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"Sin and vice have had a home on the shores of Long Island Sound, and Bridgeport's past has been home to stories of pirates, mobsters, bizarre Victorian murders and even rumors of a doctor's attempts to reanimate the dead.
Historian Michael J. Bielawa investigates such crimes as the unsolved murder of philanthropist James Beardsley and the discovery in Yellow Mill Pond during the 19th Century that helped legitimize forensic science. Bielawa navigates a path through the misdeeds in the city in his new book, Wicked Bridgeport." --The Huntington Herald
Bielawa has been collecting tales of the Park City's "most infamous scoundrels, master criminals and mad men" for the past 30 years. The book goes back to the late 17th century to chart the activities of pirates and bandits who terrified residents, as well as such supernaturally tinged anecdotes as the stories of early scientists' attempts to raise the dead. --News Times
About the Author
Historian Michael J. Bielawa has authored several regional histories and lectured on behalf of the National Endowment for the Arts in Baton Rouge. He is a moderator for the Connecticut Humanities Council's Literature for a Lifetime discussion series and has served as a guest curator to the Barnum Museum.
Historian Michael J. Bielawa has authored several regional histories and his essays have addressed such diverse topics as the mysterious creature of Lake Champlain, Bridgeport Connecticut's crying stone statue, and the bizarre disappearance of a Hartford [CT] minor league baseball manager, as well as baseball symbolism in James Joyce's, Ulysses. Mike has lectured on behalf of the National Endowment for the Arts in Baton Rouge [LA] and he is a moderator for the Connecticut Humanities Council's Literature for a Lifetime discussion series.
Since the mid-1970s Michael has conducted research, interviews and journeyed extensively throughout the northeast in search of the unexplained. His latest book Wicked Bridgeport is the result of these passionate quests. During Bielawa's travels he has uncovered secret rooms, interviewed a Massachusetts witch, searched for mythical creatures and pirate treasure, inspected haunted houses and toured New England ghost towns. He has served as a guest curator to the Barnum Museum and as a special consultant to the Fairfield Museum and History Center. Most recently Mike lectured at the Fairfield Museum on Katharine Hepburn focusing on the four-time Academy Award winning actress's summers spent in Stratford [CT] while performing at the American Shakespeare Theatre.
I have just moved to Bridgeport, CT and Michael was the first person I have spoken with outside of my office. This book was a follow-up of our discussion about local legends and pirates in particular. I read this book in one evening, as I could not put it down. The streets of Bridgeport will never look the same again as I keep recognizing the names of locations where gruesome murders took place or some spooky things had occured. I have told everyone I know about this book as it is a wonderful engaging material with extensive research behind it. If you like local history you have to read this book.
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This author has written about Bridgeport, and these events from history, as they have never been written before. As non-fiction these tales draw the reader in with the promise of learning a bit of history, some mystery and intrigue from the past. Yet these stories display a special effervescence, a magical quality typically just found in fiction. The author's writing style is perfect! Personally, I somewhat prefer short stories like these and I do have a special place in my heart for the City of Bridgeport. The illustrations are great too.
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