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Serial killer Nannie Doss, the giggling granny
Nannie Doss
Nannie Doss (born 4 November 1905 – 2 June 1965) was a serial killer responsible for the deaths of eleven people between the 1920s and 1954.  
She finally confessed to the murders in October 1954, when her fifth husband had died in a small hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In all, it was
revealed that she had killed four husbands, two children, her two sisters, her mother, a grandson and a nephew. She has been given the names
"The Giggling Nanny", "The Giggling Granny" and "The Jolly Black Widow".
Early Life
Doss was born in Blue Mountain, Alabama as Nancy Hazle,  to James and Lou Hazle. Nannie was one of five children; she had one brother and
three sisters. Both Nannie and her mother hated James, who was a strict, controlling father and husband with a nasty streak. There is evidence
that Doss was conceived illegitimately, as James and Lou married after 1905; census records also show that in 1905 she and her mother were
living on their own.[citation needed] She had an unhappy childhood. She was a poor student who never learned to read well; her education was
erratic because her father forced his children to work on the family farm instead of attending school. When she was around seven years old, the
family was taking a train to visit relatives in southern Alabama; when the train stopped suddenly, Nannie hit her head on the metal bar on the
seat in front of her. For years after, she suffered severe headaches, blackouts and depression; she blamed these and her mental instability on
that accident. During childhood, her favorite hobby was reading her mother's romance magazines and dreaming of her own romantic future. Later,
her favorite part was the lonely hearts column. The Hazle sisters' teenage years were restricted by their father; he forbade them to wear makeup
and attractive clothing. He was trying to prevent them from being molested by men, which happened on several occasions. He also forbade them
to go to dances and other social events.
Doss was first married at age sixteen, to Charlie Braggs. They had met at the Linen Thread factory where they both worked, and with her Doss
later wrote

I married, as my father wished, in 1921 to a boy I only knowed about four or five months who had no family, only a mother who was unwed and
who had taken over my life completely when we were married. She never seen anything wrong with what he done, but she would take spells.
She would not let my own mother stay all night...

Braggs' mother took up a lot of his attention, and she often prevented Nannie from doing things she wanted to do. The marriage produced four
daughters over a four-year period of 1923-1927. Under a lot of stress, Doss started drinking and her casual smoking habit became a heavy
addiction. The marriage was an unhappy one, and both suspected each other, correctly, of infidelity. Braggs often disappeared for days on end. In
early 1927, they lost their two middle daughters to suspected food poisoning. Suspecting she had killed them, he fled from her, taking eldest
daughter Melvina with him and leaving newborn Florine behind. His mother also died around this time. Doss took a job in a cotton mill to support
Florine and herself.

Braggs returned in the summer of 1928. With him and Melvina was another woman, a divorcée with her own child. Doss and Braggs soon
divorced, and she returned to her mother's home taking her two daughters with her. He always maintained he left her because he was frightened
of her.

Living and working in Anniston, Doss soothed her loneliness by reading True Romance and other such reading matter. She also resumed poring
over the lonely hearts column, and wrote to men advertising there. A particular advert that interested her was that of Robert (Frank) Harrelson, a
23-year-old factory worker from Jacksonville. He sent her romantic poetry, and she sent him a cake. They met and married in 1929, when she was
24, 2 years after her divorce from Braggs. They lived together in Jacksonville, with Doss's two surviving daughters. After
a few months, she discovered that he was alcoholic and had a criminal record for assault. Despite this, the marriage lasted sixteen years.
Melvina, Doss's oldest daughter, gave birth to Robert Lee Haynes in 1943. February 1945 found her about to see
the end of a difficult pregnancy, which she and her husband Mosie thought was only seven months along baby's
head, and later told Mosie and Florine. They told her how Nannie had said the baby was dead, and they baby's
head, and later told Mosie and Florine. They told her how Nannie had said the baby was dead, and they noticed
she was holding a pin. However, the doctors could not come up with an explanation for the death. After this,
later she collected the $500 life insurance she had taken out on Robert.
Death of Frank
In 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allied powers at the end of World War II, and Harrelson, Doss' 2nd husband,
was one of the many people who celebrated rather robustly. After an evening of particularly heavy drinking, he
raped Doss. The following day, as she was tending her rose garden, Doss discovered Harrelson's
raped Doss. The following day, as she was tending her rose garden, Doss discovered Harrelson's corn whiskey jar buried in the ground. The rape
had been the last straw for her, so she took the jar and topped it off with rat poison. Harrelson died a painful death that evening.
Second marriage
Third marriage
Doss met her third husband whilst travelling in Lexington, North Carolina. He was Arlie Lanning and she married him within three days of
meeting him through another lonely hearts column. Lanning was in many ways like his predecessor, Harrelson: he was an alcoholic and a
womanizer. However, in this marriage, it was Doss who often disappeared for months on end. When she was at home, however, she played a
doting housewife, and when her husband died of what was said to be heart failure, the whole town turned up to his funeral in support of her.
Afterwards, the house the couple lived in burned to the ground. Coincidently, it had been left to Lanning's sister, and had it survived it would
have gone to her. As it happened, the insurance money went to Doss, and she quickly banked it. She soon left North Carolina, but only after
Fourth marriage
Doss had joined the Diamond Circle Club, looking for another husband. She had met Richard L. Morton of Emporia, Kansas. While he did not on
January 1953 when she came to live with them. Morton met his death three months later.
Fifth marriage
Doss met and married Samuel Doss, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June 1953. A clean-cut, church going man, he disapproved of the romance novels
digestive tract infection. He was treated and released on October 5. Nannie killed him that evening in her rush to collect the two life insurance
and stories that Nannie adored. In September, Samuel was admitted to the hospital with flu-like symptoms. The hospital diagnosed a severe
digestive tract infection. He was treated and released on October 5. Nannie killed him that evening in her rush to collect the two life insurance
policies they had taken out on him. This sudden death alerted his doctor, who ordered an autopsy. The autopsy revealed a huge amount of
arsenic in his system. Nannie was promptly arrested.
Confession and conviction
Nannie confessed to killing her four husbands, her mother, her sister Dovie, her grandson Robert and her mother-in-law, Arlie Lanning's mother.
The state of Oklahoma centered its case only on Samuel Doss. The prosecution found her mentally fit for trial. Nannie pleaded guilty on May 17,
1955. She was sentenced to life. The state did not pursue the death penalty due to her gender. Doss was never charged with the other
female serial killer, Nannie Doss,Black Widow
Copyright 2012 More Than Horror. All rights reserved
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