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All About the (counterfeit) Benjamins: Play drug-dealer with fake drugs & fake money from Amazon
05.09.2016
05:11 pm

Topics:
Crime
Drugs
Movies

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We’re not going to ask what you want to use them for, but in case you do want optically convincing fake drugs and fake money for your own amusement, Amazon’s got you covered.

Amazon has several products that are intended for use as movie props to substitute for illegal drugs (and illegally obtained cash). Up top you will what Amazon calls “PROP MONEY Combo 4,” with two bricks of marijuana, a few plausibly schwaggy dime bags, and some fake moolah.

If Combo 4 doesn’t grab you, you might prefer “Combo 3,” which is another variation on the pot dealer set of props, but with a higher class of weed.
 

 
Then there’s the “XMAS SPECIAL,” which may or may not be a reference to “snow”:
 

 
Fake drugs don’t endanger one of being convicted of drug dealing felonies, but the same can’t be said of fake money and counterfeiting charges, where the distinction is a bit more subtle. That’s the reason the money is comically wrong when you get a closer look (also why the bundles don’t persist past the first bill):
 

 
All of the above products cost around $50, and they are all purely props. There’s nothing preventing you from supplementing them with useful and legal items that actual drug dealers would use. For instance, a gun. OR there’s Amazon’s #1 rated money counter, the “G-Star Technology Money Counter With UV/MG W/Counterfeit Bill Detection.” It costs $99.99:
 

 
By comparison, the American Weigh 100g x 0.01g Digital Scale is a steal at $8.84.
 

 
That scale is purportedly so popular among drug dealers that the “Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Bought” section on its Amazon page has become a kind of informal Amazon Guide to Dealing Drugs, with links to various, erm, “spice” grinders, a scientific spatula, a digital caliper, and so on.

We hope you have fun fooling your buddies into thinking you’ve become some kind of Tuco Salamanca, but be careful—it’s impossible to list all the ways flaunting items like this could get you into trouble. Don’t blame us if you land in hot water!
 
via Boing Boing

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Murder, Madness and Miss Marple: The Secret Life of Dame Margaret Rutherford
05.04.2016
01:42 pm

Topics:
Crime
Movies

Tags:

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Sunday afternoon matinees on television first introduced me to the utter delight of watching Margaret Rutherford’s acting on screen. Her appearance as the much loved Miss Marple in a series of 1960s whodunnits loosely based on the novels by Agatha Christie left such an indelible impression that for all of those great actresses who have since played the inquisitive spinster from St. Mary Mead not one has eclipsed her unforgettable performance.

There was always something special about Margaret Rutherford. No matter what she did, she was always likeable. Over a thirty-year career on stage and screen she consistently delivered performances of quality and distinction, of grace and beauty, of comedy and excellence that made her sparkle in even the most second rate production.

Nowadays she is best remembered for her scene-stealing turn as Madame Arcati in David Lean’s movie adaptation of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit in 1945. Or her fighting the battle of the sexes as headmistress of a girls school in The Happiest Days of Your Life from 1950. Or her 1963 Oscar-winning role as the Duchess of Brighton in the Richard Burton/Elizabeth Taylor movie The V.I.P.s.

As the actor Robert Morley once said, Margaret Rutherford was “everyone’s Maiden Aunt—a woman of enormous integrity who acted naturally…and was always frightfully funny.” Yet behind all this talent to amuse was a terrible secret worthy of a Miss Marple mystery—a story of madness, suicide and murder that haunted the great actress throughout her life.

To unlock this family secret we have to go back to the decade before Margaret Rutherford’s birth—to the marriage of her parents William Rutherford Benn and Florence Nicholson at All Saints Church, Wandsworth in December of 1882.

William was the son of the Reverend Julius Benn, an eminent social reformer and church figure and the grandfather of politician Tony Benn. Florence was of similar middle class stock but her parents were dead and one sister had committed suicide a few years before—which was an intimation of things to come.

Not long after their honeymoon, William had a serious psychotic breakdown. It has been suggested this was caused by his failure to consummate the marriage. Exactly a month after their wedding, William was admitted to Bethnal House Lunatic Asylum, where he was described as suffering from:

...depression alternating with unusual excitement and irritability.

William was detained at the asylum for several weeks until his condition improved. On release, his parents decided it best that William should not return immediately to Florence but instead take “a rest cure in the country.” William’s father the Rev. Julius decided to take his son to the spa town of Matlock in Derbyshire.

