The Killer of Little Shepherds

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Douglas Starr, codirector of the Center for Science and Medical Journalism, recounts the birth of the field of modern forensics in his book, The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Modern Forensics. It gives an account of serial murderer Joseph Vacher, known as the killer of "little shepherds," and the desperate search by police in France to stop his terrifying killing spree.


Douglas Starr
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Comments [5]

Douglas Starr

Regarding the question about newspapers...the turn of the century saw the birth of the tabloid press, and the papers found the Vacher case sensational copy. You can see some examples if you go to the "gallery" section of my website:

Jan. 06 2011 10:38 AM
ron from flushing

you mentioned jack the ripper,i took a tour of his murdering spree. he frequented a bar called the 10 bells for some of his victims. was it him alone?

Jan. 05 2011 06:44 PM
Dan from columbia

How did the newspapers at the time sensationalize the murders?

Jan. 05 2011 01:21 PM
Dan from columbia

How did the newspapers at the time sensationalize the murders?

Jan. 05 2011 01:20 PM

What an interesting guest... I loved his observation that police understood that torture was ineffective in the 19th century. I wonder if he's familiar w/ some of the exploration of psuedo-science and torture in the book, None of Us Were Like This Before (and why that kind of folklore persists). I'd be curious about some of his observations about why psuedo-science and folklore overtake serious investigations and forensic work. As your guest points out, sometimes it seems like we're reading the same headlines -- from the 19th century to today.

Jan. 05 2011 01:19 PM

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