Julius and Ethel

Before FX premiered their show The Americans, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, before espionage was a word heard on TV shows, there was Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

Julius Rosenberg was born in 1918 in New York City. He became a leader of the Young Communist League USA and there he met Ethel Greenglass. Ethel was born in 1915 in New York City. She was an aspiring actress and singer but eventually took a secretarial job. She became involved in labor disputes and joined the Young Communist League and met Julius in 1936. They married in 1939 and had two sons, Robert and Michael.

Because of his membership and association with the Communist party, Julius lost his position with the US Army Signal Corps in Fort Monmouth NJ. Important research on electronics, communications, radar, and guided missile controls were undertaken at this location during WWII. Rosenberg provided thousands of classified reports to his handlers in the KGB.

Julius Rosenberg

Alexander Feklisov was Julius’ contact in the KGB, and it was to him that he provided this top secret information. It was also his direction that Julius recruited his brother-in-law, David Greenglass, who worked on the Manhattan Project, into provided further information for the Soviet Union. Julius also recruited a second Manhattan Project worker, an engineer named Russell McNutt who was able to provide access to secrets about processes for manufacturing weapons-grade uranium. For this acquisition, Julius earned $100.

Even though they were allies during WWII, America and the Soviet Union did not share information with each other about the Manhattan Project. So they were surprised with the speed that the Soviets were able to stage their first nuclear test.

In 1950, the US discovered that key documents were being shared with the Soviets during the war. Starting in May, Harry Gold was arrested. He had been the courier for several contacts, including David Greenglass.

David Greenglass

In June, David Greenglass himself was arrested for espionage and soon confessed. He also claimed that his sister Ethel’s husband Julius, had convinced David’s wife, Ruth, to recruit him. David further stated that Julius had also passed secrets to another contact, Anatoli Yakovlev. This connection would be necessary as evidence if there was to be a conviction of espionage of the Rosenbergs.

July 1950, Julius was arrested on suspicion of espionage, solely based on David Greenglass’s confession. In August Ethel too was arrested after giving testimony to a grand jury.

Ethel Rosenberg

Twenty senior government officials met secretly in February, 1950, to discuss the Rosenberg case. Gordon Dean said: “It looks as though Rosenberg is the kingpin of a very large ring, and if there is any way of breaking him by having the shadow of a death penalty over him, we want to do it.” Another member stated the case on Ethel was “not too strong”, but that it was “very important that she be convicted too, and given a stiff sentence.” J. Edgar Hoover had stated to use Ethel to make Julius talk.

Their case against Ethel Rosenberg was resolved 10 days before the start of the trial, when David and Ruth Greenglass were interviewed a second time. They were persuaded to change their original stories. David originally had said that he had passed the atomic data he had collected to Julius on a New York street corner. After being interviewed this second time, he said that he had given this information to Julius in the living room of the Rosenberg’s New York apartment. Ethel, at Julius’s request, had taken his notes and typed them up. In her re-interview, Ruth Greenglass expanded on her husband’s version:

Julius then took the info into the bathroom and read it and when he came out he called Ethel and told her she had to type this information immediately … Ethel then sat down at the typewriter which she placed on a bridge table in the living room and proceeded to type the information that David had given to Julius.

As a result of this new testimony, all charges against Ruth Greenglass were dropped.

On August 11, Ethel Rosenberg testified before a grand jury. For all questions, she asserted her right to not answer as provided by the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination. FBI agents took her into custody as she left the courthouse. A week later the grand jury returned an indictment for both Julius and Ethel as well as David Greenglass.

The Rosenberg’s trial began in March, 1951. The prosecutions primary witness was David Greenglass, Ethel’s brother. At the end of March the Rosenberg’s were convicted of espionage. They were sentenced to death according to the Espionage Act of 1917.

On June 19, 1953, Julius died after the first electric shock. Ethel received the normal course of three shocks, and she was determined to be still alive. She was given two more shocks and afterwards she was dead. Smoke was reported to be rising from her head.

On the death of Julius and Ethel, their son’s Robert and Michael were orphaned. Unfortunately their many aunts and uncles didn’t take them in, they went between their grandmother’s and in a children’s home. Eventually they were adopted by a high school teacher and his wife. They have since assumed that surname. They continue to work to exonerate their mother who they claim was entirely innocent of the espionage charges.

