First Emily tells us about the gruesome Icebox Murders in 1965 and shares the possible conspiracyabout the killer (did he also kill JFK!?). Then, Rachel heads to medieval times to talk about baaaad bitch, Joanna of Naples . Hopefully, you’re horrified.
Hi, welcome to Horrible History. I’m Emily Barlean.
And I’m Rachel Everett. How you doing?
Good. Happy Sunday. We’re recording for like the first time ever when it’s light outside, and it’s kind of crazy.
I know. It’s real weird.
I know. I’m like, I can’t drink. I gotta have coffee instead.
Yeah, we both I told me I was going to be late because I just had a basic bitch afternoon. I don’t have my kids this weekend. So I mowed my lawn, and then I did a target pickup. And then Starbucks is real close to target. So I was
like, so close.
I was like, I gotta go. I gotta go get an iced pumpkin spice latte. And that’s exactly what I did.
And then Emily said, Oh, she’s gonna be late. I can drive down the street and get myself an iced pumpkin spice latte.
I should get a Starbucks. Yeah, so here we are just a couple of basic bitches on a Sunday afternoon. Love it.
Just pretending it’s fall weather even though it’s 90 degrees outside.
It’s gonna be like in the 60s here tomorrow. I’m making soup!
I think it’s gonna be like 80s here and it’ll quickly get to be 70s or whatever. But I just am ready for fall especially now that I’m back from Scottsdale. I have no more summer activities planned. My fall decor box has already come so, you know,
I keep telling my kids we need to decorate for spooky season. So maybe we’ll do it after school tomorrow.
they’re like, cuz they found, oh, my God, I can talk about it on Hot horrible minute more so if you’re a $10 patron, you’ll hear about it. But I had a big-ass leak in a sprinkler line, the main line in my basement. And so I had to dump everything out of my one of my clear plastic tubs. It happened to be my Easter tub. So then, of course, in my office, my easter eggs and Easter baskets were everywhere. And my daughter found them and was like, she’s three and she goes I want Easter. I’m like no honey, it’s spooky season. It’s going to be Halloween and not Easter. And she goes Oh, Halloween. “I WANT HALLOWEEN.”
girl has no patience.
No chill. But you know when she gets it from her mama.
Yeah, she’s gonna get what she wants in her life, too.
um, I know that you have a longer story. I have a longer story.
So let’s do it.
We can dive right in. I did want to say hi to Elizabeth, our Tiktok friend @elussep and she’s like I should have mentioned my name is Elizabeth because I was like trying to pronounce a Tiktok handle. And I’m like it’s just letters. I don’t know. So hi, Elizabeth.
Also, we need to read our new review.
So we are type threes we thrive on validation. And we are starting this new segment. If you leave us a kind five star review. We’ll read it on the podcast.
Yes. So I have one today from Eli. And the headline is call me morbid curious, which I love.
And the review says, Rachel and Emily, make every episode feel like you’re sitting in your college dorm room, exchanging scary stories with your closest friends. I’m not sure what’s better the fun take on true crime, or how much these women seem to put their hearts into their storytelling. Every episode is a beautiful mix of light hearted humor and the unique ability to honor the history around their subjects.
So thank you. Thank you, Eli. Much appreciated and
you’re the sweetest
if anyone else wants to leave us a five star review. We’ll read it on the podcast and we may even go back and read a few that have already been left since we, we don’t want to neglect our long term followers.
And we absolutely will because we read them every night before bed. No.
Look at all the people who love me.
(Singing) Alll byyy myyyyseeellllffff. Alright, where are you going?
Travel Tips: Houston, TX
Well, today I’m going to a city we have not gone to before. And although I’m very excited to go for the pod. I have like a really good story today. I’m not super thrilled by the thought of actually having to go because I am taking us today to Houston, Texas and Texas and I are fighting at the moment
What? I can’t imagine why.
Yeah, boo, Texas. Anyways. I did do my dutiful research anyways. And I know you actually lived in a suburb of Houston for a while – as a teen? Or a kid?
Uh, both. We lived there when I was really little like before kindergarten and then we moved back there my freshman year of high school. And I spent freshmen and sophomore year of high school in kingwood, Texas, which is a suburb of Houston.
Well, you can probably tell us more of what to do than I can.
I can tell you what it was like to be in the marching band. So
I can tell you about the high school football field. Yeah. Well, my list of things to do in the bustling city of Houston, which has 2.3 million people, by the way, today mainly involves eating a lot of really good Mexican food because although I’ve not been to Houston, I have been to Texas quite a few times.
Tex Mex is the best
San Antonio Austin, like their Mexican food is really just better. It’s just so good. So one of the places that intrigued me most is a place called Urbe. spelled like urban, but instead of an A, and there’s just an E on the end. And it’s a James Beard award winning restaurant that serves street food, like street tacos, but upscale.
sounds so good. And normally we go through and we say, Oh, I found this and I would get this. Honestly, every single thing on the menu sounded incredible. Lots of tacos, you know, different meats, different sauces, that kind of thing. upscale tacos. You can’t go wrong with any of it so, well, one of everything. I think
we are pro tacos
In the quantity of shit ton. Okay, I’d also like to go to Lucille’s for a couple of reasons. Well, three, actually,
my hand was taken by a loose seal.
I know first reason I would want to pretend I was Lucille Bluth while I was there. I don’t care for Gob.
I love All My Children equally.
minutes later, I don’t care for Gob. And then the second reason Southern inspired food.
Third reason. There’s a really kind of cool inspiring nonprofit associated with the restaurant. So in 2020, they actually hosted a special lunch between Joe Biden and the family of George Floyd. And they then had a series of pop ups that provided income to unemployed bartenders and helped raise money for the nonprofit that is associated with Lucille’s and has been since 1913. And that nonprofit has served 1000s of meals to hungry Houstonians. So I’m just like, come on.
we can eat Southern Comfort food and support do gooders doing good in the city of Houston.
Do gooders doing good? That’s what we want to support.
As they do. I think we’d want to go to brunch because I mean, croissant french toast with spiked berries. Their country Benedict, which includes country fried eggs, which I’ve never heard of before, but I’m intrigued. Oh, and they have shrimp and grits which is like a personal favorite.
comfort food by do-gooders and I love it.
I love it.
After we roll ourselves out of Lucille’s, I think we’d probably want to go to the Museum of Natural Science.
Absolutely. We would.
mainly because they have dinosaurs there. And I’ll take any reason to go see dinosaurs.
So we’re bringing my kids Yeah, our children,
our children. And they have a gem like a hall of gems, which has big ass diamonds and rubies and stuff, which
You know, the Museum of Nature and Science in Denver has gems like that. So maybe when you come for my birthday, we can go !
and when you were here in Omaha we saw the Heart of the Ocean which was not a real diamond but
what? what? but Leonardo DiCaprio had in his heart will go on,
I threw it into the ocean at the end.
It’s been 84 years. Okay, stop quoting Titanic. Let’s go.
It all sounds really fascinating. And I just kind of generally love this kind of museum. I love the British Museum in London. It was very similar. But more than the Museum of Natural Science. I think we would want to go to another Museum in town. That Museum of Funeral History
I was like there’s a museum for everything.
That’s because morbid curious have been around for ever,
and they’re everywhere.
Yes, we are.
The Museum of funeral history is the largest collection of authentic historical funeral service items so we learn about caskets and coffins and hearses through history. So the different kinds of hearses they’ve had
These few of my favorite things! (Sings) “Caskets and coffins and hearses through history!” I can’t Okay,
that was perfect. Also, right. That is now our new anthem for spooky season. And there’s like I guess, exhibits maybe about the funerals of different presidents and Popes and celebrities and stuff like that. So
So excited. I’d also definitely want to swing by the water wall. Did you ever go that when you were there?
Doesn’t sound familiar.
It’s essentially like a manmade waterfall turned into an art installation. It just looks like a really good spot to take Instagram photos essentially.
Yeah, but remember when I was a freshman and sophomore in high school, there was no Instagram. cries in old person. Yeah,
yeah, exactly. cries in old. Do you have any other recommendations based on what you remember from your time?
You know, what did I do? We went to Six Flags a couple of times. That was pretty fun.
I love Six Flags.
