The legend of Arthur Rochford Manby remains an enduring mystery of the American Southwest. A tale spilling over with tantalizing connections to black magic and the occult, murder, secret societies, foreign intelligence, artwork, and con-artistry — this fascinating report is a great fit for n01r.
Who was this mysterious man?
Sagebrush Noir: The Life and Crimes of Arthur Rochford Manby c. 2015 Dr. Richard B. Spence
On July 3rd, 1929 lawmen and townspeople crowded into a small room of a sprawling adobe mansion in Taos, New Mexico. Blue-bottle flies buzzed all around and the stench of death hung heavy in the air. The assembled gazed at a simple army cot where a half-dressed corpse lay wrapped in a blanket. And it was just a body: the severed, badly mutilated head rested in a nearby room. It was the general opinion then, and since, that the corpse and head belonged to the mansion’s owner, Arthur R. Manby. But others were not so sure. Most importantly, how had Manby died?
A first at n01r today is a guest blog from Dr. Richard Spence, Professor in the History Department at the University of Idaho. Dr. Spence has one of the coolest sets of courses I’ve seen which complements a lot of the things I investigate at the site; such as the intersection of the occult, strategic disinformation, and espionage (like Theosophy).