Looking For Belle Gunness

(from thenewsdispatch.com) - They dug up Belle Gunness the other day. Or did they?

Was the headless skeleton exhumed from the unmarked grave in Forest Home Cemetery the remains of the Gunness, who lured men to her Indiana farm, took their money, then killed and dismembered them?

Or was it what many historians and amateurs have claimed all along: The remains of a woman Belle beheaded and planted as herself before her farmhouse was torched because she feared her crimes were about to be discovered?

DNA testing in the next few months should solve this century-old mystery about the woman who started her curious career in the 1890s in the Austin neighborhood on Chicago's west side. There, buildings seemed to catch fire and yield insurance payouts and two of her children died from symptoms later interpreted as indicating poisoning.

In her wake she also left two husbands, Mads Sorensen in Chicago and Peter Gunness in La Porte, who both died under suspicious circumstances, and at least three children who probably died at her hand.

But it was her butchery at the farm on the edge of La Porte where perhaps more than 40 people disappeared in pieces into the ground that made her notorious nationwide. Continued...

Historical Background:

Belle Sorenson Gunness (born as Brynhild Paulsdatter Størseth, November 22, 1859, Selbu, Norway- probably died circa 1931) was one of America's most profligate known female serial killers.

At 6 ft (1.83 m) tall and over 200 lb (91 kg), she was a powerful Norwegian-born woman. She may have killed both of her husbands and all of her children (on different occasions), but she is known to have killed most of her suitors, boyfriends, and her two daughters Myrtle and Lucy. Her apparent motives involved collecting life insurance benefits. Reports estimate that she killed more than twenty people over several decades--some claim more than one hundred--and possibly got away with it

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