Criminalia

Criminalia

Humans have always committed crimes. What can we learn from the criminals and crimes of the past, and have humans gotten better or worse over time?

Episodes

August 9, 2022 34 min

More than a century after these events unfolded, there continues to be debate among historians as to whether or not Mary Surratt was or was not involved in the plot to assassinate U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. What we know for sure, though, is Mary was hanged for treason in the summer of 1865.

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Hi, Criminalia fans! We think you may like this new show, The R Spot with Iyanla Vanzant. You don't have to take our word for it, though. Check out the trailer and decide for yourself!

Show description: Shondaland Audio and iHeartRadio present: The R Spot with Iyanla. Each week, New York Times best-selling author and famed spiritual life coach, Iyanla Vanzant, invites callers to share their personal relationship issues during l...

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Chidiock Tichborne was a poet raised Catholic among Protestants. He is known to history as one of the conspirators involved in a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I, a Protestant, and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots, a Catholic. Let's talk about how his involvement in what was called the Babington Plot led to his execution for high treason.

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This American traitor used the pseudonym 'Paul Revere’ when he broadcast over the airways. But it was the pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic agenda that dominated Douglas Chandler’s radio show that was problematic for the United States government, not his nom de plume.

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The New York Times published daily news on the events, reporting “Fighting continues in mountains as federal troops reach Mingo; planes reported bombing miners.” Just about 100 years ago, the conflict between West Virginia coal miners and mining companies escalated to violence not seen in the United States since the Civil War -- and it resulted in multiple charges of treason.

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Once, the state of Rhode Island had two governors at the same time. True story. Thomas Wilson Dorr was elected governor under a new state constitution. The problem with that, though, was that Rhode Island already had a governor.

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"We of the jury say that Aaron Burr is not proved to be guilty under this indictment by any evidence submitted to us. We therefore find him not guilty [of treason]." But how did a vice president find himself in that position, to begin with? Welcome to the first episode in our new season, The Treasonists.

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“Some people are born to treachery,” and it’s those people we’re interested in, in this brand new season. The treasonists. The traitors.  Welcome to season 7 of Criminalia. 

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This season there were plenty of stories of those who dug up the dead for cash -- for various reasons, but really, two primary: to sell them to medical schools, or to maybe get something for it, like ransom. And there were plenty of cocktails and mocktails to go around. Holly and Maria continue their tradition, and talk about which were their favorites shows and favorite drinks of the season. See you there.

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Andreas Vesalius (Andries van Wesel) was a 16th-century Flemish anatomist whose work revolutionized the study of the human body. And he was able to do so because he was also a body snatcher -- and though he never would have called himself one, he was known to share hands-on tips for how to find fresh corpses. He used human cadavers for hands-on observations, and published groundbreaking, forward-thinking works about how our bodies ...

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No one truly knows the identities of those who participated in the Boston Tea Party, but one man’s name always ends up on the usual suspects list -- and that's Dr. Joseph Warren: physician and revolutionist. And, resurrection man. Warren, along with some very well-known names, founded an illicit secret society at Harvard in the late 1700s -- the Spunker Club.

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The first attempt at snatching and ransoming Abraham Lincoln's body was in 1876. It didn’t work out, as you’ll see. But it wasn’t the only attempt at snatching Lincoln’s remains -- and, as it turns, none of them worked out. Lead by counterfeit crime boss James “Big Jim” Kennally, here's what really went down when the Kennally gang tried to snatch Lincoln and spring their man Benjamin Boyd from prison.

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The stories of both Chris Baker and Grandison Harris take place during the American Civil War and period of Reconstruction. Both were body snatchers, or night doctors as they were known in the south, and each worked exclusively for a medical school -- and both men were enslaved.

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Resurrectionist William Cunningham was actively stealing bodies from grave sites around Cincinnati from 1855 to 1871. He was well known, and he was something of a legend. He once returned to the same gravesite at which he had earlier been caught digging – after he’d bought those who had detained him a drink. He dressed the bodies he stole. And, he had a “villainous bald head.”

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Snatching bodies from graves to sell them to medical and anatomy schools was once a super-common reason for disinterring corpses, but it’s definitely not the only reason people have disturbed the dead. And as strange as this may sound, it turns out many people have had their skull stolen from their grave -- sometimes for research, sometimes for ransom, and sometimes, because they were considered prized possessions.

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So far in our season of body snatching, we’ve been looking at things mainly from the point of view of the snatcher. But we’re going to change that up a little. Scottish surgeon John Hunter was “the patron saint of the body snatchers.” What do you have to do to earn that title? Well. Let’s find out.

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Contrary to popular belief, the famous body-snatching duo of William Burke and William Hare were not actually body snatchers. They never robbed graves at all -- they had their own way of supplying anatomists with fresh corpses, and it didn’t involve the graveyard. They simply killed people. And a new word was coined from the pair’s murderous practices: ‘burking'.

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April 26, 2022 26 min

He was hardly the only professional body snatcher in Washington, D.C. in the late 19th century, but William M. Jansen is definitely one of the most colorful. He snatched the body of Charles Shaw, and sold it. And then he stole it a second time. And it all happened within 36 hours of Shaw’s death. Here's how it went down.

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Welcome to first episode of a new season of Criminalia. This season we're talking about body snatchers, and the bodies they snatched. Ben Crouch was the son of a carpenter, and was a well-known prizefighter in his day. He’s described as a tall, flamboyantly-dressed man with a pox-marked face who loved to wear gold jewelry, especially gold rings. He could be violent and intimidating -- and he was the leader of London's most ...

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Holly and Maria continue their tradition: At the end of each season, they pick their favorites shows and favorite cocktails and mocktails. Tell us about the stories and drinks you liked best on social media – #criminalia. Let's see which ones we have in common. 

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