Ep. 18 Final Destination

On this episode, we’re taking you back to the early days of airline travel. Sure, planes were more likely to crash back then but at least you weren’t subjected to a full-body cavity search and you could pack a regular sized bottle of shampoo in your carry-on. Then again, after hearing this story, you might welcome the additional security. This story’s a blast… chock full of family baggage… that also happens to be ticking! Strap in, it’s going to be a bumpy flight!

Podcasts

Looking for more Slaycation?

Get our free weekly episodes on Spotify, Apple, iHeart or wherever you get podcasts. And for earlier access, bonus content, and ad-free slaycations — subscribe to Slaycation+ on Apple or Supporting Cast. For just $3.99 a month or $39.99 a year, you’ll get a passport to extra holiday murders, bonus behind-the-scenes, and special guest interviews. So grab a Pina Killada and join in on the fun!

our transcript

Transcript:

Speaker 1 00:00

How do you boil a body? How do you dispose of a severed head? How do you dismember? And how do you get out bloodstains? You really need surgical experience.

 

Speaker 2 00:09

Experience?

 

Speaker 3 00:23

Pack your body bags, we’re going on a Slaycation. These are murders and mysterious deaths that have occurred on vacation. I am your co -host, as always, Adam Tex Davis, and I am joined by my lovely wife, Kim.

 

Speaker 3 00:40

Hello, the woman in the house. And my business partner and buddy and work husband, Jerry. Hi, I’m the tolerable one. Hello, tolerable one. Still tolerable after all these years. And just so you know, I don’t know the case.

 

Speaker 3 00:55

Jerry and Kim, they know the case, they’re gonna tell it to me, and I can be like a proxy for you, the listener, and ask questions and interrupt Kim, and be a general nuisance. Before we begin, I was thinking after that Larry Rudolph case, right?

 

Speaker 3 01:14

That’s the safari murder? And there was a safari case, as you mentioned. And then the guy who killed Cecil the Lion was also a dentist. And then I was wondering, is there a connection between looking in mouths and then wanting to kill things?

 

Speaker 3 01:33

Or, you know, it also makes me wonder, are there jobs that come up more often for serial killers or even just dabblers or one -offs? Is there a certain job that might? Are you asking us or you actually did some research?

 

Speaker 3 01:47

I did a little research, but I was gonna have you guess. First of all, I was gonna say, Kim, in your experience, do you have any jobs that seem like a red flag?

 

Speaker 2 01:56

That’s a good question. I confess I don’t know that I’ve ever thought that deeply about it

 

Speaker 3 02:02

I mean, I know it’s not social work that you used to do because you were too busy crying all the time. And it’s not comedy writing or any writing for that matter because you spend your whole life just second guessing, you know, should I do this?

 

Speaker 3 02:14

Should I do, I can’t tell. Plus you know how it ends and you know it ends with you failing and going to jail. So no. And then, you know, we’ve talked about like actors, a lot of actors wind up being killers and you need acting to get away with it.

 

Speaker 3 02:27

You don’t even have to be a good actor, OJ. But anecdotally. I feel like they were funny.

 

Speaker 1 02:33

Oh, first of all our IP Rest in hell, yeah, whatever but What? Why are you putting him in as an actor because of his incredible work and naked gun?

 

Speaker 3 02:49

Well, yeah, there’s people that only know him as an actor. Okay, that’s fair. But okay, so anecdotally, it seemed like dentist came up a lot, but does it hold up statistically? So I did a little Google searching, and I basically just asked, what job do most serial killers have?

 

Speaker 3 03:05

And I got this top 10 list of psychopath occupations, according to an Oxford University psychologist. Number one, CEO. Oh no, or business executive. Oh dear, yeah. Number two, lawyer. Number three, media personality.

 

Speaker 3 03:28

Number four, salesperson. Number five, surgeon. Number six, journalist or news anchor. Number seven, police officer. Number eight, which felt a little low, religious official. Number nine, chef. And number 10, a civil servant, such as military city council, corrections officer, et cetera.

 

Speaker 3 03:58

So any surprises there?

 

Speaker 1 04:00

police was a surprise for sure and CEO I gotta say yeah like really what like what CEO serial killers are there did they name it

 

Speaker 3 04:08

No, this is just the psychopath occupations. I mean, is he the psychopath or serial killers? I looked up. I said, what job do most serial killers have?

 

Speaker 1 04:18

I just threw this into perplexity, which is one of the AI search engines. It came up with a totally different list Perplexity says the number one occupation for serial killers is future iterations of AI

 

Speaker 4 04:33

Yeah.

 

Speaker 3 04:34

Well played, sir, but I’m pumped, yeah.

 

Speaker 1 04:36

Yeah, number one was aircraft assembler. Okay, so that’s the other thing. Here’s the thing.

 

Speaker 3 04:43

And I have top three skilled serial killer occupations. And number one was aircraft machinist or assembler. Based on what evidence? Number two was shoemaker. Yeah, I got number two shoemaker also. And number three was automobile upholsterer.

 

Speaker 3 04:58

Now we’re on the same list. Yeah, so this broke it down into weird skilled versus semi -skilled versus unskilled. Unskilled, number one is general laborer, like a mover or a landscaper. Number two was hotel porter.

 

Speaker 3 05:12

And number three was gas station attendant. These are the top three unskilled serial killer occupation. And then there was top three semi -skilled. Number one was forestry worker. Number two was truck driver.

 

Speaker 3 05:25

And number three is warehouse manager. So that’s the thing, when I think of these serial killers, like a lot of the cases, like truck driver does seem to come up a lot. It kind of lends itself, you’re driving around, you’re on the move.

 

Speaker 3 05:38

You know, obviously aircraft machinist. I mean, that makes so much.

 

Speaker 1 05:42

Though like can someone give me an example of one aircraft machinist who’s a serial killer well Jack the Ripper I believe what? Whenever I look at these lists I’m like

 

Speaker 3 05:52

He was a surgeon. He was a surgeon. That is true. Still large by the way.

