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Serial killers. Gangsters. Gunslingers. Victorian-era murderers. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Each week, the Most Notorious podcast features true-life tales of crime, criminals, tragedies and disasters throughout history. This is an interview show, spotlighting authors and historians who have studied their subjects for years, and whose stories are offered with unique insight, detail, and historical accuracy.
 
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The Cherry Mine in Cherry, Illinois was supposed to be one of the safest mines in the United States. However on November 13th, 1909, it caught fire, killing 259 boys and men who were trapped inside, hundreds of feet below ground. A few miners eventually escaped - and later told the tale of their experiences battling darkness, thirst, fire and the o…
 
Roanoke Island is host every year to the famous "Lost Colony" outdoor drama. It was during the 1967 production that a young makeup artist named Brenda Joyce Holland went missing - her body eventually discovered floating in Albemarle Sound. A murder investigation ensued, with important evidence being mishandled and a slew of suspects to sort through…
 
On the evening of December 23rd 1881, three teenagers, alone in a farmhouse in Ashland Kentucky, were savagely murdered and the house set afire to cover the crime. What followed would be an investigation, trials, a lynching, and a massacre of Ashland citizens by state militia, in this fascinating and tragic series of events. My guest is Joe Castle,…
 
At the tail end of World War Two, a serial killer named James Waybern "Red" Hall, stalked the roads of Arkansas, Kansas and other middle American states, remorselessly murdering kind people who made the unfortunate decision to offer him a ride. My guest, Janie Nesbitt Jones, is the author of “The Arkansas Hitchhike Killer: James Waybern ‘Red’ Hall.…
 
When sheriff's deputies arrived at David and Allene Lamson's Palo Alto home on Memorial Day, 1933, they found David frantic over what he said was a terrible accident in their bathroom. Allene, he explained, had slipped when getting out of the bathtub and bashed her head on the sink, resulting in her death. Investigators, however, believed something…
 
In November of 1912, a young woman named Ella Barham journeyed home, on her horse, to her family farm in Boone County, Arkansas, but never arrived. After her body was discovered, murdered and dismembered, suspicions quickly centered on a neighbor, Odus Davidson, who was rumored to have been in love with Ella, a love never returned. My guest, Nita G…
 
Imprisoned in a Turkish war camp during WW1, two British officers pull off an unbelievable con against their captors involving a Ouija board, an angry ghost and feigned madness - leading to a truly astonishing escape. My guest is bestselling author Margalit Fox, author of "Confidence Men: How Two Prisoners of War Engineered the Most Remarkable Esca…
 
Albert Johnson is famous in Canadian crime history for leading Mounties on a sensational and deadly chase through the Yukon and Northwest Territories during the winter of 1931-32. How he managed to elude police over hundreds of kilometers in subzero temperatures through a mountainous wilderness is as much a mystery as his real identity. To this day…
 
Most of us are familiar with the critically acclaimed film called Catch Me If You Can, based on the autobiography of legendary confidence man Frank Abagnale. It's the story of a brazen teenage imposter who through charm and intellect was able to pass as an attorney, a doctor, a pilot and a university professor in the late 1960s and early 1970s. My …
 
In 1897 a Belgian named Adrien de Gerlache, in command of a ship called the Belgica, sailed to Antarctica with the intent to be the first to reach the south magnetic pole. On the expedition was Norwegian Roald Amundsen, who would later become one of the world's most famous explorers, and Doctor Frederick Cook, who would become one of America's grea…
 
J. Frank Norris rose to fame as the controversial fundamentalist pastor of America's first megachurch, the First Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. He used his pulpit, his newspaper and his radio station to battle his enemies in unscrupulous ways, and when one angry local businessman named Dexter Chipps marched into his office in July of 1926 to …
 
One of the more enduring mysteries in true crime history involves Vincenzo Capone, Al Capone's eldest brother, who abruptly left his struggling family in New York City one day, eventually resurfacing as a lawman with a new identity: Richard Hart. His rise to fame - becoming one of the most famous Prohibition agents of the 1920s - coincided with his…
 
Almost a decade before Bonnie and Clyde blasted their way into our collective public consciousness, Richard and Margaret Whittemore, aka "The Candy Kid" and "Tiger Girl" made national news, not only for their participation in deadly robberies in 1920s New York, but also for their romantic love story, played out through newspaper articles and photog…
 
The late 1960s and early 1970s were witness to some of the worst serial killers in American history. Ranking at the top was Gerard John Schaefer, a cop who used his charisma to lure unsuspecting females into his car before torturing and murdering them in brutal fashion. My guest is Patrick Kendrick, who has spent the past 35 years gathering informa…
 
Holmes County, Ohio is one of the largest Amish communities in America. It was here, in the summer of 1957, that an Amish man named Paul Coblentz was murdered by two ex-cons in his family's rural farmhouse. My guests are David Meyers and Elise Meyers Walker, authors of the book "A Murder in Amish Ohio: The Martyrdom of Paul Coblentz". They not only…
 
