. Instead he was at his vacation place in Palm Island, Fla. He had a solid alibi. No one was ever jailed for the shootings; not even the henchmen who did Capone’s bidding.

The heinous slaughter accomplished Capone’s desired result, which was to permanently take-out his gang rivals, so that he could move into the top dog spot with full control in the infamous crime world of that era. Capone and his successors triumphed in winning mob rule that lasted for decades.

The massacre made headlines during that decade of the “Roaring ’20s”. A time when underground crime thrived during the prohibition of liquor. They made a killing, in more ways than one, in the illegal distribution of whiskey and beer. The gangster’s world became romanticized in books and movies and is still so even in the present day.

valentine's day shootings

The grisly scene inside the SMC Cartage Company after gunmen dressed as policemen mowed down members of the Moran gang. (Chicago Tribune / February 14, 1929)


Source: Chicago Tribune


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