Kim Wall Definitely Shouldn't Have Gone Alone To Interview That Wacky Inventor Aboard His Submarine
One of the coolest things about being a reporter has to be interviewing weird and wonderful people. For instance, who'd turn down the chance to interview Peter Madsen, a man who'd been designing and launching rockets since he was a teenager? This guy went on to create a private rocket lab in Copenhagen, and he also constructed three submarines all on his own. Certainly, all of these are marks of an eccentric genius, and all those movies casting such figures as supervillains are nothing but petty fearmongering.
In 2017, Swedish writer Kim Wall tried repeatedly to schedule an interview with Madsen, who was now looking to travel to space via crowdfunding. Wall had reported for The New York Times, Time magazine, and a bunch of other famous outlets, and she was hoping to put together a piece of a new Danish space race. On August 10, she finally got to tour Madsen's lab. He invited her to continue the interview aboard his sub that night. A bunch of friends saw her off as she boarded the UC3 Nautilus -- they were throwing a party to celebrate her impending move to Beijing, and they expected her to rejoin the party after a couple hours. Instead, a week later, her torso washed up on a nearby beach.
via Wiki Commons
Madsen had been carrying around a saw that day, purely coincidentally.
Her head, legs, and all her clothes turned up later in plastic bags in the water, and police found her arms last, floating free. They checked in with gracious host Peter Madsen, who was not entirely forthcoming about what had happened that night. He'd already sunk the sub to hide evidence, and he now kept changing his story. First he said he'd dropped her off safely. Later, he said something had accidentally hit her head, then he switched that to carbon monoxide knocking her out. We never quite got a confirmed blow-by-blow account of the night, and honestly, few of us would particularly relish hearing one. A jury didn't need one to find Madsen guilty and sentence him to life in prison.
The catch-all explanation is this was a horrifically violent, sexual murder. The prosecution also offered a more detailed theory of what went down. Based on his browsing history, Madsen seemed to be obsessed with the idea of snuff films. He'd recently been expelled from a Danish BDSM club, for being too passive. Perhaps Madsen planned to record Wall in a snuff film, proving his dominance either to himself or to future sexual partners. He botched this shoot, because in addition to being a murderous psychopath, Peter Madsen was deeply incompetent -- but then, you could guess that just from the whole "crowdfunding a space travel venture" thing.
Madsen went crazy trying to prove he was more than just a sub.
The French Prime Minister's Wife Straight-Up Shot A Newspaper Editor To Death, And Got Off
To be clear, we're not talking about the current French prime minister's wife. If this story happened today, you'd probably have heard of it. This was a hundred years ago, and the prime minister in question was Joseph Caillaux, who'd now moved to the ministry of finance and offered some controversial ideas, such as taxing everyone's income. That earned him few supporters in the conservative press, and one outlet, Le Figaro, came out with new coverage against him with each passing day. Le Figaro is still in business, by the way, so even if this story is a hundred years old, it's not from some totally bygone age.