The Naked City Feb 7 2010
THE KILLING KIND
Historian claims two of history’s most respected medical researchers were serial killers.
British historian Don Shelton, in research just published by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, suggests that the acclaimed fathers of obstetrics, William Hunter and William Smellie, were also serial killers. Shelton’s report makes a convincing case that the two renowned anatomists contracted henchmen to abduct and deliver women who were in advanced stages of pregnancy, with the purpose of generating a steady supply of medical specimens for their studies. The two men worked separately, and were driven by ambition and rivalry. The women they obtained were experimented upon while either freshly dead, or while unconscious, with fatal results. The killings allegedly occurred in London in two stages, the first lasting from 1749 until 1755, and the second from 1764 to 1774. In total, Shelton estimates there were thirty-five to forty victims, plus their unborn fetuses.

Despite Shelton's takedown of two highly respected medical figures, there has been surprisingly little resistance to his assertions so far. Researchers of the 1700s usually obtained medical specimens from hospitals or morgues, and were known to employ graverobbers as well. But such specimens would have been diseased, aged, or physically damaged, whereas Hunter and Smellie would have needed young, physically fit subjects. According to Shelton, this prompted them to employ henchmen who most likely supplied bodies via “burking,” a technique named after serial killer William Burke, in which a person is slowly suffocated, thus leaving no damage to the cadaver and no detectable signs of foul play to alert police. Shelton's exhaustively researched study allegedly proves that no other method could have produced the steady stream of healthy mothers-to-be Hunter and Smellie desired. When interviewed about his claims by England’s Guardian newspaper, Shelton admitted they were shocking, but quoted Sherlock Holmes: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is the truth.”     

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
October 24
1929—Stock Market Crashes
Black Thursday, a catastrophic crash on the New York Stock Exchange, occurs when the value of stocks suddenly declines and continues to decline for a month. The event leads to a subsequent crash in world stock prices and precipitates the Great Depression. This after famous economist Irving Fisher had declared that stock prices had reached a permanently high plateau.
October 23
1935—Four Gangsters Gunned Down in New Jersey
In Newark, New Jersey, the organized crime figures Dutch Schultz, Abe Landau, Otto Berman, and Bernard "Lulu" Rosencrantz are fatally shot at the Palace Chophouse restaurant. Schultz, who was the target, lingers in the hospital for about a day before dying. The killings are committed by a group of professional gunmen known as Murder, Inc., and the event becomes known as the Chophouse Massacre.
1950—Al Jolson Dies
Vaudeville and screen performer Al Jolson dies of a heart attack in San Francisco after a trip to Korea to entertain troops causes lung problems. Jolson is best known for his film The Jazz Singer, and for his performances in blackface make-up, which were not considered offensive at the time, but have now come to be seen as a form of racial bigotry.
October 22
1926—Houdini Fatally Punched in Stomach
After a performance in Montreal, Hungarian-born magician and escape artist Harry Houdini is approached by a university student named J. Gordon Whitehead, who asks if it is true that Houdini can endure any blow to the stomach. Before Houdini is ready Whitehead strikes him several times, causing internal injuries that lead to the magician's death.

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