Tag: Ben Hecht

Old Pal, Why Don't You Answer Me?- The Hanging of Carl Wanderer

The day before his pending execution on September 30th, Carl’s last hope to stay among the living was a second stay of execution or to at least get his sentenced to commuted to life imprisonment. Governor Len Small, still under indictment for embezzlement, held Carl’s fate. “I am of the opinion this is a case... Read more »

Carl Wanderer's Lover- Julia or James?

You can’t look too deep into the Ragged Stranger and Carl Wanderer story without coming across a reference to an alleged homosexual lover of Carl’s named James. Wanderer’s Wikipedia page describes the situation- Ben Hecht later claimed that shortly after the killing, he interviewed Wanderer and was struck by Wanderer’s happy and seemingly impassive manner just... Read more »

Ben Hecht Plays Where's Waldo's Head?

In an early article during his days as a reporter for the Chicago Journal, where Ben Hecht wrote from 1910-1914, Hecht introduced the city of Chicago to Dr. Wilhelm Stekel, an early psychoanalysis student of Dr. Sigmund Freud. As you will read below, Hecht and Dr. Stekel, spent a fair amount of time together with Hecht... Read more »

Ben Hecht Writes- "He Suffered from Periodic Throwbacks to Cannibalism"

Our next few posts are going to focus on a narrative that suggests that Ben Hecht solved, or led to the solving of the Ragged Stranger mystery. Hecht’s Wikipedia page states, “While at the Chicago Daily News, Hecht famously broke the 1921 “Ragged Stranger Murder Case” story, about the murder of Carl Wanderer‘s wife, which led to the... Read more »

A Sheriff in Jail, an Impressive Family Tree, and More Tales from the Periphery of the Ragged Stranger Story

Our archives are here if you need to catch up… As we near the end of the Ragged Stranger story, there are a few characters that have been touched on in the story that merit having their tales told a little further. Today we’ll look at a few of them; Chicago Herald-Examiner reporter Charlie MacArthur, coroner Peter... Read more »

A Doctor, a Lawyer, and a Minister Walk Into a Bar

The trial for the murder of the Ragged Stranger had featured testimony from multiple alienists, as psychiatrists were known back then, and some of the testimony did not sit right with the presiding judge. Today, we’ll look at a quest to find the meaning of a then-common psychiatric term that is now considered somewhat offensive,... Read more »

Carl Wanderer Is Doomed by a Love Letter at Trial

Post 15 can be read here if you missed it…   After Carl Wanderer had confessed to the murder of his pregnant wife, their unborn child and the Ragged Stranger, public scorn and condemnation of him was rife. When word came out that he had been dating a seventeen-year-old girl before and after his wife’s... Read more »

Matson, Watson, and Reporters Solving Crimes

  Part 7 can be found here if you missed it… While the police went to track down the E. Masters lead with the John Robinson Circus, Chicago’s newspaper reporters were essentially tasked with chasing down another lead, Matson or Watson. The night of the murder dozens of police, reporters, and neighbors had gazed upon... Read more »

The Mystery of the Ragged Stranger

The Ragged Stranger was front page news coast to coast as the art above printed November 21, 1920 in The Washington Times attests. Who was the Ragged Stranger? Was Al Watson the Ragged Stranger? Or Eddie Ryan? Earl Masters? John Maloney? Earl Keesee? Joseph Ahrens? Was he a shell-shocked veteran? A scion of wealth? An... Read more »