Love historic murder mysteries and ghostly tales… whether real or folklore?

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At Clairitage Press, my writer/attorney friend Karen Dustman publishes history books and a free blog filled with intriguing sites, legendary yarns, and spine-tingling ghost stories from the high Sierra region

Karen loves nothing better than digging out great local history tales. Clairitage debuted with Silver Mountain City: Ghost of the Sierra (the history of a now-empty ghost town — no actual ghosts!) Other books soon followed, including guides to several local cemeteries. Among the most fascinating cemetery tales: a diminutive Welshwoman who foretold her own death.

A recent addition is Markleeville Ghost Tales: thirteen true ghost stories told by locals around Markleeville, a California border town founded in the 1860s.

Karen’s latest newsletter about an 1885 murder http://mailchi.mp/f233cfd49602/the-sarman-murder?e=af46ceff47 caused our paths to cross again. Karen had followed my award-winning book with co-author, artist Elizabeth Williams, The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Cases, because of her abiding interest in crime cases like the 1986 slaying of Jennifer Levin by “Preppie Murderer” Robert Chambers. Our book came to mind again when Karen wrote about the case of Zack Field and Mary Gray.

Adam Uber’s saga (http://blog.clairitage.com/2017/12/01/genoas-hanging-tree/) was another ghost story Karen found riveting. Was it founded on truth? You be the judge. As Uber was hanged (hardly rare in those days), he loudly cursed the merciless lynch mob who strung him up from the hanging tree which stands to this day. And yes, you’ve guessed it: those locals began meeting unfortunate ends.

 

Another story sprang from a lonely tombstone at Gardnerville’s Garden Cemetery proclaiming Murdered It is an enduring mystery and the headstone suggests William Moore, 67, was murdered in 1800 when his tiny cabin was set ablaze. However, some question if he ever even really died. A poor man in poor health, he lived in isolation for 20 years save for his horses and few head of cattle, near the east fork of the Carson River above Horseshoe Bend.

Law enforcement’s initial search of the charred remains came up empty as did locals’ search. On December 26, 1800 Sheriff Brockliss and Judge Dake had another go finding a few small charred pieces of matter that might have been bone. Might.

Dr. Gerdes of Gardnerville, however, pronounced them shards of a human skull. On close examination he found “three small shot” embedded in the bone. The local newspaper promptly dubbed this as “almost positive evidence that William Moore was murdered, and his cabin burned over his body.” Dr. Gerdes opined that the position of the bone might explain why the fragment was charred but the shot hadn’t melted. Read more at http://blog.clairitage.com/2017/12/07/murder-or-was-it/ .

It’s awash with wild details like the rumors that Moore always had kept a human skull in his cabin, “the victim of his rifle in former years.” Soon, a hapless fellow named Indian Mike was placed under a citizen’s arrest for causing his death, yet the savvy jury delivered a not guilty verdict in a matter of hours. So many colorful stories and lives…

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Last Chance on Sizzling Summer True Crime Read, my eBook Lethal Intent. The Price-Busting $1.99 Promo Ends (Kind of) July 1

Just a heads-up — reaching the finish line on the chance to grab my True Crime Classic eBook biography Lethal Intent on the life–and death–of serial killer Aileen Wuornos. The book biz’s great summer promo prices of $1.99 are meant to vanish July 1. In June, Lethal Intent hit #1 on Amazon Kindle rankings in three categories. Available via BookBub, Kobo, Amazon, and from Barnes & Noble Nook.

Two years work went into going deep into Aileen’s (Lee’s) life, from her childhood to her early run-ins with the law and later to conviction for holding up a liquor store with a gun and then of course the murders which meant covering her court hearings and attending every day of her trial. So for me, at least, it is great to see that the book is still around! I owe many of you out there–and you know who you are–thanks for all your support over the years.

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End draws near on great $1.99 summer eBook deals for true crime Aileen Wuornos biography, Lethal Intent

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Chilling book, hot summer weekend? Heads up: $1.99 eBook prices on my Aileen Wuornos book Lethal Intent have been popping up everywhere (thanks publishers!) during the sizzling start to summer but those low prices will soon disappear. So, check out Lethal Intent if you are interested in the world’s first modern day female serial killer — as defined by then current FBI guidelines: killing strangers, different locations, cooling off period between murders, etc.

When you see the smiling child Aileen once was, surrounded by her family in their Michigan home, it is hard to believe what lay ahead — for Aileen, and for the six or seven men whose lives she took. It is, and always will be, a controversial case. Despite her brutal actions, many feel sorry for Aileen, empathizing with her in a way that is understandable. Yet it’s rare for male serial killers to get any empathy no matter how much abuse they, too, may have endured as children.

Forensic evidence showed that Aileen shot her first known victim inside his car–where he sat behind the steering wheel fully clothed–firing a .22 caliber bullet into his arm. She shot from the passenger seat. The bullet traveled on through his body. Aileen leapt out of the car and ran around the front, firing again until he was dead. She then turned his pockets inside out, stole his money and possessions and car, covered him in a piece of raggedy old abandoned carpet and drove off into the night.

