Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Ma' Barker: A Doting Mother And Gangster Overlord

Ma' Barker: A Doting Mother And Gangster Overlord

Thu, 31 Oct 2019 10:00

Ma' Barker: A Doting Mother And Gangster Overlord

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Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV in iHeartRadio this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. The story about the man who's simply become known as. Lamaster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you could completely remove one phrase from your vocabulary, which phrase would you choose? I don't know. Correct answer. No, I meant I don't know which phrase, and the best way to banish I don't know from your life is by cramming your brain full of stuff you should know. Join your host, Josh and Chuck on the Super Popular podcast packed with fascinating discussions on science, history, pop culture and more episodes that ask, was the lost city of Atlantis Real? I don't know. Is birth order important? I don't know. How does pizza work? Well, I do know. Bit about that see? You can know even more, because stuff you should know has over 1500 immensely interesting episodes for your brain to feast on. So what do you say? I don't want to miss the stuff you should know. Podcast you're learning already. Listen to stuff you should know on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. What strung the **** out my podcast hosts I'm Robert Evans, the very hungover host of behind the ******** the podcast where we tell you everything you don't know about the worst people in all of history. And this is like the 9th or 10th podcast I've introduced by warning everyone that I'm very hungover. My guest today is the wonderful Emily Yoshida of the Nightcall podcast with Tess and Molly, who are our guests on the Reagan astrologer. Episode Emily. How are you doing today? I'm doing great. I I've been saying like it's it's it's very good of you to take over the hangover duties this morning cause I've been, I've been taking them over for most of this week so I'm glad we could coordinate that. Casting equivalent of that that Marine who dives on a hand grenade to save his squad. But the hand grenade was drinking too much at the live podcast recording I did last night and then eating Indian food and continuing to drink. It's really hard to turn down free drinks being given to you by people who like you and think that you're cool. It's a it's a tough proposition to turn down. I can. I can absolutely say it beats having free drinks. Thrown at you by people who hate you and think that you're lame. Which is my prior experience. Yeah. So if I have to pick one, I will pick it now. Emily, how do you how do you how do you how do you feel about gangsters? I'm relatively down with gangsters. I mean, there's so many, there's so many genres of gangster across history that you know. Yeah, it's hard to say blanket, I'm into all gangsters, but sure, I'm open to gangsters. Do you do you think that? Damn it, it. Feels good to be a gangster. I I actually feel like it would be. I feel like, damn, it would be very stressful to be a gangster. Honestly, anytime I watch one of those, like, noir movies or something, I'm like, oh, how do you live every night when you're pretty sure that somebody's going, like, barge in your house with a Tommy gun? Like that just seems extremely stressful. But yeah, it it does seem very stressful. Would you say? You're the kind of person who just sort of like, you got to grab bag of FBI agents. On one hand, you get a grab bag. Of gangsters. On another hand, you pull randomly from both bags. What do you think the odds are? You wind up more sympathetic to the gangster you pull out than the FBI agent you pull out? I think I'm always going to trend toward the gangster, just on principle. Well, then we're we're copacetic on this, OK, because I'm in the same boat and today we are talking about a gangster and a gangster that Sophie, our producer, has been wanting me to write an episode about for quite a while. So that's the story of this day. Good God. I'm gonna. I'm gonna credit Robert. Thanks for coming up with the idea. I wrote this on a plane so you can taste the altitude and the words. Assume now as a recovering Oklahoman and a crime appreciator, I too have a lot of inherent sympathy for the gangsters, particularly of the 1920s and 30s. Criminal capitalist speculators and bankers had destroyed the national economy, while reckless commercial agriculture had ruined most of the national ecology. None of the men responsible for this ever suffered any legal consequences for their crimes. Most of them got to keep living in giant mansions and getting fat off the collected labor of the impoverished American populace when FDR tried to moderately alleviate the suffering of the. American people. These folks attempted to depose him via a military coup. So I look with understanding at the people who robbed banks and burgled the businesses of the 1%, particularly during this period. Now, these guys also killed a lot of innocent people with machine guns, so it's kind of hard to call them heroes, but I don't normally call any given gangster a *******. Some of my bias on this is probably due to the fact that one of the most famous gangsters of the gangster era was a cousin of mine, a fellow. Pretty boy Floyd Barnes. Oh, really? You're related to pretty boy Floyd? That's incredible. Yeah, he was my great grandma's first cousin. She's very proud of him. As was my grandmother. Yeah, she would talk about our outlaw blood all the time. I mean, that's very romantic. It's so much easier to romanticize having a gangster in your family than an FBI agent in your family. Yeah, it's just true. It's just something elemental about it. Yeah, I would rather be related to a gangster than a cop. Unless that cop is Bruce Willis in one of the four movies in which he plays a cop, he's a fun cop. He gets to do fun cop things. He did. He does. Real police rarely get to ramp vehicles into other vehicles, and when they do, it's usually racist. So yeah, it's a hard one now, pretty boy. Floyd was known to his fellow Oklahomans as the sagebrush Robin Hood. He got his start in crime at age 18, stealing $350.00 in pennies. Or, if you believe Woody Guthrie, from beating a cop to death with a log. Pain for cursing in front of his wife. Now, the thing that disturbed authorities like J Edgar Hoover of the Bureau of Investigation was how popular many gangsters were with the common folk. This was in part because they targeted banks. Pretty boy Floyd was famous for robbing only insured banks and for burning the mortgage papers of farmers when he came across them. The FBI's archive somewhat disputes that, noting while Floyd reportedly destroyed mortgage notes from a bank or two that he robbed in hopes of saving a few farmers from foreclosure, his reputation as a humanitarian or Robin Hood is undeserved. Now, they don't go into much detail about that. They they they they just say because he shot a lot of cops, he he he wasn't a Robin Hood. But I should note here that the FBI is not the most reliable source on the lives of gangsters in this era. They're the agency that killed most of these people, subjects of the day, mob Barker and her sons. But the lives of gangsters are very deeply politicized still. And so the research I've conducted for this episode, which was not crazy extensive, I caught the Bureau in at least one lie. By a mission. Now, I say all this to set it up that if you read the official FBI reports on some of the stuff we're talking about, they will contrast with the story I am telling you today. The story I'm telling you today is based primarily on the work of historians who I trust more than cops. So anyway, that's the introduction. Always, always rob insured banks. I just, I wanted to do a PSA out there. I mean, it's hard not to at this point. If you're going to rob a bank, it's probably insured, but make sure your banks insured before you rob it. That's the new T-shirt, Emily. Yeah. Always Rob and shared base behind the ********. Always be robbing and shirt. Thanks. Yeah. If you get a chance to destroy mortgage paperwork, do it. Sure. Yeah. Banks? Yeah. Burn up some loans. Burn up some loans. It was a lot easier back when everything was on paper. Yeah, I know. Yeah, that would have been so fun. You would have really felt like you could make an impact as a bank robber. It would feel a lot more political. Not just point break like trying to go surfing or whatever. Like you can actually like change a lot of people's lives. Yeah, I guess that is like the most political bank robber in a in a modern movie outside I maybe the Joker is like the the guys in point break and they just wanted to surf. They just wanted to surf. But they did rob the bank in president masks. They were the president, they were the dead Presidents, dead presidents. Which you know seems mostly like a non sequitur with the rest of their whole deal. But it was