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Harry J. Anslinger's
Reefer Madness Lies
"There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US,
and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers.
Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage.
This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations
with Negroes, entertainers and any others."
Harry J. Anslinger, Testimony to Congress, 1937
Harry Anslinger's Personal Gore Files #1 of 2, Newspaper Reports on The Reefer Madness Lies He Used
Reefer Madness Anslinger's Newspaper Gore Files #2
Many of Harry Anslinger's marijuana
horror stories have been tracked down to stories in the yellow press. Of
200 specific cases referred to by Anslinger, his accusation that
marijuana was the cause of a Gory Ges
was proved false in 1980's. The
other two stories were untraceable and no account of them ever appeared
in print where the crimes allegedly occurred.
most sensational crime in Anslinger's "The
Victor Licata case. A young man got up one morning and killed his
parents, two brothers and a sister with an axe. Harry Anslinger claimed
marijuana was responsible for this horrific crime because, he said,
Licata "had been addicted to smoking marijuana cigarettes for more
than six months".
However, psychiatric examination of Victor Licata told a different
story. The examining psychiatrist, Dr. H. Mason Smith, concluded that
Licata's insanity was probably hereditary. His parents were first
cousins and a granduncle and two paternal cousins had been committed to
insane asylums. Licata's younger brother - one of his victims - had been
diagnosed with dementia praecox.
Police had tried to have Victor Licata committed almost a year before he
butchered his family, but withdrew the petition when the youth's parents
insisted they could take better care of him at home.
Licata's history indicates that the cause of his crimes was a long
lasting psychosis. At the Florida State Mental Hospital, he was
diagnosed as suffering dementia praecox with homicidal tendencies, and
he was observed to be overtly psychotic. In the hospital, Licata killed
another patient and finally hanged himself.
Hospital records do not blame either Licata's crimes or his lifelong
mental illness on marijuana. In fact, marijuana is never mentioned. Yet
Anslinger misrepresented the Licata case for over 15 years in order to
terrify the public about marijuana.
Oct 18, 1933 pg. 12
Newspaper Report Of Victors Crime
St. Petersburg Evening
[--Oct. 18, 1933 pg. 1] -
"Son Held in Tampa Slayings"
Son Held IN Tampa Slayings
Describes Murder Dream, Denies Killings
Tampa, Oct. 18.---(AP) --- Denial he killed his
parents, two brothers and a sister was made today by Victor Licata, 21,
but he told at the same time, deputies sheriff said, of a
"dream" in which he hit" six persons with an axe.
Licata, found crunched in the bathroom of the locked
home in which police discovered the bodies of four of the Licata family
and another dying yesterday, was once named in a lunacy petition that
later was withdrawn when his family maintained they could care for him.
Charged with murder when his 14-year-old brother
Phillip died last night, Licata maintained a stolid silence. Today, however, he talked with the deputies and told of his
In this dream, he said, he was being tortured by
members of his family, "had a pain in my stomach," and later saw
"real blood dripping from an axe."
The parents, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Licata; their
daughter, Providence, and the two sons, Phillip and Josepht, were slain
with an axe.
No preliminary hearing date has been scheduled for
Licata. Funeral services for
the five victims will be held tomorrow in the Italian cemetery.
A boy in
Tampa, Florida, smoked two cigarettes one afternoon. That night he got an axe
and crushed the skulls of his father, mother, sister, and two brothers, as they
lay in their beds. When arrested, he explained to the police that his mother and
father had been attempting to cut off his arms and legs and he was only
defending himself. Incidentally, the father was a peddler and had been using his
son to "push" the cigarettes at school. TRUE STORY (Magazine) -
It happened in Florida. A young boy marijuana addict, while still under the
influence of marijuana, believed that a number of persons were trying to cut off
his arms and legs; so he seized an ax and killed his father, mother, two
brothers, and a sister. HEALTH MAGAZINE - Oct. 1938
Murder While Drugged - In Florida, marijuana led a young man to kill his father,
mother, sister and two brothers with in axe. The CHRISTIAN CENTURY - June 29,
In Florida another reefer-smoking youth murdered his entire family, including
his parents and brothers, and then killed himself. Narcotics: America's Peril
by Will Oursler (1952)
The one who sets forth with knife or ax---like the Florida boy of seventeen who
hacked to death all the five other members of his own family---is of the
maniacal type, who has often wished for the physical prowess that would permit
mass mayhem, but who always before lacked the courage. American Weekly - S.F
Examiner - July 28, 1940
Some months ago a boy living in Florida murdered his parents, two brothers and a
sister. He explained to the police that he had believed they were going to cut
off his arms and his legs. THE DAILY OKLAHOMAN Nov. 8, 1938
TAMPA, FLA. October 1933. Victor Licata, while under the influence of marihuana,
murdered his mother, father, sister and two brothers with an axe. Dangerous
Drugs (pamphlet) 1950 version
It is sad that we Americans often have to be shocked into taking legislative
action. In Tampa, Florida a boy killed his father, mother, sister, and brother.
