KRAZY KATS

Welcome to Krazy Kats - a friendly informal online community discussing life issues that we care about. Open 24/7 for chat & chill. Come and join us!

The Video of the Week now showing on Light After Life's Portal Page is: 'PSYCHIC' (Part 1 and 2)

Latest topics

» Yahoo Mail down - again!
by Jamboree Yesterday at 23:42

» Wonderful images - fabulous music (Part 2)
by Kitkat 20th February 2018, 21:35

» Daughter fundraising to save her terminally ill mother
by Jamboree 18th February 2018, 11:53

» Kitkat's KK Blog
by Kitkat 15th February 2018, 21:36

» Keep a Word - Delete a Word
by Jamboree 15th February 2018, 19:31

» Poetry from the heart.
by Jamboree 12th February 2018, 07:46

» A Day in The Life of a Dictator - Documentary
by Jamboree 12th February 2018, 07:21

» Guess the word
by Whiskers 9th February 2018, 20:41

» A coconut in a coffin?
by Whiskers 9th February 2018, 20:35

» Books
by Stardust 9th February 2018, 16:11

» Limericks
by bimbow 8th February 2018, 21:22

» Stardust on the Moon
by Stardust 8th February 2018, 20:13

» Bureaucats: Whiskers in the Workplace
by Whiskers 4th February 2018, 12:21

» Is there a Cathy in the place?
by Kitkat 1st February 2018, 19:17

» Delicious and nutritious
by Stardust 1st February 2018, 14:38

» Chinese New Year
by Stardust 1st February 2018, 14:17

» Feather by the sea.
by Stardust 1st February 2018, 10:37

» Message in a bottle from 1980s resurfaces in 2018
by Kitkat 28th January 2018, 12:08

» What's your emergency?
by Whiskers 27th January 2018, 13:09

» YouTube free-loading vlogger gets a much needed lesson in reality
by Whiskers 22nd January 2018, 20:17

» Three-month-old baby says "hello"
by Kitkat 13th January 2018, 15:00

» The cartoon thread.
by bimbow 12th January 2018, 22:06

» 60 Christmas traditions around the world
by Kitkat 30th December 2017, 21:58

» Simon's Cat
by Kitkat 26th December 2017, 16:27

» A new(ish) song for Christmas.
by Whiskers 24th December 2017, 13:49

» Merry Christmas
by Whiskers 24th December 2017, 13:37

» The Christmas Thread
by Kitkat 20th December 2017, 21:22

» A reader's response to your article on food waste
by Whiskers 18th December 2017, 14:35

» Downward Dog
by Kitkat 4th December 2017, 21:35

» A very young Bee Gees treat
by Whiskers 29th November 2017, 16:35

» Prime cheek!
by Kitkat 28th November 2017, 09:32

» The life and achievements of Dr Elsie Inglis
by Kitkat 26th November 2017, 09:14

» Hidden disabilities: Pain beneath the surface
by Kitkat 21st November 2017, 21:20

» Scary photos
by Kitkat 19th November 2017, 12:50

» The 7-year-old neuroscientist wowing the internet
by Kitkat 16th November 2017, 10:03

» The cat killer stalking suburbia
by Whiskers 6th November 2017, 15:53

» It's that time again .....
by Kitkat 29th October 2017, 00:21

» Happy Halloween!
by Stardust 25th October 2017, 08:37

» Love makes the world go round
by Stardust 25th October 2017, 08:00

» Need help with homework (Hall Effect)
by Kitkat 24th October 2017, 12:18

» Well hello there!
by Whiskers 23rd October 2017, 23:53

» Madeleine McCann investigation continues ...
by Whiskers 23rd October 2017, 23:43

» Famous Youtubers... Do you watch them? Do you dislike them?
by Jamboree 23rd October 2017, 00:44

» Control your television with any object
by loner55 16th October 2017, 10:32

» Fahrenheit 451
by loner55 16th October 2017, 10:26

» HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Feather!
by Jamboree 15th October 2017, 17:43

