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Most Notorious! A True Crime History Podcast
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Most Notorious! A True Crime History Podcast

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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.

181 Episodes
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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 sinister likely happened to the little boy, at the hands of someone inside the Lindbergh's New Jersey farmhouse on that fateful night of March 1st, 1932.  More information on Lise and her books can be found at her website here: www.lisepearlman.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 taboo in the 1940s.  My guest is author Allan Levine, and he shares fascinating details from his newly published book, "Details Are Unprintable: Wayne Lonergan and the Sensational Cafe Society Murder." More information about the case and his other books can be found at his website: www.allanlevinebooks.com Support Most Notorious at www.patreon.com/mostnotorious Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 fifty years ago. He shares the tragic stories of the seven women brutally murdered by Collins, and how the killer was finally caught. His book is called "Terror In Ypsilanti: John Norman Collins Unmasked", and his website is gregoryafournier.com . Support Most Notorious at www.patreon.com/mostnotorious Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 misunderstood giant in American political history.  Kenneth Ackerman's website is www.kennethackerman.com Support Most Notorious at www.patreon.com/mostnotorious Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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, historian and author, who joins me to share stories about the arrest, trial and execution of one of the Old West's most fascinating and dangerous characters. His book is called "The Trial of Tom Horn".  Go to www.patreon.com/mostnotorious to support the show! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 rivals who stepped on their toes.   Gregory Fournier, author of "The Elusive Purple Gang: Detroit's Kosher Nostra", joins me to talk about this notorious Jewish gang, and shares some of the stories that have become legendary in Michigan true crime history lore.  Become a Most Notorious patron at: www.patreon.com/mostnotorious Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
"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 the Quest to Rule the Skies." He tells the fascinating story of the development of Germany's zeppelin program, headed by the colorful Hugo Eckener, shares details of the terrible disaster, and reveals the truth about what really caused the Hindenburg to catch on fire.  Become a Most Notorious patron at: www.patreon.com/mostnotorious Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 YouTube series "The House of Lechmere", shares evidence that he believes implicates Lechmere in not only the murders of the Canonical Five, but of other women in 1880s London as well.  Become a Most Notorious patron at: www.patreon.com/mostnotorious Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 - Albin had a very different version.  His book is called "The Potato Masher Murder: Death at the Hands of a Jealous Husband".  Become a Most Notorious patron at: www.patreon.com/mostnotorious Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 discovered bludgeoned to death in his apartment on the morning of June 29th, Carpenter almost immediately became the police's primary murder suspect. My guest, John Hook, is an investigative reporter and award-winning Phoenix news anchor who in 2016 began a quest to have the cold case's remaining blood evidence tested for DNA. He writes about his investigation in his book "Who Killed Bob Crane? The Final Close-Up", and shares some of the details with me on this episode of Most Notorious. Become a Most Notorious patron at: www.patreon.com/mostnotorious Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 behind them. His new book is entitled "A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America's Hurricanes", and he joins me to share some fascinating historical stories involving these horrific natural disasters.   Become a Most Notorious patron at: www.patreon.com/mostnotorious Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 Lancaster, found them and slaughtered them all, meeting no resistance from the Indians' supposed protectors.  My guest, Jack Brubaker, a long-time Lancaster investigative journalist, columnist and historian. He shares how the brutal attacks unfolded, and explains how the complex political climate in Pennsylvania halted any justice for the murdered. His book is called "Massacre of the Conestogas: On the Trail of the Paxton Boys in Lancaster County". Become a Most Notorious patron at: www.patreon.com/mostnotorious Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 river, killing over 800 people -mostly women and children- in a horrific, chaotic scene.  My guest is Michael McCarthy, author of the New York Times Bestseller "Ashes Under Water: The SS Eastland and the Shipwreck That Shook America". He offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of the ill-fated SS Eastland and recounts the story of the tragic sinking and its aftermath, including famed attorney Clarence Darrow's involvement in the trial that followed.  Become a Most Notorious patron at: www.patreon.com/mostnotorious Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 Behind Sanford's Headless Miser Legend". He utilized his unique perspective as an attorney to research and document this little known but fascinating murder case.  Become a Most Notorious patron at: www.patreon.com/mostnotorious Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 of the legendary outlaw and his vast criminal resume.  Charles Leerhsen, author of "Butch Cassidy: The True Story of an American Outlaw", is my guest on this Most Notorious episode. He helps separate fact from fiction, and shares some fascinating stories about the life of the gentleman robber Robert Leroy Parker, aka Butch Cassidy.  Become a Most Notorious patron at: www.patreon.com/mostnotorious Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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, Gary McAvoy does not. Gary, along with Ronald R. Nye, collaborated to write the book "And Every Word Is True", based on the personal notes and files of Ronald's father Harold Nye, lead investigator of the case. Gary joins me to share some tantalizing theories from their book, based on forgotten facts, clues and witness statements from the original investigation over sixty years ago.  Become a Most Notorious patron at: www.patreon.com/mostnotorious Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 and forensic science specialist Clark Fogg - are experts at not only documenting these stories, but also occasionally writing their final chapters, using modern investigative and crime-solving techniques whenever possible. Their book is called "Beverly Hills Confidential: A Century of Stars, Scandals and Murders", and they join me to offer fascinating details on many of the most notorious solved and unsolved cases in Hollywood history. Become a Most Notorious patron at: www.patreon.com/mostnotorious Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 beaten back by sheer numbers and firepower. My guest, Tim Madigan, is the award-winning author of "The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921". He shares some of the firsthand accounts he was able to record from witnesses to the tragic event, and offers an explanation as to how this massacre became a "hidden history" in the United States up until recently. Become a Most Notorious patron at: www.patreon.com/mostnotorious Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 pivotal event breaks some longstanding myths on the Massacre, including introducing evidence that suggests that many of the British soldiers who occupied Boston homes in the late 1760s actually assimilated smoothly into the city during their stay.  Become a Most Notorious patron at: www.patreon.com/mostnotorious Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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 "The Kelayres Massacre: Politics & Murder in Pennsylvania's Anthracite Coal Country", outlines the political tensions leading up to the terrible event, give details of the shootings, and explains what happened to the killers afterwards.  Become a Most Notorious patron at: www.patreon.com/mostnotorious Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Comments (63)

