No. 464
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
March 29, 2020

Photographed as he Died.

June 24, 2014
...
...

On this date in 1572, Annecke Lange, Gesche Herbst, and Annecke Rotschroeder were all condemned and burned at Neustadt am Rübenberge, as witches and poisoners. Although commoners, they were the luckless casualties of misbegotten marital politics in the Holy Roman Empire, and in the words of Tara Nummedal in Anna Zieglerin and the Lion’s Blood: […]
More...
Executed Today - 3/28/2020

`
THEY ALL HAVE "PULLS" Denver Post, November 11, 1896 The contents of the article can be read below (Click image to enlarge) istol balls sped in all directions When Soapy Smith left Denver, Colorado for the final time, Bascom remained in Denver and thereafter in the West, never again to work with with his older brother. He continued to find trouble as revealed in a
More...
Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 3/18/2020

"The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan Mandijn This week's Link Dump features skilled musical accompaniment! Who the hell is (was?) the Long Island serial killer? Famous left-handers from the 18th and 19th centuries. Imagine winning a game show and finding out your prize is a date with a serial killer. The lawyer who helped build the modern entertainment world. Does he deserve thanks,
More...
Strange Company - 3/27/2020
Beginning on January 1st, W&W will begin featuring fascinating short clippings from the Fall River papers and other newspapers from …

Continue reading

More...
Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 12/29/2019
Elizabeth Ragan As Arthur Ragan lay dying of a stomach ailment, in Piqua, Ohio, on April 3, 1855, his wife, Elizabeth took the physician aside and told him she believed her husband had poisoned himself. She said she thought the cream of tartar he had been taking for his stomach was actually arsenic. Mr. Ragan died that day, and a post-mortem examination proved his wife correct, he had
More...
Murder By Gaslight - 3/28/2020

The exterior city is what unsettles you first. Streets and sidewalks are quiet, lifeless. You see other people going in and out of shops or walking the dog, yet whenever you decide to get some air, six feet away from the occasional passerby, you feel like you’re the only person in all of New York. […]
More...
Ephemeral New York - 3/22/2020
[Editor’s note: Guest writer, Peter Dickson, lives in West Sussex, England and has been working with microfilm copies of The Duncan Campbell Papers from the State Library of NSW, Sydney, Australia. The following are some of his analyses of what he has discovered from reading these papers. Dickson has contributed many transcriptions to the Jamaica Family […]
More...
Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
Independence Day in the Country. | Scenes from “In the Tenderloin.”

Photographed as he Died.

Suicide

A Well-known photographer of Albany, Vt., Successfully takes a picture of his own suicide.[more]

Miles Pierce, a prominent photographer of Albany, Vt., posed himself in the big plush chair in his gallery with the utmost nicety one day last week. He presented a three-quarters view to the lens of the camera, which was focused upon him at close range. A drop shutter was attached to the instrument and an instantaneous plate was in the holder.

When the photographer had adjusted himself to his liking he picked up a big revolver that lay on a table conveniently near, cocked it and held the muzzle against his temple.

In his left hand he gripped the bulb connecting with the camera.

As the forefinger pf the photographer’s right hand pressed the trigger his left contracted upon the rubber bulb. Simultaneously with the report of the weapon the eye of the camera winked, and that was all. The body of the man collapsed in the red plush chair. The pistol fell with a clatter to the floor, a cloud of white smoke eddied up toward the sklylight and slowly dispersed, and all was silent.

An hour or two later the body of the man was found.

There was the usual wild excitement in the village, the constables were called, and then the coroner. The camera was shoved out of the way. The verdict was suicide by reason of temporary insanity. The real reason is that nobody in Albany wanted to be photographed, and that Miles Pierce had no more money.

The man who had purchased the photographic outfit found the plate in the camera. He had the curiosity to develop it. When the image on the negative sprang into view he was so startled that he let it fall and smashed the glass. It was piece together and a few proofs printed form it. The owner has exhibited them only to a few persons, and will not part with nay. The drop did its work and the picture was recorded the instant when the bullet had pierce the photographers’s skull.


Reprinted from The National Police Gazette, January 16, 1897.