Sam Cooke Pt. 2: A Change Is Gonna Come


In the early hours of december eleventh nineteen sixty four barbara cook was dozing on the the couch in her los angeles home she had only just gotten home at three in the morning and was waiting for her husband's sam not wanting to go to bed alone own but sam never came home. Instead barbara got a call from her sister beverly. Have you heard the news beverly said breathlessly. Barbara still half asleep checked her watch of course. I haven't listened to the news. She told her sister. It's six o'clock in the damn morning. Thing beverly asked if sam was home to which barbara just snorted of course he was still out. He partied into the early morning almost every night well honey beverly said he's dead. A heavy knock came at the cook houses front door. Barbara left the phone to see who was calling so early as she walked towards the entrance. Everything felt surreal. Barbara still blinking away sleep felt as if it were someone else's legs propelling her through the house not her own. She opened the door to find to l._a._p._d. Detectives electives on her front porch badges in their hands. I'm on the phone talking to my sister. Barbara said in calm flat voice is my husband been dead. The officers looked at each other in shock. They hadn't expected the news to reach barbara so fast but already the word was spreading through through the grapevine <unk> sam cook. The king of soul was dead. One in death can change the world. At least that's what assassins believe welcome to assassinations apar- cast original every monday we examined the famous miss assassins of history and the men and women who were assassinated. I'm your host bill. Thomas and i'm your host kate leonard you can find episodes of assassinations and all all other podcast podcasts for free on spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts to stream assassinations for free on spotify just open the yep tap browse and type assassinations in the search bar at par cast. We're grateful for you our listeners. You allow us to do what we love. Let us know how we're doing reach out on facebook and instagram at podcast and twitter at podcast network and if you enjoy today's episode the best way to help us awesome to leave a five star review wherever you're listening. It really does help. This is our second episode on sam cook the king of soul after crossing over to mainstream success in the early nineteen sixties sam was shot to death by bertha franklin the night manager at a low rent in los angeles motel on december eleventh nineteen sixty four last week we spoke about sam cook's life and his burgeoning interest in civil rights activism awesome in the years leading up to his murder. This week will dive into the trial and aftermath of sam's murder and try to shine a light on the real motives behind the tragedy. Just after three a m on december eleventh nineteen nineteen sixty four sam cooke burst into the manager's office at the hacienda motel in los angeles his date a young woman named lisa boyer. Oh you're feared he was going to rape her and fled from his hotel room. She found a nearby phone booth and called the cops drunk and raging. Sam was convinced that the manager bertha franklin was hiding lisa boyer fearing for her life. Bertha shot sam in the chest with a twenty two two caliber handgun. She kept in the office in case of robberies. This is the official story of the death of sam cooke according to bertha franklin and lisa savoy or but not everyone thinks it's the true story what we do know for sure is that before her altercation and with sam bertha franklin had been speaking to her boss evelyn car on the phone after hearing the gunshots evelyn had hung up and called the police piece to send them to the hacienda motel. They arrived shortly after three fifteen a m to find sam cook's body collapsed on the floor as they pulled up to the manager's office the l._a._p._d. Officers who reported to the scene could see sam cook's cherry red nineteen sixty four ferrari still running outside ride. The door was open suggesting that it's driver had just stepped out for a moment but sam cooke would never drive the car again. Bertha took the cops to sam's body slumped over and leaning against the door frame he was wearing his sport jacket and one black shoe the other had come off during the struggle though they had to wait for the coroner to determine the official time of death. It was obvious sam was dead on arrival. As the police began to process the crime scene. A diminutive woman appeared at the far side of the parking lot lisa boyer illuminated in red and blue by the flashing police lights walked back to the manager's office of the hacienda motel. She identified herself to the officers as the woman who had just called what about being kidnapped. She told them that she came back from the phone booth when she saw police cars in the parking lot she identified sam the man in dead on the office floor as her kidnapper. An officer took her down to the station for questioning back of the scene. The cops recovered a bottle. I love scotch and a copy of a newspaper called. Muhammad speaks from sam's car. The personal property they recovered