A Little Sodomy

Carl Panzram Mugshot Upon discharge from the Army, the disturbed youth drifted through Kansas, Missouri and Illinois, working odd jobs as a railroad guard or strike breaker, or as a roustabout with a traveling carnival. Between odd jobs, short stretches of time for petty offenses became a way of life.

He remembered a 40-day term on a Texas roadgang, because he escaped and upon being captured was whipped and sentenced to more time. Escaping there for the last time, he came upon a large fire in Houston, and looted a few burning homes along the way.

Panzram later described a memorable moment from those days. He was traveling with an Indian in 1911 when they attacked a railroader, robbed him of $35, bound his arms and legs, and stuffed a sock in his mouth.

"I figured that as I had such a good chance as that, I would commit a little sodomy on him... He is still there, unless the buzzards and coyotes have finished the last of him long ago."

Later that year, Panzram gave the military life another try, this time enlisting in the Foreign Legion of the Mexican Army. One month later he had deserted, riding his horse to death on the way to the border.

He had learned how to ride the rails early, but this big burly hobo wasn't taking the raw end of the stick any more. Now that he was a man, he could force his will on any hobo he pleased. "Whenever I met one who wasn't too rusty-looking, I would make him raise his hands and drop his pants."

Prisons all over the wild west provided Panzram with outstanding opportunities to advance his education and refine his social skills. "I learned more about sodomy than old boy Oscar Wilde ever thought of knowing... I was so busy committing sodomy that I didn't have any time left to serve Jesus as I had been taught to do in those reform schools."

While he was awaiting sentence for highway robbery, assault and sodomy in The Dalles, Oregon, he learned how to blow up safes from a con named Cal Jordan. Panzram knew exactly how to apply that lesson: he promptly blew up the prison and escaped. But then he came back to break his partner out and was caught. "The thanks I got from old Cal was that he thought I was in love with him, and he tried to mount me. But I wasn't broke to ride and he was, so I rode him."


Reform School | A Little Sodomy | Incendiary Commentary
The Murder Business | Rob 'Em, Rape 'Em, Kill 'Em | Panzram in Prison