» A walk through Dominica, hours after Hurricane Maria
by Kitkat 15th October 2017, 12:48

» SKEPS Forum
by Kitkat 8th October 2017, 22:00

» Quotes about Lifestye
by Whiskers 7th October 2017, 15:25

» MPs call for ESA death statistics to be published (Calum's List)
by Kitkat 30th September 2017, 18:23

» Songs from the heart
by Stardust 20th September 2017, 20:55

» Bodies of 'hundreds' of children buried in mass grave
by mac 19th September 2017, 12:25

» Psychics didn't foresee THAT coming!
by mac 16th September 2017, 15:14

» Number 7777
by Kitkat 14th September 2017, 14:10

» 'Messy' mum barred from pub
by Stardust 11th September 2017, 16:17

» [solved] Multiquote ?
by Whiskers 11th September 2017, 11:13

» Cosmic beauty
by Stardust 8th September 2017, 21:29

» Why men are happier people???
by Stardust 8th September 2017, 20:10

» A Granma's Anagrams
by Stardust 8th September 2017, 19:49

» Silly Endings.
by Stardust 8th September 2017, 19:45

» Pink rainbow
by Stardust 8th September 2017, 15:46

» Barking mad!
by Stardust 8th September 2017, 15:44

» Invasion of the sex-craved spiders! EEK!
by Stardust 8th September 2017, 15:38

» Surviving in Libya
by Kitkat 7th September 2017, 22:52

» The Forum Café
by Kitkat 7th September 2017, 14:53

» Hurricane Irma
by Kitkat 7th September 2017, 12:22

» Struggling To Login
by Kitkat 6th September 2017, 17:41

» Kitchen bat chase video goes viral
by Kitkat 6th September 2017, 17:21

» 10 things we didn't know last week ...
by Whiskers 4th September 2017, 14:31

» End of Summer Drinks
by EndoWarriror 1st September 2017, 13:53

» Bruce Forsyth dies aged 89
by EndoWarriror 1st September 2017, 13:34

» Notifications re new topics & posts on the forum
by Kitkat 1st September 2017, 13:23

» New forum design
by Jamboree 23rd August 2017, 13:03

» Photobucket
by Jamboree 10th August 2017, 02:36

» Hi from Brin
by Whiskers 6th August 2017, 12:14

» Delusions
by Kitkat 30th July 2017, 12:19

» BABY PLEASE DON'T GO ...
by Jamboree 25th July 2017, 16:03

» Wonderful images - fabulous music (Part 1)
by bimbow 21st July 2017, 22:21

» Photobucket no longer free ...
by Kitkat 8th July 2017, 11:05

» Problems logging in from your mobile, iPad or tablet?
by Kitkat 5th July 2017, 13:05

» Protest March through London
by Kitkat 1st July 2017, 17:41

» Our NHS
by Whiskers 29th June 2017, 16:49

» [solved] Forum showing me as online -- but I am not!
by Kitkat 25th June 2017, 10:41

» Day of Rage in London
by Kitkat 21st June 2017, 16:56

» NHS European Health Insurance Card
by Kitkat 20th June 2017, 21:26

» Postcards from the Shoutbox
by Whiskers 20th June 2017, 13:08

» Shout Box (SL and LAL)
by Kitkat 19th June 2017, 22:29

» A day out at the polling station
by Stardust 9th June 2017, 14:48

» Functions of the Blue Toolbar at top of the Forum
by Kitkat 5th June 2017, 10:47

» Light After Life forum's new address
by Kitkat 1st June 2017, 18:42

» Tick tock: The importance of knowing the right time
by Whiskers 1st June 2017, 11:23

» Derek Acorah to appear in Celebrity Big Brother 2017 ?
by Kitkat 24th May 2017, 22:38