from sam's hotel room amounted to a watch a money clip with one hundred dollars and some spare change later that morning barbara cook and her two daughters were overwhelmed armed with well-wishers. There was a strange almost party like atmosphere at their house. Every few minutes. Another blues legend rang the doorbell l. joining the growing crowd inside the hollywood home. Sam's old friends were calling the house trying to find out. If it really was true that he was gone in the living room his friends were pouring drinks raising glasses to sam's memory and talking about seeing him only hours or days before his death jeff. Any scrap of new information about the slang was discussed ad nauseam. Barbara was too overwhelmed to respond to the condolences words of kindness as to surprised l._a._p._d. Detectives look don. She calmly fix yourself a drink and went out to sit by the pool. Her sister beverly took over answering the detective's questions for same question was on everyone's mind that day at the cookhouse what really happened to sam by december sixteenth nineteen sixty four details of the case had been splashed across every front page in the nation. Sam was a rising star but his far reaching fame surprised even the publications writing about him one reporter at the l. a. times recounted that the very first call he received asking for details about the slaying was from a newspaper in london that same day just five days after sam cook's death. A coroner's hearing was held with a jury to determine if lisa boyer poor bertha franklin could be prosecuted excuted for their roles in sam's death. The goal of the hearing was to provide a timeline of the nights events and determine whether sam's injuries were consistent consistent with the witnesses descriptions both bertha franklin and lisa boyer took the stand along with evelyn car and a few guests who stayed state at the hacienda motel that night lisa and bertha were both subjected to polygraph tests to see if they were lying about any of the night's events which they both past and the results were entered into evidence polygraph machines measure a subject's heart rate respiration and skin conductivity vity while that subject is answering a series of questions. A polygraph examiner analyzes the results to find indications of deception. Here's here's the issue. There's no real proof that these three factors can actually indicates whether a person is lying or telling the truth in fact for this this reason polygraph tests are largely inadmissible in court today during her testimony lisa boyer told the story of her alleged kidnapping napping a notable discrepancy that appeared was that she claimed she was loudly asking sam to take her back home when they arrived at the hacienda motel how that night during birth testimony when she was asked about their arrival to the motel she claimed not to remember lisa saying anything at all she she also didn't remember lisa acting like she wanted to leave. This is a small discrepancy and doesn't rule out lisa's story however when sam's sam's lawyer attempted to question lisa and bertha about it during the trial he was quickly cut off. There was no further explanation of the disparity. This wasn't the only small detail that went unchallenged. Bertha had a thirty two caliber gun registered in her name but she shot sam with a twenty two caliber. The ownership of the twenty two was never established and then there was the question of sam's money. When the police found around sam in the early hours of december eleventh he had a money clip with one hundred eight dollars and a small amount of change in his pocket according to barbara statements statements to police. She thought he may have had one hundred fifty dollars in his money clip before leaving the house that night. If that is the case the missing forty two dollars dollars would make sense he spent it going to marconi's diner in hollywood taking lisa to p._j.'s hollywood nightclub and checking in to the hacienda motel but al schmidt a record producer who ate with sam that night at martinis claimed he was flashing a large wad of bills that could have easily been almost a thousand dollars sham stolen clothes in his wallet which contained credit cards and his driver's license were never recovered either but the coroner's hearing rejected any attempt to bring up the subject of the missing money and personal effects besides the eyewitness statements there there was also testimony from a medical examiner who discussed sam state at the time of death according to the doctor sam didn't have any drugs rugs in his system but had a blood alcohol content of point one four percent well over the legal driving limit of point zero eight percent and at that level most people lose coordination slur speech easily lose their balance and can begin vomiting for doctor was quoted added a saying that alcohol may affect judgment at that level explaining sam's alleged temper and violent behavior to sam's family friends and and fans the hearing was disappointing one testimony before the jury lasted only two hours and sam's lawyer was barely able to get a question in when members of sam's team attempted to ask about