In "Travels with Dr. Death", Ron Rosenbaum profiles legendary Texas forensic psychiatrist James Grigson, who, as of this reporting, had testified in court against 124 murderers. Acting on his advice, and his weird, unproven theories, juries had sentenced 115 of them to death, leading some opponents to call Grigson the "hanging shrink".
In "The Corpse as Big as the Ritz", Ron Rosenbaum, author of Explaining Hitler and master of the "investigation of investigations", gives us a Hollywood noir with shades of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Raymond Chandler: An inquiry into the "Dirty Little Death in the Desert" of David Whiting, the love-stricken business manager of actress Sarah Miles, who was found dead in the actress's hotel room during the filming of the Burt Reynold's Western The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing.
In The Mysterious Murder of JFK's Mistress, Ron Rosenbaum investigates the murder of Mary Pinochet Meyer, whose affair with President John F. Kennedy became tabloid fodder, and who was found shot to death on October 12, 1964. Immediately after her death, one of the CIA's top priorities was finding the diary in which Meyer chronicled her relationship with the late president and the secrets they shared.
An obsessive (if strange) pilgrimage to the late J.D. Salinger's New Hampshire sanctuary, where, if you listened closely, you could hear the sound of one man hiding. "The Catcher in the Driveway" was originally published in Esquire, June 1997.
One afternoon in the late 1970s, deep in the labyrinthine interior of a massive Gothic tower in New Haven, an unsuspecting employee of Yale University opened a long-locked room in the Payne Whitney Gymnasium and stumbled upon something shocking and disturbing. Shocking, because what he found was an enormous cache of nude photographs, thousands and thousands of photographs of young men in front, side, and rear poses. Disturbing, because the photos looked like the record of a bizarre body-piercing ritual.
There is an underground telephone network in this country. Al Gilbertson, creator of the "blue box", discovered it the very day news of his own arrest hit the papers. That evening his phone began ringing. Phone phreaks from Seattle, from Florida, from New York, from San Jose, and from Los Angeles began calling him and telling him about the phone-phreak network. He'd get a call from a phone phreak who'd say nothing but, "Hang up and call this number".
The use of the term "evil" has become controversial. Many are reluctant to apply it at all - even to Adolph Hitler (psychological adjustment problems, you see). And while it is true that the word has been recurrently misused, if we abandon the idea that it is possible to commit a knowingly evil act, we must abandon our belief in free will. Consider the case of "Psycho-Cabbie"....