Charity Lamb

Hawthorne asylumBy Finn J.D. John
For many years, the case of Charity Lamb was looked at like a crime-fiction yarn from a pulp magazine like Spicy Detective. It seemed to have it all: illicit sex, a mother-daughter love triangle, conspiracy — and, of course, a brutal ax murder committed by a woman with the most ironically innocuous name imaginable.
“Charity Lamb and her seventeen-year-old daughter shared a passion for a drifter named Collins,” pop-historian Malcolm Clark Jr. explains breezily, in his 1981 book Eden Seekers. “When (Nathaniel) Lamb, as outraged father and cuckolded husband, strongly protested, Charity cut off his objections with an ax.”
The real story, of course, is not only more nuanced, but, well, totally different. In actual fact, the only part of Clark’s account that’s historically supportable are the names of the involved parties, the words “strongly protested,” and the word “ax.”

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