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Crimes of the Centuries

Crime is so commonplace that it takes something particularly shocking to be labelled the “crime of the century.” Even so, there are a lot of cases that have earned the distinction. In each episode of Crimes of the Centuries, award-winning journalist Amber Hunt will examine a case that’s lesser known today but was huge when it happened. The cases explored span the centuries and each left a mark. Some made history by changing laws. Others were so shocking they changed society.

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S1 Ep12: The Tylenol Murders: Over-the-Counter Killers

When 52-year-old Bruce Nickell suddenly dropped dead in Washington state, investigators at first thought he'd died of a heart attack. But then a second person collapsed, and police realized that the two victims had both taken the painkiller Excedrin. Suddenly, they realized they were dealing with a copycat of a case that had haunted federal investigators for nearly 15 years.  In that earlier case, seven people died when someone randomly tampered with the over-the-counter painkiller to replace some of the powder inside capsules with enough cyanide to kill an entire family. Those deaths changed how medication is packaged nationwide and made it a federal crime to tamper with such products -- a legal change that years later came back to bite Nickell's killer.

38mins

18 Jan 2021

Rank #1

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S1 Ep11: Sex, Lies, and Murder: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, and Harry Thaw

It was one of the most salacious stories the country had ever heard: A famous architect had been gunned down in front of an audience of hundreds by a man who said he was defending his wife's honor. It so happened the wife was the world's first supermodel. The love triangle among architect Stanford White, model and showgirl Evelyn Nesbit and millionaire unhinged man Harry Kendell Thaw reached its climax on June 24, 1906. With hundreds of witnesses, the case was never a whodunit. Rather, it was a gripping tale of sex, lies, and murder. The story made such headlines nationwide that, for the first time in American history, the jury had to be sequestered. "Crimes of the Centuries" is a new podcast from the Obsessed Network exploring forgotten crimes from times past that made a mark and helped change history. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter: @centuriespod

47mins

11 Jan 2021

Rank #2

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S1 Ep13: Edward Rulloff: The Genius Psychopath

Edward Rulloff was a genius, speaking seven languages by the time he graduated high school -- no easy feat for someone from a poor farming family. But Rulloff was also arrogant, hot-headed and prone to violence. When his wife and infant daughter disappeared in 1844, Rulloff said they'd simply gone on a trip, though his in-laws were suspicious. Somehow, he managed time and again to slip through authorities' fingers -- once with the help of an undersheriff's son whom he'd smooth-talked into freeing him from jail. When Rulloff was finally caught, some argued that his life should be spared and his brain studied, and he went down in history as one of America's smartest and most slippery criminals. "Crimes of the Centuries" is a new podcast from the Obsessed Network exploring forgotten crimes from times past that made a mark and helped change history. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter: @centuriespod Episode Sponsors: Hairstory: Use promo code COTC for 15% off at hairstory.com Best Fiends: Download Best Fiends free now from the Apple app store or Google Play Wine and Crime podcast: Listen to Wine and Crime wherever you get your podcasts

37mins

25 Jan 2021

Rank #3

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S1 Ep6: Bob Berdella: The Serial Killer Known as the Kansas City Butcher

To his neighbors, Bob Berdella was a proactive citizen who helped launch a neighborhood watch group. Sure, he was a bit condescending, but he seemed to have a big heart, using his Kansas City home as a safe haven for young men in trouble. But then, in 1988, a young man jumped from a second-story window of Berdella's house wearing nothing but a dog collar, prompting police to scour the innocuous-looking home on Charlotte Street. What they uncovered would lead to the quaint home being labeled a "House of Horrors," and to a case that both shocked the nation and changed state law.  "Crimes of the Centuries" is a new podcast from the Obsessed Network exploring forgotten crimes from times past that made a mark and helped change history. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter: @centuriespod

43mins

30 Nov 2020

Rank #4

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S1 Ep5: Prohibition Murderers: The Karpis/Barker Gang

Thanks to Prohibition, criminal gangs were a dime a dozen in the 1920s and '30s, but the Karpis/Barker Gang became one of the era's longest lived, highest profile, and most consequential. During the Depression, their exploits not only burnished the reputation of the FBI and its director J. Edgar Hoover, but also inadvertently triggered the end to rampant corruption in St. Paul Minnesota.  While its body count was hefty -- and included lawmen like a sheriff gunned down in cold blood -- its enduring reputation hinges on its supposed matriarch, Ma Barker, who would go on to be depicted in movies and TV shows as a gun-toting criminal mastermind. There's no question three of her sons, and plenty of their friends, were stone-cold killers, but was Ma really pulling all the strings? "Crimes of the Centuries" is a new podcast from the Obsessed Network exploring forgotten crimes from times past that made a mark and helped change history. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter: @centuriespod

