Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wicked Wednesday - The Bloody Benders

I'd like to kick off Serial Wednesdays (Why Wednesday? Why not?), by taking a look at a historical group of serial killers all in one family- The Bloody Benders.

Back in the 1800s, there was a family who ran an inn in Kansas.  Except their guests didn't all have a good night's sleep - they got the big sleep instead.

Like any good nuclear family, they had a dad, a mom, a son and a daughter.  Although whether any of them are actually related is a matter for debate.  The dad might've been married to the mom.  The daughter might've belonged to the mom.  The brother and the sister might've been related or they might've been married - or both.  Who knows.  But what they might've lacked in familial ties, they made up for in the propensity for killing.

So there they were taking full advantage of the government's push for settlement of the lands west of the Mississippi, and advantage of the best path west at that time - The Osage Trail.  When lone travelers would stop on their way through, the Benders (if that even was their real name) would make them disappear. 

No one quite knows why.  Perhaps the single men who stopped were fresh with the daughter, Kate, and her HubbyBro didn't take kindly to it.  Maybe they snored. Maybe the Benders wanted to steal their belongings and the only way to not get caught was to kill the men. Maybe there was no real reason except the family saw an easy kill and took advantage of the opportunity to have their own brand of fun.

The only mistake they made was when they killed a man they thought had no ties - until his brother came looking for him.  They tried to lure the brother into their killing home, but he wasn't so stupid.  He beat feet, but not before recognizing his brother's saddle out front.  Since the Benders claimed to have never seen the dude, they were caught in the lie.  And the brother, being a smart man, went for a posse.  When the posse arrived at the inn, the Benders were gone.

Afterwards, while they were looking for signs of this poor man's brother, they discovered a bunch of graves.  If I remember correctly, they never did find the body they were looking for, though.  Who knows, maybe the Benders ate him.  As sick as they were I wouldn't put it past them.

As for the Benders?  They were never heard from again.  Justice for the victims was never found.

For a while after, there were sightings and reports, and some people probably got unjustly lynched for the crimes of the Benders, but there was never any proof the Benders were among those hanged.  They just disappeared into the Kansas grasslands.

:cue spooky music:

Most of this information was taken from my memory of a crime show I watched months ago, so any mistakes are strictly mine.  And anything fanciful came out of my imagination.  I hope you had fun reading it.  If you want any actual information on the Bloody Benders, Google is pretty helpful.  I used it to refresh my memory on a couple key points, but stay long enough to quote anything.


  1. Somehow, maybe because of all those CSI shows, I always thought of serial killers as a modern thing, but the 1800s - wow mind blowing. Interesting but mind blowing.

  2. They like to say that serial killers are a modern problem, Fran, but they've been around way longer. I saw one site that had serial killers listed back into the 1600s.

  3. I always love shows like that. So interesting!

    And yes, as you and Fran are discussing, there have been serial killers since there have been humans. Sad fact of life.

  4. We spend a lot of time watching true crime shows here, Nat. ;o)

  5. They cut them up and made meat pies, just like Sweeney Todd! :)

    Now there's a serial killer for you. I'd like to think he was only fictional, but I'm sure there have been sick people like that in the world. I just hope to never run into one of them.

  6. Fascinating! It would work as a plot for a novel... maybe from the least guilty person's POV? And since they got away, there'd be room for sequels. ;-)

  7. I've never seen Sweeney Todd, Stacy. Yeah, there've been a lot of sickos in real life, so one close to that character wouldn't surprise me. Look at Jeffrey Dahmer.

    I hope it sparks a novel for you, Deb. I know the fiction has been hiding from you lately. Sounds like you've already got a kernel of an idea there. Run with it!

  8. LOL, this enforces my belief that some Bed and Breakfasts are just plain creepy.

    Thanks for the info!

  9. Ah, yes. Serial killers. I remember researching historic killers for a horror novel that is still sitting under my desk. They've been around since ancient times. The human psyche is fascinating.

  10. LOL, JB! Yes, yes, they are.

    A horror novel, Silver? Do tell. And indeed the human psyche fascinates the hell out of me. Wait til you read this book I'm working on. Bwa ha ha.

  11. I find it fascinating that is was a group of seriel killers! I kind of assumed they worked alone. Less chance of getting caught. But I suppose in the 1800's there were more opportunities. Shudder.