Episode 14: Jim Jones’ Right-Hand Woman: Carolyn Layton (feat. Laura Elizabeth Woollett)

While many remember the 1978 Jonestown massacre as a dark monument to the power of a single man’s paranoia and fanaticism, the tale of Jim Jones’ lover, Carolyn Layton, reveals a more complicated narrative—and a more frightening truth. Carolyn was a bubbly young woman who believed in pacifism and political engagement, but when she met Jim Jones, she became an unsmiling woman would do anything for Jones’ cause—including death. Was this a personality change, or had Carolyn been a secret fanatic all along? Author Laura Elizabeth Woollett comes on the podcast to tell us Carolyn’s long-forgotten story, which she covers in her latest novel, Beautiful Revolutionary.


Interview with Laura Elizabeth Woollett, author of Beautiful Revolutionary (Scribe Publications, 2018)

“The Jonestown Massacre,” from the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training

“Drinking the Kool-Aid: A Survivor Remembers Jim Jones,” The Atlantic, 18 Nov 2011

“Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple,” sponsored by the Special Collections of Library and Information Access at San Diego State University 


“Guilty,” by Ruth Etting, via archive.org

“Gnossiennes no. 1” by Erik Satie, via musopen.org

“Reverend (Jim Jones)” by Church of Misery, used with permission

Final clip of Carolyn Layton talking was released by the FBI via the Freedom of Information Act. You can hear the full audio here.

Tori Telfer
Episode 13: Bloodsucking Broads! A Very Gory Halloween Special, Feat. Elizabeth Bathory, Mercy Brown, and Female Vampires Galore!
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Do female vampires exist? Are they bloodier than their male counterparts? And if the answer to those first two questions is yes: should we race to the grocery store RIGHT NOW to stock up on garlic?! Join me as we travel through the long, dark, decomposition-ridden history of female vampires, from ancient Assyrian myths to New England vampire panics to Hungarian countesses with bad reputations. We’ll talk about lady vamps in legend, in pop culture, and—eek!—in real life. Happy Halloween!


“The Blood Countess: Erzsébet Báthory,” from Lady Killers by Tori Telfer
Dracula Was a Woman: In Search of the Blood Countess of Transylvania, by Raymond T. McNally
Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England’s Vampires by Michael Bell
“The Great New England Vampire Panic,” Smithsonian, October 2012
“Grave of Mercy Brown,” Atlas Obscura
“Not All Fangs Are Phallic: Female Film Vampires,” by James Craig Holte, Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, Vol. 10, No. 2
Vampire ASMR Roleplay: Meeting the Countess” by Stephanie Swan Quills
“2 Guilty in ‘Lesbian Vampire Trial,’” The Ottowa Citizen, 16 Feb 1991
“Woman wondered if lover was a vampire, court told,” The Age, 7 Feb 1991
“Blood-drinking devil worshipers face life for ritual Satanic killing,” The Guardian, 1 Feb 2002
“German killing shines light on Satanism,” Calgary Herald, 20 Jan 2002
“Flirting with Hitler,” The Guardian, 16 Nov 2002
“2 middle school girls waited in a bathroom and planned to cut up their classmates, police say,” CNN, 26 Oct 2018


“Guilty,” by Ruth Etting, via archive.org
“Ghost Surf Rock,” by Loyalty Freak Music via freemusicarchive.org

Tori Telfer
Episode 12: Vice Queens of Sydney: Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh
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If you were looking for vice, Sydney in the 1920s-1940s was the place to be. Duck into the back alleys of Surry Hills and Woolloomooloo and you’d find all the cocaine, “sly grog” (booze!), brawling, and brothels your dark little heart desired, all of it presided over by not one but two larger-than-life crime queens: Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh. The women’s’ rivalry was bloody, colorful, absurd, and stretched on for decades. They raged at each other in the press and in the streets; they insulted each other’s dogs (GASP!); they tried to outdo each other with glamorous photoshoots. Polish your diamonds and hike up your garters, listeners, because we’re diving into their story.


