George P. Metesky was an older, dapper
fellow, living quietly with his two sister
s in Waterbury, Connecticut
. He didn't seem to have a job
, although he was often in his workshop
, pounding or sanding away at some project. He frequently went to New York City
, usually for Mass at St. Patrick's
. Some kids were scared of Mr. Metesky, but for no reason; probably his strange work habits
or maybe latent racism towards the Slavic
man. At any rate, Metesky eventually befriended those youngsters, fixing a toy airplane
As it turns out, those kids were right. They should have been scared of the secretly paranoid Metesky. He had once worked for Consolidated Edison, the largest electric provider in New York, and he blamed them for the tuberculosis that he caught after an on-site accident. He filed claim after claim, seeking damages; claim after claim was denied. He wrote angry letters to Con Ed, saying he will get revenge for those 'dastardly deeds'.
And he proceeded to get revenge.
Two bombs were planted outside of Con Edison buildings in 1940, along with notes. Both bombs were duds; they were simple and makeshift affairs, and on the second, the timer wasn't wound. So were these just devices meant to scare? Were the notes meant to be found?
Three months later, the U.S. entered World War II, and a letter sent to the police made from cut-out letters stated : 'I will make no more bomb units for the duration of the war - my patriotic feelings have made me decide this - later I will bring the Con Edison to justice - they will pay for their dastardly deeds.'
More letters were sent during the war. They all mentioned Con Edison, and they all mentioned that they would be brought to justice, but nothing else. Some of the notes were handwritten. And all were signed F.P.
Nine years later, the bombing began again. And this time, the bombs were refined. The first one was in Grand Central Station. It was again a dud, possibly a warning shot, for the fourth placed inside of New York Library. That one destroyed a phone booth. After that, 29 more bombs were placed in seven years. None of them were duds. Most caused injuries, some severe, such as the one he placed in the Paramount theatre in 1956.
The police had no clues except for the letters that were sent; they were completely clean. The only possible clue were the initials F.P. The only thing that they could do was search through old Con Edison records, hunting down each and every person that felt that they'd been done wrong. Con Ed was a utility, a monopoly; they'd done everyone wrong. It was a tough hunt.
They called in a psychologist. This was not part of standard police procedure; profiling of perpetrators had not yet been investigated. The psychologist, Dr. Brussel, read all of the letters, diagnosing paranoia, and proceeded to make informed guesses on the nature of this F.P., now known as the Mad Bomber of New York.
Here's where I split with most histories on the subject; most hail Dr. Brussel as a man before his time - a true pioneer. Which may be true. But I happen to believe that Dr. Brussel made a few clearly evident guesses, based around the standard paranoiac profile or other obvious clues, one good guess, and three left-field guesses that were miraculously correct. Dr. Brussles claimed the following :
- The bomber was male and very meticulous.(Most bombers are male, and these bombs showed care and workmanship; thanks, Captain Obvious...)
- The bomber was middle-aged and overly sensitive to criticism. (Paranoia tends to peak at middle age, and paranoiacs can't take criticism)
- A good guess : the bomber was a foriegn national, mostly self-educated. (Good observation skills here; the language was formal and contained no slang words and very few contractions. Plus, his handwriting indicated some formal schooling - enough to drill in penmanship, but not enough to refine his writing style.)
- The bomber was Slavic and a Roman Catholic. (This was apparently predicated on some view of Eastern Europeans as bombers; the Roman Catholic charge follows, as most Eastern Europeans at the time were.)
- The bomber lived in Connecticut. (Where there was a large population of Eastern Europeans.)
- The bomber suffered from Oedipal complex, and probably lived alone with female relatives. (This Freudian analysis was based on the bomber's phallic bombs, the breast-like W's in his handwriting, and the knifing penetration into movie theatre seats where he had hidden bombs.)
- When you capture him, the bomber will be waring a double-breated suit, fully buttoned. (Neat freak, etc.)
, and people began pointing out friends
who just might be the man
- and some actually fit the profile
. Two men popped up with paranoid tendencies
and links to Con Edison; both were cleared
. Metesky, F.P., apparently found Dr. Brussel's number
and called him as a warning, saying to keep out or 'you'll be sorry
'. This was the beginning of Metesky's downfall
; he would become arrogant
and start revealing clues
about himself through his constant letter
s. In 1956, a letter revealed that he had an accident
at a certain date
; from there, the claim
s were found and Metesky was hunt
Upon capture at his home, Metesky was polite and confessed easily; he was wearing a bathrobe, and he was allowed to change, and they took him away in a fully-buttoned double-breasted suit.
F.P. was revealed to mean 'fair play'.
Metesky served 16 years in jail, and was released, after which he lived in peace. Dr. Brunner went on to work on other cases, including that of the Boston Strangler. He had limited success. His work on the case of the Mad Bomber began the push towards profiling as police work.
I got most of this form an article by Melissa Nurczynski; I fear this is one of my worse nodes, because it comes dangerously close to plagarism at times. But I'm sure I'm in the clear, copyright-wise.