In 2001, David Greenglass, recanted his earlier statements, stating that his wife was more important than his sister. He stated “I frankly think my wife did the typing, but I don’t remember.” He said he gave false testimony to protect himself and his wife, Ruth, and that he was encouraged by the prosecution to do so. “My wife is more important to me than my sister. Or my mother or my father, OK? And she was the mother of my children.”

He refused to express remorse for his decision to betray his sister, saying only that he did not realize that the prosecution would push for the death penalty. He stated, “I would not sacrifice my wife and my children for my sister.”

I’m not sure about this case. Ethel may not have been guilty, but then why did she plead the Fifth during the Grand Jury testimony? But based on her brother’s statements, she may not have been guilty at all. I’m just glad that I don’t have a brother like hers.

Stay curious my friends!


When this case first was revealed in 2008, it sickened me. Not only was Elisabeth held captive for over 24 years, but held captive by her father. The one man she should have been able to trust implicitly. Instead he may have given her life, only to take it away and prevent her from living. This is the story of Elisabeth Fritzl and her disgusting father Josef.

Josef Fritzl, was born in 1935 in Amstetten, Austria. At age 21 he married 17 year old Rosemarie, and had three sons and four daughters, including Elisabeth, born in 1966. In 1977, when only 11 years old, Josef began abusing Elisabeth.

At age 15, after completing her compulsory education, Elisabeth started a course to become a waitress. Shortly after she ran away from home and stayed with a friend from work in Vienna for three weeks before the police returned her to her parents. She finished her waitress course in mid-1984.

On August 28, 1984, Elisabeth was now 18. Her father asked her to help him in the basement with a door. This was the last part of his dungeon where Elisabeth would remain for 24 years. Elisabeth held the door in place while her father fitted it into the frame. Then holding an ether-soaked towel on his daughter’s face until she became unconscious and then threw her into the dungeon.

Elisabeth’s disappearance didn’t go unnoticed. Her mother, Rosemarie filed a missing person’s report. Approximately a month later, a letter arrived from Elisabeth. It stated she was tired of living with her family and she was now with friends. She didn’t want her family to come looking for her. Josef explained to police she likely joined a religious cult. This was accepted by police and family, as the letter was in Elisabeth’s hand. But nobody knew she had been forced to write it by her father.

The basement at the Fritzl home was off limits to everyone even Rosemarie, except for Josef. Even the tenet who lived in the Fritzl home for over 12 years accepted the noises from the basement as the faulty water pipes or the gas heating system. Nobody questioned a thing.

For 24 years, Josef visited Elisabeth every day, or at a minimum of 3 times per week. He brought food and other supplies to her. He also repeatedly raped her. Eventually Elisabeth would become pregnant by her father, seven times. One child died shortly after birth and the infant’s body was disposed in the incinerator. Of the six remaining children, three Lisa, Monika, and Alexander were removed from the cellar as infants to live in the house with Josef and his wife Rosemarie. He explained that the children were left on their doorstep from Elisabeth. Eventually Josef and Rosemarie were approved from social services to become their foster parents. Social Services visited the home often, and nothing aroused their suspicions.

Elisabeth and the other three children, Kerstin, Stefan, and Felix, all remained in the dungeon. They were threatened with being gassed, or electrical shocks if they tried to touch the door. Elisabeth did her best to teach her children how to read and write.

In April of 2008, the eldest child, Kerstin, became ill and was unconscious. Elisabeth and Josef removed her from the dungeon and then he took her to the hospital. Elisabeth was forced back into the dungeon for another week.

Kerstin had a life threatening condition, kidney failure. Josef later arrived at the hospital with a note written by Kerstin’s mother, and he discussed her condition with the doctor.

For the first time in 24 years, someone didn’t fully believe Josef. The police were alerted. They broadcast an appeal to have the missing mother come forward and provide more information about Kerstin’s medical history. The police also reopened the case on Elisabeth’s disappearance.

Police finally did some investigating and contacted a church official who was an expert on cults. He raised doubts about the whole story presented by Josef, and stated that the letters from Elisabeth seemed dictated.

Back in the dungeon Elisabeth pleaded with Josef to be taken to the hospital. Finally he released her, Stefan, and Felix from the basement. He took Elisabeth to the hospital. The police detained them, and took them both to the station for questioning.

Before she told the police anything, Elisabeth wanted a guarantee that she would never have to see her father again. When she had gotten that assurance, she talked. For two hours she talked. Telling officers of the 24 years of captivity, the raping, being forced to watch pornographic videos which she was then to re-enact with her father in front of her children. After she told them everything, the police arrested Josef, age 73, on suspicion of serious crimes against family members.