On February 27th, 1883, the two men checked into their room at a boarding house run by a Mrs Marchant in Chesterfield Road. Father and son appeared “on the most affectionate of terms” and were “very attached to each other.” They were described as “abstemious” and were seen taking long walks to various local sites.

But on Sunday March 4th something terrible happened.
 
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The first indications of there being wrong was the strange ghastly noises coming from their room. When neither men appeared for breakfast:

Mrs Marchant, accompanied by her husband, entered the Benns’ room to find William Benn, his night shirt covered in blood, pointing to his father, who lay on the bed quite dead.

William had killed his father with a single blow to the head with an earthenware chamber pot. William had then attempted suicide by cutting his own throat. He stood in the room making feral noises blood bubbling from the gash in his throat.

This self-inflicted was not fatal. William was arrested and treated at the local infirmary. A few days later he attempted suicide again this time by jumping out of a second story window. He suffered injuries to his back and cuts to his body but was not seriously hurt. He was recaptured and held at the hospital.

At the inquest, the jury unanimously decided William had “wilfully murdered” his father. He was committed to the mercy of the Derbyshire Assizes for sentencing. William’s condition deteriorated drastically. He was declared “insane” and admitted to Broadmoor hospital. All charges against him were dropped on grounds of insanity.

What caused this tragic psychotic episode is unknown. William was treated at Broadmoor for seven years, after which he was released into the care of his wife Florence.

In a bid to escape the association with his murderous past, William changed his name from Benn to Rutherford by deed poll. This time the marriage was consummated and Margaret Taylor Rutherford was born on May 11th, 1892.
 
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William moved his family to India, where he worked as a merchant or “shipping clerk” and sometime journalist. Little is known of what happened during these years other than the suggestion (from Tony Benn) that William was deeply moved by the poverty he encountered and dedicated his time to helping those in direst need.

During their time together in India, Florence became pregnant. At some point during her pregnancy, Florence fell into a deep depression and exhibited signs of severe mental illness. Aware of his wife’s deteriorating condition, William made plans to move back to England. It came too late. Florence committed suicide. Her body was discovered one morning hanging from a tree in the garden.

In 1895, William and Margaret returned to England. He handed his daughter over to his wife’s remaining sister Bessie to raise. William then suffered a series of severe mental breakdowns that led to his incarceration at the Northumberland House Asylum, Finsbury Park, London in 1903.

Bessie took full charge of raising her niece. She told Margaret her parents were dead. All went well until one day a tramp approached Margaret as she played in the garden. This disheveled man told the young girl her father was very much alive and sent her his love. Margaret was terrified by the man and deeply troubled by what he had said.

She asked her aunt about her father. Bessie eventually told the truth. Margaret was devastated. She became depressed, withdrawn and non-communicative. Rutherford was terrified that she had inherited her parents’ insanity. She suffered the first of many mental breakdowns that she endured throughout her life, in later years going as far as undertaking electric shock therapy as a hopeful cure for her depression.

Margaret Rutherford never spoke publicly of her family’s history. In her autobiography, she made no reference to her father’s illness instead describing him as a:

...complicated romantic who changed his name to Rutherford as it was more aesthetic for a writer. My father died in tragic circumstances soon after my mother and so I became an orphan.

William had in fact been re-admitted to Broadmoor where he was incarcerated until his death in 1921. It is not known whether Margaret ever visited her father. However, he did write many letters to his daughter that caused her family considerable concern.

More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Watch Keith Haring get arrested on national TV, 1982
04.19.2016
01:09 pm

Topics:
Art
Crime
Television

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On October 20, 1982, The CBS Evening News, hosted by Dan Rather, ran a segment about a fellow in New York City who was currently upending the typical view of graffiti artists as untalented thugs. Charles Osgood did the report on the artist, who of course was Keith Haring.

Haring’s practice during that time was evidently to use chalk instead of spray paint, which (it seems to me) calls into question the fundamental law-and-order premise of whether Haring had actually damaged any property (Osgood says something vaguely similar). My guess would be that public hysteria over graffiti was just unreasonably high during the 1970s and 1980s. During the segment Osgood says that Haring sometimes gets arrested for his graffiti, and then, weirdly enough, that’s exactly what happens. (It almost feels staged.)
 