 

Speaker 1 05:56

Still at large never been cool. I don’t know I look at this list. I’m like, okay Sure, but like can I get like three examples of aircraft machinists or serial killers in fact? Let’s ask, but I will say perplexity the AI does mention after giving us the same basic list you did Please remember it is important to note that not everyone in these professions are serial killer not everywhere I was thinking that all shoe repair people are serial killers

 

Speaker 3 06:22

killers. They are, just not all of them have killed.

 

Speaker 2 06:25

What signs what astrological signs are more predisposed to serial killing

 

Speaker 4 06:32

Thanks for watching!

 

Speaker 3 06:32

Well, that’s a different search, honey. I know. That could be another start.

 

Speaker 1 06:36

to another episode. We can ask. Right now, I’m asking you to give me three examples of serial killers who are aircraft It’s not Pisces. Well, according to the search results, the occupation of aircraft machinists is one of the top skilled occupations overrepresented among serial killers.

 

Speaker 1 06:51

However, the search results do not provide any example of serial killers who are aircraft machinists. It just focuses on general trends, so therefore, I cannot confidently provide three examples of serial killers who are craft machinists.

 

Speaker 1 07:04

So, what the fuck? That doesn’t feel very satisfying. That doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel right.

 

Speaker 3 07:09

All right, well, thanks for playing.

 

Speaker 1 07:13

top astrological signs of serial killers.

 

Speaker 3 07:17

Better not be Pisces, Kim and I are both Pisces. There’s no way, we’re two, we’re two. Yeah, but not us. Scorpio.

 

Speaker 1 07:24

Uh -oh guys Virgo. Oh, yeah, it’s got a Virgo number one watch out kids. Yeah Yeah, hmm number two is what not a shock it’s Gemini Gemini, yeah Yeah Josh watch out cuz number three Pisces get the hell out of here top three right here.

 

Speaker 1 07:55

You got three people in the And areas not even areas not even on the Sagittarius is next The search results indicate that Virgo is the deadliest sign These four signs Virgo Gemini and Pisces and Sag account for 40% of all known serial killers

 

Speaker 3 08:13

Our daughter’s a Gemini, that’s why we’re laughing too. I can’t believe it because I can’t imagine-

 

Speaker 2 08:19

of serial killing capabilities. Also, like, what? Esterloaf.

 

Speaker 3 08:23

Decisive picking

 

Speaker 1 08:24

A victim would take forever for her. No, no, no, no. That’s the advantage. She doesn’t have to pick. Wait, a serial killer She’s just like boom boom boom boom. What sign is she? Gemini. Okay, so Capricorn has the highest total number of victims 19 each.

 

Speaker 1 08:38

Virgo, while the most prominent, typically has seven victims each, and that’s because we want to get it really right That’s correct. We want to be really careful about it. We want to be organized. It’s very methodical.

 

Speaker 3 08:50

We’re not going nuts. Right, but you would also be writing it in a notebook and checking it off.

 

Speaker 1 08:55

You would get caught keeping it on a spreadsheet. Yeah. Yeah What’s the app? I should getting an app the motivation asking you like the efficiency app that I’m using to make my serial killing more efficient right

 

Speaker 3 09:07

scheduling it in with the meetings and the Zoom calls.

 

Speaker 1 09:12

What a funny question. What a great. Yeah, that was good, Tim. Yeah, that was a good one.

 

Speaker 3 09:16

All right, well, at least my question’s up.

 

Speaker 4 09:18

I’m stuck. I’m stuck.

 

Speaker 2 09:21

Don’t say that.

 

Speaker 1 09:23

It’s an interesting question like what occupations, but but just you know when you ask the internet It gives you this this answer like shoemakers and aircraft machines, right? They’re like give me one example while they’re you know, I can’t give you any samples.

 

Speaker 1 09:35

So fuck you internet

 

Speaker 3 09:36

You don’t know what they would have become if serial killing didn’t get in the way of their dreams. I know, all that. Right? Like, I really just wanted to be in the forest and work in forestry. Forest Ranger, but God’s serial killing.

 

Speaker 1 09:50

Okay, so anyway, let’s move on.

 

Speaker 3 09:52

Kim, where will we be slacating today?

 

Speaker 2 09:55

Well, today, our slacading foray lands us in Longmont, Colorado, a small rural town 30 miles north of Denver. It was late afternoon, Tuesday, November 1, 1955. We have Helen, she’s with her baby, and they are hastily making their way to the airport.

 

Speaker 2 10:21

Not far away are couples James and Sarah, Charles and Clara. They would be readying themselves and rushing to that same airport. Along with Gerald and his wife Helen, who would be combining business with pleasure, they’re also making their way to the airport.

 

Speaker 2 10:44

Besides the 39 passengers, there were five crew members. In the cockpit, we had pilot and World War II veteran Lee Hall, co -pilot Dan White, and flight engineer Samuel Arthur. Then we had the flight attendants Jacqueline Hines and Peggy Petticord, who helped serve and welcomed the passengers on board.

 

Speaker 2 11:07

Of course, back then they were called stewardesses.

 

Speaker 1 11:11

from Colorado yeah to Portland okay loaded with thousands

 

Speaker 2 11:17

pounds of fuel. Right. Even though everyone was headed to a different place, this leg of the journey was starting from Denver to Portland.

 

Speaker 4 11:25

Okay, oh, is this an airplane disaster? What happens?

 

Speaker 2 11:29

Just you wait and see. I am. Four minutes in, the pilot radios Denver’s air control tower to check in, and air control tower would expect to hear back from him when they reach a level of 18 ,000 feet.

 

Speaker 2 11:44

Okay.

 

Speaker 1 11:46

lower cruising altitude than today’s jets, obviously. Oh, yeah, that’s like half. Yeah. But remember, these flights, these planes are going a fraction of the speed of today’s jets. Plus, they’re

 

Speaker 3 11:57

They’re filled with smoke. Correct. And maybe cigarettes.