Rosemarie, Elisabeth, and her children were taken into protective custody that night. Two days later DNA evidence confirmed Josef as the biological father of his daughter’s children. His defense lawyer stated that although this proved incest, it didn’t prove rape or enslavement.

In March of 2009, Josef pleads guilty to the charges of murder by negligence for that of the infant (Michael) that died after birth. As well as the decades of enslavement, incest, rape, coercion and false imprisonment. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Josef’s name was changed in prison, I’m assuming for security reasons, to Josef Mayrhoff. He is still alive as of today, currently 86 years old. Rosemarie divorced him in 2012.

Kerstin made a full recovery and was reunited with her family. Elisabeth and her children had to be treated with both medical and psychological therapy. Rosemarie, Elisabeth, and her children were staying in a secret location, and shortly after they were saved, Elisabeth kicked out Rosemarie as she was upset about her mother’s passiveness during her upbringing.

The most recent information is that Elisabeth and Rosemarie have started to rebuild their relationship, they currently do not live together. Elisabeth and her children continue to participate in therapy. It is not known if they have changed their names, as this was provided as an option to them.

I sincerely hope that given enough time, Elisabeth and her children are able to live and enjoy life to it’s fullest. I also hope that when Josef meets his maker, that he has to pay dearly for the crimes and torture that he inflicted on his children.

Be strong, make good choices, be safe


Today is a day for two holidays. One a federal holiday and the other a religious holiday. I wanted to recognize both as they are both important.

In the United States today, the first Monday of September we recognize Labor Day. What is Labor Day? Labor Day is a federal holiday to honor and recognize the American labor movement and the works and contributions of laborers to the development and achievements of the United States.

So to honor those who have worked to develop this great country, we don’t work. Literally most locations are not operating/in business on this day. Myself included. But for those who do have to work, they will usually be earning more per hour on their paycheck.

Labor day is the unofficial end of the summer and fall is just around the corner. 16 days and counting before fall officially begins. This is the last major weekend for camping, outdoor events and other summer related activities. But for those of us (like me) who love the fall season, we simply start now enjoying the fall themes, colors, and flavors.

Happy Labor Day to all who celebrate!

The second holiday that starts today is Rosh Hashanah. Now I am not familiar with all of the traditions and cultures of the Jewish faith, or those who practice it, so first I do not intend to relay information incorrectly, and mean no offense if I do speak incorrectly.

From what I learned Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year festival, held on the first (also sometimes the second) day of Tishri (in September). It is marked by the blowing of the shofar, and begins the ten days of penitence culminating in Yom Kippur.

Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the creation of the world. The day that God made Adam and Eve. The observance begins at sundown on September 6 and goes until sundown on September 8.

How it is celebrated: Candles are lit in the evening, festive meals are had with sweet delicacies during the night and day, prayer services that include the sounding of the ram’s horn on both mornings. And desisting from creative work.

The central observance of Rosh Hashanah is the sounding of the shofar, the ram’s horn, on both days of the holiday. With some exceptions.

The first 30 blasts of the shofar are blown following the Torah reading during morning services, and as many as 70 additional are blown during (and immediately after) the Musaf service, adding up to 100 blasts over the course of the Rosh Hashanah morning services. For someone who cannot come to synagogue, the shofar may be heard the rest of the day.

Now this is just a small part of the holiday, and for those who celebrate, L’Shana Tovah!

I hope that whatever your day brings it finds you happy, healthy, and safe. Take care my friends!

The Blush of a Rose

Women and men have always strived to look younger and to have a youthful appearance. And outside of proper skin care, make up can help do that. The one thing that women (and men too) have done for generations to give that rosy glow, that youthful shade of pink is to wear blush.

Some may ask why not just bronzer, or contour, or highlight. Why blush? Blush is different that all those other products. Typically it is more in the pink/peach/red/purple family as opposed to the golden browns, bronzes, and neutral tones one finds in the bronzer, contour family.

Blush provides a rosy glow to your skin, where bronzer and contour simply help structure your face.

Is blush necessary? No. Would I recommend it? Yes. Nothing is every necessary regarding makeup. You apply and use what you like, love, and what makes you feel good. Even when doing a “no makeup” makeup application, I would use blush, as we all have a little color in our cheeks and it makes you look more natural.

Again a rule of thumb, less is more. Start with a light stroke of blush and angle it up towards your temple, to give you and instant face lift. If you need to darken it or enhance it more, add a little more. You can always add more but it’s a pain to take it away.