Sophie Lyons was arguably the most successful (and colorful) female criminal of 19th-century America. She was a trained by her abusive parents at an early age in the art of thievery and scam artistry, and by the end of her life had accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars through her ill-gotten means. And in her wake, she had left a trail of fo…
 
One of the great historical Hollywood mysteries, still unsolved, revolves around the death of silver screen comedienne Thelma Todd. She was found dead in her car on December 16th, 1935, killed by carbon monoxide poisoning according to the Los Angeles coroner. But rumors have circulated for decades that she was murdered, with suspects that have incl…
 
My guest, Russell Shorto, has a unique connection to the subject of his latest book, "Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob". He is the namesake of his grandfather, a gangster who ran an Italian-American outfit in the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania in the 1940s and 50s. The organization would eventually crumble after the murder of a local bo…
 
Murder, Inc. was arguably the most ruthless and successful hit squad in American history, killing hundreds of people throughout the 1930s. It was led by a brutal Brooklyn gangster named Abe "Kid Twist" Reles, who under orders from mob bosses like Lucky Luciano, Lepke Buchalter and Albert Anastasia, dispatched his hitmen across the country to kill a…
 
My guest, Ben Montgomery, tells the story of George Dinning, a former slave who was visited one night in 1897 by a mob, hellbent on driving him and his family off of their Kentucky farm. In an exchange of gunfire, Dinning killed a wealthy white man. Dinning then had to elude lynchers while fighting for his life in court. Unlikely allies would come …
 
In the autumn of 1920, two couples pulled into a campsite in Central Park, Montana, but only one left alive. Seth and Iva Danner would eventually turn on each other with their own versions of how John and Florence Sprouse were murdered, but only Seth would be tried, convicted, and put to death. And questions still linger - about whether justice was…
 
Somehow Jane Toppan managed to skirt through the first half of her life murdering people at will, before finally being caught and committed to an insane asylum in 1901. Her nursing background made her an expert with drugs, and she used that expertise to kill over thirty people, often torturing them by purposely prolonging their suffering. My guest …
 
In late August of 1876, an eighty-two-year-old Methodist minister, William England, his wife Selena, and two of their children were slaughtered on their North Texas farm. Selena, on her deathbed, insisted that one of the murderers was their neighbor, Ben Krebs, with whom they had suffered some ongoing troubles. But was he the actual killer, or did …
 
In late 1960s a serial murder stalked the city of London, Ontario, killing at will and baffling police. My guest is author, bookstore owner and historian Vanessa Brown. She has spent countless hours researching these horrific murders and looking for the killer, and joins us to share details and theories from her book, "The Forest City Killer: A Ser…
 
Francis Tumblety was one America's greatest 19th century charlatans. A medical quack who became rich peddling cure-all herbal remedies, his larger-than-life character and questionable morals put him into some sticky situations - including being arrested as a suspect in the Lincoln assassination. But his most notorious claim to fame was as a Scotlan…
 
In the first few months of 1931, Francis "Two Gun" Crowley, an illiterate, psychopathic nineteen-year-old kid, went on a violent New York crime spree, which included murdering a Nassau county cop named Fred Hirsch. Things culminated in an intense gun-battle against between Crowley and over two hundred police officers, who had surrounded his Manhatt…
 
Enjoy this sneak-peak of Aghast at the Past: 1892, a brand-new podcast from the creator of Most Notorious. Ghastly true-crime stories culled from newspapers published in the dark heart of America's Gilded-Age and the golden era of yellow journalism. Please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts to ensure immediate delivery of new episodes!…
 
In February of 1903, wealthy businessman Ed Burdick was beaten to death in the den of his Buffalo, New York mansion. Investigators were faced with a strange crime scene and a multitude of suspects. Among them was his own wife Alice and her lover, a close family friend named Arthur Pennell. My guest, Kimberly Tilley, author of "Cold Heart: The Great…
 
My guest, historian and author Tui Snider shares the wild story of the ill-fated Helms-Ratliff gang, who held up the First National Bank in Cisco, Texas on December 23rd, 1927. Eager to collect a $5000 "Dead Bank Robber Reward", townspeople converged on the bank, and during an intense gun battle the police chief, his deputy and one of the gang memb…
 
In March of 1950, a young woman named JoAnn Dewey, trying to get home, was beaten and kidnapped on a Vancouver, Washington street corner, in full view of witnesses. None lifted a finger to help. A week later her body would turn up in a river a few miles away. My guest is Pat Jollota, author of "The Murder of JoAnn Dewey in Vancouver, Washington". S…
 
1840s America produced some colorful characters, and none more so than James Jesse Strang. After declaring himself a Mormon prophet, Strang moved his small congregation to Michigan's Beaver Island, proclaimed himself king, and created a criminal enterprise, before finally meeting his death at the hands of his own followers. My guest, bestselling au…
 
