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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. Host Erik Rivenes interviews authors and historians who have studied their subjects for years, and the stories are offered with unique insight, detail, and historical accuracy.
 
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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…
 
When the headless and mutilated corpse of an eccentric orange farmer named Sam McMillan was discovered submerged in a Florida lake in October of 1882, suspicion pointed to a young Englishman, Archie Newton, recently forced to flee London due to a titillating scandal. My guest is Andrew Fink, author of "Murder on the Florida Frontier: The True Story…
 
When the name "Butch Cassidy" is mentioned, it conjures an image (for many of us) of Paul Newman, who along with Robert Redford joked their way through the classic 1969 film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid". But that movie was almost entirely fictional, and as often typical, Hollywood ignored the far more interesting factual historical account …
 
Most of us probably know at least the basics of the 1959 Kansas Clutter family murders case, in large part because the story was dramatically detailed by Truman Capote in his best-selling 1966 non-fiction novel entitled "In Cold Blood". But was Capote's book as factual as he claimed it was? The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says so, but my guest, …
 
Beverly Hills, California is not all glitz and glamor. The city has had more than its share of shocking true crime over the last one hundred years, often involving famous figures like Lana Turner, Lupe Vélez, Jean Harlow and Bugsy Siegel. Murder and scandal seem to follow the rich and famous, and my guests - investigative reporter Barbara Schroeder…
 
June 1st, 2020 marked the 99th anniversary of one of the most despicable acts of mass murder in American history. A mob of 10,000 white vigilantes descended on an African-American suburb of Tulsa, Oklahoma - looting, burning houses and businesses, and killing men, women and children. Black business owners put up a fierce resistance, but were soon b…
 
The city of Boston was put to the test when occupying British soldiers opened fire into a crowd of rioters on March 5th, 1770. Known forever as the Boston Massacre, it later became a rallying cry for the American Revolution. My guest is Carlton College's Professor Serena Zabin, author of "The Boston Massacre: A Family Affair". Her research into the…
 
On November 5th, 1934, in the small coal mining town of Kelayres, Pennsylvania, Republican political boss Joe Bruno took an extreme and shocking step. Worried and agitated about a possible loss in the following day's elections, he and his family used his large weapons arsenal to fire into a Democratic parade. My guest, Stephanie Hoover, author of "…
 
As political factions battled in pre-Civil War Washington D.C., a sensational sex and murder scandal suddenly grabbed the nation's attention. New York Congressman Daniel Sickles, having learned that his wife Teresa was in the midst of a torrid love affair with U.S. Attorney Philip Barton Key II, angrily confronted him in a park with fatal consequen…
 
In the years following World War One, thousands of young women were hired to paint radium on watch and clock dials so they would glow in the dark. As a result, many of the women would suffer the excruciating effects of radiation poisoning, which often lead to their deaths at an early age. My guest, Kate Moore, is author of the New York Times bestse…
 
In early 19th century Australia, escaping from a penal colony was not an easy task, mostly because there was no where to go. Six foot five William Buckley did just that, however, wandering though the wild Australian bush before being taken in by a tribe of aborigines, close to death. For the next thirty-two years he would live with the tribe, befor…
 
Leavenworth Penitentiary in Kansas was once home to some of the most notorious criminals in America, including Carl Panzram, Robert "the Birdman" Stroud, Frank Nitti and George "Machine Gun" Kelly. Part of its history includes one of the most exciting prison breaks in U.S. history, when the "Leavenworth Seven" kidnapped Warden Tom White in December…
 
Calamity Jane is without question one of the most iconic figures in Old West history. She's been portrayed innumerable times in film and television, most recently in the HBO series Deadwood as Wild Bill Hickock's loyal buckskin-wearing friend and sidekick. Her reputation proceeded her wherever she went, as a master bullwhacker, an excessive drinker…
 
Black Death. Typhoid fever. Pellagra. In the early 1900s they invaded the United States, killing thousands. One of the most notorious historical figures associated with disease was "Typhoid Mary", who unknowingly infected untold numbers of people with typhoid fever while cooking in kitchens along the east coast. My guest, Gail Jarrow, is the author…
 
Just over a hundred years ago, the world suffered through a brutal influenza pandemic, which infected up to a quarter of the world's population. It was nicknamed the Spanish Flu, and killed millions of people. My guest, John Barry, is an historian, adjunct faculty at Tulane University, and author of the New York Times bestseller "The Great Influenz…
 
While the Coen brothers refuse to confirm it, many believe that their movie "Fargo" was inspired by the Carol Thompson murder case. She was viciously killed in her comfortable Saint Paul home by a hitman hired by her eccentric husband, T. Eugene Thompson, in March of 1963, leaving behind four small children. It was an absolutely sensational case, o…
 
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