Razor by Larry Writer

Lillian Armfield: How Australia’s First Female Detective Took on Tilly Devine and the Razor Gangs and Changed the Face of the Force, by Leigh Straw

“Bad Beef,” Western Mail, 4 April 1929

“Gang War,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Dec 1929

“Notorious Underworld Figure Does Not Fear for Life,” Truth, 13 April 1930

“Says Tilly to Kate,” Truth, 29 Jun 1930

“K-K-Katey…You’re the Only ‘Girl’ That I Abhor!” Truth, 7 Feb 1932

“Underworld Queen Is an Interesting Contrast,” Arrow, 7 Oct 1932

“Two Bragging Crooks Live on Fat of the Land,” Truth, 27 Aug 1933

“Tilly Devine in Brawl,” The Newcastle Sun, 20 Sept 1943

“Practical Jokes On Tilly Devine,” Morning Bulletin, 16 Jun 1945

“Wedded Bliss—Or a Razor,” The Sun, 22 Jan 1950

“Study in Scarlet: An Uncrowned Queen of Slumland Drips with Diamonds and Charity,” People (Sydney), 15 March 1950

 “Tilly Devine’s Birthday Party,” The Sun, 10 Sept 1950

“The Bloom Has Gone Off Sly Grog, Says Kate,” Truth, 8 Aug 1954

Tilly Devine, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8 (1981)

Kate Leigh, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10 (1986)


“Guilty,” by Ruth Etting, via archive.org

“Shake It and Break It,” by Lanin's Southern Serenaders, via freemusicarchive.org

“K-K-K-Katy (Stammering Song),” sung in 1918 by Billy Murray

Tori Telfer
Episode 11: Rebel of the Ravines: Phoolan Devi

How much abuse can a woman endure before she breaks? That seemed to be the unconscious and horrible goal driving the wealthy men who abused Phoolan Devi time and again, and sent her to prison, and tried to deny her water, and tried to shame her into submission. It was as though they were mad scientists, experimenting on the human spirit. But their experiment failed when Phoolan, still a teenager, got swept up into the wild world of Northern Indian bandits, called dacoits, where she learned the fine and vicious art of vengeance. Come along for a surreal story of abuse and revenge, one that starts in poverty and ends in power.


I, Phoolan Devi, by Phoolan Devi

India’s Bandit Queen, by Mala Sen

“India’s Bandit Queen,” November 1996 issue of The Atlantic

“The Great Indian Rape-Trick,” Arundhati Roy

“Phoolan Devi Shot Dead,” The Times of India, July 25, 2001

“Killer of Phoolan Devi, India's 'Bandit Queen', given life sentence,” The Guardian, August 14, 2014

Phoolan’s obituary, The Telegraph, July 26, 2001

Post-prison interview with Poolan (excerpted at end of episode)


 “Guilty” by Ruth Etting, via archive.org

“Raag” by Vinod Prasanna × Okey Szoke × Pompey (the flute player, Vinod Prasanna, is from Phoolan’s home state!), via freemusicarchive.org

Choti Si Umar (title song from Bandit Queen), sung by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Tori Telfer
Episode 10: Lizzie Borden, LLC

We all know the story: Lizzie Borden may or may not have taken an ax (okay, a hatchet) and given her mother (okay, stepmother) forty whacks (okay, nineteen). We know for sure that there were two deaths, and a lot of blood. But something sprung to life the day of those brutal double murders: the Lizzie Borden industry.

For the very special tenth episode of Criminal Broads, let’s dive into the wild and endlessly enduring legend of alleged ax murderess Lizzie Borden, tackling her not as a killer, but as a cultural touchstone. We’ll cover the crimes themselves, but also the myths, misinformation, and weird products that have sprung up around the Lizzie Borden biz. Today, you can buy a pair of Lizzie Borden earrings, watch a Lizzie Borden rock opera, see a couple of Lizzie Borden-themed horror movies, go to a Lizzie Borden ballet, buy a Lizzie Borden Candle, drink a Lizzie Borden Cocktail, and stay at the Lizzie Borden B&B—but the one thing you can never, ever do is know exactly what Lizzie Borden was thinking on August 4, 1892.