I remember eating deep fried ice cream at a Mexican restaurant with my dad.
It was Very good. Yes. I’m trying to think of what else? It’s been a long time and I was in high school. So mostly I just like, rode my bike and hung out hung out with friends. Uh, did you know teenage shit. teenage stuff? Yeah, you mean like the teenagers on tik tok right now who are vandalizing bathrooms across the world. It’s like what’s wrong with teenagers?
No more like I remember. Men can still do this, but women have never been able to. We would go to like McDonald’s or Burger King or something. And my friends my guy friends would wear these cargo shorts and we would put like an entire fast food meal in their cargo shorts. And then we would go see a movie
I mean, that’s why I carry a big purse like that’s 90% of why I have a big purse. I one time Alicia and I snuck ice cream cones into a movie theater in my purse I was carrying it so like they had to have known something was wrong because I was so stiff. Yeah trying to like hold my purse from anything tipping over
this is fine everything’s fine. Yeah, sorry. Yeah. No, I yeah, that’s really that’s teenage shit is we’re like teeheehee. As if we’re so sneaky and you can’t smell french fries from a mile away.
McDonald’s, especially if you just drive by a McDonald’s, that shit permeates your car and you smell it for hours.
Yeah. Oh my God. That sounds so good right now. French Fries Okay. Please continue.
Story 1 – The Icebox Murders
Let’s get into the gruesome and gritty murder that I have prepared for you. It’s a bit of a doozy. Okay, so the story begins with 81 year old Fred Christopher Rogers and his wife, Edwina Rogers, who was 79 years old. So Fred was a retired real estate salesman and Edwina was a sales representative not yet retired, which kill me if I’m still working full time at 79
I mean, I love my job, but that is not what I want to be doing when I’m pushing 80 I’m so sorry.
What do you wan to be doing? I’d like to be good shuffleboard I think at that point in my life.
I see I’m more on the path of like on a yacht somewhere maybe with my younger cabana boy
Yeah, I’ll be right there. Yeah, that’s when we’ll have our, um Golden Girls house
Yeah, and we can have shuffleboard a yacht. Absolutely.
we can and cabana boys Why not? Why not the whole gamut.
We can have it all ladies we can have it all! Anywho, so the couple was relatively unremarkable. They were the people in town that people knew of, but didn’t necessarily know well, you know, those people were you just like I’ve seen them around, but they’re not eccentric or the people that are always out and in society.
They’re normies: normal people.
They’re normies. They live in a small house outside of Houston. And the day that this story begins is June 23 1965. When the police were on the phone with the couple’s nephew, Marvin Martin, which I just laugh when people name their kids. A first name that is so close to the second name.
Marvin Martin.It’s kind of cute.
It’s kind of cute,
kind of irritating, kind of a tongue twister. Marvin Martin there’s literally one letter different.
Oh, yeah, that’s true V in the T.
So Marvin had called because he wanted the police to do a welfare check on his aunt and uncle because he had tried them by phone and even knocked on their door and gotten no answer.
yeah. Never a great sign. So the police were summoned. And two Houston Police officers Charles Bullock and LM Barda took their turn going to the house to knock on the front door. So they knock, there’s still no answer. Uh Oh, so then they circle the house kind of seeing if there’s anything amiss. They noticed that someone had stacked a bunch of flowerpots in front of the back door, kind of like maybe they didn’t want anyone to be able to get out the back door. Who knows?
But at the same The side door was unlocked. So, you know, I’m sure they hollered in, Is anybody in there? didn’t hear anything. And so they went inside. And what I’m picturing when they walk in is like a dimly lit room. It’s got that nursing home smell in the air, you know, because they’re elderly people. Yeah. No offense to elderly people.
Everything just smells a little musty.
Yeah, I’m picturing 40s style furniture slightly beat up that they’d had for 20 years, you know,
They’re the type who are just like, I’m not buying new furniture at this point. Yeah. And I’m picturing this like eerie quietness.
so apparently the first thing that the police captain Charles Bullock said he noticed, as he entered the house was a feeling of unease. He just had a spidey sense, apparently. So his partner started searching the living room and other parts of the house. Nothing really seemed amiss. Bullock walked to the kitchen, and something was nagging at him. He later said that the scene just didn’t feel right.
So some accounts of the story say that all the food that would have been in the fridge was stacked up on the fridge and on the counters. And that’s why he was drawn to the fridge. He himself says he just had a feeling and just like, opened the fridge for no particular reason. But when he did open it, he was surprised because the entire fridge was stacked with meat. Oh, so I’m kind of imagining the way it looks when I opened my parents meat fridge, which is a thing here. You know,
Yeah, I have they have a whole freezer that is strictly for when they get a half cow or whatever. You have to put it all somewhere. So that’s what I’m picturing. But Bullock really thought that they had just purchased a whole hog or half cow or something and had put all the meat in the fridge. And it was all tightly wrapped and neatly, stacked little you know, steak sizes or whatever.
Unfortunately, what he saw and thought was a whole hog was far from the grisly reality. Because you see, when he looked a little closer, he caught sight of the crisper drawers, drawers that held the heads of Fred and Edwina Rogers,
in their own fridge?!?!?! EWWWWW.
in their fridge. And that is when they realized that all the shelves in the fridge were holding pieces of the dismembered bodies of the homeowners.
Oh my god.
I know right? So if you’ve never heard of this murder before, it’s commonly referred to as the icebox murders because their bodies were in the ice box, which is what people called the fridge back then I guess.
Okay, so the medical examiner looked at the work that the killer had done to Fred and Edwina and kind of said, ” whoever did this apparently took their time and knew what they were doing. The dismembering was a very neat job.” And honestly, dismembered is too marginal a word for what was done to the couple. They were dissected.
they were they are disarticulated. You know, I’ll just throw out a trigger warning. I’m going to tell you exactly what was done to both of them. It’s, it’s gruesome. So for Fred, he got the brunt of the murder of the gruesomeness. I guess. his pelvis was separated from his spine. his genitals were severed from his body.
so definitely felt like a very personal attack.
And it was also quite personal the way that he was actually killed. He was beaten to death with a claw hammer 10 or more beatings into his head and face. Also, his eyes were cut or gouged out. And then he was shot execution style.
Yuck. So Edwina did not get as bad of a beating. She did have blows to the head, but not nearly as bad as Fred. And she was also shot execution style. Then, whoever was dismembering the body, wrapped up the limbs and the torso and put them in the fridge, and then flushed some of the remaining pieces down the toilet, which I’m like, Why are killers doing this all the time? It’s like Dennis Nilsen,
you know, you’re gonna get septic problems. Right? It’s exactly like Dennis Nilsen. Yeah.
So the police start thinking What happened? What does the evidence on scene tell us actually happened on the day they were murdered. And so before we talk, theories and suspects and conspiracies, we’ll talk through the evidence itself. So first things first, there was almost no blood In the entire house, so whoever murdered the Rogers cleaned everything super well,
they did find a tiny bit of blood in the bathroom, which led the police to assume that that’s likely where the bodies were drained of their blood and dismembered. Interestingly, I mentioned that both of them were shot execution style. None of the neighbors said they heard a gunshot. And so that combined with the fact that there was no, basically no traces of blood in the house, some police speculate that the Rogers were killed elsewhere and then dismembered in the home, but I don’t know that seems complicated to me. Yeah.
I mean, this whole thing is complicated, though.
Yeah. But it’s like you’re gonna shoot somebody somewhere else and then transport them and then there might be blood in the car. dragged – I don’t know.
I don’t know. We’ll see. So they did find a few pieces of evidence that were likely used in the murders and dismemberment. Specifically, they found a handsaw, and a raincoat that they thought the killer likely wore to avoid getting blood on his clothes. But the hammer and the gun were never found. In terms of timing, because the killer had to drain the bodies and carve up the corpses and, you know, perfectly carefully clean the house. Police believe that the killer had really taken his or her time and had working knowledge at the very least of the human anatomy.
so here’s another kind of devastatingly horrible thing that the killer did. While he was dismembering the bodies, he would remove the innards. Gags., which as it comes out of my mouth is the grossest work of all time. I don’t know why I said that.
