Home » Episodes » Episode 42 – Poitiers, France & Tacoma, WA (Worst. Scavenger Hunt. Ever.)

Today we’re heading to Poitiers, France to hear the story of Blanche Monnier, an aristocrat’s daughter that loved love and wouldn’t break up with her boyfriend, even if it meant being locked up for 25 years in total darkness. Then we head to Tacoma, Washington to talk about the kidnapping (turned horrible scavenger hunt) of nine-year-old George Weyerhaeuser. Hopefully, you’re horrified.


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

Rachel 0:17
And I’m Rachel Everett. How are you?

Emily 0:20
I’m good. I am having like a devastatingly busy week. Devastatingly busy for the sake of this introvert who like needs her downtime and I worked till one in the morning like three days in a row at work work.

Rachel 0:35
Yeah, and she’ll text me late at night when I am doing nothing when I should be writing my story because we’re double recording and I am just keep procrastinating right now. And I’ll be like, what are you doing? And she just sends me all of these pictures of her cat closet … It’s a cat palace!

Emily 0:53
listen, I’m working a ton of hours. And so to distract myself, I have turned the Harry Potter under the stairs closet that I have that I don’t use at all into a cat palace. And it’s incredible.

Rachel 1:07
It is amazing.

Emily 1:08
Anyone who wants to judge me can go to hell. How are you?

Rachel 1:16
You know, I am pretty okay. How to answer that? Yeah, I’ve got I’ve got two sick kiddos right now they have probably RSV, which there’s nothing you can really do for. But you know, I gave them they make these little bath bombs that are…. I’m about to tell you something very disgusting. And then we can get to the actual horrible.

Emily 1:41

Rachel 1:42
You know, you don’t know … people who are parents know that in the hospital when you have a newborn baby they give you this ball, buggar soccer. It’s free and it’s got the big ball. You know what I’m talking about? That thing is shit compared to the nose Frida, which I said I would never ever use.

Emily 1:58
it’s where you actually suck it out. Right? But it doesn’t come into your mouth.

Rachel 2:01
But it does not come into your mouth. You have to make sure the little the little soft thingy is incorrectly or it might go into your mouth. That’s never happened to me. Me. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So that’s been really fun. So I’ve been I gave the kids a bath. I gave them a little like vapo rug

Emily 2:18
a rug??

Rachel 2:19
I can’t say that Vapor Rub. I gave him a rug of vapor.

Emily 2:23
You mean like a smoke machine?!

Rachel 2:25
For my children were toddlers bedrooms, no. And so I gave him a bath with a little like vapor bath bomb, which was super cute. And then my son, I was like, he’s got the boogers today. My daughter had it yesterday. He’s like a day behind her. So I set that all the boogers while they were in the bath because I figured like the Vapor Rub staff would help. And then I also have like regular Vapor Rub that I put on their chest to kind of help them sleep better. They didn’t sleep very well last night.

So my son was like, “thank you, Mommy, that feels so nice on my body.” And my daughter yesterday, two days ago, I don’t remember she’s trying to climb up when I was eating lunch. And I was like, Honey, I’m eating right now. What are you doing? And she goes, “Mommy, hold my body.” So I don’t know. This, but it’s very adorable.

Emily 3:21
Feels nice on my body. It’s like, where does Where do you get this shit from

Rachel 3:25
Like, if it wasn’t my child. Anyone else saying that to me? I’d be like, ehh…

Emily 3:30
“uh, you creep!”

Rachel 3:30
But because it’s my four year old. It’s just like really sweet. You know? It’s like, Oh, it’s so cute.

Emily 3:41
I give five stars to that cuteness level. Yes. And speaking of…. Transition queen!!!

Rachel 3:50
That was amazing. Well done.

Emily 3:51
Slow, clap, slow, fast, slow clap. So I want to make an appeal to anyone who’s listening right now, to go ahead and run on over to Apple and click that five star button.

Listen, we only have 27 star ratings. And I know there’s hundreds of you listening right now. So there’s no excuses. We’re starting to get to the point in our fame. I say quote unquote fame because it’s not top famous TikTok fame to where people are kind of dicks sometimes. And they think it’s funny to go and give us a two star rating or a three star rating or whatever. It’s giving our type a brains a little bit of anks because I we had only five stars. Now all of a sudden we have some non five stars. I’m counting on you, those of you who reach out to us and say, we love your podcast,

Rachel 4:44
Rate us!

Emily 4:44
There’s more than 27 of you so

Rachel 4:47
there’s way more How do these people we look? We want this podcast to make us money. We’re not trying to pay bots. Right? Follow us on social media and give us all of the five star reviews It has to be you. It has to be you.

Emily 5:02
I don’t under I never understand when I see a new new podcast that has like 1000s of star reviews and I’m like, okay, don’t get your friends and family to do all this stuff or pay a bot. Like, I, as far as I know everything that’s on ours. I mean, I’ve never forced someone to rate us. You know,

Rachel 5:21
We have asked…

Emily 5:23
We have said like, someone has said, I love your podcast, and we’re like, Hey, can you go say that publicly?

Rachel 5:29
We do the Michael Scott behind the hand, so it’s like, “I’ll kill you.” Like nobody. nobody’s been forced, like, Yeah, fine. So begging aside, we’re all done with that. Emily, where are you going this week?

Travel Tips: Poitiers, France

Emily 5:47
I am going to Poitiers, France. Which Fun fact, Poitiers is spelled, it looks like POI TEARS. And so I feel really non American to have looked it up and figured out how to actually say it.

It’s not PoyTears, it’s Pwaa-te-ayes.

Rachel 6:11
That’s much prettier.

Emily 6:12
So beautiful.

Rachel 6:13
Frame America. Why do you screw everything up for us?

Emily 6:17
I’ve never been to France. I know. You have never been to France either. It’s on my list. Obviously. It’s bring us Yeah, um, my mom went a few years ago. So I need to like tap her for some stories for where in the world because she adored it! like she went with a group of girlfriends which is just so fun. That dream right like to go on trip with your girlfriends?

Rachel 6:38
Yeah. Our European tour. Yeah, that’s like on our on manifesting it. It’s in the universe. Yeah.

Emily 6:45
If only we had more star ratings. Sorry.

Rachel 6:47
Yeah. And patrons… http://www.patreon.com/horriblehistory.

Emily 6:52
oh, Lord. And so she, they went with someone who lived there and like maximum. So it’s like, That’s incredible. When I went to Germany with Elaine and Elaine had lived there for a year. It’s like, a whole nother level because they know that like special secret spots and can speak the language anyway. She loved France. I need to get there soon. And yeah, I’ll have stories from her for where in the world which is exciting. Yeah. So if we are going to plot a plot, here’s a few things that we would do.

First and foremost, architecture. I know you’re like me. You don’t mind that Poitiers is not a touristy location, because there is so much opportunity to just like wander and look up at the sky and look at the Romanesque and Gothic churches. And let’s see the old historic buildings like,

Rachel 7:47
you know this. I love an old church.

Emily 7:50
I think we would spend a ton of time just walking the streets. Maybe stopping to have a little espresso at a cafe like, yeah, obviously. Probably definitely eating wine and cheese. Uh, duh.

Rachel 8:01
yeah, yeah, just maybe like a separate separate rooms if I’m gonna have that much cheese. I’m just manifesting that too

Emily 8:09

Rachel 8:09
Emily, Emily and I farted in front of each other before it’s fine

Emily 8:12
big time.

Rachel 8:13

Emily 8:18
Not sure if that’s even factual. But okay. Speaking of big time, we’d probably go to the biggest Museum in the city that is, which is this like Labyrinth building that was built in the 1960s. And it’s got galleries with prehistoric and ancient archaeology and medieval history and all kinds of like ethnography and regional art. And apparently, we would not want to leave the museum without seeing the Roman sculpture of Minerva, or the hoard of Gallo romaine coins from Geneseo, or you know, all the other crazy outstanding art that they have there. You know, that stuff?

