Sunday, February 6, 2011

Nannie Doss, "The Giggling Granny"

Nancy Hazle (later to become known as Nannie Doss) was born on November 4, 1905 in Blue Mountain, Alabama. She grew up avoiding her father and his abusive outbursts that ripped at the seams of her family. Because her father had little respect or disregard for her education, Nancy was pulled out of school during the sixth grade to help work on the farm. Nancy was a prisoner in her own home. She wasn't allowed to have friends, wear nice dresses or make-up, and was prohibited to talk to boys. She spent her nights working in the factory and reading romance magazines. She finally began to have a social life when she got her first job in 1921 (Montaldo).

Soon into her first job, Nancy met her first husband, Charley Braggs. Nancy and Charley got married when she was 16, just five months after they met. The couple moved into Charley's mother's house, which soon turned into a nightmare for Nancy. It turned out that her mother-in-law was no better than her father. Together, Nancy and Charley has four beautiful daughters. Buried underneath all the pressure of raising four children and having a husband who began to cheat on her, Nancy began to drink, smoke, and see other men. Some of Nancy's first murders were suspected to occur in 1927 when two of her daughters died unexpectedly from food poisoning. Soon after, Charley took his oldest daughter and left, suspecting that something strange was going on with Nancy. Little did he know how lucky he was that he got away while he had the change (Gansen, 2010).

After her husband left her, Nancy became obsessed with romance and started the search for her next husband using the personal sections in the local newspaper. She soon met Frank Harrelson and they got married in 1929. Soon Nancy found out that Frank was a drunk who had just been released from prison. While married to Frank, Nancy's oldest daughter had two children, one in 1943 and one in 1945, both of whom Nancy is accused of killing. Seven months later Frank was dead after Nancy accused him of forcing sex on her. She vowed to get even with him for that and did so by poisoning his liquor bottle with rat poisoning (Gansen, 2010.) Once again, Nancy turned to the personal adds in the paper to find love. After three days of knowing Arlie Lanning (an alcoholic womanizer), Nancy married him. Soon after they got married, Arlie was killed and his house (who would have gone to his sister) was burned to the ground. All the insurance money went to Nancy who then went to stay with her sister, whom she also killed (Ciampa).

In search of love once again, Nancy joined the Diamond Circle Club, a singles club, where she met her fourth husband Richard Morton, Luckily, Richard was no drunk, however, he was a well known womanizer and had a lot of debt. When Nancy's father died, her mother came to stay with her and Richard. Soon after, her mother died of "stomach pains," and three months later Richard died of similar symptoms (Ciamps). While married to Richard, Nancy had already found husband number five, Sam Doss. Sam was not like her previous husbands. He didn't drink, swear, have money issues, or threaten her in any way. He was one of the good ones and honestly cared about her. Sadly, soon enough Sam was sent to the hospital with a digestive track infection. After 23 days, Sam was sent home where Nancy prepared him a welcome home dinner of pot roast and coffee, laced with some nice arsenic. He was dead before midnight (Gansen, 2010).

Because Sam's death had arrived so quickly, the doctor on the case ordered an emergency autopsy and found the large amount of arsenic in Sam's digestive tract. Nancy was arrested soon after. She soon confessed to killing all four of her husbands, as well as to committing seven other murders. She was charged with murder and plead guilty on May 17, 1955, almost 25 years after she began killing. She was sentenced to a lifetime in prison, but died in 1965 of cancer (Gansen, 2010).

Ciampa, Tara. (n.d.). Nannie doss. Retrieved from
Gansen, Kristyn. (2010, January 18), Background and first two husbands of nannie doss. Retrieved from
Montaldo, Charles. (n.d.) Nannie doss, one of the most prolific female serial killers in u.s. history. Retrieved from

1 comment:

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