Belle Gunness (Hardcover)
The Lady Bluebeard
Indiana University Press, 9780253311573, 192pp.
Publication Date: October 22, 1985
The Guinness Book of World Records has in twelve editions listed Belle Gunness under the category "Most Prolific Murderers." She earned the epithet the Lady Bluebeard because she is believed to have killed as many as twenty spouses. She settled on a farm on the outskirts of LaPorte, Indiana, in 1901. Over the next seven years it is believed that she killed a husband, children, and an indeterminate number of would-be suitors who answered her matrimonial advertisements. Through symbolic analysis of the folk art about the murderess--anecdotes, personal-experience stories, legends, ballads, and plays and skits--Langlois discovers an integrated symbol system through which the community comes to various and contradictory conclusions about the deviant woman, deviancy in general, and social changes.