The Woman in Black – Victorian Mourning as Criminal Disguise - Haunted Ohio

Chris Woodyard recounts the tradition of the Victorian widow "swathed in her habiliments of woe." It comes as no surprise that during those times it was commonplace for criminals to disguise themselves as women in mourning in order to perpetrate all variety of crimes without discovery, including robbery of corpses on display for visitation or pick pocketing unwary good samaritans. The tragic amount of death in those times made the sight of the woman in black all too common, and the garb came to be associated with a high degree of strangeness over time. As ominous as the shadowy widows are the Black Eyed Kids: Are They Killers? A recent account sent in to Lon Strickler describes an incident where BEK's made a number of appearances in a neighborhood immediately prior to a fatal house fire. Police chose to remain uninterested--apathetic or frightened? Most police forces take an interest in young people loitering and trespassing, so the whole incident is either very mysterious, or very contrived. (CM)

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