8 episodes

In 1920, on a quiet street in Chicago’s Lincoln Square, Carl Wanderer and his wife Ruth, eight months pregnant, were robbed at gunpoint in the vestibule of their two-flat. Shots rang out in the tiny foyer and when the smoke cleared, Ruth and the alleged holdup man lay dying while Carl emerged unscathed. Headlines the next day hailed Wanderer a hero for avenging his wife’s death. Three weeks later he was in jail for murder. The alleged holdup man would come to be known as the Ragged Stranger and laid in the morgue for over a year, repeatedly misidentified. This is the true story.

The Mystery of the Ragged Stranger podcast is written by Michael Hendrychs and produced in partnership with ChicagoNow.

The Mystery of the Ragged Stranger Podcast The Mystery of the Ragged Stranger Podcast

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0, 5 Ratings

In 1920, on a quiet street in Chicago’s Lincoln Square, Carl Wanderer and his wife Ruth, eight months pregnant, were robbed at gunpoint in the vestibule of their two-flat. Shots rang out in the tiny foyer and when the smoke cleared, Ruth and the alleged holdup man lay dying while Carl emerged unscathed. Headlines the next day hailed Wanderer a hero for avenging his wife’s death. Three weeks later he was in jail for murder. The alleged holdup man would come to be known as the Ragged Stranger and laid in the morgue for over a year, repeatedly misidentified. This is the true story.

The Mystery of the Ragged Stranger podcast is written by Michael Hendrychs and produced in partnership with ChicagoNow.

    A Conclusion to the Ragged Stranger Mystery- Episode #8

    A Conclusion to the Ragged Stranger Mystery- Episode #8

    The day before his pending execution on September 30th, Carl’s last hope to stay among the living was a second stay of execution or to at least get his sentenced to commuted to life imprisonment. Governor Len Small, still under indictment for embezzlement, held Carl’s fate.

    Impassively entering the death cell, Wanderer grabbed a seat on his bunk as his guards tried to control the newsmen all wanting a word with the condemned man. He was asked about being in the death cell again, a place most people don’t visit twice. He failed to see the irony.

    “What if I am in the death cell again, eh? I’ve been in this place before.”

    It was said that awaiting the news of Governor Small’s final decision was hitting Carl’s father the hardest. The widowed butcher was worried he might now lose his only son. He was said to be inconsolable.

    Meanwhile Carl was having what might be his last meal.

    “Did you see what I did to my dinner? Say, I got away with the largest meal I’ve had in a long time. Cleaned up the plate!”

    Carl had dined on a chicken dinner sent over from the restaurant across the alley from the jail. Joe Stein, owner of the aptly named, Noose coffee shop, provided the meal free of charge, asking only for a signed photo from the condemned man.

    “You know, I never sent anybody to Springfield to plead for me. It was my pa. He sold everything he got to try to save me.”

    Would Carl Wanderer get one last reprieve? Episode #8- A Conclusion to the Ragged Stranger Mystery

    This project aims to fill in the gaps where there is unknown, correct false narratives that have branched away from the truth, and most importantly, to entertain and enlighten.

    The Mystery of the Ragged Stranger is written by Michael Hendrychs and produced in partnership with ChicagoNow. It has been sourced from research for my upcoming book Kisses for Julia, Bullets for Ruth: The Mystery of Carl Wanderer & the Ragged Stranger.

    More information on The Mystery of the Ragged Stranger can be found on our blog at www.chicagonow.com/the-ragged-stranger/

    And on our website at
    theraggedstranger.com/

    On Instagram
    www.instagram.com/raggedstranger/

    Facebook
    www.facebook.com/ragged.stranger.54

    Twitter
    twitter.com/Ragged_Stranger

    Our intro theme music for the podcast is The Crocodile by the Wiedoft-Wadsworth Quartet. Written by Otto Motzan and Harry Akst and recorded March 1, 1920 in New York City. The performers credited were- Harry Askt on piano, Carl Fenton also on piano, George Hamilton Green on the xylophone, J. Russel Robinson again on piano, F. Wheeler Wadsworth on alto saxophone, and Rudy Wiedoeft also on alto saxophone. Usage via Public Domain.

