Robert St. Estephe–Gonzo Historian–is dedicated to uncovering the forgotten past of marginalizing men. “Gonzo journalism” is characterized as tending “to favor style over fact to achieve accuracy.” Yet history – especially “social history” – is written by ideologues who distort and bury facts in order to achieve an agenda. “Gonzo” writing is seen as unorthodox and surprising. Yet, in the 21st century subjectivity, distortion and outright lying in non-fiction writing is the norm. Fraud is the new orthodoxy. Consequently, integrity is the new “transgressive.”
Welcome to the disruptive world of facts, the world of Gonzo History.
“Intersectionality” is a popular word among the adherents of command-and-control social engineering. Here is a definition of the term as it appears on Geek Feminism Wiki: “intersectionality is a concept often used in critical theories to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another. Third Wave Feminism, especially, thrived on the concept of intersectionality in order to redefine Feminism as inclusive. The concept first came from legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw in 1989 and is largely used in critical theories, especially Feminist theory, when discussing systematic oppression.”
Well, I’m no certified “critical theorist,” but I can spot a useful concept when I falls in my unregenerate patriarchal lap. Presented in his post is a remarkable murder case involving a Ouija board , a once-famous siren beauty wife, a naive teenaged girl, an equally naive husband and an innocent-bystander handsome cowboy. It seems to me that the Turley murder case exemplifies the possibilities of this type of “intersectionality” critique when applied to a form of oppression that, admittedly, it was never intended to elucidate, that of female privilege.
Here we see a case illustrating the ‘intersectionality’ of quite a few oppressive institutions: proxy violence, relational aggression, refusal to accept responsibility for one’s actions, the ethos of male disposability, plus “a woman’s prerogative to change her mind.”
Throughout the course of this story, the anti-heroine, Dorothea Turley, demonstrates a notable consistency in her deployment of abject personal privilege of the feminine variety: in her refusal to accept the tiniest sliver of responsibility for her actions. Her oppressiveness was, as you will see, impressively systematic and chillingly thorough. This clever beauty, like so many other lovelies before and after, got away with a particularly vicious kind of premeditated murder.
FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 4): A Ouija board can get you into trouble, but, it cannot get you out. So don’t trust a ouija board. This was recently demonstrated in the courts of Arizona.
Because a ouija board under her fingers assertedly “ordered” the death or her husband, pretty Mrs. Dorothea Irene Turley, once voted the most beautiful girl in America, has been convicted of intent to murder. Thereby bringing one of the strangest cases of the year near its conclusion.
The woman’s husband was killed, so the testimony showed, in order that she might be free to marry n handsome cowboy whom she had met a short, time before. The husband, Ernest Turley, was shot twice in the back on the afternoon of November 18, 1933, and died a few weeks later.
But the wife herself did not do the shooting – that’s what makes the case doubly weird and involved.
Mattie Turley, 15-year-old daughter of the Turleys, raised her own shotgun given to her by her dad and killed him as he carried a pail of milk from the cowpen, she testified. Having no animosity toward him, she did this tragic thing solely because the ouija board had commanded her to, and because her mother had assured her that edicts of the ouija spirits must be obeyed. Mattie understood, she declared, that “mother must be freed in order to marry the handsome cowboy.”
The girl herself pleaded guilty in juvenile court and was sentenced to an Arizona reform school. The mother, after fighting long and futilely for dismissal, was tried in the county court at St. Johns and convicted. Penalty for intent to murder is five years to life.
During the course of the investigation, which extended over six months, a young fellow identified by the County Attorney as the “handsome cowboy” in question also was brought up for lack of hearing. But he was released for lack of evidence. His name was Kent Pearce, and he had all the outward appearance of a movie-type cowpuncher, big hat, neckerchief, tight pants, bow legs and all. A very frightened young man, he denied any untoward associations with Mrs. Turley.