 
Osgood points out that the sentences are never very harsh, and that Haring is willing to assume that risk in order to bring his art to regular people. The segment makes a lot of hay on the idea that hoity-toity people in the art world pay high prices for artworks that you can see for next to nothing on the subway, but that irony seems like a big shrug to me.

Early on you can catch a glimpse of a large advertisement for the most recent issue of Penthouse (“Special Back to School Issue!”). All you New Yorkers out there, when was the last time you saw an ad for a porno magazine on a subway platform? 

After the jump, watch the CBS news report, followed by a gallery of Keith Haring stalking the subways…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Man says too much music and masturbation caused him to vandalize home
04.13.2016
10:31 am

Topics:
Crime
Current Events

Tags:


 
Stop me if you heard this one before: Meet 25-year-old Clearwater, Florida (natch) resident William Timothy Anderson Thomas who allegedly vandalized a home and then told cops he had “listened to too much music” and masturbated “too much,” which apparently caused him to feel like “going out and destroying stuff.”

Isn’t it supposed to work the other way around? Men! Florida men!

From the ____:

Largo police officers responded to a home at 2066 N. Belcher Rd. around 2 p.m. on April 8 after someone reported seeing a man smashing a mailbox.

When police arrived at the home, they say they found William Timothy Anderson Thomas, 25 on the property, shirtless and covered in dirt.

According to an arrest affidavit, a trailer tire had been flattened, a window on the house was broken, and a mailbox, a real estate sign and a garden angel were completely destroyed.

According to police, Thomas admitted to the crimes and destroying the property. “He also stated he had listened to too much music and masturbated too much.” What odd details to volunteer to officers of the law, I think we can all agree?

Thomas was arrested and booked in the Pinellas County Jail with the bond set at $7,000.

What I’m really dying to know is WHAT WAS THOMAS LISTENING TO???

Whitehouse? Mötley Crüe? The most recent Hanson album? I’ll bet it was something especially sick.

via WFLA

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Beastie Boys designed an egg gun for kids
04.01.2016
08:58 am

Topics:
Crime
Hip-hop
Punk

Tags:


MCA in costume as a deviled egg
 
The Beastie Boys had a thing for eggs. Their first release, 1982’s Polly Wog Stew EP, concluded with “Egg Raid on Mojo,” a hardcore blast about getting revenge on the doorman at a NYC club by unloading a few cartons of eggs on his person. But as the Reagan/Bush years wore on and anomie set in, the Beasties’ use of eggs became less judicious. During the sessions for Paul’s Boutique, the trio egged hapless pedestrians from windows: those of Ad-Rock’s Manhattan apartment, their rooms at LA’s Mondrian Hotel, and MCA’s “macked-out” car. They also infamously egged the heavily-hyped British “supergroup” Sigue Sigue Sputnik during their big US debut on Halloween night of 1986. (Mike D: “We threw eggs at them when they were at the New York Palladium, it was the least we could do.”)

If you think the Beasties’ random eggings were bad, they were nothing compared to the doomsday device of mischief the band was sitting on which, had they unleashed it, would have made childhood and adolescence a lot more interesting for me and a number of DM’s readers. The line “Put him in check correct with my egg gun,” from “Egg Man,” described a Beastie Boys business venture that could have turned the world’s major cities into slimy, shell-specked hellscapes. From Dan LeRoy’s excellent 33⅓ book on Paul’s Boutique, which just reached its tenth anniversary (and spawned a worthy sequel):

[T]he egg gun mentioned in the song was more than just a rhetorical device. [Dust Brother] Mike Simpson recalls the band “actually employed some toy designers—maybe they were from Hasbro?—to come up with a Beastie Boys egg gun. And I believe there were a couple of prototypes, which Yauch probably still has.”

[Mike D], however, says the prototypes came tantalizingly close to being developed, yet were never completed. “But imagine if we had,” he muses. “The egg business would have blown up. Chicken farmers would be like oilmen today.”

 

 
But Simpson, who mentioned the egg gun in an interview about Paul’s Boutique with Seattle’s KEXP recorded last July, maintains the designers did make some kind of visual representation of the finished product:

Yauch took it so far as to hire toy designers from Mattel to come up with prototypes for the Beastie Boys Egg Gun. Somewhere in the world, there are these amazing renderings of these potential egg guns with the Beastie Boys brand on it, which is hilarious.

