Showing posts from October, 2017

A New Book - Double Agent CELERY by Carolinda Witt

It seems that there are a slew of books coming out in recent years about wartime espionage and the characters involved. One of the newest, hot off the press books is entitled Double Agent CELERY - MI5s Crooked Hero by Carolinda Witt.

It turns out that CELERY, whose real name was Walter Dicketts was quite a character. He had six children via four wives and two mistresses - and none of the children knew of each other. The author of the book is one of his grandchildren who knew nothing about her grandfather until her mother passed away in 2007. Carolinda discovered another Dickett's grandchild on a genealogical forum and began to uncover the unbelievable story of Walter Dicketts.

Carolinda's book is being published today, 30 October 2017 (at least in the UK) by Pen & Sword books, with a foreword by Nigel West. The book will only be available in Canada in January 2018, so I will have to be patient.

The official write-up of the book on Carolinda's site states:
As Britain b…

Media Review - Casefile True Crime Podcast - Who Put Bella in the "Witch' Elm

Casefile - True Crime Podcast - Case 4 - Who put Bella in the 'Witch' Elm (2017)

Original Air Date - 30 January 2016
Casefile - True Crime Podcast - Case 4 on YouTube
Duration - 31:48 minutes
Host - Anonymous

Yet another podcast on Bella in the Wych Elm! This one is put out by a team of Australians and is actually quite good. The team has several researchers who obviously know their stuff.

Although this is posted on YouTube, there are no still images which is, in many ways, a good thing, as they don't distract from the overall story. In the 13 O'Clock podcast, reviewed earlier, the still photos often had nothing to do with the case and their inclusion simply muddies the waters as we wonder... "Are those photos actually associated with Bella in the Wych Elm?".

The narrator of the Casefile podcast gives a very clear, very succinct summary of the case. Although the podcast is just over 30 minutes long, they do manage to cover quite a bit of territory and …

Mysterious Spy Transmissions from England to Germany

New mysteries always seem to be popping up in the quest for information on Josef Jakobs and the other World War 2 spies who arrived in England on behalf of Germany. The recent interest, both on this blog, and in the news about Engelbertus Fukken (alias Jan Willem Ter Braak) has led me down some interesting byways. Is there a possibility that Jan Willem did get some messages sent to the Germans?

Hamburg Messages
When Josef was interrogated at Camp 020, he told the officers that, during his training in Hamburg, in the Fall of 1940, he had been shown some agent messages by Boeckel (alias Dr. BEYER or BRUHNS). Josef said that Boeckel showed him the messages in order to demonstrate how they wanted the messages sent. According to Boeckel, these messages originated with their agents in England and had been sent to Germany via wireless transmitter. Josef recalled the contents of five of those messages and shared them with the Camp 020 officers.
The messages were as follows:
Described the indust…

Was Josef Jakobs Jewish?

A few weeks ago, I had a question from one of the readers of this blog. The reader wanted to know why I never talk about Josef Jakobs being Jewish. That is actually a very good question! And one that I hope to answer in this blog.

Court Martial Statements
The idea that Josef was Jewish originated during his statement at his court martial on August 4th and 5th. Before Josef even reached the stand, his attorney, White was cross-examining Lt. Col. William Edward Hinchley Cooke.

White asked Hinchley-Cooke if he knew that Josef was of Jewish origin, Hinchley-Cooke said “No.” White then said that the name “Jakobs” was, of course, Jewish, but Hinchley-Cooke said “Not necessarily.” He said that while some Jakobs’ were Jews, he had met others who were Christians. White said that the accused’s grandfather was a Jew and that his grandmother was a Christian, and his parents were Christian, but that he did have a Jewish strand.

White asked if the fact that the accused’s grandfather was a Jew would…

Media Review - 13 O'Clock Podcast - Murder by Witchcraft (2017)

13 O'clock Podcast - Murder by Witchcraft? Bella in the Wych Elm and the Warwickshire Pitchfork Murder (2017)

Original Air Date - 25 July 2017
13 o'clock podcast - Episode 49 on YouTube
Duration - 56:06 minutes (Segment on Bella from 11:30 to 28:10
Hosts - Tom Ross & Jenny Ashford

I came across this podcast/YouTube video the other day and thought I'd do a review of it. The spiel for the podcast (which is also a video - the hosts give an explanation of this at the start) is as follows:
In the English Midlands in the 1940s, there were two very creepy unsolved murders: in one, a woman's skeleton was found stuffed inside a wych-elm tree, and in the other, an old farmer was murdered in broad daylight by having his throat slashed and his body pinned to the ground by a pitchfork. Neither of the killers was ever caught, and in fact, the identity of the woman found in the wych-elm is still unknown. Eerily, both cases had details that suggested that they could possibly have …

The Family of Clara Bauerle

I hit the jackpot a few weeks ago in the case of Clara Bauerle. At least... I think it's a jackpot.

I was doing a search on Ancestry for Clara's name, something that I do on a fairly regular basis. New documents are always being digitized and I cycle through some of the key names, just to see what else might show up. Well... there was a hit from a genealogical research source called the Lutheran/Evangelical Wurttemberg Family Tables.

These are similar to what the Roman Catholic church calls Family Books. Each family in that parish or church gets a page on which are recorded the birth, marriage and death information for the father and mother, grandparents as well as all of the children.

Here's what I found:

Parents of Clara Bauerle

Adolf Bauerle - born 29 March 1866 Dorothea Barbara Schäufele - born 29 August 1870 in Dettingen; died 20 May 1941 Adolf and Dorothea were married on 15 October 1891 in what looks like Zurich (presumably Switzerland). Given that their first child …

Media Review - Mysteries at the Museum - Woman in the Wych Elm (2016)

Travel Channel - Mysteries at the Museum - Woman in the Wych Elm - Season 12, Episode 8 (2016)

Original Air Date - 11 November 2016
TV Series - Mysteries at the Museum
Time Stamp - 25:32 to 31:29 and 3 minutes at the end
Optomen Productions

Last summer (2016), I was contacted by the archivist for the Mysteries at the Museum TV show that airs on the Travel Channel. The archivist said that they were doing an episode on the Woman in the Wych Elm (Bella in the Wych Elm) and wanted to know if I could send them a high-resolution photograph of Josef to use on the show. I sent them a photo and asked for a copy of the episode in return.

In November 2016, I received a DVD from Optomen that contained Episode 8 of Season 12 of the series. The episode was entitled Blowing up the House, Beast of Bray Road and the Discovery of Penicillin. This was a little confusing as these were only the first three stories of that episode. The story of Bella was fourth.

The premise of the TV series centres…