The Kitchen Table Historian

I am an author and historian who writes about long-forgotten and out of the way events and places. I love the bizarre, the unusual, and the downright weird. I write a regular blog at my website, www.johnbrassardjrcom.wordpress.com, and also manage a facebook page about things of historical interest called The Kitchen Table Historian.

Episode 83: Was the 1962 Crash of Flight 11 Really An Accident?

In 1962, Continental Airlines Boeing 707 Flight 11 crashed in Unionville, Missouri. It had been hit with enough force that a tornado was originally to blame. But was it really a tragic accident, or had something far more sinister caused the crash?   Sources Missouri Office of the Secretary of State; Jefferson City, Missouri; Missouri Death …

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Was the 1962 Crash of Flight 11 Really An Accident?

  It was just another day for James Clarity. He and his wife, Georgia, lived in Chicago, Illinois, with their five children. Born in Minnesota, Clarity had served in the Navy during the Second World War. After he left the service, he had become an advertising sales representative with Wallace’s Farmer, a prestigious agriculture magazine …

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Episode 82: Gayno Smith Massacres Five People in Southern Iowa

While investigators were dealing with a devastating plane crash near the Iowa-Missouri Border, they had no idea that a man named Gayno Smith was about to commit one of the most horrific crimes in Iowa history only an hour away.   Sources 45 Die in Iowa Jetliner Disaster. The Courier, 5/23/1962 Massive Hunt for Killer. …

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Gayno Smith Massacres Five People in Southern Iowa

Carefully, the fireman removed the man from the fuselage. He lay on his back, stretched across three passenger seats. Everything inside had been tossed around in the crash, leaving a tangle of seats, luggage, and bodies. Slowly as they could, the rescuers put the injured man on a stretcher and slowly carried him to a …

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Episode 81: Two Mass Murders Claim Iowa Families Only Two Months Apart

As the Great Depression gripped the nation, two mass murders claimed Iowa families only two months apart from each other. The details are as saddening as they are horrifying.   Sources Mother Kills Six Children, Self. The Des Moines Register, 8/30/1937 Mother Kills Six Children, Ends Own Life. The Gazette, 8/30/1937 Mother Kills Self and …

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Two Mass Murders Claim Iowa Families Only Two Months Apart

  August is always hot in Iowa. The sun beats down mercilessly, baking the ground and raising shimmering mirages from the asphalt highways. Worse is the humidity, filling the dry air like water fills a sponge. The only thing that does seem to like the oppressive, unrelenting heat is the corn. Some farmers say that …

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Episode 79: The Accused Poisoner: Bernice Zalimas

In 1924, Bernice Zalimas was accused of poisoning her husband in Chicago, Illinois. But did she really, or was she the victim of vicious rumors?   Sources   Blonde Widow Thinks Zalimas Poisoned Self. Chicago Tribune, 12/03/1924 Widow Questioned. Photo, Bernice Zalimas. Chicago Tribune, 12/03/1924 Zalimas’ Widow Held to Grand Jury as Slayer. Chicago Tribune, …

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