    Our outro theme song is The Butcher's Boy (The Railroad Boy) by Buell Kazee and is used courtesy of June Appal Recordings in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Kazee, a Baptist minister, recorded this haunting song, compiled from a collection of British ballads, in New York City on January 16, 1928. The recordings for Buell Kazee (catalog no. JA009) were made by Mark Wilson, Buell Kazee, and Kentucky Educational Television, and were compiled and produced by Jonathan Greene, Loyal Jones and John McCutcheon for June Appal Recordings. The album was preserved and re-released by Appalshop Archive in 2007 and can be purchased here- www.appalshop.org/store/june-appal…lf-titled-album/.

    • 1 hr 17 min
    The Governor is Doing What?? - Episode #7

    The Governor is Doing What?? - Episode #7

    Carl Wanderer had been given a 25 year prison sentence for murdering his wife. In a second trial, he was sentenced to die upon the gallows for the murder of the Ragged Stranger. A third trial, after a successful appeal using an arcane law from 1845, drew such heated passions in the city that the Chicago Chief of Police would be sentenced to five days in jail for comments he made about the trial.

    Normally a condemned man has a last lifeline with a governor being able to commute a sentence, but unfortunately for Wanderer, days before he was to hang, Illinois Governor Len Small was indicted and went into hiding.

    Could Wanderer somehow slip out of the noose again?

    Episode #7- The Governor is Doing What?

    After Carl Wanderer had been found guilty of murdering his pregnant wife Ruth and been given a prison sentence that could be shortened to 13 years with good behavior, public sentiment demanded that he be tried again for the murder of the Ragged Stranger. At trial Wanderer would have a new defense team, including a female attorney, something nearly unheard of in the day, and with the new lawyers came a new strategy; admit Carl killed the Ragged Stranger but only because he was insane.

    The trial would feature repeated confrontations between the trial judge and attorneys for both the defense and the prosecution that enthralled the city's murder fans that queued up for the trial. There would be no compromise verdict at this trial but like a cat with nine lives, Wanderer still had some life left in him.

    This project aims to fill in the gaps where there is unknown, correct false narratives that have branched away from the truth, and most importantly, to entertain and enlighten.

    The Mystery of the Ragged Stranger is written by Michael Hendrychs and produced in partnership with ChicagoNow. It has been sourced from research for my upcoming book Kisses for Julia, Bullets for Ruth: The Mystery of Carl Wanderer & the Ragged Stranger.

    More information on The Mystery of the Ragged Stranger can be found on our blog at www.chicagonow.com/the-ragged-stranger/

    And on our website at
    theraggedstranger.com/

    On Instagram
    www.instagram.com/raggedstranger/

    Facebook
    www.facebook.com/ragged.stranger.54

    Twitter
    twitter.com/Ragged_Stranger

    Our intro theme music for the podcast is The Crocodile by the Wiedoft-Wadsworth Quartet. Written by Otto Motzan and Harry Akst and recorded March 1, 1920 in New York City. The performers credited were- Harry Askt on piano, Carl Fenton also on piano, George Hamilton Green on the xylophone, J. Russel Robinson again on piano, F. Wheeler Wadsworth on alto saxophone, and Rudy Wiedoeft also on alto saxophone. Usage via Public Domain.

    Our outro theme song is The Butcher's Boy (The Railroad Boy) by Buell Kazee and is used courtesy of June Appal Recordings in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Kazee, a Baptist minister, recorded this haunting song, compiled from a collection of British ballads, in New York City on January 16, 1928. The recordings for Buell Kazee (catalog no. JA009) were made by Mark Wilson, Buell Kazee, and Kentucky Educational Television, and were compiled and produced by Jonathan Greene, Loyal Jones and John McCutcheon for June Appal Recordings. The album was preserved and re-released by Appalshop Archive in 2007 and can be purchased here- www.appalshop.org/store/june-appal…lf-titled-album/.