fun. Had they had flair, they had flair there. There was like 0 politics actually going on in the movie other than. Just Bros if we hit this wave, bro. I mean, it would. I mean, and anybody who argues otherwise is not somebody I want to align myself with politically. Yeah, yeah, that that is my politics is robbing banks to hit sick waves. Now, Ma Barker is not the most famous gangster of her era, but she was at one point Public Enemy #1, which is objectively the coolest title you can you can achieve. I hope we all become Public Enemy number one. At some point. Everybody gets their turn. On the Internet, yeah, I feel like that is kind of, that is kind of how Twitter works. Every day we have a new Public Enemy number one. Yeah, that sounds way cooler than complaining about canceled culture is like everybody gets their day to be Public Enemy number one. You can revel in it a little bit. At least it's going to happen. Headed for my day to come when my many, many crimes are finally exposed to the world. That's going to be great. Ohboy. No, that's another thing. See, This is why I wouldn't be cut out to be a gangster. I'm already too stressed out about, like, just saying one wrong word at one point and getting better. Anyone realizing how often you shoplift from Costco? Yeah. Oh my God. I mean, it's not. Yeah, you joke. I have a I have a pretty bad shoplifting pass. So, hey, you know, look, if if if God didn't want us to shoplift, he wouldn't have given us pockets, and that is my justification. Checks out. Hard to argue with now. By some accounts, Ma Barker was the among the most innovative and successful criminal masterminds of any era. By other accounts, she was mostly just a chef in the moral support system for her criminal children. The FBI takes the angle that she was not a mastermind and that she was mostly just supporting her boys who did all of the real crime thinking the bulk of the evidence seems to discredit them on this. And I'm, you know, that's enough of my anti FBI Pro gangster, let's let's, let's get into this. Sorry, mob. Barker's life is often summed up like this folksy write up by the University of Florida quote. Born in the Ozarks, she was poor in her early years, so strong was her lust for money, furs, and bobbles. She turned to a life of crime and LED four young sons down the same path. The eldest, Herman, convinced her crime does pay, so she opened up in her own home, a school of crime for the Youngens. When they were arrested for petty infractions, she upgraded them for getting caught. Trust the University of Florida to use the word youngens in a. Historical write up. I love, I love. I mean, this idea of a school for crime is just so cute. I mean, it just sounds so. I mean, it's just very, very Oliver Twist, of course. But I don't know, it seems like a fun, fun time. It does seems like a good, good night of podcasts. The old School of Crime have a bunch of different people come up and like, this is how I got free water from the city. This is how I got that boot off my car without paying. Yeah, the lecture series would be incredible at the school for crime. This is a school for the school for Petty. Petty crime, yeah. Stealing some lifesavers, yeah. The school for getting by crime, yeah, how to snake, how to sneak the fixins to make your ramen palatable out of your out of the grocery store in a jacket without getting caught. See, this is like actually stuff that I've thought about trying to turn into a podcast at some point or another is just like actual. Like basic poverty skills for for 20 somethings and up. Like just like you know how to, how to. Jerry, rig things out of other things and make it into like, just so you can get by and have a less stressful life on $0.00. Yeah, I have a lot to say about how to specifically Jigger the breaking down pieces of your car so that the police won't notice that your registration has been expired for years. Yeah, that's really critical skill. Critical skill, yeah, because that ruined me for many. Like years was my stupid car and it's stupid registration. Yeah, it's a it says something about our society that all, almost all of our tips for living in poverty are also crimes. Yeah, that's a story for another day. So my main source for this episode is Ma Barker, America's Most Wanted mother by Howard Kazanjian and Chris Ince, ENS. I don't know how to pronounce that. Ince seems to be right. It's the best write up of this particular story that I found and it's a fun book. So, Arizona. Donnie Clark was born on October 8th, 1873, in Greene County, Missouri. She was one of four children, and her childhood occurred on a small farm 18 miles from nowhere. Arizona's family called her airy, which she seems to have hated. Her beloved father died when she was seven. What? Is Sophie. What? And what's wrong with Arie? She's just funny that she's Arizona and her family's like, you're hairy and she's like, no, I'm not. Call me Arizona. I don't think she liked that either, which I don't know. It's a very hippie name for the time. Yeah, there's a raising Arizona joke there, but I'm not going to make sure because I haven't seen that movie. Not wanna Nicolas Cage is best. Or maybe it is. I don't know. He's very charming in it. But you see, yeah, he is charged. But it's about it's about crimes and it's about a baby. So I so far, you know. Sounds like Corona biography now. Aries beloved father died when she was seven and her mother remarried not long after to a guy with the last name of Reynolds, who she did not like. Now the family moved to Tulsa, OK, where her stepfather took up work as a cop. It would be rank speculation for me to, you know, wonder that her stepfather's career as a police officer had an impact on Arizona's adult life, but it's hard not to think about given what comes next. Most sources seem to agree that she really hated her stepdad, largely because he favored his natural born children over his wives. Children. So this is one of those classic stepparent stories. Mm-hmm. All step parents are ********. Apparently. That's the. That's the lesson Disney taught me. That's true. It's like, you know, but this also means you're more likely to be a heroin and a Disney movie if you have a stepparent. So. Oh yeah, yeah. No, having a stepparent is the key to after 90 minutes or so winding up in a great place. Yeah, yeah. Being an orphan, having a stepparent. Being somebody's ward also, yeah. The first thing I learned from popular fiction as a kid was that the best thing to have is dead parents. Like you really want to get those parents out of the way as soon as possible. Really helps with everything now, Mr Reynolds, her stepdad did not approve of the man mob Barker fell in love with at age 19. George Elias Barker. They were married on September 14th, 1892. Now George was ten years older than. Arizona, which in most cases would be cause for serious concern that the much older party might dominate the younger. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, nothing like that happened. George was soft spoken, nonconfrontational, and even a bit shy. He was utterly dominated by his young wife. For her part, Kate, which is what she was going by at this point, was disappointed in her man from the beginning of their relationship. Decades later, the Kansas City star would write this of her upbringing. Her life had been that of an ordinary Missouri farm girl church Sunday school. Picnics, hayrides, candy poles, and a little red schoolhouse. Somewhere she acquired a need for riches and personal power. She hoped to obtain gold and glory by way of her husband, but eventually realized it could only be learned by her sons. Hmm. So that's kind of the common write up of her, all right. Yeah. It's interesting to me that they all write like, oh, she wanted all these superficial things. That's what she like. As if it's. Yeah. And it's like, well, maybe she just grew up poor on a farm and didn't want to be ******* pouring. Yeah, like painting. This picture of like, the epitome of Americana being like, yeah, but why did she become so materialistic? It's like it's baked into being an American, especially before being poor on a farm sucks. It's nice to have furs, like, like, like all pop culture seems to tell us unless we try to get it by committing crimes. Well, I do feel like, I mean, I feel like there have been some movies that have addressed this, but like the fact that there is radio and there's like more rapid pop culture that can be disseminated. It's like why so many of these people get into crime in the 1st place and are also like, why they become celebrities, become these mythical figures because they are pop cultural figures at the time. Like that's what I think a lot of like Michael Mann's movie public enemies is about. Yeah, it's great. I think. I think so. And we'll get to that in a second. So her husband George was uneducated and he had no interest in obtaining an education. He was a day laborer with zero aspirations beyond working on a small farm