 

Speaker 4 12:01

Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. All right, so we’re on board

 

Speaker 3 12:04

plane right guy checks in he’s supposed to check in again

 

Speaker 1 12:08

Good we get a few more minutes into around 10 minutes into the flight around 703 p .m. That’s correct

 

Speaker 2 12:16

and Denver’s air control tower notices something in the distance. It appears to be streaks of flashing light, one and then another, even brighter, lighting up the sky and then descending toward the ground.

 

Speaker 1 12:35

And at the same time, a kid named Conrad Hoppe, 18 -year -old kid, a few miles away, was just sitting down to dinner with his family. He heard a noise and ran outside, and he saw a ball of fire in the sky.

 

Speaker 3 12:50

Okay.

 

Speaker 2 12:52

Random ball of fire? Control Tower, seeing this, reaches out and tries to make contact with all flights in the area and was able to establish contact with all of them, except for…

 

Speaker 1 13:07

United flight 629 come in United flight 629 come

 

Speaker 2 13:13

But there’s no answer. It had been 11 minutes after takeoff.

 

Speaker 1 13:18

The Hoppe family and others in the area at this point are starting to see flaming debris coming down. It becomes clear pretty quickly that the plane has disintegrated in flight, so the plane has just blown up.

 

Speaker 2 13:32

There’s pieces of wreckage, airplane parts. Yeah.

 

Speaker 1 13:35

You don’t know at this point whether it’s blown up or not, but the plane has disintegrated. And I just want to take a second here and say that air travel in the 1950s and into the 1960s is not the safe situation we think of now.

 

Speaker 1 13:49

Planes crashing was a very, very common, common thing. I mean, this happened so much so that at one point there was like three flights from Newark in one month that crashed.

 

Speaker 3 14:02

back when they were selling insurance and vending machines. Yes.

 

Speaker 1 14:04

That is absolutely right. So they had these vending machines that you could buy anywhere from $25 ,000 to $50 ,000 of insurance At the airport from a vending machine to cover you in the case of a crash, right?

 

Speaker 1 14:17

I don’t like that betting against yourself Well, it just happened a lot I mean there was literally like a dozen crashes a year and they were just from the fact that the airplanes just weren’t that Safe at the time, right?

 

Speaker 2 14:30

It was still a relatively newish concept.

 

Speaker 1 14:33

Yeah, and there was still a lot of people flying. You know, in 1954, the year before this accident, 34 million people took flights in the United States. 151 of them died. Not terrible, but… No, that’s terrible.

 

Speaker 2 14:46

I mean it’s it’s not good but I usually

 

Speaker 3 14:49

Jerry’s the, uh, the opposite piece of the step guy was like,

 

Speaker 1 14:52

You know, I’d say, you know, no, that’s a lot. I mean, I mean, it’s a lot if you knew that a plane crashed every month. Would you fly? Look, I would not fly, but a lot of people did, but they took insurance.

 

Speaker 1 15:04

And so the per passenger death rate at the time was one per 180 million miles flown, right, which doesn’t sound bad. And it’s actually not horrible. It’s way better. Even then it was way better than driving.

 

Speaker 1 15:18

But now it’s less than one per two billion miles. Right. So it’s literally 20 times safer to fly now. Right. And in fact, the year we’re talking, Kim’s talking about right now, 1955, 120 people had already died that year in plane crashes, 1952, 220.

 

Speaker 1 15:38

The month before this happened, a United DC -4 just randomly crashed with 66 people on board that all died. So these were randomly crashed? Like literally, they don’t know why. They investigate and they could never figure out why.

 

Speaker 1 15:52

And that happened a lot because these planes, you know, as Kim said, it’s like a new technology, it wasn’t electronic. It was all very manual. And so sometimes just things happen or, you know, it was actually very common occurrence for windows to crack and blow out during flights, you know?

 

Speaker 1 16:08

So, as opposed to today where doors just. Okay. But when you look at the number of flights, you know, it’s like, so point being, the initial thought is this is another mechanical issue, but of course, you know, they always investigate and the FBI came in.

 

Speaker 2 16:27

The FBI did participate in the investigation, but there had been some preliminary findings that would involve them, that being finding explosive material on the wreckage. And once that was discovered, it was then a matter for the FBI.

 

Speaker 1 16:48

FAA, which is the Federal Aviation Administration, didn’t exist. So there was whatever the forerunner, I forget the name of it, but they investigated crashes like this. And they found some sheets of metal, little sheets of metal that had soot, gray soot on it, that was indicative of dynamite, which then raised the suspicion that maybe this was an explosion rather than an accident.

 

Speaker 1 17:12

Right. Now, we also need to take a second here and say, as sort of familiar as we are with real life and movie planes exploding, in 1955, that wasn’t a thing, right? It just hadn’t happened that many times.

 

Speaker 1 17:26

It had never happened in America. It wasn’t a common thing, like people…

 

Speaker 2 17:30

Right, no, this was not…

 

Speaker 3 17:31

But there was a plane and then suddenly there was just pieces in the air. Correct. And did they fall in the ocean? They fall in the town?

 

Speaker 1 17:38

on farmlands.

 

Speaker 2 17:40

It was on Longmont, Colorado, a small rural town 30 miles north of Denver. That’s where the plane.

 

Speaker 1 17:47

Fortunately, it was more, you know farmland so it wasn’t dense. So so once they thought maybe there was dynamite They did bring in the FBI the FBI confirmed that there was dynamite found in the wreckage now the other the other funny thing about 1955 is There was no real trick to buying dynamite.

 

Speaker 1 18:07

You could just buy dynamite, right? We didn’t have all of the Rules around explosive right, right? I mean

 

Speaker 2 18:15

It was so much.

 

Speaker 4 18:16

I mean, you could get where would you buy dynamite?

