Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Mad Butcher, The Amazon Acid Drinker & The Sot

Detroit Free Press, January 25, 1911
Gustav (I'll go with the grave marker spelling over newspapers and official documents) Zabel was unlike most Eloise patients in that he actually enjoyed his stay at the asylum. So much so that at his hearing to determine if his bout with insanity would continue unabated at the county hospital, he demanded to go back and fought a dozen officers in that quest, injuring several. If his initial paranoia about being bankrupt and worried that he soon would lose his shop wasn't strange enough then his dislike for the courtroom mahogany surely was beyond the pale.

Sadly, when returned to Eloise, the "King's" stay lasted only 10 days as the Chene Street butcher died in the asylum from "Exhaustion from acute mania". A seemingly odd cause of death for a 42 year old man which probably more than likely meant a stroke or brain tumor or something of that ilk moreso than its literal meaning (since the original posting in 2011 I've come to believe that Eloise, and other asylums, euthanized patients via different methodology and masked the causes). Either way, here's his death certificate:

Zabel is buried at Trinity Cemetery in Detroit.

His life after death was frenetic as well with a contested will that involved shady lawyer dealings and a second, young trophy wife whom received nearly half of Zabel's $15,000 estate ($380,000 in 2018 terms).

Detroit Free Press, March 20, 1912
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This is vintage Eloise material from 1907. George Smith, an umbrella mender from Wyandotte, was arrested twice within a week for excess drunkenness. When asked by the judge if he could stay sober he quipped that he could if given a chance. Accordingly he was ordered out of the city lest he return to his gambrinous ways.

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You'll have to squint a little and increase the size of your screen with the ctr + mouse roll forward to read this one but it's worth it if you're into insanity in the extreme. Annie Oss, a 6 foot tall 220 pound mother and wife from Hamtramck had been committed to Eloise in November of 1913 but because of overcrowding had been sent home until a place for her became available. However, the brutish woman had no intention of going to "that hell-hole" and exclaimed as much as she left the courtroom.

On the day of her death she told her 17 yer old daughter not to bother reporting to work that day at her factory job because she'd be summoned home shortly afterwards anyway. Lillie obeyed her mother and began to do dishes. Mother Oss then took her 4 month old babe and placed it in its crib outside the house in the warmth of the sunshine (on November 22? talk about global warming!) and ventured off from the house. A neighbor, Lillie Wokinski, had come into the house in her absence, apparently to check on things, when Anna returned with a bucket of carbolic acid and poured herself a glass of the deadly cocktail.

Her daughter, the first to see what was about to transpire, pleaded with her mother not to kill herself by drinking the carbolic and attempted to thwart the suicide. She was easily repelled by the large woman. Next was Wokinski's turn as she also unsuccessfully attempted to knock the glass from the possessed woman's hand and was belted to the floor as well. Mother Oss then stood above them and exclaimed that she knew what she was doing and that death would be better than Eloise, adding that anybody else who tried to stop her would be sent reeling as well. She then began drinking the acid. Several moments later she was writhing on the floor with foam bubbling from her mouth as she lay dying. This makes for a pleasant character repository entry on the 98th anniversary of its happening.

from the Detroit Free Press, November 22, 1913

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