I don’t have any preferred brands of blush, currently I am using Milani blush in the color Dolce Pink. It works for my skin tone, but so have many other shades and brands. Find one you like and don’t be afraid to mix it up at times. It may not be a big change but it can be enough to cause people to look twice at the beauty in front of them.

Remember you are perfect the way you are, and only need to use makeup for yourself. Don’t change who you are for anyone.

Be strong, be beautiful, be you

Helter Skelter

I’m sure that the majority of true crime aficionados have heard and/or read about Charles Manson. BUT have you ever really given thought to the crimes he and his followers committed? One thing I always wondered was, why did they do it? Was it really the reasons that the prosecution introduced during trial or was there really something else behind it? This post may be long, but hopefully it’s worth reading all the way through.

Charles Manson was born in Cincinnati, OH, in 1934 and was originally named “No-Name Maddox” as his mother, Kathleen Maddox didn’t have a name for him. A few weeks later he was named Charles. Kathleen was 16 and it was later learned that Charles’ father was Colonel Walker Henderson Scott Sr. Colonel was his given name and not a rank earn in military service. Charles may not have ever really known his biological father.

Kathleen had married a man by the name of William Eugene Manson, who gave Charles his first sense of identity. Charles’ childhood was not in anyway conducive to a growing boy, and his mother was absent more than she was around. Eventually she was in prison, and Charles went to live with other family members.

Throughout his youth Charles was a troublemaker. He was truant, a petty thief, and when he was nine years old he set his school on fire. He was sentenced to a strict boys school, which he ran away from several times. It was a pattern that would continue. He would be sentenced to a boy’s reform school, after a short time, he would run away and cause another crime and be remanded to the same or another school. All of them were strict and punishments were harsh.

In 1955, Charles met and married a waitress named Rosalie Jean Willis. The moved to Los Angeles, in a car that was stolen in Indiana. Rosalie was pregnant at the time. Due to a violation of his probation, Charles was sentenced to three years at Terminal Island, San Pedro, CA. His wife gave birth to their son, Charles Manson Jr, and visited him for a short time in prison. She divorced him in 1958. Their son would eventually commit suicide in 1993 in Burlington, CO, he had changed his name to Jay White.

In 1959, he married the second time to a career prostitute named Leona. They traveled with another young girl to New Mexico and Charles continued to commit petty theft, pimping, forgery and other crimes. He found himself in prison again in McNeil Island, WA, in 1961. While in prison he learned to play the guitar from Alvin “Creepy” Karpis, of the Barker-Karpis gang. In 1963, Leona was granted a divorce, and she claimed they had a son together, Charles Luther Manson. If he actually existed, he has remained out of the media and his whereabouts are unknown.

By 1967, Charles had spent almost half of his 32 years in prisons. He was released from McNeil Island, he made his way to San Francisco and was all about freedom and music, and not following society. This is when he began to for his “Family” cult.

The Family, consisted of many young women, Mary Brunner being one of his first followers. She would even have a child with Charles named Valentine Michael Manson. Her parents would get full custody of the child when he was 18 months old, and they changed his name to Michael Brunner. He was raised in Eau Claire, WI. The family made their way to Southern California, in hopes of Charles making a career in music.

During their time in Southern California, Charles and his family met Dennis Wilson, of the Beach Boys, who was a fan of his music. Charles and Dennis would write music together and Dennis had made assurances that Charles would have a music career. The other members of the Beach Boys disagreed, they didn’t like Charles and eventually they convinced Dennis to offload the family from his home.

One of the people that Charles had met through Dennis Wilson was a man named Terry Melcher. He was living with his girlfriend, Candice Bergen, on Cielo Drive, and Charles had met with him there. At first Terry had planned to record his music and also film a documentary about the family, but when Terry witnessed a fight between Charles and another person, he pulled the plug on any recordings or films. Charles was angry.

The Family found themselves at Spahn Ranch. In exchange for chores and sexual relations with the 80 year old owner, the family stayed on the ranch for free. The family often enjoyed hallucinogenic drugs, that they purchased from various sources. One source was Bernard “Lotsapoppa” Crowe.

Tex Watson, a member of the family, stole from Bernard Crowe, and Bernard had promised to wipe out all those who lived at Spahn Ranch. Fearing that he would actually follow through, and that Bernard was a member of the Black Panthers, Charles Manson arrived at Bernard’s apartment and shot him. Luckily he survived. Charles didn’t know this. He believed that the Black Panthers were going to come looking for them.

