Currently viewing the tag: "murder"

The Red Barn Murder was a notorious murder committed in Polstead, Suffolk, England in 1827. A young woman, Maria Marten, was shot dead by her lover William Corder. The two had arranged to meet at the Red Barn, a local landmark, before eloping to Ipswich. Maria was never seen alive again and Corder fled the scene. He sent letters to Marten’s family claiming that she was in good health, but her body was later discovered buried in the barn after her stepmother spoke of having dreamed about the murder.

Corder was tracked down in London, where he had married and started a new life. He was brought back to Suffolk and found guilty of murder in a well-publicised trial. He was hanged at Bury St Edmunds in 1828 and a huge crowd witnessed the execution. The story provoked numerous newspaper articles, songs and plays. The village where the crime had taken place became a tourist attraction and the barn was stripped by souvenir hunters. The plays and ballads remained popular throughout the next century and continue to be performed today –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of an infamous murderer who disappears.

Journaling Prompt: What have you done that made you fantasize about starting a new life?

Art Prompt: Infamous

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the story of an infamous murderer who nearly escaped.

Photo Credit: Corder-broadside on Wikimedia

From at least the 1100s to the early 1800s, men and women were judged in courts across Europe and colonial America based on a test called cruentation, or the ordeal of the bier, named for the type of wagon that carried a corpse or coffin.

In such testimony, oozing knife wounds and gushes of blood from the noses and eyes of the deceased were considered proof positive of guilt. –How ‘Talking’ Corpses Were Once Used to Solve Murders by Erika Engelhaupt

Fiction Writing Prompt: Create a superstition around dead bodies for the world of your story.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about dead bodies? Have you ever seen one?

Art Prompt: Talking corpses

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the history of fortune telling through the use of corpses.

Photo Credit: Surian Soosay on Flickr

Late on the night of June 14, 2015, deputy sheriffs in Greene County, Missouri, United States, found the body of Dee Dee Blancharde (born May 3, 1967, Chackbay, Louisiana, as Clauddine Pitre) facedown in the bedroom of her house just outside Springfield, lying on the bed in a pool of blood from the stab wounds that had killed her several days earlier. There was no sign of her teenage daughter, Gypsy Rose, who according to Blancharde suffered from leukemia, asthma, muscular dystrophy and several other chronic conditions, and had the mental capacity of a 7-year-old due to brain damage she had suffered as a result of her premature birth. Her neighbors, who had notified them after growing concerned due to Facebook posts earlier in the evening suggesting she had fallen victim to foul play, were fearful that Gypsy Rose, whose wheelchair and medications were still in the house, might have been abducted and in serious danger.

Police found Gypsy Rose the next day in Wisconsin, where she had traveled with a boyfriend she had met online. She was alive and well, but “things are not always as they appear” the sheriff said the next morning. Public outrage that someone might have had taken advantage of a severely disabled girl to kill her mother gave way to shock, and some sympathy, for Gypsy Rose when investigators soon announced that the younger woman was, in fact, an adult and had none of the physical or mental health issues her mother had represented her as having.

Further investigation found that some of the doctors who had examined Gypsy Rose both locally and in the New Orleans area, where she and her mother had lived before allegedly being displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, had not found any evidence of the claimed disorders and in one case suspected Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MbP). Dee Dee had changed her name slightly after being confronted by her family over her treatment of Gypsy Rose and her possible poisoning of her stepmother. Nonetheless, many people accepted her situation as true, and the two benefited from the efforts of charities such as Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Dee Dee, who apparently did have MbP, had been making her daughter pass herself off as younger and pretend to be disabled and chronically ill, in the process subjecting her to unnecessary surgery and medication and controlling her through occasional physical and psychological abuse. MbP expert Marc Feldman says this is the first such case in his quarter-century of experience where the abused child has killed the parent. Gypsy Rose has pled guilty to second-degree murder and is serving a 10-year sentence; her boyfriend is awaiting trial on a first-degree murder charge. The case was the subject of a 2017 HBO documentary, Mommy Dead and Dearest, directed by Erin Lee Carr. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a child who kills a parent and the strange circumstances surrounding it.

