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15 Most Infamous True Crimes in History

The Sadistic H. H. Holmes

H. H. Holmes, or Herman Webster Mudgett, is often considered one of the most horrific serial killer in the United States, and some even think he was Jack the Ripper. While this is debatable, he is one of America’s first serial killers. What did he do? Well, Holmes confessed to 27 murders, but police only found 9 bodies. While he did some horrible stuff prior, his worst offenses took place in Chicago. This was where he built his “Murder Castle.” Holmes didn’t keep a construction crew long, and the place was peculiar. There were stairways that ended nowhere, winding passages, and more. Only Holmes knew how it worked, and it was where he hid the bodies of his victims.

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The Lindbergh Baby

The Lindbergh Baby was once the “Crime of the Century.” In 1932, aviation hero Charles Lindbergh claimed that his son was snatched from his crib in the middle of the night and a ransom note was left behind that demanded $50,000. Every resource was used to try and find the baby, but the police couldn’t find anything. Despite this, the police arrested Bruno Richard Hauptmann for the crime. He was tried, convicted, and executed in 1996, insisting he was innocent the whole time.

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The Assassination of JFK

The assassination of John F. Kennedy is something most people know about, but it’s still one of the most infamous crimes ever. In 1963, Kennedy was visiting Texas when a sniper murdered him. Most believe Lee Harvey Oswald was the one that fired from a sixth-floor window of the Texas School Book Depository, but some people still have their doubts. Oswald was arrested but was promptly shot and killed by Jack Ruby, a nightclub owner.

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The Villisca Axe Murders

The Villisca Axe Murders is one of the strangest mysteries of all time. It took place in 1912 in a rural home in Villisca, Iowa. One evening, the family of six welcomed two of their children’s friends to stay the night, but it soon turned into a deadly sleepover after someone entered the home and murdered everyone inside. A neighbor discovered the crime, but no one knew who had done such a thing. No one was convicted, and the case remains open to this day.

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The Kidnapping of Patty Hearst

Patty Hearst was the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, the man who was the inspiration for Citizen Kane. In 1974, she was kidnapped from her Berkeley apartment by the Symbionese Liberation Army. These left-wing revolutionaries were later spotted robbing a bank in San Francisco, and something surprising was discovered – Patty Hearst wielding a machine gun. A couple of weeks following this, a video released where she declared her allegiance with the group, claiming her new name was “Tania.” She was eventually captured and sentenced to 35 years in prison, but was ultimately pardoned in 2001.

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The Black Dahlia

The Black Dahlia is a case that still haunts Los Angeles today. Elizabeth Short was an upcoming actress when her body was found naked in Leimert Park in 1957. It was drained of blood and cut in half at the waist. Furthermore, her mouth had been cut from mouth to ears into the shape of a smile. Chunks of flesh were missing from her breasts and thighs. Her death was sensationalized, but the investigation was never completed. Over 200 suspects were considered, but it remains a mystery today.

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The Stealing of the Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings ever made, but its location wasn’t always known. In 1911, someone took the portrait of the curious woman from the Louvre. The theft shook France. Borders were immediately closed, administrators were dismissed, and the search was on. Months later, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence captured a criminal by the name of Vincenzo Perugia. He’d brought the Mona Lisa to a local antique dealer to sell it and restore it to Italy, where he felt it belonged. He was found guilty but only spent a few months in jail.

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The Great Train Robbery

A train robbery might be something out of the 1800s, but this one surprisingly occurred in 1963. A total of 120 bags packed with $7 million had been taken by 15 thieves who held up the Royal Mail train between Glasgow and London. The operation took just 15 minutes but wasn’t as smooth as an Oceans movie. The driver who was hit in the head never fully recovered, and the thieves left fingerprints everywhere. Most were arrested, but Ronnie Biggs escaped and eluded police for years. It wasn’t until 2001 that he went to jail after turning himself in. The man in the photo is none other than Bruce Richard Reynolds, the mastermind behind the heist. 

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The JonBenet Ramsey Mystery

The JonBenet Ramsey case was hard for the whole nation. A little six-year-old girl disappeared from her home in Boulder, Colorado the day after Christmas. A lengthy ransom note was discovered, and the girl’s body was found in the cellar eight hours later. Authorities became suspicious and began to look into the parents, trying to find out if they had been involved. No one was convicted, but police believed that JonBenet’s brother was likely the cause of her death.

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The Keddie Murders

This terrifying crime may make you think twice before camping. In 1981, Glenna Sharp was staying in a cabin with her five children in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Keddie, California. Sometime in the middle of the night, someone entered the cabin and used a claw hammer to kill Glenna, her 15-year-old son, and his 17-year-old friend. Later that morning, the eldest daughter discovered their bodies and realized her soster Tina had disappeared. Somehow, the youngest brother and his friend slept through the attack. No arrests were made, but Tina’s skull was later discovered near Feather Falls. 

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The Brinks Job

The Brinks Job is something you’d see in an Oceans movie. A gang of 11 men robbed the Brinks headquarters in Boston after an 18-month quest. The plan went off with miraculous precision. The men stole more than $1.2 million in cash and $1.5 million in checks and securities. At the time, it was the biggest heist in American history, leaving the country dumbfounded. Unfortunately, the gang had a falling out, and this led to their capture. One of the members tried to hire a mobster to kill another member, Joseph O’Keefe. Following this attempt, O’Keefe talked with the FBI. Afterward, all of them were sentenced to life in prison. O’Keefe was spared, getting only four years. 

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The O.J. Simpson Case

This case is something that nearly everyone knows, but it’s still incredibly infamous. In 1994, Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman were found dead in Nicole’s condo in Los Angeles. O.J. instantly became a person of interest, and he actually led the police on a low-speed car chase. The former NFL player was eventually caught and tried for the murders. It was claimed that he killed them out of jealousy. In the end, he was acquitted on both counts.

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The Collapse of Barings Bank

Barings Bank was the oldest investment bank in Britain and had high profile clients – one including the Queen! Unfortunately, it didn’t last. Nick Leeson was a derivative broker who caused the bank to fail. He manipulated the internal system and created a secret Barings account where the bank automatically covered its losses. He started risking vast amounts of money betting in the Japanese stock market. After a giant earthquake in 1995, Leeson had over $1 billion in losses, and the bank couldn’t cover it. The bank collapsed that year and was purchased by the Dutch financial company ING for one British pound.

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The Hunt for Hoffa

In July 1975, the notorious Jimmy Hoffa (left in the photo) disappeared from the Machus Red Fox Restaurant in Detroit, Michigan. In the early years of his Teamsters work, he became involved with organized crime, and he was supposed to meet two Mafia members that night. The two members denied meeting him, and police attempted to investigate Hoffa’s disappearance. Unfortunately, they were unable to solve it. The head of the FBI’s Detroit office claims to know who did it, but no arrests were made. He was declared legally dead in 1982.

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The Borden Murders

In 1892, they didn’t have forensics, so it was difficult to know who did what unless there were witnesses. Well, no one saw what happened to the Borden family. One morning in August, the bodies of Abby and Andrew Borden were found slaughtered in their home. Abby was struck with a hatchet 19 times, while her father had been hit 10 or 11 times. Authorities looked toward Andrew’s daughter Lizzie as the prime subject as she was the one who found the bodies soon after the attack. The newspapers ran with this and came up with the tune “Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.” Lizzie was acquitted in the murders but ostracized by the community.

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