Home » Episodes » Episode 39 – Queens, NY & Xenia, OH (Knock It Off, Ya Numbskull!)

First, Emily takes on the infamous murder of Kitty Genovese – and the (supposed) 38 people who were bystanders to her murder. Then, Rachel talks about the super storm that birthed 148 tornadoes that swept across 13 states, causing massive destruction — especially to Xenia, Ohio. Hopefully, you’re horrified.

Trigger Warning: rape, natural disasters 


Emily 0:14
Hi, welcome to Horrible History. I’m Emily Barlean.

Rachel 0:17
And I’m Rachel Everett-Lozon – how are you?

Emily 0:20
I’m good. I want to give a quick shout out to our newest patron, Dan.

Rachel 0:25
Hey, Dan!

Emily 0:27
Dan’s kind of been with us since the beginning. He’s one of our very first like loyal listeners. So, so glad to have you join us on Patreon. Hope you love all of the extra content. And I hope everyone who’s listening… be more like Dan, join us on Patreon.

Rachel 0:44

WWDD, what would Dan Do?

Emily 0:50
Thank you, Dan. And another random quick reminder at the top instead of at the back of the episode, rate review and subscribe and tell your friends about us like hitting that hitting that five star button makes a big difference. And we would love and appreciate it if you love us. If you can just let us know by hitting that little button.

Rachel 1:11
Tell more people help us sell our merch.

Emily 1:14
Yeah, at the end of the day, it’s all about the hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle.

Rachel 1:22
This week I had to … and maybe I’ll save it and talk about it in horrible minute… But let’s just say I had to do some extreme momming to get ready for this story.

Emily 1:33
You hustle hard girl.

Rachel 1:34
I hustled Where are you going this week?

Emily 1:39
What would you do if I said Boston? No, I’m not. I’m not.

Rachel 1:42
I would punch you in the face through this computer.

Emily 1:45
I am relapsing though. I’m going to New York. I’m going to New York again today. And I promise I’m gonna stop doing this.

Rachel 1:56
Sure. Sure.

Emily 1:56
Seriously, it’s irritating to me. Like I’m starting to irritate myself by like doing this. So this is the last time I promise.

Rachel 2:04
This month.

Emily 2:05
This month at least.

Rachel 2:07
We’ll see. Well fucking see.

Emily 2:08
Yeah, I don’t know … that’s what happens with relapses. Sometimes you can’t control it. Okay. Since I’ve already talked about New York City, I’m just honestly not going to belabor like that point. I’m going to focus my intro on something a little bit different that relates to my story, kind of like with the Chicago story that I did a few weeks ago. But my first question for you. Are you superstitious or a little stitches?

Rachel 2:35
I’m, I’m not superstitious, but I am a little stiff. No, I’m not incredibly superstitious. I do I have a black cat who I love more than anything in the world and he set for my children would have, but like, hmm, even so like I was doing yoga this evening and Franklin, he’s my my cat and he’s chubby and he’s sweet. Every time I do yoga, he comes over and I’ll be in for rolled forward fold and he’ll just lay on my feet. And then like expose his belly like a dog

Emily 3:08
mama pet me.

Rachel 3:11
He wants me to pet his belly. It’s the cutest thing

Emily 3:15
that she’ll like roll over and stretch and be like Mama.

Unknown Speaker 3:18
So cute. So yeah,

Rachel 3:21
I think it’s very good luck that my black cat crosses my path.

Emily 3:25
Yes. Well, how do you feel about Friday the 13th I’m

Rachel 3:30
neutral. Every time I see it. I’m like, ooh, spooky, but I don’t know why.

Emily 3:35
Right. Well, so this episode is dropping on the 12th Thursday the 12th which means if you’re listening on the day, it drops Tomorrow is Friday the 13th. And so even if you aren’t seditious at all about Friday the 13th It is so famously unlucky that there’s actually a phobia dedicated to it. Really get this here’s the name of the phobia frigate. frigate Tris gaid. Anyway, I can do this. After you get your triscuit deca phobia frigga trick a desk a phobia.

Rachel 4:13
Okay. So there is a phobia of Friday the 13th 23

Emily 4:18
letters long. It was just capturing yet maybe 20 to 22 or 23 letters long for good trischka deca phobia is the phobia of Friday the 13th

Rachel 4:28
gala fragile lipstick I’m a little stashes.

Emily 4:31
Trotsky a phobia as well and so even if you don’t personally put any stock into the fear there are actually a lot of people that do according to CNBC, and the stress management center and phobia Institute. In a normal year between 700 to $800 million are lost every Friday the 13th because people are afraid to shop, try or conduct business?

Rachel 5:02
I have a full day of clients on Friday the 13th. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a therapist, so maybe they’re scared but I’m still conducting business

Emily 5:11
you’re being God because maybe they all have forget trick a deca bla bla phobia, whatever it’s called.

Rachel 5:15
I mean, I’ve not diagnosed any of them with that, but please tell me about it. Maybe I should.

Emily 5:22
Well, so a few things that have happened on Friday the 13th throughout the years, just to like, give you some insight as to whether or not you should start being afraid of it. Sure. Um, Uruguayan flight 571 was headed towards Chile when it crashed landed in the Andes on October 13 1972. Okay, the KKK Grandmaster Nathan Bedford Forrest was born on July 13 1821.

Rachel 5:50
So that seems bad. Yeah, that’s not great. That’s bad luck.

Emily 5:54
The January 13 1939 Black Friday bushfires consumed the the area and 71 people died directly from the fire. Another 438 from the resulting heatwave and 575,000 Hector hectares of land were burned to a crisp. Also, the German forces during World War Two bombed Buckingham Palace on September 13 1940. Wow. And Tupac died on Friday, September 13th 1996.

Rachel 6:28
Really, that was a Friday the 13th

Emily 6:32
one additional terrible horrible no good thing that happened on a Friday the 13th is an infamous murder. And the story I’m going to be telling you tonight. Okay, the murder of Kitty Genovese. Oh,

Rachel 6:47
this one was on my list.

Emily 6:50
today. So good. It’s been fascinating to research. So I’m excited to tell you about it. Okay, let’s do it. Most anyone who’s into true crime, at least knows the jest behind the story of Kenny Jett, Kitty Genovese. She was brutally murdered outside of her apartment 38 people watched but did nothing. Or that’s, you know the story that’s told. It is the event that ended up coining a term now known as the bystander effect. And the true story has some differences to it, then the lore that is Kijiji, which I’ll be sharing with you. So just as a heads up and a like nod, I got a lot of great information from a site called simply psychology. So like major kudos to them for their thorough research on this, especially on the bystander effect. Awesome. First, I want to talk about Katherine Susan Kitty Genovese, and who she was. So kitty was born on July 7 1935, in Brooklyn, New York. She was born to Italian American parents, and she was the oldest of five. So kitty and her siblings were raised in a four family row house in Park Slope, which is a neighborhood known for Italian and Irish families. As a teenager, she attended prospect Heights High School, which is an all girl school where she really thrived in English and music classes. She was elected the class cut up among her graduating class. And she was always known as being super talkative and energetic. She was super popular in school. But in 1954, her mother actually witnessed a murder. What I know right, and that prompted the family to move out of the city because they were like, no, New York is scary. We’re not living here anymore. So they moved to New Canaan, Connecticut. Okay, but Kenny had just graduated from high school, so she decided to stay in New York. She moved in with her grandparents and was preparing for her upcoming marriage to Rocco Anthony. Fazal air, which just made me laugh because Rocco I was like he’s having a modern life.

Rachel 9:17
I was just thinking, wouldn’t that be a cute name for an animal? Yeah.

Emily 9:21
Not a human though.

Rachel 9:22
I mean, no offense, if that’s your name, but

Emily 9:24
maybe it’s like a nickname like a Rocco.

Rachel 9:27
I don’t know. One time I went. I went on one date back in my 20s with a guy named Rocky and I was like, was that a nickname for and he’s like, it’s not.

Emily 9:36
Okay, you’re like, Oh, nevermind, one day. And that is why. So Rocco was an army officer and an engineer. And he dated kitty while he was in college, and she was in high school.