It was at Crestwood, N. J., in the hectic war year of 1917 that a newspaper chain concluded its national bathing-beauty contest. This chain had set out to find the girl most deserving of the title, “American Venus.”
More than 50,000 entries came in – exquisitely beautiful maidens from every corner of every State. The judging could not have been easy, but in the end everybody was satisfied with the selection made. Dorothea Irene Kelynack, of Astoria. N. Y., who had been singing on the stage after studying music abroad, was as nearly perfect as a girl could be. She tallied to the fraction of an inch with the proportional measurements of the classic Venus de Milo.
The Nation was almost literally at Dorothea’s feet in worship of her surpassing beauty. Every sort of acclaim came to her, including many hundreds offers of marriage. She typified all that was desirable. But a young man of the United States Navy, Ernest Turley, wooed most ardently of all. His dash and brilliance won her; and America thrilled; then they eloped.
The daughter, Mattie, was born to them in Boston in 1918. Next year a son, David, was born, and in 1921 the family moved to California, settling at Coronado. Everything seemed rosy for the next decade, but poor health then began to claim its toll. Also, the adulation that Dorothea had known was now denied her; Mr. Turley’s navy salary was not quite in keeping with her “American Venus” style.
Sinus trouble caused Mrs. Turley so much suffering that the family began to cast about for a climatic change.
“Why not try Arizona?” a friend suggested.
“The air is high and dry and delightful there. Many persons are relieved from nasal pains by going there.”
It. was true and, besides that. Arizona’s expansive mountains offered a fine, vacation outing, anyway. Son David and daughter Mattie especially were elated. They demanded of daddy it they would be allowed to go fishing and hunting; David hinted that, with a real gun, he might even bag a mountain lion.
THEY chose a spot high in the White Mountains They couldn’t possibly have pickerd a more romantic one. The only people to be seen are relatively uncultured but fine-charactered cattle ranchers. One of them stalked up the first city they arrived, knocked at their ugly rented cabin, and said he understood they were newcomers and if possible he would like to have a job.
“We will let you know,” smiled a very pretty woman in answer. “My husband is away from the house just now. What is your name?”
“Reckon It’s Kent Pearce.” he answered. Then his face, too. broke In a wide, appreciative cowboy smile.
Maybe it was the isolation, maybe it was the illness, maybe it was the longing for applause and admiration that girlhood days had known, but something in Mrs. Dorothea Turley began to breed discontent.
They had come to Arizona in August of 1933, and by September she was having frequent seances with her ouija board, seeking whatever comfort its alleged “spirits” could give. One day she found some odd picture rocks nearby, designs scratched by some prehistoric Indians which even archeologists could not fathom now. She consulted the ouija board about them.
The board informed her that the rocks were over buried gold! Therefore, she prevailed upon a rather disgruntled husband to do extensive searching. He dug and dug, even used dynamite, until his back was breaking. Eventually she went to ouija again, and the board admitted so Mrs. Turley said, that some mistake had been made. Mr. Turley never quite forgave her for this “tomfoolery.”
Often she and her husband had little spats and quarrels. Twice, it was revealed later she even threatened his life. “Every time I look at you I want to kill you!” she screamed at him in a rage one time.
On another occasion, so the trial testimony later showed, she inquired of her husband about his life insurance, learned that he had two policies totaling $5000, and asked him how she could collect it if ever occasion arose. On still another occasion, she and Mattie asked him one day how far away Mattie’s gun would kill a deer. He told them about twenty yards. They, of course, never mentioned to him about the ouija board seances which pointed to his death.
ON the night of November 17, 1933, a skunk got under the Turley cabin and had a fight with their cat. The noise and odor so disturbed them that they could sleep no more that night. They maintained a watch for Mr. Skunk, but he wouldn’t come out.
They kept the watch up all next morning. After lunch, however, Mrs. Turley and David said they would go to the village store for groceries to have a dinner that night in honor of David’s birthday.
“Stay with daddy, Mattie, and help him catch the skunk,” Mather suggested.