Journaling Prompt: What is the strangest disease you’ve ever had?

Art Prompt: Victim

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the strange story of Gypsy Rose.

Photo Credit: Mo springfield.jpg on Wikimedia

On March 3, 1993, Saint Joseph Academy high school senior Joey Fischer was shot dead outside his home in Rancho Viejo, an upscale community north of Brownsville, Texas. Dora Cisneros, the mother of his ex-girlfriend, was convicted of orchestrating Fischer’s murder after he broke up with her daughter Cristina. Fischer and Cristina had broken up the previous summer, but Cisneros became obsessed with their relationship and insisted Fischer return to her. After Fischer refused a US$500 offer from Cisneros, she consulted María Mercedes Martínez, a fortuneteller, to cast a spell on him.

The fortuneteller said she was not able to do that, but Cisneros insisted that she would pay to have someone beat him up. Cisneros later decided to have Fischer murdered instead and told Martínez she was willing to pay US$3,000 to anyone who would kill him. Martínez offered to help and Cisneros gave her the money and a photograph of Fischer, who passed it on to one of Martínez’s clients, Daniel Orlando Garza. He then contacted two Mexican hitmen from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Israel Olivarez Cepeda and Heriberto Puentes Pizaña, who shot Fischer and then escaped to Mexico. The killing drew national attention because of the unusual circumstances of the crime.

Garza, troubled by what he had done, confessed to the police that he had acted as a middleman in Fischer’s murder. He cooperated with the police to incriminate Martínez, who then aided in Cisneros’ arrest. Cisneros and Garza were eventually sentenced to life in prison by a state court in 1994, but Cisneros’ sentence was overturned due to a legal technicality. She was convicted again in 1998 by a federal court and sentenced to life in prison. Martínez was given a 20-year sentence after pleading guilty and testifying against the two in court. Though U.S. officials tried to have the two assassins extradited, the hitmen never faced trial in Texas. They were prosecuted in Mexico and handed a 15-year sentence. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story from the POV of a middleman in a murder plot

Journaling Prompt: If you could kill someone and get away with it, would you? 

Art Prompt: Murder!

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the story of a murder in your town.

Photo Credit: Henry Marion on Flickr

On the hottest day of July, trolling in dead-calm waters near Key West, a tourist named James Mayberry reeled up a human arm. –Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the first line of the week as the starting point or inspiration for a scene, story, poem, or haiku.

Journaling Prompt: What is the strangest thing you’ve ever caught?

Art Prompt: Trolling

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a fish story.

Photo Credit: anoldent on Flickr

Richard John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan (born 18 December 1934; presumed dead), commonly known as Lord Lucan, was a British peer suspected of murder who disappeared in 1974. He was born into an Anglo-Irish aristocratic family in Marylebone, the eldest son of George Bingham, 6th Earl of Lucan, by his marriage to Kaitlin Dawson…. He developed a taste for gambling and, skilled at backgammon and bridge, became an early member of the Clermont Club. Although his losses often exceeded his winnings, he left his job at a London-based merchant bank and became a professional gambler…

Once considered for the role of James Bond, Lucan was noted for his expensive tastes; he raced power boats and drove an Aston Martin. In 1963 he married Veronica Duncan, with whom he had three children. When the marriage collapsed late in 1972, he moved out of the family home at 46 Lower Belgrave Street, in London’s Belgravia, to a property nearby. A bitter custody battle ensued, which Lucan lost. He began to spy on his wife and record their telephone conversations, apparently obsessed with regaining custody of the children. This fixation, combined with his gambling losses, had a dramatic effect on his life and personal finances.

On the evening of 7 November 1974, the children’s nanny, Sandra Rivett, was bludgeoned to death in the basement of the Lucan family home. Lady Lucan was also attacked; she later identified Lucan as her assailant. As the police began their murder investigation, Lucan telephoned his mother, asking her to collect the children, and then drove a borrowed Ford Corsair to a friend’s house in Uckfield, East Sussex. Hours later, he left the property and was never seen again. The car was found abandoned in Newhaven, its interior stained with blood and its boot containing a piece of bandaged lead pipe similar to one found at the crime scene. A warrant for Lucan’s arrest was issued a few days later, and in his absence the inquest into Rivett’s death named him as her murderer, the last occasion in Britain a coroner’s court was allowed to do so.

