Esotouric Presents “The 1910 Los Angeles Times Bombing with Detective Mike Digby” webinar
Mike will take us along on a scrupulously researched journey through early 20th Century Los Angeles, bringing one of the nation’s most notorious criminal conspiracies to life. The Los Angeles Times Bombing case is a seminal teaching example which Mike has developed as curriculum for arson investigators, has hosted as an Esotouric sightseeing tour (featured on Spectrum News 1), and now adapts into this webinar. While following the forensic leads of the unfolding case, Mike will compare and contrast 21st century crime analysis methods with the tools available to investigators at the time.
Mike Digby is the author of these historic Los Angeles true crime books: The Bombs, Bombers and Bombings of Los Angeles (e-book or paperback) and A Bombing in the Wilshire-Pico District: The True Story of a 20th Century She-Devil and Her Plot to Murder, Terrorize and Steal a Real Estate Empire in 1919 Los Angeles (paperback).
ABOUT THE CRIME: Late in the afternoon of September 30, 1910, a man left his downtown Los Angeles hotel and embarked on, what for him, was just another clandestine bombing mission. A veteran of more bombings than he cared to recall, he had carefully scouted and selected his targets, assembled the dynamite time bombs and prepared his alibis. To him, this was supposed to be just another series of bombings. It would turn out to be anything but.
Carrying a suitcase which held three time bombs, or “infernal devices” as they were known, he walked a short distance to the alley behind the Los Angeles Times. It was there in the shadows of that alley that he concealed one of the timed dynamite bombs. Within an hour, he had placed identical timed dynamite bombs outside the homes of Los Angeles Times publisher General Harrison Gray Otis and Felix Zeehandelaar, a close ally of General Otis’.
The bombings were part of a years-long and nationwide campaign of industrial sabotage and terror, spearheaded by radical and conspiratorial elements within the national labor movement. It was their intention to bring union-resistant Los Angeles to its knees.
Confident that his three bombs would explode long after he had left the city, the man casually walked back to Los Angeles’ Santa Fe Station and boarded an evening train to San Francisco. Shortly after 1 AM on October 1, 1910, as the train continued traveling through the night, a powerful explosion ripped through the Los Angeles Times building, destroying much of the building and creating an inferno which resulted in twenty one deaths and scores of injuries.
Thanks to some determined investigative work, effective exploitation of forensic evidence and a whole lot of luck, a year-long manhunt across the United States resulted in the arrest, trial and conviction of dozens of bombing co-conspirators – almost all of whom were senior executives within the labor movements.
This webinar will examine the National Dynamite Plot from its origins to its demise. We will follow the trail of the bombers, from where the dynamite bombs were assembled to the locations where bombs were placed and exploded. Our discussion will include the reasons why each target was selected, the courtroom shenanigans and other bombing sites which were intended to throw investigators off the trail. It was a conspiracy diabolical in scope and deadly in design. Like all plots, it unraveled… in the most unlikely of ways.
This webinar is an illustrated lecture packed with original research, rare photos and archival material that will let you experience an historic investigation in real time, through the eyes of an experienced bomb detective and historian. And you’ll find the look of an Esotouric webinar is a little different than your standard dry Zoom session, with lively interactive graphics courtesy of the mmhmm app.
After the presentation, Mike will answer your questions about this case, his long career as a bomb and arson detective, and his books, so get ready to be a part of the show.
Can’t join in when the webinar is happening? You’ll have access to the full replay for one week.
So, tune in and discover the incredible history of Los Angeles, with the couple whose passion for the city is infectious, and their very special guest, Mike Digby.
About Mike Digby: After serving seven years in the United States Army, Mike Digby joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department where he served proudly for more than 34 years. For the last seventeen years, he was assigned as a Detective Bomb Technician in the Arson/Bomb Squad where his duties included rendering safe and disassembling improvised explosive devices, examining and disposing of military ordnance and conducting post-blast investigations. A self-proclaimed “bomb nerd” and decorated detective, Mike has spent years studying the motives of bombers, their methods of attack and the bombs that they built. He has served as technical advisor on BBC and Discovery Channel programs. He has authored two books, The Bombs Bombers and Bombings of Los Angeles and A Bombing in the Wilshire-Pico District: The True Story of a 20th Century She-Devil and Her Plot to Murder, Terrorize and Steal a Real Estate Empire in 1919 Los Angeles. His third is due out in December 2020.
About Esotouric: As undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz, Kim Cooper and Richard Schave inexplicably hated one other on sight. (Perhaps less inexplicably, their academic advisor believed they were soul mates). A chance meeting 18 years later proved much more agreeable. Richard wooed Kim with high level library database access, with which she launched the 1947project true crime blog, highlighting a crime a day from the year of The Black Dahlia and Bugsy Siegel slayings. The popular blog’s readers demanded a tour, and then another. The tour was magical, a hothouse inspiring new ways for the by-then-newlyweds to tell the story of Los Angeles. Esotouric was born in 2007 with a calendar packed with true crime, literary, architecture and rock and roll tours. Ever since, it has provided a platform for promoting historic preservation issues (like the Save the 76 Ball campaign and the landmarking of Charles Bukowski’s bungalow), building a community of urban explorers (including dozens of free talks and tours under the umbrella of LAVA) and digging ever deeper into the secret heart of the city they love.
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