and making enough to survive. Kate, though, had spent enough time being poor. As a little girl, she wanted more out of life, and she asked her stepdad to loan her and her husband some money so they could start a business. Her stepfather turned them down, and she never spoke with him again. For a time, Kate tried to push George into success. She lived as a simple housewife and threw herself into religion. Most people who knew her in those days say she was almost never seen without a Bible in hand. But at home, away from prying eyes, she developed another obsession. Outlaws, the Jesse James gang and the Dalton gang. For her particular favorites, both groups robbed banks across the same chunk of the country where Kate had grown up. In fact, she'd even watched The James Gang ride through town as a girl. Being a woman, and this being the 1890s, Kate did not have any hope of being a successful gangster herself. Bonnie Parker had not yet fired a Tommy gun into that glass ceiling, so Kate found herself enamored with the mothers of these daring criminals. According to Mob Barker, America's Most Wanted mother quote, the Daltons and the James Boys were raised by strong, defiant mothers who made sure they knew how to use a weapon. Fight for what they wanted. The influence the women had on their families and the devotion their sons felt towards their mother struck a chord with Kate. She aspired to have it in her own life. I mean, everybody wants to raise an army of loyal, large adult sons to do crime for you. Yeah, the president did. And look how that's working out exactly. Yeah, they're not great at it, but it's that doesn't seem to matter. So it's all about the intention. I mean, it does take a lot of work to, like, first create that army of large. Old son. So and even. Yeah. I mean, A22 can be an army, so. But yeah, four is even better. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, in a way, we're all trying to raise our own large adult sons for a life of crime. I'm just trying to do it by radicalizing people through podcasts. So again, Robin shared banks. Sophie, could we urge people to rob banks on the show? No. It's like, what if it's like my views don't reflect the views of the network. But still, Robin. Sure, banks. Hmm. My my advice that people rob insured banks is purely. Humor, yeah. Satire. Satire, parody. Satirizing parody. Satirizing bank robbers by advising people to rob banks? Yeah, it's a wonderful satire. It's really sharp. That's that's legally bulletproof. All right now, Kate and George had their first son Herman on October 30th, 1894. They had three more sons over the next several years, ending with their fourth son, Fred, in 1903. All these mouths to feed strained George's limited ability to provide. He did manage to save enough. Trashed by a small farm, but the house on it was essentially a decrepit hovel, barely fit for human habitation. Kate was desperately unhappy with these circumstances and longed for something better, and it is hard not to see why. When we're talking about the poverty in this era, we're not, like, talking about like, a quaint little farmhouse. We're talking about a building that's essentially made of trash wood filled with mice and vermin and mosquitoes in the summer, where people are basically pooping in a hole surrounded by flies. Like it's not a great life. Yeah. This is like Dust Bowl time. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's it's bad. It's a bad time to be a human being. Yeah, this is a little before that, during this. But it's still a time of, like, unspeakable poverty. Yeah. It's so crazy that that's like that. That's still like what we consider the modern era more or less than that. Like, people were living like in, like the the the United States could not necessarily yet be considered a first world country. It's incredible that. By modern standards, it is one of those things like you really you think about. You read about like, the great battles in World War Two and World War One and how like nightmarish the privations were for the soldiers. But then you have to think like, well, OK, but most of them grew up like farming dirt and ******** in holes like they. It's not like this was new. It's not like living rough was an incomprehensible concept to all of them. You know, a lot of them grew up in cities, but a lot of them were ******* country people. Nice level you're starting from is considerably different. Yeah. Yeah. People are tougher in this period of time. This is right around the period that my grandpa left home when he was 17. The economy collapsed and his dad was like, we can't take care of you. And he walked across two states with nothing but cornbread in his pockets to go get a job with the Civilian Conservation Corps. And it's like, I never had to do **** like that. Like, that would have been, this is, like a little off topic, but I've been watching the Ken Burns country music documentary and it's, like, filled with stories like that. Like there's a family. Yeah, like walks. I think from Arkansas to California or most of the way they walk. Most of the way. And it's just like, also it's like everybody dies at 30 and they look like they're 62 years old. And it's just like, Oh my God, life. Life was. I don't have to go back too far for life to look like that. Your average 31 year old looked like Keith Richards. Yes. Yeah. It was a different time. Yeah. Now, for his part, George Barker seems to have done his best to provide for his family. His best just wasn't very good. He worked long hours and spent all of his free time with his children, teaching them how to fish and hunt. Thanks to George, the Barker boys all grew up as fabulous shots. Kate, who was renowned to be a great chef, taught them how to cook. She also handled discipline for the family by her own insistence. Whenever George would attempt to discipline any of their kids, she'd shout him down until he backed off. The Kansas City star in 1936 described the young family thusly. She Ma attended church regularly, dragging her brood after her. George, her husband, went as well. He was a mild. But effective, quiet man who seemed somewhat bewildered by his domineering wife. This was especially true when he attempted to assume guidance of the growing boys. There was a feline intensity about Kate's determination that no one but herself should be their mentor, and in her eyes they could do no wrong. Mob Barker socialized with very few people. She was cordial when spoken to, but rarely initiated a conversation. Neighbor and fellow churchgoer, Gertrude Farmer, was the only woman with whom she spent time. Gertrude and Ma were described by Webb City residents as odd and unapproachable. Maybe everybody else just sucked, but the barkers lived in Webb City MO for the early years of their children's lives where they met the farmer family whose patron William was a small time con artist. He was no better at earning a living than George, but he did have many half and quarter true stories of outlaws and conmen that he regaled the Barker children and Kate with. The Barker kids quickly developed a reputation for being little criminals, damaging property, stealing and fighting. Kate Barker was reasonably happy with this, her only real issue was when her children got caught. So yeah, lesson #1 at school for school for petty crime. Yeah, yeah. Don't get caught committing the petty crimes now, George was worried for his boys and he moved the family to Tulsa, OK in 1910 as a way to like, get them out of their bad environment. The city was a Boomtown though, which means it was as filled with criminals as the Barker family living room, so this was probably a bad move on his part. Now, the Barker, Hoban Tulsa was even worse than their previous home in Webb City. The floor was just boards over dirt, the windows were all shattered, and the bathroom was a shack with a hole in the ground. Flies covered everything anytime it wasn't freezing. Kate continued to be miserable in these circumstances, and her children's early memories were likely full of her lambasting Charles for his failure to provide for the family. So the boys began to strategize, scheming up ways to bring in money via less than legal roots. They'd watched their father try and fail for years to make a decent living on the straight and narrow. Crime, they decided, seemed a lot smarter. Which, you know. Yeah. I mean, who would not arrive at these conclusions? It's it's hard to fault. Like the logic here was. Yeah, kind of seems like obeying the laws for ********. Yeah. Or like, that's for a different generation, you know? I feel like there's always some kind of generational shift like that, like the. What? He doesn't take outbreaks without me telling him? Ohh yeah. Sophie is telling me that I don't take ad breaks without her telling me and I will have her know. Yes, that's accurate. Sophie interrupted you, Emily. Which is very rude of her, but she did it in order to make sure that we had an ad break, which is very polite of her. Sorry, I didn't realize what it was for, so I didn't know if I needed to. It's OK. In order to make up for this, Emily, would you like to plug a random product of your own, of your own desire? Something you like? Or a service, or a crime you can plug anything on? On at this point plug a good crime. I'm what's a good product that I love right now? I mean, honestly, I feel like I've plugged this so many times on night call, but like, I love a nutribullet and I desperately want and I called to be sponsored by nutribullet because I would like to do an entire podcast about the nutribullet and all the wonderful uses for it. I could start up like a school for crimes, but just just like using the nutribullet. Anyway, that's my. That's my endorsement of a product. Well, I would like to endorse my new behind the ******** branded actual bullets, which are the first gluten free ammunition on the on the open market. So buy a nutribullet. Buy some gluten free ******** bullets. It's always so frustrating when you you have to kill somebody. But they have seen exactly exactly. And that's not OK you're going to shoot someone with celiac disease. Use gluten free bullets. It's it's the right thing to do, it's the right thing to do and the other right thing to do is to listen to these ads products. 