“Guilty” by Ruth Etting, via archive.org

“Gnossiennes no. 1” by Erik Satie, via musopen.org

“Lizzie Borden” by Michael Brown

Tori Telfer
Episode 9: Queen of Pirates: Cheng I Sao

As the 19th century loomed, China experienced a huge boom in piracy—and the largest, most terrifyingly organized fleet that menaced the South China Sea was led by…a woman. Madame Cheng (remembered as Cheng I Sao or Ching Shih) had a meteoric rise from impoverished sex worker to climb to arguably the most successful and influential pirate of all time. Should we cheer her on—or remember her as a criminal?


Pirates of the South China Coast, 1790-1810, by Dian Murray

“One Woman's Rise to Power: Cheng I's Wife and the Pirates,” by Dian Murray, published in Historical Reflections / Réflexions Historiques, Vol. 8, No. 3

Piracy in Early Modern China,” by Robert Antony, International Institute for Asian Studies newsletter #35

Asian Piracy,” by Sebastian R. Prange, Oxford Research Encyclopedia

The History of Piracy, by Philip Gosse


“Guilty” by Ruth Etting, via archive.org

“Gnossiennes no. 1” by Erik Satie, via musopen.org

Tori Telfer
Episode 8: The Mad Dog Killer's Girlfriend: Caril Ann Fugate
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In 1958, Nebraska was terrified by a spree killing so brutal, so atrocious that it seemed impossible to believe it was pulled off by...teenagers. When Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate were apprehended, she ran screaming to the cops, telling them he was going to kill her. He told them she was a killer, too.


Caril, by Ninette Beaver, B.K. Ripley, and Patrick Trese

Starkweather: The Story of a Mass Murderer by William Allen

“New Life is Redemption for Caril Ann Fugate, Who Still Claims Innocence in Killings,” The Daily Beast, June 27 2012

“Fugate recovering from injuries, but can't shake Starkweather legacy,” Lincoln Journal Star, January 21, 2014

Caril Ann Fugate Life After Trial (video clip)

The Starkweather Murders (video clip)


Stark Weather by Icky Blossoms

Sfyria Trio (intro and transition music)

Tori Telfer
Episode 7: Hell’s Princess: Belle Gunness, feat. Harold Schechter
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Bestselling true crime author Harold Schechter comes on the podcast to tell us the story of Belle Gunness, a Norwegian-American serial dater who had a thing for butcher’s tools. Or perhaps you know her as the author of the best dating profile line ever: “Triflers need not apply.” Belle’s story is covered at length in Schechter’s new book, Hell's Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men. Also discussed: why female psychopaths are more psychopathic than people give them credit for; how male serial killers are “undiscriminating”; why poisoners are worse than Jack the Ripper; and the old “meat grinder falls on head” trick.



Hell's Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men


Sfyria Trio

Get in touch! Drop a line to criminalbroads@gmail.com or follow @criminalbroads on Instagram.

Tori Telfer
Episode 6: The Commander: Beatrice Munyenyezi

In 1998, Beatrice Munyenyezi came from Rwanda to New Hampshire, claiming that she needed sanctuary from the horrific genocide that had recently happened in her home country. On her immigration forms, she swore that she’d had nothing to do with the violence. She was a mother, after all! But when an agent from the Department of Homeland Security began looking into her past, he couldn’t believe the brutal stories that emerged.

After you listen to the episode, LET’S HELP by donating to these amazing organizations!