It’s not great,
so sorry. And then cut them into little pieces and flushed them down the toilet, as I mentioned. So when police were doing searches of surrounding areas, they were finding human tissue in the sewer system, like chunks of lung and fat pieces from on the bodies. And they found long sections of trachea and intestine in a ditch nearby infested with maggots.
Rachel almost barfed.
icky, icky, icky. icky.
I’m fine, guys.
I’m making margaritas.
I don’t know why my voice is so high.
(Low voice) I’m fine.
Oh, okay. And on one final note, based on the autopsy, it was discovered that Fred and Edwina were murdered three days before they were found on June 20, which that year was Father’s Day. Which makes it especially horrible to know that the police right away had a primary suspect. Fred and Edwina’s son 43 year old Charles Rogers, but the police never got the chance to speak with Charles who, despite a nationwide manhunt was never seen or heard from again.
The Suspect: Charles Rogers
He simply vanished.
Yeah. So let’s talk about this mystery man, Charles Rogers because he’s quite a character.
So at first glance, Charles comes across like your basic basement boy, to use a term I coined recently..
My favorite. Can we make sweatpants that say basic basement boy?
Basic basement boy.
he’s 43 years old, lives with his parents. And the neighbors say he’s a recluse. He’s almost never seen. They call him peculiar and said that the most they see of him is when he’d rise before dawn, leave the house to go do God knows what before his parents even woke up, and then come back after dark after they went to bed. It’s even said that he literally never spoke to them. If they needed to talk to him, or he needed to get a message to them. They would slide notes under his bedroom door.
Oh, that’s weird,
right. Super freaky. Sounds like a freak.
well twist. There was more than met the eye when it came to Charles Rogers. He was not a basement boy. He owned the house and was letting his parents live there with him. Because you see, Charles was actually a very successful man. Very impressive career. He started working for the Office of Naval Intelligence as a young man, then flew as a pilot for the Navy in World War Two.
He had a degree in nuclear physics from the University of Houston. And after graduating, he worked as a seismologist for the shell Oil Company. So for those of you who don’t know seismology is the study of earthquakes and like related phenomenon, such as volcanic eruptions, and seismologists also apply what they learn from studying the earth’s structure for commercial and other purposes, such as detecting nuclear explosions. And so Charles used his skills to find minerals like gas, and oil and gold in the earth, for Shell Oil Company.
Probably a relatively lucrative job. So after nine years with Shell when it was 1957, so what, seven years or whatever, before his parents were killed, he abruptly quit the shell company and was, quote, unquote, never employed again, or so it seems. So it said that he was like a consultant or whatever. But he never technically had another job that anyone knew of after that time.
but this man was also a genius. Like, literally, technically extreme high IQ. He spoke seven languages.
not your typical basement boy,
not your typical basement boy, one co worker of him of his called him the goose that laid the golden eggs, because he could always find oil. And so that means he probably had quite a bit of money, as I mentioned, and there was a lot of information out there that said that he probably had multiple properties and land. He owned a plane that he flew regularly since he was a pilot in the Navy, Air Force? Navy?. I don’t know. I don’t remember. It said navy but…
Navy has pilots too.
Do they? I’m like, what is the difference?
I don’t know, I think so, right?
I mean, Air Force does have air in the title.
Spits out drink
Rachel is taking a drink. So I took the opportunity.
You bitch! I almost had pumpkin spice come out my nose.
So Rachel, does the profile of this man sound like anything to you?
Do you mean like a killer?
Yes. Okay, yeah. So I say sneaky and suspicious. Right?
There’s a theory about Charles that will really lean into that. But first another theory about why exactly Charles would want – Why would he even want to murder his parents so brutally? So the first theory, if we’re doing like, Occam’s razor is probably the actual correct answer, but not the fun one. So first theory is that there’s a lot of information out there saying that the family dynamic with the Rogers was very hostile, very sad. To put it politely they didn’t get along. But to put it bluntly, they hated each other. You know,
well, that explains the like, secret note passing like,
yeah, I don’t wanna see your face? Yeah.
It sounds like prison, right? They’re just like sliding like meals under the door.
Yes, yes. A less disgusting version of Blanche Monnier. Like, locked in here, but we just don’t want to see you.
Yeah. No more Rapunzel-ing.
Right? So probably some of this hatred towards each other stems from an early family trauma, which was in 1929, when the family was on vacation. They were involved in a car accident. And unfortunately, during that accident, Charles’s little sister Betty was killed. And it kind of seems like it was all downhill from there.
you know, there’s information out there. But Charles was physically and emotionally abused well into adulthood. the brunt of it coming from Fred, which if we look at the amount of torture on Fred versus Edwina, like that could definitely correlate. And then to pile on top of the abuse, his parents were financially defrauding and taking advantage of Charles. So like I said before, Charles was the one that actually owned the house that they all lived in. But they would do things like forge documents that said that they owned the house and then take out a mortgage on the home so they could buy Things.
.So really not cool. I’m like, motive means yes.
Meet Opportunity. Yeah.
Hi. Nice to meet you. So to me, that’s the easy answer. Right? That’s probably what happened, I guess. But there’s another theory.
The JFK Conspiracy Theory
conspiracy theory Even and it has to do with the fact that Charles Rogers had a very specific set of skills. Allegedly
Is he a secret agent? Is he a ninja?
Secret agent man. Yes, back when I was like, What is the purpose of this man sound like to you? Does it sound like a CIA agent? a spy? Perhaps?
Wow, that was a leading question. I did not get there. I’m like he did it. He’s a killer. I mean, never to play like any game with you like catchphrase or something right? What does it sound like, Rachel? A KILLER?
You can’t even rhyme things.
Sounds like shmee-cret nagent.
Yes, there are quite a number of people out there that speculate that Charles Rogers was actually a CIA agent. And not only that, but a member of the CIA that was involved in the conspiracy to assassinate john F Kennedy
when you said conspiracy, and this was the 1960s and CIA. I’m right there with you.
Yeah, girl. Let’s get out our conspiracy boards and red string and see if we can solve this shit.
Okay. So before I get into the Charles Rogers, part of the conspiracy, I wanted to walk through the very basic story of the JFK assassination, just in case someone listening doesn’t quite know the whole story. And ladies and gentlemen, straight out of Wikipedia, copy and pasted it so don’t come at me. Okay. Very quickly, the JFK situation. JFK 35th, President of the United States, he was assassinated on Friday, November 22 1963, at 1230 in Dallas, Texas.
So he was in a motorcade. He was riding with Jackie O and Texas Governor john Connolly and Connolly’s wife. And then he was according to history, fatally shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, who was a former US Marine, and he apparently fired gunshots from a nearby building. Governor Connally was seriously wounded. And JFK, of course, as we all know, was rushed to a hospital but was pronounced dead about 30 minutes after the shooting.
So the Dallas Police Department arrested Oswald 70 minutes after the shooting. He was charged under Texas law with the murder of Kennedy and of someone JD Tippit, a Police officer from Dallas. And then on November 24, as live television cameras were covering his transfer from the city jail to the county jail. He was fatally shot in the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters by Dallas nightclub operator jack Ruby. So he was taken to a hospital and he died and then Ruby was convicted of Oswald’s murder, though it was later overturned on appeal, I guess. But he died in prison in ’67. While he was waiting for a new trial, so
Yeah. So after 10 months of investigation, they did conclude that Oswald was the one who assassinated Kennedy, like close the book on that one. He had acted entirely alone for sure
a lone nut is what he was called
Yes. And Ruby acted alone and killing Oswald then Kennedy blah, blah, blah. You know, it was all very like, it was absolutely no conspiracy. It was Oswald he did it. Okay. Also, and it’s 1979 report, the United States House Select Committee on assassinations, which I did not know was a thing agreed that Oswald’s three rifle shots were what caused the injuries to Kennedy and Connolly, and the committee could not identify a second gunman or group involved in the possible conspiracy.
Although the House Select Committee on assassinations did conclude that some analysis pointed to the existence of an additional gunshot and high probability that two gunmen fired at the president. But in the end, the US Justice Department concluded their investigations and stated there’s no persuasive evidence that can be identified to support the theory of a conspiracy. You know, in the end, they close the book on it.
