The Voyage of Terror, joins our long-list of World's most Infamous Murders today on Duketundesblog SATURDAY DIGEST.
Terror overwhelmed a sailing ship 'Herbert Fuller' on the stormy night of 13 July. 1896. One of the passenger who was roused from sleep by what he claim sounded like the scream of wind through the halyards, Lester Monks stepped warily into the captain's cabin with a loaded revolver in his hand. As he became wide awake, he realized he had heard the scream of a woman.
The captain's cot had been toppled to its side and the skipper, Captain Charles Nash, lay dying in a pool of blood. His wife, Laura was on her bunk and like her husband, she had literally been chopped to death, her skull smashed in front and back and her jaws were broken.
Monk made it up to the companion way to find the first mate, Thomas Bram, pacing the deck. And from the moment that he heard the news, Bram's conduct was bizzare. He refused to alert the second mate, August Blomberg, as he claimed the man was inciting the crew against him. And in the end, he feigned slumping on the deck and hugged the passenger's legs, begging for protection.
They woke the steward Jonathon Spencer and the three went to Blomberg's cabin. There they found the door wide open and Blomberg's hacked to death in his bunk, two of his severed fingers on the floor.
Then Bram took control of the ship and surprisingly, he led them to the murder weapon on the deck - a new axe with sticky blood and flesh, still more strangely Bram gave a throaty shriek and threw the weapon overboard.
At a meet with the crew, Bram urged that they throw the three bodies into the Sea - an idea vetoed by all of them. Bram then tried to blame the killings on the dead second mate 'Blomberg', insisting that the second mate must have died of his own wounds. And he wanted to take the murder ship to French Guiana in South America.
No one slept easily again as the ship with a cargo of timber for the next six days en-route port.
A member of the crew, later claimed to have witness the murder of the captain, as he stood at the helms on that bloody night. But he had to keep it to himself because he was afraid of the maniac with the axe - the new ship commander 'First Mate Bram.'
Former shipmates testified against Bram when his trial opened in Boston on 14 December, 1896. Bram himself boasted of looting two other vessels and selling his own ship's stolen cargo.
he was sentenced to the gallows, but won a new trial and was pardoned by President Woodrow wilson in 1919, after strange intervention of mystery writer Mary Robert Rinehart, who convinced all that Bram was framed and abused by his shipmates.