1916 — Rasputin is murdered

Rasputin is one of the legends of the Twentieth Century. He was definitely real, but has been imputed with supernatural powers since at leat 1890. A popular preacher in his native Russia, he came to international prominence in 1905 when he was summoned to the imperial palace to heal Prince Alexei. His success in doing so led to him having great influence over the Tsarina, and, it was rumoured, the Tsar.

There were rumblings against him from quite early on, but they only became truly serious as it became clear that Russia’s involvement in World War One was becoming increasingly disastrous. A group of aristocrats led by Prince Felix Yusupov, were alleged to have poisoned him with a dose of cyanide large enough to kill five people, then shot him in the head. Still not dead, Rasputin attacked Yusupov, and the conspirators clubbed him, tied him up and dumped the body in the Neva river.

It is unclear how much truth there is to this – the poisoning in particular has been disputed. He was definitely shot in the forehead and dumped in the river, and he definitely died. But his death, like his life, remains controversial and disputed.

Referenced in:
Rasputin — Boney M

1935 — Kate ‘Ma’ Barker is killed in a shootout with the FBI

The Barker-Karpis gang was, in its time, one of the most feared and deadly gangs of criminals in the United States of America. Between 1910 and 1935, they committed a number of robberies and were implicated in a dozen murders.

Ma Barker and her son Fred were shot to death by the FBI at a rented house in Lake Weir, Florida. Later evidence strongly suggests that Ma Barker, although often covering for her four son’s criminal endeavours, was not the criminal mastermind or teacher she has often been portrayed as. John Ford would understand why.

Referenced in:
Ma Baker — Boney M