Artist Killed in Mysterious Affray

From page six of the Austrian newspaper Deutsches Volksblatt, 21st April, 1910 [translated from the German]
By Wolfgang Teller, special correspondent, as provided by Conor Powers-Smith
Art by Katie Nyborg

Brigittenau, Vienna – Residents of the Meldemannstrasse were shaken by a bizarre and unexplained crime which occurred here last evening. According to witnesses, the victim was a struggling artist and resident of the men’s dormitory located at number 27. The Gendarmerie are treating all further testimony as extremely tentative, due to the improbable nature of certain details related.

The crime–which is being investigated as a murder, although no body and few traces have yet been found–occurred around six in the evening, when the victim was returning to the dormitory from another district of the city, where he had spent the day attempting to sell a number of watercolor paintings, most or all of which remained in his possession at the time of his homecoming.

Witnesses agree on the basic details of the attack. The victim was accosted by a man leveling an object shaped vaguely like a pistol, and shouting a brief command or epithet, probably in a foreign tongue. The attacker was in the later stages of life, and his clothing was nondescript, with some witnesses attesting that it appeared newly purchased. However, several details of the man’s attire stood out, most notably the pair of heavily tinted goggles, resembling those of a welder, which hid his eyes. Also, he wore no hat, and many witnesses have provided vivid descriptions of his thick shock of unruly white or silver hair.

Artist Killed in Mysterious Affray

Some have even gone so far as to suggest that the assailant’s pistol-like device was responsible, a conjecture which would seem more at home in the fiction of Britain’s Mr. Wells or France’s late Mr. Verne than in these staid pages.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2013 collection.

Wolfgang Teller hails from a long line of journalists and other seekers after hidden truths. As special correspondent for the Deutsches Volksblatt, Herr Teller investigates crimes, disasters, and other happenings eschewed by his colleagues, often due to the mysterious or dangerous nature of the events. He has traveled far, and has not told all he knows.

Conor Powers-Smith grew up in New Jersey and Ireland. He currently lives on Cape Cod, where he works as a reporter. His stories have appeared in Abyss and Apex, Fantastic Frontiers, The Journal of Unlikely Entomology, and other magazines.

Katie Nyborg’s art, plus information regarding hiring her, can be found at

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