Frank speaking on forensic work and Murder Book to the Granite City Rotary Club.
Frank will be at the 22nd Annual Northwoods Arts & Book Festival in Hackensack
from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Saturday, August 12.
I have done some reading about thefts of expensive books and maps from research libraries. Maps are easier for thieves than books, since they involve one page. For example: One page of an original William Shakespeare novel is not particularly valuable, but a one page map with the old drawings around the edges can be worth a fortune. The old maps had detailed drawings of characters representing the wind and other forces of nature. While the elite research libraries will search the patrons for books before they leave, a page can be hidden in a sleeve or a pant leg. Instead of using knives or scissors, thieves are more likely to use a razor blade, or if there is a metal detector, dental floss. The floss is kept in their mouth to keep it wet and then inserted into the book where the wet line makes the old page easy to remove.
Codex Leicester by Leonardo da Vinci sold for $30.8 million to Bill Gates. 72 pages long
Birds of America by John James Audubon sold for $11.5 million
First Folio by William Shakespeare sold for $6 million. 228 exist. Purchased by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
The Gutenberg Bible sold for $4.9 million. Only 48 exist. The first book printed with movable type.
Geographia Cosmographia by Claudius Ptolemy sold for $4 million. Written in 1477. It was the first atlas.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling sold for $3.98 million. There were only 7 printed and it was the basis for Harry Potter
The First Book of Urizen by William Blake printed in 1794. Only 8 copies exist. One sold for $2.5 million in 1999. It is considered the most important of Blake’s prophetic works.
Murder Book sells for $15 at this very site! You can have it personally addressed by the author.
Anthropodermic bibliopegy involves making books out of human skin. This practice came into being in the 1800’s in England and Europe. In 1821 John Horwood, age 18, was hung after he beat a girl to death with a rock. After his death, his body was publicly dissected in Bristol Gaol, England, by Dr. Richard Smith who then used Horwood’s skin to bind together a collection of documents from the murder case. The book is on display in a British museum. A second example is William Burke. Over a period of 10 months in 1828 in Edinburgh, Scotland, William Burke and William Hare murdered 16 people and sold their bodies to Dr. Robert Knox for use in medical lectures. William Burke was hanged and dissected. His skin was used to bind a book about him. His skeleton remains on display at the Edinburgh Medical School. Somehow, binding books with the skin of criminals became “trendy” in the 1800’s in England and Europe. While over 30 books claim anthropodermic bibliopegy, 17 books have actually been confirmed to have been bound with human skin.
Alice in Wonderland has never been out of print since it was first published in 1865. Carroll had befriended his boss' family, the Liddells. Their daughter, Alice, asked him to tell her a story while he was on a boating trip with the Liddell family, and he came up with the Alice in Wonderland story. Mock turtle soup is real. During Victorian times, various parts of a cow (brains, head and hoof) were used to create a soup that was supposed to taste like turtle soup. (Basically—poor man’s turtle soup.)
