Charles Lindbergh was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1902. His father, also named Charles Lindbergh was a U.S. Congressman. With the senior Lindbergh in politics, the family once lived in Washington D.C. The younger Lindbergh became the first international celebrity in history. Lindbergh wanted to become the first man first man to fly an airplane across the Atlantic Ocean without stopping.
He received support from a group in St. Louis to make his flight a reality. To honor his group, he named his plane The Spirit of St. Louis. He competed for a $25,000 prize put up by a wealthy Frenchman named Raymond Orteig. Lindbergh’s journey began in New York and ended in Paris.
The plane had a larger fuel tank so it wouldn’t be necessary to stop for fuel. Lindbergh flew the plane with the side windows open thinking the cold air and rain would keep him awake. Lindbergh completed his journey in 33.5 hours. On May 21, 1927, Lindbergh safely landed in Paris. A crowd of 150,000 people had welcomed him for completing his record-breaking journey. When his flight had ended Lindbergh said sleep deprivation caused him to hallucinate and see ghosts.
Lindbergh received a parade in his honor in New York and many awards. He donated his plane to the Smithsonian Institute in 1928 where it remains today.
Typically, this would be a great ending. Unfortunately, Lindbergh would also become linked to an international story. Charles married Anne Morrow who gave birth to their son Charles Lindbergh Jr.
The Lindbergh’s were a happy family until their lives took a dramatic turn for the worst. On March 1, 1932, Lindbergh’s son vanished. Someone had taken him from his room. The mysterious kidnapper left a note demanding $50,000. Several days later, a revised note turned up for $70,000.
The media called the kidnapping the “crime of the century.” Who would kidnap the baby of an globally known pilot like Charles Lindbergh? The Lindbergh’s collected the ransom money and delivered it as ordered. Supposedly, the baby would was in a boat off Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts
The Lindbergh’s didn’t find their baby. On May 12, 1932 a truck driver came across a deceased child identified as Lindbergh Jr. The driver found him within five miles of the Lindbergh home; he had been dead for more than a month. A German immigrant named Bruno Hauptman was charged and convicted of the murder. He claimed his innocence until his death. Hauptman was found with marked bills from the ransom money. He was offered a deal. If he admitted to the crime, he would get life in prison. He refused. In 1936, authorities executed him in the electric chair.
Crime enthusiasts still discuss this case today. Was Hauptman the killer? And if so, did he have help? The abduction was almost too perfect. There were no fingerprints or any clues. And how could Hauptman have kidnapped the baby without knowing the home’s floor plan?
It has even been suggested that Lindbergh helped kidnap his own son? But why?
Here are details unknown by people not familiar with Lindbergh. He believed in eugenics, a theory of creating a perfect human race through selective breeding. His beliefs resembled Adolph Hitler’s. He had once even been accused of being a Nazi sympathizer years before his son’s kidnapping.
Lindbergh Jr. wasn’t a perfect baby. He had a large head and issues with his toes. As someone who believed in a perfect human race, Lindbergh could have felt disappointed in his son’s flaws.
Also, Lindbergh refused police involvement in his son’s disappearance. He also wanted his son cremated immediately. He wasn’t interested in digging into the murder. Most parents would want to know every detail behind their child’s death. Strangely, Lindbergh didn’t express any interest. Lindbergh died of cancer in 1974. He was 72. Officially, the killer paid for his crimes and the case is closed. If Lindbergh participated, he must have been a heartless man who hid behind his fame as a famous aviator.
The mystery continues.
Marc is a grandparent and longtime resident of Clermont County. Visit his author page at http://www.lifewithgrandpa.com. He also wrote Just Bite Me: A Guide to Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Walking Nightmares, which is available on Amazon.com.