Here Are Some Examples

To protect me from men who think that in my first article this year went too far pressing the point about equality of women, I want to assure them that all women are not perfect. There are many women over the past 250,000 years of human history that have done some very horrific things to our human race.

While planning a return trip to Scotland with my wife, Ann, in a couple of months, I have come up with a fairly precise itinerary starting in Edinburgh where I did a year of post-graduate studies in the late 60s. Then down to the abbeys at Melrose, Kelso, Dryburgh, and Jedburgh. I have planned then to drive over to New Lanark, Ayr, Glasgow, Linlithgow, Stirling, St. Andrews, Aberdeen, Elgin, Inverness Inveraray, Loch Lomond and Loch Ness. While in Edinburgh, I want to interview the First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond and talk about the 2014 referendum about Scottish independence from the UK.

While working on our travel itinerary for what the Roman Empire called Caledonia, I was attempting to work in a visit to both Hadrian’s Wall and that of a lesser known one, Antonine’s Wall. Both these fortresses were designed to keep out what the Romans considered the barbaric Scots. Hence, they put these walls for precisely the same reason that the Great Wall of China was built. However, once the Romans left the British wanted to invade Scotland.

For many centuries after the Romans returned to Italy, the British tried to conquer Scotland with varying degrees of success. In 1320 at the Arbroath Abbey, the Arbroath Declaration was written to Pope John XXII declaring Scottish independence from England. The Scots did not wish to be merely feudal serfs of England and stated their independence as a sovereign nation.

Declaration of Arbroath

Queen Mary I
Queen Mary I
However, the Declaration of Arbroath didn’t last long. England and Scotland have had both political and religious wars over the past two millennia. Queen Mary I, the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, was queen from mid-1553 to the late 1558. During that reign, Mary wanted both political and religious control over Scotland. As a result, her unofficial nickname was Bloody Mary, because she was responsible for the burning at the stake of 300-Protestants during the Marian Persecutions. Bloody Mary’s regal reign was in reality a reign of terror especially for the Scots and Protestants in both Scotland and England. Killing and torture was her modus operandi.
The old nursery rhyme, "Mary, Mary, quite contrary how does your garden grow with silver bells and cockleshells and pretty maids all in a row" is thought my most literary authorities to be a political statement about her Catholicism and her marriage to Prince Philip of Spain. She wanted an heir who was Catholic. In this way, it would keep Elizabeth and the Protestants from taking over.

The El Camino, which is a very famous Spanish pilgrimage, uses the cockleshell as its logo. The closing phrase of "maids all in a row" is believed to refer to Catholic nuns. Regardless of the meaning of the nursery rhyme, Mary I was not a model for the conduct of women whether in England or the rest of the world – either then or now.

Belle Gunness and her children
Belle Gunness and her children
Belle Sorenson Gunness was a Norwegian who wound up in La Porte, IN. I picked her in part because she lived near me. She did not look or act like the typical weaker sex weighing well over 200 pounds and standing over 6 foot tall. She was born in Selbu, Norway on November 11, 1859 as Brynhild Paulsdatter Størseth and died on April 28, 1908. Police records have her as the murderer of her male friend and a couple of her daughters. Many believe that she was responsible for the deaths of her two husbands and their children. She had various reasons for being the grim reaper of the men in her life. Belle wanted their money, and she wanted to deal with potential witnesses of her other murders. She is suspected of killing possibly as many as 50-people.
Belle came to America in 1881 where her known killing spree began. She married and had four children...two of them died as babies due to colitis that may well have been actually due to poisoning. Then her husband died, and he was worth about a quarter million dollars. After his death, she bought a farm near La Porte. That house burned to the ground just after her acquiring it with her husband’s life insurance.

As luck would have it, Belle happened to meet a Peter Gunness who just lost his wife, and they married on April’s Fools Day of 1902...and Belle was no fool. Surprisingly, a week after the wedding, her husband’s infant daughter died due to being scalded with water from the kitchen stove. How that accident occurred is difficult to understand. Then Peter died with a meat cleaver, which one of his children saw, Belle wielding. Several months later, that child was found buried on the family farm.

In 1907, Belle hired a handy man, Ray Lamphere, around the farm while advertizing for a suitable husband in Chicago newspapers. Her ad read: "Personal — comely widow who owns a large farm in one of the finest districts in La Porte County, Indiana, desires to make the acquaintance of a gentleman equally well provided, with view of joining fortunes. No replies by letter considered unless sender is willing to follow answer with personal visit. Triflers need not apply."

Several non-triflers did apply. John Moe came to visit but never was seen again. George Anderson fortunately awoke before Belle murdered him, and he left never to return again. Ole Budsberg and Andrew Helgelien also responded to her advertisement and also disappeared after Belle got her money. There were others that were going to visit this angel of death but for various reasons didn’t make the journey to La Porte.

Ray Lamphere, her handyman, who she hired the year before wanted to marry Belle and wasn’t happy with the long list of suitors coming in visit her. She fired him due to his alleged threats against her. When her farm was went up in flames, Lamphere was suspected due to Belle’s firing him. Lamphere’s replacement was Joe Maxson. Within a couple weeks of his hiring, Maxson smells smoke and gets out of the house in time, but Belle’s three children died in the fire with what was thought to have been Belle.

As it turns out, the headless women in the fire was Belle’s dentist, was Dr. Ira Norton. However, after much investigation on Belle’s farm, they found dentures that another dentist identified as ones that he made for Belle. Therefore, no one to this date knows whether or not Belle went up in smoke or disappeared to some other location to continue her killing spree.

Bitch of Buchenwald
Bitch of Buchenwald
Ilse Koch, aka the Bitch of Buchenwald, was married to the Nazi commandant at Buchenwald and Majdanek concentration camps during WWII. Both she and her commandant husband were arrested first by local German authorities and later by American authorities. The Germans convicted Ilse for a long list of issues including murder in 1943. In 1944, she was acquitted due to lack of evidence even though her husband was found guilty and was given the death sentence.
Ilse left prison but the following year was arrested by American forces in 1945 and tried at an American court at Dachau in 1947. Again, she was tried for murder. While in court, she fainted a couple of times due to being pregnant, which caused some ethical issues and questions. Her husband had been executed by a firing squad in 1945. However, the Bitch of Buchenwald had a reputation of messing around with a Nazi doctor and a deputy commandant at Buchenwald. There were also reports of other relationships with other SS officers. Interestingly, her husband, the commandant said nothing even though the rumors were well-known to the Nazi leadership. Along with those rumors of her infidelity, there were reports that her husband was gay.

To muddy the water even further, while in prison for more than a year, the only people with whom Ilse had contact were American interrogators...many who were Jewish. That seems like a strange paradox that of messing around with Jews in bed while Germans had exterminated hundreds of thousands of Jews in Buchenwald and Majdanek.

General Clay who was the US governor of the American Zone reduced her sentence to four year in 1948 due to lack of evidence. As a result of German pressure from the public, Koch was rearrested. This time, Ilse was arrested by the West Germans for murder. In January 1951, she was found guilty of incitement to murder along with other charges associated to the primary charge and given life. Ilse, over the next years, appealed several times and lost each time. Finally, she hung herself in 1967.

From these lovely examples, you can see that not all women are perfect. On occasion, some women have done far worse than some men. Having said the obvious, not all women are perfect, but they are pretty perfect in comparison to men. Perhaps, I should say all women are equal to men...except when it comes to killing, torture, and maiming. In those areas of our human condition, they are a distant second to men. Hopefully, in that category, they will always be second to men.