Lewis Carroll (who was born Charles Lutwidge Johnson) had a questionable attraction to Alice Pleassance Liddell, who later became Alice Hargraves. Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland about her. Alice had an older sister Lorina and a younger sister Edith. Lorina was 13, Alice was 10 and Edith was 8 when Alice in Wonderland was written. Recently, there was a documentary featured on BBC questioning if Lewis Carroll was a pedophile. I would dismiss this as irrelevant internet gossip if I wouldn’t have researched it myself. I will present what I discovered and decide what you wish. The photos Carroll took of Alice are questionable, as a number of them feature her clothing draped with only strap over her shoulder so her dress is hanging low down her chest. In 1863, the Liddells ended their relationship with Carroll, but there is no documentation exactly why it occurred. It is speculated that Alice’s mother was uncomfortable with a 31-year-old man befriending her daughter, who would have been 11 in 1863. There has also been speculation that Lorina, Alice’s older sister, may have become infatuated with Carroll and that led to the break. While Wikipedia argues there is no evidence that Carroll was a pedophile, it is difficult to explain why a full frontal naked picture of Lorina, age 13 at the time, was found with Lewis Carroll’s photographs. The picture is now displayed in a museum in France, listing Lewis Carroll as the photographer. There is no conclusive evidence that Carroll took the picture, other than it found was with his other pictures. There is also no evidence suggesting anyone other than Carroll took the picture. His attraction to Alice and Lorina (if accurate), would categorize Carroll as a hebophile. Pedophiles are attracted to prepubescent children. Hebophiles are attracted to pubescent children (ages 10-14). I read through some documents written by the ancestors of Alice, and they suggest the Liddells ended their friendship with Lewis Carroll after Alice’s mother found the letters Carroll had been sending to her daughter. Alice’s mother destroyed all of the letters. There is additional evidence found in letters from Lewis Carroll’s family. Lewis Carroll wrote extensive diaries (13 volumes). However, before Carroll’s family made them public, they destroyed the 4 years of diaries in which Lewis Carroll had contact with Alice and the Liddell family. It is believed in Lewis Carroll’s family that Carroll’s nephew, Stuart Collingwood, deliberately destroyed part of the diary while it was in his possession to protect the family reputation. Collingwood had possession of the diaries for 18 months and when he released them, those specific volumes were gone. Stuart Collingwood didn’t deny it, and wrote regarding Lewis Carroll’s diary: “One could not read this volume without feeling the shadow of some disappointment lay over Lewis Carroll’s life. Such I believe to have been the case… But those who loved him would not wish to lift the veil from those dead sanctities, nor would any purpose be served in doing so.” I think it’s possible that Stuart Collingwood was not just protecting his family’s reputation, he may have been acting in the best interest of the Liddell girls.
A recent study by The Guardian (a British newspaper) indicated that not only are religious people less trusting of atheists, atheists are less trusting of other atheists (than they are religious people). I am often asked, “Of all the assessments you do, which religious denomination commits the most violent crimes?” The answer is, “None.” The vast majority of individuals who commit violent crimes (that I’ve assessed) have no religious involvement. This is important to remember when people assume the problem is other religions. Further, the newest studies indicate that religion is an important resiliency factor in recovering from tragedy, trauma and medical procedures. Fareed Zakaria has done an excellent documentary on ISIS where he points out that even many ISIS members do not have strong religious beliefs. Instead many are just angry young men who have been given an opportunity for status through violent behavior (basically like gangs).
This blog was way too dark. Let’s talk a little baseball and end with some Yogi Berra quotes. Congratulations to Pierz baseball legion team for not only taking first in state, but for also taking first in the national regional tournament with victories over cities like Las Vegas and Kansas City. I’m not exactly sure how Pierz and Las Vegas end up in the same national region. It’s probably like how politicians draw out voting districts. This is as far as Pierz can go, as the legion tourney ends with regional champions. Matt Tautges was the regional MVP. It was amazing to pull off a championship after losing a hot bat like Lane Girtz (#3 hitter in the line-up) to shoulder surgery the weekend before. Congratulations!
For those too young to remember, Yogi Berra was catcher for the Yankees who had his own odd way of interpreting the world, often saying things that would make people’s head hurt.
~My favorite occurred after Yogi was burning some leaves in his yard and the fire got a little too big. He called the fire department and told them he’d need them to come.
The fireman asked, “How do we get to your place?”
Yogi responded, “Don’t you guys still have those big red trucks?”
~ It’s like déjà vu all over again.
~ When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
~ You can observe a lot by just watching.
~ You better cut the pizza in 6 pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat 8.
~ Pair up in threes.
~ The towels at the hotel were so thick I could hardly close my suitcase.
Thanks for listening,
Preston conducting the Crosstown Band at the Uptown Arts Fair in Minneapolis
Guess this school year (answer at the end)
Answer: 2009 - 2010
Frank Weber is a forensic psychologist whose award winning forensic and clinical work includes assessment and expert witness testimony for homicide, sexual assault, and physical assault cases. From this real life world comes his first work of fiction Murder Book from North Star Press. “A convincing piece of fiction that pulls you into a heart-breaking human experience with unpredictable and jolting twists.”