Rachel 9:52
And now but maybe not as much then.

Emily 9:55
Yeah, right. And they did get married on October 31 19. 54

Rachel 10:01
but Halloween.

Emily 10:02
Oh, I know, right. But the marriage was actually an old and they separated in 1956 The reason why their marriage was an old will become apparent. Oh, yeah, I

Rachel 10:15
saw on your face that you were going to tell me so I didn’t ask. Don’t trust Emily with your secrets. She’s like,

Emily 10:26
I know something. I’m going to tell it to you in a very public way. Luckily, she’s not the therapist. Oh my god, I have to tell you something.

Unknown Speaker 10:37
Good to see you. Great.

Emily 10:42
Well, in the late 1950s, Kitty decided to stretch her new independent woman legs and she moved to an apartment of her own in Brooklyn. And she started working as a bartender. It said that she decided to be a bartender because she was a secretary and she was like this shits boring. She moved on to bigger and better things. Respect. I know, right? She was apparently a really good bartender too. Like everyone loved her. She was like, the light of the bar. She got great tips. She made a ton of money because she was just like, lovely. Yeah. But in August of 1961, she was actually arrested for bookmaking for like placing bets. So she was taking bets on horse races from bar patrons, and I guess one of them ended up being an undercover cop. Well, guess how much the bet was for that? Got her arrested? $10 $9. So close, so close. It’s $10 in today’s money? No. $9 but so she did get arrested and fined $50. Right? I read somewhere that, you know, Genovese was actually a pretty prominent like Italian name. And there was a mob boss back in those days who had the same name. And so it’s possible she got the book thrown at her a bit like to make an example of her. But

Rachel 12:09
even though they weren’t related, it was just popular last name.

Emily 12:12
Exactly. But, you know, Kitty was resourceful. And so after she lost her job because she had gotten arrested on the job. She got a new job in a new bar called EVs. 11th hour bar in Queens, okay. And she eventually became the manager, because she was filling in for an absentee owner. And she said that she had a dream of one day opening her own Italian restaurant, which I just find precious.

Rachel 12:41
That’s really cute.

Emily 12:43
I love that. I love it. Well, so here comes the reason why it’s gonna be real obvious why she got her marriage annulled. On March 13 1963, Kitty met Mary and ceylinco or Z lanco at swing rendezvous, which was an underground lesbian bar in in Greenwich Village. And the two fell fast for each other and apparently decided to move in together like really quickly. I know apparently, apparently, Kitty had some real game and was like super bold, which is so precious. She walked up to marry and when they met, and she was like, Don’t I know you? And Marianne was like, I don’t think so. And kitty was like, I think I do. I’m kitty. And like, told her she was gonna call her and they basically like, got together really quickly. And within a few weeks, we’re like, we want to live together. Like, wow, they knew right away Marianne even said, She’s quoted saying sometimes you just meet someone and you just know. So it’s really cute. So they decided to move in together, and they found an apartment on the second floor of a two storey building next to the Long Island Railroad or the LIRR in Kew Gardens, Queens, which was kind of notorious for being a super safe location, almost like a suburb. So it was not like urban, very, you know, dangerous or crime ridden. It was a nice quiet little place.

Rachel 14:20
I’m picturing like, the fancy part where you have the brownstones and their sidewalks everywhere and everything. It’s just very cute.

Emily 14:27
Yeah, that’s exactly how I picture it too. Like, it’s not it doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of like honking from Time Square, like you would, you know, picture from a more urban part of New York like, right, it’s more of a quiet, quiet part of town. Unfortunately, this almost suburb safe part of town did not provide a veil of safety. And this new apartment in Kew Gardens would be the last place that kitty ever lived because on March 13 A year after she met Marianne, she was murdered. They were only together for a year. I.

Rachel 15:10
So for those of you who are new, my brain uses humor slash weirdness, slash whatever to cope with tragedy and trauma. And that’s part of the reason I’m a therapist because I can compartmentalize, and I’m better at my job that way. Would you rather spend your entire life married like, once a 5060 years to a person who’s like, they’re fine. You know what I mean? Like, they’re good, like, nothing to complain in the relationship, or meet the love of your life and only get a year with them?

Emily 15:42
And then die, and me die or them die, either, would it change your answer? Because if it’s me died, then I think I’d go with the ladder. Because then I don’t have to live the rest of my life suffering. Yeah,

Rachel 15:56
knowing that no one will compare because you just met the love of your life.

Emily 15:59
Yeah, like, but I think if it’s then die, I might pick the first because that, especially because they’re literally like, in their early 20s. So that’s a lot. It’s a good life to be like, Well, my new husband is great, but it’s not the same as that guy was with before he was murdered. And like your trauma of them being murdered on top. Yeah, you know, it’s like, oh, someone who dated someone and was fully in love with them for three years. And then one day, we were in love, and the next day, it was just gone. Not because they died, but because their real personality was unveiled to me and they had been cheating on me for three years. Like, that took a long, long freakin time to get over. Yeah, in fact, I still am not fully over it in many ways. So I don’t know. I remember telling people It feels like he died. Like, it feels like the person I thought he was died. And in his place is this creep that I didn’t even know. And so I can’t imagine someone actually being murdered and dying. So instantly, you know, like, I don’t know, what did you What do you think?

Rachel 17:14
I’m with you, I think if I’m the one to die, fine, because then I don’t have to suffer the rest of my life. But if I’m choosing that, and in choosing that I’m saying, I think the love of my life should die so that I can have a year of them. Yeah, I am not so much on board with that ethically. But I also don’t think I could be in just a mediocre relationship forever. I think I’m gonna choose cats.

Emily 17:42
My 3.5 cat’s three real one ghost when ghost. Okay, so let’s talk about the tragic murder that took place one year to the day after Maryann and kitty met each other. Okay, so kitty works at a bar. So obviously, she’s coming home from work late at night. So it’s about 230 in the morning, when she begins her drive home to her apartment. And she’s, you know, eager to get home see her girlfriend. It’s their first anniversary. So you know, I’m sure they have plans. Oh, yeah, it just adds a layer of shit.

Rachel 18:17

Emily 18:18
well, so at a traffic light. Kitty was first spotted by Winston Moseley as he sat in his parked car.

Rachel 18:27
He sounds like a villain in a movie. Winston Moseley, you could just see the mustache twisting.

Emily 18:35
So Mosley was a 28 year old man, he punched data cards for a business Machine Company, so kind of menial labor. He had left his wife and two sons asleep in their home at around 1am, so that he could literally drive around for hours, with a sharp hunting knife in his pocket looking for a victim.

Rachel 18:59
Was he having some sort of mental break? Was he on something? Or was he just

Emily 19:05
a psychopath? Just a psychopath. And I’ll share a little more about him later. But like, he, here’s just an anecdote. He later told police that he was literally looking for a white lady to kill. He’s a black man. So he was just like, out there looking to kill people.

Rachel 19:24
Yeah, that’s awful. But also like, it really makes me angry on behalf of like, the black community at that time, because this is, what did you say? The 20s This

Emily 19:37
is 64

Rachel 19:38
Oh, 64. So like, right in the here, this is the right, man. Listen, that’s not going to do great things for the cause. And this is like, one psychopath, like his ethnicity had nothing to do with what he did.

Emily 19:54
Absolutely. It actually in the end, what we’ll talk about a little later is like has more to do with the fact that well, I’ll just give some of it away. Like, he also killed other people pre kitty. But like a black woman.

Rachel 20:10

Emily 20:11
Did she get national news? Still remember 70 years later? Like No. But oh, Kitty, you know,

Rachel 20:19
cute white lady.

