The Wilderness of Ruins: A Tale of Madness, Fire, and the Hunt for America's Youngest Serial Killer
An Illustrated lecture with Roseanne Montillo
Date : Friday, April 24th
Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum, 424 Third avenue, 11215 Brooklyn NY
***Copies of the book will be on sale at the event
On November 9, 1872 just after 7:00pm, a fire that started in a hoop skirt factory proceeded to ravage the city of Boston, block by block, as it spread throughout the night. The next morning, and for weeks afterwards, headlines were consumed by news of its destruction: stories of the families destroyed, businesses that were decimated. Perhaps that's why few noticed when a young boy, who had captured headlines himself for a string of heinous crimes committed the previous year, was quietly released from reform school. After serving for just longer than a year in the State Reform School for savagely torturing seven small children, Jesse Pomeroythe "Inhuman Scamp," as the papers had dubbed himwas back on the city's streets. It didn't take him long to strike again, and this time he was homicidal. When the city was still reeling from the fire's destruction, two young bodies were found murdered: ten year old Katie Curran had been mutilated and savagely beaten, and four year old Horace Millen had been slashed so severely that his head was nearly decapitated. Both murders bore the marks of Jesse's well-publicized handiwork. From the posh enclaves to the slums where Jesse lived, Bostonians were outraged. Their beleaguered city's streets had never felt more treacherous.
Among those particularly captivated by Jesse's case were two of Boston's most distinguished citizens: Oliver Wendell Holmes and his friend, Herman Melvillewho enlisted Holmes to help him understand the meaning behind his madness. What he theorized would spark debate among the world's most revered medical minds, impacting the judicial system and medical consciousness for decades to come.
In this lecture, Montillo will present a meticulously researched and fascinating account of our country's most notorious serial killers contextualized within historical, scientific, and literary perspectives.
Roseanne Montillo holds an MFA from Emerson College in Massachusetts, where she teaches as a professor of literature. She is the author of "The Lady and Her Monsters," which was published in 2013.
Morbid Anatomy Museum (View)
424 A Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215