Victorian Era

Massarti the Lion Tamer Killed in 1872 by His Lions

Manders’ Menagerie was a traveling circus that relied on Massarti the Lion Tamer for one of their most famous acts. Massarti, who was born Thomas Macarte* in Cork around 1838, had been hired by Mr. Manders in 1871 to replace the African lion tamer, Martini Maccomo,** allegedly a native of Angola who had arrived in…

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Christmas Crime in the Victorian Era

The holidays of the late 1900s were often thought of as a time of cheer, but along with that cheer came Christmas crime in the Victorian Era. It was plentiful and resulted in anything but peace on earth. Perhaps, that was why the following Christmas card, although wishing Christmas cheer, displays a dead bird.

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Jack the Ripper’s Canonical Victims

Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly are considered Jack the Ripper’s canonical victims, so-called because their murders had the same pattern with the same modus operandi, and these five women are considered to be his officially accepted victims. The murders also happened in a relatively short period in…

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Thirteen Tales of Murder and Death in the Victorian Era

The Victorian Era is often remembered for its morality with women’s buttoned-up collars and high boots that prevented even the slightest hint of skin beneath. However, there were also many tales of murder and death during that era that captured the public’s imagination. Here are thirteen stories for Halloween. One unusual death happened in May…

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Van Hare the Ultimate Showman of the 1800s

G. Van Hare was the ultimate showman of the 1800s and traveled to nearly every European country during his fifty-year career. In his travels he experienced an endless string of odd adventures and unusual experiences that included interesting incidences with not only people but also dogs, lions, and a gorilla. One interesting story about Van…

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Francis Tussaud: Madame Tussaud’s Son

Francis (François in French) Tussaud was Madame Tussaud‘s son. He was born to her and her husband François on a Saturday, 2 August 1800. Two years later, Madame Tussaud decided to promote her waxworks in England, and she left her son Francis behind in the care of her husband, mother, and aunt, and took her…

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Prince Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens

On 14 December 1861, Queen Victoria’s beloved husband and consort, Prince Albert, died of typhoid at Windsor Castle. Albert was diagnosed with the disease by William Jenner, who, at the time was the world’s acknowledged expert on typhoid fever. Jenner noted that Albert’s abdomen displayed the characteristic purplish-pink or rose spots associated with the fever.…

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Madame Tussaud’s Chamber of Horrors in the 1800s

The forerunner to Madame Tussaud’s Chamber of Horrors was La Caverne des Grands Voleurs (The Cavern of the Great Thieves), founded by Madame Tussaud’s uncle and mentor, Philippe Mathé Curtius. At his Caverne visitors could linger and scrutinize the morbid and bloody details related to a murder, or they could view all the associated gruesomeness…

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