A couple of weeks later Gary Hinman, who had befriended the Family, sold them some drugs. These drugs were then sold to a biker gang, The Straight Satan’s, that was hired to protect the ranch and the family. When they claimed the drugs were bad, the bikers wanted their money back, but it was already spent. The family went back to Gary Hinman for the money they paid him. When he too had spent the money, the family kept him hostage for three days before he was killed. Susan Adkins wrote “Political Piggy” on the wall in his blood. This murder was supposed to lead investigators to Bernard’s “murder” and point to the Black Panthers. Unfortunately Family member, Bobby Beausoleil, was arrested when he was driving Gary’s car. The murder weapon was found in the car. Charles began to panic.

He needed to throw suspicion off of the Family. So he planned to attack again, to make it look like someone else had murdered Gary Hinman, to get Bobby out of trouble. At the ranch, Tex and Charles had to come up with a target. They needed to decide who to go after. The name Terry Melcher came up.

Charles had been to Terry’s home before. But the home was being rented by actress Sharon Tate and her husband Roman Polanski. On August 8, 1969, Roman was out of the country filming, Sharon, who was eight months pregnant was home with some friends; Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Wojtek Frykowski. Another person, Steven Parent, was visiting the caretaker, and was at the house that night. Charles directed Tex to the home, and advised to kill everyone there. He instructed the girls to listen to what Tex told them to do. The home was awash in blood, and all inside were dead. The murder gained national attention. They didn’t realize that the murders would gain that much attention.

When the goal of tying the murder back to Gary and Bernard’s murders didn’t occur. Charles decided they had to go out again. So the very next night, they went out again. After driving around they arrived at the home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Originally it seemed like the murders of Leno and Rosemary were random, however, it was not. They were purposely chosen, Charles held a grudge, and never forgot when you did him wrong. The LaBianca’s were neighbors to a man named Harold who was friends with Charles and the Family. As the Family was rather loud, the neighbors called in a disturbance to the police. Charles never forgot the LaBianca’s.

As with the murders the night before, the LaBianca home was covered in blood, and words were written on the walls and refrigerator in the blood of the victims. After the murders, the Family drove out to Venice Beach and it’s believed they paid back the Straight Satan’s the money owed so they again would protect Spahn Ranch.

Eventually the police raid the Ranch, and arrest the family members, not for murder but for theft. While in a women’s prison, one of Charles’ followers began to brag about her part in the murders. That woman was Susan Adkins.

The roommates in prison with her relayed this information to investigators and it provided them the break they needed. However the evidence didn’t lead to Charles Manson, and the prosecution desperately needed to tie him to the case. Enter Helter Skelter.

Lead Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, claimed that Charles had established a cult filled with people who didn’t want to be a part of society. Because Charles wanted to be a rock star, he was infuriated when Terry Melcher stole his songs, and Terry represented the establishment that Charles didn’t want to be a part of. Charles believed that the Beatles were predicting a race war in their songs on the White Album, and that Charles was preparing for the race war. He brainwashed his followers to kill Gary, and then other white people and frame the murders on the black community.

Once the murders were framed on black people a race war would begin, and Charles and his followers would hide out in the desert until it was over, and Charles would come out of hiding and lead the new world.

This theory set Charles up for first degree murder, and conspiracy under the law of California. Without this theory, the evidence would not have convicted Charles Manson of these crimes. So the prosecution had to embellish what happened. His plan to start a race war would make him responsible for the crimes committed.

Prosecutors didn’t bring up the car thefts, the drugs, or even the Bernard Crowe attempted murder, as if they did, their Helter Skelter theory would have been blown out of the water. They didn’t even bring up a connection to Gary Hinman murder, as it would lead to reasonable doubt and jurors may not convict for that reason.

Prosecutors were successful in their theory of Helter Skelter and Charles Manson, Susan Adkins, Patricia Krenwinkle and Leslie Van Houten were all sentenced to death. Their sentences were commuted to life in prison.

So we all know that Susan Adkins and Charles Manson both died in prison, Leslie and Patricia are still incarcerated and other followers were convicted of other crimes. But what exactly do you think? Was Charles Manson starting a race war or was he handling a drug deal gone wrong?

You are your own best investment

Holy Family Orphanage

Orphans and orphanages have been around since forever. They usually have a bad reputation, and this is no exception. Regardless of the intentions, the orphanages have been operated by those who aren’t as Godly as they would like to appear, and sadly those innocent charges in their care, have suffered. Here is the history of the Holy Family Orphanage in Marquette, MI.