On the morning of June 10, 1937, New York heiress Alice Parsons disappeared off the face of the earth. Investigators almost immediately suspected that Anna Kupryanova, the Russian housekeeper, and Alice's husband, William Parsons, knew more than they were letting on. My guest is former NYPD detective and Hot Zone Attribution specialist Steven C. Dr…
 
On February 10, 1918, the Power family, holed up in their cabin in Arizona's isolated Galiuro Mountains, suddenly found themselves surrounded by a small posse. Lawmen were there to arrest two of the Power sons for draft evasion. After a few minutes of confusion, a shootout ensued, tragically ending with four casualties. Adding to the drama, the onl…
 
My guest on this episode has a very personal connection to the subject of his many decades of research. His great-grandfather was a member of one of the Peaky Blinders gangs that terrorized the city of Birmingham in the late 1800s. British historian Carl Chinn, author of "Peaky Blinders: The Real Story" and its sequel, "Peaky Blinders: The Legacy",…
 
Bruno Richard Hauptmann was tried, convicted and executed for the kidnapping and murder of Charlie Lindbergh, son of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne. However my guest, Lise Pearlman, author of "The Lindbergh Kidnapping Suspect No. 1: The Man Who Got Away" believes that not only was Hauptmann innocent, but something far more sinist…
 
In October of 1943, socialite and heiress Patricia Burton Lonergan was brutally beaten with a candelabra by her estranged husband Wayne Lonergan in her New York City apartment. The case exploded onto the front pages of New York papers, in large part because of rumors that Wayne Lonergan was secretly homosexual, living a lifestyle considered highly …
 
In the late 1960s, a serial killer terrorized the city of Ypsilanti, Michigan. Once John Norman Collins lured young women into his car or onto the back of his motorcycle, they would never be seen alive again. My guest, Gregory A. Fournier, has a personal connection to this case. Collins tried to abduct his girlfriend, right in front of him, over fi…
 
Arguably the most corrupt politician in American history, William "Boss" Tweed bilked New York City for millions of dollars in the 1860s, before finally suffering a spectacular downfall. Attorney and historian Kenneth D. Ackerman, author of "BOSS TWEED: The Corrupt Pol who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York" talk about this notorious and often m…
 
In the southeastern corner of 1901 Wyoming, cattle ranchers were furious that sheep were destroying valuable range land. When Willie Nickell, the son of a local sheep rancher was found murdered near his home, legendary gunman Tom Horn was one of the first men suspected of the lowdown crime. My guest is John W. Davis - retired Wyoming attorney, hist…
 
Through most of the 1920s the Bernstein Brothers, known more colorfully as the Purple Gang, ran Detroit's underworld with an iron fist. Partnering with Chicago's Al Capone, they were responsible for much of the liquor that came into the United States from Canada. They were involved in other shady rackets as well, and didn't hesitate to murder any r…
 
"Oh the humanity!" were the famous words spoken by news reporter Herb Morrison when on May 6, 1937, the Nazi-funded airship Hindenburg burst into flames and crashed into a New Jersey airfield. My guest is best-selling author Michael McCarthy, and his new book is called "The Hidden Hindenburg: The Untold Story of the Tragedy, the Nazi Secrets, and t…
 
No historical true crime case is more hotly debated around the world than the one involving the near-mythical serial killer "Jack the Ripper". My guest, Edward Stow, believes the killer was a man named Charles Lechmere, a local East End resident who murdered in the early morning hours while on his way to his work. Stow, creator and host of the YouT…
 
My guest, Gary Sosniecki, shares the story of the horrific murder of his great-grandmother, Cecilia, at the hands of her husband Albin Ludwig in Mishawaka, Indiana in September of 1906. After beating her head with a potato masher, he put her body in their bedroom closet and then lit it on fire. At least that is what prosecutors believed happened - …
 
By June of 1978, the once massively popular television star Bob Crane (of Hogan's Heroes fame) was relegated to doing dinner theater in Scottsdale, Arizona. In between shows, he and hanger-on John Carpenter spent much of their time trying to pick up women, and Bob would use the latest video technology to film his sexual exploits. When Bob was disco…
 
Hurricane season is now upon us, and with it potential dangers to the coastal populations of the United States. But the continent has survived centuries of devastation and death, the result of some truly ferocious hurricanes. My guest, bestselling author Eric Jay Dolin, is very familiar with both the history of America's hurricanes and the science …
 
In 1763 Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the last surviving members of the Conestoga Indian nation, numbering less than two dozen (mostly seniors and children), were housed in the town's workhouse and under protection of local authorities. Just days after their arrival a group of Scots-Irish vigilante frontiersmen known as the "Paxton Rangers" rode into La…
 
On July 15th, 1915, a steamship with a checkered past called the SS Eastland docked at a wharf on the Chicago River in downtown Chicago, ready to transport 2500 Western Electric employees and their families across Lake Michigan to a company picnic. Once boarding completed, however, terrible tragedy struck when the ship tilted over and into the rive…
 
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