Like, I don’t know any of that. But it’s on some lists, so we’re gonna see it. If we wanted to go to the movies. Maybe if it’s a rainy day, we could go to something called the future of scope, which is this like, bad ass building? reminds me a little bit of the Sydney Opera House but not as symmetrical. Yes, like think, like, it’s this very futuristic building. It opened in 1984 used to just be like a few little futuristic pavilions that were around an IMAX theater. And now it’s the world’s most sophisticated cinema theme park that has like giant IMAX screens, 3d 40 some technology that’s like unique only to them. And they have all in all, they have over 20 future themed attractions. So that’s the most right the most recent one is a high tech aquatic evening show by Cirque du Soleil.

Rachel 9:59
Huh, fancy,

Emily 10:01
right? And of course, because I can’t not talk about food, obviously bad grammar, but whatever. Yeah. And it’s France. I mean, come on. I think we probably want to go the two hours away to go to Bordeaux. Just you know, get some wine while we’re there. Yeah, I assume that they have great Bordeaux’s in Bordeaux.

Rachel 10:24
I think that’s a fairly safe bet. Right. deductive reasoning skills. Boom. Yeah. Like they have champagne. Yeah. And champagne. Yeah, yeah. Like, yeah. Oh, we’ll have to go there. I

Emily 10:33
don’t know how far it is. But I love champagne. Oh, we’ll figure it out. We also so a local delicacy that I was reading about. It’s called Farsi pata viene. Okay. And it sounds so disgusting. To me. It was like it’s a local delicacy. Here’s what it is a vegetable hash. Made with chard, and spinach and cabbage and leek and Vegas, but it’s wrapped in a net and then cooked for several hours until it sets into a patay. And then you eat it cold.

Rachel 11:05
You have me until cold. I don’t. I don’t like cold bacon and had me until patay yuck. Yeah. I don’t like look, I’m a very big believer and vegan supporter supporter, a vegan. Don’t want to eat a cold. Can’t do it. I’ve had like a What about a BLT? Yeah, maybe a BLT but even then it’s that cold. It’s room temperature. that’s a that’s a good distinction. But you know, differentiator it’s distinct. Your word that I just make it. No, yeah. Okay. Tell me about this fucking patay

Emily 11:41
that’s all I know about it, because I got to pate and I went. So we’re gonna steer, steer clear that head towards one of the patisseries instead, get some mecho rhones probably very delicious. Very hard to make. I had a little. So during the beginning of COVID, where I was like, I met a perfect macaroons. And I did and then I stopped because they were very hard there. And then we could have dinner at this place called les montigny yard, which I could not honestly find a menu in English, but the pictures, the pictures, Rachel.

It’s good enough for me. They serve fondue. And they have one of those big things where it’s like a big chunk of cheese and it’s got like a heated thing on it. So it just melts off of it. Oh my god. You get to like watch the cheese melt. Yeah, you just like dip your bread in it as it melts off of it like the dream

Rachel 12:31
that sexy? That is sexy fondue.

Emily 12:34
Yeah, I am sexually attracted to that cheese. 1%. And since all I know about that restaurant is cheese related. We’ll also plan on non cheese related meal. So there’s we have I mean, I was doing it for years.

Rachel 12:52
Hey, listen, it’s gonna be for your benefit. dandy lactose intolerance.

Emily 13:00
Well, so there’s this Bistro that is fresh, homemade products, simple, tasty, like market cuisine. And I also could not read their menu, but I was enticed by the scallops and the fish and the stake and the stake had like figs and fingerling potatoes with it. And the pictures were pretty and I’m like picture. I mean, you eat with your eyes first people so I was like, I will take the risk not knowing prices, or what’s in any of this stuff and try it. So that’s what we’re gonna do. Yeah. Or eat cheese. We’re gonna drink wine and champagne. And we’re gonna look at architecture and we’re gonna just stuff ourselves.

Rachel 13:38
That sounds like a perfect trip. I want that I will bring my stretchy pants. Let’s do it. We Oh, sorry. If you were in France, please don’t stop listening. I love you. I love you friends. I’m so sorry.

Chapter 1: Blanche Monnier

Emily 14:01
So now that we’ve talked about what we do in President de France, okay, let’s talk about the story of a fancy ass French family. The one years Okay, again, Google that. I’m incredible. Incredible. I

Rachel 14:17
know how to use Google Translate. Now. It’s the best

Emily 14:20
because it looks like Monier, it’s not Manju

Rachel 14:27
Monier. It’s like the terrible feedback you give when you’re having sex. How do you like it Monier like it.

Emily 14:38
And then positive you’d like monix yay. So this family, they’re living in France in the late 1800s. And they’re a wealthy family. They live in pa ta obviously, and they’re very well respected. They live in a mansion on 21 Rue de la visitacion

Rachel 15:01
I am so impressed right now keep it going.

Emily 15:04
And there is a mom and a dad and two kids, a boy and a girl. And the dad’s an aristocrat, and that’s kind of how they make their fortune. Okay, now masterman Yay, a meal died in 1879. But he acquired quite a lot of a cash money before he died. And so after he died, the madam of the House did not have to work or anything like that.

So she was able to just stay in the house, support her children, and the two children were Marcel and Blanche. I like that name. I really like the name blanche to and Blanche like her namesake from Golden Girls was very popular around town. When she was happy, and bubbly, and beautiful, she had these like, huge eyes, but not in like a creepy way. Like, just like big, beautiful

Rachel 15:56
Amanda Seyfried or like Zoe nation now. Yes, yeah, she

Emily 15:59
does it and this like thick brown hair. She was truly gorgeous. I will post a picture. Obviously, Rachel will post a picture on Instagram. So check that out. And Marcel, the brother was a lawyer, so relatively successful, but never married or moved out of the house. Always a great side. Boy never moves out of mom’s basement.

Rachel 16:22
to lunch, hey, in this economy that might be that might be both my kids living in my basement one day, so

Emily 16:28
you’d never know. You never know. It may not be a red flag someday, someday, instead of being a red flag. It’ll be a red flag. If someone moves out. It’ll be like, what am I doing in this economy? They need to save more money.

Rachel 16:40

Emily 16:43
must be on only fans. will not be out. It’s shut down now, isn’t it?

Rachel 16:49
I don’t know anything about only fans. Except for apparently you can make a lot of money with your feet. But then I’m like, What? I don’t know.

Emily 16:59
I don’t know either. Yeah, I’m not confident enough to do that. Okay.

Rachel 17:03
Yeah. I’m like, What if I have ugly feet and just nobody’s ever told me and then I get an only fans and people are like, I’m not paying.

Emily 17:09
You need to pay us. I don’t want to learn that way.

Unknown Speaker 17:15

Emily 17:16
Okay, whoa, the red flag of why this boy still lives with his mother. Well, technically, they both live with her at this point still, is probably for a reason. Madam Monet. The mom was kind of a she devil, like her perfect example of a socialite who does nice things to appear to be a good person. She even got an award from the Committee of good works for all the charity work that she did. But back at home, she was kind of a monster.

So apparently, Marcel and Blanche were like under her thumb. And they had a really difficult time finding anybody who wanted to date them because she had such a bad attitude. She was super snobby. ultra high expectations of like, who her children should be allowed to marry. So that’s a worst case in point. At age 25. Blanche was getting close to old maid status. Haha, the 1800s hurts me It hurts. I know. I’m like 10 years ago for me

Rachel 18:23
10 years ago, hey, yeah, it’s nine years, nine years, nine, nine years ago. 34. All right, everybody called?

Emily 18:31
Well, so blanches like, I gotta hurry and find a husband and move out of this house before it is too late for me.

Rachel 18:38
Don’t settle Blanche. Let those beautiful eyes gotcha.

Emily 18:42
Let them guide you. And luckily, she did. She met a lawyer who was slightly older than her. And she fell completely in love with him. Was he rich? No. Was he successful? No.

Rachel 18:56
What’s he had?

Emily 18:56
I don’t know if he was hot, but Blanche loved him as a person. And they became inseparable. Well, inseparable might be too strong of a word because Blanche kept it a total secret from her mom. So how, how inseparable can they be but to do this every night, like almost every single night she’d wait for her mom and Marcel to go to sleep. Then she would tow down the stairs and sneak off to see her lover after dark. This complete scandal complete scandal. It’s the 1800s like

Rachel 19:32
This is like non ankle showing times Yes. Very scandalous to be sneaking off in the middle of the night to go fornicate! Is that 1800 language.

