Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax  

 Theories   

 The Police Theorize

Police Conference held at the Training School 

Wed. June 1, 1932 

thanks to Archivist Mark Falzini for the following Conference documentation

The following were present:

  Colonel H. Norman Schwarzkopf,

 Colonel Chas. A. Lindbergh,

 Mr. Frank Wilson from the  

Treasury Department, 

Inspector Harry W. Walsh, 

Lieutenants R.A. Snook and A.T. Keaten, N.J. State Police; 

the following suggestions were noted.

1. The whole assemblage was convinced that one man wrote all the ransom notes.

2. It is more likely that he is a German than anything else and the whole assemblage was convinced of the strong German influence and German education.

3. All were more or less convinced that this man has had previous experience which is borne out by the methods he used and the cool deliberation which he has demonstrated all the way through.

4. He has some knowledge of drawing.

5. All were convinced he has better than ordinary education.

6. He has a vivid imagination.

7. He shows a lot of ingenuity.

8. He has a good knowledge of criminal methods; referring particularly to the reference to the serial numbers; other knowledge of the psychology of Colonel Lindbergh and other people, in saying not to notify the police and in saying, "you have notified the police", etc. and in selecting a man like Condon.

9. An excellent ability to construct letters as brought out in Osborn's report. The construction of those letters, to get his ideas across is extraordinary. He can say a lot in a few words.

10. Evidence of higher education by conveying information by asking questions.

11. It is not thought he built a ladder like the one used before because of what occurred. It is quite evident that he did not test the ladder before using it as evidenced by the breaking of the ladder.

12. Criminal experience is shown by continued negotiations in spite of the heat.

13. There is no question but what he has a great deal of nerve and courage.

14. From his description of places and instructions as to the meeting places, he evidently has a thorough and intimate knowledge of the Bronx.

15. Another confirmation of his mental faculties is the reference to Horse Neck Beach ,which is not a nautical method of giving directions, but would indicate rather, his reference to a map.

16. He did not display a particular definite knowledge of Hopewell and vicinity.

17. The body was found at the first reasonable place where it could be disposed of and where he could park off the side of the road after leaving the Lindbergh Estate.

18. The use of the newspaper as a means of communicating with him again indicates experience.

19. Ingenuity was displayed on the third letter by addressing it to Colonel Breckinridge and putting a return address on it of Colonel Lindbergh, Hopewell, N.J.

20. It was the consensus of opinion of the group to hold up the original note and to publish in some expeditious manner the signature.

21. He showed calmness and foresightedness in taking the sleeping suit off the dead child for use later as a means of identification, knowing that he could not produce proof of the living existence of the child.

Lone Killer Theories
 

Is it possible for Hauptmann to have committed such a complicated  act alone? 

  How could Hauptmann have possibly known the sudden change in the Lindbergh's plans to remain at Hopewell? The family never stayed there on a Monday or a Tuesday night and only changed plans the very morning of the child's disappearance.

   How could BRH know the shutter on the nursery window was warped? It was the only warped shutter in the entire house and could not close from the inside, something that is impossible to determine with binoculars or any outside surveillance.

  Why would BRH go to St. Raymond's Cemetery to collect ransom money not knowing if the baby's body had already been found? It was only 2 miles from the house, (walking distance), in an uncovered shallow grave. Could he have trusted these meetings in the cemetery to be safe? The cops could have been ambushing him. 

  What was Hauptmann going to do with a blonde blue-eyed baby after he took him home? There is no evidence that he had a plan for keeping the child during the ransom negotiations. Police admitted that Anna had no knowledge of such a kidnapping so what was her husband going to do with a 20-month-old baby?

Gang Theories

Many believe more than one person was involved in the kidnapping. Anthony Scaduto, author of Scapegoat: The Lonesome Death of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, found an FBI file which stated that Lindbergh told the cops he saw a "dark, swarthy man with a rolling gait" who was a lookout man for  "cemetery John." This evidence was never brought to trial.

Another piece of evidence that could have destroyed  the "lone killer" belief was the difference in handwriting between  the numerous ransom notes. Many experts believe that the first ransom note was written by a different person than the rest. These experts could have testified at the trial, but David Wilentz did not  allow them  to testify. It would have destroyed the "lone killer" theory.

Another clue that raises doubt about a lone killer theory is a phone conversation Dr. Condon claimed to have had with the "kidnappers."  In the background during the phone conversation, Dr. Condon heard someone shouting "Statte cito" which means "shut up" in Italian. So the ransom notes were written by a German man, the telephone calls were from a Scandinavian or German with an Italian in the background? How could just one person be involved?

click here to read about Detroit's infamous Purple Gang,  Lindbergh claimed they might be responsible.

New! 7/27/03  Who Helped Hauptmann ?  by  Edward Dean Sullivan - May 1935

 

  The Butler ? 

