Monday, February 26, 2018

Truly Horrible Women - WIHM Guest Post - J.H. Moncrieff

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This week's woman in horror is one you might recognize from blogging circles already. She posts true stories about serial killers and creepy events. Today, she's talking about Truly Horrible Women:

Since we’re celebrating Women in Horror this month, it’s only fitting to ask why women have such a tough time getting a fair shake in this genre.

Part of it is undoubtedly still skepticism that the so-called “fairer sex” have the ability to make their readers cringe, shiver, or gasp the way male writers do.

Which is BS, of course. Here are five true accounts that prove the female of the species can be just as deadly as the male.

Katherine Knight

Many a woman has grown frustrated by a partner’s unwillingness to pop the question. When Katherine’s boyfriend John Price refused to marry her or let her move into his home, she had a most unusual way of expressing her displeasure.

After having sex with Price on February 29, 2000, Katherine waited until he fell asleep. The Australian woman then stabbed him at least 37 times, skinned him, and hung his skin from a meat hook. As if that weren’t enough, she decapitated him and lovingly roasted parts of his body with a variety of vegetables. She invited Price’s children over for dinner, clearly intending to serve them their own father.

Thankfully, Price’s employer became concerned when the man didn’t show up for work, and went to the house to investigate. After seeing blood at the front door, the employer and a co-worker notified police, who discovered Price’s head in a pot on the stove.

Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Wood

Nurses are supposed to heal, right? During the late eighties, Michigan nurse’s aides Gwendolyn and Cathy had a bizarre concept of what “taking care of their patients” meant.

Bored of the same old routine at the Alpine Manor Nursing Home and desperate to prove their love for each other, Gwendolyn and Cathy developed a macabre game. They started murdering their elderly patients, choosing victims whose initials would spell “MURDER.”

When that grew too taxing, the women decided to count each murder as a day, feeling that every killing bonded them for life. After the two women split, Cathy told her ex-husband about the five murders, and he eventually went to the cops. The nurses’ diabolical murder plot came to light after some good ol’ fashioned police interrogation.

Belle Gunness

A Norwegian-American serial killer, Belle is suspected to have murdered over forty people in Indiana in the 1800s, including her husbands and children.

Belle used ads asking for husbands to lure men with money to her farm. Once they were on her property, she served them dinner and then split their heads with a meat chopper while they were eating. Other times she simply poisoned their coffee.

When a hired man and would-be suitor threatened to betray her, a mysterious fire broke out at the Gunness residence. Once the smoke cleared, the bodies of Belle’s three children and a headless woman were found. Originally believed to be Belle, the decapitated corpse was eventually ruled out, as it had belonged to a 5’3” woman, while Belle was at least six feet tall and weighed over two hundred pounds.

So many remains were found on her property after the fire that it was impossible to tell how many victims she had claimed, especially since she had fed several to her hogs. To this day, Belle has never been found, though for years there were reported sightings of her across the United States.

Amelia Dyer

Single mothers have never had it easy, but back in England’s Victorian age, they faced ostracism and worse. Some of the most desperate turned to so-called “baby farmers,” women who would temporarily adopt their infants for a fee and care for them until the mothers were able to return for their children.

One of those baby farmers was Amelia Dyer, who had originally trained as a nurse. While there is some indication that Amelia intended to care for the children, she quickly realized her profits would be greater if the infants died. And thus began her career as a murderess. She would wind tape around the babies’ necks and watch in delight as they suffocated.

Imagine the horror of the mothers who came to Amelia, distraught and begging for their children, only to be told their babies were no more. The law finally caught up with the baby farmer when the body of an infant girl was fished out of the Thames. The corpse had been wrapped in paper marked with the name of the alias Amelia was currently using.

During her trial, Amelia plead insanity and was executed by hanging in June 1896. It is estimated she could have murdered as many as four-hundred children, making her one of the most prolific serial killers of all time.

Juana Barraza

In the late ’90s and beyond, a serial killer stalked Mexico City’s elderly women, strangling them to death. Because of the strength required to manually strangle, police were convinced the killer was a man.