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Carl Wanderer at Trial for the Murder of the Ragged Stranger- Episode #6

    Carl Wanderer at Trial for the Murder of the Ragged Stranger- Episode #6

    This podcast aims to take a deep look, at what was one of Chicago’s most famous crimes.

    In 1920, on a quiet North Side street, three people entered a tiny vestibule of a two-flat. Ten gunshots later, only one person emerged.

    This is the true story.

    Episode #6- Carl Wanderer Goes to Trial for the Murder of the Ragged Stranger

    After Carl Wanderer had been found guilty of murdering his pregnant wife Ruth and been given a prison sentence that could be shortened to 13 years with good behavior, public sentiment demanded that he be tried again for the murder of the Ragged Stranger. At trial Wanderer would have a new defense team, including a female attorney, something nearly unheard of in the day, and with the new lawyers came a new strategy; admit Carl killed the Ragged Stranger but only because he was insane.

    The trial would feature repeated confrontations between the trial judge and attorneys for both the defense and the prosecution that enthralled the city's murder fans that queued up for the trial. There would be no compromise verdict at this trial but like a cat with nine lives, Wanderer still had some life left in him.

    This project aims to fill in the gaps where there is unknown, correct false narratives that have branched away from the truth, and most importantly, to entertain and enlighten.

    The Mystery of the Ragged Stranger is written by Michael Hendrychs and produced in partnership with ChicagoNow. It has been sourced from research for my upcoming book Kisses for Julia, Bullets for Ruth: The Mystery of Carl Wanderer & the Ragged Stranger.

    More information on The Mystery of the Ragged Stranger can be found on our blog at www.chicagonow.com/the-ragged-stranger/

    And on our website at
    theraggedstranger.com/

    On Instagram
    www.instagram.com/raggedstranger/

    Facebook
    www.facebook.com/ragged.stranger.54

    Twitter
    twitter.com/Ragged_Stranger

    Our intro theme music for the podcast is The Crocodile by the Wiedoft-Wadsworth Quartet. Written by Otto Motzan and Harry Akst and recorded March 1, 1920 in New York City. The performers credited were- Harry Askt on piano, Carl Fenton also on piano, George Hamilton Green on the xylophone, J. Russel Robinson again on piano, F. Wheeler Wadsworth on alto saxophone, and Rudy Wiedoeft also on alto saxophone. Usage via Public Domain.

    Our outro theme song is The Butcher's Boy (The Railroad Boy) by Buell Kazee and is used courtesy of June Appal Recordings in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Kazee, a Baptist minister, recorded this haunting song, compiled from a collection of British ballads, in New York City on January 16, 1928. The recordings for Buell Kazee (catalog no. JA009) were made by Mark Wilson, Buell Kazee, and Kentucky Educational Television, and were compiled and produced by Jonathan Greene, Loyal Jones and John McCutcheon for June Appal Recordings. The album was preserved and re-released by Appalshop Archive in 2007 and can be purchased here- www.appalshop.org/store/june-appal…lf-titled-album/.

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Getting to Know More Strangers- Episode #5

    Getting to Know More Strangers- Episode #5

    This podcast aims to take a deep look, at what was one of Chicago’s most famous crimes.

    In 1920, on a quiet North Side street, three people entered a tiny vestibule of a two-flat. Ten gunshots later, only one person emerged.

    This is the true story.

    Episode #5- Getting to Know More Strangers

    The first few weeks after the murder of Ruth Wanderer saw a flurry of identifications of the Ragged Stranger. While the identifications of John Maloney and Al Watson garnered the majority of the headlines from this time, there were several others that came and went and merited no more than a couple sentences in the papers.

    Leaving no stone unturned, the police went from tracking down concrete leads to dealing with questionable identifications to finally listening to prayers and pleadings from distant locales.

    While some of the identifications you will hear about were certainly not the Ragged Stranger, I believe one or two of them may have been the Ragged Stranger and may not be mutually exclusive of one another.

    This is the story of a bunch of strangers...

    This project aims to fill in the gaps where there is unknown, correct false narratives that have branched away from the truth, and most importantly, to entertain and enlighten.