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Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Your mirabar matte courage already runs in your blood. He needs to be stopped. We've been silent and complacent for far too long. Sisters of the Underground is a new scripted series about fearless women exploring the life and legacy of the Mirabal sisters, Dominican women who were brave enough to challenge decades of oppression. Together, they led their country toward a revolution against Rafael Trujillo, the brutal dictator who ruled the Dominican Republic for 30 years. No, please, please help us has blood on his hands from executive producers Dania Ramirez and Eva Longoria. That's me comes the powerful retelling of this all too relevant narrative. Listen to sisters of the underground as part of Michael Tura podcast network, available on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. We're back. We're back returning from some amazing ads. Just just what was your favorite one? My favorite one was the ad for. Carjacking police vehicles. I really, I enjoyed that one. I I never thought of that as a realistic product and I'm glad. I'm glad that the fine people at Procter and Gamble suggested that, because it would be a crime if I suggested that. Yeah, really upstanding people over there. Proctoring gamble thank you, Procter and Gamble, for urging all people to hijack police vehicles again. Procter and Gamble, the only what do they make? Shampoo. Shampoo. Shampoo, like, yeah. Drugstore products, I suppose. Home cleaning products, yes. As the fine people at Procter and Gamble say, buy, Procter and Gamble do crimes. Well, Procter and Gamble was like, had a satanic panic scandal around it, you remember. They sure did. They sure did because they loved the devil. Yeah, that's confirmed. Yeah. So they they love crimes in the devil. So the devil's a busy guy and he has dandruff, and he doesn't have time to use multiple different shampoos. So Procter and gamble. Two and one dandruff shampoo is really, you know, that's where the devil's at. The devil is in your psoriasis. Alright, so back to the Barker family. Between 1910 and 1911, all four Barker Boys made the Tulsa police blotter. The Joplin Globe wrote in 1939 that the boys were known as the town Tufts before they were out of school. Their home became a meeting place for Nerdo Wells, a crime school so successful that many of those who congregated there graduated to try it on a bigger scale, under a variety of assumed names. Now, how much mob Barker was involved in the training of her children and the training of other criminals here is up for debate. What's known is that whenever one of her kids would get in trouble, she would write in for the rescue. She was famously charismatic and good at talking to lawmen and judges. Ma would usually argue that her children were just high strung and not nearly as bad as town gossip made them out to be. Plus, she argued, the police were unfairly targeting her family. She insisted repeatedly that if the cops left them alone, her boys would behave. And she seemed to have been really good at like, just haranguing. Police and judges into letting her kids go. I love heists and energy as the the explanation. It's not. It's like it feels very contemporary. It feels like something that somebody at like a hippie school in Brentwood would would say about their kid to get them out of trouble. He's just very, very high strung. Phrases. Warren Zevon. They're just excitable boys. Yeah, yes. Yeah. So in private, Kate Barker took on a different tact when her young son Herman was arrested and confessed to committing crimes. She is reputed to have told him that confessing to anyone but God was a sign of weakness. She expected her sons to never snitch or admit wrongdoing. Instead, they should keep their mouth shut and do their time. So that's that's mob Barker. God. Yeah, before. Before long, a small community of criminals began to coalesce around mob Barker and her sons. They became known as the Central Park Gang because they hung out in Tulsa Central Park. Not the not the one that's famous. Yeah. Now, the Barker House was their other main gathering point, and it quickly became a popular haunt for local crime doers. According to The Joplin Globe, Partnerships and crime were engineered at both locations by MA, who sometimes charged a fee for thieves to use being in her presence as an alibi when a crime was perpetrated. Sometimes she conspired with law Breakers for the sheer warped joy of it. It sounds to me like she's basically Airbnb for crimes. Like, I'm looking to commit a crime and she's like, oh, here's, here's a place you can do it. Here's someone who can help you. Yeah, she's like an incubator. She's like a incubator for crimes. Like, yeah, real. Like Silicon Valley pioneer. That's, that's that's that's essentially what's going on. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. She's the who's the famous one of those investors? She's the Peter Thiel of no, Peter Thiel is the Peter Thiel of crimes. She's she's just my Barker. But yeah, so is Peter. No, that's giving him too much credit. Peter Thiel is not the mob Barker of Silicon Valley. Which is yeah, yeah, yeah, he wish. Who is the mob Barker of Silicon Valley? I don't know. Yeah, yeah. Somebody who knows more about Silicon Valley. Has probably more ******** per capita than Tulsa at this time. Yeah, it's just, yeah, they can. They can let us know because at least these tools are ********. These are honest crimes. Nobody's, nobody's making Twitter here. Yeah. Now, once her sons were old enough to pull off real capers, they started bringing in real money for the first time in her life. At just over age 30, mob Barker started to enjoy the finer things. Fur coats, jewelry, bathrooms with a functional door and windows as she grew. And again, this was finery back in the day and she grew hip. Hop got so materialistic. And they just started rapping about doors and windows, yeah. Yeah, $0.50 bragging to all of us about the knob on his bathroom door like a *** **** king. People go to the bathroom and private, yeah. As she grew used to finery and crime, Kate began directing the efforts of her sons, handing them the names and addresses of people in Tulsa who were doing a little too well, in her opinion, and deserve to be relieved of their wealth, Tulsa police officer Harry Stiege would later told reporters. Her boys were slippery, young hoodlums. She adored her children, but apart from Fred, didn't consider them to be especially clever, which is always true of large adult sons and their crimes. They're they're they're never as good at it as the parents, right? Yeah. Now mob Barker's. Has committed a truly astonishing amount of petty crime in this. Between all of the bank robberies, jewel store heists, department store robberies, and kidnappings, the total number of capers probably numbered into the thousands. Many of these were complex and ambitious schemes, but the majority of them were really dumb. Barker boys would be busted more than once because they stole distinctive fine clothing and then wore it around town after robbing it, or because they left said clothing behind the scene of a crime. There's multiple hats that get Barker boys arrested, so thank God I want to see these hats. Yeah, they've got to be pretty spectacular. I mean, what? Like, what's a noteworthy hat in 19? What year is this? Like? Yeah, it is like the late 19101915, something like that. I mean, it might just be that their hat wasn't a pile of dirt on their head. Look at that *** ** * *****. His hats made of fabric. He's gotta be Robin. So in 1915, Herman was the first of mob Barker's sons to be arrested on suspicion