“I won’t help catch him, but I might shoot,” Mattie replied. The two drove away, leaving Mattie holding her loaded shotgun and eating an apple.
Before they returned, Mr. Turley got his bucket and went out to the corral to milk their new cow. Mattie followed him, still holding her gun. Soon he came out through the gate and started toward the house. She still remained behind.
With no warning at all, two quick shots rang out. Mr. Turley, hit in the back, tumbled down, and glanced around to see Mattie’s gun smoking, she herself being on her knees.
“Oh-h-h-h, Daddy, have I hurt you?” Mattie screamed, and ran to him. He was in great pain, but he sent her rushing for help. As she left he told her, “You should be more careful. Let this be a lesson to you.” He assumed that the shooting was accidental.
Mattie met her mother and David returning and told them the news. In a few hours the doctor and a number of neighbors had come in. Kent Pearce himself held the lamp that night, while Mrs. Turley tended her husband. Everybody was sympathetic for the hysterical Mattie, who said she had stumbled and that her gun had gone off as she fell. But Mr. Turley was expected to get well. Many people came in to offer sympathy, and, of course, the officers of the county had to make some inquiries, as a matter of customary form. One of these officers, though, developed a curiosity.
HE LEARNED that the bullets traveled downward, not upward, through Mr. Turley’s hip. That was funny, reasoned he, when Mattie said the gun went off as it struck the ground. It would seem more like he had been shot while he was still standing, maybe with the gun at her shoulder! How about it, Mattie?
That blew up the story. Mattie did a complete about-face, and admitted she had deliberately shot her dad in obedience to the ouija board. She said she raised the gun first as he passed through the cowpen gate, but lacked the nerve to pull the triggers.
“Then I remembered how important it was to Mother for her to marry her handsome cowboy,” testified Mattie, “so I raised the gun quickly again and shot both barrels.”
The seance with the ouija board was described in detail. It had taken place, she said, in a dim, almost dark room at their home. She and her mother had had their fingers on it, sure enough. The board had spelled out that she was to kill her daddy.
“I asked Mother if I had to do what the ouija board said,” Mattie explained, “and she told me there was no escaping its command.”
When Mrs. Turley heard of this confession by her daughter, she became enraged. She accused the officers of browbeating Mattie so much by third degree methods that the girl would have confessed to anything.
Asked about this “mistreatment,” Mattie said calmly that she hadn’t been mistreated ac all, but had only done what she felt she should. Mrs. Turley however, stuck firmly to Mattie’s first story that, the shooting was accidental. Mattie went before the Juvenile Judge and he sentenced her to the reform school until she reaches maturity of 21, which means six years.
Meantime, Mr. Turley got no better at McNary, and a United States Marine Corps plane from San Diego, Calif., flew over and carried him to the naval base hospital there. There he died on December 26. That made it murder, and Mrs. Turley then was jailed in default of bond, on a charge of intent to murder.
[Donald Rogers, “Fickle Ouija Board Deserts Its Victim – Former American Venus Who Communed With“Spirits” Found Guilty of Murder Conspiracy by Arizona Jury,” Oakland Tribune (Ca.), Jul. 22, 1934, Magazine Section, p. 4?; in the original article “Ouija” is sometimes capitalized and sometimes not.]
FULL TEXT: (Article 2 of 4):
When The Ouija Board Spelled ‘D-a-d-d-y M-u-s-t D-i-e – With the Acquittal and Release of the Beautiful Woman Who Once Won National Fame as the “American Venus,” the Epilogue Is Written to a Sensational Tragedy of the Arizona Mountains
FULL TEXT: Nervously, the girl closed her eyes. Her shoulders began to sway a little.
The room was dim, and the two women were alone in it. Mother and daughter, both strikingly beautiful, they faced each other across a small table. Upon this lay a Ouija board. Arms outstretched, the two of them rested their fingers lightly upon the little planchette – that tiny table which slides on the board’s polished surface, to stop and spell out “spirit messages.”