Can we get the Beastie Boys Egg Gun in stores, please, or at least in my hands? Isn’t this what crowdfunding was invented for?

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘I always got weed on me’: Texas man busted in high-speed chase because of weed
03.21.2016
02:31 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Crime
Drugs

Tags:


 
Shouldn’t “Texas Man” join “Ohio Man” and “Florida Man” as snarky shorthand for “what this guy did makes no sense whatsoever… because Florida (or Ohio)”?

Meet 26-year-old Jonathan Davis. Davis is a lawyer’s worst nightmare. This dude should never, ever open his mouth. Especially when there are cameras rolling! After this, I think we need to expand the lexicon of American idiocracy to include “Texas Man,” too.

Incredibly, Davis—who modestly refers to himself an “adrenaline junkie”—decided to try to outrun law enforcement across five counties, which he was doing quite successfully—at times going well over 100 mph and going the wrong way—all because he had some weed on him and didn’t want to get busted again. Davis called the high speed chase a “thrill” and admitted that he’d been on Instagram during it. He decided to flee police after a traffic stop, complaining that his prior marijuana convictions had led to him not being able to get a “normal” job and that he had weed on him.

He sure picked an interesting, unassuming way to avoid any further interaction with the law.

And I must admit, I wonder what Davis’ definition of a “normal” job is, don’t you?

Do consider the fact that if this was Colorado or Washington or any one of our more enlightened, cannabis-friendly states, this probably never would have happened. Not saying Davis is exactly making a good case for legalizing marijuana, but you know what I mean.
 

 
via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
A strange tale of Frank Sinatra Jr., monster beach parties, Jan & Dean and a bungled kidnapping!
03.18.2016
11:38 am

Topics:
Crime
Music

Tags:

dfthcfg
 
When I heard the news of the passing of Frank Sinatra Jr., my first thought was of his little known theme music for the cult beach party meets monster flick The Beach Girls and The Monster. A totally crazy crossover teen exploitation film (which interestingly was edited by sexploitation and adult film groundbreaker Radley Metzger) that was made in 1964 before the Beatles and the British Invasion completely crushed US surf culture for good. Sinatra Jr.‘s bizarrely inept vocalizing over the great surf track by members of the Hustlers—known for their rare singles “Kopout,” “Inertia” and “Wailin’ Out”—reeks of a rush job, which, of course, makes the record all that much more special to crazy collectors like myself. I believe the record was a movie promo only and it is extremely rare and sought after. It took me 20 years to find my copy and it was not cheap. In fact it is the only record little Frankie S. ever made that has any kind of collectible value whatsoever.

To quote Brian Chidester and Domenic Priore from their book Pop Surf Culture the soundtrack of The Beach Girls and the Monster:

“has got to rank up there among the best … no fewer than 13 different sections of full-bore, deep-reverb tank surf instrumentals throb the soundtrack.

 
ndyru
 
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Here’s the song in all of its glory from the opening of the film:
 

 
The fact that Sinatra Jr. went anywhere near a beach or rock ‘n’ roll music in 1964 is pretty amazing considering what happened to him at the end of 1963, a scenario of near Mansonesque proportions: On December 8th, 1963 Frank Sinatra Jr. was kidnapped at gunpoint from a motel room at Harrah’s Club at Lake Tahoe, where he was performing a string of dates. You must remember this was only around a month after the assassination of President Kennedy, and the live TV murder of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby. People were FREAKING. American was coming apart at the seams, ir seemed.
 
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This was not a simple story as you are about to see. This gets so, well, Mansonesque! Not nearly as bloody, fatal or psychotic, sure, but it was certainly a trial run for all the weird 60s celebrity insanity that followed. To quote the Jan and Dean website:

By October 1963, Barry Keenan was only 23 years old, but was down and feeling sorry for himself. The University High School graduate was from a broken home, already divorced, a failed salesman, and had dabbled in the stock market without sustained success. Keenan also had a criminal record, with previous arrests for burglary and petty theft. On top of everything else, he was abusing prescription medication, and saw himself as facing financial ruin. He began to feel desperate, allowing his drug-addled mind to hatch a wild scheme to kidnap the son and namesake of Hollywood royalty — Frank Sinatra Jr.

