The Mysterious Mr. X of the Ransom Notes
by Jesse Pelletreau
Tom Wescott in Ripper Notes about Ransom Symbols (pdf)
The first ransom note (pictured above) was "found" by Charles Lindbergh on the window sill in the nursery. Betty Gow and Anne had searched the room and no note or envelope was seen by either of them. Lindbergh, typically evasive at the trial, could not remember when he had "discovered" it.
However, he forced everyone (including the Police) to ignore it for over 2 hours even though he said it was a ransom note from the "kidnapper." No writing appeared on the outside of this envelope and it was sealed, yet he claimed it was a note from the "kidnappers." He said that he wanted to have it dusted for fingerprints before it was opened. It took several hours for Sgt. Kelly to arrive with his fingerprint kit.
click each blue link to see color digital photos taken by Ronelle Delmont at the W Trenton Archive in May 2000 - special thanks to archivist, Mark Falzini
Have 5000$ redy. 25000$ in 20$ bills 15000$ in 10$ bills and 10000$ in 5$ bills After 2-4 days we will inform you were to deliver the mony We warn you for making anyding public or for notify the police the child is in gut care.
Indication for all letters are singnature and three holes
The "singnature" referred to consisted of two circles interlocking. There appeared to be three square holes punched, one in each of the circles, and one in the resulting oval where the two circles interlocked. The circles were blue in color. The oval was red.
Click here to see a close up of the handwriting from the 1st note.
After the first, another ransom note was received. The note (pictured above in black & white) arrived via mail on March 6, 1932. It was postmarked Brooklyn, New York, March 4. The second note demanded an increased ransom of $70,000. The arrival of the note spurred a police conference at Trenton, New Jersey, to decide what should be done about the case.
Dear Sir. We have warned you note to make anything public also notify the police now you have to take consequences- means we will have to hold the baby until everything is quite. We can note make any appointments just now. We know very well what it means to us. It is realy necessary to make a world affair out of this, or to get your baby back as soon as possible to settle those affair in a quick way will be better for both- don't be afraid about the baby- keeping care of us day and night. We also will feed him acording to the diet.
We are interested to send him back in gut health. And ransom was made aus for 50000$ but now we have to take another person to it and probably have to keep the baby for a longer time as we expected. So the amound will be 70000 20000 in 50$ bills 25000$ in 20$ bill 15000$ in 10$ bills and 10000 in 5$ bills Don't mark any bills or take them from one serial nomer. We will form you latter were to deliver the mony. But we will note do so until the Police is out of the cace and the pappers are quite. The kidnapping we prepared in years so we are prepared for everyding.
A third ransom note was recieved by Colonel Henry Breckenridge, Lindbergh's attorney, on March 8. This note requested a note in the newspaper from someone to act as an intermediary.
Dr. John F. Condon, a retired school principal, published in the Bronx Home News an offer to be an intermediary. The following day, a fourth note was given to Dr. Condon. The note agreed that Dr. Condon would be the "go between". On March 10, 1932, Dr. Condon was given $70,000 in cash as ransom. He immediately began to negotiate the payment of the ransom through the newspaper, using the code name "Jafsie."
Mr Colonel Lindbergh Hopewell
Dear Sir: Mr Condon may act as go-between. You may give him the 70,000$ make one packet the size will be about-- (drawing appeared)
We have notifyed you already in what kind of bills. We warn you not to set any trapp in any way. If you or someone els will notify the Police ther will be a further delay. Affter we have the mony in hand we will tell you where to find your boy. You may have a airplane redy it is about 150 miles awy. But before telling you the adr. a delay of 8 houers will be between.
On March 12, Dr. Condon received an anonymous telephone call and a fifth ransom note. The note was delivered by a taxi driver, Joseph Perrone, who claimed the note was given to him by a stranger. The note informed Dr. Condon that another note could be found beneath a stone near the subway station.
We trust you but we will note come in your Haus it is to danger. even you can note know if Police or secret servise is watching you
follow this instruction. Take a car and drive to the last supway station from Jerome Ave. here 100 feet from the last station on the left seide is a empty frankfurther stand with a big open porch around. you will find a notise in senter of the porch underneath a stone. this notise will tell you were to find uss.
After 3/4 of a houer be on the place. bring mony with you.
Dr. Condon followed the instructions and found the sixth note.
Cross the street and follow the fence from the cemetery direction to 233rd Street.
I will meet you there.