 

Speaker 3 18:18

Acme. Right, but that stuff never works.

 

Speaker 1 18:22

I don’t know where you bought it, but the point was like it wasn’t it wasn’t like a super hard thing to hold up So they quickly determined that there was an explosive involved They looked at the pattern of debris and the what remained of the aircraft and they were able to figure out that the blast had originated in the cargo hold

 

Speaker 2 18:41

right okay because debris and there was large pieces of wreckage and just the way it landed over a six mile radius with the wings and the landing gear and engines and two separate crafters that were actually engulfed in flames and according to what i read it was three days that that burned oh sure even in spite of trying

 

Speaker 3 19:03

You’re saying it’s a lot of dynamite.

 

Speaker 1 19:04

Well, no, it wasn’t that it was a lot of dynamite. I mean, it was, but it was a lot of fuel. Oh, right. It all just came together. The plane had just refueled. Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha. So it was like 5 ,000 gallons of fuel.

 

Speaker 1 19:14

Now, what was interesting is the FBI started pulling together all of the various suitcases and stuff. They were able to find a bunch of, oddly, a bunch of suitcases were still intact. There was one passenger whose suitcase was not intact that had been checked in, and it was a woman named Daisy King.

 

Speaker 3 19:36

Okay, she wasn’t one of the first ones you mentioned, right?

 

Speaker 1 19:39

No, but she was just a just another person getting on this flight.

 

Speaker 2 19:42

going to see her daughter in fact in the last on vacation to go see

 

Speaker 1 19:47

to see your daughter in Alaska, yeah. So she had a couple more stops to go. Also, because a lot of the items that were in people’s carry -on stuff were also fine, they found her carry -on bag, and in her carry -on bag, because now they’re like, okay, it’s weird that her suitcase isn’t there.

 

Speaker 1 20:03

What’s in her carry -on bag? So they find some traveler’s checks, for those of you who are listening, before credit cards and bank machines. You can take these things called traveler’s checks. And before women could have credit cards.

 

Speaker 1 20:16

Before women, that’s actually right. Yeah, women couldn’t have credit cards.

 

Speaker 3 20:20

Yeah. Oh man, how do we get back?

 

Speaker 2 20:25

husband. You are just a piece. It can’t be overstated what a piece you are.

 

Speaker 3 20:32

Oh, it could be.

 

Speaker 4 20:33

Hahahaha

 

Speaker 1 20:36

So travel checks were kind of like money, but if you bought them from American Express and if you lost them, you could report them lost and then they would be voided out. So it was kind of just a safe- They could survive an explosion.

 

Speaker 1 20:49

Apparently, yes, they were incredibly durable. They also found two keys, a seat for a safe deposit box, and they found newspaper clippings that were about a guy named John Graham and they were clippings about some legal troubles he’d been in involving some forgeries and- And others survived.

 

Speaker 1 21:14

Yeah, so what’s interesting is that her suitcase was in the front of the cargo hold. And so when it blew up, it just ripped up, basically severed the plane at that point. But then- Anything beyond that.

 

Speaker 1 21:29

Anything beyond that, like it crashed, but the fuel dispersed. And so when you look at it, the actual fuselage of the plane was pretty okay. I mean- Obviously, all the people- Oh, things can say it, right?

 

Speaker 1 21:41

So they’re like, okay, her suitcase is the one from that area that is gone. There’s explosive material and there’s newspaper clippings about his son with just like minor legal troubles, nothing super crazy.

 

Speaker 1 21:55

Basilements. Some bezelments, some like he’d been caught- Smuggling. Whisky. Which I guess is crime. They knew at this point that someone had sabotaged the aircraft. Now, the other thing to mention is in 1955, because no one in the US had done this, maybe there had been one small incident, but no one had ever sabotaged an aircraft at scale or even hijacked an aircraft.

 

Speaker 1 22:22

So you could bring a large shampoo onto the plane. Okay, not only could you bring, just to sort of explain the security at airports at that time, I’m gonna explain it this way, none. It didn’t exist.

 

Speaker 1 22:36

There was no X -rays, there was no security. By the way, they didn’t even check IDs, right? So you could buy a ticket in whatever name you wanted. And as long as you had a ticket, you got on the plane.

 

Speaker 1 22:47

They weren’t checking your carry -ons, none of that. No one had thought, oh, people might try and do bad things on planes.

 

Speaker 2 22:54

walk right up to the gate with your whole

 

Speaker 3 22:56

By the way, I looked it up. You can buy dynamite at Boomingdale’s. Boomingdale’s. Nice.

 

Speaker 2 23:00

You just made that up.

 

Speaker 1 23:04

not not blast fifth avenue

 

Speaker 4 23:07

Oh my God. That was pretty good, right? Yeah, it was good. That was nice. Yeah.

 

Speaker 1 23:12

that’s worse but but even more to the point because aircraft sabotage was not a thing there were no federal laws against it meaning oh sabotage is on the table at the time this wasn’t there was no federal crime of sabotaging an aircraft so

 

Speaker 3 23:32

But here does a Hitchcock movie come out. Which one? Sabotage.

 

Speaker 1 23:37

at this point they are like okay this guy John Graham you know what he needs to be looked at you need to look at him they determine that John Graham is actually Daisy King’s son

 

Speaker 3 23:51

Okay, okay. Yeah, I think you slipped and said son before. Okay, but the guy with the trouble.

 

Speaker 1 23:56

Yeah, the guy with the trouble is this is the son of this this woman whose suitcase is the one that they blew up. Okay, so they go to John’s home. Mm -hmm. We’ll be right back with more Slick -ation.

 

Speaker 5 24:11

the Hargan women seemed to have it all. From the outside looking in, we were blessed. My mom was amazing. But as detectives would soon learn, there was a lot going on inside the Hargan household.

 

Speaker 4 24:22

Ashley and I have been calling my mom and the house and Helen, no one’s answering.

