The discovery of the gruesome remains of a human body buried in a doctor’s cellar shocked London in 1910. In this week’s podcast we’ll recount the dramatic use of the recently invented wireless telegraph in capturing the main suspect in the crime.
We’ll also hear a letter that Winston Churchill wrote to Winston Churchill and puzzle over why a sober man is denied a second beer.
Sources for our feature on the telegraphic nabbing of Edwardian uxoricide Hawley Harvey Crippen:
Erik Larson, Thunderstruck, 2006.
Associated Press, “Wireless Flashes Crippen and Girl Aboard Montrose,” Los Angeles Herald, July 29, 1910.
“Captain Sure Suspects are Pair Police Seek,” Los Angeles Herald, July 29, 1910.
“Crippen Mystery Remains Despite DNA Claim,” BBC News, Oct. 18, 2007 (accessed June 16, 2015).
Mark Townsend, “Appeal Judges Asked to Clear Notorious Murderer Dr. Crippen,” Guardian, June 6, 2009 (accessed June 16, 2015).
Proceedings of Crippen’s 1910 trial at Old Bailey Online.
Here’s Winston Churchill’s June 1899 letter to American author Winston Churchill:
Mr. Winston Churchill presents his compliments to Mr. Winston Churchill, and begs to draw his attention to a matter which concerns them both. He has learnt from the Press notices that Mr. Winston Churchill proposes to bring out another novel, entitled Richard Carvel, which is certain to have a considerable sale both in England and America. Mr. Winston Churchill is also the author of a novel now being published in serial form in Macmillan’s Magazine, and for which he anticipates some sale both in England and America. He also proposes to publish on the 1st of October another military chronicle on the Soudan War. He has no doubt that Mr. Winston Churchill will recognise from this letter — if indeed by no other means — that there is grave danger of his works being mistaken for those of Mr. Winston Churchill. He feels sure that Mr. Winston Churchill desires this as little as he does himself. In future to avoid mistakes as far as possible, Mr. Winston Churchill has decided to sign all published articles, stories, or other works, ‘Winston Spencer Churchill,’ and not ‘Winston Churchill’ as formerly. He trusts that this arrangement will commend itself to Mr. Winston Churchill, and he ventures to suggest, with a view to preventing further confusion which may arise out of this extraordinary coincidence, that both Mr. Winston Churchill and Mr. Winston Churchill should insert a short note in their respective publications explaining to the public which are the works of Mr. Winston Churchill and which those of Mr. Winston Churchill. The text of this note might form a subject for future discussion if Mr. Winston Churchill agrees with Mr. Winston Churchill’s proposition. He takes this occasion of complimenting Mr. Winston Churchill upon the style and success of his works, which are always brought to his notice whether in magazine or book form, and he trusts that Mr. Winston Churchill has derived equal pleasure from any work of his that may have attracted his attention.
From Richard M. Langworth, The Definitive Wit of Winston Churchill, 2009.
This week’s lateral thinking puzzle appeared originally on NPR’s Car Talk, contributed there by listener George Parks.
You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset.
Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet — on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and all contributions are greatly appreciated. You can change or cancel your pledge at any time, and we’ve set up some rewards to help thank you for your support.
You can also make a one-time donation via the Donate button in the sidebar of the Futility Closet website.
Please take our five-minute survey to help us find advertisers to support the show.
Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode.
If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at email@example.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for listening!