Episode 393:

It’s Not a Meeting

Louise and William Thoresen III


The Bogeyman of Victorian England, Spring-Heeled Jack


Episode 393: It’s Not a Meeting

This week, Georgia tells the story of Louise and William Thoresen III and Karen covers the bogeyman of Victorian England, Spring-Heeled Jack.

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Louise and William Thoresen III

Louise and William Thoresen III Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by Scott Wilson / Alamy

Other Image:

  1. William and Louise Thoresen (Associated Press)


"The 2800 block of Broadway, known as Billionaires’ Row, is the most expensive block in the most expensive neighborhood in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

...But 2801 Broadway has a darker side. Between 1965 and 1970, this house was a massive arsenal containing tons of machine guns and other munitions. It was the home of William Thoreson III, a man with the face of a movie star and the mind of a serial killer. William’s father was William Thoreson Jr., the multimillionaire owner of Great Western Steel. William and his younger brother, Richard, grew up as “poor little rich boys” in Kenilworth, an exclusive Chicago suburb Forbes Magazine called “the second most affluent neighborhood in the United States.”

William felt neglected by his workaholic father and socialite mother and spent his teenage years breaking and entering local homes, shoplifting, fighting, driving recklessly and warring with his parents. When he was 17, his parents had him committed to a series of mental institutions.

At 20, William met Louise, a teacher and speech therapist. Some thought she would be a good influence on him. The reverse was true. He dazzled her with psychopathic charm, married her and introduced her to a life of crime. On their first trip together, she became his accomplice as he stole camping equipment and a hunting rifle.

At age 21, when William didn’t receive his expected inheritance, he broke into a basement vault and took $650,000 of securities that his parents had kept from him. William and Louise moved to Tucson, Ariz. and had a son, named Michael. In Arizona, William collected a retinue of followers, including drug dealers Stoney Richardson and Cal Burlow. Marriage and fatherhood never impinged on Bill’s playboy lifestyle. He was charming, drove a Ferrari and dated stewardesses and models. But his dark side kept emerging and he was arrested for assault and on explosives charges.

He enlisted his brother Richard to join him in a campaign of intimidation in order to secure their legacies. They broke into their parents’ home, stole financial papers and embarrassed their parents with a series of wild stunts. In response, their father swore out a warrant for their arrest. Richard was arrested and quickly bailed out of jail. William avoided arrest by going to Hawaii. Two days before his day in court, Richard was found dead in his car with a bullet hole behind his right ear. Authorities were uncertain about the cause of death.

With the money he inherited from his brother, William moved to San Francisco, bought the mansion at 2801 Broadway and discovered the pleasures of Haight-Ashbury. He hosted LSD parties at his Pacific Heights home for his Arizona friends and others.

With his customary impulsiveness, William decided to expand his gun collection. He and Louise traveled around the country making huge purchases of both legal and contraband arms. Mysterious crates began arriving at 2801 Broadway..."


Source: “The House on Billionaires Row” by Paul Drexler (The San Francisco Examiner, August 2, 2015)

The Bogeyman of Victorian England, Spring-Heeled Jack

The Bogeyman of Victorian England, Spring-Heeled Jack Notes:

Other Images:

  1. Depiction of Victorian London by Gustave Doré (Lebrecht Music & Arts / Alamy)
  2. Illustration of Spring-Heeled Jack from 1890 (British Library / Alamy)


"Out of the night he came, a leaping, bounding superman who terrified the English nation for more than 60 years.

At first, tales of this devil-like figure who leaped from roof-top to roof-top was accepted as hysterical nonsense. But in January 1838 this strange creature received official recognition when a barmaid, Polly Adams, was attacked while walking across Blackheath in south London. Mary Stevens, a servant girl was terrified by what she saw on Barnes Common, and in Clapham churchyard a woman was assaulted!

Lucy Scales, a butchers daughter was attacked in Limehouse and Jane Alsop was almost strangled by a cloaked creature in her own home before her family managed to beat-off her attacker…at which point he leapt and soared off into the darkness.

Jane Alsop described her inhuman attacker to London magistrates…”He was wearing a kind of helmet and a tight fitting white costume like an oilskin and he vomited blue and white flames!”

The Lord Mayor of London, Sir John Cowan, received complaints from several parts of London describing a demonic creature with eyes like balls of fire and hands like icy claws, and able to bound from roof-top to roof-top with ease.

The police did not dismiss these stories and even the Duke of Wellington, although aged nearly 70 went out armed on horseback to hunt and kill the monster!

Who was this mysterious fiend who roamed London attacking women?"


Source: “Spring Heeled Jack” by Ellen Castelow (Historic UK)

Georgia's Episode Sources

  1. Sympathy Vote: A Reinvestigation of the Valerie Percy Murder, by Glenn Wall
  2. Zodiac Maniac: The Secret History of the Zodiac Killer, by Glenn Wall
  3. “NY ‘Arsenal’ Found, Thoresen’s Wife Held” (Tucson Daily Citizen, December 21, 1966)
  4. “Woman is Seized With Arms Cache” by Bob Greene (Newsday, December 21, 1966)
  5. “Raiders Seize Big Guns” (San Francisco Examiner, April 21, 1967)
  6. “Mystery SF Arsenal is Confiscated” (Oakland Tribune, April 22, 1967)
  7. “Student Silent on Veracity of Bombing Statement” (Tucson Citizen, February 3, 1965)
  8. “Gun Lover Arrested - Again” (Boston Globe, May 2, 1967)
  9. “Convicts, Doctor Testify in Behalf of Mrs. Thoresen” (Tucson Daily Citizen, November 13, 1970)
  10. “The House on Billionaires Row” by Paul Drexler (The San Francisco Examiner, August 2, 2015)
  11. “Valerie Percy Murder: Suspect William Thoresen Revealed in 1966 Kenilworth Mystery” (ABC7 Chicago)
  12. “The Way She Tells the Story It’s a Man-Hater’s Dream” (The New York Times, March 6, 1974)

Karen's Episode Sources

  1. “The Original Urban Legend: Spring Heeled-Jack” (PBS) 2020  
  2. “Spring Heeled Jack” by Ellen Castelow (Historic UK)
  3. “Spring-Heeled Jack: The Demon of London” (Buzzfeed Unsolved) 2022
  4. “Spring-Heeled Jack: The Terror of London by Richard Scott” (Project Gutenberg of Australia” 2006
  5. Spring Heeled Jack (Wikipedia)
  6. “History of Lighting” (The Victorian Emporium) 2011
  7. “The Uncanny Valley: Jumpin’ Black Flash, A Cape Cod boogeyman” by James Heflin (Valley Advocate) 2015
  8. “Whitechapel Murders”  (Brittanica Kids)
  9.  “Collective delusions, a skeptic’s guide” by Robert Bartholomew. (center for Inquiry) 1997
  10. “Gender roles in the 19th Century” by Kathryn Hughes (British Library) 2014
  11. “10 Common Sayings with Historical Origins” by Evan Andrews (History) 2023