The Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax 

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11/10/02  WKMG Investigates     3/1/03  WKMG  New Evidence     4/1/03    More  WKMG

Clarification of Table Evidence by Mark Falzini

  Forensic Evidence Removed By American Lindbergh Family 

 Meet the German Lindbergh Family too! 

  See Photos of New Evidence

  NY Times Article June 22, 2003

June 22, 2003  The New York Times Reports On New Evidence 

  Confession & Translation   

  1948  News Report on Confession Discovery 

  Mersman Furniture Company 

   Is there a  Nazi Connection to the Lindbergh Kidnapping? 

  Fascism Part II: The Rise of American Fascism  by Geoff Price - March 11, 2004

 Mysterious Confession on the Mersman Table Brace 

In Hamburg  da bin ich gewesen in Samet und in Seide gekleidet

In Hamburg I used to be dressed in velvet and silk

Meinen Namen den darf ich nicht nennen

I am not allowed to say my name

Denn
then

Ich war einer der Kidnapper des Lindberg [sic] babys [sic]

I was one of the kidnappers of the lindbergh baby

und nicht Bruno Richard Hauptmann

and not Bruno Richard Hauptmann

Der Rest des Lösesgeldes liegt in Summit New Jersey begraben

The rest of the ransom money lies buried in Summit NJ

N.S.D.A.P.
National Socialist Worker's Party [NAZI party]

The German Song (Lied) Quoted in The Mersman Brace Confession

In Hamburg, da bin ich gewesen,
In Samt und in Seide gehüllt,
Meinen Namen den darf ich nicht nennen,
Denn ich bin ja ein Mädchen fürs Geld.

Mein Bruder, der hat mir geschrieben:
Ach Schwester, ach, kehr doch zurück!
Deine Mutter liegt schwerkrank darnieder;
Sie beweinet ihr einziges Glück.

Da hab ich ihm wieder geschrieben:
Ach Bruder, ich kann nicht zurück,
Meine Ehr' ist in Hamburg gebleiben,
In der Heimat, da find ich kein Glück.

Ach Mutter, ich bin ja verloren,
Verstoß nicht dein unglücklich Kind.
Du hast mich in Liebe geboren,
Für das Gute da ward ich zu blind.

In Hamburg, da bin ich gewesen,
In Samt und in Seide gehüllt,
Meinen Namen den darf ich nicht nennen,
Denn ich bin ja ein Mädchen fürs Geld.

PHOTOS : Ronelle Delmont    

Photos below were taken in April 2003 by Ronelle Delmont at the W Trenton Archive. Thanks to Mark Falzini for all the help in presenting this information.  The middle photo was taken by NJ Police in 1948 - they did not save a single report on this discovery and brushed it off as a complete hoax. The only thing they saved were 2 photos and the wooden brace itself.

Forensic Items Removed From the West Trenton Archive - 

And, The Hesshaimer Lindberghs 

Regarding the latest sensational news from German publications about Lindbergh's secret German family , Scott Berg is still the Lindbergh family-authorized mouthpiece. No one has yet asked him why the Lindberghs recently took the bones of their deceased brother out of the NJ Police Museum. 

It is amazing that not a single journalist seems to be aware of the fact that the American Lindberghs, a few months ago, very suddenly removed every scintilla of potential DNA evidence from the NJ State Police Museum in West Trenton New Jersey. Even New York Times reporter, Becky Batcha, who wrote an excellent piece for their NJ edition on June 22, failed to understand the meaning of this action, though, she must have seen the empty spaces in the Trenton Museum showcase at the time of her visit there.

The swift removal of forensic artifacts occurred on May 8, 2003 and those of us who research and write about the Lindbergh kidnapping were shocked to learn about it. On my message board the topic at that time had been the ill-health of Charles Lindbergh Jr  (he had rickets) and what genetic bone disease he might have suffered from.

Obviously, we all thought the removal of those bone fragments from the museum had something to do with our online discussions. Something was about to happen but we didn't know what it was until the German Lindberghs revealed themselves last week.

Here is the email I received 2 months ago from Mark Falzini, the Curator/Archivist of the W Trenton State Police Museum which houses all of the Hauptmann trial evidence.

"By order of the Attorney General's Office, the sleeping suit, thumb guard, and B. Altman t-shirt as well as the contents of the jars that were on display, and the hair and bone fragments were all returned to the Lindbergh family earlier this month.