Emily 20:21
Yeah becomes the like worldwide psychology metaphor that’s used to this day, you know, like, yeah, it’s crazy. But yes, so he’s out stalking his prey essentially. And he finally spots kitty around 3am. And so about 45 minutes from the time that she left the bar, she gets home, she parks her car in the L i r r, the railroad parking lot, because I guess there wasn’t a lot of good parking by the apartment complex. And so that was a spot where people who lived in the complex could park for free. It was kind of like, like a cell phone lot is now you know, like, you can leave your car when you are commuter to go into the city. So she gets out of her car. And she’s not that far from her apartment complex. But she does have to like cross the street to get back to her apartment. And so in that moment, as she’s walking towards the complex, Winston Moseley exits his vehicle, which was parked at a bus stop and approach kitty with that hunting knife in his hand. And she saw him coming, and kind of like got scared and tried to start like quickly walking, you know, run towards the front door, but he quickly overtook her and stabbed her twice in the back. And kitty actually screamed when he did this. Oh, my God, he stabbed me helped me. So she actually like, let out her first scream at this moment. This was also the stab that actually punctured her lung. And like started the process of her death, essentially, because she started to suffocate. But that’s not a quick death either. So

Rachel 22:05
no terrible way to die.

Emily 22:08
Yes. So she’s now shouted out, oh, my God, he stabbed me help. She’s running away from him. But it’s three in the morning. Like, who’s awake? At that time? Like, yeah, hotspots nearby are closed. Most people are asleep.

Rachel 22:24
And she lives in a cute neighborhood. It’s not the city where you might expect

Emily 22:29
it’s not a hoppin area. Yeah, exactly. And keep in mind, at this time, there are not those like, every 10 feet streetlights like. This was kind of pre that. And this instance, is actually one that caused governments to start saying, like, we should put streetlights. You know,

Rachel 22:53
you fucking think. Yeah, yeah.

Emily 22:56
So it’s dark. People are asleep. And they’re in the suburbs, essentially, I will say, a man named Robert Moser who was one of kitties neighbors didn’t wake up and kind of see like some scuffle happening. And so he actually called out his window. Leave that girl alone.

Rachel 23:15
Wow, great helping. Really great. You know who listens to that maniacs with knives? Oh, you’re right, bro. What am I doing? I’m so sorry. Yeah.

Emily 23:26
But so I was listening to a podcast about this crime. And one thing they brought up that was interesting is like, this is the 60s. Like, this is a time when husband’s having scuffles with their wives was kind of ignored. You know, it’s like, oh, that might just be a domestic situation. I’m not gonna get involved with it. But also,

Rachel 23:49
if it was a black man and a white woman, I don’t think most people would assume that they were married. Not in the 60s. But

Emily 23:56
I don’t think he could have seen this was he’d scream and like, oh, okay, you know, yelled out his window, Hey, leave her alone or whatever. Okay, that makes sense. There was one man whose name was Joseph Fink. And he was the assistant super of the apartment building. And he was in a building across the street on the ground floor directly could look out and see what was happening. He even reported later that he saw the shine of a knife blade, saw her being attacked. literally said I thought about going downstairs and getting my baseball bat but I decided to take a nap instead. What? Yeah.

Rachel 24:37
No, no,

Emily 24:39
that guy is a shithead. for

Rachel 24:42
that. That’s not bystanders syndrome, or bystander effect. Yeah, being a dick.

Emily 24:48
Yeah, exactly. So congrats. Just a think you’re the deck of this story. Yeah, and you didn’t even stop anyone. Right gratulations So, I will say that this interruption from the neighbor who yelled out the window did kind of spook Mosley and he actually ran off. So he gets back in his car. He actually like, moves his car has the wherewithal to like move his car to a different place because he doesn’t want anyone to see him in case someone comes. But he’s sitting there and waiting to hear if he hears like cops coming or not. Yeah. Meanwhile, Kitty is struggling. She’s been stabbed two times in the back, but she gets to her feet. Miraculously. She doesn’t have any wounds that are fatal yet. You know, her lung is starting to collapse, but she’s moving. So she gets to her buildings entrance. But right as she gets inside the entrance, she collapses right by the stairs. So she’s kind of in the vestibule now.

Rachel 25:55
Good. Are we on the phone?

Emily 26:01
I love enjoy respond. He’s like, he says something back. You

Rachel 26:05
thought I hadn’t thought about that.

Emily 26:08
Friends? Yeah, some words like I just can’t even see the word vestibule and not think about that. But same. Anyhow, like I said Mosley had driven away. He covered his face, he switched hats. He’s like, he’s very well thought out. Here he is changing his look. So if anyone sees and they’re not gonna think, Oh, it’s a first attacker. It’s just you know, a new person who just can’t help themselves. So he returns to scope out the situation. And what he finds is Kinney laying there like barely conscious in a hallway at the back of this building, out of sight from neighbors people on the street. And he took advantage of that, of course, and repeatedly stabbed her before raping her, and then stealing $49 from her. And so chillingly chilling. This man named Karl Ross, one of the neighbors actually opened his door sees what’s happening with Moseley. It quickly closes the door, Mosley sees that someone has seen him sees that this person close their door back up continues his attack. Like how bold is that? Yeah. Creepy.

Rachel 27:29
Yeah. And he’s probably I mean, you and I talk about this all the time. We can’t put our own logic on psychopath object. But like, if somebody closes the door, I might think, okay, they’re calling the cops. But how long? Is it going to take the cops to get here? Can I finish this task first? Yeah, because that’s what it is. And it’s like a calculated

Emily 27:52
task. Exactly. So Carl, the neighbor actually goes inside and calls a friend and is like, should I call the police? Yes. Which seems at first, I had the same instinct of like, What is wrong with you people like yes. But here’s the thing. Carl was a gay man. And so we need to kind of think through what the social situation was in 1964. Because he kind of said later, like, he just didn’t want to get involved. And it seems so like, how can you not want to get involved with a murder, like someone’s being killed? But it’s also this concept of like, you know, who’s okay with calling the police? Like people who aren’t afraid of the police? Yeah. Yeah. And a gay man in the 60s is someone who maybe was afraid to call the police. Like, literally, it was illegal back then to be gay. So something to take into consideration.

Rachel 28:55
Yeah, I mean, we could get real political here and talk about the Black Lives Matter movement, how there still populations in this country and other countries who don’t feel safe calling the police because they feel like there’s a target on their back. And it’s a really good conversation that have as to white ladies with some privilege to say, I would have never thought about it like that. Exactly. Right, because we don’t have to. And I think it’s worth noting that we will never understand that experience. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not happening.

Emily 29:27
Totally happening. I know. When I went to St. Louis in June, I went and we volunteered at a organization that supports trans people in St. Louis. And they were talking about how so many of them are afraid to go to the police for things like hate crimes against them or anything because there’s just a prejudice against them. That takes precedence over them feeling comfortable calling authorities and that was insanely prevalent back in the 60s. Like I said it was illegal. It was considered sexual deviants, right. There were whole sting operations set up. I read about a few where it’s like, police would go to a gay bar, and like, sit and talk to him a man for hours until they were like, Well, do you want to come home with me? And then they leave the bar and arrest them.

Rachel 30:18
So stupid. There’s a really good South Park episode that makes fun of stuff like that. How inefficient

Emily 30:24
time to put into one thing. Yeah.

Rachel 30:26
Now in the South Park episode, the undercover cop is trying to bust this pimp that he ends up like, going undercover and like having sex with the pimp and it’s like I went too far. But that’s like marrying him at the like other a year anniversary. He’s like, freeze.

Emily 30:43
Sounds like gay coin.

relationship now dammit. How? Know. But

Rachel 30:52
in the 60s too. You have to remember homosexuality was still in the DSM, the therapy Bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual as a mental illness. Hmm. Which obviously it’s not anymore, but like therapeutic communities that are supposed to be a safe space for all people have not always been. So we need to keep that in mind as well. Yeah.

Emily 31:13
So Carl did eventually go he actually went to a neighbor’s house and asked her to call because like I said, he just was so afraid to get involved. But he did do something. So it’s not like he just was like, I’m gonna go take a nap. Yeah, like, well,

Rachel 31:31
he’s not an asshole. He has a valid reason to think twice about calling the police. Exactly.