When you have a problem, even if you’re delusional, you ask your friends for help. So Keenan approached his best friend and laid his cards on the table — calculated, efficient, with a detailed plan in writing, and a request for money to get things started. Barry was a clever fellow, and reveled in having friends (or at least a friend) in high places.

Barry Keenan’s best friend on earth was none other than Dean Torrence, “Dean” of Jan and Dean, who at that time was at the height of their superstardom with hits galore, riding the surf, skate and hot rodding fads all the way to the bank, just behind the Beach Boys in California dreamin’ popularity. Jan and Dean had a number one hit with “Surf City”, their “Honolulu Lulu” went top ten and “The Little Old Lady (From Pasadena)” was not far behind. Somehow Barry Keenan got his buddy Dean to bankroll the kidnapping!

It was carried out by Keenan with a couple of friends from Uni High, the infamous school attended by everyone from Nancy Sinatra, David Cassidy, Marilyn Monroe to Kim Fowley. Their squeaky clean surfer boy next door image makes it so hard to believe but then again, hey, the Manson family hung out with The Beach Boys and they even did one of Charlie’s songs! It’s the squeaky (not Fromme) clean ones you gotta watch out for.
 
lisdfghcnuty
 
After much confusion and bungling, Keenan seemed to have pulled off the perfect crime. That is until he bragged about it, which led to his arrest. (It’s a long and bizarre story with endless twists and turns which can be read here). Keenan and his other accomplices were caught. A great Don Rickles joke from this time goes:

Do you know why the kidnappers let Junior go? Because they heard him humming in the trunk.

This, it seems, would be indicative of the treatment Junior would get from the world for the rest of his life. Many of the reasons are due to what happened at the trial.
 
Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
Hide your kids! Hide your wife! Serial ‘hipster ninja masturbator’ on the loose in Seattle
03.15.2016
09:05 am

Topics:
Amusing
Crime

Tags:

Serial
The Serial “hipster ninja masturbator” of Seattle is on the loose!
 
In an effort to keep things as weird as possible in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle police say they are are trying to identify a man who has been observed masturbating outside of a home in the University District neighborhood on multiple occasions.
 
A night vision photo of the Seattle
Night vision image of the serial “hipster ninja masturbator” currently on the loose in Seattle.
 
Night vision images of the serial
 
Night vision image of the Seattle serial
 
Footage of the man, who was caught on a surveillance camera on the property, shows the perverted perp dressed up like a ninja, clad all in black (the night vision camera make him appear to be dressed in white), from head to foot. According to the police reports filed on the case in January,  the female resident of the home reported hearing “suspicious sounds” outside her home. When she looked out to see what was going on, she saw what the Seattle PI described as a “hipster ninja masturbator” (ahem) hard at work sharpening his pencil right outside her front door.

So far the creepy night vision images of the chronic trespassing masturbator have not led police to a suspect, but I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before this slippery ninja meat-beater gets identified. How hard can it be to locate a guy dressed like a hipster version of a ninja in Seattle you wonder? Apparently it’s quite difficult as the report also says that the depraved ninja has likely pleasured himself at least four times at the same address since November of last year.

Yikes.

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Meet the wild child ‘Tiger Woman’ who tried to kill Aleister Crowley
03.04.2016
12:52 pm

Topics:
Books
Crime
Dance
Drugs
History
Occult

Tags:
bohemians

01wildtigerbetty.jpg
 
The other morning here at Dangerous Minds Towers (Scotland), while I sat sifting through the mailbag looking for presents and antique snuff boxes, m’colleague Tara McGinley popped a fascinating article in front of me about a wild “Tiger Woman.”

At first I thought this tabloid tale was perhaps about the woman who had inspired Roy Wood to write his rather wonderful and grimy little number “Wild Tiger Woman” for The Move. As I read on, I realized this story of a rebellious singer, dancer and artist’s model was unlikely to have been the woman Wood had in mind when he wrote his famous song.

No, this particular “Tiger Woman” was one Betty May Golding—a drug addict, a boozer, and a dabbler in the occult. She had a string of lovers, worked as a prostitute, had been a member of a notorious criminal gang, an alleged Satanist, and had once even tried to murder Aleister Crowley. This was the kind of impressive resumé one would expect from the original “wild child.” Not that Ms. Golding would have given two hoots for any of that:

I have not cared what the world thought of me and as a result what it thought has often not been very kind… I have often lived only for pleasure and excitement.

You go girl!

