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In the 1930s, women in crime were called gun molls. They loved the bad guys. Or perhaps, they’d gotten stuck in a love-hate cycle of fear, unrest and deceit.

The love usually came easy, in the first blush of passion, money and excitement. The hate would generally follow, after arrests, abandonment and ultimate betrayal.

The media fuss went to the molls of the Public Enemy gangs. They were photographed in court, and their mug shots reproduced and sent to every corner of the U.S. Yet, organized crime figures of New York and Chicago were rarely photographed on the streets. Consequently, inner-city molls remained behind the scenes.

The dubious honor of the spotlight went to the women of the Midwest Crime Wave, who basked in their scarlet personas throughout 1933 and 1934. Kathryn Kelly, the wife of Machine Gun Kelly, preened during her Federal kidnapping trial in Oklahoma City. Clyde Barrow’s Texas girlfriend, Bonnie Parker, said cheese while fondling her man’s pet guns and cigars. These photos, left behind in a Joplin, Missouri shootout, found their way to the front page, if not the photogravure of every Sunday Supplement.

The Crowned Queens of Gangland formed a prototype for the forgotten molls who weren’t caught on cue. Most were smarter than Kit Kelly and Bonnie Parker. They avoided publicity, in light of their sad reality. A moll’s only value was her ability to lay low.

The female associates of mobsters first assumed unwilling importance in 1933 when FBI agents, police officers, and district attorneys, took molls seriously enough to interrogate them with the same force and brutality used on male prisoners.

Before that, in the years 1905-1930, during which time the New York Women’s Court was documented by the Committee of 14, females were arrested mainly for prostitution and shoplifting. These crimes were of little interest to police, who would see the woman handed over to Magistrate Court and the case disposed of with bail, bribe or a prison sentence. Yet, police ignored mobsters’ wives and sweethearts throughout the 1920s.

After the Kansas City Massacre in June 1933, the precursor to the FBI, the Bureau of Investigation of the Justice Department, took an interest in the women running with Verne Miller, the Barkers and Alvin Karpis. Later, with the arrests of the Dillinger gang women in 1934, the art of the interrogation advanced from its earliest, primitive stages of bright lights and sleep deprivation to a more sophisticated denial of constitutional rights.

Police interrogators were willing to go to extremes to ensure the women talked. After an arrest, a woman was held "incommunicado" for up to two weeks without regular sleep, food, or telephone access to an attorney. They were punched, with hair pulling and cigarette burns. Verbal abuse in the form of insults, with ethnic and racial slurs occurred.

Police felt justified, if queasy, in using these savage methods. The gun moll was the most important element in the manhunt.


Women's History Magazine

It is generally accepted that pyrotechnology or the manipulation of fire began in Europe around 25,000 years ago, however new evidence has come to light that may suggest it began in South Africa 50,000 years earlier.

A cache of weapons made from a stone called silcrete have been found with a glossy red colouring. This suggesting that the people discovered that heating the rock would transform it from a poor material for tool making, into an outstanding one as it would make it easier to flake allowing for more advanced blades and other tools to be made.

The findings were published in August 2009 and suggest that some of the 72,000 year old tools were mounted on handles and used to hunt, amongst other things, Cape buffalo and the tiny mole rat, made in to knives or into valuable items for exchange purposes.

According to archaeologist Kyle Brown of the University of Cape Town, the control of fire is of the utmost significance as it marks the point in our evolution when we became ‘uniquely human’.

Brown claims that far from fitting the stereotypical image of the brutish, unintelligent caveman, these people demonstrated high levels of intelligence and may even have been responsible for colonizing the rest of the world.

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Xara when living in the early 80s was practicing Santeria, she was from Nicaragua. Legend has it that she traveled to New Orleans to obtain various ointments and potions from a Voodoo priest. The Voodoo priest and Xara became entangled in an affair. When the Voodoo priest discovered that Xara was cheating on him with his own brother, he poisoned her with toxins from the puffer fish. With various rituals, he was able to turn her into a zombie.

Xara became a zombie prostitute on the streets on New Orleans. Her mind was under the complete control of the Voodoo priest turned pimp. Eventually the Voodoo priest released Xara and she returned to Biloxi. Xara was never the same again. She always seemed like she was in a daze.

The last time anyone saw Xara is when she was picked up by a trucker in a Mack truck. Xara was never seen or heard from again. Many people thought she was killed by a trucker serial killer.

One year later, Xara was seen walking the road side, staring blankly ahead and if you watched her long enough, she would dissipate into nothingness. It appears that Xara the Zombris is now a restless spirit, seeking out the man that snuffed out her life.

Full story

Women played a very important roll in the ninja clans of the past. Known as Kunoichi, the female ninja could often use their own femininity to get very close to the enemy.

Using psychological warfare and mind manipulation as weapons, the kunoichi could get in close enough to poison the victim without leaving a trace.

Kunoichi were trained in a variety of weapons, similar to the ninja, but because of the different situations they would face some smaller close range weapons were used more often.

Weapons like blinding powders, poisons, daggers, rope and even the fan were often carried because they could be used at close range and would be easy to transport without notice.

Imagine a young woman crying, and how it would make you feel. You'd probably want to try to help her, and maybe even offer her some assistance. This is just one example of how the kunoichi could trick someone into walking right into a trap, a very powerful weapon.

The clothing worn by the kunoichi depended on the situation, maybe it called for no clothes, who knows?


Women's History Magazine

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