They were wrong.

So persistent was their belief in female fragility that, even when several witnesses reported seeing a woman leave the scene of the murders, the police clung to their theory that the killer was a man. They detained and questioned transvestite prostitutes, putting them through a brutal, humiliating investigation.

Justice caught up with Juana when a tenant discovered his freshly murdered landlord and called police, who were able to nab the serial killer before she could escape.

Instead of the man they had been searching for, their murderer was a forty-eight-year-old single mother of four who could bench press over two hundred pounds. Juana was well known as The Silent Lady, a professional wrestler in the sport of luche libra – Mexican masked wrestling. Wearing a butterfly mask and hot-pink spandex, she was a stunning sight in more ways than one.


Moncrieff began her writing career as a journalist, tracking down snipers and canoeing through crocodile-infested waters. Her articles have appeared in many publications, including Chatelaine, FLARE, Writer’s Digest, and The Globe and Mail.

When not writing, she loves exploring the world's most haunted places, advocating for animal rights, and summoning her inner ninja in muay thai class.

Thanks, J.H.! This reminds me of a tour I did of a prison museum in Canon City. It had been an all women's prison adjacent to a men's prison (still open). They detailed how late the prison was opened, compared to the men's prison, and how hard it was to get a conviction of a woman, due to the fact no one believed women could commit crimes. They were treated far better than the men, too, and prison life was fairly cushy.


Now for some links. Please bear in mind that I'm not endorsing them, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Sycamore Review is seeking poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and art. Pays $50 for fiction/nonfiction and $25 for poetry. Reading window closes March 31.

Arachne Press is seeking stories and poems for the peace-themed anthology An Outbreak of Peace. Up to 2500 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline March 31.

Pantheon Magazine is seeking dark short fiction with a transformation theme for Gorgon: Stories of Emergence. Up to 2000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline for this theme is March 31.

Post Mortem Press is seeking short stories written by women for the anthology She's Lost Control. Up to 10,000 words. Pays $.0005/word plus royalties. Deadline March 31.

JMS Books is seeking queer and erotic romance with an astrology theme for the anthology What's Your Sign? 12,000 words or more. Pays quarterly royalties. Deadline March 31.

Writer's Co-op is seeking weird short stories and poetry for their anthology The Rabbit Hole. Up to 5000 words. Pays in royalties (or you can donate them to the Against Malaria Foundation.) Deadline March 31.

Circlet Press is seeking short erotic stories involving tentacles (must be consensual) for Safe, Sane, Consentacle. 2500 to 8500 words. Pays $25. Deadline March 31.

Mojo is seeking fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Pays $15. Deadline March 31.

Have you heard of any of these women before? Do you think women can be as terrifying as men? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share? What woman in horror would you recommend? 

 May you find your Muse.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Those were all rather horrible. I think feeding the children their father was the worst.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

While all of these stories creeped me out, that first one? Yikes! :o

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Several were nurses. That is just wickedly evil.

cleemckenzie said...

Okay, I'm officially freaked out! Where do you find these stories? I've never heard of any of these women. I have to say that I'm glad I escaped knowing about them. Now I think I need therapy. :-)

J.H. Moncrieff said...

It's astounding how many nurse serial killers there are. I plan to write a post of it one day.

The Cynical Sailor said...

Those are some really creepy stories. Imagine roasting some up to serve for dinner - I’m going to have nightmares about that.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shannon and Jean - those stories are revolting ... I obviously read too many of them - ghastly ... I'll get myself some tea and hope the images created fall away! Very Truly Horrible Women! Cheers Hilary

Lisa Southard said...

'Lovingly roasted' !

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Maybe it will inspire your next mystery. :)

J.H. Moncrieff said...

I'm a true crime addict. There's a ton of shows and books geared to freaks like me. I found quite a few of these lovelies through Investigation Discovery's show "Deadly Women."

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Insert evil laugh here.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Thanks for having me, Warrior Muse! I believe I've sufficiently horrified all your blog readers now.

Mission accomplished.