International Crisis Group

Survivor’s Fund / Supporting Survivors of the Rwandan Genocide

Tori Telfer
Episode 5: Sister Amy’s Murder Factory: Amy Archer Gilligan, feat. M. William Phelps
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Bestselling true crime author M. William Phelps comes onto the podcast to tell us the story of Amy Archer Gilligan, a turn-of-the-century serial killer who disguised her sociopathic tendencies under a kind, neighborly facade. Her lemonade was laced with arsenic, and her convalescent home was not a place where anyone could get better. Phelps’ book on Amy is called The Devil’s Rooming House. Also discussed: hot tub horrors, female criminals’ skyrocketing brutality (eek), and an amazing undercover lady cop named Zola.

Tori Telfer
Episode 4: Dangerous Lady of Light: Jasmuheen
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Jasmuheen, an Australian guru who became media catnip in the 90s, seemed kind of spacey and silly. Sure, her belief system was totally wild—she told the world that she lived off energy alone, and hadn’t eaten actual food in years—but her teachings didn’t seem all that serious. After all, her fridge was stocked with food, and her website was covered in purple fonts, and no one really believed her, right?

Then people started dying.


“Air Diet Guru Under Fire For Deaths,” The Age (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 24 Sep 1999

“I haven't eaten for 5 years,” Electronic Telegraph, 24 Oct 1999

“All they need is the air…” BBC News, 22 Sept 1999

“Starvation cult victim's diary reveals final cravings,” The Sunday Mail (Australia), 24 June 2000 

“Quest for inner peace led Lani to a cruel death,” The Australian, 20 Nov 1999

“Scotland Woman 'starved herself to death,’” BBC News, 21 Sept 1999 

“Living On Light Leader Under Fire As 'Dangerous,’” Newswire, 5 April 2000 

Breatharian Pathways - Memories & Motivations, by Jasmuheen

Rhythms of Love: Jasmuheen’s Travel Journal, by Jasmuheen

“Starvation guru given hostile reception,” The Times (London), 6 April 2000 

“Swiss woman starved after 'eating' only light,” The Local Switzerland, 25 April 2012

“The Lying Game,” The Observer (London), 14 Nov 1999

60 Minutes report on Jasmuheen (YouTube)

Meditation Cosmic Pranic Feeding with Jasmuheen (YouTube)

The Age of the Breatharian (YouTube)


Sfyria Trio


Tori Telfer
Episode 3: Horror Ranch: The Gonzalez Valenzuela Sisters, or "Las Poquianchis"

The Gonzalez Valenzuela sisters did not have an easy childhood, but when they grew up, they proceeded to steadily destroy the childhoods of other young women. When their “horror ranch” was discovered, the people of Mexico were appalled at the secrets that began to emerge.


Reading Killer Women: Narratives of Twentieth Century Latin America, by Alicia Muñoz

La Historia detrás del Mito: "Las Poquianchis" (documentary)

“Police Uncover 17 Bodies, Victims of White Slave Ring’s ‘Discipline,’” Arizona Daily Star, 18 Jan 1964

“White Slave Toll Climbs to 28,” El-Paso Herald-Post, 20 Jan 1964

“Mexican Girl Tells of Being Lured to White Slavery By Pair,” Corsicana Daily Sun, 23 Jan 1964

“Trial Ordered for Sisters in Prostitute Ring Slayings,” Del Rio News Herald, 22 Jan 1964

“Murder, Slavery Suspect on Trial,” Fort Lauderdale News, 16 Feb 1964

“Mexico Shocked, But Vice is Not Rampant,” The Indianapolis News, 6 Feb 1964


Sfyria Trio

Tori Telfer
Episode 1: The Devil’s Bride: Lavinia Fisher
 image:  Bulldog Tours

In 1819, Lavinia and John Fisher were arrested in Charleston, SC after beating up a couple of travelers. Their case ballooned from accusations of assault to a charge of highway robbery—and a double death sentence. Today, Lavinia is remembered as America’s first female serial killer. What in the world happened?

Tori Telfer