Emily 19:43
But you have to say in a French accent

Rachel 19:48
No, I can’t we know this. I can only do bad southern!

Emily 19:50
You’re like Joey where he’s I can do Southern. He’s like a Jamaica mom.

Um, well really, truly at this time, like, even love and marriage didn’t go hand in hand like love kind of had very little to do with marriage at all back then. Yeah, that’s true. And it’s probably partially mostly definitely because a person’s parents were really heavily involved with like, who their child dates and marries. That’s especially true for this family because they’re members of the aristocracy. So usually dates are supervised, and both families are there and they meet each other and then they like, come to an agreement of like, yes, we all worked well together. It’s like teamwork makes the dream work, go get married.

Rachel 20:43
It’s like, very conservative Christian, like high schoolers, like, okay, but we all need to meet each other first, and then you can go on a group date to a movie,

Emily 20:54
we all need to lay hands on each. Let’s pray first. Okay. Okay, well, Blanche didn’t give a damn about the rules. She was a lover of love. She read a lot of romance novels, so it’s probable that she was reading about these like fictional couples who are fighting for love against all odds. Or maybe all the talk of throbbing members. Like I don’t know something about those books was making her be like, I don’t care. I’m gonna be with my lawyer.

Rachel 21:27
The Vicar won’t be back for hours. Where did you learn that word?

Emily 21:33
It’s like a goalie.

Rachel 21:36
Joey’s wearing a hockey mask.

Emily 21:44
So she throws caution to the wind. She goes with her heart. She does not go with what society expects of her. And so even though she’s trying to keep her secret, her relationship a secret from her mom. There’s people around town who see her with her boyfriend. There’s no engagement announcement so of course they’re like clutching those pearls like my Lord, you know, Master. Yeah, this is France. Lest we forget. The only thing I know how to do in any sort of friend not

Rachel 22:15
my cheese. We must seem like the most ignorant American bitches right now.

We are sorry. Oh, shit. All right. This is why

Emily 22:31
the French do hate us. Yeah, and it’s apparently

Rachel 22:34
Americans not not me and Emily, but

Emily 22:37
until now until now.

Rachel 22:39
Now we’ve just sealed the deal forever on horrible history. Sorry. Sorry. So

Emily 22:45
what’s really funny is that they were definitely secret lovers. They’re sneaking around but they’re also like steering clear of each other in the daylight probably in an obvious way of like, Oh, hello sir. Like nine didn’t see you’re walking down the street could see right? Again, friends reference. It’s like Rossen this Oh, I didn’t see you that. Oh, I’m so sorry to bump into you, sir. We’re stupid. so dumb.

Well, so the townspeople don’t get why their relationships a secret. They started a rumor that she must be pregnant. Like obviously. And potty is not a huge city, especially back then. So the rumor duck makes its way back to mama real quick. Of course, the mom finds out and is like furious. I mean, she for bids her from ever seen this man again. She says like you are never to see this man. And I will get into these huge arguments and like scream at each other at the house.

Blanche would still sneak out to go see him anyways. I’m sure Blanche hoped that her love would like propose and it would all be fine. Like duh, that’s what most people in long term relationships are hoping for. But it just like wasn’t happening. And then one day in 1876 Blanche straight up Who do you need out of there and disappeared? Just straight up disappeared off the face of the earth. She injured away injured right away.

So she’s then none of her friends knew where she was. So she’s very bad. Her mother and her brother claim not to know anything about what happened. Allegedly. And if you’re thinking maybe she ran off with that star crossed lover of hers. Nope. He was clueless as well.

Rachel 24:30
No one knew it’s not our first rodeo. She did. She did.

Emily 24:33
They’re all like maybe she ran off like she probably just left and and went to Paris to be alone or whatever, you know. So her mother and brother mourn like super openly like crying about what could possibly have befallen that deer blanch, you know? Sure.

And then eventually they just like carry on with their daily lives. Kind of like she never existed but you know, whenever and when Within a few years Blanche was forgotten. And years passed, and the man she loved passed away. Her fate kind of remained a mystery until one day in May of 1901 25 years later, okay, the Attorney General of Paris received a strange letter declaring that a prominent family and party was keeping a dirty secret. The note was handwritten and unsigned, but it said, more sure, Attorney General. I really thought you’re gonna repeat. More Sure, Attorney General, which sounds worse than no more sure Attorney General.

generally use stupid idiot. Get ready for this,

Rachel 25:59

Emily 26:00
I have the honor to inform you of an exceptionally serious occurrence. I speak of a spinster who is locked up in matrimonials house no half starved and living on a putrid litter for the past 25 years. She re penciled her and a word in her own filth. She Rapunzeld her! Oh my god straight up Rapunzeled her like crazy. She wasn’t dead. Wow.

Rachel 26:33
I’ve I’ve been misled.

Emily 26:39
So the Attorney General is disturbed by this, obviously enough so that he’s not like, some stupid joke. He’s like, Oh, I’m gonna go ahead and investigate this immediately. Yeah, so he sends the police over. And no one answers the door when they knock. But it was obvious that someone was home because Matt and Manju was like checking it out.

Rachel 27:08
Knock knock. I thought out loud. Like literally how I assume every solicitor who comes to my door feels like I just like

Emily 27:20
sitting downstairs on my couch. And they’re standing on the sidewalk like waiting and I’m like, Raptor, like pretend there’s a raptor nearby if you don’t

Rachel 27:27
move. It’s literally the closest I’ve ever come in my adult life to using Stop, drop and roll.

Emily 27:37
In my house, in St. Louis, I my friend Natalie was over and we had gone out and oh, we were walking back into the house. And there was these guys. Like one of the townhouses next to me, and we talked to them, but like weren’t interested. We’re sitting in my house like in the dark. We’re probably like, intoxicated, just trying to, like rush out. And all of a sudden, Natalie’s sitting in the chair. They’re like, faces the door, and she sees one of the guys come up to the door like cuz they knew where I live. So he came up to be like, Hey, you guys want to hang out?

Like, come on, like slid to the floor like she was really. Bones went out of her body and Emily just straight up Gumby like it was Oh, and then we just sat there like laughing trying not to have them here.

Rachel 28:30
douchebags could just hear you giggling like no, they could

Emily 28:36
and we’re like they never knew they never knew.

Rachel 28:38
Oh, they knewthey knew for sure because you were drunk. And they were no drunk matches a sneaky drunk bitch

Emily 28:43
like it just it’s not what it is just nothing. It’s not how it works. Yeah, the two are mutually exclusive. Okay, so any home, they finally get into the house, and the police do a cursory search of the estate. They’re not really coming up with anything out of the ordinary. So they’re kind of like maybe this is all hoax, whatever, until they get a whiff of something stanky coming from one of the upstairs room. So they get up to the store. And the store has a big ass padlock on it.

Like locked from the outside whatever’s inside. Marcel and the madam of the house, do not want anyone to go in there or come out of there. So between that and the horrible, sickly smell coming from the crack under the door, the cops are like yeah, this is probable cause we’re opening this door. And so they smash the lock and they break into the room, and they are likely rarely unprepared for what they were about to find no God, so the room was pitch black.

It’s only window had been completely shattered, closed and hidden behind big thick curtains like you know 1800s curtains like those really tall ceilings and those like are Yes, I know exactly what those curtains look like. They’re like maroon and they have a gold little tip dangling the tassels yeah tassels. Yeah. The stench in the room was so overwhelming that one of the officers immediately ordered the window just be broken open crashes they just start like somebody get the fucking battering ram we can’t can’t do it.

Like I know it’s not supposed to be funny but like I’m just watching this scene in my head with you know, or something just like so horrible. You can’t Yeah, register like how to fix it so that you just yeah, I can throw a chair off the window. Like I’m picturing and maybe it’s because the story takes

Rachel 30:48
place in France, but you know, and beauty and the beast with all the townspeople and cat with a button to the castle. They just like get it

Emily 30:54
often. Yes, that’s definitely 100% there’s, here’s a quote from one of the officers, he said, we immediately gave the order to open a casement window. This was done with a great difficulty. The old dark curtains fell a heavy shower of dust, and to open the shutters we had to remove them from their hinges great as the sunlight streamed in. The policeman saw that the horrendous odor was being caused by a few things. First, there were rotting scraps of food littering the floor, surrounding an old dirty decrepit bed.