of attempted theft. He was the first son to leave home, too, and his criminal history on his own was wide-ranging but only partly successful. By 1917 he had robbed a number of jewelry stores and banks, and was wanted in several states as her children, 1 by 1, embarked on their own criminal careers. Ma Barker became something of a mother to countless other bank robbers in Oklahoma. According to the book Mob Barker, among the fugitives harbored at the farmer's home were bank robbers. Al Spencer, Frank Nash, and Ray Terrell and train robbers Earl Thayer, Francis Keating, and Thomas holding. These accomplished lawbreakers and a number of other wrongdoers would eventually use the Barker's tiny Tulsa home as a safe house in addition to the farmer's homestead. Ma charged the men a modest fee to hide out at her place, where she kept the fugitives fed and steered authorities in a different direction if they came nosing around. So her kids leave the nest to start committing crimes, and she turns into like, a hostel for other criminals, basically. Now, is this like, kind of I? I mean, I'm sort of surprised to hear that her sons go on to commit their own crimes because, like, I know that I know that you said that the FBI's telling of the story is that she wasn't really a mastermind. But it also sounds like they're pretty dumb. They're very dumb, and that their individual criminal careers in this. Are nothing impressive. It's not until they kind of come back together that they start doing the **** they got famous for. But, you know, yeah, there any kids going to try to fly the roost and see if he can? Rob Banks without his mom. That's just normal parenting. Now. Herman was imprisoned after a robbery gone bad, and Ma Barker blamed his partner in the robbery, George White, on the endeavor, mostly on the strength of the fact that he'd received half the sentence for the same crime. She was convinced the judge had been lenient on him due to his family wealth. Reporters at the time suspected that this is what convinced her that, quote justice could be bought or sold. It seems likely to me this is something she'd always believe, but that's usually how you'll see it written up. It did, however. Helped to solidify her attitude towards wealthy families, but we'll get to that later. By 1918, all of Ma Barker's children had graduated to serious crimes. There were not always smart crimes. In July of that year, Arthur Barker stole a Ford Roadster belonging to a Department of Justice employee employee parked directly in front of a federal building. He was caught almost instantly. Ma Barker attempted to talk her son out of jail, but he escaped on his own and was then arrested again almost immediately. Kate did succeed Mob Barker got the charges against him dropped. Uh, probably by bribing police officers to destroy the evidence of his obvious crimes. But he was arrested again a year later for stealing another Ford Roadster. Oh my God. This kid is. You can't stop this kid from stealing police vehicles. Yeah, he's gotta have his roadsters. He's gotta have his ******* roadster. Yeah. Oh my God. I would be so mad. Yeah, it if a same crime. Pick a different brand. I mean, maybe it was just Fords at the moment, but yeah, certainly. After Arthur was jailed, sulfuric acid and a saw were smuggled into the prison where he was held. He and 16 other prisoners escaped. It's not known who smuggled these items in, but it was almost certainly mob Barker. So she's, again, she's good at talking to cops. She's good at bribing. She's good at, like, burning a hole through a prison. Yeah. Or what was that what happened? Like, she they just like acid in there. So, yeah, I think they weaken the bars. With acid and then sawed through them. No one was good at making jails back in those days. People were bad at almost everything in the in the early 1900s. Well, that's good then. If you're bad at crimes and you wind up in jail, then you're in a jail that they were bad at making and you can get it. Exactly. You just have to be good at getting him out of the bad jail. Yeah, the history of the the early 1900s is just a bunch of incompetent people ******* up around each other. Yeah. Now, while her sons committed a range of crimes, Ma Barker continued to run her farm as a safe house for gangsters. She acted as something of a fixer, helping lone criminals find other people to partner with and take jobs with. She was known to have a good eye for the most corrupt cops and judges in town, and how much it would cost to bribe them, the Kansas City Star later wrote. Criminals from a dozen penitentiary sought out Ma Barker. Only two things were lacking at maz's liquor and women. A man was a fool to drink, she said. Likewise, he's a fool to run around with women. Sooner or later they put the law on him, so should not. Not a fan of other women. Yours or booze? Well, that's surprising, because the Roadster thing I the only thing way I could justify it in my mind was that he was drunk. He may have been drunk and possibly, I guess he was out of the house. So yeah, yeah. Now George Barker, Bob Barker's husband, did not thrive under his wife's new occupation as a mass crime helper. While his children were still mostly in the house, he gave up on challenging them with their constant law breaking and let mob Barker mostly handle the discipline. When neighbors would come up to him and complain about his children stealing **** he would say some variation of talk to their mom. She handles the kids Kate Barker had never been. Very happy in her marriage, although from what I've read, George was pretty far from a bad guy, but he was a giant wimp and far from the kind of successful that mob Barker wanted. As she grew more comfortable with hard crime and dangerous men, her husband grew even less appealing, so she cheated on him constantly with all manner of gangsters. Unlike George, these were passionate men and they had money to burn. They showered her with presents and took her out on the town. Everyone in Tulsa, including George, knew what was going on, but the man who wouldn't stand up to his own wife about their children committing an endless series of crimes. Was not about to confront actual veteran murderers, about taking his wife out to the movies. You know, George, he's he's kind of lame. Like my mom's right. She's she makes the right call. Like, look at this guy. Passionate men with deep pockets. Yeah. Yeah. Versus the guy who couldn't buy you a door to the bathroom, I mean. Sophie is showing me a picture of Ma, which I think must have been. Well, no, she's probably given the time period. She's probably like 25 in that picture. Yeah, she's. I mean, it's pretty incredible to imagine her, like, being taken out on the town by these, like, wealthy told sucking stirs. Like, the problem is, like a month after age 19, everyone back then looked like they got hit in the face by a train. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. She's seen some life, but like, all the more reason for her to ******* take these guys up on, on their whining and dining. Yeah, sounds fun. Sounds fun now. By the mid 1920s, George had ****** off to Joplin, MO and abandoned his family, and it's hard to blame the guy. Yeah, Rob Barker, for her part, barely seemed to notice. FBI records from the 20s and early 30s note that she was romantically involved with a number of criminals who bought her drinks and treated her like royalty. Now, yeah. One of the downsides about having a bunch of crime sons is that they tend to get killed, you know? Yeah, my barkers first. Just stealing like lifesavers. I don't know why I keep coming back to the life series. It must be some, like, dumb shoplifting thing I witnessed as a child. Just like. How dangerous is that? The most ambitious thing you've stolen from a OK, good, good, good. That just feels like the crime #1. Less theft was figuring out how to disassemble and steal a plunger from Walmart when I was like 19 and in my first place and needed one but had no extra money. Wait, a plunger? Just plunger? Yeah. What? But I mean, OK, sure. Did you like. So you took off the plunger part and you stick the the dowel, the rod part down your pants or something. And you put the other part in your pants, too. But once it's disassembled, you can, like, kind of flatten it in there. Yeah, man. Like the the era of baggy, baggy pants for men is also, like, very conducive for shoplifting. It's harder when it has helped. And you're in skinny jeans. Yeah, it has helped. I also had a lot of, like, drank a lot of lunches when I was poor by just walking around the grocery store drinking whatever they had that had protein in it and then leaving it behind. Yeah, I mean. Hey, man, it was hard times. I mean, yeah, no, Whole Foods is basically like a buffet, right? You can just, like, Oh yeah, get, get whatever you want and then walk around and, like, look at some products while you eat. You get a sample that **** before you decide whether or not to pay. Also, now that Whole