    The Mystery of the Ragged Stranger is written by Michael Hendrychs and produced in partnership with ChicagoNow. It has been sourced from research for my upcoming book Kisses for Julia, Bullets for Ruth: The Mystery of Carl Wanderer & the Ragged Stranger.

    More information on The Mystery of the Ragged Stranger can be found on our blog at www.chicagonow.com/the-ragged-stranger/

    And on our website at
    theraggedstranger.com/

    On Instagram
    www.instagram.com/raggedstranger/

    Facebook
    www.facebook.com/ragged.stranger.54

    Twitter
    twitter.com/Ragged_Stranger

    Our intro theme music for the podcast is The Crocodile by the Wiedoft-Wadsworth Quartet. Written by Otto Motzan and Harry Akst and recorded March 1, 1920 in New York City. The performers credited were- Harry Askt on piano, Carl Fenton also on piano, George Hamilton Green on the xylophone, J. Russel Robinson again on piano, F. Wheeler Wadsworth on alto saxophone, and Rudy Wiedoeft also on alto saxophone. Usage via Public Domain.

    Our outro theme song is The Butcher's Boy (The Railroad Boy) by Buell Kazee and is used courtesy of June Appal Recordings in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Kazee, a Baptist minister, recorded this haunting song, compiled from a collection of British ballads, in New York City on January 16, 1928. The recordings for Buell Kazee (catalog no. JA009) were made by Mark Wilson, Buell Kazee, and Kentucky Educational Television, and were compiled and produced by Jonathan Greene, Loyal Jones and John McCutcheon for June Appal Recordings. The album was preserved and re-released by Appalshop Archive in 2007 and can be purchased here- www.appalshop.org/store/june-appal…lf-titled-album/.

    • 52 min
    The Trial of Carl Wanderer- Episode #4

    The Trial of Carl Wanderer- Episode #4

    This podcast aims to take a deep look, at what was one of Chicago’s most famous crimes.

    In 1920, on a quiet North Side street, three people entered a tiny vestibule of a two-flat. Ten gunshots later, only one person emerged.

    This is the true story.

    Episode #4- The Trial of Carl Wanderer

    After initially being hailed a hero for avenging his wife's slaying, Carl Wanderer's diabolical plot had finally come to light in spectacular fashion after a 16 hour third-degree interrogation had led to him confessing to the crime. After telling multiple reporters that he was guilty and wanted to die for his sins, he was given an attorney against his wishes. Soon, he felt life was swell and he wanted to live. He repudiated his confession. He was going to trial.

    It was prosecutor James ‘Ropes’ O’Brien, wearing his customary red necktie in a grim nod to a nickname earned for the all the men had sent to death on the gallows who in his closing arguments told the jury of Wanderer, his wife Ruth and his girlfriend Julia.

    "He saw a vision of the future. It included the army life and Julia. But in that vision was no trace of Ruth who was soon to be a mother. Ruth must die.

    Kisses for Julia, bullets for Ruth."

    This is the story of the trial...

    This project aims to fill in the gaps where there is unknown, correct false narratives that have branched away from the truth, and most importantly, to entertain and enlighten.

    The Mystery of the Ragged Stranger is written by Michael Hendrychs and produced in partnership with ChicagoNow. It has been sourced from research for my upcoming book Kisses for Julia, Bullets for Ruth: The Mystery of Carl Wanderer & the Ragged Stranger.

    More information on The Mystery of the Ragged Stranger can be found on our blog at www.chicagonow.com/the-ragged-stranger/

    And on our website at
    theraggedstranger.com/

    On Instagram
    www.instagram.com/raggedstranger/

    Facebook
    www.facebook.com/ragged.stranger.54

    Twitter
    twitter.com/Ragged_Stranger

    Our intro theme music for the podcast is The Crocodile by the Wiedoft-Wadsworth Quartet. Written by Otto Motzan and Harry Akst and recorded March 1, 1920 in New York City. The performers credited were- Harry Askt on piano, Carl Fenton also on piano, George Hamilton Green on the xylophone, J. Russel Robinson again on piano, F. Wheeler Wadsworth on alto saxophone, and Rudy Wiedoeft also on alto saxophone. Usage via Public Domain.

