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The "Mulatto" Axe Murders 1911-1912

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  • The "Mulatto" Axe Murders 1911-1912

    As terrifying as was the 'Axe Man of New Orleans', there was an axe murder series far worse beginning in 1911 and running through 1912. Some sources claim 52 people were killed in that series. I had never heard of this spree until I saw a video about it recently. To me the Axe Man of New Orleans had to do with the Black Hand, early mafia. That specific series actually spills over into Los Angeles history.

    IMO the "Mulatto" Axe Murders are something very different and researchers do not believe they are connected. In this case of serial axe murder, it appeared the killer rode the rails and killed families living close to the tracks. IMO these crimes could be connected with the Vilisca, Iowa attack in which four children were killed. I suspect a religious angle for motivation and if the killer had to move north, perhaps white families would be more available for the killer's needs.

    At the time, authorities had several theories and one was that the killer targeted mixed race families. Additionally, various African American suspects were rounded up to no avail. One mentally ill girl confessed and claimed it was all part of a voodoo ritual. Of course that further derailed the investigation.

    I think a clue linking the southern cases to northern ones is that children were killed in fairly similar ways. Even the worst criminals generally shy from killing children. I could see a racial angle to it but if Villisca and a few others up north could be included, the killer also attacked white families. Because so many children were killed, including in the north, I see a strong possibility that all are connected. What's the chance there would be two rail riding axe men in the same close time span who targeted whole families and killed children in similar fashion?

    This crime pattern seemed to end in 1912 with the last attack in Mississippi. Interestingly, Villisca, Iowa happened in 1912.
    The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

  • #2
    Thanks for the thread, Anna....

    I wouldn't click on the link you posted in the first post...looks dangerous.

    Clementine Barnabet : approx. 17 years old and already involved in roughly 35 murders :

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clementine_Barnabet
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    • #3
      https://player.fm/series/morbid-mome...to-axe-murders

      Good link to a podcast concerning the Mulatto Murders
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
        Thanks for the thread, Anna....

        I wouldn't click on the link you posted in the first post...looks dangerous.

        Clementine Barnabet : approx. 17 years old and already involved in roughly 35 murders :

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clementine_Barnabet
        She seemed to be mentally ill and was eventually confined to a mental hospital.
        The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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        • #5
          Looking at contemporary coverage of this series of axe murders, there is not much reportage until Clementine Barnabet was caught in the net. As I understand it, her brutal, alcoholic father was first accused of killing one family. The X-wife and both kids, Clementine and her brother, said he likely did it. Then Clementine and her brother were arrested. While this family was locked up, the axe murders continued.

          HOWEVER, Clementine's confessions and claims of a voodoo operation, a "Sacrifice sect", caught the attention of the national press. There were three waves of reports from October, 1911 through November 1912. First covered Clementine's basic claims, the next in April, 1912, went into more detail about the so-called sect and in November she was tried and found guilty. From late 1911 to 1912, the reports said Clementine was the killer because she self confessed. It was all wrapped up in a neat package with no doubt of her guilt because of her confessions. There is no evidence that Clementine killed anyone.

          In June 1912, the Villisca, Iowa attack happened. Nobody even considered trying to connect the previous murders in the South.

          One thing about this long string of axe murders close to railroad tracks is that in most of the cases families and their young children were killed. There are a number of similarities in the attacks on Caucasian families but what little is available on the southern cases also suggests a connection. How many serial killers of the day were going to kill children? One argument against the cases all being connected is that there was a definite break in racial patterns with the first cases being committed against African Americans and the northern cases consisting of white families.

          There is a book published in 1917 called "The Man From the Train" by a father and daughter team named James. I am able to obtain this book so I will read it and see what they have. Discussions of the book say these authors point to a farm hand named Paul Mueller who was wanted for a gruesome family murder in Massachusetts, January 1898. It is also said these authors are not really trying to push an absolute solution but are offering what their research revealed to them. Apparently part of their reasoning is that Mueller worked in logging camps and places where murders happened were near timber operations. That extends the scope of these murders into the Pacific Northwest, my corner of the country. I have looked at the northwest cases and they all seemed very different from the midwest cases.

          There does not seem to be much available about the Massachusetts murder for which Mueller was wanted. Perhaps that state, less than six years after the Borden murders, did not want more sensational publicity on axe murders within their borders?

