His tale took place at a momentous turning point in time when society was straddling the Old and New Worlds. The Civil War generation was gradually ceasing to participate in public life. The offender belonged to the Theodore generation, which before him and ushered America into the twentieth century. The electric lights had just been installed when he arrived in the Illinois suburb of Englewood, where the gas lights were five years old.
Newspapers released sketches of the images rather than the actual footage since the photos were well-liked but the tools to replicate them were not. The first movies shot in Chicago weren’t released until the year the criminal passed away, even though motion pictures were invented and would first be seen by the public when a scary guy was prowling the city.
Even though sound could now be captured and duplicated, most purchasers couldn’t afford phonographs. People didn’t have many phones to call them on. when streetcars started to travel through the neighborhood when the hated man was there and trains continued to operate in and out of Inglewood, horses were still necessary for everyday mobility. He might have occasionally seen an automobile pass on Sixty-third Street.
It was the kind of forensic examination of human remains that, just two years later in Chicago, would have implicated him. In the villain’s vault, bones have been discovered, but modern science is unable to identify the bones or even tell if they are human. However, scientists will be able to learn by the end of the decade. The villain’s life and crimes took place in the last era of human history, when they were meant to remain a mystery and be the subject of wild and helpless speculation in opposition to what they dubbed “the dreadful obscurity of legend.”
The “Murder Castle” (a term that became popular decades after the villain’s death) is believed to have been the castle burned to the ground. In fact, there was a fire there that year, but the building was still standing (with the upper two floors being rebuilt) for more than forty years before it was finally demolished.
The bad guy remains a mystery, and we will reveal some of his crimes in future articles