From the years 1947 through 1955, an uncertain number of violent criminals, rapists, racketeers, and gangsters were murdered by means of having their throats crushed and necks broken. Most of the victims were from Boston or New York City. The police and other law enforcement officials were generally uninterested in pursuing what few clues that existed regarding this killer's identity, given that the victims were those they considered among the most loathsome citizens of the cities they were charged with protecting.
"Sure--I would take this guy down if I come across him in the act," Homicide Detective Steve Harrison of Boston's River Street Precinct said in 1947, "but I'm not going out of my way for it."
There are at least 92 confirmed victims of this killer, but information I have shows that the count could be as high as 182. It's hard to determine an exact number, because of the disinterest the police at the time had in these cases, and because at least two different mob hit men imitated this killer from 1953 to 1954 -- until one of them himself was targeted and slain by the real serial murderer on Halloween of 1954. The other imitator turned himself into the police for protection.
There were never any suspects in the murders, but detectives in both Boston and New York believed the killer was male due to the brute strength required to break someone's neck with bare hands--which is how this killer dispatched victims. However, numerous reports from New York underworld figures and criminals claimed their stalker was a raven-haired, statuesque woman who hid deadly metal hands in a muff. Subsequently, they referred to her The Muff... although they stated that she called to herself as the Iron Lady. The police at the time dismissed these stories as efforts to smear dead rivals, because of their theory that the killer had to be male.
It's been 60 years since the last victim of this mysterious killer had been claimed. What few people who have cared about this case believe that the serial killer must met a violent end or perhaps been incarcerated... because no one that brutal stops killing.
However, I recently came into a surprise inheritance. You may have read about the passing of philanthropist Doris Parker in 2011. I confess that I did not--not enough comic book, games, or movie tie-ins in her life for it to be on my radar--so it was a surprise when Regina Cox of the law firm Pleasant, Vice & Cox told me that I was named in Parker's will.
My dreams of riches ended quickly, however. Parker had left virtually all her property and wealth to the Parker Foundation started by her niece Penelope Parker (whom I have written about in Kismet & Penny Parker). The one exception were her diaries. Those were left to me, with the note, "For Mr. Steve Miller. I think he is the best person to tell the world the truth about me."
The truth about Ms. Doris Parker is not one the world is going to believe. At least not if it comes from someone like me--a guy who makes things up for a living and who posts wild rants on a regular basis to the internet. I think she must have had a twisted sense of humor, but I am flattered that she must have been reading my posts, The truth that her diaries contained was the answers to a mystery more than six decades old. That serial killer who was active between 1947 and 1955 was not a man. It was a woman. It was Doris Parker.
Parker gained her great strength from a pair of mechanical gloves. She targeted her victims on a mad quest to avenge her father. She stopped killing after she became pregnant and decided that she now had a life other than her own to be held accountable for. (When I say she "stopped killing," I mean she stopped killing personally. Her vast fortune paid for numerous assassinations of notorious criminals and murderers across the globe. If you think of some high profile dirtbag who died under mysterious circumstances, chances are he or she was dispatched by killers in Parker's employ. In fact, Yasser Arafat was the final hit she ordered.)
I'm not going to comment on who her daughter (and grandchildren) are, since they are themselves not aware of the connection. Parker may have felt responsible for the life that she brought into this world, but her diary also indicates that she felt she would be an unfit mother, due to what she described as a "soul-numbing, icy rage that is always just below a very thin cover." Her daughter was placed with one of the few people who had figured out that Parker was a serial murdering vigilante--and was raised by them, apart from Parker. She kept track of her child and grandchildren--even secretly funded scholarships for them--but rarely made contact with the adopted family over the years.
I am running a risk making this post. By stating in public that Doris Parker was not only a serial killer but also responsible for commissioning dozens of assassinations over the years, I could be incurring the wrath of the wealthy Parker family. I could also make myself a target for law enforcement from a dozen different countries. Or terrorists and criminals. All sorts of people have reason to want access to Parker's diaries.
Well, I am not very bright when it comes to my own safety--if I was, I wouldn't be running a series on Shades of Grey titled Mohammed Mondays. I am further going to protect myself by releasing selections from the diaries in a forthcoming book simply titled Iron Lady. It will also feature comic book adaptations of several of Doris Parker's kills. This book is complete and already scheduled for release through RPGNow, DriveThruComics, DriveThruRPG, and DriveThruFiction. The content of that book will demonstrate how explosive the diaries are--at least to those who are "in the know."
I may not be bright, but I'm not crazy. I am placing the diaries in the safe keeping of Pleasent, Vice & Cox. All questions about them can be directed there. Also, if anything were to happen to me, I have left instructions that copies of the diaries are to be sent simultaneously to the FBI, CIA, Interpol, BBC, ABC News, FOX News, al-Jazeera, and Glenn Beck.
However, ultimately, I don't think anyone will take any of this seriously. That's why Parker left them to me. How could anyone take ANYTHING I say seriously? Especially since I'm ending this post with a portrait of Doris Parker by Dan Zolnerowich, who together with Bernard Sachs drew the comics for Iron Lady. Not to mention the fact that I'm providing ROLF! game stats for Parker. Would anyone do this if he was worth taking seriously? (Of course not. But I have been known to give ROLF! stats to inappropriate real-life people in the past, as demonstrated in The Breast Hope for Peace and Super Muslim Bros.)
(created using rules from ROLF!: The Rollplaying Game and ROLF!: POTS vs PANS)
The Muff/Iron Lady (Female)
Aka: Doris Parker
Brawn 21, Body 17, Brains 7
Traits: Coldhearted, Dour (Item Based Superpower: When wearing mechanical "Executioner Gloves," all unarmed melee damage dealt is doubled)
Combat Maneuvers: Basic Attack, Castrate, Disarm, Murderous Mitts, The Look
Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Slinky Evening Gown (Clothes, barely covers nakedness). Executioner Gloves (Small Melee Weapon and Clothes, doubles all unarmed damage dealt. Cannot be disarmed, but can be taken off by Parker at will, or removed if she is unconscious).
Iron Lady, the book detailing Doris Parker's first steps on the path to becoming one of the most prolific serial killers in history, is now available. Click here to see previews or to get your own copy.