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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Serial Killers on the Prairie

Serial Killers on the Prairie

One of my Facebook friends posted an article about the Bender Family on my timeline this weekend, asking if I’d ever heard of their story before. I’m sure she thought of me because of the connection to Spiritualism. (She read my book We Hear the Dead about the Fox sisters.)

I had not heard this story before, and it is chilling and gruesome.

Because I’m hurting for post topics this week — drowning in student work to grade — preparing for parent-teacher conferences — and trying to make a little progress on my WIP, I’m going to link to the article for your morbid amusement instead of writing a real post.

At first, I was confused by the reference to Laura Ingalls Wilder at the beginning, because these people have nothing to do with the Ingalls family.  But then I got it.

This is a twisted version of Little House on the Prairie, with an evil Ma and Pa, and a little house where visitors were welcomed … killed … and buried.

From Mental Floss: The Bloody Benders, America’s First Serial Killers.


Thank you, Katrina Dix!

15 Responses to Serial Killers on the Prairie

  1. I have never heard of this family either. I want to read up about them now! Thanks for the link.

  2. Lexa Cain says:

    I saw “Serial Killer” pop up on my blog roll and raced right over here! lol

    Because I’m a weirdo who watches tons of true crime shows, I’ve heard of this family, but I enjoyed reading the scary article very much! (FYI, there’s also a “first” US serial killer who lived in Chicago and killed lady guests of the 1893 World’s Fair. But now I guess he wasn’t really the first.)

    Good luck on all your grading, conferences, and writing! 🙂

  3. LOL I’m the same as Lexa. You had me at serial killer. I’ve never heard of the family. Now don’t they sound adorable. 😛

  4. Robin says:

    Wow! I’ve never heard of this story either. It doesn’t seem like they’d make enough money to make their murders worthwhile? Maybe another story idea for you? I’m most curious about Ma, though the daughter seemed quite interesting as well.

    Best of luck surviving your crazy week of conferences, writing, and grading!

  5. Robin says:

    That was quite a gruesome story.

    I don’t think serial killers kill for the money. The Benders support that theory. I think that they just like killing. Taking the goods was just another way of removing evidence that those folks were there. Sounds like they sold most of it (hence the “accessories” mentioned), so it wasn’t envy that motivated them.

  6. It’s totally like the evil Ingalls family.

    btw, meant to email you. YES, that email was actually sent to my son’s teacher. Glad to hear some teachers would be amused 🙂

  7. Yikes! That sounds gruesome and delightful. I’m headed over now!

  8. Tiana Smith says:

    Well that was … disturbing. LOL. Crazy family!

  9. J E Oneil says:

    Yes, it’s a disturbing story, made worse by the fact that after someone finally caught on, they disappeared without a trace. It gives me the shivers.

  10. Hi Dianne .. that is some set of circumstances .. and as the article notes we’ll never know exactly what happened …

    Just dreadful … and sad – good luck with all that grading et al .. cheers Hilary

  11. I’ve never heard of this family. I went and read the story about them and it gave me cold chills.

  12. mshatch says:

    Horrifying. I want to know what turned them into killers. Greed? Mental disease? Just plain crazy?

  13. Steven says:

    I’ve heard about this case as I’ve been doing some advanced research for a future book that involves serial killers. The topic is fascinating to me, but it also gives me nightmares at night.

  14. Jeez, I’ve heard of families so hospitable, their guests never want to leave, but the Benders actually kept ’em. Those folks who refused to sit in the “seat of honor” were some kinda lucky.