When questioned afterward, all he could remember of the experience was that he
had been smoking marijuana cigarettes all day. [Marijuana is the name in the
western world for the drug derived from Indian hemp. It is identical with the
oriental drug, hashish. It is deadly in its narcotic effect.] After the
quadruple murder, a shocked Florida pushed the Uniform Narcotic Act through at
once. GOOD HOUSEKEEPING - Feb. 1935
"A young boy who had become addicted to smoking marihuana cigarets killed
his father, mother, two brothers and a sister, wiping out the entire family
except himself*." SIERRA EDUCATIONAL NEWS - Nov. 1938
…you may wake up sobbing, as did the young boy in Florida, who murdered his
entire family. As the officers walked in this young addict was sobbing, "I
have had a terrible dream. People tried to hack off my arms. It was my uncle, I
believe. He slashed me with a knife." And there stood a youth, in his early
teens, under the influence of Marijuana, in a human slaughter house with the ax
in his hand. He had killed his father, mother, two brothers and a sister. Kiwanis
Magazine - Oct. 1938
A Rochester pastor told me of a boy he knew about while pastor in Miami, Fla.,
who, after smoking two Marijuanas, slaughtered his father, mother, two brothers
and a sister, with an axe! --- War with the underworld 1946
One of the most atrocious examples of the effects of this age-old drug was the
case, cited by Anslinger and others, of the youthful addict in Florida who
murdered his entire family. When officers arrived at the home, they found the
youth staggering about in a human slaughterhouse. With an axe he had killed his
father, his mother, two brothers and a sister. He seemed to be in a daze. - He
had no recollection of having committed the multiple crime. The officers knew
him ordinarily as a sane, rather quiet young man; now he was pitifully crazed.
They sought the reason. The boy said he had been in the habit of smoking
something which youthful friends called "muggles," the childish name
for marihuana.---INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL DIGEST - Sep, 1937
In Florida, a marijuana victim butchered with an ax his father, sister, and two
brothers. FORUM AND CENTURY - Jan. 1939
. and a Florida youngster put the ax to his mother and father. NEWSWEEK - Aug
FLORIDA---"'Victor Licata, while under the influence of marihuana, murdered
his mother, father, sister and two brothers with an axe. SURVEY GRAPHIC -
There was an axe murder by a Florida boy who, in butchering his family while
crazed by marihuana, brought about the passage of a Uniform State Narcotic Drug
Act. "HERE'S TO CRIME" By Courtney Ryley Cooper 1937
[Oct. 17, 1933] - "4 of Family Slain In Mystery Attacks"
HELENA (Daily) INDEPENDENT- Helena, Montana
[S-Feb. 21, 1930 pg. 1] "Murder of Child Blamed on Drug"
TAMPA DAILY TIMES - FL.
[--Oct 17 or 18, 1933 pg. 1] "Crazy Youth Slays Family"
[e Oct 18, 1933 pg. 1] "Dream Slayer talks in Cell" (Licata tells
reporter how he killed five)
[e Oct 18, 1933 pg. 1] "Joint Funeral For 5 Victims"
[e Editorial - Oct. 18, 1933] "Stamp Out This Weed Of Flaming Murder"
[wanted Oct 20, 1933 pg. 11] Editorial - against Medical Marihuana. "Stop
This Murderous Smoke"
[--Oct 20, 1933 pg. 11] "Final Rites For 5 Slain"
[--Oct 31, 1933 pg. 1] "Report Shows Ax Slayer of Family Insane"
[--Nov. 3, 1933 pg. 5] "Order Commits Slayer Licata"
TAMPA MORNING TRIBUNE
[--Oct. 18, 1933 pg. 1] "Crazed Youth Kills Five of Family With Ax in Tampa
[--Oct. 18, 1933 pg. 8] "Logan To War on Marijuana Traffic Here"
ST. PETERSBURG EVENING INDEPENDENT
[--Oct. 18, 1933 pg. 1] - "Son Held in Tampa Slayings"
KEY WEST CITIZEN - Key West, Florida
[S-Oct. 18, 1933 pg. 1] "Denies Slaying of Family; Says He Had Dream"
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