Today is the 65th anniversary of the atom-bombing of Hiroshima and there are innumerable excellent sources available if you care to learn more. So I will just note that Colonel Paul Tibbets, who flew the plane, later admitted to being somewhat embarrassed that given his mission. he had named his B-29 for his mother.
What also occurred on this date in 1930 is likely to be completely forgotten, however, if we don’t mention it occasionally – this is the day Judge Crater disappeared.
Judge Joseph Crater wasn’t just any old judge – he had been appointed to the New York State Supreme Court by FDR just a few months before.
He was vacationing in Maine and told his wife he had business in New York City, but that he’d be back for her birthday on the ninth. He had, btw, told her the same thing at the end of July when he left for New York and wound up spending a week in Atlantic City with his mistress, Miss Sally Lou Ritz.
In any event, he showed up at the courthouse on the morning of the sixth, spent a few hours going through his files, then had his assistant cash two checks for him. The checks totaled over five thousand dollars, about $65,000 today. At noon, the assistant accompanied him to the Crater apartment with the money in two briefcases. The judge gave his assistant the rest of the day off.
That evening he bought one ticket to a Broadway musical, then went to dinner with Sally Lou Ritz and a friend who happened to be a lawyer. Miss Ritz and the lawyer left in a taxi after the meal and the Judge walked away, right into history.
He was never seen again. His wife apparently didn’t really expect him on her birthday because she only started calling their friends after ten days. His colleagues on the bench were surprised that he didn’t show up on the 25th, so they started asking around too. But nobody actually called the police until September 3.
There was so much publicity about the mysterious disappearance of Judge Crater, that the police were swamped with tips. He was seen everywhere, but in reality, nowhere. The two briefcases had disappeared and a safety deposit box had been emptied. Curiously, his wife found the missing money in a drawer in the apartment with a note from the judge.
Most interesting of all, Miss Sally Lou Ritz disappeared in August or September and was also never seen again.
Hmm. Somehow, I don’t suspect foul play.