Rachel 31:35
This is how you can enhance worse the dance.

Emily 31:40
More people like my God. Second, chained to the bed was an extremely emaciated naked woman who unable to even get up to relieve herself and was now middle age was covered in her own filth and surrounded by the vermin that had been blurred in by the scraps. Now, of course the when the police officers open the window, it was the first time Blanche had seen the sun in over two decades. Oh my god, she was now 50 years old. She’d been kept completely naked and chained to a bed since the time of her mysterious disappearance. Earlier,

Rachel 32:33
I’m 50 years old in 1901 in today’s years.

Emily 32:40
So the horrified policemen obviously are so overwhelmed with the filth and decay and they were like, We cannot even stay in this room for more than a few minutes at most. Meanwhile, this bitch has been in there for 25 years like they used to it. Oh yeah, that’s her own stead.

Rachel 32:59
It’s like when you’re in Nebraska for a long time. And you’re just like, I know what that smell

Emily 33:03
is. The smell of money. is such a bad smell money. Yeah, it’s cash it Yeah. It’s like smelling your own farts. You know, it’s Yeah. Nasty, but it’s still okay. Like, it’s exactly like that. Yeah, totally. So Blanche was obviously immediately taken to a hospital, and her mother and brother were immediately placed under arrest. And so Blanche arrives at the hospital. And the staff there reported she was crazy malnourished, she weighed 55 pounds.

Rachel 33:43
55 pounds. Like that’s a child. That’s, that’s fun sized. That’s not it’s not fun, but like that’s a fun sized person.

Emily 33:51
There are pictures and it’s like, if you just picture any picture you’ve ever seen of an extremely anorexic person where it’s just like, bones essentially.

Rachel 34:01
I’m picturing Do you remember when I did on when Rick Kirti and people thought that he was a prop but he was actually a dead body? I’m picturing that but that’s a lot yeah,

Emily 34:12
that but alive almost like a bobble head because the head still kind of big and she’s got all this hair because she hasn’t cut her hair in 25 years.

Rachel 34:20
Oh my god the toenails on that woman. Sorry. Oh

Emily 34:23
my god, it’s gross. Yeah. Get the song get the sale. That’s terrible.

Rachel 34:31
we cope with humor if you’re new, so welcome new

Emily 34:35
If you’re here, you’re the same. No it’s crazy though. She was actually pretty lucid when they brought her in and she even remarked like how lovely it was to breathe fresh air again. Oh, honey. Like oh, how did you not just like swallow your tongue and kill you’re like I don’t know. I don’t know how you out get out of that situation. But yokes.

Okay. Yeah. So once I got her cleaned up and fed and like starting down the road to recovery, her whole sad story starts to emerge. And it all started 25 years prior, when the madam of the house told her son Marcel all about blanches scandalous relationship. And like any good basement boy, he was very obedient to his mommy.

Rachel 35:36
That’s it. I’m kicking Lincoln out in the basement. Don’t be a basement boy, kids. God.

Emily 35:46
He also fully believed in the traditional ideas of society. Also, like any good basement boy, and he was just shocked and appalled at how angry and vicious the fights between his sister and his mother were. And he just thought Blanche was out of control. So they had a little mother son chat. They agreed that they did not want blanche to be with this man. And they wanted to teach her a lesson.

So, in the middle of the night, Blanche returned home from seeing her lover, and Madame Monet and Marcel were hiding at the top of the stairs. And they reach their arms out and grabbed Blanche in the darkness and shut her up in the attic. Oh my god, which had a straw mattress laying on the floor waiting for her.

Rachel 36:38
So this is the worst fairy tale I’ve ever heard.

Emily 36:41
Oh, yeah. Like Rumpelstiltskin is somehow in there. Yeah, big time. So she must have been screaming at them. Like, come on. Obviously, she was going crazy. But they’re aristocrats they live on this big estate. So there’s probably not neighbors close enough to here. Yeah. And so the mother tells her through the door. Like if you want to come out, you have to promise to break up with your boyfriend. And apparently Blanche was just like, no. Like she at first was like, No, I’m not doing that.

You can’t make me probably assuming that her own mother would let her out eventually. Yeah. But she starts to realize that they’d been doing some pre work on this room. Because the shutters had been nailed shut to the windows, heavy curtains had been hung over the shutters. The room was completely black, even in the daytime. And so Blanche had to like feel around the room to figure out where everything was, Oh, my God. And then like bugs and mice crawled through it and everything and her mother would not even open the door to give her food or let her use the bathroom. They would just like push little scraps of food under the door.

Rachel 37:52
No, like, here you go. This is what you get. Either you get it or the vermin get it. So yeah, good luck. Survival of the fittest. Yeah.

Emily 38:02
She opens the door. 25 years later, and there’s just like a buff rat in there.

Rachel 38:09
it’s Gus. Gus from Cinderella. He’s like, Hi. Tiny shirt. That’s Yeah, hey, maybe

Emily 38:17
And of course, at some point, she got weak enough that they are able to get in and chain her down. Like just to make it even worse. And these are of course, like, pretty serious and terrible conditions. But like being alone, especially in the dark for so long, is known for driving people insane. Yes. Like no matter how mentally capable they are.

Rachel 38:43
No, we need vitamin D. We need connections with other humans. We need that as a species. Yeah.

Emily 38:49
And quick plug. If you’re a patron, come on over to happy hour immediately after this episode, where we’re going to talk about the effects of solitary confinement. Stories of when this happened to people. Oh my god, I’m so excited. I know. It’s fun. It’s like what effects it has on your body in your brain. And then these like crazy stories of people who were alone in darkness for 60 days or whatever, and like, it’s fascinating stuff. Yeah. Okay.

So Blanche obviously was pretty strong mentally because, well, maybe I should say stubborn. Because yours came and went and she refused to give in. Like, no, you’re not gonna tell me what to do. If you’re going to make me break up with my boo. I’m not coming out.

Rachel 39:37
I’d rather be here. Whatever. Do you think at some point, they’re like, he’s dead now. Blanche. Do you want to come out now and she’s like, I guess I’m in next line. Even after he died. She kept she was kept locked up in herself. At what point is the lesson learned to teach her a lesson? I mean, 25 years lesson,

Emily 39:59
That’s where it’s like this interesting story come is going back and forth of like, are they really like once you decide you won’t be with him anymore? We’ll let you out because seriously, no way she went, you know, and then he died. So like, they had, at some point gotten like, they’re like, this is awesome. We have someone trapped up in the attic. We love it.

Rachel 40:20
I mean, if that’s me, I’m like, Yeah, totally. I will dump him tomorrow. And then I gotta go run away with that guy because a cleric because my mom’s crazy. She told me in the attic, you know, she reminded me to be with your pencil that day. Yeah. Well,

Emily 40:34
over the course of the 25 years, her brother also never lifted a finger to help her. He and his mother were brought to court once I did find her and he basically testified that Blanche was an angry woman who was full of rage, which I’m like, I want Yeah, freakin why you laughed. at it. I would be a Korean full of rage. I’d hold out up there too, for real. Yes. And they also thought she was mentally ill, which, you know, back then it’s like I bet after 25 years in solitary confinement.

Right, right. Well, and he’s even like, only a crazy person would stay locked in solitary confinement, instead of agreeing to break up with someone. It’s like, bullshit, bullshit to all of this. And so he basically was like, if she’s that crazy, she deserves to be imprisoned. He also tried to claim that she never even tried to escape. Then after they locked her in there, she kind of just like, accepted her fate, and decided to stay, which obviously was not true.

Rachel 41:36
It’s got everything I’ve need. It’s got shutters that I don’t have to clean because they’re locked. The most beautiful heavy velvet curtains.

Emily 41:47
It’s luxurious. My straw mattress over here, scratchy. Well, and think about to the story when they are trying to get her out like a group of policemen had to work together to take down the shutters from the window like yeah, there’s no way this week starving petite woman is going to be able to do that on her own. Yeah. And so eventually, his story changed again. And he’s like, I was just too fit too terrified of my mom to risk doing anything.