The late Wayne D Jones, in his monumental book of 1200 pages, Murder of Justice: New Jersey's Greatest Shame, believed that the culprit was Oliver Whately, the Lindberghs' butler. His theory requires several people to have been involved. 

 Jones claims Whately must have helped  Isidor Fisch climb the ladder and  take the baby out of its crib, down the stairs and out the front door without anyone seeing a thing. The baby was then, according to Jones, sent to South America and raised on a chinchilla farm. Jones, like many theorists, did not believe that the remains found in the woods were those of the Lindbergh baby.

  A Family Plot?

Bizarre claims that the Lindbergh baby is still alive have been made by numerous people.  They claim to be the lost Lindbergh child who was the center of a plot to be removed from the Lindbergh family (for a variety of reasons)  and raised elsewhere as children of other families. 

They claim that their "father" - Charles Lindbergh - conspired to be rid of them by hiring  people to help him, and his wife,  with a plot to deceive the world about the loss of their first-born son. 

One day, in the early 50s, a man knocked on the front door of the Lindbergh's  Darien, Conn. home and  5-year-old  Reeve was told that he was her long-lost brother Charles. The  Lindbergh children  had never been told about the death of their first brother or the trial in Flemington.

  Sister Elizabeth and Family?

The late Noel Behn, author of Lindbergh: The Crime,  believed that Elizabeth, Anne's sister, murdered the Eaglet in a mentally deranged fit of jealous anger. Originally, in 1929, Lindbergh had shown interest in  Elizabeth but ended up proposing to Anne instead.

 Elizabeth suffered from heart disease - not the kind of wife CAL would have preferred - he was a Eugenicist and a believer in White Supremacy. According to such beliefs people born with birth defects are considered to be a drain on  society.  

According to Behn, Lindbergh gave strict orders that Elizabeth not be alone with Charles Jr.  After she supposedly killed the child , a few days before the actual disappearance was reported, the family conspired to make believe it had been a kidnapping to prevent the scandal that would ensue. Soon after the child's disappearance Elizabeth was put into an institution for her heart condition. 

Throughout the 1950's, many rumored that Elizabeth was the culprit. If this theory is believable the Lindbergh family, the Morrow family, and the workers of both homes lied on the witness stand.  The real problem with such a theory is that it requires the mother and grandmother of the dead child to allow Lindbergh to discard his son in a shallow, above - ground grave with nothing but leaves to cover him, and remain there for animals to eat. 

It is unlikely that both mother and grandmother would have gone along with that sort of a plan. 

 Behn did not believe the corpse found in the woods was the real Eaglet.

 The Mob?

 Many believe that the ransom money was extorted by members of the underworld who knew of  Lindbergh's guilt and wished to take advantage of such knowledge.  

NO GANG & NO CONSPIRACY?

 Lindbergh's Kidnapping Hoax

It is entirely possible that no kidnapping ever took place at all but rather, a sadistic prank, typical of Lindbergh's boyish and cruel mentality, that went awry. This theory requires no one but Lindbergh himself. Only his lawyer Henry Breckenridge might have  even known the truth.  Lindbergh phoned Breckenridge before calling the State Police to report his child missing.

It is difficult for some people to believe that Lindbergh could be responsible for the death of his own son, however, anyone who studies his behavior, from the day of the supposed "kidnapping,"  recognizes that the man simply never behaved like he was very eager to retrieve his son.

 Pranks?

Lindbergh was known for playing "practical jokes" of a very cruel and sadistic nature. 

   In the Army Reserves he often  filled his bunkmates' beds with reptiles and spiders. 

  In the Army Reserves Lindbergh filled a friend's canteen with kerosene and watched as he drank the fluid.  Bud  Gurney, in the photo at right,  suffered  severe internal burns and had to be hospitalized for many months. Lindbergh thought this was hysterically funny and bragged about it throughout his life.

     Two weeks before the supposed "kidnapping"  Lindbergh hid his baby in the trash closet to play a "joke" on his wife. He told everyone that the child had been kidnapped and allowed the joke to continue for over twenty minutes before revealing the location of the child.

   There are many other documented accounts, from close friends or acquaintances, describing Lindbergh's abuse towards his wife as well as their 5 other children.  

Skeptical Questions

There are numerous theories about what really happened the night of March 1, 1932. The evidence presented at the Trial of the Century  was blatantly tainted - from rehabilitated witnesses who were promised part of the reward money if Hauptmann was convicted, (including someone with cataracts and another who was a pathological liar), to the tampered time sheets that would have proved Hauptmann's claim that he had been at work the day of the child's disappearance. 

The blobs of ink, covering the check marks on those time sheets, ought to have been enough evidence of the prosecutor's deceitfulness yet no one cared. 

The ladder wood does not even match, there is a piece missing,  yet  the jurors were instructed by David Wilentz to use their imaginations!  Irrationality ruled the Flemington courthouse.

   

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