It was Oswald he acted alone A lone nut..that said, to this day, everybody’s like hell no, like it was. There’s a million different theories about what actually happened. polls conducted from ’66 to 2004 found that 80% of Americans believe there’s a plot to cover up some conspiracy
Yeah, that’s massive, right? Yeah. Would you be part of the 80%?
You know, I go back and forth. I saw this Tiktok recently that was talking about more than likely one of the drunk or hung over Secret servicemen accidentally shot JFK and I kind of like that theory. Because they had all, I had heard before that they had all been hung over. I don’t know about the CIA plot, but I like to think it was just a bumbling idiot.
Yeah, yeah. John Lennon style, just some crazy person. Yeah,
Well, so one of the main conspiracies that people talk about today is that of the three tramps. And this is a conspiracy that Charles Rogers kind of fits into. And so quickly, again, this conspiracy goes like this. After the shooting happened, a bunch of people were taken into custody from around Dealey Plaza where it all happened.
And in most of those instances, there weren’t any records kept of who they were, why they were detained, whatever. The most famous of those that were taken into custody had been come to known as the tramps because they were three men discovered in a boxcar in the rail yard, just west of the grassy knoll. And so speculation regarding the identities of the three, and their possible involvement in the assassination became really widespread.
There were photographs of the three at the time of their arrest. But, you know, they’re 60s photos, they’re grainy, it’s hard to see what they look like, really. And so people are always like, see, look like his nose does this and so it’s definitely so and so. But a lot of people also are like, it’s weird that these tramps are so well dressed and clean-shaven and doesn’t really seem like hobos riding the rails are going to be so nice looking. So that’s odd. Then some researchers also are suspicious on the fact that the Dallas police really quickly released them from custody never investigated whether they had witnessed anything or whatever. They also claimed to have lost records of the arrest as well as their mug shots and fingerprints.
So eventually, people kind of came to believe that Oswald was a Patsy, like the three tramps were trained CIA operatives that were tasked with killing Kennedy. And then the government helped cover it all up.
It makes sense.
Yeah, it really kind of does. And then they took out Oswald, you know, and took out Ruby or whoever. So there’s this whole many big layers of everything. So let’s talk about how Charles fits into this. And I will preface it with a reminder that I am not JFK assassin conspiracy expert. The number of conspiracies out there is vast. There’s dozens of people and agencies involved in crisscrossing theories and apologies for this isn’t totally right. But I did my best. I literally did like six hours of research on just the JFK stuff. And it was still so confusing.
Oh I believe you.
Yeah, I don’t know. I guess if you’re an expert, and you want to send corrections, go for it. Horrible history podcast at gmail. Okay. Okay, according to the theory, Charles Rogers was initially recruited as a contract agent for the CIA. And he helped pass information back and forth between Latin America and Langley, using the cover of being an oil man for the Shell Oil Company, which I read somewhere that apparently it’s a really good cover for CIA agents who work in oil.
Yeah, you travel a lot. You have a lot of disposable income, I get it.
Exactly, exactly. Then in 1957, when he abruptly quit Shell and never had a job again, that’s when he became a full-time operative. Maybe he worked in like Latin American operations. Made all these powerful friends and he was helping. When he was in the oil, it was helping people get very rich, and now he’s a CIA agent. And so the circle is like growing, and he’s meeting these people who are influential.
And at some point, the circle came to include a man named David Ferrie, who was an American pilot, who was alleged by New Orleans district attorney Jim garrison to have been involved in conspiracy to assassinate JFK. So apparently, links have been made between Ferrie and Lee Harvey Oswald because they were in the Civil Air Patrol together. And guess who else was in the Civil Air Patrol?
Shock! Twists! Turns!
So conspiracy say that Ferrie was like super anti JFK, and he either conspired with Oswald to assassinate the president or maybe organize the three men that are Actually assassinated Kennedy and pinned it on Oswald. So speaking of the three men that’s the theory that I talked through of the three tramps and according to some people, Charles Rogers was one of the three tramps and so this is where also I listen to podcasts and read things where they’re like, see Charles Rogers was a short guy and the third tramp is a short guy and like, they’ll like show the grainy ass picture from the day in Dallas and then a picture of Charles Rogers from high school and they’re like look how similar they are.
Look at these tiny men they look so much alike.
Exactly! White guys: they all look the same.
Okay, that so apparently it was Charles Rogers, Chauncey Holt and Charles Harrelson. Who PS is that Father of Woody Harrelson. Hey, yeah, love Woody Harrelson. And so apparently, those were the three guys that were arrested at the Plaza immediately after the assassination. So this Chauncey Holt guy long claimed that he was one of the three men he was always trying to say, like, Yeah, I was a CIA agent. I forged documents.
So he wasn’t
right. It’s like, okay, he said he meant Oswald and Ferrie and helped work for the CIA and all this stuff. But two months earlier, he had said that the gunmen were Harrison Rogers, and a different guy, Charlie Nicoletti. And so this, I don’t know, it was one of these things where it was just like, there’s a lot of different names coming up. And it’s hard to understand, like, who’s doing what, but essentially, what was that guy’s name? again?
Chauncey was kind of trying to say like, Oh, I was definitely part of it. But also I wasn’t one of the three. So there’s a lot of weird back and forth. Harrelson, Woody’s dad, was undoubtedly a hitman, he had been convicted of two different murders, including one of a district judge. So he was definitely connected to organized crime in Texas. And during his arrest in 1980, he said he assassinated President Kennedy. And those claims kind of regularly resurface in the media through Woody, actually.
But it also is noted regularly that he was high on cocaine at the time when he said this, and then later was like, No, no, I was high, like, I didn’t really kill the president. Shut up! Don’t Look at me. So all of this is kind of weird. And they aren’t the only real holes in the theory. So another thing is that the three tramps apparently have been identified. So there’s a lot of people who’ve rejected these conspiracy theories and said, like, they found the arrest warrants from back then, and they were totally different guys. There was was this Gus Abrams, Harold Doyle and john gagne. And so they were actually just homeless drifters. Like passing through the area, we figured it out, guys stop trying to figure out who they were.
It’s not the CIA, the CIA would never assassinate the president. WINK.
The CIA would never forge arrest warrants from 1963.
So honestly, truly, if I were a conspiracy theorist, I would assume that this went all the way to the top and the CIA was the one behind it. And they made it all go away and replaced the names of that the actual tramps with the names of these three actual homeless men, and yada, yada, yada.
So it’s just all this convoluted mess. That’s why I say like, I’m not an expert, I honestly cannot even do a very good job of explaining it all. Because there’s five or six different theories of possible people that were these three tramps everything from actual homeless people to Charles Rogers to you know, totally different folks. It’s, it’s all kind of crazy. But when we’re talking Charles Rogers, essentially, some people think that he was one of the people on the grassy knoll, one of the people who actually shot JFK.
So, circling kind of back, how does Charles being an assassin for the CIA, somehow result in murdering his parents? Well, the thought there is that his parents may be found out that he was involved, maybe read a diary or something, and we’re trying to blackmail him for more money and said they’re going to tell if he didn’t give them money. And so then he killed them.
I’m just picturing this big tough weird CIA agent. Dear Diary. Today I got away with shooting JFK. It felt great. Love Charles.
He makes little hearts over the i’s. Oh gosh. PS I hate my mom.
But especially my dad; I’m going to put him in the icebox, okay. Talk to you tomorrow!
And then there’s nothing after that, because if he’s anything like me you only write one entry in that journal and then you never look at it again.
Yeah, that’s exactly right. And then six months from now you’re like, I still hate my parents!!!
So all in all, we’ll probably never know if he was one of the tramps on the hill, or one of the gunman that killed JFK. But it does seem pretty likely that he killed his parents. I mean, there was never any other idea of who else that could have been granted. They just honed in on him,
and he just disappeared. That’s shady
Exactly. Well, that’s the other thing is like, what happened to him a person can’t really just disappear. Not now, especially but even back then. I mean, it happened every once a while, but they even found john list. So come on.
So yeah, come on. Yeah. Come on. Yeah.
