024 -PTB discusses old video games, a potential new musical and the Bloody Benders
In Kansas in 1872 there was a family of four- the dad, John Bender, Sr. or Pa, a son John, a wife whose name was Almira or Elvira Ma and a daughter Kate. They were a homestead family and got a plot of 160 acres.
The parents mostly spoke German and maybe a little English but both of the kids knew English. They were older when they moved to Kansas, possibly in their 50s or 60s.
It was possible that they weren’t a family. There are theories that the kids were actually husband and wife and that the mother had several other husbands before that she murdered. She may have had ten kids and Kate was the youngest.
The family owned a general store which supplied travelling wagons with with liquor, tobacco, horse feed, gunpowder, and food. They also owned an inn. The space was a large room divided by heavy canvas curtains.
The men in the family weren’t very chatty but the daughter was kind and attractive. The family were spiritualists, which was a system of belief or religious practice based on supposed communication with the spirits of the dead, especially through mediums.
Kate claimed that she was a psychic medium who could contact the spirits of the dead and even cure sickness for a donation. She appeared in the small town as "Professor Miss Kate Bender" where she gave public séances and entertained crowds.
In the inn, travelers would sometimes complain of hearing strange sounds coming from behind the curtain when they ate. . Kate would also place her spiritualist clients with their backs to the curtain. In the darkened room, she made all sorts of strange manifestations appear, usually with her family’s earthly assistance, and managed to keep the traveler transfixed in place for a long time.
The men would come behind and bludgeon the traveler. They would fall through a trap down and they’d murder them then bury them in the garden.
One day, Dr. William York left Independence Kansas and disappeared. His brothers were determined to find out what happened. They held searches but the Bender’s avoided being searched until people realized that they were being shaded and that their garden was always freshly plowed.
Their property was searched and the trap door was discovered. The house was searched and people said that the house smelled like blood. When they dug up the garden that found dozens of men’s bodies with their heads smashed in.
The house was then taken apart piece by piece by people who wanted souvenirs. The Bender’s were never found.