Places A Tourist Should Go in 1905? Bellevue And The Morgue.
Visiting New York City today there are things that most tourists go and see: The Empire State Building, Times Square, The Statue of Liberty and other typical touristy places. A hundred years ago you might be surprised at what sights people would go and visit. In 1905 for one New Yorker, Miss Laura Magner, taking an out-of-town friend to Bellevue and visiting the morgue seemed like an interesting, if not macabre way to spend the day.
They say truth is stranger than fiction, so we’ll let The New York Evening World of September 11, 1905 pick up the rest of this strange story:
SAW PICTURE AT MORGUE OF DEAD BROTHER
Miss Magner, Showing a Friend the Sights, Identifies Photograph.
This isn’t a very big world since the railroad, the telegraph and the telephone annihilated distances, but here is the strange story of what happened at the points of a triangle with sides only a mile long.
On Feb. 26, 1904, the body of a young man was found on the doors of No. 269 Ninth Avenue, dead. No one knew him. At the morgue the body was photographed and a complete description taken. The breast and arms were tattooed with the form of a woman, the emblems of Faith, Hope and Charity and the initials “J.M.”
After a few days the unidentified body was burled In Potter’s Field, where it has lain for nineteen months. Last Saturday Miss Laura Magner, of No. 354 West Forty-sixth Street, who was entertaining a visiting friend from out-of-town, took him to see Bellevue Hospital and the Morgue.
15 Dead Bodies Discovered in The East River
A shocking discovery was made on Thursday June 9, 1859 near Hell Gate in the East River, when some fishermen picked up a box which contained 15 dead bodies in various states of decomposition.
As was common in early journalism there were mistakes made when the papers first broke the story.
They reported the box contained seven bodies, all dressed in fine night clothes, packed in lime and shavings and having the appearance of recent decease.
This caused a bit of panic among New York’s citizens who concluded that a whole family had been murdered in their beds and packed off to sea to conceal the crime.
The investigation by city authorities three days later revealed the true nature of what had transpired.
The bodies had been removed from the old Potter’s Field and were being transported by barges for re-interment in Long Island.
The box containing these bodies went overboard, and the workmen let it go without trying to retrieve it – just to see what an excitement it would create!
Getting Away With Murder
photo © Poughkeepsie Journal
It’s cases like this one that leave me scratching my head.
JoAnn Nichols, a 55-year-old elementary school teacher in Poughkeepsie, New York went missing December 20, 1985. Her husband, James I. Nichols Jr. notified the police the next day and gave them a note supposedly from his wife indicating despondency.
James I. Nichols Jr. died December 21, 2012, at the age of 82 in the home he shared with his missing wife. There were no relatives to claim his body and the dissolution of the estate fell to Dutchess County.
Neighbors, co-workers and former students never forgot Mrs. Nichols. They wondered where she had gone and what had happened to her. The police never found JoAnn Nichols and it became a cold case.
It took a contractor doing renovations in the home at 720 Vassar Road on June 28, to discover a false wall in the basement that contained a sealed container which held the remains of JoAnn Nichols. The cause of death has been determined to be blunt force trauma to the head. Homicide.
How the police never searched the house thoroughly at the time of the disappearance is perturbing.
It looks as if James I. Nichols Jr. got away with murder.
What Happens To Squealer’s
This is not The Sopranos or The Godfather.
75 years ago, gangsters did really nasty things to you, if you talked to the cops.
The back of this Acme news photograph sums it up:
Trussed from head to foot, the body of Samuel Silverman is examined by Deputy Medical Examiner Romeo Auerbach. The victim was found in a car parked in Brooklyn, N.Y. with three bullets in his skull. Police believe Silverman was killed for “putting the finger” on other men involved in a hold up, for which he was out on bail. July 16, 1937
Silverman , 25, who lived at 869 Hopkinson Avenue, Brooklyn, was found in front of 324 East 91st Street, Brooklyn on July 15, 1937. The body was discovered at 5 pm by a youth who happened to glance inside the parked car.
Silverman had been arrested Continue reading