The girl was only fifteen – but in her smooth oval face, tilted upwards, and in the gracious mood of her form, a precocious maturity was evident. Her eyes remained closed, but the eyes of her striking mother were open. They rested sometimes on the board, sometimes on the girl, with a sombre, inscrutable gaze.
The little planchette moved, and the women’s shoulders swayed gently together, as if they were dancing to slow music. It stopped. The girl opened her eyes, and looked at the board.
“D,” she said.
Again the child-woman’s eyes closed, and the eerie game went on. And as the planchette picked out letter after letter, a look of terror and misery grew upon her smooth face.
“D-A-D-D-Y M-U-S-T —” spelled the letters. And then: “D-I-E.”
“Oh!” the girl gasped, looking at her mother. “Who – who must kill him, mummy?”
Such, according to testimony later given in an Arizona court, was the sombre first act in a tragedy which shocked the world – and which, universally came to be known as the “Ouija Board Murder.” And just the other day, the epilogue of that true-life drama was written, when the courts of Arizona freed a woman from prison.
BACK in the year 1917, Dorothea Irene Kelynack’s pretty little head contained no thoughts of Ouija boards – nor, possibly, of much else. But that didn’t matter, for Dorothea was only 22, and had just won, over 50,000 girls in a nation-wide contest, the title of “The American Venus.” Her figure came closest, by actual measurements, to that of the classic statue the Venus de Milo.
For a little hour, she was in the very center of the fierce white spotlight of national attention. Exploding flashlight powder illuminated her path. Celebrities who to her had been only names beamed upon her. Every mail avalanched this laughing, happy girl with proposals of marriage – proposals from lumber-jacks, professional men, farmers, actors and even a cracked millionaire or two. Men tried to force their way in to woo her – rich men and poor men.
Among the men who craved to win this perfection of physical womanhood was a spruce young sailor – Ernest J. Turley, who appeared in the uniform of the U. S. Navy, He was a handsome, two-fisted, go-getting sort of fellow, and he put up a whirlwind wooing that made paunchy millionaires, in Dorothea’s eyes, seem just funny. So she gave in. They eloped early in 1918 and were married. In December of that year a baby girl was born, whom they named Mattie.
During these months, Dorothea and her Ernie were excitedly happy. The lovely young woman’s “public” had not deserted her, despite her disappearance from public life. When her baby was born, thousands of letters and telegrams of congratulation poured in. Who could blame the girl for getting the idea that she had become a permanent national institution – a sort of Statue of Liberty in the flesh?
And then the years began to get in their wearing work. People no longer stopped to point Dorothea out on the streets of Boston, Massachusetts, where the Turleys had made their home. And who can blame Dorothea, now, if she felt bewildered, hurt at no longer receiving the adulation which publicity had taught her to regard as her due? But she had her baby girl Mattie, who was growing up to adore her mother. And soon a son, David, was born. And a little later Ernie Turley’s business – he had retired from the Navy – took them all to Coronado, California. So with domestic concerns and a change of scene Dorothea was not too unhappy for several years.
But in time she began to brood. She became interested in the occult – bought a ouija board. Since life was not fulfilling the dazzling promises it had made to her, Dorothea was turning to the dark recesses of her own subconscious mind, to seek consolation. Then she became ill – asthma – and the doctor advised a change from the damp sea air to the dry and tangy ozone of Arizona.
Turley, who loved his wife devotedly, gladly agreed that they should take a prolonged vacation. They would go in the car and camp out. He immediately went to buy supplies for their trip. That night he brought home two gleaming new shotguns – and gave one each to Mattie and David.
“When we get to Arizona you’ll be able to shoot,” he said, knowing nothing of the ominous nature of his words.
The family motored the 600 miles into the mountains of Arizona in August of 1933. They drove right into the historic cattle land where romantic cowboys long have roamed.