» Publications
by Kitkat 22nd May 2017, 00:46

» The world's longest cat?
by Whiskers 19th May 2017, 09:22

» Nigeria
by Kitkat 19th May 2017, 08:54

» Redwater
by Kitkat 18th May 2017, 17:28

» Maggie's Cancer Care Centres
by Kitkat 17th May 2017, 18:07

» I'm being chased by an otter!
by Kitkat 16th May 2017, 13:07

» Eurovision Song Contest 2017
by Kitkat 16th May 2017, 11:49

Top posting users this month

Top posters

Kitkat (3351)
 
Whiskers (1171)
 
Stardust (1145)
 
Feather (1021)
 
Umberto Cocopop (369)
 
bimbow (313)
 
Jamboree (283)
 
lar-lar (129)
 
Pixie (105)
 
Curious (77)
 

Krazy Kats Guest Book

Click the image below to visit and sign our Guest Book

Guestbook

Top posting users this week

_ LIGHT AFTER LIFE FORUM _



Exploring the mysteries of
life, death .... and beyond


or
to Light After Life forum
(Requires separate membership & login)

New address for Light After Life:
https://lightafterlife.forumotion.com/

The Bloody Benders, America's First Serial Killers

Share
avatar
Kitkat
Admin
Admin

Female

Posts : 3351
Points : 12128
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend
Star sign : Sagittarius
Chinese zodiac : Rat

The Bloody Benders, America's First Serial Killers

Post by Kitkat on 12th March 2014, 13:50

In 1870, Ma, Pa, Mary, and Laura Ingalls left their home in southeast Kansas, where they had lived for about a year, and headed back to Wisconsin. Their Kansas home was later the basis for Laura's book The Little House on the Prairie. That same year, a group of new families moved into the area. They were Spiritualists, a religion that was totally foreign to the homesteaders already in the new state. Two of the families moved away within a year. The others kept to themselves, with the exception of the Benders.

John Bender, Sr., and his family settled in Kansas in 1870, near the Great Osage Trail (later known as the Santa Fe Trail) over which innumerable travelers passed on their way to settle the West. The older Bender, called "Pa," made a claim for 160 acres in which is now Labette County. His son John (sometimes called Thomas) claimed a smaller parcel that adjoined Pa's land, but never lived on or worked it. The Benders also included "Ma" and a daughter named Kate. Ma and Pa spoke mostly German, and their English was so heavily accented that no one understood them. The younger Benders spoke fluent English.

The family built a one-room house near the Osage Trail, with a curtain that divided the home into two areas. The front area was a public inn and store, and the family quarters were in the back. Travelers on the trail were welcome to refresh themselves with a meal and resupply their wagons with liquor, tobacco, horse feed, black powder, and food from the Bender home. And they often spent the night.

Kate was the most outgoing of the Benders, and advertised herself as a fortune teller and healer. It was rumored that she and her mother practiced witchcraft. Kate was attractive, and her psychic abilities drew extra customers to the inn, when she wasn't traveling to give lectures on Spiritualism and holding healing services.

Later investigations revealed that none of the Benders were actually named Bender, and the only ones that were related were Ma and her daughter Kate. Pa was born John Flickinger around 1810 in either Germany or the Netherlands. Ma Bender was born Almira Meik, and her first husband was named Griffith, with whom she bore 12 children. Ma was married several times before marrying Pa, but each husband died of head wounds. Her daughter Kate was born Eliza Griffith. John Bender, Jr.'s real name was John Gebhart, and many who knew them in Kansas said he was Kate's husband instead of her brother.

Hundreds of men passed through Kansas on their way to seek their fortune in the West, and some were never heard from again. It took time for such disappearances to draw attention, as there were many reasons for travelers, adventurers, and settlers to be out of touch or even dead. But over the course of a couple of years, more and more missing persons appeared to have dropped off the face of the earth about the time they passed through Labette County. Several bodies were even found in the area, murdered, but no one knew who did it.