 

Speaker 5 24:28

63 -year -old Pamela Hargan gunned down in her own home. Her youngest daughter Helen lay dead upstairs.

 

Speaker 2 24:35

Patrol, when they arrived, assumed or thought that they might have

 

Speaker 1 24:39

have been a murder suicide.

 

Speaker 5 24:40

but for the detectives on the scene. There were things about the scene itself that were concerning to us on day one. Who would want to kill their mother and their little sister? There is no boogeyman here.

 

Speaker 5 24:52

It is exactly who we think it is. I’m Peter Van Sant from 48 Hours. This is Blood is Thicker, the Hargen Family Killings. Listen to Blood is Thicker, the Hargen Family Killings, wherever you get your podcasts.

 

Speaker 3 25:12

All right, now back to location.

 

Speaker 1 25:16

They go to John’s home. Mm -hmm. We do a little digging around what do they find Kim whiskey

 

Speaker 2 25:28

Well, he’s there with his wife and two kids, and they begin questioning him.

 

Speaker 4 25:34

Okay, does he know that his mom’s been blown?

 

Speaker 2 25:37

up at this point? Yeah, he was at the airport. He had dropped his mother off. Okay. In fact, his wife and their two kids were there as well.

 

Speaker 3 25:47

And this woman was visiting another daughter. He was visiting another daughter. Okay, so they, all right, so him and his wife and his kids are there.

 

Speaker 2 25:55

What happens? They begin to question him. Okay. And he denies any involvement. Right. And he says he loves his mother and he’s just as perplexed.

 

Speaker 4 26:06

Right.

 

Speaker 3 26:06

Is this the only lead by at this point? Yes, it is and

 

Speaker 1 26:10

no other they’ve no other potential lead they’re just like this seems a little suspicious they’re making they’re trying to make a connection yeah anything they’re just they’re just checking right

 

Speaker 2 26:19

And then they would talk to his wife, Gloria. Gloria would say something to the effect of a gift that John had gotten for his mother for Christmas and was very emphatic that she take it with her and had wrapped it up and put it in her suitcase.

 

Speaker 1 26:40

And they actually asked John about this gift and he says yes, I told my mother it was a surprise But I got her she does hobbies Whatever hobbies is making jewelry so I got her this jewelry making to like a punch that like to punch holes and you know make jewelry out of dynamite so then the Investigators like okay, cool cool cool.

 

Speaker 1 27:02

We’re gonna just take a look around your house And they do take a look around the house. They find two things that are troubling, okay One of them is copper wire with yellow insulation of the type They say is most typically used in detonation devices, right?

 

Speaker 1 27:21

But she cannot explain to them. The other thing they find is a life insurance policy purchased at the airport With him as beneficiary taken out on the life of his mother Wow. Yeah, how precious was that?

 

Speaker 1 27:37

Yeah, three good call Davis Good call Wow. Yeah, who knew hit three right three

 

Speaker 3 27:43

He had multiple from the same vending machine or do you go to different ones?

 

Speaker 1 27:49

all from vending machines, but these vending machines were wild. These were around back through the 50s, 60s, 70s, and you literally could, for what was about a buck and a quarter, you could buy $25 to $50 ,000 of insurance.

 

Speaker 1 28:01

That’s what you’re going to say, $25 of insurance. You know, it was an interesting business because they would sell billions of dollars of policies per year. In fact, I have some stats here for you, just to…

 

Speaker 3 28:12

They’re not all blowing up, so.

 

Speaker 1 28:14

They’re making a fortune. So they’d written premiums the year before for $84 billion, right? People had spent $3 .4 million on those policies. Typically they were about $1 .25 to $2 .50 each for $25 ,000, $50 ,000 of coverage.

 

Speaker 1 28:30

And in that year, they paid out about $1 .4 million in actual claims. Wait, so do that again. They raked in $3 .4 million in premiums and paid out $1 .4 million in losses, meaning… They made about $2 something million.

 

Speaker 1 28:44

They sold… So in the year before, they sold around 1 .4 million policies and paid out around 30 fatalities from those. So it was a lucrative…

 

Speaker 2 28:53

business. Jack had purchased three, two for $6 ,250 and one for $37 ,500.

 

Speaker 3 29:03

That’s the amount that he’s going to get from the death? And- 6 ,000. Well, it was 1955, but still, I mean-

 

Speaker 2 29:12

I mean the 37 ,500 is in today’s money. I think I read 400 ,000 6 ,000 or 37 ,000

 

Speaker 3 29:22

I’m just saying like I’ve seen a lot of like heist movies from the 50s. No one’s like alright if we crack this safe We’ll get six thousand

 

Speaker 1 29:30

That president so they find this insurance policy and this cotton this wire. He’s like I can’t explain the wire They can explain the policy So the FBI is like all right We got a question this guy and the other thing to mention here is this is pre Miranda You know Miranda rights are not a thing not a thing

 

Speaker 3 29:49

like it’s pretty warrant because they’re just searching as

 

Speaker 1 29:51

It’s pre a lot of that like, you know, and also you don’t need a warrant like if the FBI comes to your house or the police And says can you if they come to your house and say may we look around and you say yes.

 

Speaker 1 30:02

Oh, right She said yeah, then

 

Speaker 4 30:06

There’s no warrant needed. You gave permission.

 

Speaker 3 30:09

Right. Well, that’s just stupid. You got to hide your wire.

 

Speaker 1 30:14

And the Miranda rights, you know, that’s the came from the Miranda case, which requires, you know, any kind of police officer to inform you of your right to remain silent, your right to a lawyer. Right.

 

Speaker 1 30:25

So up to this point, the FBI has come to his house, they found the wire, they found the insurance policy, but then he’s called in for questioning.

 

Speaker 3 30:33

Well, let’s take a quick break and hear a word from our sponsor and we’ll be right back. you All right, we’re back with morselication and the mystery of the blown -up plane. All right, so where were we?