Betty May was born Elizabeth Marlow Golding into a world of poverty and deprivation in Canning Town, London in 1895. The neighborhood was situated at the heart of the city’s docks—an area described by Charles Dickens as:

...already debased below the point of enmity to filth; poorer labourers live there, because they cannot afford to go farther, and there become debased.

To get an idea how deprived and “debased” this district was—Canning Town even today “remains among the 5% [of the] most deprived areas in the UK.”  Plus ca change…
 
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A typical London slum 1909.
 
When Betty was just an infant, her father left the family home, leaving her mother to support four children on a pittance of 10/- a week—roughly the equivalent of $1.50. The family home was a hovel with no furniture and no beds. The family slept on bundles of rags, cuddling together to keep warm.

Her mother was half-French with beautiful olive complexion and almond eyes. The struggle proved too much for her and Betty was sent off to live with her father who was then residing in a brothel. Her father was an engineer by trade but he preferred to spend his time drinking, fighting and thieving. He was eventually arrested and sent to jail.

In her autobiography Tiger Woman, published in 1929, Betty described herself as a “little brown-faced marmoset ... and the only quick thing in this very slow world.” She earned pennies by dancing and singing on the street.  After her father’s arrest, she was passed from relative to relative eventually staying with an aunt who described her as “a regular little savage.”

One of her earliest memories was finding the body of a pregnant neighbor hanging from a hook. The woman had caught her husband having sex with her sister.

Her face was purple and her eyes bulged like a fish’s. It was rather awful.

Eventually Betty was sent to another aunt who stayed out in the country in Somerset. Here she attended school but soon the teenager was in trouble after having an affair with one of her teachers.

I can hardly say, in the light of what I have learnt since, that we were in love. At least perhaps he was. Certainly I was fond of him.

When their illicit relationship was discovered, Betty was given an ultimatum.

There was a great deal of fuss and it was made clear to me that unless the ­friendship came to an end it would be the schoolmaster who would be made to suffer.

After a rather tearful scene with my aunt I was packed off with a few pounds.

 
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Betty in her gypsy dress.
 
Arriving in London in 1910 Betty could only afford one outfit:

...but every item of it was a different colour. Neither red nor green nor blue nor yellow nor purple was forgotten, for I loved them all equally, and if I was not rich enough to wear them separately ... I would wear them, like Joseph in the Bible, all at once! Colours to me are like children to a loving mother.

With her exotic looks and green eyes, Betty looked every part the gypsy and was later known for her song “The Raggle Taggle Gypsy.” The novelist Anthony Powell described her as looking like a seaside fortune teller. Betty also delighted in her costermonger background:

I am a true coster in my flamboyance and my love of colour, in my violence of feeling and its immediate response in speech and action. Even now I am often caught with a sudden longing regret for the streets of Limehouse as I knew them, for the girls with their gaudy shawls and heads of ostrich feathers, like clouds in a wind, and the men in their caps, silk neckerchiefs and bright yellow pointed boots in which they took such pride. I adored the swagger and the showiness of it all.

 
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The Café Royal in 1912 as painted by artist William Orpen.
 
At first, Betty worked as a prostitute before becoming a model, dancer and entertainer at the hip Café Royal.

The lights, the mirrors, the red plush seats, the eccentrically dressed people, the coffee served in glasses, the pale cloudy absinthe ... I felt as if I had strayed by accident into some miraculous Arabian palace… No duck ever took to water, no man to drink, as I to the Café Royal.

The venue was the haunt of Bohemians and artists—Augustus John, Jacob Epstein, the “Queen of Bohemia” Nina Hamnett, heiress Nancy Cunard, William Orpen, Anna Wickham, Iris Tree and Ezra Pound.

Betty’s flamboyance and gypsy attire attracted their interest and she had affairs with many of the regulars. She modelled for Augustus John and Jacob Epstein. Being an artist’s model was a grey area that often crossed into prostitution. Many of May’s contemporaries in “modelling” died in tragic circumstances—either by their own hand or at the hands of a jealous lover.
 
01augjoboat.jpg
The artist Augustus John looking rather pleased with himself.
 
Betty’s life then took the first a many surprising turns when she became involved with a notorious criminal gang.

In 1914, she met a man she nicknamed “Cherub” at a bar who took her to France. Their relationship was platonic but after a night of drinking absinthe Cherub attacked her:

He clasped me round the waist, pinning my arms… I struggled with all the strength fear and hate could give me.

