Local news

Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

Bessie Geddes, a robust and athletic 17-year-old, successfully fought off an armed thug who assaulted her on the way home from school in the woods south of Manito Park.

The man sprang out of the brush as she walked past. He was wearing a mask made out of underwear, with slits cut for the eyes. He showed a small gun and ordered her to put up her hands. She dropped her purse and books and put up her hands, but he made no attempt to grab the purse. He tried to grab Bessie by the wrist – which just made her mad.

She began to fight and he tried, unsuccessfully, to throw her to the ground. She reached up to her hat and extracted a pair of hatpins, which she wielded effectively. She “made the struggle so unpleasant for him that he finally gave it up.” He never fired the gun.

He fled into the brush, probably bleeding. He apparently limped away to a buggy that he had hidden nearby. Police later found the buggy tracks in the woods.

Bessie said she did not recognize the man. Police believed he had been stalking her and might have intended to kidnap her.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1955: Actor James Dean, 24, was killed in a two-car collision near Cholame, Calif.

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