 

Speaker 1 30:58

So John Graham, the FBI, has come to his house based on some suspicious items they found in his mother’s belongings from the plane that blew up. They found- He let them in the house. He let them in the house.

 

Speaker 1 31:06

He let them look around. Let them talk to his wife and kids. Let them find his wire. They found the detonation wires. They found the life insurance policy he’d taken out on his mom. And so they say to him, we actually need you to come in for questioning.

 

Speaker 1 31:18

This is a few days later. They question him for several hours. No lawyer. No lawyer, and again, it’s pre -Miranda, right? So there’s no requirement that they tell you you should get a lawyer. Or that you have the right to remain silent.

 

Speaker 3 31:32

He knows that they found his wire though, his detonation wire, so he’s got to be a little nervous, I would think.

 

Speaker 2 31:38

Eh, you’d think, but he’s not, he seems pretty unflappable.

 

Speaker 1 31:44

Even to the extent this guy he’s a psycho. I mean they say to him, you know, all these people died He’s 44 people and he goes well, that’s the way it goes. Yeah

 

Speaker 2 31:54

pretty flat, he really doesn’t give a shit.

 

Speaker 1 31:56

So they questioned him from like 4 p .m. till about 6 30 and the FBI agents at that point actually say you’re free to go and Also get an attorney. They actually tell him this they say you can leave and we advise you to lawyer up Oh, that was nice of them

 

Speaker 3 32:11

Yeah.

 

Speaker 1 32:11

And he says, eh.

 

Speaker 3 32:13

Wha-

 

Speaker 1 32:14

Wow, I’m gonna hang out and keep telling you stories about my mom and da da da and so he sticks around and Just keeps talking for another five and a half hours

 

Speaker 2 32:27

and he would eventually confess.

 

Speaker 1 32:30

The FBI, around midnight, this FBI agent, James Wagner, says to him, listen, you’ve been here lying to us all night. Right. We’re going to charge you with this crime. So why not make it easy for us and for you?

 

Speaker 1 32:44

And just confess. And then he explains the whole thing. Wow.

 

Speaker 2 32:48

Yeah, and I think you could gather that he doesn’t care much for his mother

 

Speaker 3 32:53

Yeah, well that’s, yeah.

 

Speaker 2 32:56

That feels, they don’t. I mean, they had a very difficult relationship. He was her second child from her second marriage. When he was 18 months old, his parents had split up. He had an older sister. I think she was like nine years older.

 

Speaker 2 33:14

And then when he was three years old, his father died. Okay. So now his mom is a single mom. They are thick in poverty. Her mother is helping now with the rearing of the two children. And then her mother becomes sick.

 

Speaker 2 33:30

Oh, you mean Daisy’s mother. The grandma was helping. And she dies. And now it’s just her and her.

 

Speaker 4 33:38

two children and the other one was the one that’s in Alaska is that that’s the one who she yeah she was going to visit right right and

 

Speaker 3 33:45

This guy just decides I’m gonna get insurance policies.

 

Speaker 1 33:48

Yeah, I mean, just to finish the childhood thing. So, Daisy puts John in an orphanage. Right. And because she can’t. She can’t, right. With her mom gone, she just can’t do it. And the depression and all that stuff.

 

Speaker 1 34:00

So she puts John in an orphanage. And then-

 

Speaker 2 34:03

Clayton College for Boys, which was founded in 1911 and cited as a refuge for poor white male orphans born to reputable

 

Speaker 4 34:17

I looked it up

 

Speaker 3 34:19

stars yeah it’s tolerable right not have a rating so she

 

Speaker 1 34:24

Mary’s in 1941 her financial daisies financial situation improves yeah she doesn’t bring John home from the orphanage and at that point he’s like fuck you

 

Speaker 3 34:36

point, he starts getting into dynamite.

 

Speaker 1 34:37

And then he’s sent at age 13 to live with neighbors the stepfather. Yeah, does not work out And then

 

Speaker 2 34:48

Back to the orphanage. Back to the orphanage. How old is he there?

 

Speaker 1 34:51

About 13. Oh, yeah, and then in 1954 her new husband dies and leaves her

 

Speaker 2 34:57

A bucket load of money. Yeah. Yeah

 

Speaker 1 35:02

So he then goes to live with her at that point. She opens a diner and he helps manage the diner.

 

Speaker 2 35:08

She becomes rather successful. Oh.

 

Speaker 1 35:11

Nice, but he has some weird stuff like he wait was he the chef at the diner. He was not the chef fuck But he does a bunch of forgery in 1951 when he was a whiskey

 

Speaker 3 35:26

guy. He’s embezzling.

 

Speaker 1 35:28

Yeah, he was working partially as a payroll clerk. He embezzles a bunch of money. Yeah.

 

Speaker 2 35:33

He had dropped out of high school, lied about his age, and had listed in the Coast Guard. That’s right. He was also in the Coast Guard, briefly. Right. Very briefly.

 

Speaker 1 35:42

He has a car that gets totaled on railroad tracks and gets a bunch of money. Oh, so insurance scam there? Then, yeah. Then in 1955, the diner that he manages for his mom mysteriously blows up.

 

Speaker 2 35:56

It was a mystery.

 

Speaker 1 35:58

Yeah, insurance money. But also blowing up things. He was arrested in 1951 for the illegal transport of whiskey that we mentioned. So he’s done everything on our jobs list, I think.

 

Speaker 3 36:09

I feel like he’s he’s hit them all yeah, maybe that’s the reason the list maybe he’s

 

Speaker 1 36:15

He’s the list he was the CEO the diner. So the guy has just you know, he’s just been running scam

 

Speaker 2 36:20

and stuff, but she would help him out financially.

 

Speaker 3 36:24

Well, to try to keep him out of trouble, this guy clearly wants money in any way possible.