With a supreme effort I succeeded in half-freeing my right arm so that I was enabled to dig my scissors into the fleshy part of his neck.

Betty escaped to Paris where she met up with a man known as the “White Panther” who introduced her into the one of the ciy’s L’Apache gangs. She later claimed it was this gang who nicknamed her “Tiger Woman” after she became involved in a fight with one of the gangster’s girlfriends. When separated by the gang leader she bit into his wrist like a wild animal.

Now part of gang, Betty became involved in various robberies and acts of violence—in one occasion branding a possible informer with a red hot knife. This experience led her to quit Paris.
 
01whitepant.jpg
Apache gang members or hooligans fighting the police in 1904.
 
To be honest, Betty’s autobiography reads at times like a thrilling pulp novel and without corroborative evidence seems more like fiction than fact.

Returning to London, Betty resumed work as a singer and dancer. She sought a husband and found two suitors: the first died after a mysterious boating accident; the second blew his brains out one fine summer’s day. Betty eventually married a trainee doctor Miles L. Atkinson, who introduced her to the joys of cocaine.

I learnt one thing on my ­honeymoon—to take drugs.

Atkinson had an unlimited supply of cocaine via his work with the hospital. The couple embarked on a mad drug frenzy. They fell in with a den of opium smokers. May’s drug intake escalated to 150 grains of cocaine a day plus several pipes of opium. She became paranoid—on one occasion believing the world was against her after ordering a coffee at a cafe and the waiter served it black. She decided to divorce Atkinson, but he was killed in action in 1917 while serving as a soldier in the First World War.

Betty then met and married an Australian called “Roy”—not believed to be his real name—who weaned her off drugs by threatening to beat her if ever he caught her taking any. However, she divorced Roy after catching him having an affair.

Continuing with her career as an artist’s model, Betty sat for Jacob Epstein and Jacob Kramer, who she claimed painted her as the Sphinx.
 
01betsphin.jpg
Jacob Kramer’s painting ‘The Sphinx’ (1918).
 
Her notoriety grew after the publication of a book Dope Darling by David “Bunny” Garnett, which was based on Betty’s life as a coke addict. The book told the story of a man called Roy who falls in love with a dancer Claire at a bohemian cafe. Claire is a drug addict and prostitute. Roy believes he can save Claire by marrying her. Once married, Roy gradually becomes a drug addict too.

In the book, Garnett described Claire as being :

...always asked to all the parties given in the flashy Bohemian world in which she moved. No dance, gambling party, or secret doping orgy was complete without her. Under the effect of cocaine which she took more and more recklessly, she became inspired by a wild frenzy, and danced like a Bacchante, drank off a bottle of champagne, and played a thousand wild antics

But all of this was by way of a warm-up to her meeting the Great Beast.
 
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‘Dope Darling’ by David Garnett.
 
In 1922, Betty met and married the poet Frederick Charles Loveday (aka Raoul Loveday). This dear boy (aged about twenty or twenty-one) was an acolyte of Aleister Crowley. With a first class degree from Oxford University and a book of published poems to his name, Loveday was utterly dedicated to Crowley and to his study of the occult.

Crowley first met Loveday at a dive in London called the Harlequin. He liked Loveday—saw his potential and claimed he was his heir apparent—but he said this about many other young man that took his fancy. He was however reticent in his praise for May—describing her as a “charming child, tender and simple of soul” but impaired by an alleged childhood accident he believed had “damaged her brain permanently so that its functions were discontinuous.” This condition was exacerbated by her drug addiction—though he was complimentary in her strength of will in curing herself.

Crowley believed he could save Loveday from the “vagabonds, squalid and obscene, who constituted the court of Queen Betty.”

In his Confessions, Crowley recounted a typical scene of Betty “at work” in the Harlequin:

In a corner was his wife, three parts drunk, on the knees of a dirty-faced loafer, pawed by a swarm of lewd hogs, breathless with lust. She gave herself greedily to their gross and bestial fingerings and was singing in an exquisite voice ... an interminable smutty song, with a ribald chorus in which they all joined.

 
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Aleister Crowley
 
Crowley moved to Sicily where he established his Abbey of Thelema at Cefalu. He wanted Loveday—and to a lesser extent May—to join him there. However, Loveday had been ill after an operation and several friends including Nina Hamnett warned him off going. But Loveday was determined and the couple traveled to the Abbey.

