Wisconsin Wednesdays

"Wisconsin Death Trip" Wednesdays. 

For the residents of Black River Falls in the late 1800's and early 1900's, it seems as though they were overtaken by collective madness or were, perhaps, unknowingly intaking poison that altered their ne
urological motherboards.

Local newspaper stories of the time were rife with murders, suicides, possessions, insanity...and insane acts. Here, death was part of daily life.

Wednesdays I'll feature various photographs and news from Michael Lesy's 1973 book.

N.H. Young "...brought home a bottle of whisky which he put up in the house near a bottle of carbolic acid which had been there for some time. He arose in the night, drank about 4 ounces at one swallow and lived about 4 minutes." 
~ Aug, 1910/County

"James McDonald and his wife were arrested in Eau Claire on the charge of having killed their own team of horses with were found in McDonald's barn with their throats cut about 2 weeks ago...it was supposed a lunatic had killed [them]. They were insured...The claim is made that the McDonalds wanted money."
December, 1908/State

"Miss Polly Nichols, aged 62 years, committed suicide in a most horrible manner...She became impressed with the idea that a small sore on her back was a cancer and that it would kill her. She went into the back yard, saturated herself with kerosene then touched a match to it." 

                                                                                   January 30, 1896/State


  1. I have heard other rumors of people going crazy during Wisconsin's long cold winters. Global warming should solve that dilemma.

  2. Oh, the heat makes people nutty too, Lady M! We're having a spring heatwave in Australia at the moment and I'm about ready to kill at this point. ;)

    The story of Miss Polly is pretty horrifying. I can never understand how anyone would choose being burned alive as a form of suicide. I keep thinking of those poor people who leapt from the Twin Towers rather than be consumed by the flames. These stories from Black River Falls are fascinatingly creepy. I look forward to learning more.