lisa and bertha's background or occupation they were struck down by the judge according according to him that information had no bearing on the nights events and shouldn't be included in the hearing the jury deliberated for just fifteen minutes before before ruling sam's death adjusted viable homicide. They declared that bertha franklin had acted to protect life limb and property and would not be charged. Sam's family and friends were furious at the ruling. Sam's lawyer had no chance to dive taper into the case and the only narrative that was provided was bad of bertha franklin and lisa boyer and sam was no longer around to provide provide his side of the story allen klein. Sam cooke manager released the following statement to the press. The story of sam's death as reported is impossible. Sam was known to carry large sums of money with him at all times and it is evident that someone is trying to cover up the true reasons since for this tragedy sam was a happily married family man with deep religious convictions who was not a violent person and the statements given out as as to why he was killed are entirely inconsistent with the type of person he was this strange nature of the case led many to speculate as as to what really happened that night at the hacienda motel sam was not known to be a violent man and his supporters thought it was impossible for the events to have happened the way lisa and bertha described and then there was the quick coroner's jury trial which stopped any further investigation into the case. Was it part of a cover up or was it simply that since it was a black man who was killed the jury had no interest in pursuing justice. Sh rumors began to fly about why sam was really killed as more information came to light. It seemed more and more likely that even though she didn't pull the trigger lisa boyer was responsible for sam cook's murder. We'll look into the alternate alternate theories right after this. I'm really excited to tell you that bill and i are hosting a new park cast original together recalled natural disasters will discuss you nominees volcanoes tornadoes earthquakes the real life monsters that we like to think we're prepared for the time and time again mother nature proves us wrong every week will investigate the earth's most famous and devastating natural occurrences as well as more obscure natural catastrophes and explore the stories of the people impacted by them natural disasters remind us that despite humanity's achievements we they are no match for the fury of mother nature follow natural disasters for free on spotify and anywhere you listen to podcasts or visit podcast dot com slash splash natural disasters. Tell us now and stick around after the show to hear a clip of our first episode of natural disasters. You won't want to miss it now. Back to the story is almost the entire nation was in mourning in the aftermath format of sam cook's death on december eighteenth nineteen sixty four. His family held the first of two funerals in chicago illinois. Two hundred thousand people came to say goodbye to sam at the funeral home. The line of mourners wound its way outside the building and stretched for almost four city blocks fans and family cried and comforted each other outside the funeral home grieving the loss of the beloved singer the the next day on december nineteenth another five thousand mourners squeezed into the mount sinai baptist church in los angeles to hear sam's eulogy she the church was built to fit only fifteen hundred people the standing room only funeral took on the atmosphere of one of sam's performances is with crowds of people packing into the aisles and shouting gospel singer bessie griffin broke down in tears as she tried to sing a hymn in sam's honor honor. Sam's friend r. and b. legend ray charles stepped in grief-stricken bessie and played an old hymnal called angels watching over for me. The crowd sang along outside mount sinai. The giant crowd devolved into chaos. Fistfights broke out in the receiving leaving line. One photographer was kicked out of the funeral for taking a picture of the casket. He stood outside the church. Selling prince of sam's dead body for twenty five cents a piece barbara had opted to top sam's casket with a thick sheet of plastic so loved ones could see his is face one last time she held three days of viewings so all of sam's fans could say goodbye. The choice only fueled the rumors percents speculation swirling around sam's murder singer etta james claimed that sam's body was so horribly beaten he was practically decapitated -tated his nose was smashed and his hands were broken. Etta along with some of sam's other friends and family believed these injuries juries were too extreme for a single fifty five year old woman to have inflicted rumours abounded that someone else may have been involved but these claims were never substantiated after shooting sam bertha franklin had attacked him with a heavy broom handle the handled could have easily missile because the damage to sam's nose and hands and left him badly bruised in addition photos of the crime scene and of sam's funeral show oh that his head was very much attached to his shoulders. Bertha