Episode: Episode 24: Pearl Bryan


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Episode 24: Pearl Bryan

In February of 1896, a little boy discovered a woman's headless body in a farmer's field in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. No one knew who she was, or what had happened. Newspapers carried headlines like "Hunt for the Head" and "Headless Horror." Quickly, the crime scene became a tourist attraction and visitors traveled from all over to collect bloody souvenirs. The gruesome details were adapted into a popular song that's been recorded dozens of times. We talk with folklorist Sarah Bryan about the true story behind the murder ballad, and the band Elephant Micah performs an original arrangement. 

Download Elephant Micah’s “Pearl Bryan” on iTunes or Bandcamp. Read their guide, “How to Bring a Murder Ballad Back to Life” here.

We're doing live shows in Durham, Seattle, LA, and San Francisco this fall. Tickets on sale now. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. Say hello on Twitter @criminalshow

 



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