In 1872, George Loncher and his infant daughter left Independence, Kansas, to settle in Iowa after the death of his wife. They never arrived. Dr. William York went looking for them, following the Osage Trail. He questioned people all the way to Fort Scott, but then Dr. York himself disappeared on his way back to Independence. And that was the turning point in the story. Dr. York had two powerful brothers who were determined to find out what happened: Colonel Ed York and Kansas Senator Alexander York.

Colonel York led an investigation into Labette County. They questioned the Benders about a woman who claimed Ma had threatened her with a knife. The township held a meeting at the Harmony Grove schoolhouse in which it was decided to search every homestead for evidence of the murders. Colonel York attended the meeting, as well as both male Benders. But the weather turned bad, and it was several days before such a search could begin.

Meanwhile, a neighbor noticed the inn was empty. The Benders were gone. A couple of days later, several hundred volunteers arrived for a search, including Colonel York. The Benders' wagon was gone, but they took little from the home besides food and clothing. What the townspeople did find was chilling.

A trap door in the floor behind the separating curtain led to a foul-smelling cellar, which was drenched with blood. The cabin was moved away from the spot, and the ground was dug up, but no bodies were found. Then the investigation turned to the garden, which was freshly plowed. Neighbors recalled that the garden always seemed freshly plowed. Working through the night, the volunteers first unearthed the body of Dr. York. Seven more bodies were found that night, and another the next day. The throats had been cut, and the skulls were bashed in. The exception was Mr. Loucher's infant daughter, who was buried under her father. One of the bodies was that of a girl estimated to be about eight years old, whose body was badly mutilated. Ten bodies were ultimately found at the Bender farm, but 21 murders are attributed to the family.

Investigators pieced together what happened. Guests at the inn were urged to sit in the place of honor, which was against the separating curtain. While dining, the guest of honor would be hit in the head with a hammer from behind the curtain, his throat would be slit, and then his body dropped into the trap door to the cellar. One man, Mr. Wetzell, heard the story and remembered when he was at the inn and declined to sit in the designated spot. His decision caused Ma Bender to become angry and abusive toward him, and when he saw the male Benders emerge from behind the curtain, he and his companion decided to leave. William Pickering told an almost identical story.

For all the murders, the Benders only received about $4600 and some livestock from their victims. The crimes created a sensation in the newspapers, and drew journalists and curiosity-seekers from all over.

The Benders' wagon was eventually found some miles away from the homestead. Twelve men were arrested as accessories to the murders, mostly for receiving stolen goods. Senator York offered a $1,000 reward for the Benders, and the governor chipped in another $2,000, but the reward was never claimed. In the years following the sensational crimes, several women were arrested as Ma or Kate, but none were positively identified by evidence. Several vigilante groups claimed to have found the Benders and murdered them, but none brought back proof. The official investigation notes that testimony from railroad employees placed the Benders boarding a train for Humboldt, and traced the younger Benders to trains going to Texas or New Mexico. The older Benders were allegedly seen on their way to St. Louis by way of Kansas City. No one knows what ultimately became of them. The house in which the murders took place was disassembled and carried away piece by piece by souvenir seekers. Today, nothing remains to even indicate the exact location where the Bender house stood, although the property is said to be haunted by the victims.

Those are the facts as known. Rumors that surrounded the case were legion. Some said that John Gebhart was a "half-wit," while others said his behavior was a ruse. Others say that Kate was a prostitute as well as a psychic and murderer. Ma supposedly killed three of her older children because they were witnesses to the murders of her husbands (Kate was her fifth child). And another rumor says that Ma murdered Pa over stolen property soon after they fled. It was also reported that Pa committed suicide in Lake Michigan in 1884. But after 140 years, we will probably never know what really happened to the Bloody Benders.
http://mentalfloss.com/article/53672/bloody-benders-americas-first-serial-killers


More reading:  KATE BENDER - The Benders' Bloody Inn

    Current date/time is 22nd February 2018, 04:55