franklin was undoubtedly the one who killed sam but while bertha may have pulled the trigger many believe even today that some of the blood is on lisa boyer's hams. Lisa was arrested on january eleventh seventh nineteen sixty five exactly one month after sam's death but not in connection to the murder she was caught in a vice sting and when she agreed to have sex with an undercover cop for forty dollars as we mentioned before lisa was known as a role artist who posed as a sex worker worker and rob the men who solicited sex from her the theory that more and more of sam's friends were starting to believe was that lisa was in cahoots with bertha <hes> and both of them planned to rob sam that night the hacienda with it's incredibly cheap three dollars a night rate was a popular spot for for sex workers and lisa and bertha may well have known each other before the night of sam's death. The unanswered questions from the trial and lisa's subsequent quin arrest led sam cooke family to hire a private investigator to find out more about the mysterious woman what the p. i learned was that lisa boyer was a beautiful girl who liked to party. She was often seen hanging around a number of popular music spots and according to witnesses sam had seen her around before the night of his death. When lisa claimed they met for the first time in fact sam and lisa had previously went on a date his friends and fellow musicians had warned him about her role artist passed but he took her out anyway. The investigator was less successful and looking into bertha franklin. There is not much information in the public record about bertha other than her involvement. In sam cook's murder. It's rumored that she was an ex madame herself who had previously run a brothel although that's hard to substantiate as well using the private investigators information. Sam's family crafted a narrative where lisa and bertha were working together in miss version. Lisa lured sam to the hacienda motel with the intention of robbing him bertha helped her set it up but the family still couldn't say whether or not bertha and lisa had planned to kill sam that night or if it was just a robbery that went terribly wrong. The private investigator failed to turn up more information. Barbara cook asked at the investigation be terminated. She told alan klein sam's manager injure. Will it bring him back. Will it get him out of the room with that woman. I have two children and i don't want to put them through. This <music>. Sam cooke was barbara's childhood sweetheart and the father of her children. She mourned deeply after sam's death but was ready to move on and soon enough even a bit sooner than most people thought was appropriate in march nineteen sixty five barbara. You cook mary bobby womack. Sam cook's best friend. Bobby claims that he married barbara out of sympathy and mutual love and grief for sam. He feared that if he left barbara alone she would commit suicide. Sam's parents and siblings saw matter differently once they caught wind of the waiting. They were furious. They were suspicious that barbara and bob may have had something to do with sam's death. They could have gotten rid of sam sam so they could be together. Three of sam's brothers met barbara and bobby in a chicago hotel not long after the marriage and made their displeasure pleasure known they beat bobby senseless for what they saw as his trail of his late best friend for what it's worth there was no evidence uncovered uncovered to implicate barbara and bobby and sam's murder and their marriage turned out to be short-lived and dysfunctional. The couple divorced in nineteen seventy. After barbara discovered bobby had been sleeping with barbara's seventeen year old daughter linda barbara allegedly asked bobby for the divorce divorce after firing a shotgun at his head <music> after sam cook's murder lisa boyer and bertha franklin's lives were irrevocably revocable changed as well bertha. Franklin received numerous death threats from sam's fans. She was harassed so badly that she quit her job. Bob the hacienda motel and moved to michigan after the coroner's jury neglected to charge bertha in the death of sam cooke bertha filed a civil lawsuit lawsuit against sam's family she claimed it two hundred thousand dollars in damages for her physical injuries and mental anguish due to the event she settled settled in may of nineteen sixty seven for thirty thousand dollars which would be about two hundred thirty thousand dollars today soon after that bertha died died of a heart attack lisa boyer also had a tragic yet more violent and her story in one thousand nine hundred seventy nine she was convicted of murder murder in the second degree for the death of her lover. Unfortunately not much record exists of the case but she was sentenced to twenty five years in jail israel. That's where lisa's record ends presumably after serving her sentence lisa was released back into free society and tried her hardest is to fade into obscurity. She never faced any sort of real investigation for her part. In sam cook's murder in in the months and years directly following sam's murder there was an outcry against what many saw as a quick