Friday, November 16, 2007

They've Dug-Up Indiana Serial Killer, Belle Gunness

Forest Park, Illinois/Laporte, Indiana
--I'm about 10-15 miles from the location of the Gunness farm, the site on McClung Road where as many as 40 murders by the infamous Belle Gunness took place. Gunness was a hulking, ugly Norwegian immigrant woman who placed ads in big city papers (nearly all Norwegian-language, so as to attract others of her ethnicity) to lure rich widowers to her home to be dispatched.

She sometimes took-out insurance policies on the men--often widowers--if they didn't have much to steal, and murdered them with poison in their coffee or tea. After that, she dismembered some of their bodies with an ax. Legend has it that the men flocked to her like flies to honey, which is strange since she was incredibly ugly.

Why the disinterment last week? A farm hand who was jailed after the 1908 fire at the Gunness farm contended that the murderer got away. After that, there were the obligatory sightings, but no solid-proof of his assertion.

With current DNA technology, we're probably going to find-out. There are a few letters known to have been sent by Gunness to some parties that has traces of her DNA on them, and are going to be matched with the now disinterred-corpse. All that's left are the bones, naturally, but there's going to be some DNA left in either the teeth, or within some of the other bones. There has been a legend attached to the story: that the corpse found in the burning embers of the farm house weighed too little to be her, and that it was headless.

In addition, there is a story that one of Gunness's domestics went missing at that time, and that someone's head was found in a cornfield nearby the ruins. What does it mean? What's the veracity of this legend? From the above image, it appears that the corpse in Gunness's grave has a skull. Sometimes the truth about the "Black widow," the "Lady Bluebeard" isn't so sexy, considering her girth and dour appearance. It should be of no surprise that there are women who kill. There's more than corn in Indiana.