Rachel 42:18
This sounds like some family

Emily 42:21
So Marcel was only sentenced to 15 months in prison. But then later he was released, because they said he never physically restricted his sister’s movement, so less jail time for that. It was also never revealed who wrote the note that triggered her rescue. And one rumor suggests that he wrote it. And another rumor suggests that a servant of the household, figured it out and like or like let the secret slip to someone who went to the Attorney General, like no one really knows.

Now, the mom who was already in questionable health when the police rescued Blanche in 1901. I mean, she was in her mid 70s. At this point, super frail. She had some heart problems. But the public was so outraged at this woman that there was this angry mob that formed outside of the house. And I guess that was super stressful for the old bag, because when authorities brought her to prison, her failing heart prompted them to then take her to the medical unit, where she had a heart attack and died 15 days after her daughter’s liberation.

Rachel 43:42
Yeah, so bad for her.

Emily 43:44
Yeah, no. It’s kind of like, Oh, you only have to suffer the consequences of this for 15 days.

Rachel 43:51
Yeah, not 25 years.

Emily 43:53
There is a book out there that says that she altered her well before she died and bequeathed the wealth of her family toward the care of her daughter. I don’t know.

Rachel 44:06
My bad, my bad,

Emily 44:08
Apparently It is reported that her last words were Oh my poor Blanche,

Rachel 44:15
It’s like 2025 years too late. But you don’t get to say that if you did it.

Emily 44:23
You like murdering someone and then being like, oh, bad for you. Ah, so Blanche was able to put on some weight at the hospital. But after being in complete darkness and solitary confinement for 25 years, most people say that she had pretty much lost her mind. She couldn’t really speak anymore.

And I mean, honestly that imprisonment caused such a deep trauma that she just never really fully recovered. not surprised at all like no, no I can’t imagine. So she actually lived for 12 more years in a sanitarium in France. And yeah, that is the story of Blanche pneumonia. And because I’m so particularly intrigued by what isolation does, like I said, head over to happy hour after this and hear us talk talk about that topic.

Rachel 45:23
I can’t wait. That was I have never heard of that before. Beautifully that is very, very good

Emily 45:28
It’s like, just blew my mind when I read about this.

Travel Tips: Seattle / Tacoma, Washington

Rachel 45:34
Alright, so this week, I’m going to Tacoma Washington. So Seattle ish, they share an airport. I’m going to be talking with the touristy stuff a little bit about Seattle, because I haven’t actually been since I was a small child, but I do have some family there. I hit up my cousin Katie for some touristy things to do, and she gave me a whole bunch of fun. So she said that the touristy stuff is actually pretty fun. And we should check out Pike Place Market pike not pikes, she said apparently adding an acid pissed off the locals.

Oh, yeah, Pike Place Market. So it is an open air farmers market where they throw the fish that their Seattle fish throwing and she said it’s right on the waterfront. And essentially, she said spend the whole weekend at the waterfront because they have a giant Ferris wheel and an aquarium and the Oh gee Starbucks, which, you know, we have to get to every day.

Emily 46:37
I mean, come on.

Rachel 46:38
I am not ashamed to admit we’re recording this on August 28. And yesterday, which was August 27. It was 90 degrees in Colorado Springs, and I definitely got a pumpkin cold brew because

Emily 46:50
Hello, fall. At least you went cold brew. I also got a pumpkin latte, but I got a hot.

Rachel 46:58
Oh yeah, fuck it. You’re a sadist. I love it. Obviously, also at the waterfront is the Space Needle, which would be really cool to see. And we could take a ferry to one of the islands and she also said there’s a ton of great restaurants. And one in particular that she mentioned that caught my eye is a brunch place called biscuit bitch,

Emily 47:21
Yes, I love it.

Rachel 47:24
So obviously, I checked out the menu. It’s fantastic. I would go full basic and get the dirty pumpkin, which is a pumpkin pie chai latte with two espresso shots. And I’m going to go with a sausage bitch which, which is a butter biscuit sandwich with egg chatter pork and pork sausage Patty and veggie sauce. Now I looked and I don’t know what the bitchy sauces. I don’t want it.

Emily 47:51
Probably like some sort of hot sauce. If it’s me. Also when you said they had cheddar on it. I went, NOT MY CAT!

Rachel 48:00
Not the Chedder. We don’t eat cats here. Okay. But their drinks menu is called drags. Like with the exclamation mark drags all caps. So I trust these bitches. Yeah, I’ll try their sauce. I will say I checked out a couple of things to do in Tacoma as well, since that’s where the story takes place. And apparently, they’re pretty famous for glass art. So I would probably want to go see them Museum of Glass. I think class art is so cool. So cool.

Emily 48:35
Did I ever tell you that I went and did a in St. Louis they have a place where you can go and do like

Rachel 48:40
blown glass art glass are

Emily 48:42
now Yeah, they don’t let you do the blown part because that’s harder, but I did the time where it’s like, you pick the different kinds of glass beads and then you like roll them all together and put them in your thing that’s like 1000s of degrees hot and you stand there with a stick like my eyebrows are burning right now but it’s gonna be worth it and I made myself a paperweight that’s very lopsided. But I did it. I love it though.

Rachel 49:05
That’s so cute. And if we took my kids I was gonna be like if we took our kids

Emily 49:18
you’ve been divorced For how long? It’s ok, I volunteer. I volunteer as tribute

Rachel 49:26
Volunteer as co parent. Okay, so they do this awesome thing called kids design glass. So essentially, the kids draw whatever they want. And the artists in the museum shop custom blow the children’s drawings into the glass art. And they make two of them. So one of them stays is the museum and the other one that kids get to take home.

Emily 49:47
How cute is that? I’m obsessed with that. I love shit like that. I love that company where you can send a picture your kids drawn and they turn it into a stuffed animal.

Rachel 49:57
That’s so cute. I love that. It’s just But people are so smart people are so I know in me that I know. I know, you can definitely tell when people have kids, you know, because they’re thinking like a yes, maybe they don’t have to have kids thinking like a child. But now that we’ve talked about the cute and basic, of course, it’s time to talk about the horrible you.

Chapter 2: George Weyerhaeuser

Emily 50:43
early and everything of a little when you say, George, my brain did not think it was gonna be a nine year old 1935 a man’s name, but I love it.

Rachel 50:53
Yeah, a man or a monkey, but only if he’s curious. It was like I read a lot because I read a lot of Curious George, he’s cute. Okay. So he follows his usual routine. And he walks to the Annie right seminary, where he usually meets his sister and, and the two of them get picked up by the families show for her. It’s that kind of family. But since he got out of school a little bit early, he’s 15 minutes early when he shows up at the seminary, and he’s bored and he’s nine, so he decides not to wait for his dumb sister and dumb chauffeur editorializing.

neener neener Exactly. Regardless, George decides to walk home and he takes an overgrown path that bordered the local tennis club. Oh, no, don’t worry, he makes enough to pass it on to North borough road which is a suburban Street. I got into a little bit of a rabbit hole and Zillow, some of these houses. They are these big, old beautiful stately houses and they’ve been redone. And they’re all sitting at about a quarter million.

So it’s not a bad part of town that George is walking to because he’s going to hell. Yeah. George sees these two creepers sitting on the side of the street in a green 1927 Buick sedan creep a I guess I’ll call him on the passenger side. steps out of the car and ask George for directions for stadium way. We know where this is going. George is grabbed, pulled into the backseat covered up with an old blanket that creepers sped away with the abducted child.

Now, the wire how’s your family realized that George was missing very quickly. They searched a little on their own, and then they notified the police. And since this family is very wealthy, there’s none of this. We have to wait for 24 hours kind of bullshit. Or like Yes, sir. Yes, ma’am. Yeah, exactly. You are You are the payroll right. At about 625 That evening, a letter gets delivered to the wire houses home. It’s addressed. To whom it may concern. Oh, gold. I know. Right. And it’s from the kidnappers.

They want $200,000 in small unmarked bills. This is 35 9035 and I’ll tell you how much it is in a sec. To prove that they are legit. George’s signature was on the back of the letter like hey, George is fine. So $200,000 in 1935, money would be almost $4 million today. cash, cash mash money, make it rain, make it poor. The ransom note was written on a typewriter and it was almost as long as the one written by that

Emily 53:51
I’m getting JonBenet vibes.