and slapdash trial a group of black deejays jason radio personalities came together to demand further investigation of the case by the l._a._p._d. or f._b._i. The los angeles herald dispatch batch published a front-page satire of the coroner's inquest shortly after it was held in december nineteen sixty four. The article suggested that the a decision not to investigate further was racially biased. They thought the coroner and judge didn't care if one more black man was dead in los angeles mohammad-ali agreed with this sentiment he said in a radio interview. I don't like the way he was shot. I don't like the way it was investigated. If cook had been frank sinatra the beatles or ricky nelson the f._b._i. Would be investigating yet and the woman would have been sent to prison. The greater soul and blues community has held onto the belief that what was stated at the coroner's jury was not the full story of what happened bend. The motive for a robbery is there. Sam was a famous music artists and was allegedly flashing around a roll of cash the entire evening among lisa boyer was an experienced griffin and often robbed john's dates alike. Could he have been killed as part of a robbery gone wrong doc. Was it true that lisa and bertha worked together to kill sam for his money. Since there's been no further investigation it's hard to defined many facts to support these claims and as more and more people involved with the case grow old and pass away over the years the chance of finding ending any new evidence has grown even slimmer but the impact of sam's jeff on the music community and nation as a whole has only grown stronger longer with time. The single version of a change is gonna come. Sam cook's magnum opus wasn't released until december twenty second nineteen sixty four almost two weeks after his death. The song was sam's way of protesting the status quo and america and expressing hope for an end to racial discrimination and segregation the song had already been released on sam's album ain't that good news news on march i nine hundred sixty four but this posthumous single release cemented its legacy civil rights leaders and musicians took the song as an anthem dedicating themselves to the changed world. Sam had sung about on july second nineteen sixty four the first step towards does that change came when president lyndon b johnson signed these civil rights act into law too many black activists. It was one of the most important laws since the thirteenth amendment which ended slavery the civil rights act outlawed discrimination based on race skin color religion sex or national national origin it also prohibited segregation and discriminatory voter registration requirements musicians like sam cooke bob dylan. Lynn data and others have been asking for this change to come for years. They may not have been personally responsible for drafting the act but it's it's always been the role of artists to bring attention to causes and ask questions of their listeners without the support of so many pop culture figures it may may have taken even longer for civil rights legislation to gain traction sam cooke also had a more immediate tangible the legacy that he left behind his record company sar records launched the career of dozens of black soul and blues artists bobby womack almac billy preston johnny taylor and mel carter all got their start in the industry. Thanks to san champs influence on popular music cab direct results as well his gospel inspired pop friendly soul music and showmanship inspired artists like al green curtis mayfield stevie wonder and marvin gaye a nineteen year old. Aretha franklin gave some of her. First traveling performances on sam's tour had sam lived wbt. It's incredible to think what he could have created. He was struck down at only thirty three. Just when his star was beginning to rise he hadn't been at the hacienda motel that night in one thousand nine hundred sixty four. There's no doubt that he would have gone on to be one of the most influential legendary very musicians of the twentieth century coming up. We'll dive deeper into the impact. Sam cook could have had if he wasn't killed in nineteen sixty four now back to the story in the months months before his murder sam cooke was poised to take the world by storm had he survived the shooting at the hacienda motel he would have dominated the music succeed for years to come sam was already a hit artist and was able to make fans out of black and white audiences alike in just stover six years from nineteen fifty seven to nineteen sixty four he wrote or recorded twenty nine songs that charted on the billboard top forty thirty. This was more hits than buddy. Holly little richard jerry lee lewis combined. These songs are still making waves years. Later under artists like james taylor jimmy buffett rod stewart and michael bolton have all released charting covers of sam songs even though he only he had thirty three years on earth sam changed the musical and cultural landscape of the united states in nineteen eighty-six twenty two years years after his death. Sam was one of the first ten inductees into the newly established rock and roll hall of fame had he