The signed statement from the Lindberghs reads:

"The Lindbergh Family has honored the longtime wish of Anne Morrow Lindbergh that the remains and personal effects of Charles Lindbergh, Jr. be returned to the family for appropriate disposition. Today, Charles, Jr.'s siblings express their appreciation to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office and the New Jersey State Police Museum for returning these items and for enabling Mrs. Lindbergh's wishes to be fulfilled.

(sg) Land M. Lindbergh
(sg) Reeve Lindbergh
May 8, 2003"

The American Lindberghs have repeatedly refused to give samples of their DNA over the years and now they have secretly forced NJ to hand over all the forensic items pertaining to their dead brother. Tiny fragments of soil, bone and hair as well as the clothing.

Their desperate actions, in collusion with the Attorney General of New Jersey, may also be illegal as Governor Brendan Byrne, in the 1980s, designated the entire collection as "historical" artifacts. Their brother had been cremated by their father (he was in charge of the entire investigation) immediately after his body was discovered and no forensic autopsy was ever conducted.

Suspicions about the identity of that corpse have remained to this day and the only hope for an answer to that question was, of course, in DNA testing. Since the State of NJ most probably executed an innocent man for that crime NJ authorities have repeatedly refused to allow any forensic tests on any of the items in the archive - including the ladder, attic floorboard, ransom note envelopes, etc.

Yet, they turned over ALL of the potentially informative items to the family of the victim 70 years later when it had already been designated as a historical collection by the Governor in an Executive Order.

There is much reason to be outraged by all of this in spite of the sympathy that might be inspired by the thought of a family receiving the last remains of their long dead brother.

Last November investigative reporter, Mike Holfeld of WKMG in Orlando attempted to get permission for saliva DNA tests of certain envelope flaps housed in that Museum - especially the nursery ransom note envelope. Everything had been agreed upon for DNA tests to be paid for by WKMG and at the last minute WKMG was told by the Attorney General that they would not allow it. The AG stated, in a letter to Mike Holfeld, that the archive is designated as "historical" and, therefore, cannot be touched.

Yet, a few months later, unbeknownst to the public, the AG surreptitiously handed over ALL that remained of the evidence relating to the body and identity of Charles Lindbergh Jr. Even Mark Falzini knew nothing of this until they ordered him, within 24 hours, to pack it all up. (Luckily, he was able to find a Police photographer to preserve what he could on film.)

I understand the sympathy people will have for the American Lindberghs and their attempt to quietly sneak the DNA out of the NJ museum in case their European siblings try to use those fragments of bone, teeth and hair to prove their heritage. But, if New Jersey's Attorney General can allow those items out of public scrutiny he has no right to use the pretext of "historical value" to thwart serious researchers from obtaining the truth about who licked a ransom envelope on March 1, 1932.
- Ronelle Delmont

May 29, 2003 - email from Lindbergh  Archivist, Mark Falzini, to Ronelle Delmont  (publisher of The Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax website and Message Board)

By order of the Attorney General's Office, the sleeping suit,  thumb guard, and B. Altman t-shirt as well as the contents of the jars that were on display,  [see photo at left ]  and the hair and bone fragments were all returned to the Lindbergh family earlier this month.

The signed statement from the Lindberghs reads:

"The Lindbergh Family has honored the longtime wish of Anne Morrow Lindbergh that the remains and personal effects of Charles Lindbergh, Jr. be returned to the family for appropriate disposition.  Today, Charles, Jr.'s siblings express their appreciation to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office and the New Jersey State Police Museum for returning these items and for enabling Mrs. Lindbergh's wishes to be fulfilled.

(sg) Land M. Lindbergh
(sg) Reeve Lindbergh
May 8, 2003"

 

The New York Times

June 29, 2003 Sunday

This Case Never Closes

By BECKY BATCHA

THERE is nothing like a newly rediscovered piece of evidence from the Lindbergh kidnapping to inflame the passions of crime buffs. And the latest find - retrieved from an old crate stored in a warehouse at State Police headquarters in West Trenton - is a humdinger.

Rummaging through the contents of the long-ignored crate, which included shoes and other ephemera from the 1935 Lindbergh trial, a State Police archivist, Mark Falzini, found a wooden board bearing a handwritten, anonymous note confessing to the taking of the infant son of the hero aviator Charles A. Lindbergh.

