Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Kansas bloody Benders

In an attempt to find more about Louise Brooks and her life in Kansas we stumbled on this little interesting museum with a fascinating and creepy Kansas history that had nothing to do with our search but it was interesting nonetheless.

Cherryvale Museum where we found out about the bloody Benders
Here you can find more information on this little interesting museum in Cherryvale, Kansas.
The bloody Benders had absolutely no relation to the life of Louise Brooks, besides the town of Cherryvale Kansas.
In the early 1870's, the Benders posed as a family of German immigrants, the older couple in their 60's, John and his wife only known as "ma", and their children, a young couple in their 20's known as John (also known as Thomas) and Katie.

Kate Bender, also self-proclaimed clairvoyant
John Bender, Jr.

Old Mrs. Bender, knows as "ma"

John Bender, Sr.

The older couple spoke little English and the young couple spoke English with a heavy German accent.
They owed a small grocery store in the outskirts of Cherryvale, Kansas, precisely 50 miles north of the Oklahoma border.
The real relationship among the four was never certain or understood with clarity, some people say only the two women were related, some think they were truly son and daughter of the older couple but maintained an incestuous relationship others believe John Bender Junior (also known as Thomas) and Kate were actually a married couple with no blood ties.
They sold common grocery items of the time such as sardines, crackers, tobacco, candles and gun powder, they also provided meals for the travelers.

Katie Bender claimed she was clairvoyant and could cure the blind among other things

Their store's dinning area had a large table and a bench set strategically in front of a large cloth so they would lure some traveler who had money or valuables for a meal and when the person was distracted, one of them would hit the innocent person with a hammer to the head.

One of the Benders would hide behind a tarp that divided the room and attack the victim with a hammer

The Bender murders used in sexist criminologist opinion in the 1950's

Women more fiendish in crime, really? well, if you judge by some of my former female bosses... ok, just kidding! just kidding! and don't even think about leaving me hateful comments :)
No, really, I am just kidding! but I have had some evil witches as bosses in my past, I swear they were far meaner than any male boss I ever had, maybe just a coincidence, who knows!

The Benders would bury the bodies in their orchard and wait for the next victim with their valuables.

Many bodies were discovered at the Bender property's orchard

Until one day a prominent Doctor from Montgomery County, Dr. York, came looking for a man and his infant daughter who had disappeared in the previous winter, Dr. York was also murdered and never returned home, so his brother Col. A. M. York leading a party of fifty people came to the Cherryvale area looking for the Doctor, they passed several times by the Bender's cabin and didn't suspect a thing.
The Benders appeared innocent enough, went to church and town meetings and kept to themselves...
Looks can certainly be deceiving and I am always suspicious of people who go to church all the time anyway!
I even found a book about the Bender's saga.

Puck Geary's book on the bloody Benders Saga

You can find more about their creepy existence  HERE and HERE , we certainly found much more than we though we would in this sleepy little Kansas town, birthplace of Louise Brooks.



Ana said...

So interesting story! when u said "Looks can certainly be deceiving and I am always suspicious of people who go to church all the time anyway!" i cant stop thinking of my Mother in Law, hahaha! If i go missing, just look her garden.

Gil and Ray said...

Ok, Ana, we will keep in mind your MIL's garden in the Austrian Alps ;)