43mins

16 Nov 2020

Rank #5

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S1 Ep3: Elma Sands: The Manhattan Well Murder

When a 22-year-old woman living with relatives in a boarding house disappeared on Dec. 22, 1799, her loved ones didn't immediately worry. But when she still hadn't returned days later, all eyes turned to her lover -- whom she'd supposedly been set to marry the last time she was seen alive. Levi Weeks came from a family with money, so his rich brother did something that was unheard of at this point in American history: He hired fancy lawyers. And that's how Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr ended up on the same side defending a man against murder charges in 1800.  The case, referenced in Lin Manuel Miranda's award-winning musical "Hamilton," marks two firsts: The defense panel was America's first legal Dream Team, and the Weeks' case was the first recorded murder trial in the country's history. "Crimes of the Centuries" is a new podcast from the Obsessed Network exploring forgotten crimes from times past that made a mark and helped change history. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter: @centuriespod

45mins

2 Nov 2020

Rank #6

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S1 Ep15: The Landmark Case of the Scottsboro Boys

In 1932, a group of white men rushed to police to report a group of Black men had roughed them up on as they sneaked a ride on a train. Authorities soon descended and soon even more heinous allegations were lodged: Two women on the train said the group of nine young men had sexually assaulted them. Outraged citizens demanded justice. The rush to try the so-called "Scottsboro Boys" in Alabama led to legal landmark cases that are still cited today. "Crimes of the Centuries" is a new podcast from the Obsessed Network exploring forgotten crimes from times past that made a mark and helped change history. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter: @centuriespod Episode Sponsors: Skout's Honor: Get 20% off your first order at www.skoutshonor.com/COTC Daily Harvest: Use promo code COTC for $25 off your first box at www.dailyharvest.com ThredUp: Save 30% off your first order at www.thredup.com/COTC Hairstory: Use promo code COTC to get 15% off your first purchase at www.hairstory.com

37mins

8 Feb 2021

Rank #7

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S1 Ep14: The Million-Dollar Kidnapping of Ginny Piper

When wealthy Ginny Piper was kidnapped at gunpoint in broad daylight inside of her secluded Minnesota home, it put the nation on edge and sent her husband on a macabre scavenger hunt to save Ginny’s life. It also became a pet case for the FBI, which was trying to improve its reputation, but many would later argue that the agency only bungled things further by focusing on the wrong suspects. The Piper case would go down in history as one of the nation’s most baffling. "Crimes of the Centuries" is a new podcast from the Obsessed Network exploring forgotten crimes from times past that made a mark and helped change history. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter: @centuriespod Episode Sponsors: PrettyLitter: Use code COTC at PrettyLitter.com for 20% off your first order Tenfold More Wicked podcast: Listen to Tenfold More Wicked wherever you get your podcasts

41mins

1 Feb 2021

Rank #8

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S1 Ep10: The Torture Chamber of Delphine LaLaurie

A fire broke out in a stately New Orleans mansion in 1834, leading neighbors to rush to the homeowners' aid. What they discovered inside, however, made them realize that the charming and cultured woman of the house had been hiding a horrifying secret: In an upstairs apartment, enslaved people were weighed down by chains, starved to emaciation and barely recognizable as humans. The case of Delphine LaLaurie and her unfathomable cruelty would outrage the nation and beyond. "Crimes of the Centuries" is a new podcast from the Obsessed Network exploring forgotten crimes from times past that made a mark and helped change history. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter: @centuriespod

39mins

4 Jan 2021

Rank #9

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S1 Ep7: The Mysterious Beheading of Pearl Bryan

When a headless woman's remains were discovered near Cincinnati in 1896, police had a problem. Long before DNA and fingerprinting, the lack of a head made it tough to identify the victim. Thanks to a sharp-eyed shoemaker, a new kind of detective work was born: The woman was ID'd thanks to a pair of distinctive shoes on the corpse's feet. Pearl Bryan was a 22-year-old Indiana woman who'd recently learned she was pregnant. Her lover, a Cincinnati man named Scott Jackson, suggested she come to town so they could figure out their next steps. After police discovered the "who," they then had to piece together the "how." "Crimes of the Centuries" is a new podcast from the Obsessed Network exploring forgotten crimes from times past that made a mark and helped change history. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter: @centuriespod

39mins

7 Dec 2020

Rank #10