 

Speaker 1 36:29

this plane blew up. And even after the initial FBI questioning at the home right afterwards, he’s going around telling the neighbors he loved his mom. He’s so sad that she’s never going to get to use the jewelry kit that he bought her, the gift.

 

Speaker 1 36:44

And he keeps telling neighbors this. And this becomes a thing because the FBI, at this time, there wasn’t Amazon. There wasn’t mail order. And so the neighbors, when they’re asked questions by the FBI, they’re like, he keeps coming around talking about this jewelry kit.

 

Speaker 1 36:57

So they go around. They ask anywhere in a 100 -mile radius that could have sold a jewelry kit, did this guy buy a jewelry kit from you? And everyone’s like, no.

 

Speaker 3 37:07

No, no, he came in he bought six sticks of dynamite, but no jewelry can

 

Speaker 1 37:14

So he confesses that what he had done was put 25 sticks of dynamite, a timer, a six -fold battery, and two primer caps into her suitcase. He’d also worked part -time as an electrician, which I would have done.

 

Speaker 1 37:29

Yeah, also on the list, right? This is the John Graham list. The FBI said, do you have any regrets? And he said, I do. I do have a regret.

 

Speaker 3 37:41

Uh -oh, they had better prices at…

 

Speaker 1 37:44

at Kohl’s. The dynamite was cheaper at Boomingdale’s. He said, I do have a regret. I regret that I didn’t set the timer longer so it would have gone off over the mountains where you couldn’t have collected any evidence.

 

Speaker 1 37:56

Yeah. So this guy is just a dark monster, missing soul monster.

 

Speaker 3 38:02

Why was mom carrying the clippings?

 

Speaker 2 38:04

That’s a good question. I I’m going to tell your sister what you’ve been up to. I wondered that. I mean, because clearly, I mean, if it was he won awards, you’d be like, oh, she’s proud.

 

Speaker 3 38:16

Or did he stick it in there like here you go. I mean it’s it’s some light reading for the plane

 

Speaker 2 38:21

But no, that’s interesting.

 

Speaker 3 38:24

I don’t know

 

Speaker 1 38:24

That’s jumped into my mind, but he of course tried to say he was insane, right? Yeah, he did right and then they have like four different people examine him yeah

 

Speaker 2 38:34

for psychiatrists.

 

Speaker 3 38:36

You can’t argue that he isn’t though. These are the actions of an insane person. Yeah.

 

Speaker 1 38:42

Yes, but you can do these, you can be a psychopath and not be insane, it’s like a tricky, yeah. But all the mental health people said he was not insane.

 

Speaker 2 38:55

Right. He was he was definitely found to be in his quote unquote right mind in terms of knowing that what he was doing was fucked up. Hi, we’ll be back right after these messages.

 

Speaker 3 39:14

All right, now back to slication.

 

Speaker 1 39:17

This case is interesting, not only because it’s the first time a commercial airliner is sabotaged. But it’s also one of these cases where anyone else who’s a psychopath is like, oh, I can just take out insurance, make sure the plane blows up somewhere without evidence, and get all this money.

 

Speaker 1 39:38

So it leads to this whole spate of 1959, 42 people, they determine this guy Jack Gilbert won at $100 ,000 on his mother -in -law on the flight, 1960, National Airlines flight 2511, New York to Miami, 34 people die, Richard Doty taking out a life insurance policy on his mother -in -law.

 

Speaker 1 39:59

Continental Airlines flight 11, 1962, kills all 45 people on board, another guy life insurance policy on his mother -in -law. So the trick here is don’t get on flights with people’s mother -in -laws.

 

Speaker 3 40:14

Wait, all these dynamite? They’re all…

 

Speaker 1 40:18

I don’t know if they’re all dynamite, but they’re all bombs. You figured they could just start checking for bombs. Okay, so here’s the thing. So these all happened within a few years after, right? So there’s a bunch of things that happened with this case that were first, right?

 

Speaker 1 40:30

It’s the first commercial airliner to be sabotaged. Right. Also, the trial, which is in very soon thereafter, I think it’s like 1950.

 

Speaker 2 40:40

No, that he was formally charged for the murder of his mother on December 9th, 1955. He was on trial April 16th, 1956, so months, just months.

 

Speaker 1 40:50

It’s the first trial in America to be televised.

 

Speaker 2 40:56

Oh, yeah. Television cameras. That’s right. We’re allowed into the courtroom.

 

Speaker 1 41:01

Because it’s such a weird, crazy thing that’s never happened, so they allow camera

 

Speaker 3 41:06

in the courtroom. I’m sure he agreed to that too. Yeah, sure, of course.

 

Speaker 1 41:10

He did not you had to have permission from people to be on camera and he was the only person who did not get permission

 

Speaker 3 41:17

So they had to blur him.

 

Speaker 1 41:22

What could that crazy person be? Okay, but then the other thing was this causes the FEAA to be created, right? The Federal Aviation Administration.

 

Speaker 2 41:31

There was none before this.

 

Speaker 1 41:32

Right. Immediately after this, they create the FAA. Also, weird point is that because there was no federal law against aircraft sabotage, the prosecutors were like, what’s the fastest way we can take this guy down?

 

Speaker 3 41:46

There’s no federal crime, murder of all those people.

 

Speaker 1 41:49

The problem with murder of all those people is you have to prove intent for murder right versus manslaughter

 

Speaker 3 41:56

dynamite package in playing.

 

Speaker 1 41:59

Right. But again, you have to prove intent. So what they realized, the only intent they could prove was on his mom, Daisy. So what they actually try him for is the murder of his mother. Not everyone else on board.

 

Speaker 1 42:14

Because they realized they can easily prove that case and intent. There was such a public outcry about that that President Eisenhower, immediately after this, created a federal law against sabotaging a fight.

 

Speaker 1 42:28

Yeah. So the FAA was born out of this. Federal laws around aviation were born. Airport screening and a movie starring James Stewart. Yeah, there was a couple of them. Called the FBI story. Oh, I know the FBI story.

