The Ballad Of Belle Gunness

Album: Howlin' Wild (2007)


  • This TJ McFarland composition from his 2007 Howlin' Wild album is not so much a song as a crime report in rhyme focusing on the later life of one of history's most notorious female serial killers. Brynhild Paulsdatter Storseth was born at Selbu, Norway on November 11, 1859. She was declared dead at LaPorte, Indiana, April 28, 1908, though there has been enormous and reasonable speculation about her actual demise.

    Serial killers have long been categorized; female serial killers are usually either angels of death or black widows - Belle was the latter. A big woman, she moved to the United States where she Anglicized her name and worked as a servant before marrying Mads Ditlev Anton Sorenson at Chicago in 1884. She is said to have borne him four children, but he didn't live to see them grow up because she poisoned him in July 1900.

    Relocating to LaPorte, Indiana, she didn't grieve for her first husband very long before marrying widow Peter Gunness. He didn't last long, and she collected the insurance money on him as she did on her first husband. After that, she advertised in the lonely hearts columns of newspapers, and her suitors (read victims) were not slow replying.
  • Running to a shade over five minutes, McFarland covers the rest of the story graphically:

    Hell's Belle Gunness
    The black widow of the heartland
    She and love will never be together
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2


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