          Few if any reporters of the past, or modern researchers, try to tie any of these many axe murders to the Axeman of New Orleans.
          The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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          • #6
            I notice these entries are under 'Axeman on New Orleans' and I don't think these particular murders are connected. Back when I started the thread I had seen an nformative video about the "Mulatto Axe Murders", primarily in 1911, in Louisiana and Texas. I think that was a dodgy channel so that program is not linked.

            I had trouble finding source material at chroniclingamerica.loc.gov , largely because I used specific terms and I needed to use the broader category of "axe murders" then concentrate on southern papers. Even so, the press coverage was not as thorough as it was up north for events like the Villisca, Iowa axe murder of eight people, six of them children. Once I got the subject corralled under the right search term, I noticed how the string of southern murders and northern/Midwestern murders were happening around the same time, 1910 to 1912. Indeed, right after Clementine Barnabet and her family were arrested and the press covered her wild tales of voodoo, satanism and murder, axe murders of families in the Midwest increased.

            Yes, these murders did occur around the same time as Atlanta's Jack the Ripper and some other crimes. Why I believe many of these axe murders could be connected is because families with children were the main targets of the killer(s) and children were killed as savagely as the adults, including babies who posed no risk of witnessing. Even the most depraved criminals usually avoid harming children. It is a special class of criminal that targets children. What is the chance two or more murderers of families would operate at the same time and destroy children as well as adults?

            Interestingly, Clementine Barnabet's tales of voodoo had press coverage February- April, 1912. Villisca happened June 9-10, 1912. About ten moths before, 21 September, 1911, two families were similarly slaughtered in Colorado Springs, Colorado. About two months after Villisca, Colorado investigators met with Iowa investigators and the Colorado group said they believed a "cult" was behind the murders and that the killings were "sacrifices" for the cult. Were these men creating a scenario to explain the unexplainable and if so, was this creation based on the tales of Clementine Barnabet earlier in the year? Or could there be anything to a "cult" in Denver, Colorado? In general, despite the rabid fear of satanic murders, it seems very few murders have any connection to satanism. Richard Ramirez, the Southern California 'Night Stalker' killed for Satan but that seems to be very rare. Despite efforts made in the "West Memphis Three" case, I do not feel a connection was made to satanism. Other efforts to blame murders on satanism have also failed, IMO, so I tend to disregard reports of cult killings and satanic murders. (Charlie Manson thought he was Christ so that string of murders don't count, either.)

            Here are a couple new videos on the "Mulatto Murders":

            http://youtube.com/watch?v=cCBnrqdO4TI (long intro. Story begins about 8:00.)

            http://youtube.com/watch?v=aQ6ZKyV2MnE
            The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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            • #7
              Thanks for the links, Anna !
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              • #8
                I found a list of various, similar axe murders, January 1911 to April 1912, on an old Reddit thread. I can't figure out how to post the link here so I'll condense the information. There were so many of these brutal attacks on families that I can't fix all the times in my mind so I was happy to find this list. Unfortunately, cases near this time in Louisiana are not on the list. However for example, an attack in Rayne, LA happened before 1911.

                My basic question is could one killer have ridden the rails and done all these attacks? The murders in Texas and Louisiana seemed to target mixed race families or interracial marriages, thus "Mullato Axe Murders." Southern investigators of course looked as race as an element in all those crimes. My perspective is, while there was a lot of violence ranging from lynchings to worse, only this (these) series of axe murders targeted children. There were lots of axe murders through the years and sometimes children were harmed but those crimes were domestic issues or had other elements pointing to motives.

                Copied the old way, with paper and pencil, here is the list from Reddit:

                3/22/11 San Antonio, TX*
                11/29/11 ? *
                2/19/12 Beaumont, TX*
                3/27/12 Glidden, TX *
                4/12/12 San Antonio, TX *
                4/15/12 Hempstead, TX *
                9/17/11 Colorado Springs, CO
                9/30/11 Monmouth, Illinois
                10/16/11 Ellsworth, Kansas
                6/5/12 Paola, Kansas
                6/10/12 Villisca, IA

                * = so-called "Mulatto Axe Murders"

                There are others which could be added.