So some people say he was spirited away and continue to work for the CIA until the mid 1980s. And he was part of the Iran Contra program, and they just deployed him elsewhere. You know, you did your job, bud. Thanks,
Others think he snuck to Canada, others think he was living off the land in Texas. And others think he escaped to Mexico in his plane and like, changed his name and worked as a miner. And in fact, those who think that he went to the mines have some background, I think it was that they found this guy who looked a lot like him, but he had a different name. You know, it’s one of those things where it’s like, we think that this guy who just showed up out of nowhere is probably Charles Rogers. That guy if it was actually Charles Rogers, he worked in the mines and was attacked and killed by his colleagues at 1 point.
like with a pick axe, like, boom, you know? Yeah. I don’t know why they did that. But apparently, he was murdered, if that was actually him. But ultimately, no matter where he went, 10 years after he disappeared in 1975. He was declared dead in absentia. So I don’t know. Which I’m also like, I don’t feel like that’s that common. to just say, like, must be dead. He would have been what he would have been 53. Yeah. 10 years later, he’s probably dead. That seems like a government cover up thing.
I mean, now in 2021, we could say Yeah, probably.
Yeah, exactly. But yeah, cuz now he’d be pushing 100 Yeah, so he’s definitely dead no matter what now, but
allegedly, allegedly, he killed his parents. Allegedly. He killed JFK. Allegedly. He escaped to Mexico. We don’t really know.
I think it was probably just a oil guy. I think he definitely killed his parents. But
yeah, maybe he like broke a little bit and went off the rails a little Yeah, maybe snapped killed his parents. You know,
that’s what I think he sounds like an odd basement boy to me and basement can never be trusted. Right?
And basement boys can be geniuses
and also murderers,
and also killers and also spies
DUN DUN DUN
So that’s a story of the icebox murders. And the possible killer of JFK. Allegedly.
Beautiful job. That’s good. Allegedly. Alright. I too, am going someplace we’ve never been
Travel Tips: Naples, Italy
And it’s been a hot minute since I have done an international story. So today, we are going to Naples, Italy.
Now I think of all of Italy as beautiful
except for Milan, Milan is garbage.
Milan is garbage. But apparently, Naples is not a popular tourist destination like other Italian cities like Rome or Venice. It has a mafia-related garbage problem and a very high crime rate
but nonetheless, we are going to risk it because that is what we do for this podcast. So first, we are going on a walking tour of the underground ruins. It is a huge Labyrinth that expands beneath the city. Isn’t that cool? So it’s like ancient ruins underneath Naples.
I love it! That sounds so cool.
So there’s part of an amphitheater down there and we could go through some creepy twists and turns by candlelight. You know that place is haunted.
Oh, yeah, totally.
Next and I did not Google any pronunciation so I am so sorry international listeners. Next we are checking out an old church: Complesso Monumentale di Santa Chiara.
I feel like you can, it all sounds really good as lines Ahhhh.
have like my little My hands in the air… italian kisses! So this church and monastery were erected in the 1300s. And it’s gorgeous. Emily giggled because I said erected
we are children. But think like fountains and painted pillars, like lots of pillars in Italy, which of course, yeah. And you and I are not going on a trip to Italy without fat kidding all day. Without eating.
But when I was in Italy, I we just ate. I mean, there was so much pasta and pizza and Oh, it’s so good.
Yeah. Did you know Fun fact margherita pizza invented in Naples.
Yeah, I didn’t know that actually, oddly enough.
So we are checking out La Lazzara Trattoria e Pizzeria.
Now I looked at their menu and it’s completely in Italian but I did understand some words including caprese and margherita.
Yeah, the pizza not the drink Margarita, right. rigatoni, spaghetti, etc. They also have an expansive wine menu. So we would be living our best fat kid Italian dreams out there.
Hmm. Good, good, good.
Story 2 – Joanna of Naples
Okay. But the reason for our trip to Naples is one of our favorite things. This week. My story is about a bad bitch
Oh, yeah. And we are going back to the Middle Ages. I am going to tell you all about Joanna the first of Naples. Okay, just a to note a quick note I got pretty much all of my information from a long reads article called queens of infamy Joanna of Naples, which of course I will link in our sources. Joanna was born in 1326 to Charles, the Duke of Calibria. And Maria Valois. She was the the couple’s fourth child, but tragically or, you know, regularly in the Middle Ages. Joanna’s three older siblings had died before Joanna was even born.
And then when she was still a baby, her dad Charles died, and only a few years later in 1331, Joanna lost her mother as well.
Yeah, it’s not starting out Great. This podcast is horrible history. Get With the program. Emily, it’s your podcast.
My bad, my bad.
You’re all, Oh, no that’s awful. Yeah, whole premise.
Tell me something better.
I mean, it’s gonna get good and then it’s gonna go downhill, just a precursor for life and also this story. Okay, Joanna was raised by her grandfather, King Robert the wise, who taught her how to rule, but most of her nurturing was left to her nurse Philippa, that catonian. So Philippa was a bit of a bad bitch in her own right. She had been a laundry maid living in poverty in Sicily. However, at some point, she ended up in the court of Robert the wises first wife, and she played the system. So she was beautiful and charming. And everybody liked her. And she met Raymond of Campagno,
yes, it campa g No, Campagno,
something like that. But he was an Ethiopian former enslaved person who had worked his way up to head chef, and then even worked his way up further, to the point where he was an advisor of King Robert the wise. Wow. So by the time Joanna came into the picture, these formerly impoverished formerly enslaved people had worked their way up to be super wealthy and important, and the Neapolitan court. Nice. So Joanna grew up in a really good time in Naples, the city was flourishing under King Roberts rule. Part of that is because he was a good king, but also it was a happy time for the climate. What must that be like, ah,
Ah, a time when the earth wasn’t on fire.
Yeah, but that’s just the Middle Ages. So let’s just spoiler alert,
everything else was on fire, but not the earth!
Black Death is coming. At this point, the crops were growing like crazy.
Little did they know.
Yeah. But Robert is also trying to deal with a little bit of family drama. So this is like some straight up Game of Thrones shit. Robert was not supposed to inherit the throne in Naples. He was like the Prince Henry to the Prince William to this whole situation, okay. The Prince William was Charles Martel Roberts older brother. But when Charles died the king at the time, so their dad decided to name Robert as his heir instead of his grandson Carobert, who the king thought was too Young to rule.
That is my whole dream right now is that the Queen names William the next king just skips right over Charles. I think it’s the baddest thing you can do like, bye son!
Yeah, my bad. Yeah. So it’s supposed to go like firstborn son and then their firstborn son.
right. But instead, his firstborn son died and instead of giving it to Carobert, he gave it to Robert, who was his second son.
So Carobert ended up inheriting Hungary through his grandmother. But apparently, he was not stoked on this. Hungary is not the same as Naples.
It’s like, but I wanted a Porsche not a prius.
I got to inherit a whole country, but I’m still pissed about it.
Yeah. And he doesn’t get less pissed throughout this story. So Carobert a kid asshole. He ends up growing up into a warrior. Had a boatload of kids, but he is still super pissed about being denied Naples, which was his birthright in his opinion, and the law at the time. So Robert was all no big deal. Please don’t invade us with your Hungarian army. And he betrothed Joanna to Carobert’s son, Andrew. So Andrew’s heirs would rule Naples. But Andrew would just be doing his house husband; Joanna was still supposed to be in charge.
Apparently, there was a pretty big bias against Hungarians at the time. So people can only get on board with Carobert’s spawn being in charge if they were raised in the Neapolitan court. Okay, so they’re like Andrew, still pretty Hungarian, but like his kids with Joanna will be raised in the court in Naples,
but they’re part of like, they have the ability to give away Hungary. And so it must be part of their rule, but they still don’t like them?
So Hungary was ruled by – I didn’t do – there’s so many names in the old stories, especially with royalty, but from what I could tell, Carobert inherited Hungary from the other side of the family from his grandmother. Okay. So he couldn’t, Robert the wise couldn’t give him hungry, but he could say you go rule over here, not in Naples, but then we’ll make sure that your heirs will get to rule in Naples, because Joanna and Andrew are going to get married. Okay, so in 1333, at the ripe old ages of seven years old and six years old, Joanna and Andrew were married.
And PS their first cousins.
Yup. It was a super extravagant ceremony and the kids even had to give each other a quick Peck, which I hate, even though I love a good party.