The note, penciled in German, has been translated as saying, "I was one of the kidnappers of the Lindbergh baby and not Bruno Richard Hauptmann." It also said that some of the ransom money had been buried in Summit.

Hauptmann, of course, was the illegal German immigrant who was convicted of felony murder for the 1932 slaying of 20-month-old Charles A. Lindbergh Jr., who had been abducted from the nursery window of the Lindbergh country house near Hopewell. Hauptmann, maintaining his innocence to the end, died in the electric chair.

That a statement taking responsibility for the kidnapping has emerged from someone other than Hauptmann is not in itself remarkable.

"We have a filing cabinet full of letters that people wrote saying, 'I'm the kidnapper"' and asking for the ransom money, said Mr. Falzini, who oversees the vast Lindbergh kidnapping archive owned by the State Police. He is also aware of 16 people who have claimed to be Lindbergh's kidnapped son, now grown, including an African-American woman from Trenton.

But Mr. Falzini says this particular confession appears to be genuine. A series of holes in the board lines up precisely with in the original Lindbergh ransom notes. The coincidence suggests that the board is the template that was used to puncture the three-hole pattern that the police in the Lindbergh investigation came to recognize as the kidnapper's signature. "The ransom holes line up perfectly," Mr. Falzini said. "It doesn't look like it's a hoax."

Lloyd Gardner, a Rutgers history professor, who has written a book on the Lindbergh trial for Rutgers University Press that is due out next spring, confirmed that the holes in the board and the ransom notes matched with uncanny precision.

"It's stunning," he said. "I would say that there's very strong evidence that this is the template."

Less evident is how the confession ought to be interpreted. Mr. Falzini said the handwriting did not match Hauptmann's, which suggests either that the convicted killer had an accomplice or that he was perhaps innocent, even though about $15,000 of the $50,000 in ransom money was foundn his garage.

A vexing detail is that the note is signed "N.S.D.A.P." - the German initials for the Nazi Party. The Nazi connection is so out of context with the body of Lindbergh trial evidence that neither Mr. Falzini nor Mr. Gardner knows what to make of it.

"That's the kind of evidence this is," Mr. Gardner said. "It's mysterious, it's challenging, and no one can explain it. Thank heavens the police didn't just throw the board away. It's rather remarkable that it survived."

Mr. Falzini is not the first to have seen the German words written on the board. Newspaper clippings from 1948 indicate that the State Police were called to investigate writing on a piece of wood found braced to the underside of a table owned by a South Plainfield man. The authorities of the day dismissed the finding as a hoax, apparently without taking notice of the holes.

That is where things stood until Mr. Falzini, getting to a task that had long been on his to-do list, unlocked the crate in the police warehouse last November. The board's significance became apparent when he retrieved the first of the Lindbergh ransom notes from a safe, placed it atop the board and found the holes to be in alignment. In January the discovery attracted the attention of a television news crew from Orlando, Fla., that had come to New Jersey to investigate another angle of the Lindbergh case. The news spread to Lindbergh hobbyists worldwide this spring when Mr. Falzini alerted several scholarly researchers like Mr. Gardner and a trio of lively Lindbergh Internet forums.

Michael Melsky, a federal prison counselor and Lindbergh trial hobbyist who oversees one of the Internet sites, quickly drove from his home in Bucks County, Pa., to the New Jersey State Police Museum, a building on the West Trenton campus that houses the Lindbergh archives.

"I went down there and saw it right away -- within a week," he said.

On March 4, Mr. Melsky posted this message: "I am convinced we have the 'template' for the holes . Mark made the discovery of a lifetime."

Members of his chat group have been consumed by the finding ever since. Current threads of discussion include a scrutiny of the angle of the holes in the wood and their alignment. Effort is being made to establish a history of ownership of the table, involving the Mersman Table Factory of Salina, Ohio, and the Watchung Furniture House, of Plainfield.

A second Internet forum moderator, Ronelle Delmont, traveled from Pembroke Pines, Fla., to see the board for herself in April. "I made a special trip," said Mrs. Delmont, a former antiques dealer and belly dancer from Greenwich Village who now makes a living appearing at condominium complexes in South Florida to talk about books. She declared Mr. Falzini's discovery to be "the most important thing to have happened since the trial."