    Our outro theme song is The Butcher's Boy (The Railroad Boy) by Buell Kazee and is used courtesy of June Appal Recordings in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Kazee, a Baptist minister, recorded this haunting song, compiled from a collection of British ballads, in New York City on January 16, 1928. The recordings for Buell Kazee (catalog no. JA009) were made by Mark Wilson, Buell Kazee, and Kentucky Educational Television, and were compiled and produced by Jonathan Greene, Loyal Jones and John McCutcheon for June Appal Recordings. The album was preserved and re-released by Appalshop Archive in 2007 and can be purchased here- www.appalshop.org/store/june-appal…lf-titled-album/.

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Who Was the Ragged Stranger?- Episode #3

    Who Was the Ragged Stranger?- Episode #3

    This podcast aims to take a deep look, at what was one of Chicago’s most famous crimes.

    In 1920, on a quiet North Side street, three people entered a tiny vestibule of a two-flat. Ten gunshots later, only one person emerged.

    This is the true story.

    Episode #3- Who Was the Ragged Stranger?

    In the immediate aftermath of the shooting the police tried to identify the unknown man in the morgue at Ravenswood Hospital. He was a white male in his early 20’s with a pale complexion, freckles, and light reddish-brown hair that was longer than the style at the time. He had brown eyes above a broad nose centered on a long face with a high forehead. He stood a bit short of six feet tall and weighed 150 pounds.

    He wore ragged clothing described as "well-worn and dirty" and of "cheap material" that included a dark coat, a tan army shirt, "bluish" cotton socks, and grey trousers tied up with a safety pin. A black cap was not upon his head but had been brought to the morgue along with his body. He needed a bath yet recently had had a haircut, shave, and manicure as his head was lice free, his face smooth and his hands immaculately clean.

    The only money found on the man was 20 cents; one dime, one nickel, and five pennies. He carried commissary ticket #729 in the name of E. Masters issued from the John Robinson Circus dining car and a button for Chicago Chauffeurs Union Local 706. A Colt M1911 revolver with serial number #C2282 was at his side.

    His dead body had four bullet wounds from a .45 revolver shot at a range of one to three feet.

    That was all that was known.

    This project aims to fill in the gaps where there is unknown, correct false narratives that have branched away from the truth, and most importantly, to entertain and enlighten.

    The Mystery of the Ragged Stranger is written by Michael Hendrychs and produced in partnership with ChicagoNow. It has been sourced from research for my upcoming book Kisses for Julia, Bullets for Ruth: The Mystery of Carl Wanderer & the Ragged Stranger.

    More information on The Mystery of the Ragged Stranger can be found on our blog at www.chicagonow.com/the-ragged-stranger/

    And on our website at
    theraggedstranger.com/

    On Instagram
    www.instagram.com/raggedstranger/

    Facebook
    www.facebook.com/ragged.stranger.54

    Twitter
    twitter.com/Ragged_Stranger

    Our intro theme music for the podcast is The Crocodile by the Wiedoft-Wadsworth Quartet. Written by Otto Motzan and Harry Akst and recorded March 1, 1920 in New York City. The performers credited were- Harry Askt on piano, Carl Fenton also on piano, George Hamilton Green on the xylophone, J. Russel Robinson again on piano, F. Wheeler Wadsworth on alto saxophone, and Rudy Wiedoeft also on alto saxophone. Usage via Public Domain.

    Our outro theme song is The Butcher's Boy (The Railroad Boy) by Buell Kazee and is used courtesy of June Appal Recordings in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Kazee, a Baptist minister, recorded this haunting song, compiled from a collection of British ballads, in New York City on January 16, 1928. The recordings for Buell Kazee (catalog no. JA009) were made by Mark Wilson, Buell Kazee, and Kentucky Educational Television, and were compiled and produced by Jonathan Greene, Loyal Jones and John McCutcheon for June Appal Recordings. The album was preserved and re-released by Appalshop Archive in 2007 and can be purchased here- www.appalshop.org/store/june-appal…lf-titled-album/.

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

Cool Hand 12 ,

Awesome!

Great stuff, Mike!

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