We all know the wonderful things about Michigan, but there are also a few characters who have left an impression here, an impression that, well, some of us wish they hadn’t. But we shouldn’t forget them, no. In fact, it’s important we remember them so as to never repeat the evil things they’ve done. Here are a few such Michiganders who held a dark place in our history.
11) Charles Coughlin, priest, born in Hamilton, Ontario, spent his career at the National Shrine of the Little Flower church in Royal Oak, Mich.
This controversial Catholic priest was one of the first leaders to use the radio as a means for spreading his message and had a following of some 30 million regular listeners. He was also extremely anti-Semitic and was open in his support of Adolf Hitler.
10) May Dugas de Pallandt van Eerde (1869–1937), con-woman, raised in Menominee, Mich.
Born in Chicago but raised in Michigan, this lady gets her place on this list for scamming some $2 million from her victims.
9) Doctor Hawley Harvey Crippen, murderer, born in Coldwater, Mich.
This convicted wife killer became the first fugitive to be caught through the use of wireless technology in 1910 (wireless telegraphy, to be exact), when he was arrested while onboard a transatlantic liner the SS Montrose. He was later found guilty and hanged.
8) John Mitchell, U.S. Attorney General, born in Detroit
One of former President Richard Nixon's closest confidants, he was ultimately convicted to 19 months in prison for his involvement in the Watergate Scandal.
7) John Norman Collins, "co-ed killer"
A series of high profile homicides, known as the Michigan Murders," rocked the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area in 1967-1969. Collins, actually born in Windsor, Ontario, was convicted for one of the murders, though it is suspected that he was responsible for just about all the others.
6) Kwame Kilpatrick, disgraced former mayor of Detroit
A more recent addition to this list of shame, Kilpatrick's crimes are many, but he was ultimately sentenced to 28 years in prison on mail fraud, wire fraud, and racketeering.
5) Leon Czolgosz, assassin
This Michigan native became infamous for the assassination of President William McKinley.
4) Terry Nichols, co-conspirator in the Oklahoma City bombing, born in Lapeer, Mich.
One of the biggest American atrocities, the Oklahoma City bombing resulted in the loss of lives, including several preschool children. Timothy McVeigh was the main perpetrator behind the bombing that killed 168, but Nichols was his accomplice.
3) Purple Gang, prohibition-era gangsters, Detroit
Detroit during the 1920s was notorious for its speakeasies and bootlegging across the river, where scofflaws like these ran barrels of illegal, Canadian booze into the states. The Purple Gang was one of the baddest groups of organized criminals around, but their extremely violent acts ultimately led to the group's demise.
2) Tony Chebatoris, murderer, robber, executed in a federal correctional institution in Milan, Mich.
Michigan has had the death penalty outlawed for sometime now, actually since 1846. However, an exception was made for Chebatoris, a murder and bank robber. Actually, it was federal authorities who convicted him and under federal law, not state. They ruled he should die. He was hanged in 1938.
1) Aileen Wuornos, serial killer, born Rochester, Mich.
Wuornos got her claim to infamy for the murders of seven men in Florida in 1989-1990. She was executed in a Florida state prison in 2002.
It’s a shame that, this too, should be part of our great state’s legacy. What do you think of our list? Tell us in the comments below!