Emily 31:37
So Meanwhile, after Mosley flees, a woman named Sophia for pfarrer, Farrar, who is actually a friend of kitties, a neighbor of kitties comes out, you know, leaves, isn’t sure if the murders coming back or not. But she does, like, in a way risk her own life. And she goes out to tend to kitty and actually holds Kitty in her arms until the ambulance arrives to comfort her and help her, you know, try to help her. Wow, it was 4:15am that kitty was picked up by the ambulance. And I The other thing I just want to call out here is that this was pre 911. So that’s another big caveat here. This was the time when to call the police. Do you have to like operate out what your local police’s number is? Oh, yeah, the operator like, it’s not some simple like dial three numbers and you access everyone you need to like, that didn’t happen till 1968. Four years later, again, we partially because of instances like this. But so that’s another thing to add to this whole, like, everyone saw it happen and didn’t do anything. You know, it wasn’t as easy to do something either. Yeah. But the ambulance came and picked her up. And unfortunately, the stab wounds that she had sustained, proved to be fatal. She died before they made it to the hospital. And she was actually buried Three days later in Lakeview Cemetery in New Canaan, Connecticut, where her family had moved. One sad thing that I didn’t write down but I’ll note it here is like Maryanne. her girlfriend, couldn’t go to the hospital, and be recognized as Katie’s partner in news reports, or whatever it was, I mean, it probably wasn’t reported at all, but it’s like a roommate, her roommate. Yeah, like, when people came to, like, talk to her if she just said like, I’m her roommate, which is just like, the roommate doesn’t get invited to the funeral. You know, or people don’t understand why the roommates mourning so deeply or whatever. But anyways, that’s another sad cat. Yeah, but I mean,

Rachel 33:59
I don’t know. Cuz, like, I, again, the places my brain goes, like, I, my former roommate, Jessie, and I have never had a sexual relationship. But like, she is one of the most important people in the world to me, like I saw her this morning. Hi, Jess. And I hadn’t seen her in like two years about Well, I mean, we FaceTime every Sunday, but like, we have a very close relationship. So if I wasn’t invited to her funeral, I would be pissed, Nick, if you’re throwing it, what the fuck man? Hey, man, but the hail. Next her husband.

Emily 34:34
It’s fine. Seriously? Yeah. But you know, it’s just like, one of those things where she doesn’t get to be counted as family or whatever, right? It’s a sad, sad it is. I thought you were gonna say for some reason, this is where my brain went. I bet you’re saying I don’t know in college. They tell you if your roommate dies, you get all A’s or something.

Rachel 34:57
I don’t think that’s true.

Emily 34:58
I don’t know. I’ve never it’s never have been confirmed or denied to me now. Well, so following the incident, the coroner’s report revealed that kitty had suffered 13 stab wounds and several other defensive wounds. So she tried to fight back hard, but unfortunately, that did not work out. So homicide detectives Of course begin trying to figure out who killed her. And who did they start with Maryann, her roommate slash partner. So the police know that they’re romantically involved. And so they take Mary Ann and question her grill her for hours. They’re all you know, well, sexual deviants. Like you’re already a criminal, essentially. So Oh, my God, you know, you’re probably also a murder because being a lesbian and being a murder, same these same thing.

Rachel 35:51
Right, like, raping someone versus being a lesbian? Yeah,

Emily 35:56

Rachel 35:58
Like so many eyeballs,

Emily 36:00
so many, so many, well, so get this. They even ask Marian things like, what kind of positions do you use?

Rachel 36:08
That’s just cops trying to get themselves off. This for porn was widely available, because there was no internet. So you had to like, be creepy and have your magazines and do whatever. Come on. Cops, like do better. That’s gross.

Emily 36:23
So Marianne actually says like, she reported many years afterwards that she was that was one of the things she regretted, was telling them like going into those details for them because they were grilling her on them. But one cop tried to defend them selves later. And they were like, you know, women are notoriously more jealous. And jealousy is a prime motive for murder. And we found that lesbians are more jealous than heterosexual women. So we had every right to believe that she was the killer.

Rachel 36:57
Really? You’ve done some some clinical studies? Have you?

Emily 37:01
Yeah, like, I in my spare time I do psychological study. Ah,

Rachel 37:06
well, and also, if you do any fucking research, you would know that women are less likely to commit violent crimes in that way. Like they’ll poison you. They’ll for sure poison you

Emily 37:16
will poison the shit out of you, but

Rachel 37:18
we’re not gonna stab you. But in terms of stabbing not so much. That’s usually a man not that women don’t, but it’s just less less common.

Emily 37:25
Exactly. So eventually, they just missed her as a suspect, thank goodness, but not before, you know, traumatizing Marianne. So six days after the murder, Winston Moseley was actually arrested for suspected robbery in Ozone Park, Queens. He stole a TV and someone saw him putting the TV into the trunk of his white Chevrolet Corvair and a detective member that someone had reported a white Chevrolet Corvair at the scene of Kitty’s murder. So they went on to question Winston. And he actually admitted as I mentioned earlier, to having murdered kitty and two other women, and the maid Johnson and Barbara Kralik. So yeah, he was arrested. Thankfully, he was arrested and he was found guilty of all three murders and sentenced to death on June 15 1964. But his sentence was later reduced to 20 years to life. But then, this creep gets a can finds a like an aluminum can, from the commissary and trigger this is shocking, shoves it so far up his rectum, that they have to take him to the hospital because the prison doctors can’t get it out. Which is honestly slightly impressive. I mean, Al That’s a lot. How do you do that? I don’t know.

Rachel 38:59
I mean, look, not to kink shame, but do Oh,

Emily 39:02
it sounds painful. That’s Yes, there’s riches. Okay. Of course, this was all a plan, because then it gets taken to the civilian hospital where he escapes. No. And while he’s out he rapes multiple women and holds several people hostage.

Rachel 39:23
He’s the can still up his rectum. This is a detail I need to know.

Emily 39:29
Soon No, but I cannot confirm or deny. I mean, I feel like that would distract me from being able to attack and rape people. But yeah, but

Rachel 39:41
how many people are you attacking and raping? You can’t put yourself inside the mind of a psychopath. It’s

Emily 39:47
true. I’ve not ever shoved anything up my rectum or attacked and raped people. So

Rachel 39:53
who knows? Not that we’re saying those things are mutually exclusive. But here at horrible history. We’ve done neither We’re very vanilla. Very Vanilla. That would have been a good name for this podcast. It’s

Emily 40:05
very vanilla. And of course it would be because it’s also Vivi. We love the alliteration. Very Vanilla. I, I was talking to one of my friends who’s a listener and a patron and just bought some horrible history merge. Hey, Jimmy, thanks so much. Hey, he was like, I’m, I’m excited to rep h squared. He’s like, that was the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever typed. But I didn’t delete it. And I was like, No, we love that. Like, we’ve got h squared and t squared and h to the fourth power. We’re all about it. So VBA is our next big show we’re gonna put out that’s cute, for sure. Eventually, Winston is caught. And an additional 30 years is added to his sentence. And he was denied parole 18 times. Thank God. Yeah, and died in prison on March 28 2016. At Wow, one years old.

Rachel 41:08
That’s recent. I

Emily 41:09
know. Right. So let’s talk a little bit about the bystander effect. Okay, in this story, it starts with the media. So other than a short blurb, titled queens woman is stabbed to death in front of home that appeared in The New York Times on March 14, the day after her murder, kiddies murdered didn’t really actually receive very much media attention in the first few days following the incident. But two weeks later, New York City Commissioner Michael Murphy, was having lunch with the times editor Abraham Rosenthal. And apparently, he spent most of the lunch talking about how worried he was that the civil rights movement, which was at its peak, was going to set off racial violence in New York. And so then, eventually, he mentions this murder that happened and how it was one for the books like quite the crazy murder. And this finally motivated the news outlet to produce a story. Side note, you know, little sidebar here. 600 people were murdered in New York that year in New York City that year, Kitty was the one that got the news coverage. Annie Marie Johnson, the black woman that Winston mostly murdered, no news coverage, nothing cute white lady essentially turned into a metaphor, you know. So this Martin ganz Berg, who worked for the times, wrote a story and it was titled 38, who saw murder didn’t call police. And it was published two weeks later, on March 27. And it began for more than half an hour 38 respectable, law abiding citizens and Queens watched a killer stock and stab a woman in three separate attacks in Kew Gardens.