LIcoverEBook51CTq7AXMLLKilling during a violent rape does not jibe at all with the story Aileen told in her original confession to police and is worlds away from her testimony a year later at trial (I was in court every day). The testimony that she killed all her victims in self-defense and that it was *she* who was the victim didn’t fit the forensic evidence but it *did* come much closer to the scenario made famous by the movie Monster (for which Charlize Theron won an Oscar) in which Aileen murdered men during brutal rapes to save her own life.

I am certain she was raped but by whom and when, that is a tougher call. Aileen was a prostitute working the streets for years. Of course she was raped. She may have been raped when as young as eleven or twelve: that’s’ when she began charging local boys for sex.

Could Hollywood stand the brutal actions of the real life Aileen?  I’m not so sure they could, hence the loss of Aileen’s “robber who killed” reality in the film and the focus on Aileen as all victim. Judge the evidence for yourself. As you consider Aileen dropping her appeals and being executed in 2002 after a wretched decade on Death Row, spare a thought for Aileen’s victims’ families too, just as you would for the families and loved ones of any murder victims. And please share your thoughts.

Download for $1.99 from booksellers including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

True Crime Kitty…Does avid crime book fan Denise Hollebeke’s beautiful furry friend Daisy May have good taste? Okay, I admit I’m biased but it looks to *me* like she is staking her claim on my Aileen Wuornos biography Lethal Intent in Denise’s latest box of books. (I always love photographs of cats and books and Daisy May is such a sweetheart, so indulge me…and thanks Denise for sharing this photograph!) Lethal Intent is available from IBOOKS Canada’s Beach Reads Promotion for the great deal price of $1.99 until June 20. https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/lethal-intent/id963007622?mt=11

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Extraordinary new investigation into fate of D.B.Cooper

45 years after legendary outlaw skyjacker D.B. Cooper disappeared from a plane, believed to have survived and headed off into the sunset with a pretty haul of cash, the iconic mystery involving his fate is back in the spotlight. Could the case — what happened to Cooper? What happened to the money? — be solvable? A powerhouse investigative team that includes FBI experts set about cracking this sizzling cold case. This mystery has always intrigued me as it has so many so I will be reading “The Master Outlaw” by (okay, I’m biased, my pal) reporter Tom Szollosi and Thomas J. Colbert and hanging on every word. Better still, the book is a companion piece to a new History Channel documentary, airing Sunday July 10 and Monday July 11. “The Last Master Outlaw” has been called “spellbinding” and “jaw-dropping” by veteran L.A. news anchor Sylvia Lopez. It’s available for order, Friday July 8. http://tinyurl.com/jz449m7

 

Countdown: Enter Goodreads Giveaway for Chance to Win Copy of “Lethal Intent”

Time is running out on this Goodreads Giveaway! Goodreads  members (and membership is free) — enter by 11.59 p.m. March 9 for the chance to win LETHAL INTENT, the definitive biography of executed serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Had she lived, this Leap Year baby would have turned 60 on February 29. Instead, after a decade on Florida’s Death Row, she was executed in 2002.

She was both victim and victimizer. She killed 6 men; all strangers and a seventh victim. She confessed to killing him but in a drunken state and could not recall where she left him. His remains have never been found.

Best-selling author John Douglas, a former FBI Special Agent and one of the first criminal profilers, calls the book: “Shocking, sad, revealing, and deeply researched, this true account of the life and crimes of serial killer Aileen Wuornos will fascinate true-crime fans.”   https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/173286-lethal-intent

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The Michigan house where Aileen spent her early childhood years.

Leap Year Baby Aileen Wuornos Would Have Turned 60 This Month. Enter Goodreads Giveaway for Chance to Win Autographed Copy of “Lethal Intent”.

AWonBikeHard to believe that had she lived, executed female serial killer Aileen Wuornos — a Leap Year baby — would have turned turn 60 on February 29, 2016.

This truly rare murderer spent a decade on Florida’s Death Row before her 2002 execution. She killed 6 men; all strangers. Another victim’s remains were, by her own account, still out in the woods. She could not recall the location. To this day, they have not been discovered.

Best-selling author John Douglas, a former FBI Special Agent and original criminal profiler, calls Lethal Intent “Shocking, sad, revealing, and deeply researched, this true account of the life and crimes of serial killer Aileen Wuornos will fascinate true-crime fans.” Listed on Business Insider’s “11 True Crime Books you should read if you’re obsessed with Serial,” It takes readers deep inside Wuornos’s life and crimes.

Was Wuornos a cold-blooded killer? A victim? A robber who killed to avoid capture? If you haven’t yet read the book, you decide. (2013 updated edition.) Visit Goodreads (Lethal Intent link at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18759543-lethal-intent) to enter or Sue’s Lethal Intent webpage. Goodreads is free to join.
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