Construction of the Holy Family Orphanage began in 1914. It opened immediately after construction in 1915 and initially accepted mostly children between second and eighth grades. Later other children were added in other age groups. The orphanage provided care to hundreds of children, white, Native American, and Cuban until it closed in 1965. It remained in use until 1981 as administrative offices.

Now the orphanage didn’t live up to it’s reputation as a safe haven. It in fact has a dark and dangerous history. It all started in 1915.

Eight nuns arrived in Marquette, MI, with sixty Native American children, who had been ripped from their parents arms in Assinins as babies, in the effort to assimilate the Native culture to the white society. Locals can still tell stories of how their parents were stolen and didn’t learn their original heritage or customs until adulthood.

It seems like orphanages and abuse go hand in hand, and this location is no different. The children who had moved out rarely spoke of their time there except to say that the nuns were cruel and inflicted unsettling punishments on the children. They overheard other children being beaten to death or left out in the cold Michigan winters.

One story that is somewhat true, is of a small girl who went out to play in a snowstorm, and had to be rescued by a nun. The girl had developed pneumonia, and was put on display to make an example of her. The girl died, and a funeral was held for her in the basement, but it is unknown whether she was put on display or not.

Another story of a young boy who either drowned or was beaten to death, he death was reported as accidental and his body was stored in the basement.

Because of these stories and others, the location has been a ghost hunting destination and paranormal location for decades. People have reported, baby carriages moving, children crying , and the basement has orbs that are unexplained. The location has been remodeled, and is now an Apartment building, but it’s unknown if the orphans who once lived there are happy with the new tenets or not.

Happy Haunting!

Meat Pie

We are back to Tasty Thursday recipes, and no more drinks, but a savory dish that is my absolute favorite. Super customizable, and something that the leftovers taste just as good as the first time. Enjoy!

Meat Pie, also known as Shepherd’s Pie, is a simple dish of meat (we use beef), veggie, and potato. We top ours with gravy, but again you do what you and your family like. Here is what I do for a family of four with leftovers.

  • Ingredients:
    • 3 lbs. Ground meat (I use beef, you can use any combination of meat you like)
    • 1 cup of breadcrumbs
    • Seasonings of your choice, I use: Fresh Onion, garlic, salt and pepper, oregano and some parsley. But again this is all to taste so you add what you like. Quantities are at your discretion.
    • 2 eggs
    • Instant Mashed Potatoes – prepared to package directions, usually about 12 servings.
    • 1 large can of french style green beans, or two small cans. Drained.
    • 2 jars of beef gravy (or your preference)
  • Directions:
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • In a large bowl combine the meat, breadcrumbs, seasonings and eggs. Ensure it’s all well combined and then pat into a 13 x 9 baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes.
    • While the meat is cooking, prepare the mashed potatoes. Set aside.
    • Drain the beans and set aside.
    • After 30 minutes take out the meat and drain any excess grease. Now layer the beans on top of the meat. And the mashed potatoes on top of the beans. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan, and then pour the gravy on top of the potatoes.
    • Bake for another 30 – 45 minutes.
    • Serve immediately and enjoy.

Happy Eating my friends!

Family Feud

The game show starring Steve Harvey is amazing in it’s own right. However I’m talking about a more infamous family feud. One that recently crawled into my brain and has sat there waiting for me to research it. So for your reading pleasure here is the brief history of the legendary family feud of the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s.

William Anderson ‘Devil Anse” Hatfield (left) and Randolph ‘Ole Ran’l” McCoy

The Hatfields of West Virginia were led by William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield, while the McCoys of Kentucky were under the leadership of Randolph “Ole Ran’l” McCoy. The Hatfields were more affluent than the McCoys and politically well-connected. Anse’s timber operation was a source of wealth for his family, while the McCoys were more of a lower-middle-class family. Ole Ran’l owned a 300-acre (120 ha) farm. Both families had also been involved in the manufacturing and selling of illegal moonshine, a popular commodity at the time.

The feud began in 1863, during the American Civil War, when the two families lived on either side of Big Sandy River between West Virginia and Kentucky, and fought each other when Asa Harmon McCoy was killed. It was rumored that the Asa had been murdered by the head of the Hatfield family, William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield. However it was later learned that Devil Anse was at home sick when young Asa McCoy was killed. It was believed that another member of the Logan Wildcats murdered him, an uncle to Devil Anse.

