Friday, January 22, 2010

Hunt Fiend In 4 Decapitations

Once upon a time I was the artistic director of a late-night theater project at Dobama Theatre. Trying to decide what slate of original projects to create for the second season, I shared with my boss, Joyce, the artistic director of the theater proper, the idea of making a musical out of the Kingsbury Run murders.

We could call it TORSO! THE MUSICAL!

It was a joke. I made her actually gasp. But seriously ... it was a joke. Five years later, the Play House actually produced a musical about the Kingsbury Run murders. There is no satire any more, just cheese.

The first historical record of a decapitated body dumped into that ancient stream bed called Kingsbury Run was in November ... 1905. By 1935 we can deduce that the person who would eventually be called the Cleveland Torso Murderer (tm) would be no less than fifty years old.

We know this. An unidentified woman washed ashore in Beulah Park in September, 1934. Coroner Arthur J. Pearce said the expert level of butchery suggested that it was done by a medical expert. He later admitted the cutting was no, in fact, that professionally done.

In early 1936 the dismemberment of Florence Pollilo was described as "expertly" done by Coroner Pearce, except for the gashes to the pelvic area. Otherwise, only a professional could have severed a human like that. Her head was never found, unlike Edward Andrassy's head, they found that. They also found his penis, but that was in a can some yards away.

Unlike the "Tatooted Man" found on June 5, 1936, three days before the Republican National Convention began. His genitals were un-mutilated. For your interest, a "death mask" of his head was put on display at the Great Lakes Exposition but never identified - in spite having been viewed by thousands. They still have this plaster mask at the Cleveland Police Museum.

By this time the media was lumping all of these disparate murders together, and calling for action. Eliot Ness remained silent, leaving his detectives to do their work. By September, and the discovery of a "7th victim" he began to be more public in his assessment of what was happening. Thankfully, they could blame marihuana for the madness.
"There is a plentiful supply of this deadly weed in Cleveland" - Michael J. Collegeman, head of the local Federal Narcotics Bureau.
... to be continued.

Source: John Stark Bellamy II, The Maniac in the Bushes: More True Tales of Cleveland Crime and Disaster

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