Scourge of Sonoratown


August 3, 1907

Beware the Plaza.  Patrolmen do their best to beat down and drag away human fiends, filled as they are with a new drug menace and the awful blood-lust it produces. 

In the labyrinths and dens of Sonoratown, violent outbreaks have become commonplace, as Mexicans of the lower caste have been frequenting drug stores to purchase a substance said to be more harmful in its effects than cocaine, morphine, or even opium.  Victims of the powerful narcotic—its scientific name, Cannabis Indica—are helpless to control their need for it, or the frenzy it produces.  An effort will now be made to regulate the sale of this poison.

The initial effects of Cannabis pellets, called “Hashish,” consist of mad exhilaration (especially, it is noted, involving one’s mistaken ability to lift heavy objects) and a distortion of the optic nerve, wherein men of ordinary size appear to be giants.

After its use for any length of time, a homicidal mania manifests itself, as under its influence, the desire to shed blood is uppermost in the mind.  According to Police Surgeon J. Sumner Quint, much of the crime in the Mexican community is due to its use.

This writer urges all readers to steer clear from this terrible peril and its attendant misery!

Sleeping Like A Baby

June 14, 1907

Mrs. Santos Rodriguez (nee Galvies) has a lover, Virde Parra. She also has a little 3-year-old daughter, and watching the babe was putting a crimp in her romantic life. A quick trip down to the druggist provided mama with what was almost certainly a bottle of lauadanum, that effective blend of opium and alcohol so beloved by Coleridge and de Quincey. As the child slipped into a powerful sleep illuminated with extraordinary visions, Santos slipped out of her little house at 643 Buena Vista Street and met Virde for a quickie at the La Guerra Hotel on North Main Street near Market.

But the lovers’ plans were thwarted when the lady’s husband, having heard rumors of her evening wanders and Parra’s visits, came home for an early dinner and discovered his child insensible. Patrolmen Leon and Murphy were called, and the child-doper and her honey were quickly found and placed in police custody, where the lady gave her maiden name and refused to talk about the case.



Nightmares on Bunker Hill Easter Tour Snaps

On Sunday, April 16, a merry busload of crime geeks boarded our stretch hearse (actually a plush touring coach, courtesy of our pal Dennis at American Transporation Systems) for a five-hour tour into the weird crannies and freaky nooks of downtown Los Angeles and Chinatown. From the O’Connor Electroplating Disaster to the hairy ghoul gal of Old Sonoratown, severed hands to rotting panhandlers, deadly Xmas gifts to fake mediums, it was a delightful dip into the weird old L.A. that’s not there anymore.

Here are a few photographic impressions to mark the day. And if you’d like a spin on the Crime Bus, please note: Nightmares of Bunker Hill rolls again on June 10.