Rachel 53:54
So it had 21 different bullet points. Very, very thorough. The family had five days to raise the money and we’re giving specific instructions to contact the kidnappers by advertising and the personals and signing the ad. Percy mini again, this is a rich white kid so people are springing into action. The FBI is notified immediately and about a dozen agents are sent to Tacoma they send the BA you Amelie ba you spend to read help us to get there.

The family gets together all the money because these people are apparently loaded I don’t know if the FBI helped with the financial part or if they just they were like yeah, let me go. lets me go to the vote to see if I can even do like a bridge. What a bridge right? He was like

Emily 54:45
oh go to the wall. No, they wouldn’t go. Geez. No, no, no snow bills. Jeep. saw this. You So,

Rachel 55:03
the family gets together the money and the FBI tediously makes a list of the serial numbers of each bill and send it back to headquarters.

Emily 55:12
And I’d be like, this is the worst first day ever. Like, I came all the way to Washington. Make the new kid do it. He’s like, yeah, I think down 1000s

Rachel 55:23
Yeah. And so they sent the list back to FBI headquarters. And then the FBI distributed the list to post offices and thanks and railway centers pretty much anywhere in which people would have spent or sent money in 1935. The next day, there were two ads in the personales of the Seattle post Intelligencer number one said almost exactly what the ransom ORS had asked for. So it said, quote, expect to be ready. Come Monday answer, Percy Betty.

So it was the wire house her family saying like, Look, we’re getting it together. We’re trying to figure this out. The kidnappers had just asked them to write quote, We are ready. But Percy Minnie aka the wire house. Her family also took out a second ad, quote, due to publicity beyond our control, please indicate another method. Another method of reaching you. Hurry, relief, anguished mother, Percy many. Yeah. So just to recap, Georgia’s taken on a Friday after school. The first two ads went out on Saturday and the deadline for the money from the kidnappers was Wednesday.

Okay, so finally on Tuesday, the ad comes out that says we’re ready. Press of mine forcement backed off to ensure Georgia safe return. Right? They’re like kids, they’re kind of working together at this point in the 30s. Like, yeah, is it the cops is that the newspaper knows. So the wire houses get another letter addressed to George’s father JP wire Hauser, Jr. The letter told him to go to the Ambassador Hotel and check in at 7pm under the name James Paul Jones, and to await further instruction. With this letter comes a handwritten note from George. So it says that he’s safe.

So obviously JP is like I have to get my kid back. He follows the ransom instructions and he waits at the hotel. Finally, at 945 almost three hours later, Can you even imagine these people are not organized. He gets another letter. This time. jp wire Houser is supposed to drive down a couple of roads and go into the Rainier Valley, which is a district in Seattle. He’s supposed to look for a steak with a white cloth attached to it on the right side of the road. So he does just that. He finds a steak he sees a tin can with a note in it that says to drive another 700 feet where there is another white cloth.

Emily 57:55
worse scavenger hunt ever.

Rachel 57:58
That’s exactly what I wrote. Is this worse, ever. So there’s another white cloth. He’s supposed to park there and he’s supposed to leave the engine running and the lights on. So I don’t know if there’s room for feeling anything at that point other than just anxiety and apprehension trying to get your kid back. But like, I’m annoyed.

Emily 58:21
Why the second weight class it is 700 feet away. Like you know, it’s like I can see it from

Rachel 58:26
here. Yeah, yeah, but JP is like fuck it. I’m just trying to get my kid back. He does all the things and nothing happens. Nothing. The kidnappers are a no show. Pastor he waits there for three hours and finally returns to the hotel and Seattle dejected with his money in tow. God

Emily 58:47
the hustle just be I don’t even know the word for like the depth of despair of like,

Rachel 58:53
bringing just the most heartbreaking thing because your your mind would be reeling what is happening to my child I can’t imagine. So he’s at the hotel The next day, which is Thursday, and around 1130 in the morning, he gets an anonymous call asking why he didn’t follow the instructions. And note number two, JP calmly tells these assholes there was no note number two. So the kidnapper is like oh, stay at the hotel. Wait for instructions. Because this is your last chance to save George.

And it’s like Yes. Your last chance. messing up. I know. I know. So at 9pm again, another long wait when you are worried about your child’s life. Jamie gets a phone call from a man with a European accent. Oh, whoa, whoa, that’s exactly the accent. You French. He’s supposed to take the money to 1105 Madison Street and look for, you guessed it a 10 Can

Emily 59:55
we no one’s thrown

Rachel 59:56
it away by the time we get there. Right so it’ll be on the right side. right inside of the gate and we swear this time, it’s supposed to have a note. And this is why I wrote It’s the world’s worst. So there are more tin cans, more white flags and more stupid notes. There’s a bunch of them in succession. Actually, just George, he’s like, Daddy’s gonna give me the money. Like, don’t you might have gotten it anyway. Ask for it, dude.

Finally, get to the last note again, park the car, leave the money on the driver’s seat, leave the car running in the light on and then JP supposed to just leave his car and his cash and walk back to highway 99. And if you did this, George would be released within 30 hours, which is the most unreasonable wait time yet? My opinion?

Emily 1:00:48
What like why, why do they need that much time? Makes no sense. Like

Rachel 1:00:52
the amount of anxiety so I just ordered like, I’m basically like, in this very, you know, strong signal woman, like, I’m gonna redo my entire bedroom. And I’m so excited. And my packages are delayed.

Emily 1:01:07
Oh, it’s infuriating. I am so

Rachel 1:01:10
anxious. Like, please tell me you didn’t lose my beautiful new comforter, please. You know, and even though you know, you’ll still get it. But I’m worried about that. And this is their child, the baby location.

Emily 1:01:24
He’s nine, but you know, yeah, it’s like, Yeah, well, I ordered something like two weeks ago, and it still isn’t here yet. And it’s because it’s coming from China. But yeah, I checked the tracking thing every day and every day like processing and I’m like, oh, what if I never get

Rachel 1:01:38
it? And these are first world problems. If it was my kid, obviously, we’ve talked about this. That’s the most horrible thing I can imagine. I can’t I can’t know. You know. Alright, so JP does exactly what the note says. He walks away from his car. And when he’s about 100 feet away, he sees someone run from the bushes, get into his car and drive away. He’s like you were there, just chillin in the bushes. Now, it was not like that.

So JP is like, Well, whatever. Eddie keeps walking in the highway. Because he’s like, What am I supposed to do? I’m not gonna chase the car down. So he hitchhiked home to Tacoma, and he made it safely. So finally, June 1 1935. At 330 in the morning, they kidnapped Bruce drop George wire Houser off in issaquah, which is about an hour away from Tacoma.

Emily 1:02:32
They’re just making it hard every second of this scavenger stupid scavenger hunt.

Rachel 1:02:37
It’s ridiculous, right? So they give him two dirty blankets and $1 and told him to wait in a shack nearby for his dad to come pick him up was listen. I’m not trying to victim blame here. I’m not trying to play this nine year old, but I am genuinely confused by this next detail. Instead of waiting, George starts walking.

Emily 1:02:56
Oh my god. This is what got you in trouble the first time.

Rachel 1:03:11
Had you not walked home the first time like I read that and was yelling like I’m just the loudest person in the movie theater at a horror movie like

Emily 1:03:22
oh my god. Oh my god. See paranormal activity with Carson when it first came out at a midnight showing and we were trying you know when you like want to be scared. So we’re like,

Rachel 1:03:32
oh, like I mean, I hate horror movies. But yeah, I assume that’s what it’s like for you. Oh, I like to be scared.

Emily 1:03:40
And the people behind us were those people they’re like, Oh, no, like, oh my god and i we’re like this is ruining it. Like I can’t suspend describe those people. Those people

Rachel 1:03:52
I am absolutely those poeople. I talk the entire time during the shining. Emily gave me such three legs. I know. But I stopped because I love you. Okay, sure, which isn’t. I know, again, not trying to victim blame, and this time it did work out better for him. So he walks for about six miles. And he ends up at a family farm that’s owned by Lewis p Bona. pfass. Self names. Hi, now. He tells the farmer and his wife.

