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Geneva Historical Society Presents : Author to Talk About Historic Female Serial Killers

Sep 01st, 2017

Geneva, N.Y.: The theme of the Geneva Historical Society lecture series this fall is "After Dark." The presenters will focus on the unmentionable, the unexplainable and even creepy topics, examining historic serial killers, communion with the spirit world, and some lesser known and unusual stories of Seneca County.

Author Michael Keene kicks off the series on Wednesday, September 13 at 7 p.m. with a look at the horrifying history of New York's 19th-century female serial killers. Based on his book, A Question of Sanity: The True Story of Female Serial Killers in 19th-Century New York, the presentation examines the lives of a number of female serial killers, including Lizzie Halliday, convicted of murdering nine of her own family members; Catherine Claus, who boasted of killing 15 infants in her care; and Caroline D. Sorgenfrie, charged with the murder of her four husbands. Most of the women in Mr. Keene’s book are from Central New York and lived along the Erie Canal in small, isolated, and rural communities.

Michael Keene is the author of eight books of New York State history, including Folklore and Legends of Rochester, Madhouse, Abandoned, and Murder, Mayhem and Madness. He is also the producer of the award-winning documentary series, Visions. He will have copies of his books available for signing and purchase the night of the lecture.

The Geneva Historical Society Lecture Series is supported in part by the Samuel B. Williams Fund for Programs in the Humanities and KeyBank Foundation. All programs are free and open to the public. The series will continue with the "The Fox Sisters and Modern Spiritualism" on October 2 and "Historic Tales of Seneca County, New York" on November 8. For more information about this program or the series call the Historical Society at 315-789-5151 or visit

The Geneva History Museum is located at 543 South Main Street and is open summer hours, Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays 12 to 5 p.m. Summer hours continue through October 31. Admission is free. Parking is available on the street or in the lot at Trinity Episcopal Church.

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