Foods is owned by Amazon, I feel no guilt. I feel no 00. Sorry. Yeah. This podcast is brought to you by Whole Foods and Jeff Bezos. Specifically funds this podcast Jeff Bezos, who says always eat all of the grapes in the bag and for you to always rob insured banks, yeah. Famous Jeff Bezos quote. Now, my Barker's first son to die was her oldest boy, Herman. He'd flown furthest from the nest, and he built a gang himself that robbed a number of jewelry stores and made off with 10s of thousands of dollars in merchandise. Their method of robbery was actually kind of ingenious. They snuck into crawl spaces or cut holes in the roof in order to drop down. Mission Impossible. Like from the ceiling. For a while police were flummoxed. But then Herman left his hat at the scene of a crime, and police traced it back to the store and salsa, where he purchased it. Not the only time I hat would, would do. Ma Barker boy. God, these guys, weren't they doing crimes in hats? Stop wearing hats. Maybe, maybe stop wearing hats to crimes. Fashion a chin strap for it. If you really need it for like style or cover or something, then you know it's amazing. Yeah. Amazing to think of an age when hands were so deregulated that you'd be like, well, nobody can. I'm not gonna commit crimes without a hat. I mean, the crime will be committed outside. I must have my hat. What am I, a savage? Oh my God. In June 7th, 1926, Herman and a partner stole a car from a dealership in Fairfax and wound up in a high speed chase that ended in Kansas. Herman escaped while his partner was caught, but Herman was caught hours later buying another hat. Are you kidding me? Yeah, these these Barker boys that they're ******* hats. Yeah, always a problem. It's like very Looney tunes. I kind of like. And I, you know, the cops let him keep the hat. They're like, no, you can't put a man in prison without a hat. What are we? He's gotta have his phone call in his hat. Yeah, now mob. Barker bailed Herman out and for a time he was able to be in the wind again. But even though he'd just been busted for Grand Theft Auto and was wanted in questioning for two bank robberies, Herman decided to plan a third bank robbery. On January 17th, 1927, Herman and several partners broke into the First National Bank of Jasper, MO. They made off with a pile of loot, but the authorities were hot on their trail and a 30 minute gun battle ensued. Herman was wounded and arrested, but he was out again. On bail by August, which I guess this was a time when you could shoot at the police and get out on bail. It's incredible. That is incredible now. Yeah. While he was out on bail for his third robbery, he and a partner decided to rob an ice plant. They stole $200.00 from the safe and fled the scene. Next, according to the book, mob. What about all the ice? What about all the ice? Ice? Yeah, turns out it's a bad thing to steal. Yeah, probably if you get caught by. I guess the upbeat side is if you get caught stealing ice, you just keep on the run until the ice melts. Yeah, it's like you ain't got no proof. Yeah, exactly. Got a wet car. I just love driving. What? I mean, but I wouldn't put it past this guy, honestly. I'd be like, oh, we're gonna do what I say, ice. Like, probably per pound. The stupidest thing you could. You could set out to rob the worst crime to engage this. Alright, so I'm going to quote the book. Mob Barker talking about what happened after the ice heist motorcycle. Officer JE Marshall and his partner Frank Bush spotted the gangsters car speeding through town at 2:00 in the morning. After a short pursuit the getaway vehicle stopped at Officer Marshall approached the car to confront the offenders. Herman was driving and when the police officer got close enough to look inside the vehicle, he grabbed the officer around the neck, levelled a gun against his face and fired two shots. Officer Marshall died instantly, so this provoked a chase and Herman. Was wounded badly during an automotive firefight. He and his partner crashed their car and, overcome with pain, Herman Barker shot himself dead. Ma Barker grieved deeply for her oldest boy and used some of her ill gotten gains to buy a four foot tall marble headstone for Herman. Some lawman would later write that Herman's death caused mob Barker to turn her back entirely on morality, but this seems to be theatric drama. By the time Herman died, Ma had been a criminal mastermind for nearly a decade, but the death of her oldest son did have a major impact on her. Mob Barker would not, in the future, be content to let her children **** ** at planning their own crimes. She had bigger plans for them, grander plans, Minnesota ER plans and this. Brings us to the greatest hive of scum and villainy in the history of the United States, the city of Saint Paul. I knew you were going to say Saint Paul's terrible place. Terrible people. Wait. Really? Compared to Tulsa? Well, this time, actually, yeah. I mean, I can't speak for Saint Paul today, but during the Great Depression it was famous for being a haven for gangsters. Really? And you know what else is a haven for gangsters, Emily? The products and services that support this podcast. 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All right, Speaking of things I'm not a fan of, let's talk about Saint Paul, the crime city now. Apologies to the people of St. Paul, MN. No apologies. The only city I apologize to is Pittsburgh. But nothing for Saint Paul. OK, bring it on. The concert today, the city of yeah, consistency is everything and Saint Paul was consistently filled with criminals then and probably now. I assume today. The City of Saint Paul is most famous for I I don't really know, is Sophie next to Minneapolis? Being next to Minneapolis? But back in the day it was the crime capital of America. I'm going to quote from the Minnesota Post, St. Paul in the late 20s and early 30s was known as a crooks haven, a place for gangsters. Bank robbers and bootleggers from all over the Midwest to run their operations or to hide from the FBI. The concentration of local organized crime activity prompted reformers and crime reporters to call for a cleanup of the city in the mid 1930s. So it used to be an interesting place at some point is what I'm getting at here. Has there been a good crime movie set in Saint Paul? I don't know. Probably need a good Saint Paul movie. I don't watch a lot of crime movies, but I don't know. Yeah, yeah, yeah, they get on it. One of one of you. Now, Saint Paul earned its reputation as the sanctuary for criminals in the Midwest with the help of corrupt politicians and police chiefs who agreed to turn a blind eye to gangsters underground activities which included smuggling, racketeering, and gambling. This collaboration began in 1900 with what was known as the Layover Agreement, an unofficial contract between criminals and chief of Police John O'Connor the Law and crime in Saint Paul worked out a deal. Criminals would minimize the murders they committed in town and give the cops a chunk of their profits in exchange. The police would warn them about upcoming FBI raids. This became known as the O'Connor system and represents quite possibly the most ethical chapter in the history of American law enforcement now. Mob Barker and her remaining kids moved to Saint Paul in the early 30s, and for the next couple of years, mob Barker would be the Grand Dam of crime in that town. Along the way, she adopted a gangster friend of one of her sons, Alvin Karpis, the former marbles champion of Kansas, who was nicknamed old creepy for his dead, soulless eyes. Yeah, there's a hell of a sentence. Can I is it too late to go with him for Halloween? I just like. The mental image is incredible. You just have a gun and a pile of marbles. Yeah. Old creepy. You like what I can do with this gun? Imagine what I can do with these marbles, kid. God, that's incredible. Now Ma loved old creepy, and spent many a night out on the town of Saint Paul. Ohhh. Yeah, so the old creepy Alan carpus and Mob Barker essentially combined their powers to build a gang consisting of Alvin and Ma's sons, with MA as kind of the mastermind. In June 1923, Alvin and Ma attended the Chicago World's Fair. It is their reportedly, that mob Barker first told Alvin that she and her boys would be the vanguards of a new era of crime. Bank robberies beneath our dignity, she said. Bigger game is in our future, that bigger game. Well, no, but it led to her last words. OK. Now that bigger game was kidnapping and ransoming the children of wealthy families. In 1932, the baby of Charles Lindbergh, famed American aviator and fascist ***** ** **** had been kidnapped by persons unknown, while the baby was found dead six months later and probably had died that very night. An innocent man named Bruno Hauptmann was arrested for the crime in 1934. The guilty parties were never caught and almost certainly made off with 10s of thousands of dollars and a baby murderer, Scott free. This was all widespread knowledge in the criminal community