Hey, I’m George wire Hauser and he’s like, yes, of those wire houses or some of those baby zones. And they take him in willen abona. Fast, gave him breakfast, put him in a dry clothes. And then she put George in their truck to take him home. Louis was going to drive him home. They did try to call the wire house if the wire house or family from a gas station on the way but there was no answer. So

Emily 1:04:48
Louis as they were driving out to wherever to pick this demo right

Rachel 1:04:51
up. So Louis, then called the Tacoma police department and let them know hey, I’ve got George he’s safe. I’m gonna bring him home. So Glad there was a nice family. At this point the media circus is insane. The Wire house or house was surrounded by newspapers photographers, radio broadcasters and of course, morbid curious, trying to get a little luxy about what was going on. One thing that is important to remember that I kind of alluded to earlier is that this is the 1930s.

So police and media were essentially doing the same job. If the police knew something so did the beat. Yeah, and one guy in particular, john H. Dreyer, who wrote sports for the Seattle Times got a tip that George has been released and was being driven home. He knew that George was coming from issaquah so he hired a taxi, and somehow intersected Lewis and George on the highway. Only about 18 miles away from Tacoma.

Emily 1:05:52
Oh my gosh.

Rachel 1:05:54
JOHN tells Louis, that he’s a cop. And hey, in case you don’t believe that, here’s $5 so why don’t you just give me the kid this kid can’t catch a break this story I knew I was gonna blow your mind with because it has one when I started doing it. You know I don’t like to do cases in which bad things happen to kids. Just too close to home. I have young kids. Don’t like to do it. So when I started researching this case, I was like

Emily 1:06:26
it’s the most ridiculous story I think I’ve ever read.

Rachel 1:06:32
So George and john prine this taxi. They’re taking back roads to Tacoma so that nobody sees them. And john is going to get the scoop. So George chosen the backseat. JOHN is furiously writing his story asking George a million question because that’s news, baby. Haha, extra extra. So finally, George and john, I guess get to 745 that morning. The garage must have been open because the taxi just drove on in. And I can’t park here. You’re just a taxi. I peed it though. And john starts pounding on the door to the basement. A family friend opens the door. George just kind of walks in. There’s no pomp and circumstance after all that he’s like.

Emily 1:07:22
He just plopped down on the couch and starts playing this game boy.

Rachel 1:07:27
He’s like, Mom, Dad, can I use the record player? Yeah, exactly. The radio perhaps we have any snacks like he’s Yeah. So that family friend, his name was Marshfield, bolcom coupon another great name. He spoke to the press on behalf of the family saying that George was home safely but that no other information was going to be given to quote reduce any bad effects on George’s future life. Sure. Little did he know that news pitch john dryer was already back at the hotel typing typing up his interview.

Emily 1:08:02
Typing Yeah, with quote the world’s most famous kidnap victim. Really? Charles Lindbergh. Oh snap.

Rachel 1:08:10
And of course, this ended up as front page news on the Seattle Times and also without to the entire country by the Associated Press.

Emily 1:08:20
Dan, and that’s how he got famous,

Rachel 1:08:25
famous. Let’s stop talking about the traumatizing effects and all that media attention on top of being you know, kidnapped, might have on a nine year old child and talk about the manhunt for the kidnappers. Oh,

Emily 1:08:39
forgot all about the kidnappers, right? I just fell off a cliff or something. They seem stupid.

Rachel 1:08:44
They are. But we’ll get to it. So well. Two out of three. Okay. But the FBI released the serial numbers right away to track down the kidnappers. Then later Saturday morning JPS car so the one that he had left running with the money in it was found abandoned in Chinatown in Seattle. Inside authorities found the black bag that was used to carry the ransom notes and one of those damn tin cans that were used to hold the notes. They were everywhere. What was up with that? I maybe it’s like, do you remember back? I don’t know. Maybe 10 years ago, I was in grad school. When mason jars were just all the rage and everybody had mason jars everywhere. Everyone’s like

Emily 1:09:26
let’s make a salad inside of mason jars like just make a salad. Yeah, my way.

Rachel 1:09:32
Listen, I had cockroaches in my tiny ass diver apartment as a grad school. So all of my stuff was amazing shirts

Emily 1:09:37
for a very different reason. Okay, good, legit reasons that I was on Pinterest.

Rachel 1:09:43
Yeah, but maybe like tin cans or the Pinterest of the 1930s or they love to bake beans. Maybe Maybe. So the next evening, the first ransom serial, marry serial killer money. That’s not it. I wrote the story. So the first of the ransom money was found in Huntington, Oregon. It was used to buy a train that Salt Lake City escaping, escaping. Yeah, remember all of the train stations? Everybody’s just like, hold on a second. And they have to like go through the serial numbers of all this money. It’s a no it’s not

Emily 1:10:19
Yes, like a control find situation on the computer, read every single one.

Rachel 1:10:25
And then compare them with a giant list from the FBI because this is like $4 million.

Emily 1:10:30
Yeah, that sounds terrible.

Rachel 1:10:33
By the following evening, June 7, a bunch of the tracked money had been used in Salt Lake City shop owners were able to describe a young woman using the money to buy food mostly. So undercover officers were put into multiple shops in Salt Lake City. The next day, that same young woman tried to use a $5 bill to make a 20 cent purchase, which set off some red flags because remember this 30s and they get it gets Yeah, there is more brands of money in her purse.

So she’s at the police station in Salt Lake City, and she tells the cops Her name was Margaret Vaughn Metz, and she gave her address as 847 condis place, which obviously was bullshit, because it was a house that they have rented three days prior. So police are like, whatever, we’ll just wait at the house for Mr. Vaughn Mex to come back. And guess what he did? They found the guy who had the name nuts tattooed across the back of one of his hands.

Emily 1:11:37
Why do you tattooing your own name on any part of your body? It’s like if someone asks you your name, and you’re like, oh, What’s my name?

Alright, METZ

Rachel 1:11:46
METZ. Regardless, he was taken to the FAA FBI field office. And wouldn’t you know it the VA Mets this was not their real name. They made it all up. Oh, they

Emily 1:11:57
wanted to send fancy I guess.

Rachel 1:12:00
I mean, it does sound kind of fancy. But in reality, his name was not fancy. It was Harmon mats, Wally. That’s very useless, Southern accent. He was a 24 year old ex con, and his wife was identified as Margaret aldora, foolin and 19 year old from Salt Lake City. The parrot denied kidnapping George wire Houser. thought they found even more ransom money and firemen. And police searched the rental for evidence and they found 30 $700 partially burned on the stove. So they collected the debris, and they were able to piece together the serial numbers and of course it was the ransom money but that is also some damn impressive forensic work for 1935 Seriously,

Emily 1:12:47
what will do for rich white kids do so much also they went to all that trouble so many stops so many tin cans and then just burned it Like what? Yeah,

Rachel 1:12:57
like you couldn’t have packed it somewhere and just kept on the move gone to Europe, Mexico, Canada, whatever, idiots, idiots. After a lot of bullshit. Harmon Whaley confessed that he had William Daenerys, where the pair who kidnapped little George the two men had met in the Idaho Idaho State Penitentiary back in 1930. Harmon was serving six months for vagrancy which is basically being homeless. But William was serving 20 years for bankruptcy. Oh, for some unknown reason in 1933, William dangered was fully pardoned by the governor of Idaho. So he got out and then Harmon went back to life as a grifter. Harmon ends up in Salt Lake City, he meets Margaret he married her after dating for

Emily 1:13:47
one week, not a good plan.

Rachel 1:13:49
My parents would be furious.

Emily 1:13:49
I know. I know. Don’t do that.

Rachel 1:13:56
Are you talking to me?? Yeah, you know me I love to date guys for a week and then marry them. Harmon and Margaret keep drifting for the next couple of years. They lived on welfare and Harmon got into a little burglary, you know, as one does as you do. And in April 1935, the couple randomly bumped into William in Salt Lake City, and the three of them decided to go to Spokane, Washington together. Okay.