And of course, Andrew stayed in Naples with his child bride and Carobert went back to Hungary. Unfortunately for Andrew, nobody liked him. He grew up into a sullen teenager as children are known to do. He wasn’t as mature as Juliana who was a year older than he was. And when they were 15 and 16, respectively, they still hadn’t consummated the marriage,
which is a big no no back in the day. Emily’s all, GOOD! Stop it, children,
Around this time, Joanna’s cousins from Taranto came back to Naples from Greece looking like Athenian gods, other cousins, and she liked
She liked her dorky teen husband even less
Oh no. he’s got pimples everywhere.
Mom, he needs braces, but they haven’t been invented yet. Oh shit.Her mom died. Nope, just kidding. GRAMPA! Robert the wise n 1343 appointing a council to help Joanna rule until he was until she was 25. And she was 17 at the time that Robert died, which I mean is a wise move, right, like let’s keep you counseled, let’s give you some advisors until you’re 25. the Neapolitan people didn’t really like Joanna either, because she was young and you know, a lady
(Whispers) A lady.
Also, Naples was not doing awesome at this point. There was a lot of rain in Europe leading to poor crops and famines. So people were judging royalty extra harshly. Andrew, who I picture all broken out and watching creepily from the shadows, decides that Roberts death was the perfect time to try to become the king. Because obviously it Naples was rightfully his at least that’s how his father Carobert had indoctrinated him until you know he was six years old and old enough to be married, She says with crazy eyes and angst.
it’s so nasty. That’s like Lincoln getting married in two years.
No my baby!!!!
Isn’t that disgusting?
So gross. Eventually, Joanne and Andrew did consummate the marriage and Joanna got pregnant. So caring that one of Carobert’s heirs would eventually be ruler. But this wasn’t good enough for Andrew either. He started threatening Joanna, who apparently in her own right would tease the shit out of him. He also bullied any member of the court that wasn’t a direct servant of his. And then he freed these three brothers, the Pipinis, who were in prison because they were straight-up terrorists to Italy. He said, Hey, why don’t you go ahead and be free. But I’ll also Knight you if you lobby to make me a real King. So Andrew was not awesome.
Sounds like a dick.
He was definitely a dick.
This is why you don’t put teenagers in charge of things Ever. They should even be in charge of a McDonald’s drive thru line. Okay, do not get them any power.
Yeah, except for chick fil a because those teenagers are efficient
they’re in a cult though. I’m pretty sure.
It’s The only way
Have a blessed day.
Okay, so on September 18 1345, Andrew got drunk, and sloppily slunk back into his quarters in which Joanna was also sleeping in their bed, their marital bed. So he was about to climb in with her. eww, when a servant grabbed him, telling him that they needed him to sign some important papers immediately.
So he’s, in what I imagine he stumbles out the door really quickly, but gasp, there were no important papers. Only a group of angry Neapolitans armed with a rope. They wrapped it around Andrew’s neck and dragged him to a balcony hanging him over where his feet were greeted by more angry men who grabbed his ankles to speed up the strangling. Andrew was strangled to death.
Holy shit. That’s intense.
And Joanna, who was 19 years old and six months pregnant, was the number one suspect in his murder.
She was asleep.
Mm hmm. But she could have planned the whole thing. She’s the queen. People started to do that thing where they observe the widow’s behavior to guess whether or not she did it.
She doesn’t seem sad enough!
exactly that. And people start to spread rumors about Joanna is not crying! Joanna doesn’t make eye contact, or that she left the castle and went away somewhere so that no one would be suspicious, or that she allegedly didn’t do anything with the body. So after three days, a local cathedral was all Well, I guess we’ll bury him. None of this was true.
but it’s still kind of funny the way people look for signs of foul play. And as we know from most true crime stories, the spouse always does it
every single time
every single time. In truth, Joanna stayed at the castle and Andrews body was interred the day after he died. Now that doesn’t mean that Joanna was 100% innocent. I mean, she openly hated her teen husband cousin.
And cousin lover,
cousin lover. After Andrew was tricked into leaving the bedroom. The door was locked from the inside. So maybe she wasn’t asleep and she just like, locked the door. But that could have also been a servant. Right? They’re not alone. Really ever in the court,
Maybe they heard a kerfuffle and we’re like, we must protect the queen.
They’re hanging royalty.
Exactly. A day or two after Tommaso Mambriccio was arrested for the crime that instead of a trial, he was publicly tortured.
And this part is brutal, his tongue was cut out. And because people were so zealous to convict and torture someone, they forgot that the thing that happens when you cut out someone’s tongue is that they can’t name any of their accomplices. So remember, Philippa and Raymond, the power couple from earlier in the story? There were rumors that maybe they were involved in the assassination. So it’s possible that Joanna had cut out or had Tommaso’s tongue cut out to protect people she cared about.
Obviously, the Hungarians are pissed. So they asked the pope to look into the death, because apparently the Pope was, you know, head of the CIA in the Middle Ages. I don’t know.
And Lewis who’s Andrew’s older brother and the king of Hungary at this point, started talking about invading Naples.
But then, on Christmas Day 1345 Joanna birthed a healthy said Charles Martel and she named is about the Hungarian as his nurse. So she’s all calm your tits, Hungarians, I’m keeping up my end of the bargain. And their tits did indeed calm down.
Yeah. So they sent some gifts, even sending the new prince a crown from Hungary. So they’re like, you have Hungarian blood your Andrew’s son. great.
It had a spy camera inside.
A 1300 spy camera. Yeah. Which is just a hole and somebody like comes and looks through it.
Trojan horse style, except tiny.
14th century spy equipment. Yeah. And now that Joanna had an heir place, she started looking for a husband. She actually likes
Hey, maybe another cousin. Yeah.
Okay. And remember Joanna’s hot cousins? Because she was into one of them. Louis of Taranto In fact, there were rumors that the two of them were already engaged in that dangerous because it love just a picture, like the French movie they go to and Arrested Development that’s like Dangerous Cousins.
Some said that Charles was actually Louis’s son, not Andrew’s son. There’s nothing to confirm that. Obviously, there was no DNA test or anything. But they did get married pretty quickly. And also Louis was a skilled warrior. So just in case the Hungarians were about to attack, Joanna had that benefit as well. At this point, after like months of stalling the papal investigation is underway. Andrew is dead. Joanna has her hot husband/cousin this time, me and her new baby with a questionable patriotic line.
Yeah, soap opera.
Get it get it. It’s a soap opera and some more of Joanna’s cousins are here to mess shit up. So they there’s a lot of repeated names. We’ll do our best we got another Robert and another Charles. I know, Robert and Charles of Durazzo decided they would like some of that royal power. Six months after Andrew died, the durazzo brothers are all that’s not cool, though. We should get him some justice.,
Who are you? Where did you come from?
6 months, dude. So they started spreading rumors about Joanna, trying to turn people’s opinions against her, which actually wasn’t that hard, because the papal inquest kept stopping and starting again. So everybody was like, ooh, she’s got something to hide the purpose stopping and starting again. And people are starting to get antsy. You know, they This is the Middle Ages. They’re used to seeing people publicly tortured they want blood.
I haven’t seen anyone tortured publicly for weeks. I’m depressed.
Weeks Since I’ve seen a tongue being cut out. so upset
at least if there was some eye-gouging. Good lord. Yeah.
So they were getting so antsy that the court seneschal Who is, remember Raymond of Campagno issued a decree that no civilians could openly carry weapons. So same Raymond that’s married to bad bitch, Philippa, and you know how much people love when you try to take their guns away?
Yep, in March of 1346, Raymond was ambushed while trying to enforce that decree. And those damn Durazzo brothers took him prisoner. And wouldn’t you know it instead of a trial or even an interrogation, they just decided they should cut out Raymond’s tongue
WOOOO We’ve been waiting.
Get my tongue cutter!!!!
They’re all it’s cool, bro. You don’t need your tongue, you can confess by just nodding your head. Yes, as we read off your crimes and your co-conspirators. And this is really terrible. They made him nod that his wife Philippa and his granddaughter Sancia were co-conspirators
don’t kill the baby girl.
And this got the crowd super riled up. They started yelling Death to the whore Queen, which is rude, by the way, rude, rude, but also surrender the traitors. So, you know, they’re out for blood.