in 1932. When Jack Piper, head of the Hollyhocks Casino in Saint Paul, went to Fred Barker and Alvin with a plan, he knew the schedule and travel routes of 39 year old William Ham Junior and he felt like the man's family would pay handsomely if their hair was kidnapped. Now, if you don't hail from the center north Ish parts of the country hams is a hilariously named mediocre beer that's better than being sober, but not a whole lot better. William Hamm's junior was the scion of this Beer dynasty and a very wealthy man. Jack basically told the Barker gang that they could make a lot of money if they stole him. He asked for 10% of the total take for his help. So the gang kidnapped him fairly easily, and by all accounts they treated him well. Four days after his capture, his $100,000 ransom was paid and he was returned unharmed to his family. The cost of the ransom was relatively minor in the scheme of the family's $4.5 million fortune when he was returned to his family, William told a local paper, although it was a trying experience, I was treated with the utmost respect and courtesy. But like the old adage, home sweet home is the best place of all. So ham seems to say like, yeah, they they were all right. That that feels like he's just shy of being like, I wish I could have stayed forever. It was so much I wish I could have stayed forever. Food was great. Yeah, yeah. Now, the Ham family had asked authorities to hold back on doing anything while their kid was kidnapped and the police had agreed. I'm going to read a quote from the interview that a William Hamm gave the Decatur Herald after he had been freed. Hamm only get saw his captors, but dimly. The windows of the House in which he was placed in a second floor room were boarded up and never saw the men because they didn't have on my goggles and they made me turn my face. Towards the wall. When they came into the room, they were very nice to me. I asked for anything I wanted and ordered anything I wanted. The medals were good and simple, nothing elaborate, but whoever did the cooking knew their way around the kitchen and was almost certainly mob Barker. Now, the FBI did not catch on to the fact that the Barker family was behind this caper. Instead they arrested another gangster too, he who was an innocent of this crime. By at least some accounts too, he was tortured by law enforcement in an attempt to get him to admit his guilt. He refused and eventually killed himself in jail. Interestingly enough, the FBI. Leaves this story out of its account of the arrest of the Barker gang. Of course. Yeah, but God I just I'm splitting hairs here now. The Barker Gang was doing very well at this point. The hams caper was their highest profile crime of this. But they also continued to rob banks at a pretty ridiculous rate. Meanwhile, Ma Barker continued to manage the fine details of the gang, reportedly going so far as to drive the getaway routes before Major Crimes to ensure every aspect of the plan was mapped out to her satisfaction. She did not draw. Line adjust micromanaging the business aspects of her gang. According to the book Mob Barker, she also kept a strong hand in the romantic lives of her sons and adopted sons. OK, quote members of the Barker Karpis gang, who were close to Maude, generally kept the women they were seriously involved with away from her. It was a crazy system, Alvin admitted years later, and often created friction with our women who couldn't understand why we were so careful with their feelings. The boys preferred to avoid mass jealous anger. They were devoted to her and considered her contribution to their organization invaluable and something they would not jeopardize. Not only did she recruit in school the hoodlums who joined the group, but she was always a foolproof cover for the gang Mockett Project, an innocence and wholesomeness to their rival, the Whistler's mother. But she could be fiery and obstinate, so, yeah, that that that's Ma. She won't let you have a girlfriend, but she'll get you out of trouble with the cops. You got to keep your mind on crimes. You got to keep your mind on crimes. Yeah. I mean, it makes sense, makes sense now. Ma was a complicated person, and while she was a domineering field within the criminal underworld, she operated out of her homes. She was also vulnerable to being victimized by abusers in her own romantic life. Starting in the late 1920s, she dated a man named Arthur Dunlop, which started as emotional support in the wake of her first son's death, evolved into a profoundly abusive relationship. Arthur was basically the opposite of George Barker. He refused to work or contribute to the family finances in any way. But he was also a powerful personality who constantly derided and physically abused Kate Barker. The Barker Boys hated Arthur, but for a while they tolerated him because their mothers seemed to love him. For some inexplicable reason, Arthur moved with the family to Saint Paul, but soon after they began their kidnapping game, he started to make trouble. Arthur was no gangster, but he loved to go out drinking on the town and brag about the crimes of the Barker Carpus gang, even though he had nothing to do with those crimes. Yeah, now he's a ***** ** ****. Real ***** ** ****. Yeah. I take back what I said about passionate men with deep pockets. Yeah, well, he didn't know. He was just taking their money and bragging. Yeah. Just commit your own crimes. Yeah, have the decency to commit your own crimes. And I don't know. It's always, it's always a bummer when when your significant other tries to take credit for your career. Yeah, absolutely. He's like how well who we combat compare him to as celebrities. Hmm. He's like, he's like Kevin Federline. He's the Kevin Federline of this story. Yeah, yeah, that's that's yeah, a meaner Kevin Federline. Although I'm sure that Kevin Federline wasn't that nice of a person. I don't know. He's history's greatest monster. So when Arthur's bragging finally got loud and boisterous enough that multiple criminal friends of the family warned Ma Barker, she finally agreed that he had to go. Fred and Alvin shot him dead and disposed of the corpse. Yay. Yay. But January 1934, the Barker Gang was ready to try their luck at another high dollar kidnapping. Their next subject was Edward George, Brimmer junior, the scion of a wealthy banking family. By this point, the Great Depression was well underway and the whole country was filled with rage. The corrupt bankers who had brought calamity down on the heads of the nation. While the heir to the Hamms beer fortune had been treated well, Brimmer was beaten badly and repeatedly by the Barker gang, particularly by Fred Barker, who hated bankers. According to the book Ma Barker, the gang did not keep him blindfolded at all times at the hideout, and he was able to observe things which were later to be of assistance in identifying the place where he was held captive. The men who held him captive spoke with various accents, French, German, Italian. At one point he heard the voice of an older woman praising the criminals holding him hostage, saying, now you're thinking. Is now you're thinking? Mr Brimmer assessed. It was the voice of Ma Barker. I mean, why did why did they not blindfold him? This seems like a major oversight. I mean I'm I'm all for beating up a bank, herb, and at least have the have the the foresight to to blindfold him. I mean, they were usually their faces and stuff were covered so he wasn't able to identify him and that like the the they were speaking in different accents, but like they weren't actually a bunch of different nationalities, they were just trying to confuse them. Just to hear all those accents like I love you. All of their attempts at an Italian and French and German accent? Yeah, I want to know what a bunch of ******* criminal gangsters in Minnesota in the 1930s think a German sounds like. I bet it's hilarious, yeah. Now, eventually the Bremer family paid $200,000 for the return of their son, and this left the Barker Karpis gang fantastically wealthy. But by this point they had committed too many serious crimes to not be considered public enemies. After the Bremmer heist, the Barker Karpis gang scattered to the four winds across the nation and several other continents in an attempt to evade justice, two of Ma Barker's sons tried the most extreme method imaginable to hide from the law. They decided to undergo dangerous experimental surgery to change their faces and their fingerprints. Again, yeah, this is a terrible story. Ohgod Mob Barker again. Yeah, it's real bad. An ex convict named Joseph P Moran was in charge of the procedure, which involved looping elastic bands tightly around the gangsters fingertips at the first joint, and injecting cocaine into each of their fingers and thumbs. Using a scalpel, the doctor would then scrape the skin completely off the digits. The work of Doctor Moran did to remove the scars on Alvin's face was equally as barbaric and unpleasant. And the end, the