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By Harold Schechter

FROM SOCIAL OUTCAST TO NECROPHILE AND assassin -- HIS APPALLING CRIMES surprised AN period.

San Francisco, the 1920s. In an age while nightmares have been relegated to the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe and far-off stories of the Whitechapel murders, a real-life monster terrorized the US. His acts of butchery have proved him considered one of history's fiercest madmen.

As an little one, Earle Leonard Nelson possessed the ability to unsettle his elders. As a baby he used to be unnaturally enthusiastic about the Bible; sooner than he reached puberty, he had an insatiable, aberrant intercourse force. by way of his children, even Earle's circle of relatives had cause to worry him. yet not anyone within the bone-chilling iciness of 1926 may have expected that his degeneracy might erupt in a sixteen-month frenzy of savage rape, barbaric homicide, and unbelievable defilement -- deeds that might turn into the hallmarks of 1 of the main infamous fiends of the 20th century, whose blood-lust wouldn't be equaled until eventually the likes of Henry Lee Lucas, John Wayne Gacy, and Jeffrey Dahmer.

Drawing at the "gruesome, extraordinary, compelling reporting" (Ann Rule) that's his trademark, Harold Schechter takes a dismal trip into the brain of an unrepentant sadist -- and brilliantly lays naked the parable of innocence that shrouded a bygone period.

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Following his arrest John was described as being very low spirited and he repeatedly protested his innocence. Dodworth Chapel, where George Firth and his brother John stood outside after leaving the Gate Inn. (The author’s collection) It was speculated that John had killed his brother for financial gain because although George spent almost all of the money he had on drink, John told the police that the collieries were doing well. It was therefore believed he may have killed his brother for a larger share of any profits.

The early chapters include cases of historic interest where killers certainly went to their graves in the knowledge they had got away with murder. Cases include suspicious deaths which left detectives in South Yorkshire baffled, but which were, it would seem, acts of callous murder which were not recognised as such due to dubious police opinions and practices. There are also cases of clear murder such as a man shot in the head during the Victorian period, whose killer was never identified. The later chapters, however, feature cases where there is still the possibility that the wicked men or women who were responsible for such acts of inhumanity may remain within our society.

A cotton stocking was tied tightly round her neck, with the knot tied at the back of her neck. She had blood on both of her hands and there was hair entangled between the fingers on one of her hands. There was an apron beneath her head which was saturated with blood. After viewing the body Constable Sharpe ran to a nearby shop in order to telephone the local police station to request assistance. When Inspector Joseph Wainwright examined the scene he found no visible evidence for a struggle between Florence and any other individual.

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