It’s still a bit early to start writing about travel attractions since most of them are still closed due to the virus and have not announced re-openings. As soon as they do, I’ll be catching up on what’s new and what’s 5 compass or less while planning domestic travel to check out what is out there. I just checked to see if the new aquarium at Union Station in St. Louis that Ruth & I visited just before the big national close-down has announced a re-opening date. It has not. In the meantime, I’m updating photos and continuing the theme about good and bad historical figures. A few days ago I wrote about women who are remembered as both bad and good, so today I’m recalling women who were almost completely bad.
No one has anything good to say about Mary Ann Cotton. Born in Durham, England, appropriately on Halloween in 1832, Cotton grew up in a hard working mining atmosphere. Her father was killed in a mine accident when she was 9. As an adult and for 20 years Mary Ann Cotton went on a killing spree. She murdered 3 husbands, 10 children, one lover, and her mother by poisoning them with arsenic. She was finally caught, convicted of murder, and hung. She is considered Great Britain’s first serial killer. Joanne Froggatt of Downton Abbey fame has played Cotton is a drama that has been on PBS’ Masterpiece Theater.
The 3 woman convicted of helping Charles Manson kill 8 people, Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Kerwinkel, are still considered to be pretty bad. Susan Adkins, who died in 2009, probably tried the hardest to get paroled. Before her death from brain cancer, Atkins renounced Manson, expressed the hope that she would get out of prison, claimed she had been a political prisoner and/or a born again Christian; but she died in prison. The other 2 are still alive and serving time. Atkins shows up on some lists of the worst women in history.
Ilse Koch shows up on a lot of the same lists. Called the witch or bitch of Buchenwald, Koch was often portrayed as pure evil. She was delighted when her husband Karl was named commandant of Buchenwald and seized the opportunity to join him in his work. She loved racing horses through the camp looking for prisoners with tattoos that she could later keep on display in her home, like souvenirs, after their execution. Prisoners reported that she took special pleasure in sending children to the gas chamber. Ilse Koch eventually committed suicide.
Then there’s Mary Tudor, Aileen Wuornos and Cruella de Vil, the best fictional baddie so far, in my opinion.