Devil in the Basement reveals the shocking truth about my family. I learned about the murders, bombings, and devil worship when I visited my ancestors’ hometown of Fairmont, West Virginia. As a former private eye, I investigated what had happened and even ventured into the eerie basement where the satanic rituals had occurred.
The story begins in 1928 when thousands of Ku Klux Klan members march through this sleepy town. My great uncle Jal’s passions were ignited that day, as were those of my grandfather Tucker, who changed his Italian name to “sound white” with hopes of escaping poverty and racism, and of becoming a U.S. Senator. Meanwhile, my great-grandmother set up a criminal enterprise in the back barn, and my great aunt was hauled off to an insane asylum before becoming the mistress of a Detroit mobster.
But this story is not just about my family. It is also about their creepy neighbor Ernie, who had a ghoulish, life-sized doll. He abused his wives and dabbled in his favorite pastime: evil. He liked evil. He was creative when it came to evil. He was all about evil.
Devil in the Basement is a story of love and horror, racism and hope, of Christian piety and satanic ritual. It is a book that shines a light on one of the most ghastly real life incidents in West Virginia history. It is a story you will never forget.
|Publisher:||Stroud House Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.77(d)|
About the Author
She starred on the NBC show, The Filter with Fred Roggin, and is currently a political pundit on BBC News. Laws has appeared on CNN, Nightline, Fox News, MSNBC, Oprah Winfrey, The Late Show and Larry King Live, and has been the subject of articles in the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Post, the Guardian, and the New Yorker, to name a few.
She was a Los Angles politician for eight years and has worked with the FBI. Laws penned the award-winning memoir, Rebel in High Heels, and was voted one of the "thirty fiercest women in the world" by Buzzfeed.
She has a doctorate in Social Ethics from the University of Southern California, as well as two master's degrees (Social Ethics and Professional Writing) and two bachelor's degrees (Philosophy and Theater).
She completed post-doctoral work at Oxford University, England. Laws is a well-known anti-revenge porn activist and animal advocate, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, her three rescue dogs, and her four rescue chickens.
Table of Contents
Chapter One - The Klansman with Fancy Shoes
Chapter Two – The Secret of the Back Barn
Chapter Three – The Locked Basement Door
Chapter Four – Finding a Name and Getting Lost in a Mine
Chapter Five – Mines of Disaster
Chapter Six – The Bearcat and the Flapper
Chapter Seven – Bessie Ain’t No Putty Head
Chapter Eight – Two Weddings and a Snitch
Chapter Nine – The Kewpie Doll
Chapter Ten – The Mouthpiece and the Pharmacy Buff
Chapter Eleven – Eat, Drink, and Be Jealous
Chapter Twelve – The Devil Comes to All Who Wait
Chapter Thirteen – Strike While the Iron is Hot
Chapter Fourteen – The Asylum for the Criminally Insane
Chapter Fifteen – Scaring Off that Old Crate of Seaweed
Chapter Sixteen – Run, Nellie, Run
Chapter Seventeen – Longing for a Leg Up
Chapter Eighteen – Fate and the Phone Call
Chapter Nineteen – The Devil Gets his Due
Chapter Twenty – Bodies, Bombs, and Drano
Chapter Twenty-One – Cut off my Legs and Call me Shorty
Chapter Twenty-Two – The Wilted Rose
Chapter Twenty-Three – The Devil Bird of Revenge
Chapter Twenty-Four – A Lemon Pie in the Sky
Afterword : The Aftermath
Appendix I: Note on Fictional Characters
Appendix II: Author Biography
Appendix III: Why the Nonfiction Novel
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I really like this author - Charlotte Laws - and this book (like her others) was not a disappointment. It moves at an excellent pace and I loved the frisky language. It is written in a stylized way, almost like a work of art. The story is about her Italian grandparents who lived in the 1940s in W VA. They have a neighbor who dabbles in the occult and who abuses his wife. There is a great deal of prejudice against Italians back then and the book touches on this frequently. It is based on a true story of multiple murders and bombings. The crimes created quite a ruckus at the time and I am glad the author told this important story. It was absolutely lovely book with a lot of nail-biting drama.
A nuanced and layered structure. I love the way the storylines are woven together. I also found each and every story within the main story to be intriguing. I never lost interest. The sections about the flapper girl are sexy and fun. The sections about the Satanist put you on pins and needles, and the sections about the Moroose family are earthy and wholesome. This book (based on a true crime) begins during the Prohibition and works its way into the 1940s (when there are shootings, bombings, and a suicide in Fairmont, W Virginia). Not to spoil the ending, but despite the real-life tragedies in this book, the ending is upbeat and satisfying. I very much enjoyed Devil in the Basement.
All I can say is this book was delightful. It is a breathtaking book full of historical detail. It is not as demon-infused as you might think until about 1/2 - 2/3 through but I enjoyed it more than anything I've ever read in this genre. Of course, I love true stories and this one is about the author's grandparents and great uncle. They are poor and get hassled by the Klan and racists as was common back then, although the plight of Italian Americans (the people in this book) is not as well-known as the plight of African Americans (certainly because Italians did not have it quite as bad). It was interesting learning about the history of this group as well as about the specifics of the crime - which was downright insane by the way. It was insane in intensity and committed by a man who was clearly bonkers. I read this book in two days flat because I was so engrossed.
Author is highly proficient at painting a scene and driving a narrative Swirly tensions and a fast-paced read. I received a copy in advance to review. This book is a fascinating account of two little known events. First, the murder of an immigrant Italian lawyer in a small town in West Virginia. Secondly, by possibly the first known declared devil worshiper in the United States. I had no idea of the fierce discrimination against Italians in parts of the U.S. as late as 1948. Although to be fair, his murder was apparently unconnected to his ethnicity (or only slightly connected). He was very unfortunate as the up-and-coming lawyer in the community and aspiring politician to represent as a client the wife of one of the strangest men ever known in West Virginia. The book paints a wonderful picture of the colorful turbulent life in a small, West Virginia town, mostly just after the war. With its swirling tensions and subsequent connections with certain well-known mafia figures from Detroit. The book is a fast-paced read by an accomplished, elegant author, highly proficient at painting a scene and driving a narrative. I recommend this book with enthusiasm.