So people have been idiots for years.
Since there were people. So Joanna is really in between a rock and a hard place here. And so she’s either like I give up my throne essentially or I have to hand over the alleged traitors to the Durazzosand that is what she did. Which is a Horrible impossible decision she had to make. But it’s her orthem at that point.
Yeah. Or what she if she surrendered her throne, would that mean that she would probably die or
they would take her prisoner and probably kill her. Yeah. So but it was said like she really loved them and it was really a terribly hard decision. She wasn’t just like, Ok here, you go.
yeah. So she did hand over the alleged traitors, and the Durazzos are all Thanks, bro. Don’t worry, we won’t do anything to them until they can be properly investigated. Spoiler alert. That is not what happened.
Publicly torture! They started chanting that as they walk away.
Death to the whore Queen! she’s like I thought – I thought we were cool bro! What happened?
YAY bastards! We’re all bastards!
Wonder how many people listen and are just like, What are they talking about?
And if you need to know where that comes from listen to terrible today. From what three weeks ago?
I think it was just last week.
Oh, we recorded later.
two weeks ago.
Listen to all the terrible today’s mini episode from horrible history.
Listen to every single episode or you’re dead to us – no.
what are you doing? You’re not doing anything else. Listen to it. So an ally of the Durazzo, Hugo Del Bazo took the prisoners out to sea and when they were still in view of Naples, tortured them, like on the boat where the people can see it. Out for blood.
I want this show to be shown. It’s like a theater on a boat now. Yay,
I’m on a boat. And It’s goin fast and yes. So as if this wasn’t bad enough, there was a storm a Brewin in Hungary and also in people’s bodies because the Black Death was in full swing.
And in Their bodies
and their bodies and they would both make their way into Naples and the beginning of 1348
At this point, Louis of hungry is on his merry way to Naples conquering looting general warrior stuff. The Durazzos were like like no worries, Joanna we’re gonna fight on the side of Naples. But obviously these douchebags jumped ship and started fighting with Hungary against Naples immediately. Also hot cousin Louis Joanna’s trophy husband is going to fight for her. But his hot brothers Richard and Philip also decide they’re going to fight with Hungary
as we have said on this podcast before Never trust a nice face
Never. Joanna makes a game time decision that she can lose this battle and maybe that will help her win the war. At this point, she’s pregnant with her second kid, which is this time for sure Louis’s. so Joanna fled the castle in the middle of the night for Avignon, France which is where the Pope was at the time pre Vatican. Louis, hot Louis, Joanna’s husband, there’s hot Louis and there’s Louis of hungry so let’s not get it twisted. Who I don’t know if he was hot or not. But like, let’s just assume not because he’s a dick. Hot people could be assholes too.
So hot Louis gets the news that Joanna noped out of there, and he decided to stop fighting and do the same. This is probably one of the most horrible parts of the story to me. Joanna left her son Charles, who was a toddler in the Neapolitan court. And by all accounts, Juliana was a loving mother. So Joanna most likely made this decision because it was going to be a dangerous trip to France. And Charles probably wouldn’t have survived – this is Medieval travel and he was a toddler. And Charles had Hungarian blood, because he was probably Andrews kid as far as everybody knew.
So she figured that the Hungarians would take him in. Meanwhile, on January 19 1348, Charles of Durazzo and Robert of Taranto, who is remember Louis of Taranto is doing his husband, but Robert of Taranto is fighting with the Hungarians. They lead a procession of other traitors from Naples to do a little meet and greet with the Hungarians. And you know what, Hungarian Louis is not such a nice guy. shocker. He arrested all of the traitors, the hot Taranto cousins and two of the Durazzo brothers were thrown in prison.
Charles of Durazzo was immediately condemned and executed in the same spot in which Andrew had been murdered because karmas a bitttccchhhh. I wrote it like all stretched out like that. Joanna, on the other hand, is traveling to Avignon, and so was the Black Death.
Taking it with her.
Well, it’s following her – by spring of 1348. That gross shit was all over Italy. cities were being destroyed and it was wiping out like 50% of the population. Yeah, for funsies, some of the city of the Black Death where feve,r weakness, abdominal pain, chills and shock. Oh, and your tissues bleeding and dying and turning black. So that’s awesome. Emily’s face is like nope, nope. Hey like don’t eat or drink maybe for now.
Your arm would just like turn black and fall off?
like your internal tissues. So people are rotting and black
Yeah, pretty gross. Anyhow, the plague was in Avignon to Pope Clement the six consecrated the Rhone River. So there were just bodies floating down the river to get to sea, like bodies on bodies. He’s like, it’s cool. It’s consecrated everything’s fine.
What does that mean? what’s consecrated mean?
to make something sacred to dedicate or formerly to a religious or divine purpose. So yeah, like holy watered up the river.
So it’s okay, just dump the bodies in there and they’ll be blessed and disposed of all at the same time.
Everything’s fine. So let me just tell you, when Joanna gets to Avignon, there is plague everywhere, bodies floating down the river, et cetera. This bitch did not read the room. She comes in like the Queen she is with a huge procession in March of 1348. She has 18 Cardinals in front of her and then she appears wearing a glowing golden red robe a la Cleopatra. Her blond hair is being blown in the wind, even though there’s no wind blowing. Like one of those moments?
I’m like just picturing Cersei from Game of Thrones
Yes, exactly like that. She is just the starkest contrast to what I envision is this gray mist of death and despair all around her. Her house husband Louis is walking behind her. And he was wearing a tight jacket looking hot AF as well.
I’m picturing a leather jacket. It’s like Danny Zuko or whatever from Greece.
I don’t know what kind of jacket I just read tight. Like I mean, there are poems written about how gorgeous this couple was. Then this is already a long story so I didn’t include but listen. morbid, curious line the streets, plague be damned to watch this gorgeous spectacle. Ironically, this procession all the way to the papal court wants to stand trial for Andrew’s murder.
remember they were doing a papal investigation. That’s why Joanna went to see the pope
she’s like I may be under arrest but I want to look good in my mug shot
exactly like that. This was one of those it could go either way kind of situations. Either. She is found innocent and she can try to reclaim the throne in Naples or she is found guilty and killed immediately.
Oh, haha, high stakes.
high stakes in front of Pope Clement who by the way is also extra and decked out in a triple Decker tiara white silk robes and Gold embroidered slippers
What the hell? A Tiara?
Like a three tiered. The popes were very corrupted that 1300s Joanna represents herself. She is the only lady in her room full of dudes. Bad bitch. And listen, Joanna used the plague defense,
but it’s a plague.
No, she essentially said that if she were guilty, she couldn’t have walked like a goddess through the streets of Avignon. God would have smitten her down with the plague. And the papal court was all Yep, can’t argue with that
makes sense to me.
So she was found to be above suspicion of guilt, and clement one up that by legitimizing her marriage to Louis, and then he declared that Louis of Hungary should stop with the Naples invasion already. And Louis was like, cool, cool, cool. I already avenged my brother Andrew’s death and also Naples sucked. Did you know that everyone here has the plague and hates Hungarians?
Why did I even come here on vacation?
I hate it. All I got was the stupid t shirt.
Did you know everyone here has the plague> It’s like honey that’s everywhere.
Not in Hungary.
Really? It’s not in hungry at all?
I don’t know.
I bet it was
Yeah it’s all over Europe. Oh, and PS as if we didn’t already think this one was a badass. Joanna’s still pregnant throughout this entire thing.
Oh, my god. I forgot about that!
She gives birth to Catherine at the end of June. And by mid our mid August her army was able to defeat the remaining Hungarian forces so Louis had left but there were still some people like guarding the palace or whatever. Joanna reclaimed the throne and people were into her again. The end.
Just remember I said like, there’s an up-spike and everything gets awesome. And then it goes (downhill noise). Well, just like, remember this happy feeling.
We’re right at the top of the roller coaster
Look, it’s as good as it’s as it’s ever going to get. So take a minute, soak it in, practice our gratitude from your friendly neighborhood therapist. Now let’s talk about the terrible shit. So, two year old Charles died,
just – so first the baby dies.