extreme discomfort proved to be a waste of time and money, according to the FBI report. Dated November 19th, 1936, Fred Barker was a braving maniac due to the pain. Doctor Moran performs other services for the gang such as laundering some of the kidnap money through his Chicago practice. Doctor Moran suffered from the same problem of running his mouth. He drank too much which made him especially talkative. He bragged to a couple of prostitutes in his company that he was a big doctor from Chicago who could erase fingerprints and change people's appearances. His actions weren't tolerated for long by the Barker Karpis gang. He was warned to be quiet, but defied orders by stating I have you guys in the palm of my hand. When I guess what happened to this guy? God got yeah, you got ******* you got ******* killed really fast. OK, yeah, yeah, yeah. Alvin and Arthur Barker, acting on MAS orders, gunned Dr Moran down in July of 1934. They buried him in a hole under a pile of lie, so that's good. So wait, so it didn't even work, though. The fingerprint removal, it removed the fingerprints that the guys had on them, but it also, like, drove one of them crazy and made them look as if they'd been horribly burned. And it was obvious. Like, well, you clearly tried to have your fingerprints removed. Look at your look at your hands. Oh my God, so stupid. Really, this is just incredible. Like, who's good? Who's the best? Well, when we're finished, we should go through a ranking of like, who's actually good at their job in this? Because there aren't that many people now Speaking of not being good at their job. It took the FBI until after this point to actually get their **** together and realize that the Barker gang was behind the kidnapping of several of America's wealthiest citizens. J Edgar Hoover declared. Hate mob Barker to be the brains of the gangs operation and the most dangerous woman in America. The dogs were out and the Barker family days were numbered. Flush with cash and fleeing the law, they made their way to the only true home of all dangerous, unhinged criminals, Florida. Fred, his mother, and a few other sympathetic XOS rented a house in Lake Weir and attempted to lay low until the heat died down. What happened next is a matter of historical debate. Since this is my podcast, the version of the story I've decided to believe is the one that involves A3 legged alligator named. Old Joe, as the story goes, at least. According to one Chicago Tribune article written in the 1980s based on some of the few living people who remembered these events, by January of 1935, the FBI had found one member of the Barker Karpis Gang in Chicago, Arthur Barker. When they arrested him in his hotel room they found the partially burnt remnants of a letter from mob Barker. In the letter, mob Barker had written that wherever they were hiding, it was good hunting for A3 legged alligator called Old Joe. So to their credit, the FBI had some good investigators and they combed the numerous swamps of the American S. Until they found some yokels who keyed them in on where this three legged alligator lived, Lake Weir, Florida. After that point, it was only a matter of refining for the Bureau to lock down the last few stateside remnants of the Barker gang, Mob Barker and her son Fred next, according to the Chicago Tribune. On the morning of Wednesday, January 15th, 193515 agents swooped down on a large frame house on the shores of Lake Weir, on the outskirts of this Florida Citrus belt town. When the shooting ended 4 hours later, they found MOB Barker, 63, dead in an upstairs room, one arm cradling a submachine gun, the other cradling her dead son, Fred, 32. Oh my God, went out like a ******* G that's tough as hell. Yeah, machine gun in one arm, dead son on the other. It's a pretty good way to go if you're primer bullets. That's that's great. I'm glad that. I'm glad that it ended in Florida as all crime stories must end, as all crime stories and and most begin. Yeah. Yeah. But I I like that we did a detour through through Minneapolis because I will differ with you on the point that I do think Minnesota is a lovely state and is as part of the great patchwork of America. So I'm glad that I'm glad that they found a home there. I'm going to war with both Minneapolis. Well, no, just Saint Paul. Sorry. I'm in. Saint Paul. Yeah, yeah, whatever. I mean, no, somebody's going to get actually mad at me if I say whatever. Same if. But yeah, Minneapolis will get mad. Nobody and nobody in Florida is going to get mad at us saying that all Floridians are criminals. Like, we know everyone. Everyone knows. Yeah. Yeah. If you live in Florida, you know what you are? It's like Australia. You've elected to this lifestyle. You didn't. No one forced you to live in Florida. That's where you go. If you wanna be a criminal or you want to be friends with A3 legged alligator. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Wow. Well, this was amazing. I have a lot of respect to her, honestly. And I feel like, I feel like, I mean, I don't. I guess I don't know well enough to know where you would find the seams in this, but I do kind of feel like the FBI is sort of undermining her by trying to say that it's she's not the mastermind here. I mean, yeah, like what? Like who? Who would the mask? She seems it's not the mastermind. She's a great instigating force. And that's like just as important to be a moral support and, you know, provide food and shelter for your gang of criminal sons and not sons. I don't know. I mean, that's his. That's as important as being the mastermind. Three yeah. I I think that I don't know there's this like impulse and law enforcement to kind of like reduce any sort of the myth making around these figures which which never works like the you you can't stop you can't stop people from fundamentally wanting to side with the the charismatic criminals over the G men. It's it's it's the same reason Scarface is more popular than I don't know a movie about whoever the **** shot Scarface. And it it it it always. I guess it's more beneficial to be like, oh, all these crimes are stupid done by idiot people. Which, to be fair, a lot of these seem like pretty stupid crimes done by idiot people. But that version of events definitely is is is less romantic. I mean, it's at least funny, but it's not like, oh, I want to grow up to be like that in the same way that, like having a criminal mastermind who's, like, plotting all these amazing bank robberies or whatever, that that feels more like something that someone might be tempted to emulate. If given hard enough times, I don't know, yeah. Yeah, I mean, I I stand mall Barker. I mean, what? What's she's she's not a *******. She's a she's a hard working mom and eventual single parent. Just doing her best to survive in tough times, doing her best to survive in this workaday world and get a door for the damn bathroom. You know? She's doing her best. I mean, I I feel like all, all great careers start with, you know, wanting a door for your bathroom. Yeah, well, Emily, Speaking of doors for the bathroom, do you have any, anything you'd like to plug? Well, you can listen to nightcall on this very podcast network. I co-host it with Molly Lambert and Tess Lynch. As you said, previous guests on this podcast, so we we have new episodes every Monday. And yeah, I'm getting ready to record with them later today. So I'm, I'm, I've got a real podcast. Marathon day-to-day. But yeah, we're on. We're on social media at Night Call, podcast or night, depending on what platform it is. It's inconsistent. Which is stupid of us. We, me, actually. I'm the inconsistent one, but I and then I'm on Twitter personally at. I'm on Twitter personally at Emily Yoshida. Just my first and last name. Yeah, Public Enemy number one. Public Enemy, enemy #1. Not if you want to be public. Well, that's gonna do it for behind the ********. Today, you can find us on the Internet at, where you could find the sources for this episode. You can find us on Twitter and Instagram at Bastarde Pot. You can find me on Twitter at I write OK, and you can find crime in your heart when you look down the aisles of an Amazon owned grocery store. This podcast does not involve dorse committing crimes. Thanks. Thank you, Sophie. Are we are we safe legally now? Is the lawyer happy? Don't commit. Don't commit a crime. But don't convince a crime a crime, not commit a crime, yeah? That, that's that the the the words of this guest do not necessarily. Reflect the wishes of this podcast. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break your handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's 1980s and 90s a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio, this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. The story about the man who simply become known as. Lamaster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Want to say I don't know less? Listen to stuff you should know more. 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