Rachel 43:08
Now, I’ve been following along pretty closely to your story. And that doesn’t sound like what happened.

Emily 43:15
Some major fact checking should have taken place, but it did not. Yes. As we’ve listened, as we’ve heard, there were not three attacks. There were only two. And as we’ve talked about a little bit here and there, this whole concept of 38 people is way over estimated. Yeah, it was nighttime people were sleeping. Like it was dead people was 3am. It was in the morning, you know, all this different stuff. But what a flashy headline, not as flashy as headless body topless bar. But yeah. It was flashy, and it made national headlines. And this whole, like presumed public apathy started this kind of widespread discussion about bystander intervention. And so I will say before we get into the psychology of it, as we’ve just kind of said tongue in cheek, but like 38 witnesses way over estimated? Yeah, that is not even close to how many there were. In 2004, Charles schooler, who was the former Queen’s assistant district attorney, told another journalist that he really doubted that the storyline in The Times article was at all correct. He was like, I don’t think 38 people witnessed it. I don’t know where that came from. I never counted 38 like we found half a dozen that maybe saw what was going on. And of those people like some of them intervened some of them did call police you know, they failed to mention Sophia Farrar, the neighbor that Hello Kitty in her arms while she died like they didn’t talk about Carl Ross at all who did end up calling the police It just took him a little while to do so like,

Rachel 45:02
yeah, for valid reasons, right? Like,

Emily 45:04
there were actually reports of multiple calls coming into the police. And there were other reports from witnesses who were like, We did not realize that her cries were calls for help. And I’m sure there were multiple instances of people fast, freaking asleep and didn’t wake up because I sleep like the dead when I sleep. If anyone screamed outside my house, I don’t think I wake up to be honest. Yeah, maybe if you scream in my face. Definitely, at that point,

Rachel 45:31
I think you’ve got more to worry about waking up if someone is in your house expectedly screaming at your face.

Emily 45:37
I just roll over. I’m like, what, Oh, my God.

She says,

but all of this taken into account, media reports were all about how if people would have just taken action, the police would have done their jobs. You know, it wasn’t on the police. It was the people these horrible people who didn’t call in. And it’s just like, why would the city Commissioner have wanted to push this this story? You know, like, this was a time when police were kind of notoriously distrusted. And so of course, the commissioner wants to push this talk about urban apathy and like, turning this story into something other than what it was this whole thing of like, it would have been fine if you just would have called our friends, the police. And that’s just not what the actual story is. Yeah, we’re not gonna get into the police part of it. Could be a whole nother conversation.

Rachel 46:38
Yeah, yeah.

Emily 46:41
But, as we’ve said, This attack does represent a common psychological phenomenon. That’s now recognized, often, right, the bystander effect. So let’s talk psychology. This is your area of expertise. So please jump in, correct me, this is all just stuff I’ve researched. So who knows if it’s right. I trust you more than that.

Rachel 47:07
Thank you.

Emily 47:09
So the bystander effect refers to the tendency to be less likely to assist a victim when other people are present. And that it can be difficult to know how to act in a high pressure situation in which an individual appears to be in danger. So apparently, psychologists have devised some like decision models of bystander intervention. And according to social psychologists, a bystander actually progresses through a five step decision making process before intervening in an emergency situation. So the five steps are one new notices something’s wrong to you define the situation as an emergency. Three, you decide whether you’re personally responsible to act, four, choose how to help and five implement the chosen helping behavior. So some another like decision model is referred to as like a more common cost benefit analysis. So where the bystanders are like weighing the costs and the benefits of helping someone so justifying their decision based on if the action is going to provide a good outcome for themselves as well.

Rachel 48:26
And I’ll just throw out there. It sounds like it would take a long time. But that sort of decision making in an emergency situation is done. Yeah. instinctually.

Emily 48:36
Yeah. And you run through it all, like in a few seconds in your head,

Rachel 48:41
and some of it to his subconscious, right. Like we’ve talked about a fight or flight response or freeze. That’s like the secret f that nobody talks about. A lot of people freeze in a crisis situation. And it’s the reason why a lot of mental health providers and I’m assuming a lot of law enforcement officers, first responders are those people, we have crisis training, because you you have to get a certain level of training and crisis every year so that it’s second nature. That way if there is an emergency situation that can kick in, because if you’re in a fight, flight, freeze response or even close to it, and you don’t know what to do, how are you supposed to know how to act? Right? Your brain and body are working against you in that minute?

Emily 49:27
Exactly. Yeah, I was trying to think through it myself and thinking like, honestly, if I was sitting here in my house, and I heard this happened to me in St. Louis, like I’ve been sitting in my home and heard a gunshot I didn’t call anybody you know, like granted I didn’t see someone physically out my window like being right dabbed, but it was that thing of like, I’m sure someone else will call like, I’m not involved.

Rachel 49:55
Right. And then like, what if it was a car backfiring or what if I am just Some crazy caring calling the police, you know,

Emily 50:03
I lived for a long time above, in an apartment, I lived above a couple that screamed bloody murder at each other. And like, it was scary sometimes to hear, but it was that thing of like, this is that cost benefit analysis where I’m like, if I call the police, they’re gonna know it was me. And I don’t want to get involved. But like, in reality, he could have killed that, like he could have killed her. And I would have never had done anything like I did call the police one time because it got really, really bad. But yeah, I mean, it was one time out of hundreds of times. So

Rachel 50:39
yeah, I’m just like you said, like, how much personal responsibility do I have? And that cost benefit analysis like for that one guy who did call, right? It’s like, will somebody else call if I don’t? And if I do, am I in danger of BIA analyzed?

Emily 50:56
Exactly. And I did read something that said that Karl, eventually, the man, the man that called he eventually left town, like he actually literally was so afraid of what the, the negative effect was going to be to him from his stepping in that he moved. Wow. And I read somewhere else, that Marianne actually lost a lot of friends after the fact because of this whole concept where she was taken in and interviewed and exposed as a lesbian and a lot of their friends from their like community that they had distanced themselves from her because it was like, we’re afraid that we’re gonna get outed and like, that could be the rest of us. And so it’s just like, certainly, Sam has a lot to take into consideration in terms of what’s going to how it’s going to affect you. And it sounds. I think in like, at a first glance, to me, it sounds selfish, like I, I can’t believe I would, I would definitely call if someone was being stabbed. But I just gave two examples of times when I was like, I don’t know. So I think it’s also in our nature to want to protect ourselves. You know,

Rachel 52:06
listen, everyone’s the hero in their own story. Like, we all think this is what I would do. It happens. Yeah, we don’t always have that kind of control, like our instincts take over. That’s the fight, fight, fight, flight or freeze. So I think it doesn’t always matter what we think we would do. And we just hope we have some training. We have some know how, and if you’re not already trained in you know, first aid, CPR, whatever. You’ve never had that we have cell phones call 911. Yeah. Yeah. Now we do see something, say something.

Emily 52:39
Yeah, God. Yeah. Okay, so there are several factors that affect the magnitude of the bystander effect also. And that’s a lot like the extent to which the situations labeled as an emergency is a lot going to affect how likely someone is to act. There was a study done in 1970, where a student asked participants in one condition, if they could spare a dime, and participants in another condition if they could spare a dime, because their wallet had been stolen. And only 34% of people who were simply asked to give a dime did the 72% of people did when the explanation was given. So that’s kind of this like, that makes sense. determining how dire the situation is can affect whether or not you’re going to act? Sure. Another study actually collected data from efms officials who revealed that the response of bystanders was directly correlated to the health severity of the situation. So yeah, it’s like, well, she’s dying versus like, well, they’re okay. You’ll be fine. If they’re bleeding. That’s fine. Yeah, well, it’s like the person who’s like, this thought that maybe people thought it was a domestic disturbance, where it’s like, well, maybe someone’s slapping her around, but it’s not gonna kill her. So I’ll just shout out my window like, Hey, leave her alone.

Rachel 54:09
Knock it off. Yeah. animschool.

Emily 54:11
Yeah, numbskull. So these kinds of studies do demonstrate that like when a situation is perceived to be particularly threatening or unusual than bystander interventions, more likely. Another factor that contributes to the severity of the bystander effect is group memberships. So in other words, when the number of bystanders increase the effect increases. Yeah. And the if the victim is an individual, same group, they’re more likely to act to.

Rachel 54:46
Yeah, that makes sense.

Emily 54:48
Yeah. So these are two of like a lot of factors that go into what extent the bystander effect is occurring at but I feel ultimately it’s important to try to like, prevent factors that are going to hinder an individual’s likelihood of intervening I guess, like you said, like, get trained. You know or call. Just call somebody, buddy. Yeah, not your not your friend. But usually now we have 911. So yeah, can call that number. It’s super easy three numbers. But so here’s the thing, like, as we talked about before, despite all the reports claiming that 38 horrible assholes were there, like peeking out their blinds watching her get stabbed to death, like

Rachel 55:33
38 horrible asshole. That is a headline that would make me want to click.

Emily 55:39
Yeah, I’m like, are they stinky? What’s happened? Yeah.

But so articles, documentaries, lots of things have since been created to show like the other side of the story, to kind of demonstrate the fact that that’s not exactly what happened. Like I said, there was an article by the times in 2004, that like questioned the claims about the initial report that they made. And a 2007 study demonstrated that there was zero evidence that there were 38 witnesses, and because of the layout of the apartment complex, and because there were these two separate attacks, not three, it’s likely like no one saw the entire sequence of events. And so there may have been like a dozen people that heard or saw a part of the attack. But you know, many of them assumed it to be a drunken brawl, or a domestic quarrel. And some people did call an offer help, like, really only that think guy who took a nap is actually was an asshole and was like, and someone else will take care of it. Yeah. Plus, on top of all that her initial attack was a was a punctured lung. And so it’s really, really hard to scream. Yeah, at any volume when you have a punctured lung. So there’s all these things stacking up now retrospectively, to where it’s just like, this whole concept of people are just Yeah, shitheads who aren’t going to help with anything isn’t necessarily actually the case here. Like it was literally used almost as, like a metaphor to, like, leverage this concept and and talk about the importance of the police and, you know, community and like, shut down

Rachel 57:34
the civil rights movement. Obviously, that’s what’s causing violence.

Emily 57:38
Exactly. Like if if it gets violent, that’s on you guys. Yeah.

Rachel 57:44
Yeah. Well, and when you’re talking about factories, like obviously, get trained, know what to do, but also like, a conversation soapbox for another time, but like, more mental health training, and last month since training into the police force, and more diversity training room, check privilege,

Emily 58:03

Rachel 58:03
that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Emily 58:05
Yeah, but so lots of controversy surrounding this murder, she still continues to live on. I mean, I’m sure you learned a lot about bystander effect in your trainings. Or some

Unknown Speaker 58:16
Rachel’s shakes, right? Nope.

Emily 58:18
Never heard of it.

Rachel 58:20
I do not remember covering that in grad school at all. I remember in like a psychology class and undergrad. So I know from when I was 19.

Emily 58:31
That’s good. Like, maybe that shows that they’re not like necessarily lifting it up as like this societal issue as much anymore, but it does live on, you know, we’re still talking about it. It’s still one of those things that I know I’ve heard of before. This concept. I mean, it’s in pop culture, too. Like, there was an episode of girls. Yeah, I think where they, you know, we’re talking about it. And it’s been on Law and Order. I think, you know, they’ve done episodes that talk about that concept. And so it kind of Yeah,

Rachel 59:06
yeah. I mean, I guess it makes sense. Like if you think somebody is more equipped to handle whatever, but I think it’s more about fight or flight, or freeze. So that is,

Emily 59:15
yeah, that’s the story. That’s the story of Kitty Genovese.

Rachel 59:20
Wow, great job. Thanks. All right. So this one not as long so those of you who are like it’s been an hour and they have another story, Pipe down, Pipe down, Pipe down. Emily, in all honesty, and you know, this I was really struggling to write my story this week. There’s a lot of shit going on in my personal life that I’m sure we will get into on the podcast eventually. But for now, it’s just important to know that it’s been really draining, which makes it hard for me to want to research horrible shit. That being said,

Emily 59:57
everyone wants to hear about horrible

Rachel 1:00:01
Our friend and patron Aaron came in clutch. Aaron ghen. So she sent me this link a while ago. Her husband is from Ohio. And somewhere back to Ohio.

Emily 1:00:16
I’m also thinking today a

Rachel 1:00:19
different part a different part. But she, she also I asked her for some stories for where in the world and I have not screened them and she sent me a bunch so I’m just gonna like rapid fire a bunch of text messages from Aaron. So thank you, Aaron. You saved our asses yet again. But sorry, we yell at you on the podcast for telling us to do research. Love you. Anyway, I put it on my list. I knew I was going to do it this week, but I wasn’t super excited about it because it’s typically one of those stories that is more up your alley than my Avi but I unsolved mysteries. No natural disaster I love it. You’ve been to kind of disasters and too i know i know different kinds footers. So I started researching this one event that Aaron texted me and realized it was tied to 147 other events and then I got super excited to do it. So let me back up the truck. This week. We’re going to Xenia, Ohio, Xenia, the city of hospitality. It’s cute Xenia. It’s not huge. It’s got about 26,000 people. But it’s got a farmers market, a winery, a historical society, and a bunch of covered bridges. How cute is that? Oh, by a bunch. I mean three. But listen. All of us to check out all three. Maybe even pick some berries at berry Hill Farm, and then eat them under the bridges. Oh, and have a photo that we would like it has to be fall colors. You know, I’m going with it. I’m so excited. They’re so seems to be a pretty legitimate brewery there called devil wind brewing. They have a different food truck almost every night of the week. And there’s one beer on tap called one hop is all it took. It’s a Pale Ale, an experimental Pale Ale, which I don’t really know what that means. But I would try it for the name like what’s the experiment that I like a paleo? Oh, yeah. So that I’m taking us back today to another experimental time. The 70s. Specifically, April of 1974. Picture. You’re in Ohio. Hooked on a feeling is playing through the radio and a super outbreak of 148. Tornadoes destroyed entire towns spanning 13 states in just 24 hours.

Emily 1:02:58
Tornadoes are my deepest fear.

Rachel 1:03:01
Welcome to this part of the podcast where we unveil Emily’s deepest fears and Rachel tortures her with them.

Emily 1:03:09
House somehow I’ve selected a home I’ve moved back to Tornado Alley, Nebraska. We have a lot here. No basement and my home has like a half basement. Yeah, maybe. And my stupid parents, Hey, Mom and Dad are filling in their basement at home. I’m like, what happens if there’s a tornado? Everyone dies.

Rachel 1:03:31
Now you get in your car and out drive it come to Colorado where we sometimes have tornado warnings, but were too high in altitude. They don’t usually last at least not where I live.

Emily 1:03:41
So I’ve seen one.

Rachel 1:03:42
For those of you who are new to this podcast, you may not know that Emily and I are incredibly smart women who also happen to have incredibly large gaps in knowledge. So there is going to be a lot of weather science coming up. So like I’m going to do my best Okay, okay. Like Speak for yourself. Who knows? I might know geography math. Oh know how to planes work. Luckily for me, and you even scientists are not exactly sure what causes a tornado, or how to predict how long said natural disaster will last. They call a tornado watch when there are perfect tornado conditions. Do you want to hear something horrifying? I learned in my research. Uh huh. Here’s a quote straight from the National Weather Service’s website.

Emily 1:04:36
All thunderstorms have the potential to produce tornadoes. There was a terrible thunderstorm here last night that I actually like my lights were flickering. And I found a new use for the baby gate that I bought when I thought I was going to watch my brother and I put it up because like you just said your brother’s puppy. You just

Rachel 1:04:53
said what I thought I was gonna watch my brother, your brother’s 30 Hey guys, he doesn’t know how to open the page. So Jesse’s gaps in knowledge are bigger.

Emily 1:05:12
I bought a baby gate because I was gonna watch his puppy and then I didn’t I check it out. I don’t like dogs but anyways, I put it up downstairs like saying you don’t like ice cream? I’m Chandler. Ah, no, but so you know how my house it’s like split level and so it doesn’t have doors that close the upstairs off from the downstairs. And yeah, and so I put my baby k up to keep my cats downstairs because I was like, you will not be blown away in this tornado if there is one. And it was scary. Yeah, cuz it got real windy outside and real rainy. And then today, I had huge branches down in my yard. Which I was like, thank God, I had my tree trimmed or it could have fallen on my roof.

Rachel 1:05:55
Yeah, we actually were in New Hampshire, America’s taint a couple of years ago. And while we were gone, my friend Devin, who was watching the house was like, hey, so the tree in your front yard is now in the driveway. Like they had storms here so bad that it knocked down a tree not hold like them like a little one. Yeah, not like the big one. But still, that’s why there’s that like weird empty patch in front of my garage. Now. There used to be a tree there.

Emily 1:06:27
That’s scary. I don’t like it. I don’t like it. Oh,

Rachel 1:06:30
Devin was here. He seemed fine. So you have

Emily 1:06:33
a basement?

Rachel 1:06:34
Yeah, well, that’s true. And that’s where our guest room is. So that’s where you’re staying. There are three key ingredients that would cause meteorologists and other weather guys to watch for a tornado warm air near the ground, cooler air above the warm air and a wind shear, which is a change in wind speed and or direction over a very short distance. Now, let’s talk about a tornado outbreak. This is what happens when one weather system creates multiple tornadoes. It’s like, you know, what’s the fairy tale with the lady who has all of the babies hiding out under her skirt when they all just like keep running out? You know what I mean? Just look at the bigger woman in the shoe. I don’t know. She’s like a big dress and there’s all these babies. It’s that but like tornadoes, prevent a baby got it tornado babies. But this one in 1974 was a super outbreak. That means that three different weather patterns crash together causing an insane amount of tornadoes that happen near each other in a short period of time, which in this case was literally one day. Okay, back to 1974. It’s a tale as old as time on this podcast. The equipment being used to detect extreme weather was from the 1950s. Again. Yes, this retro equipment was able to notice that something was off something you know is that I don’t know what I’m curious. And expansive mass of cold dry air dropped down from Canada and move toward the valleys of Ohio, in the Mississippi rivers simultaneously. A massive warm, moist air was moving Northwest from the Gulf of Mexico.

Emily 1:08:22
Bad Bad, bad, bad, bad. Yeah, I just don’t like it.

Rachel 1:08:26
So when these two masses of air merge at 40,000 feet, there was an intense jet stream of 140 mile per hour winds. Of course, even with the 50s weather tracking gear, everyone could see this was Bad News Bears, but forecasters didn’t know exactly how strong the tornado would be, how big it would be, or even exactly where it would happen. And for the record, in Cincinnati, Ohio, a weather surveillance radar was installed in 1960. So they had a slightly newer one. And the radar essentially gave meteorologists a blueprint as to the course of the tornado, but it didn’t talk about the tornadoes velocity. So it was very difficult to actually track them, even to the train guy. So meteorologists would see a storm on their old ass radar, then trace the storm by hand on to thin paper maps, and then share that with local weather stations to get out the tornado warning really, really effective.

Emily 1:09:37
I don’t know what I’m just I’m picturing that like someone’s trying to draw a beautiful picture and then it comes out and it’s like a stick. Just like some bad at drawing guy who’s like I dried. And they’re like,

Rachel 1:09:51
you have to at the very least get it in the right state. Like Come on, man.

Emily 1:09:55
It’s just like this. Like someone just makes it you know when you draw a tornado Yeah,

exactly like that. It’s just scribbles. Just everywhere. It’s like, anywhere. I’m a weatherman. I don’t know.

Rachel 1:10:06
Yeah. 13 states dude. 13 states I don’t get specific, of course. So when these weather patterns collided, the tornadoes tore across the 13 states. The largest and most destructive tornado was the one in Xenia, Ohio. That’s why we’re going there. We’re Xenia. April 3. Cincinnati’s Weather Service radar was going bananas. Since many other Ohio towns were smaller and have less access to technology. trackers in Cincinnati called other local stations to get the warning. Dayton which is another pretty large town in Ohio. So Dayton county put out a tornado warning that was in effect between 410 and 5pm. That day, as they heard of a possible tornado 25 miles northeast of Cincinnati moving toward them.

Emily 1:10:53
Is this like the fireman from previous episodes? Did they have a phone tree?

Rachel 1:10:58
Or was I mean it’s the 70s I think they probably had a direct line between each other because they’re all kind of the weather stations and this is the Midwest so they’re expecting tornadoes, I’m guessing

Emily 1:11:09
Oh, yeah, all the time.

Rachel 1:11:11
At 4:33pm that tornado touchdown in Dayton causing destruction on its way to Xenia. This tornado alone, caused about $100 million in damages and killed 33 people and was by far the deadliest of all of the 148 tornadoes that made up the Super Tornado or the super outbreak. So let’s talk a little bit more in detail about the Xenia tornado around 430. That April afternoon. It began as a moderate sized tornado and then started to gain speed as it headed toward Xenia. It was moving at about 50 miles per hour and exhibited a multiple vortex structure, which essentially means it’s got multiple funnels of air, like the twisty part that you think of moving simultaneously. So picture like one big cloud with like three different twisty parts of Yes, terrible, very scary. The thing was massive. It slammed into the western part of Xenia flattening, completely flattening the new I think these subdivisions were like five years old, the new subdivisions of Windsor Park and Arrowhead rows of brick homes were annihilated with very little proof that they were ever there in the first place.

Emily 1:12:25
That is, so when I was growing up, I haven’t done it since I moved back to Nebraska but I don’t think there’s been any big tornado since I’ve been here, but there would be big tornadoes like that and like my dad, and I would go and drive around to look at the destruction because morbidly curious and it’s just shocking and terrifying to see like, huge irrigation pipes like twisted like a pretzel or like combines that are like massive, like crumble, or houses just gone and it’s exactly how can just wind like, I mean, it’s really fast when it’s terrifying and scary, but like it just and everything. So scary.

Rachel 1:13:12
Yeah, by 4:40pm so just 10 minutes after it got to Xenia or less. The storm had taken out apartments, churches, businesses, more homes in central Xenia. The High School was demolished. There were theater kids that had been practicing on stage that afternoon, but they ran out into the main hallway to take cover, seconds before the tornado touchdown upon the school. Luckily, they moved in time because the stage was destroyed. Wow, scary. Yeah. In what I would call a miracle green Memorial Hospital in North East Xenia was not touched by the tornado. Thank God, it lost power and the phone lines were down and I read that the water quality was quote, suspect. But luckily, people could get some form of treatment and safety there before they were transferred to Dayton for more expensive care. Multiple cars of a freight train were lifted into the air and blown away headstones at the cemetery were toppled over so like if tornadoes can be haunted, that one definitely was oh yeah

Emily 1:14:23

Rachel 1:14:24
several people died at the a and W root beer stand because the building was totally flattened

Emily 1:14:30
BMW repair stands

Rachel 1:14:33
so and that’s kind of my next thought I wrote death by tornado would be terrible because the fear alone but I’ve got to say french fries and a root beer float is not the worst last meal that I’ve ever heard of.

Emily 1:14:43
No and NW had really good french fries. I don’t know even have

Rachel 1:14:49
the salad fries there. So

Emily 1:14:51
a NW?

Rachel 1:14:52
Yeah, a lot of times like where I live in Colorado. They have like it’s a half a and W half KFC.

Emily 1:14:58
Oh yeah, I guess We still have like amigos kings classic. I think the amigos in town used to be an NW but then it switched to King anyway, it’s like

Rachel 1:15:08
next time you come visit we’ll go to a NW and get some fries and a root beer float and hopefully no tornado will code tornadoes. No, some people were able to record parts of the tornado from inside apartment complexes that were destroyed. How so essentially, with what equipped they dropped their tape recorder and took cover. And the tape recorder was found later and was totally fine. Like buildings are flattened, but like here’s this tape recorder. I find that so interesting.

Emily 1:15:35
Yeah, it’s small enough probably that it’s not. It’s just tossed around but

Rachel 1:15:39
Right, right. Like a like I said $100 million in damages, which is about 475 million today. And about half of the town of Xenia was destroyed. This is a big deal. Even though there were 148 tornadoes. President Nixon showed up only to Xenia. I don’t know. Yeah, I was like, I guess I’m just gonna take the dread go. But he he was quoted as saying, as I look back over the disasters. I saw the earthquake in Anchorage in 1964. I saw the Hurricanes hurricane Camille in 1969, down in Mississippi, and I saw Hurricane Agnes in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. And it’s hard to tell the difference among them all. But I would say in terms of destruction, just total devastation. This is the worst I have seen. Honestly.

Emily 1:16:33
This is why tornadoes are at the top of my list for things that scare the crap out of me. Yeah, so scary because they can just like flood, everything. It’s like that kind of wave. But it’s like a tidal wave is not going to get me here with a tornado. Tornado might.

Rachel 1:16:50
Nixon went on to declare Xenia a disaster area. And in a silver lining, even though the federal disaster relief act hadn’t passed in Congress yet. The Super outbreak of tornadoes sped up the process for Congress to get it in gear. Nice.

Emily 1:17:05
I mean, yeah, not good. It’s still

Rachel 1:17:08
not good that it had to happen. But like, this is a little silver lining video. This is why this is important. Yeah, a little bit of like, Good timing of like, see. Right, right. Obviously the town of Xenia took months to recover. But I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself. So I want to go back to April 3, about an hour after the tornado took out the half of Xenia, another violent tornado headed toward Cincinnati. This tornado actually moved through three states originating in Indiana, passing through Kentucky and then hopping out over the Ohio River until it got to Cincinnati,

Emily 1:17:44
which is scary because they’re not supposed to be moved, be able to move over bodies of water,

Rachel 1:17:49
but it did. Yeah, it took out many western suburbs. And as is known to happen in severe weather at 5:40pm, the power went out at Cincinnati’s Weather Service, meaning their radar was out too, huh. So communication was down and it was more even more difficult to track the storm. The power stayed out for about three hours. Luckily, the National Weather Service in Cincinnati had a backup radar and they were able to communicate with a station in Cleveland, who could issue the tornado warning in Cincinnati as well. But I just thought that was really interesting, because what I mean that could have been way worse. Oh, yeah. In total, the Super Tornado lasted 24 hours from April, April 3 to April 4 1974. It costs 335 deaths and over 6000 injuries. It affected Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia in New York. Also, Ontario, Canada.

Emily 1:18:56
That’s very part East it feels huh.

Rachel 1:18:59
Yeah, not Nebraska. So you would have been safe from this one. But we weren’t alive in 74

Emily 1:19:04
really wasn’t like I thought Tornado Alley. We you said Oklahoma, right? Nope. Oh, yeah. Tornado Alley where most tornadoes originate is farther west than those states. But so that’s especially scary because they probably weren’t as prepared ready for it? Yeah,

Rachel 1:19:21
yeah. The storm caused about $843 million in damages in 1974 money, which is about $3.3 billion today. Oh, man. Yeah. And at one point in the storm, there were 15 separate tornadoes simultaneously causing causing destruction on the ground. Wow. I almost said construction and they were building they were building up some shit

Emily 1:19:51
reverse tornado it drops down house is from this guy. Oh, it’s like in The Wizard of Oz. Just thinking

Rachel 1:19:58
okay. Although The Super Tornado obviously, I keep I wrote Super Tornado a bunch of times it’s a super outbreak, multiple tornadoes, but you get where I’m going was tragic. It did come with a couple pretty big silver linings, number one other than the one I already talked about. But number so three, but I’m not going to talk about that again. Okay. Number one, the National Weather Service adopted the Fujita scale, which created a standard language for scientists to talk about tornadoes. So when they’re on the same page, they can be more accurate. Secondly, the government through a lot more money at people tracking tornadoes, which again helps with the prevention of loss of life, which is the most important thing in a natural disaster. Now, meteorologists and you know, weather guys can tell people to seek shelter about 12 to 14 minutes ahead of when the tornado may strike the area. Which doesn’t sound like a lot. But back in 1974, that number was zero minutes. Yeah, it’s just like you’re just

Emily 1:21:03
like minding your own business and then boom, house is gone. Exactly. Now I have time to get a flashlight, put my shoes on wrangle my cats and hide in my bathroom.

Rachel 1:21:13
That’s exactly it. But even still in 2021 it is not an exact science to predict precisely when or where a tornado will strike.

Emily 1:21:23
And why did they always strike at night? Like assholes like,

Rachel 1:21:27
yeah, I hear like, oh, two in the morning. You want to just sleep? Fuck you.

Emily 1:21:31
Fuck you. Hope you can wake up when you hear this siren going off. Except I don’t so I just die.

Rachel 1:21:38
wanting your castle jump in your face. Yay.

Emily 1:21:40
Yay. Thanks. You know, another silver lining the movie twister. Such a good,

Rachel 1:21:45
obviously. But yeah, that’s that’s the story of the super outbreak in 1974. So thank you, Aaron. And if you want to hear stories that I am stealing directly from her, make sure you become a patron@patreon.com slash horrible history for where in the world? Yeah, good job.

Emily 1:22:02
It was scary. It’s like perfect primetime for tornadoes and stuff here too. So I’m just like, me and my grandma are both really afraid of tornadoes. I think I get some of my anxiety from her. But so I’m just like her and that the second there’s a tornado warning. Which student generally means that there’s rotation in the clouds like a watches like everything’s prime and then a warning is when it’s like it’s moving. Yeah, it’s happening. But you still don’t know like, what part of it’s like a big area you don’t know where it’s going to touchdown like you mentioned I’m immediately downstairs in the base. Yeah, like I’m ready for it. And my dad’s like the one on the porch like staring at the sky. When I was little I would sit in the basement and hold my cat and just like cried you know, Grandma, filling in their basement? I don’t know cuz it floods all the times. They’re like, there’s no point like it’s gross and nasty down there. But still, there’s ever a tornado in there at the house in David’s city. They will literally have to crawl in a crawl space like, Like what? Like I would just be like, I’ll

Unknown Speaker 1:23:12
just die. It’s fine.

Unknown Speaker 1:23:15
I’ll take my chances.

Emily 1:23:20
Do you rather than crawl in a crawlspace? under a house where there’s snakes?

Rachel 1:23:28
Do you remember when your mom thought that there? Oh, my house was haunted because of your dad’s farts at least that’s just imagining them being in this tiny crawlspace together and have big like, it’s hard to

Emily 1:23:45
know Mrs. Otis followed us to this house.

Rachel 1:23:53
Make sure you check us out on social media. We’re at horrible history pad on Instagram and on Tick Tock. You can also find us on the website horrible history podcast.com

Emily 1:24:07
where you can also buy March, I continue to buy merch and it’s all super high quality. I’m obsessed with it. So wrap your h squared merge like Jimmy and and become a patron like Dan Yeah, exactly. Thanks, everybody.

Rachel 1:24:23
And send us your stories. Horrible history. podcast@gmail.com.

Emily 1:24:27
Definitely, as you’ve heard, we love listener stories and we’ll do them if you send them to us. So yeah, tell us what you want us to cover. And we’ll do it.

Rachel 1:24:35
Another one next week. Hey, too. Hello anywho thanks so much for listening.

Emily 1:24:41
Hopefully you’re horrified.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Learn more about Horrible History, contact us and check out our new merch store at: www.horriblehistorypodcast.com


Intro Music: “Creeper” – Oliver Lyu

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