Let’s just get back into it. Louis of hungary, ironically, was trying to help. He didn’t want anything bad to happen to Charles. So he sent him to Hungary, but medieval travel sucked. Which if you’ll recall is why Joanna hadn’t taken him to Avignon with her in the first place. And Charles died shortly after getting back to Hungary. Oh, so we got to Hungary and then he died. And then in 1349, baby Catherine died.
which was not great for Joanna’s marriage to Louis. Yeah, I’ve said it once. And I will say it again. Never trust a nice face
Never trust a hot face for sure.
Never trust a hot face. Oh, Louis was not a happy house husband. He was super mean to Joanna and accused her of cheating, of which there was no evidence. Joanna didn’t want to stir shit up after she had so recently reclaimed the throne. So Joanna named him the king consort And she needed his seed because she needed an heir.
I don’t like that phrase. She needed his seed
Or she could have said she needed his innards.
NO! that sounds like she’s going to cut him open and eat his intestines. So it does not mean sex. In no way!!!!
Different kinds of innards.
I’m just imagining your Bumble profile writing itself. Excuse me. I’m looking for someone to share their innards with me.
Everyone’s like, are you a sociopath? What’s happening?
cannibal? I mean, emotional innards!!!!
Share your emotional innards with me!!!!
This is why we’re gonna grow old together.
We’re stuck with each other no one else.
No one else will ever understand our innards okay. I’m fine. Where are we… she needed his seed. Okay. In early 1350, Joanna and Louis, welcome another daughter Francoise
Francoise is a man’s name.
Yeah, I had to write down its pronunciation, Francoise. in May of 1352. Joanna threw a big coronation parade for Louis throughout the streets of Naples.
Louis, the hot husband?
the husband because she’s like, Look, you’re a king consort. Here’s your fancy coronation. The Pope says so. Be happy now. Be nice to me.
Stop being such a dick.
Yeah, I’m not cheating on you, God! and then they came home and found out that baby Francoise had gotten sick and died while they were gone at this big parade.
They were out partying and their baby died.
This girl cannot catch a break.
She’s like, I don’t want to have to have another baby, GOD.
Over the next few years. Louis was living that toxic masculinity life. He wanted to be the only ruler and he for a lot of shade at Joanna. Luckily, she writes like a bitch, in 1362. Louis cut the Black Death and died.
then Joanna could finally run shit on her own terms. And Joanna was awesome at it. Naples flourished at least as much as it’s possible to flourish during a plague. And Joanna was a feminist. Not only was Joanna a lady ruling, but ladies who weren’t royal could do things too.
Oh, for example, Naples awarded more medical licenses to women than anywhere else in medieval Europe.
we’re talking 34 lady doctors in Naples and like four in Florence.
Damn That’s awesome.
Even though Joanna was killing it as Queen. Joanna couldn’t produce an heir on her own.
If we could then we wouldn’t need men at all.
Not to mention Joanna still wanted to marry somebody who was a good warrior just in case
slash hot. So Joanna picked her third husband James the fourth of Majorca. There were some pros and cons here. Pro. Not her cousin
Pro. He’s already a king. Great.
So hopefully he wouldn’t be as power-hungry as the cousin husbands and try to take over Naples, Con. When James was a teenager, Majorca was invaded by Aragon and instead of killing the pubescent king, he was imprisoned in a little iron cage for 14 years. Big con. Big con energy.
She married that guy and he’s like, I’m very emotionally traumatized
Exactly. His mental health is not awesome. No, he had a lot of outbursts, and he was physically abusing Joanna and not just in private.
And even though Joanna and James were rarely left alone together, because everyone was worried about her safety, Joanna still slept with him because she wanted an heir that badly. She did get pregnant, but unfortunately that pregnancy ended in miscarriage. James ended up going to war against Aragon. He got his ass whooped and ended up dying in Aragon but from a chronic illness probably from being a cage person, speculation.
Being a cage person?!?
That’s what I wrote!
basement boy versus cage person: who will win?
Oh, cage person for sure.
They’re, they’re feistier.
Yeah, they’re fighting out. basement boys are there by choice cage people are kept against their will. they’re ready to fight. So Joanna’s soldiers on killing it as Queen. She helped finance Pope’s move back to Rome, hosted the Byzantine emperor and Joanna was involved in all the day-to-day governing decisions. And then her fourth marriage, she chose Duke Otto of Brunswick when she was 48. He was a warrior. But even better, he liked being bossed around by Joanna, which is kind of hot.
He’s a submissive.
Yeah, well, and he’s not as high ranking as her. And he’s just he’s into it, which I love it.
He’s like, I actually want to be a house husband. Yeah. Love it.
Yeah, absolutely. anywho, all is going well, for a while Joanna is actually happily married finally. But then the pope died. Oh, remember, the papacy had been in Avignon, which was in France, but Joanna had helped finance it to move it back to Rome.
So there was this weird religious turf war like the pope should be French. No, the pope should be Roman.
Yeah, Italian kiss. I don’t know. So the College of Cardinals is like, Listen, we’ve got it we’ll pick someone from Naples. So they picked urban the sixth, who had been a Neapolitan Archbishop. And he thought he would be a great little puppet, because he had essentially been chosen from nothing and elevated into being a pope. And as it turns out, power makes people do some crazy things.
He’s like, Yeeeeaaaaahhhh.
he was not an awesome Pope. And so the College of Cardinals tries to walk it back. And they’re all like, JK, so they named Clement the seventh the new pope, but Urban is all nice try but obviously that guy is the Antichrist. You can’t make him pope.
Just straight to the devil. I love it. He’s the antichrist!
Popes be crazy.
They’re all like, dude, you’re the intern like six weeks ago, and now you’re the CEO, we’re gonna need you to just shut the hell up.
Exactly. And then urban excommunicated All of the Cardinals at there was another religious war. So awesome. Joanna supported Clement the seventh. But this was apparently a provocative choice because not everyone in Naples did. Because remember, urban the six is from Naples. So he’s all, urban, That’s cool, because your queendom no longer counts. And enough people listened to him that it caused quite a bit of political unrest. One St. Catherine of Sienna stated that Joanna was, “demonically misguided” should be a great name for a punk rock album.
Just more demonically misguided. Right. That’s not punk rock. Metal? Scremo?
Yeah. So Louis of hungry. Remember that? douchebag?
Yeah, I forgot he existed.
Yeah, so he decides this political unrest is a great time to make his move. So this time, he’s going to use Joanna’s cousin Charles to invade Naples, because Charles might have actually been a good choice to be Joanna’s heir since she still didn’t have any kids. And at this point, oh, yeah. 50 Yeah, she can’t have kids. I mean, Middle Ages. 50 was like 70, I’m sure.
but if Charles was fighting for Hungary, then Lewis got to have his sticky little fingers in the cookie jar, too.
yeah. And turtles did just that. He got to Naples and he took Joanna captive, and then he killed her. And the details of her death were crazy confidential. So we don’t even really know how this badass’s story ends. We know for sure that Joanna was murdered on July 27 1382.
Some people say that Joanna was strangled while she was praying. Others say that Joanna was smothered between mattresses. Which is horrible. And remember that power-hungry Pope Urban the six? because he excommunicated Joanna, couldn’t be buried in a consecrated cemetery. So her body was just thrown down a well by the church of Santa Chiara which is one of the places I said we should go look at, that church.
That’s like the full opposite of it’s like, Joanna was our queen for a decade plus
Oh for like 50 years
Instead of putting her in a consecrated place. Let’s just throw her down a well like it’s not even. It’s not like buried in a pauper’s field It’s like, discarded like a rag doll.
Joanna ruled for like 40 years she was – Robert the wise died in 1343.
Damn. Nobody is respectful of the queen. Oh,
it is literally the most anticlimactic ending for this actual queen. Yeah, that’s the end of Joanna’sstory. But props to this badass.
Oh my gosh, I am like, mad on her behalf.
I know, I was so angry. I was like, Huh? you go through this whole story. And there’s War and Black Death, and Joannareclaims the throne and then it’s like, well, her other cousin throws shows up and kills her. And throws her body down a well, the end
body down a well.
And that’s where we got to end because this podcast is almost two hours long.
I know I just feel bad for her. She was definitely a bad bitch
Bad bitch. So if you’re into bad bitches, check us out on Patreon patreon.com/horriblehistory.
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai