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Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

How a Handkerchief Led to Black Bart’s Capture

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Charles Earl Bowles was one of the most notorious stagecoach robbers of the 1870s and 1880s, holding up dozens of coaches over a period of eight years. You probably know him better as “Black Bart.”

Also known as Charles Boles, Charles Bolton, and C.E. Bolton, Black Bart certainly wasn’t the only guy working the stagecoach circuit. But he was the only one who liked to leave poetry behind. Here’s one of his masterpieces:

“Here I lay me down to Sleep

To wait the coming morrow

Perhaps Success perhaps defeat

And everlasting Sorrow

Let come what will I’ll try it on

My condition can’t be worse

And if there’s money in that Box

‘Tis munny (money) in my purse.”

He was also unfailingly polite to his victims, never robbed stagecoach passengers, and never fired his gun—not over the course of 28 robberies. And Bart was always careful to disguise his identity, wearing a flour sack over his face, a hat on his head, and a duster over his clothing. But in the end, it was a simple handkerchief that was Black Bart’s undoing. On November 3, 1883, Bart held up the stagecoach running from Sonora to Milton. When the sheriff arrived at the scene to survey the damage, he discovered a square of cloth in the dirt. Picking it up, he noticed a small marking in the corner—“FX07.”

Those four little characters are known as a laundry mark, letters and numbers used by launderers to help identify customers’ clothing—and handkerchiefs. After checking 91 laundries, Wells Fargo detectives were able to find one responsible for cleaning Black Bart’s items. While they were there talking to the owner, the robber himself walked through the door. Detective Henry Morse chatted the bandit bard up and convinced him that he had some prime mining property for sale. It wasn’t until Bart followed Morse back to his office to discuss a possible transaction that he realized the jig was up. He accepted his capture with characteristic politeness, throwing up his hands and declaring, “Gentlemen, I pass!”

Bart served a little over four years in San Quentin as penance for his crimes. He was released on January 22, 1888—and disappeared into the annals of history, never to be heard from again.

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Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons // Nigel Parry, USA Network
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Meghan Markle Is Related to H.H. Holmes, America’s First Serial Killer, According to New Documentary
Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons // Nigel Parry, USA Network
Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons // Nigel Parry, USA Network

Between staging paparazzi photos and writing open letters to Prince Harry advising him to call off his wedding, Meghan Markle’s family has been keeping the media pretty busy lately. But it turns out that her bloodline's talent for grabbing headlines dates back much further than the announcement that Markle and Prince Harry were getting hitched—and for much more sinister reasons. According to Meet the Markles, a new television documentary produced for England’s Channel Four, the former Suits star has a distant relation to H.H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer.

The claim comes from Holmes’s great-great-grandson, American lawyer Jeff Mudgett, who recently discovered that he and Markle are eighth cousins. If that connection is correct, then it would mean that Markle, too, is related to Holmes.

While finding out that you’re related—however distantly—to a man believed to have murdered 27 people isn’t something you’d probably want to share with Queen Elizabeth II when asking her to pass the Yorkshire pudding over Christmas dinner, what makes the story even more interesting is that Mudgett believes that his great-great-grandpa was also Jack the Ripper!

Mudgett came to this conclusion based on Holmes’s personal diaries, which he inherited. In 2017, American Ripper—an eight-part History Channel series—investigated Mudgett’s belief that Holmes and Jack were indeed one in the same.

When asked about his connection to Markle, and their shared connection to Holmes—and, possibly, Jack the Ripper—Mudgett replied:

“We did a study with the FBI and CIA and Scotland Yard regarding handwriting analysis. It turns out [H. H. Holmes] was Jack the Ripper. This means Meghan is related to Jack the Ripper. I don’t think the Queen knows. I am not proud he is my ancestor. Meghan won’t be either.”

Shortly thereafter he clarified his comments via his personal Facebook page:

In the 130 years since Jack the Ripper terrorized London’s Whitechapel neighborhood, hundreds of names have been put forth as possible suspects, but authorities have never been able to definitively conclude who committed the infamous murders. So if Alice's Adventures in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll could have done it, why not the distant relative of the royal family's newest member?

[h/t: ID CrimeFeed]

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A New D.B. Cooper Suspect Has Emerged
FBI
FBI

The identity of skyjacker D.B. Cooper—a well-mannered passenger on Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305 who parachuted out of the skyjacked plane heading to Seattle in November 1971 with $200,000 in cash—has long intrigued both law enforcement and amateur sleuths. One theory posited that Cooper may have even been a woman in disguise.

In July 2017, the FBI officially closed the case. This week, they might take another look at their archival material. An 84-year-old pet sitter from DeLand, Florida named Carl Laurin has made a public proclamation that a deceased friend of his, Walter R. Reca, once admitted he was the country’s most notorious airborne thief.

The announcement is tied to the publication of Laurin’s book, D.B. Cooper & Me: A Criminal, a Spy, and a Best Friend. And while some may discount the admission as an attempt to sell books, the book's publisher—Principia Media—claims it vetted Laurin’s claims via a third-party investigator.

According to Laurin, he and Reca met while both were skydivers in the 1950s and kept in touch over the years. Reca was a military paratrooper and received an Honorable Discharge from the Air Force in 1965. Laurin suspected his friend immediately following the skyjacking since he had previously broken the law, including an attempted robbery at a Bob’s Big Boy restaurant as well as several banks. But Reca didn’t admit guilt until shortly before his death in 2014, when he handed over audiotapes of his confession and made Laurin promise not to reveal them until after he had passed away.

Principia Media publisher/CEO Vern Jones says he expects skeptics to challenge the book’s claims, but says that the evidence provided by Laurin was “overwhelming.” The FBI has yet to comment on any of the specifics of Laurin’s story, but an agency spokesperson told The Washington Post that “plausible theories” have yet to convey “necessary proof of culpability.” Nonetheless, someone at the Bureau probably has a weekend of reading ahead of them.

[h/t MSN]

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