It sounds like Spokane, but I’m pretty sure it’s Spokane. I think you’re right. Okay. So it was in Spokane, that their stupid stupid plan was born. The trio was hiding out in the house they were renting. And they happened upon an obituary. It was that of JP wire. Hauser senior. Tacoma lumber big shot. This obituary boasted that the wirehouses had this huge fortune. And apparently kidnapping was also very in vogue in the 1930s. So that wasn’t in the obituary. Just it’s an aside that yes, you should kidnap someone. If someone and get some of this money, get paid, get paid. Margaret told the boys that this would be a perfect way to set them up financially.

So every morning, William and Harmon drove down to Tacoma to stop the family and submit their plan. Whoa. So even though the men had been watching the family home for days, when George walked home early that day and just showed up right in front of their car, William and Harmon took action and grabbed him. Allegedly, Margaret didn’t know it was going to go down like this, but she did help to hatch the kidnapping plan in the first place. Hmm. And she also helped collect the ransom. Yeah, and sent it so guilty. Harmon and Margaret Whaley signed confessions for the FBI when they were caught, that William Daenerys was nowhere to be found.

So the next little thing, no, allegedly, no twist turns just like your story. It’s so much. So the next evening, William stops by Margaret’s grandfather’s house in Ogden, Utah to pick up a suitcase he’s left I’m guessing either his staff or it’s full of cash. I don’t really know. But it was there that he learned that Margaret and Harmon had been arrested. So he booked it out of there in a very conspicuous brand new car and headed for Montana. Oh, my God. Now, are you ready for some real life already? Yes. The next day, which is June 9 1935. William is seen by a police officer who knew him because he had arrested him for bank robbery back in 1927. I’m realizing now earlier I said bankruptcy but he definitely robbed a bank didn’t declare bankruptcy like Michael Scott.

Emily 1:16:48
Okay. That makes more sense. I was like, Damn, they’re coming down hard on people who have to declare bank or

Rachel 1:16:53
white collar crimes know that the officer obviously didn’t know that William was one of the kidnappers and George’s kidnapping. But he was William was loitering near a brand new car with Utah plates. So police were like this feels a little shady. So they approached him and William takes off running. He climbed a fence and he escaped. But when police searched the car, they found hundreds of Federal Reserve Notes with you guessed it, matching serial numbers to the wire Houser ransom money.

But William is long gone. Round forest run. He is fast. He hid out in Idaho, in Washington, in California, and was on the run for months. Damn. Okay, but we’ll come back to him. Meanwhile, the way Lee’s relieving the FBI to the spot in which they buried their portion of the ransom money near Salt Lake City. It turned out that William Dennard was not that great of a guy shocker. He shortchanged Harmon and Margaret by about five grams.

Oh, he’s like, I’m the brains of this operation. He totally was. So Harmon lately ended up pleading guilty to kidnapping and conspiracy. He was sentenced to 45 years for the kidnapping and two years for the conspiracy to be served concurrently. Because you can fast and also because George was released unharmed. So he starts at McNeil Island federal penitentiary, that the next month he was transferred to Alcatraz. Oh, not great for you, buddy.

Emily 1:18:32
He mentors every time

Rachel 1:18:35
I want to be like the prisoner. Alcatraz not Askabana… He ended up serving about 20 years before he was paroled. And during his time in prison, this is the busiest move of a prisoner I’ve ever heard. We talked about people who get married in prison, but he wrote the wire how’s your family? A lot? Partially because he wanted to apologize to them, but also asking them for a job at their company when he was released from prison. And they gave him one word, they’re like, keep your enemies close. Obviously, he worked at one of their plants in Oregon and ended up dying in 1984 at the age of 73 years old. Oh,

Emily 1:19:27
I thought he was gonna be way older. I was like,

Rachel 1:19:29
Oh, no, he was young. He was like 24 when all of this went down in the 30s.

Emily 1:19:35
They’re like, do it’s persistent. I I just I’m gonna give him a job. Yes, persistent. He’s resourceful. Didn’t kill her. He was sorry. Said he was sorry. It’s fun.

Rachel 1:19:48
Yeah. So Margaret Whaley attempted to plead guilty as well. But she had an attorney who argued against it and so she pled not guilty, but she was found guilty anyway. kidnapping and conspiracy and he got her 20 years for both, again to be served concurrently. So she was quoted as saying it would be easier for her to wait for Harmon on the inside than on the outside, which like, maybe like inside jail, but literally on the way to the prison before she had got there. She changed her mind. She told the Seattle Times, quote, If it hadn’t been for him, I would not be where I am today. I’m through with men forever. When I come out, I’m covered out alone.

Oh, yeah, girl, I love independent though your hands up at me. Okay. So she ended up getting paroled, and she went back to Utah. She worked for a while, got remarried, and she lived until 1989. She was 74 years old. Now, let’s go back in time to William Maynard, and the beginning of 1936. Six months after the trials of the way, Lee’s money with track serial numbers started resurfacing on the west coast.

In February, a redheaded man walked into the Canadian National Bank of Commerce in Seattle, and attempted to change out $300 of ransom money. The teller caught on and stepped away to check the serial numbers. And so this guy knocked out of there, but it wasn’t William dangered. It was a dude named Edward flis, which was one of Williams known associates.

So the FBI had a lead, but they didn’t catch a break until May. So remember, this is February 1936. George was returned in June. Yeah, then this is February the next year and then may 619 36. employees from two different banks in San Francisco said that a man had exchanged the money in a way that made them a little suspicious. They both wrote down the license plate, which was registered to a third eek hole. Bert, quote unquote, was living at the Ventura hotel. Spoiler alert, it was not Bert. It was William dinner. The FBI found his car at the hotel, and they disabled it and began to stick it out.

So William sneaks out of the hotel described in some fashionable horn rimmed glasses, and his car doesn’t start. So he looks under the hood and when he gets out of the car, the FBI move in to arrest him. Nice. So he verbally admitted at that point to the kidnapping, but refused to sign a confession. William pled guilty to the charges of kidnapping and conspiracy. He was judged more harshly because he was the brains of the operation, and probably also because he ran.

And yes, he was on the run for like a year, almost a year. That’s Yes. He was sentenced to 60 years, and he somehow was determined to be insane at the beginning of his sentence, because he ended up in a mental institution for a hot minute.

But clearly that wasn’t for rehabilitation because he too ended up in Alcatraz with his old buddy with his old buddy, but he did eventually get paroled. Even though he was denied At first, he lived until 1992. I know he died alive. We live. He died in Montana at age 90, Edward flis.

The redhead also ended up being found and charged with conspiracy for being an accessory after the fact of kidnapping because he was helping William to launder money and change it out so it can be tracked so easily. He got 10 years and a fine of $5,000.

So, details about George’s kidnapping came out during the trial. He was thrown into the car, he ended up hidden in the trunk. Spent at least three days chained up in dirt pits. George was taken to Idaho for a while and held captive in a closet for four days before he was finally released on that dirt road near issaquah.

Emily 1:24:00
Wow, horrible. He’s gonna know some of what it’s like to be in solitary confinement.

Rachel 1:24:06
patreon.com slash horrible history. But by all accounts, he grew up to be successful. He must have been a resilient kid because therapy was not super popular in the 30s. As we know, he went to Yale, he worked as a mill foreman and a manager in the company and finally assumed control of the wire house or timber Corporation in 1966. He retired in 1999. I could not find an obituary for him. As far as I could tell. He’s still alive, which would make him like 96 years old. That is the craziest story of the kidnapping of George wire Houser.

Emily 1:24:44
That was so good. Oh my gosh, little dude. Just walking off getting kidnapped like an idiot, you know,

Rachel 1:24:53
you know? So we Patreon a bunch you can find us on we’re Tick Tock famous. Now I did a really stupid thing. That’s stupid, a very vain thing and ordered myself a humblebrag Tic Tac famous mug off of our website, verbal history podcast calm, even though Emily’s the one making talks that I’ve just read coattails.

Emily 1:25:18
I am gonna get one of the ones that says humblebrag I fall asleep today line and then do a tick tock of some sort where I’m just holding on so that everyone sees it. I’m like, yeah,

Rachel 1:25:28
you just hear Keith Morrison in the background soothing.

Emily 1:25:33
So soothing. I love it.

Rachel 1:25:35
Yeah. Thanks so much for listening.

Emily 1:25:38
Hopefully you’re horrified.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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