Thursday, October 3, 2013

Episode #10: Lavinia Fisher (Mini-cast) Show Notes

It’s doubtful this commonly-used
portrait actually depicts Lavinia Fisher
Google Lavinia Fisher and you'll likely come across references to her as America’s first woman serial killer. Though it’s not fact, the real story of Lavinia’s criminal escapades is just as scandalous.

Here’s the legend:

Lavinia and husband John operated a lodge, Six Mile House, outside of Charleston, South Carolina. The Fishers preyed on male customers travelling by themselves. Furtively, Lavinia would poison guests’ supper or tea using laudanum; later, when the man nodded-off, John would butcher them with his axe. Ultimately, one fortunate would-be victim named John Peoples got away; he alerted law enforcement. Searching the Fisher’s roadhouse, police unearthed many decaying corpses. Subsequently, Lavinia and John were arrested, tried for robbery and murder, and condemned to hang.

In reality, Lavinia and John weren't serial killers, but highwaymen. The Fishers belonged to a gang who targeted wagons journeying to and from Charleston.


A February 19, 1820 article recounting the Fisher’s execution the previous day
Though Lavinia wasn't America’s first woman serial killer, her legend was probably inspired by actual events. Check-out the podcast to hear more about Lavinia’s ghastly legend, outrageous true story, and the real-life incidents that possibly influenced the myth.

Sources:

The Legend of Lavinia Fisher

Lavinia Fisher (Wikipedia entry)

Lavinia Fisher – America’s First Female Serial Killer (a superb adaptation of the legend)

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