Story of Belle Gunness, the woman who killed more than forty people between 1884 and 1908.
The Queen of black widows
Belle Gunness was born on November 22, 1859 in Norway. She belonged to a backward and lower class family in Norway. Like many others of that time, she was interested in going to the United States.
She moved to the United States in 1881. Here in Chicago she found it a very easy way to make money. "Insurance fraud."
She began this work after marrying Mads in 1893. They had four children. In addition, she adopted a daughter named Jenny.
Together with her husband, Mads, Belle opened a sweet shop.
With a husband, children and her own business, Belle had many opportunities to earn significant insurance money.
First of all, fire broke out in her business premises and then two of his children died.
Belle had everything insured.
Belle's husband died on that day when she received a large sum of money in insurance. A doctor checked him and said that Mads had died of strychnine poisoning. But later, Belle rejected the doctor report and said that Mads had died of a heart attack.
Although Mads family demanded an inquiry, no one was charged, and Belle escaped any investigation.
She came to Indiana with the other three children with a hefty sum of insurance policy.
In 1901, she bought a 42-acre farm beside of McClung Road. Despite buying so much property, Belle needed more money because of her lust. And a few days later, part of her farm was "accidentally" burned down. As a result, Belle received a large sum of money from the insurance company.
On April 1, 1902, Belle Gunness married Peter Gunness, a local butcher. Peter Gunness was also a widower and brought two daughters with him. The lottery is out. Shortly after the marriage, a girl mysteriously died. Peter was skeptical but could not reach a final conclusion. But as a precaution he sent his second daughter Swanhild to live with his relatives. And so, despite Swanhild's relationship with Belle, she escaped death at her hands. She was the only girl who didn't fall for Belle.
As the years passed, Belle's count grew. Peter saved his daughter but could not save himself from Belle's brutal war. According to reports, Peter died after being hit by a meat grinder while he was working in the kitchen and the meat grinder suddenly fell from the top shelf. Fell and hit Peter on the head.
But a few days later, Jenny (Bella's foster daughter) told her school friends that her mother had beaten her father with a meat-cutting tool, but that she did not tell anyone else.
(It should be noted that all these things came to light later.)
Although the investigating officer conducted an in-depth investigation this time and investigated as much as possible, he did not find any clear evidence. The crocodile tears of Belle Gunness also impressed everyone. It is a different matter that after receiving the insurance money, these tears also dried quickly. Six months after Peter's death, Belle gave birth to a child whose name was Philip Gunness.
After her second husband, Belle Gunness found a new and better way to earn money. She used to publish advertisements for rich people in various newspapers. Advertisements were an attractive offer to the people. Many people traveled to the farm and after that trip they never appeared again.
Belle's letters show that.
She had no difficulty in impressing people and persuading them to come to the farm with money in secret. It was probably her natural talent or she had become an expert in this work through constant practice.
People would form a partnership with her by depositing money in her bank account and later they would die mysteriously.
According to Jack Rosewood, who wrote the story of Belle Gunness, after killing People, she would dismember the corpse. and then either feed it to her pet pig or bury it. Whatever method she used, she never left any evidence behind.
On the morning of April 28, 1908, Belle's farmhouse burned down. When authorities arrived, they found the bodies of Belle's three children, including Philip Gunness.
They also found the headless body of a woman in the basement, which was thought to be Belle's body.
Local authorities acknowledged that Belle had been killed, but a few days after the fire broke out, Asle Helgelien went in search of her brother, Andrew. Andrew was one of the people trapped in Belle Gunness.
Asle Helgelien was in doubt because he was aware of the correspondence between his brothers Andrew and Belle. He was convinced that his brother was not missing, but that Belle had killed him.
He became suspicious when he learned from a bank record that Andrew had cashed a cheque of 3,000 dollars. Three thousand dollars was a large sum in 1908. He pressured the county sheriff to find the form, which was mentioned in Andrew's letters. When he found out about the farm, he inspected the farm with a farmer. After digging in some suspicious places, he found a sack in which there were two hands, two feet and a head.
Asle Helgelien, As soon as he saw the head, he recognized that it belonged to his brother. Two more days of digging and several closed sacks were found, including the head, arms separated from the shoulders and legs amputated below the knees. The bodies were difficult to identify, but one of them was easily identified.
The body was that of Jenny, Bella Gunness's foster daughter, who had been missing since 1906.
For the newspapers, the topic proved to be "hot cakes", although before that they were portraying Belle Guinness as a hero, who died in the fire with her children.
Soon she was known as "Indiana Witch" "Female Bluebeard" Became famous by such names. Reporters called her farm "Death Garden."
On the other hand, fear and panic spread among the common people. Because there was no evidence that the decapitated body belonged to Belle Gunness. She could have been alive in search of a new prey in a new place.
But investigators re-investigated and collected some evidence, saying that the decapitated body belonged to Belle Gunness.
Apart from Belle, people's attention was also drawn to Ray Lamphere, a farmer who worked for her. For a while, he was also suspicious, as s
he admitted that he had seen smoke rising from the building, but no one was notified. He said that people should not hold him responsible for this.
During the trial, however, two different views emerged in the media.
The first opinion was that Lamphere was pressured to speak and the second opinion was that Lamphere was completely oblivious to all this.
Lamphere, According to him, he lived a simple life. He was an alcoholic, but that does not mean that he was involved in Belle Gunness's crimes.
Lampher Was previously only found guilty of negligence
Because in later research, a chemist found samples of the same poison that Bella used in the remains of Belle Gunness's children. Lamphere pleaded not guilty to murder but was acquitted of arson and was sentenced to 21 years in prison. It was a serious crime.
Lamphere died of tuberculosis after spending a year in prison. But before he died, he confessed to the pastor that he had witnessed the murder of "Andrew". He tried to blackmail Belle Gunness. And he demanded money from her. But Belle flatly refused. And when he went to the fields to get his things, Belle accused him of raping her.
But the most interesting thing he said was that he had brought a maid from Chicago before the building caught fire.
While the body of only one woman was found after the burning of the building, she too was beheaded.
Some other DNA tests related to this case were also done in 2008 but that also failed. Therefore, it could not be confirmed whether the body found without the head belonged to Belle Gunness or someone else.
Different theories about her life and death kept circulating. One of them was why Belle did that!
According to an Irish TV documentary, Belle participated in a dance show in 1877 when she was pregnant.
There, a man kicked her in the abdomen, causing her to have an abortion.
The man belonged to a very rich family so he did not face any action for his actions. The man died soon after. But this had a profound effect on Belle. People who knew her noticed a significant change in her personality. Belle Gunness moved to the United States a few years after the accident.