HF

This guy is a riveting storyteller!

Sep 11th
Reply

Tasia

His voice though lol WTF am I listening to

Aug 26th
Reply

Sherrie Lucas

I really like this author. He is well spoken. He is concise and interesting.

Aug 19th
Reply

Jaymes

That guy he's interviewing has the most boring dull disinterested voice.

Aug 4th
Reply

Danielle Peterson

Just found my new binge!!!!!

Jul 17th
Reply

Diana Hilliard-Chambers

loved this episode

Jul 1st
Reply

Megan Prowse

Great topic! So disappointed to hear guest-Barabara victim blaming re: the shooting and a prior verbal exchange. Irrelevant. The irony is interesting given she spends the whole the interview interjecting in an attempt to be relevant...

Jun 13th
Reply

Alia Miller

Great episode! I learned a lot, thank you.

Jun 3rd
Reply

Alia Miller

There actually is a movie that tries to follow Vlad's true story quite well called Dark Prince: The True Story of Dracula. It was released in 2000.

Jun 3rd
Reply

Jaymes

if he had an author on his show who said " well i wanted to write a play for men, and do something for male actors" Eric would have piles of hate mail and 1 star reviews coming down on him! I'm so sick of this tired feminist attitude, and I know plenty of women who even cringe as stupid statements like the one she made. women are just as represented in the arts as anybody. there's TONS of strong female leads, playing strong female characters. stop acting like you're some kind of hero fighting women's suffrage. I swear some idiots like her will never ever be satisfied. because they just having a Battle to fight. it has nothing to do with equality to them, and they'll never be happy, nor satisfied. feminist's like her give women a bad name. stop trying too be a hero in a war that doesn't exist anymore in movie/theatre. I know at least 2 female friends who listened to this episode and both found that statement foolish. get off your damn high horse, and open your ignorant eyes to the real world.

May 11th
Reply

jess d

read the book in under 3 days, I couldn't put it down despite how much it made me angry due to the fact that these women where lied to their faces about what was happening to them.

May 6th
Reply

Jaymes

I started listening to his other book last night on Audible "The ship that never was" it's good so far!

Apr 28th
Reply

Sean Rosenau

Wife under the floorboards, other people walled up. Sounds like the killer liked Edgar Allen Poe.

Apr 12th
Reply (1)

Nicholas Houllis

great podcast

Apr 6th
Reply

Sherrie Lucas

This was good information. i think this guy is a jerk though. I did not appreciate has negative, judgemental comments about president Trump. This wad disciple to be about his knowledge, not his political opinion.i wish you would have edited that out.

Apr 2nd
Reply (1)

Sue M Gable

thank you Eric. oh so perfect

Apr 2nd
Reply

Erin Kloeppner

I love all your podcasts but especially on the 1920-30s, John Dillinger, Bonnie & Clyde, and about Minnesota as well, I am a Minnesota gal. My family was involved in the Minnesota 13 moonshining and boot legging in Stearns County in that era. My great grandmother, Agnes Litchy, told me many great stories before she passed about making the moonshine while her husband and brothers boot legged it. She also told a story of Dillinger passing through Stearns County on a county road, who had pulled the car over to the side of the road. A couple of local children who were playing outside ran up to the vehicle wondering about this guy in such a nice vehicle and asked him who he was. He told them "Well kids, I'm public enemy number one" and a couple minutes later he went on his way. I've always wanted to share my accounts but never known who to contact?

Mar 26th
Reply

Heather McNamee Rensel

why the different intro?

Mar 15th
Reply

Jaymes

great episode!! I've always thought this story was one of the craziest I've heard,..but damn they're butchering those pronunciations lol. I've been a fan of this podcast for a long time. it's the best historical true crime podcast I've come across.

Mar 14th
Reply

David Schultz

so many unanswered questions to this story. one of the oddest ones I've ever heard.

Feb 28th
Reply
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