Lucan’s fate remains a fascinating mystery for the British public. Since Rivett’s murder, hundreds of reported sightings have been made in various countries around the world, although none have been substantiated. Despite a police investigation and huge press interest, Lucan has not been found and is presumed dead; a death certificate was issued in 2016. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a famous person who gets away with murder by disappearing.

Journaling Prompt: Write about how you feel about royalty and their lifestyles.

Art Prompt: Mysterious disappearance

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the disappearance of Lord Lucan.

Photo Credit: Lord and Lady Lucan on Wikipedia


The caper begins in the late 17th century, when Britain’s future King George I was still Georg Ludwig, prince elector of Hannover, Germany, and his primary residence was Leine Palace. In 1682, Georg married his cousin Sophia Dorothea of Celle. Like many marriages among nobility, theirs was motivated more by politics than by love.

Georg was not a faithful spouse, and neither was Sophia Dorothea. About a decade into her marriage, she began an affair with Philipp Christoph von Königsmark, a Swedish count…

In the summer of 1694, Sophia Dorothea and Königsmark made plans to run away together—but Georg became aware of their affair. On the day the lovers planned to escape, Königsmark mysteriously disappeared and wasn’t seen again. Georg then divorced Sophia Dorothea and imprisoned her miles away in another castle, where she died three decades later. –Skeleton Discovery Reignites 300-Year-Old Royal Murder Mystery By Becky Little

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a suspicious disappearance involving romance and royalty.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about highly publicized romantic triangles among celebrities?

Art Prompt: Romance and Murder

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the story of Georg, Sophie Dorothea, and Königsmark.

Photo Credit: Sophie Dorothea Prinzessin von Ahlden on Wikimedia


On the morning of November 6, 2011, Sky Elijah Metalwala (born September 6, 2009) of Redmond, Washington, United States, was reportedly sick. His mother, Julia Biryukova, said she put him and his older sister in the car along a Bellevue street to go to a nearby hospital; along the way she stated that she ran out of gas, leaving Sky in the car while she went to get help; when she returned he was gone and has not been seen since.

The situation was reported to police, who soon came to doubt Biryukova’s account since her car was found to have enough gas in its tank and was in working order. It also shared similarities with an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit that had been rebroadcast in the Seattle area the night before. Shortly before, Biryukova had decided to withdraw from a mediated custody agreement that was the last stage of an acrimonious divorce from Sky’s father, Solomon Metalwala. Solomon has remained active in assisting police with the investigation, believing Sky’s disappearance was related to the custody dispute.

Biryukova has been less cooperative with the police, although she claims to have no more idea than her ex-husband of what happened to Sky. Although there have been allegations that she neglected Sky when he was in her custody, and state child-welfare agencies have tried to remove a child she had with a later husband with a history of abuse, police have made a “strategic decision” not to charge her with child endangerment for leaving her son in the car on the day he disappeared, to keep their options open if they learn more about Sky’s fate. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a missing child where the parent(s) is/are the suspects.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about parents who harm or kill their children? How do you feel about people who are accused of this with no proof?

Art Prompt: Missing child

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the story of a famous missing child case.

Photo Credit:


“You’ve killed me. Why’d you want to kill me,” he said, and died. The expression of hurt surprise and wounded reproach and sheer inability to understand stayed on his face like a forgotten suitcase left at the station, and gradually hardened there. Prew stood looking down at him, still shocked by the reproving question. –From Here to Eternity by James Jones

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a murder including its impact on the killer.

Journaling Prompt: What do you imagine your last words will be? If you could script them, what would you like them to be?

Art Prompt: Last words

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the last words of famous people.


The telephone bell was ringing wildly, but without result, since there was no-one in the room but the corpse. –War in Heaven by Charles Williams

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the first line of the week as the starting point or inspiration for a scene, story, poem, or haiku.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel when someone doesn’t pick up your call? Why do you feel that way?

Art Prompt: The corpse in the room

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a dramatic story about a mystery in your life.

Photo Credit: Esparta Palma on Flickr