There were other instances of retaliation murder between the two families, however the second recorded instance of violence in the feud occurred in 1878, after a dispute about the ownership of a hog. Floyd Hatfield, had the hog, but Randolph McCoy claimed it was his, saying that the notches on the pig’s ears were McCoy, not Hatfield, marks. The matter was taken to the local Justice of the Peace, Anderson “Preacher Anse” Hatfield, who ruled for the Hatfield’s by the testimony of a relative of both families. In June 1880, that same family member was killed by two McCoy brothers, who were later acquitted on the grounds of self-defense.

The feud escalated after Roseanna McCoy entered a relationship with Devil Anse’s son Johnson, known as “Johnse”, leaving her family to live with the Hatfield’s in West Virginia. Roseanna eventually returned to the McCoy’s, but when the couple tried to resume their relationship, Johnse was arrested by the McCoy’s on outstanding Kentucky bootlegging warrants. He was freed from McCoy custody only when Roseanna made a desperate midnight ride to alert Anse, who organized a rescue party. The Hatfield party surrounded the McCoy’s and took Johnse back to West Virginia. Despite what was seen as her betrayal of her own family on his behalf, Johnse thereafter abandoned the pregnant Roseanna for her cousin, Nancy McCoy, whom he wed in 1881. Let’s just say that Johnse pulled a dick move there.

In 1882 Ellison Hatfield, brother of Anse, was killed by three of Roseanna’s younger brothers.  The McCoy brothers were initially arrested by Hatfield constables and were taken to Pikeville for trial. Secretly, Anse organized a large group of followers and intercepted the constables and their McCoy prisoners before they reached Pikeville. The brothers were taken by force to West Virginia. When Ellison died from his injuries, the McCoy brothers were killed by the Hatfields’ vigilante justice.

Even though the Hatfields and most inhabitants of the area believed their revenge was warranted, up to about twenty men, including Anse, were indicted. All of the Hatfields eluded arrest; this angered the McCoy family, who took their cause up with Perry Cline. Cline, who was married to Martha McCoy, is believed to have used his political connections to reinstate the charges and announced rewards for the Hatfields’ arrest as an act of revenge. A few years prior, Cline lost a lawsuit against Anse over the deed to thousands of acres of land, subsequently increasing the hatred between the two families.

Reaching its peak during the 1888 New Year’s Night Massacre. Several members of the Hatfield clan to surrounded the McCoy cabin and opened fire on the sleeping family. The cabin was set on fire in an effort to drive Randolph McCoy into the open. He escaped by making a break for it, but two of his children were shot and his wife was beaten and almost killed. The remaining McCoy’s moved to Pikeville to escape the West Virginia raiding parties.

Between 1880 and 1891, the feud claimed more than a dozen members of the two families.  A few days after the New Year’s Massacre, a posse led by Pike County Deputy Sheriff Frank Philipps rode out to track down Anse’s group across the border into West Virginia. The posse’s first victim was Vance, who was killed in the woods after he refused to be arrested. Philipps then made other successive raids on Hatfield homes and supporters, capturing many and killing another three Hatfield supporters, before cornering the rest in Grapevine Creek on January 19. Unfortunately for Philipps, Anse and other Hatfield’s were waiting for them with an armed group of their own. A battle ensued between the two parties, and the Hatfield’s were eventually apprehended.

Since this time the two families have remained civil towards each other. Eventually in 1979 they were featured on a week long special on The Family Feud. They were playing for a cash prize and a pig. Eventually the McCoy’s won two out of three games, but the Hatfield family won more money, eventually the McCoy’s earnings were $1 more.

Today the two families have a truce between them. They frequently collaborate for area festivals and historical tours of the famous feud between them. You can also view other movies, mini series, and TV shows about the family feud.

You are your own best investment

Karla Faye

“I would like to say to all of you, the Thornton family and Jerry Dean’s family, that I am so sorry, I hope God will give you peace with this.” Those were the final words of convicted killer Karla Faye Tucker. She was the first woman executed in Texas since the Civil War.

Karla Faye was born in November, 1959. Her parents had a troubled relationship and during their divorce it was learned that she was the result of an extramarital affair. By twelve she was taking drugs and having sex. By the time she was 14, she was following her mother as a rock groupie, and into prostitution. She began to travel with the Allman Brothers Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, and the Eagles.