DOROTHEA TURLEY thought that cowboys were very romantic indeed.
An especially romantic one, named Kent Pearce, made himself very obliging when the four Turleys finally stopped near the village of St. Johns. He was a rancher, young, athletic and handsome – and he looked upon the two Turley women with frank and open admiration. Mattie, the daughter, though only fifteen, was a lovely young creature, whose figure already was revealing how much she had inherited of her mother’s beauty. As for Dorothea, though now about 40, she had retained much of her beauty of form and face.
Ernie Turley didn’t object to the rancher’s obvious admiration of his wife. On the contrary, it pleased him – for a man who marries a woman publicly acclaimed for her beauty very quickly gets used to the adulation which other men’s glances offer her, and in time comes to look upon it as his wife’s due. And besides, Kent Pearce was such an obliging sort of fellow. He offered to show the Turleys around, and he helped them find an inexpensive cabin so that they didn’t have to live in tents.
“I like this place,’ said Dorothea Turley to her husband. “Very pretty. Let’s stay here.”
Of course, they slaved. And Dorothea proceeded to enjoy the famous mountain scenery. She enjoyed it so much that she spent hours – days even – examining it driving the Turley car. And for a guide she had the handsome and accommodate [sic] and to keep her company, Pearce had got alone. Lovely little Mattie went along – and to keep her company, Pearce had got a young friend of his, a happy-go-lucky “apprentice” cowboy of 16 named Pollard Wiltbank. A couple of times this foursome even stayed out overnight –with good explanations each time.
‘THERE wasn’t very much for Ernie J Turley to do – but Mrs. Turley’s ouija board fixed that She still consulted it faithfully, and it told her – she revealed to her husband – that certain queer picture-writings on rocks nearby actually showed the location of a vast, hidden treasure.
The fact that scientists for decades have been striving in vain to decipher these strange rock-writings meant nothing whatever to Dorothea Turley. Ouija had spoken. Ouija never lied – and – ouija must be obeyed!
What the little planchcite had commanded, Dorothea said, was that Ernie should take a pick and shovel and go off into the bush to a certain spot, which she would designate, and there and he would surely find a buried treasure.
Nothing could more clearly reveal Ernest Turley’s profound love for this woman, and his complete faith in her, than the fact that he not only borrowed a pick and shovel, but actually bought several sticks of dynamite. Thus equipped, he blasted a great hole at the spot Dorothea showed to him.
Of course, there was no treasure – and for once, the doting husband got road. He blew up thoroughly and told his Astonished wife just what he thought of her blankety-blank ouija board, and of her, too, for fooling with such an idiotic contraption.
A day or so later, Turley took his two children – with their two nice new shotguns – to hunt game. As they were leaving, Dorothea calmly said to her daughter:
“Don’t forget your promise, Mattie.”
“Yes, mother, I won’t forget,” the girl recited. And that night, when the three of them returned, she again spoke enigmatically to her mother:
“I’m sorry,” she apologized, “that I fell down on my promise.”
“No matter,” her mother said gently, smiling. “You’ll have another chance.”
Young David’s birthday. came a few days later, and Dorothea took her son in the car to the village to get supplies for a family party. Mattie was left with her father.
Half an hour passed.
Suddenly the roar of a shotgun shook the still November air. And then screams – Mattie’s hysterical screams, ringing the echoes.
“Oh – I’ve killed him! My father! An accident – I tripped.”
Help was brought and Turley, horribly torn with shot, but still living, was rushed to a local hospital, then by airplane to the United States Naval Hospital at San Diego, California. There he died – but first he said that he had caught just a glimpse of his daughter behind him, her shotgun in her hands.
Everyone was very tender and sympathetic with little Mattie – until an old time deputy sheriff asked her how it was, if she had tripped firing into her father’s back by accident, that the shot had traveled downward in his body instead of upward.
The girl then became hysterical.
“It was not an accident,’’ she confessed.
