Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.
August 1st, 1913
There are enough “hists,” “aha’s” and those other exclamations that mark a true detective besides the badge on his left suspender to fill a whole volume of Gaborieau thrillers at the Frank trial.
A stranger whirled from the Terminal Station to Judge Roan’s courtroom would be convinced before he had been in that temple of justice five minutes that all Atlanta earns its living following clews, and that if Sherlock Holmes was made a material being he could beat Jim Woodward for Mayor by 8,000 votes.
Ever since the body of Mary Phagan was found, practically every man of voting age and a lot of those who just think they are, have evolved a theory as to the crime they regard as incontrovertible as two plus two makes four, and have a system of ratiocination (beg pardon, Mr. Poe), that either proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that Leo M. Frank is guilty, or that he is innocent, or that Jim Conley did it, or he didn’t, or that somebody did, but they’ll be hanged if they know who.
Theorists There for Vindication.
The census of 1910 gave Atlanta a population of 154,839, and it is safe to say that 154,839 sure-fire theories have been evolved.
And everyone of the theorists wants to go to the courtroom to see his theory upheld and see the theory of the other fellow smashed to smithereens.
Atlanta’s deductive and inductive powers were never even dimly realized until this week.
Chat with the throng around the courthouse. Mingle with the Lupins, the Lacoqs, the Anna Katherine Greens in the room where the issue is being fought.
Clerk Turns Detective.
Your surprise will be suddenly converted into admiration and then into awe. A person, whom you had mistaken for a clerk with a brain capable of knowing nothing more complex than a suit will well for $19.99 quicker than it will for $20, you discover has a reasoning power as infallible as that of Socrates and a knowledge of things criminal that makes him the most deadly foe to crime since Bertillion.
He can take an envelope, locate it on a second floor and in a flash conceive just how a deed of murder was committed.
He can watch a man’s hand tremble and immediately conceive him a perjurer and a villain of the deepest dye, although he doesn’t ask him if he had taken on too much the night before.
“Signs Air Hopeful,” Says Uncle Ben.
He can point out the fatal weakness in the attack of a lawyer who makes more money in a minute than he himself makes in a week. A man selected by a sovereign people to represent the majority of their law becomes a mere novice under the merciless criticism.
“But the signs air hopeful,” remarked Uncle Ben Green, from out Hapeville way, as he listened to the findings of the amateur sleuths and chewed tobacco.
“The signs air hopeful,” he repeated. “I’ve been a-sittin’ here since the trial begun, and from what I hev seed of these deteckertive fellers we’ve got right now, it’s a pretty good thing that a new crop is a-comin’ up.”