Arriving there in the fall of 1922, Betty and Loveday were soon party to various sex magic rituals under Crowley’s direction. On one occasion, Betty chanced upon a box filled with blood soaked neckties. When she asked Crowley what these were, he replied that they had belonged to Jack the Ripper and were stained with the blood of his victims.

Crowley may have tut-tutted about Betty’s sexual hi-jinks with other men in the club, but he didn’t seem to mind all the fucking and sucking that went on at the Abbey. Betty was unsure about Crowley. She was intrigued by the occult and her superstition kept her belief from wavering. But she never fully trusted him.

Everything came to a head after a black mass where Crowley commanded Loveday to kill a cat and drink its blood. Crowley claimed the cat was possessed by an evil spirit. Loveday beheaded the cat and greedily drank its blood. Within hours he fell ill and died, on February 16th, 1923.

Betty blamed Crowley for her husband’s death and swore revenge—deciding to kill him.
 
More on Betty May and her life of sex and drugs and the occult, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Bad Girls: Female criminals of the Edwardian era, a gallery of vintage mugshots
02.29.2016
10:59 am

Topics:
Crime
History

Tags:

Kstobnshields
 
Poverty makes for the most desperate of criminals. Their crimes are born of necessity—to feed, to cloth, to nurture—which can make them careless in their actions. Financiers, on the other hand, can sit and carefully discuss their plans to rob and steal with lawyers and bankers over four hour lunches in luxurious surroundings—picking their teeth, savoring wine. They are usually never careless—they have lawyers see to that—and are hardly ever caught. The poor, meanwhile, are far easier to catch.

The women criminals of North Shields in Edwardian England were usually nabbed for “Larceny”—a catchall common law crime that involved “the unlawful taking of the personal property of another person or business.” This covered deeds as diverse as taking clothes from a washing line, stealing food from a table, or pinching personal belongings—jewels, money, etc. Most of the women who were brought into the police station in North Shields were charged with larceny—though some who were habitual were charged as “Thief.”

In certain instances, larceny could also cover keeping a bawdy house, being drunk and disorderly or having no fixed abode.

Most of the mugshots featured below are of women who have committed a crime out of desperation. Others, are habitual. All have the weary look born of grinding poverty and unrelenting misfortune. Their ages range from teens to late thirties. The photographs were taken at the North Shields Police Station between 1902-1905 and are kept by the Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums—you can find more here.
 
susanjoinshirled
 

Reg. No. 52, Susan Joice, Larceny, N. Shields 18-8-1903.

The Shields Daily News for 19 August 1903 reports:

“Yesterday at North Shields, Susan Joyce (16), residing at 17 Front Street, Milburn Place, was charged with stealing on the 15th inst, from a gas meter at a house, 18 Front Street, the sum of 6s 5d, the moneys of the Tynemouth Gas Company. Sarah Nicholson, the occupant of the above house stated that she noticed that the lock had been broken off the meter and the money extracted. Ellen Watson, sister of the accused stated that the later went to her house with her apron full of copper. Altogether there was 5s 6d. She afterwards handed the money over to the police. Detective Thornton spoke to arresting the defendant and when charged she admitted taking the money out of the meter. The Bench imposed a fine of 5s and 10s costs”.

 
AandersonlarcNshield
 

Reg. No. 54, Annie Anderson, Larceny, N. Shields 25-8-03.

The newspaper report of 1 September featured in the comments suggests that Annie Anderson may have been involved in prostitution. This is made more explicit in a report of a later arrest in the Shields Daily Gazette for 21 July 1904, ‘disorderly house’ being a euphemism for brothel.

“At North Shields Annie Anderson (34) was charged with keeping a disorderly house in Liddell Street on July 1st. Sergt. G. Scougal proved the case. Chief Constable Huish said that the prisoner was convicted for a similar offence on March 28th of this year, and committed for one month. Immediately she came out of prison she went back to the room and continued to carry on the house in the same manner as before. The complaints received by the police about it were serious. Defendant, who pleaded not guilty, was committed for three months with hard labour”.

 
mabsmithnshield
 

Reg. No. 57, Mabel Smith, Larceny, N. Shields 28-9-03.

 
More mugshots of Edwardian bad girls, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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