“I did it on purpose, so mother could marry her handsome cowboy. I had to do it! Ouija ordered me to—and when ouija commands, it must be obeyed.”
In a seance with her mother, Mattie revealed, the board had spelled out: “Daddy must die.” And when the girl had asked who should kill him, the obliging board seemed to reply “M. T.” That meant, her mother said (as reported now by Mattie) “Mattie Turley.”
MATTIE was sent to reform school, to stay there till she turns 21 – but Mrs. Turley’s trial was a world sensation. Mother and daughter faced each other across a crowded courtroom, and Mattie stuck to her story. Young Pollard Wiltbank, the “apprentice” cowboy, swore that Kent Pearce and Mrs. Turley spent most of their time together, on outings, in each other’s arms. A neighbor woman testified that the accused had said she loved Pearce and wanted to marry him. Pearce, on the stand, denied hopes of marriage – but Mrs. Turley was sent to prison for 20 years.
That was less than three years ago. But just the other day, granted a retrial, the former American Venus almost broke down with joy when she was acquitted. Today she is a free woman – but no mention has been made of freeing her daughter from reform school. [This is an error. Mattie was paroled on Nov. 30, 1936.]
What will Dorothea Turley do with this unexpected gift of freedom? Will this publicity-haunted woman, who has been posed by the press both as heroine and as criminal, at last find the oblivion of obscurity? Or with her name again blaze in headlines of romance or tragedy?
Only time – and perhaps her Ouija board – will tell.
[“When The Ouija Board Spelled ‘D-a-d-d-y M-u-s-t D-i-e,” Oakland Tribune (Ca.), Nov. 14, 1937, Magazine Section, p. ?]
FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 4): Phoenix, Ariz., Nov. 30. – Arthur N. Kelley, secretary of the state board of public institutions, said today Mattie Turley, 18, convicted of the “Ouija Board” slaying of her father, Ernest Turley, three years ago, had [sic] been paroled.
Mattie, accused of shooting her father in the back with a shotgun, was sentenced to a state school was abandoned a year ago, she was removed to the convent of the Good Shepherd in Phoenix.
The girl’s mother, Mrs. Dorothea Irene Turley, whose conviction of assault with intent to commit murder was intent to commit murder was recently reversed by the state supreme court, was released in September. The charges against her was dismissed.
Kelley said the girl had been paroled to Judge Levi S. Udall of the Apache county superior court, where Mattie was tried.
“I have nothing to say regarding the matter,” Judge Udall said from Holbrook where he was reached by telephone. “This girl has received too much publicity already. She has her life to live, and I think she should be left alone.”
The parole order was signed by Gov. B. B. Moeur, Mit Simms, state treasurer, and Kelley.
Kelley said Judge Udall asked for the parole, expressing the belief it was to the best interest of society.
Mrs. Turley, hailed by sculptors as the “American Venus” during the world war, had tried twice to tree the girl. Mattie told her mother at the time she thought they “should never see each other again.”
The state charged that Mrs. Turley, during a Ouija board reading, directed her daughter to kill Turley.
[“Mattie Turley Out on Parole, Is Told,” syndicated (AP), Prescott Evening Courier (Az.), Nov. 30, 1936, p. 2]
FULL TEXT (Article 4 of 4): A New York beauty of World war days, Mrs. Dorothea Irene Turley, has filed suit in Phoenix, Ariz., for $75,000 against Mrs. Thelma Bradford Bailey, former superintendent of the Arizona State School for Girls. Mrs. Turley charges Mrs. Bailey with “poisoning the mind” of her daughter Mattie while she (Mrs. Turley) was serving a prison sentence for slaying of her husband.
[“Seeks $75,000,” syndicated (Central Press), The Oelwein Daily Register (Io.), Apr. 30, 1938, p. 2]
No follow-up news reports on the Turley vs. Bailey suit have been located so far. It is presumed this court action was not successful.