                Interestingly, I was doing a little original research in old papers, trying to find a beginning for this (these) spree(s) and I found a small paragraph from a southwestern paper as I recall. (I bookmarked it for future reference.) From before the above list of murders, a family with children was killed very similar to the Villisca crime. Bill and Rachel James ("Man From the Train" book) noted that their suspect sometimes piled bodies together, covered windows and mirrors and covered battered heads of victims after the murders. I found these details in this earlier case that I do not think is in the James book. (I'll clip and post eventually. I was trying to go through a lot of information and had not decided how much I wanted to pursue the subject, hence a bookmark.)

                If one killer did all these crimes, he (probably) crossed racial lines. Was he of mixed race, perhaps? Another possibility could be Mexican. This came to mind when I read a news article from 1911 or so about a Mexican national who had been deported once for violent behaviour. He came back, again frightened people and was arrested prior to being deported once more. The article finished by saying the man was undoubtedly mentally ill and it was hoped the Mexican government would address this when the man was deported the second time. (Apparently some things don't change much.) Anyway, all this got me to thinking about Angel Resendez Ramirez who, in fairly recent times, road the rails invaded homes and killed for pure enjoyment. (Executed in Texas a number of years ago.) Yes, a vicious killer could ride the rails and continually murder people for whatever perverted reasons occur in sick minds.
                The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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                • #9
                  So here is a run-down of the Louisiana cases from another source. This post should be considered with the information below.

                  11/11/1909 Rayne, Louisiana
                  1/31/1911 Arcadia Parish, Louisiana
                  2/25/1911 Lafayette, Louisiana
                  11/26-27/1911 Lafayette, Louisiana *
                  1/19/1912 Crowley, Louisiana
                  1/21/1912 Lake Charles, Louisiana

                  *(In the post below a Texas attack was listed for 11/29/1911. That is very close to this attack in Lafayette, LA but I think all the Texas locations are in East Texas which shares a border with Louisiana.)

                  With the possible exception of * above, none of these dates so far overlap.

                  Interestingly, the last Texas case, 4/15/1912, happened about a month before Villisca, IA. During that attack, an adult and child were killed in bed but a young woman slipped under her bed while she was attacked and she screamed and the attacker ran away. In at least one other case in the Midwest it appears the attacker ran away when a woman and her daughter heard a kerosene lantern chimney break on the floor and they arose to investigate. They saw a man crawl back out a window and run away.

                  However that is, that last case in Texas seems to be the last such case in the southern states. All the rest of the attacks were in more northern states. If one killer committed all these murders, this is not to say he never ventured north prior to being disturbed in Texas. Colorado Springs, Ellsworth, Kansas and Monmouth, Illinois all happened in 1911.

                  I hope this link will work because it is a really good blogspot entry: (It doesn't exactly work but I get a page of offerings from this blog and clicking one of those will get there. Sorry as usual.)

                  http://www.http://camptowncemetery.b...c-of-1912.html
                  The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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                  • #10
                    Various online discussions have comments from people whose families were directly affected by the killer in Texas and Louisiana. I believe this poster had previously written that a branch of the family had been wiped out in one of the attacks.

                    This post, if accurate, gives a little more background for Clementine Barnabet and perhaps gives us an idea why she and her family were targeted in the investigation.
                    Attached Files
                    The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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                    • #11
                      In another forum chat thing I cannot clip, a man claiming to be a descendant of the last family unsuccessfully attacked in Texas, had an interesting story.

                      His relative was a member of the family and was a young boy at the time. A week before the attack he said a white man had stopped to talk. The white man asked the child if he owned the dog with which he was playing. The boy said yes. Very soon after the dog died of poisoning and the next week the family was attacked at night. This attack was unsuccessful because the axeman hit a woman in the shoulder and she screamed. Other armed males in the household shot at the attacker as he ran away. They do not think they hit the fleeing man.

                      My point is I see no reason why all the various axe murders around this time could not have been done by one killer. If this killer was white, it could explain why mixed race families were attacked. In a couple of the southern cases wives were said to have been white or appeared to be white.

                      The bigger question is if the southern cases were so bogged down in racial thinking that a depraved killer slipped through the net and continued his career in the north on white families? Another question is if the killer could be identified by combing through the southern cases and finding a beginning point?
                      The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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