Allen Koenigsberg, a Brooklyn College classics professor who is moderator of the third primary Internet soapbox for Lindbergh enthusiasts, has not made the pilgrimage to West Trenton. But based on photographs and on several passages in the confession that he interprets as word play (notably the notion of burying something at a summit), Mr. Koenigsberg said the confession had struck him as a sly hoax.

Regardless of how Mr. Falzini's discovery eventually comes to be interpreted, the re-emergence of the "table board confession" - as it is called in Internet chatter -- has been an undisputed "shot of adrenaline" for hobbyists, Mr. Koenigsberg said. "On the message boards, it's caused quite a ripple."

It also seems likely to invigorate a cultish circuit of Lindbergh attractions in Mercer and Hunterdon Counties, including the Lindbergh trial exhibit at the State Police Museum. Highlights of the exhibit there, administered by Mr. Falzini, include the ladder used by the baby's kidnapper, newsreel footage from the trial and the electric chair in which Hauptmann was executed.

Another stop on Central Jersey's "trial of the century" itinerary is Highfields, the Lindbergh house outside Hopewell that was the scene of the crime - now a Juvenile Justice Commission group home for young offenders. Zanetta Worthy, the assistant superintendent at the home, says at least a few curiosity seekers drive up the estate's mile-long driveway every week to rubberneck the nursery window.

The Historic Hunterdon County Courthouse on Main Street in Flemington, where the Lindbergh trial took place, is another draw. Harry Kazman, a retired drama teacher from Hunterdon Central High School, stages as many as a dozen trial re-enactments at the courthouse every autumn, many of which sell out.

Mr. Kazman said Mr. Falzini's recent discovery was welcome news. "What it does is to perpetuate the lore and the myth surrounding the case," he said. "It continues to perpetuate the controversy."

As a producer with seats to fill, "I love controversy," Mr. Kazman said.

URL: http://www.nytimes.com

GRAPHIC: Photos: An exhibit at the State Police Museum includes, above, the ladder used in the Lindbergh kidnapping. Three holes on the original ransom note, left, match holes in a board on which a note about the kidnapping was written. (Photographs by Laura Pedrick for The New York Times)

Clarifications Concerning the Table Evidence

By Mark Falzini, Archivist: NJ State Police Museum, West Trenton 

Below is an attempt at setting forth the few known facts about the table and ransom note symbol. I was wondering if you guys would be kind enough to post this for me. I've been giving lectures here at work to several school groups and their questions are focusing a lot on the mysterious table. I was caught off guard by this sudden interest and it was explained that there's a lot of activity on the internet right now about it. I guess as they prepared for the trip they were reading your sites.

There is apparently a lot of misinformation about the table flying around the 'Net and I wanted to try to set the basic facts as they are known straight as best I can. The information below is based on what some of the students and teachers have asked me.


The 1948 Newspaper Articles:
To begin with, when questions are asked of me, there are references made to the 1948 newspaper articles that covered the story in 1948. What I tell people about them (and what I have said on camera to WKMG/TV6 and Court TV) is that the articles published in 1948 are so full of inaccuracies that they cannot be relied on for any information pertaining to the table. For example, one article states that the table was bought new in 1940; another has it in 1938. One states that the message was unsigned; it was "signed" by the N.S.D.A.P. An article states that the alleged confession was a "paper found in leg of table purchased 10 years ago". And yet another article states that the Superintendent of State Police in 1948 was Colonel Arthur Schoeffel. It was actually Charles Schoeffel; "Arthur" was the first name of then Captain Keaton. A simple mistake, yes, but a mistake and wrong information nonetheless.

Someone called and made reference to the writing on the board being purple or blue. I have no clue what the source of this incredibly inaccurate information is because anyone who has actually seen the board knows that the writing is gray. I double checked this myself today and even had a State Trooper verify this for me.

It is, to date, impossible to discern when the message was written on the board, whether it was in 1948 or earlier.

A couple of callers asked me about the "Hand of Hauptmann" influence on the confession because the book was published in the discoverer's neighborhood. Unfortunately this, too, is wrong. The Hamer Publishing Company was located in Plainfield, New Jersey, 4.5 miles away from South Plainfield where the table was actually discovered. Also, the book was published in 1937, and not 1948 as the caller had been led to believe. That is over a decade prior to the alleged discovery and there is no evidence known to the Museum staff that Haring was distributing his book there eleven years after its publication.