Daniel Garrett

When she was 21, Karla began hanging out with bikers and met Jerry Lynn Dean and his wife Shawn, who introduced her to Daniel Garrett. The 21 year old Karla began dating the 35 year old Daniel.

June 13, 1983, after a weekend using drugs, Karla and Daniel with one of their friends, James Liebrandt, went to the Dean’s apartment around 3am. Karla had keys that Shawn had lost and used them to get into the apartment. Their intention was to steal a motorcycle that Jerry was restoring.

During the burglary, Karla and Daniel entered the bedroom where Jerry and Deborah were sleeping. Karla sat on top of Jerry, he grabbed her arms to try and protect himself, but Daniel came in, using a ball peen hammer he found, he hit Jerry several times in the head. After hitting him, Daniel left the room.

Deborah Thornton and Jerry Dean

Karla remained in the room. Jerry was making gurgling noises after being hit, and Karla wanted to “stop him from making that noise.” She picked up a three foot pickaxe that was in the room and began hitting Jerry with it. Daniel re-entered and delivered the final blow in his chest.

When Karla was alone again, she then noticed Deborah Thornton who had hidden in the covers against the wall. Deborah struggled for her life, but Daniel came in and separated the two women. Karla then began to repeatedly hit Deborah, embedding the pickaxe in her heart. Karla would tell people that she experienced multiple orgasms with each blow of the pickaxe.

The bodies of Jerry Dean and Deborah Thornton were discovered the next day. Karla and Daniel would be arrested five weeks later.

Karla and Daniel were indicted for murder and tried separately. Karla testified against Daniel at trial and the charge for the murder of Deborah Thornton was dropped. Daniel was also not charged with Deborah’s murder. During her time in jail waiting for trial, Karla became a Christian and she married her prison minister, Dana Lane Brown by proxy in 1995. They would never be able to kiss.

The death penalty isn’t usually sought for female killers, however, both Karla and Daniel were sentenced to death in late 1984. Daniel would eventually pass away from liver disease in 1993. Karla’s appeals and attempts for a new trial were all denied and her 11th hour appeal to then Governor George W. Bush was denied. On February 2, 1998, she was transported to The Death House. A red bricked facility in Huntsville, TX, where the executions took place. She was pronounced dead at 6.45pm on February 3, 1998.

Karla Faye is buried in Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery in Houston.

Karla Faye’s case brought about many opinions on Capital Punishment. Regardless of the side you stand on, in the case of Karla Faye, did justice prevail? Should her sentence have been commuted?

Be strong, make good choices, be safe

Mystery – Tylenol

When we reach into our medicine cabinets for a pain reliever, we have options; Aleve, Advil, Aspirin, and Tylenol. Never expecting that the pills in those bottles are going to do anything besides take away the pain we are experiencing at the moment. However in 1982, seven innocent people died when taking Tylenol in the Chicago area, and the person or persons responsible have never been found.

It all started on September 29, 1982 when 12 year old Mary Kellerman passed away after taking an Extra-Strength Tylenol capsule.

Later that same day, a man named Adam Janus also died mysteriously after taking the medicine. Stanley and Theresa Janus also took the medicine and died that same day.

Mary Reiner, Mary McFarland, and Paula Prince, all died in the next three days.

It didn’t take investigators long to link the deaths to the medicine. It was discovered that the Tylenol capsules had all been laced with potassium cyanide.

The bottles all came from different factories, but since the deaths all happened in the Chicago area, it meant that the tampering happened at the stores, and not at the factory.

The manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, immediately cut all production and advertisements of the product. When they learned it was the capsules that had been tampered with, the company offered to replace the purchased capsules. The company recalled all the product from shelves nation wide.

In 1982, medications didn’t have all the tamper evidence that we have now. The bottles were sometimes in a box, but did not have a seal around them, nor other safety features. The capsules were then modified to become a caplet, similar is size, but not able to be tampered with like a regular capsule.

Investigators had little to go on. Johnson & Johnson began receiving letters shortly after the deaths, and as investigations began, from a man named James William Lewis. He claimed he was the one who tampered with the capsules and demanded $1 million to stop. However, James and his wife lived in New York and had zero ties to Chicago. He was never arrested for the murders, but he was convicted of extortion, and served 13 years in prison.

The mystery remains, who tampered with several bottles of Tylenol in the Chicago area and why? The investigation remains open, but nothing recent has been discovered.

Hopefully the families of the seven Tylenol victims have found some peace, even if they haven’t gotten any closure.