Johann Hoch: America’s Bluebeard

Bluebeard is a French folk-tale about a villainous man who married and then killed multiple wives.  The American version of this story isn’t a folk tale–it’s real.  Today’s episode of Fact or Fiction examines the story of Johann Hoch, a man accused of marrying scores of women, absconding with their fortunes, and even murdering a few.  Listen carefully because it’s never easy to tell which parts of the story are Fact or Fiction.  Ready to play?




“Bluebeard Hoch Again Gets Another Chance.”  Quad-City Times. 24 August 1905, p. 1.

“Bluebeard Is Hanged.” The Marion Star, 23 February 1906, p. 1.

“Claims Only Married Twice.” The Atchison Daily Globe, 1 February 1905, p. 2.

“His Last Hope Gone.” Leader-Telegram, 22 February 1906, p. 1.

Hoch, Johann. “How I Married 50 Wives and What Became of Them.” The San Francisco Examiner, 30 July 1905, p. 46 – 47.

“Hoch and His Rivals.” The Wichita Daily Eagle, 24 February 1905, p. 9.

“Hoch and His Wives.” Messenger-Inquirer, 7 March 1905, p. 6.

“Hoch Gets a Reprieve.” The Topeka Daily Herald, 28 July 1905, p. 1.

“Hoch Is a Prisoner.” The Washington Post, 31 January 1905, p. 1.

“Hoch Is Guilty of Wife Murder.” The Allen County Republican-Gazette, 19 May 1905, p. 2.

“Johann Hoch Must Die.” The Windsor Star, 20 May 1905, p. 1.

“More Wives for Hoch.”  The Atchison Daily Globe, 1 February 1905, p. 1.

Johnson, Ray. “Johann Hoch hung 110 years ago today- His last moments on Earth.” Chicago Now, 23 February 2016.

Morrow, Jason Lucky. “Johann Hoch: The Lady Killer, 50 Possible Victims, 1890 – 1905.” Historical Crime Detective, 30 April 2014, Accessed 30 January 2021.

“Number of Wives Placed at Twenty.” The Des Moines Register, 29 January 1905, p. 1

Remarkable Career of Bluebeard Hoch.” The Star Ledger, 10 March 1905, p. 7.

Schutzer, A. I. “The Lady-killer.” American Heritage, vol. 15, issue 6, October 1964, Accessed 6 April 2021.


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