 

Speaker 1 42:41

Mervyn LeRoy. Yeah. Yeah. Oh. The opening scene of that is this. They recreate the entire scene. That’s right. I forgot about that.

 

Speaker 3 42:52

Ah, yeah.

 

Speaker 1 42:54

interesting propaganda movie for the FBI by the way right well there’s a lot yeah

 

Speaker 3 42:59

There was a bunch that came out.

 

Speaker 1 43:01

That one in particular, I started watching, and I was like, this is an advertisement for the FBI. But the whole first five minutes of that movie is this.

 

Speaker 2 43:08

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So on May 5th, 1956, the jury would take 69 minutes to find Graham guilty of first -degree murder and recommended the death penalty. Right.

 

Speaker 3 43:22

It was actually nine minutes and they just took an hour for lunch.

 

Speaker 1 43:25

They were like, they were like, we gotta make it look like we’re deliberating, so. So he was put to death and that was that.

 

Speaker 2 43:32

The Colorado Supreme Court had stayed the execution on August 8th, 1956, following a record of appeal by Graham’s attorneys. Oh, now he has lawyers. On the 22nd of October, 1956, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld the lower court and set the date.

 

Speaker 2 43:52

And Jack Gilbert Graham was executed in the gas chamber at the Colorado State Penitentiary on February, January 11th, 1957, and was declared dead at 8 .08 p .m.

 

Speaker 1 44:09

What is his wife? She was, were his innocence until the day she died.

 

Speaker 2 44:14

Really? You know, John’s wife changed her family name to her birth name. So that’s how the kids were raised and. Did they get to keep the money?

 

Speaker 1 44:23

Yes, the wife did actually, yeah.

 

Speaker 2 44:26

Yeah. You just cut me right off. With a great question.

 

Speaker 1 44:28

Sorry, and I am able to cutting off, I’m sorry.

 

Speaker 4 44:34

That’s okay. She changed her name. Yeah. Yes. There was more to that. Yes

 

Speaker 2 44:40

What was the second part of that? The second part of it was, so Alan Graham, who’s Jack’s son. The killer. Right. He’s the son of the killer. Right. And his wife, in October 16th of 1981, disappeared.

 

Speaker 2 44:54

Oh. They just vanished. Go off the grid, or just like… Who knows? It was easier to go off the grid, I imagine, in 1981, but they’ve never been found. Oh. Crazy coincidence. Just weird coincidence. Yeah.

 

Speaker 3 45:09

Okay.

 

Speaker 2 45:10

And his other kid? His other kid, Suzanne, is living in the West Coast last report and working as a nurse.

 

Speaker 4 45:18

Right. And the wife is dead, I suppose?

 

Speaker 2 45:21

Yeah, she- she did pass away. What a cr-

 

Speaker 1 45:25

Crazy story. Yeah, it’s horrible to do anything like that, but to take down a plane with 44 people to collect a little money is so sick. But this one we just thought was interesting because it’s this location, she’s out of her way, but it also touches so much of what we experienced today when we fly.

 

Speaker 1 45:45

All of these things we do now started with this incident. This was the first time people thought, oh, people are going to do bad things on planes, so let’s start screening. Hijackings, if you remember, in the 70s, there were so many hijackings of planes.

 

Speaker 1 46:02

There was frequently one or two a week, and it was just a regular occurrence, so that led to even more tightening of airport security. But in terms of stopping people from bringing bombs onto planes and stuff, this is where that all started.

 

Speaker 3 46:17

Also, when did they stop selling dynamite in stores? Like, anybody could just buy dynamite. I mean, also a good question. I guess, I mean, you can still…

 

Speaker 1 46:28

I don’t I don’t know I’ve never tried to buy dynamite. I mean I feel like we have to have a license I’m guessing of some rules around yeah. Yeah, you know yeah

 

Speaker 3 46:35

All right, well any any take away honey besides. I’m gonna get in trouble for cutting you off

 

Speaker 2 46:43

I think that that’s about right. I think we gotta let Josh Josh gotta go so I think we got it All right, so just the takeaway is just be safe out there and just and by the way

 

Speaker 1 46:59

you know, as much of a pain it is, airport security keeps things like this from happening.

 

Speaker 2 47:05

That’s why we have it.

 

Speaker 3 47:06

and don’t put your kid in an orphanage if he’s not an orphan. Okay, thank you for listening. Oh, you can also subscribe to our ad free. Ad free and bonus content. Yeah, we’re gonna make some bonus content for you if you subscribe.

 

Speaker 1 47:22

Yeah, then just click subscribe on Apple or wherever you are.

 

Speaker 3 47:27

Yeah. All right. Well, thanks for listening. Catch you on the next one. Bye. Bye.

 

Check Out What most people like

Recent Episodes

May 20, 2024
Shrien and Anni Dewani, a young, well to do, couple in the midst of a storybook romance are celebrating their honeymoon in South Africa…when things take a tragic turn. A cab ride turned carjacking ends in murder. It seems like the work of local criminals until the murderers point the finger at each other and an unexpected suspect. This shocking case will keep you (and us) guessing right to the end… and beyond.
May 13, 2024
The twisted conclusion to Episode 20 – Please listen to that one first! Robert and Nancy Kissel had it all. The perfect marriage. The high paying job. The $20,000 luxury apartment complex with all the Nannies, pools, and squash courts you’d ever need. So how did this storybook romance and life of luxury descend into mayhem, murder and… milkshakes??? Join us for the shocking conclusion to this case!
May 7, 2024
Robert and Nancy Kissel had it all. The perfect marriage. The high paying job. The $20,000 luxury apartment complex with all the Nannies, pools, and squash courts you’d ever need. So how did this storybook romance and life of luxury descend into mayhem, murder and… milkshakes??? Join us on another tolerable episode of Slaycation as we take a wild international ride down the rabbit hole of a ‘Killing in Hong Kong.’