The sixth note demanded that Dr. Condon meet with the kidnaper at Woodlawn Cemetery, which is located near 233rd Street and Jerome Avenue. At the cemetery meeting, the man who called himself John discussed the payment of the ransom with Dr. Condon. John, also referred to as "Cemetery John", agreed to give Dr. Condon evidence to prove he had the child.
On March 16, a seventh ransom note and a baby's sleeper (see the envelope) were sent to Dr. Condon. Lindbergh agreed the sleeper was his child's and Dr. Condon continued to run advertisements in the newspaper.
Dear Sir. Ouer man faill to collect the mony. There are no more confidential conference after we meeting from March 12. those arrangements to hazardous for us.
We will note allow ouer man to confer in a way like befor. circumstance will note allow us to make a transfer like you wish. It is impossibly for us. Wy shuld we move the baby and face danger. to take another person to the plase is entirely out of question. It seem you are afraid we are the right party and if the baby is all right, well you have ouer singnature. it is always the same as the first one, specialy them 3 holes
Now we will send you the sleepingsuit from the baby. besides it means 3$ estra expenses because we have to pay another one. Pleace tell Mrs. Lindbergh note to worry the baby is well. we only have to give him more food as the diet says.
You are willing to pay the 70000 note 50000$ without seeing the baby first or note. let us know about that in the New York American. we can't do it other ways because we don't like to give up ouer safty plase or to move the baby. If you are willing to accept this deal put these in paper
I accept Mony is ready
Ouer program is:
After 8 hours we have the mony received we will notify you where to find the baby. If there is any trapp you will be responsible for what follows
An eighth note was given to Dr. Condon on March 21, 1932.
Dear Sir: You and Mr. Lindbergh know ouer Program If you don't accept den we will wait untill you agree with ouer deal. We know you have to come to us anyway But why should Mrs. and Mr. Lindbergh suffer longer as necessary We will note communicate with you or Mr. Lindbergh until you write so in the paper.
We will tell you again; this kidnapping cace whas prepared for a year already so the Police won't have any look to find us or the child you only puch everyding further out did you send that little package to Mr. Lindbergh? it contains the sleepingsuit from the Baby. the baby is well.
Mr. Lindbergh only wasting time with his search.
On March 29, the baby's nurse discovered the baby's thumb guard, the one the baby wore at the time of the kidnapping. The next day, a ninth ransom note was given to Condon.
Dear Sir: It is note necessary to furnish any code. You and Mr. Lindbergh know ouer Program very well. We will keep the child in ouer save plase until we have the money in hand, but if the deal is note closed until the 8 of April we will ask for 30000 more. also note 70000-100000
How can Mr. Lindbergh follow so many false clues he knows we are right party ouer singnature is still the same as in the ransom note. But if Mr. Lindbergh likes to fool around for another month, we can help it.
once he has come to us anyway but if he keeps on waiting we will double ouer amound. there is absolute no fear aboud the child. It is well.
On April 1, 1932, a tenth note arrived.
Dear Sir, have the money ready by Saturday evening. We will infor you where and how to deliver it. have the money in one bundel we want you to put it in a sertain place. there is no fear that somebody els will take it, we watch everything closely. Pleace let us know if you are agree and read for action saturday evening. if yes put in the paper
It is very simble delivery but we find out very son if there is any trapp. After 8 houers you gett the adr. from the boy. on the plase you find two ladies. they are innocence.
If it is to late we put it in the New York American for Saturday morning. Put it in New York Journal.
The next day, Dr. Condon received an eleventh note from an unidentified taxi driver, which instructed him to go to a greenhouse at 3225 East Tremont Avenue, Bronx, New York, to find the twelfth note.
Dear Sir: Take a car and follow Tremond ave. to the east until you reach the number 3225 East Tremont ave.
It is a nursery
There is a table standign outside right on the door. You find a letter undernead the table covert with a stone, read and follow instruction.
Don't speak to anyone on the way. If there is a radio alarm for policecar, we warn you we have same equipment. have the money in one bundel
we give you 3/4 houer to reach the place.
TWELFTH & THIRTEENTH NOTES
The twelfth note agreed on another meeting to occur that night. Dr. Condon met with whom he assumed was John in hopes of reducing the ransom demand to $50,000. Dr. Condon gave the man $50,000 in gold certificates in exchange for a thirteenth note and a receipt.
the boy is on Boad Nelly. it is a small Boad 28 feet long, two person are on the Boad. the are innosent. you will find the Boad between Horseneck Beach and Gay Head near Elizabeth Island.
Authorities searched near Martha's Vineyard twice, but the search was unsuccessful. No one accompanied Dr. Condon on his talks with John, but Dr. Condon insisted he could positively identify the man if he met him again.
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