The Handwriting and Message:

The handwriting is not German handwriting. There are mistakes in the message that a native German speaker would not make. However, there is an aspect to the message that most likely only someone native to German culture would know to use - the song lyrics.

The message is divided into four parts:

The introduction, the confession, the ransom location and the signature.

The Introduction:
In Hamburg da bin ich gewesen in Samet und in Seide gekleidet
Meinen Namen den darf ich nicht nennen
Denn

In Hamburg I wore velvet and silk,
I cannot tell you my name
because

The introduction is taken from an old German "sailor's song", a rather risque song. It was not known that this was actually a song until a German friend of mine recognized it.


The Confession
Ich war einer der Kidnapper des Lindberg babys
und nicht Bruno Richard Hauptmann

I was one of the kidnappers of the Lindbergh baby
and not Bruno Richard Hauptmann


The Ransom Location:
Der Rest des Lösesgeldes liegt in Summit New Jersey begraben

The rest of the ransom money lies buried in Summit New Jersey


The Signature:

N.S.D.A.P.

This is, obviously, the German initials of the Nazi Party.


The Table and Ransom Note Holes:
Regarding the holes in the table and in the ransom notes: The holes in the table are considered to be original to the table. All of the ransom notes with the symbol, when laid on top of the center three holes, line up perfectly. When laid on top of one another they line up perfectly as well.

A recent study (unpublished) was done of the ransom note holes and it has been determined that they were not all punched at the same time. Rather, groups of two or three (roughly) were most likely punched at once. This was actually determined back in 1932 by Russell Snook and has been known to scholars of the case for several years now.

Snook's report states the following:

"SYMBOL

Definite Points Established: None

Problematical.

1. Large Circles made Top of Cork Black Ink Bottle
(Probably Waterman's)
2. Small Circle Made with bottom of Cork of Red Ink Bottle

3. Holes not all made at same time.

4. Symbol indicates sense of balance, symetry [sic] and beauty.

Recommendation:

That further examination be made to determine how symbol was made."

Furthermore, in his more extensive report dated May 17, 1932, Lieutenant Snook writes:

"Examination was also made of the secret symbol on the ransom notes. After considerable experimentation both Dr. Souder and Mr. Davis stated it was their opinion that the large circles in the symbol were made by the top of a cork of a black ink bottle (probably a Waterman's) and the smaller red circle by the bottom of a cork of a red ink bottle. Mr. Davis duplicated the large circles with a cork from a Waterman's ink bottle. It was thought that the holes in the paper were made by some blunt instrument punched through the paper using something under the paper as a guage [sic], such as a hole in a belt a shoe or some other ordinary article which would least attract attention. It was found there is a variation in the holes in the notes which indicates that the papers were not all punched at the same time."


Police Reports about the table

Lastly, there are no police reports that I am aware of in existence today concerning the table. The South Plainfield police had destroyed their records and a retired officer who was on duty in 1948 did not remember the table nor the alleged hoax. Additionally, there have been no State Police records found concerning the table.

Personally, I do not know if the message on the board is a hoax or not. I do believe it to be a very compelling mystery. While the table message was declared a hoax in 1948, it was declared so based (as far as we can tell) on the handwriting. It does not match anyone's from the case as far as we can determine. However, the holes were not examined (at least, we do not believe so - there are no police reports, remember). This is based on conversations with Troopers who told me that had the discovery that I made a couple years ago been made in 1948, it would not have been dismissed as quickly as it apparently was.

Therefore, my official stance is that I have no idea if it is a hoax; I have no idea what the whole thing means. But it is also my belief that it should not be dismissed outright, especially by people who are not in possession of accurate information. I should also point out that only a couple people have actually come to the Museum to do a thorough "examination" and research into this item, and from the printouts I have been given by the students, I see that they are not the ones posting information about the table. So, please be aware of this.

I hope this helps to clarify the confusion and speculation about the table. And I hope it spurs more research from all sides! I know from the number of people who ask me questions based upon what they've found on the internet that the websites are attracting a lot of people and are helping to keep this case alive. I regret that I no longer have the time to read the websites like I used to. As you know, it is very rare that I ask for anything to be posted but with the number of questions I've gotten over the past couple of days from students visiting the Museum, I thought I should set the record as straight as it can be set.

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