continued his career <music>. After nineteen sixty four he surely would have written or recorded dozens more hits that would become part of the american cultural landscape in july nineteen sixty four not long before sam's death. He played the legendary copacabana in new york city. The live album of this show sam cooke at at the copa was released in october nineteen sixty four the copa. Cabana was a huge career making nightclub. It only booked the best acts of the a day and sam was one of them playing and recording at the copa was assigned that his star was on the rise if sam we're able to continue on this trajectory maybe the next stop would have been madison square garden the hollywood bowl or maybe even the silver screen according to fellow blues musician solomon burke sam had just done a screen test in hollywood shortly before his murder there were plans in the works to create eight late night musical and comedic variety show with sam as the star similar to programs like the dean martin show or the ed sullivan show. The show was tentatively typically titled sam cook cooks. If sam was this influential at only thirty three years of age he could have become one of the biggest stars ars of the twentieth century had his life not been cut short beyond sam's own music he also had a sharp business acumen and a passion to create his own music companies as we mentioned sam established sar records in nineteen sixty one with his friend and songwriting in writing associate and j w alexander he envisioned sar as a venue for talented black musicians who were struggling in the mainstream music world black musicians had to fight for the same opportunities white musicians were freely given at major record labels and so called black music like like rhythm and blues and soul were often passed over for pop acts much like berry gordy motown records founded two years earlier in nineteen fifty-nine sar records was meant to support black soul artists with the intention of mainstream crossover success sam had led the way with his own career and he he wanted to pass those opportunities along to the next generation. No town began as a small independent record label but from nineteen sixty one into nineteen sixty nine it had seventy nine records that reached the top ten of the billboard charts. Thanks to motown black soul artists were heard heard nationwide sar started similarly with a small but mighty roster sam signed his childhood friend johnny taylor the valentino's bobby womack billy preston mel carter and others if he hadn't died in nineteen sixty four sar most likely would have become as big as motown. Oh town with the type of talent. Sam was attracting and sam's ear for pop music. The company could have been a formidable hit factory instead dead. Sara folded after sam died in one thousand nine hundred sixty four sam had also founded a publishing imprint and management firm with the same intentions kegs music was meant to manage black soul and pop artists and represented. Many of the musicians that were signed with sar had sam not died kegs could've made crossover stars of many more musicians throughout the years. Sam's role in the civil rights movement also would have undoubtedly grown roane had he been able to continue fighting shambles also known to his friends as a scholar his friend and touring partner bobby womack recalled him sitting thing in the back of the tour bus and devouring anything put in front of him from plato to playboy but in the early nineteen sixties sam's friendships with civil rights figures like malcolm x martin luther king junior and muhammad ali led him to become a student of black history and politics he read literature by a wide range of black authors philosophers politicians and thinkers inspired by the words of these scholars he read and and his own experiences with racism and discrimination sam wrote his first and only protest song a change is gonna come in nineteen sixty three by all accounts he had every intention of continuing his journey into activism if he had the chance a change is gonna come inspired inspired artists like joan baez and willie nelson. It's been featured in multiple lists of the best songs of all time from rolling stone pitchfork to n._p._r. It was even selected for admission to the library of congress in two thousand seven. Perhaps if sam cooke had live have to keep making music he may have written more songs in support of civil rights in the coming years he might have joined his musical peers in protesting testing the involvement of united states troops in vietnam. If we take a look at one of sam cook's contemporaries we see the shadow of sam spirit aretha franklin. The queen of soul needs no introduction. One of the biggest voices to come out of the aren be community eighty aretha belted her way into the american songbook with songs like think respect and you make me feel like a natural woman aretha 's music often had a feminist message and she tackled the subject of freedom with gusto. She fought for the same causes in her personal life as well. Perhaps sam sam would have been right there with a retha when she called for the freedom of activist and black panther angela davis after her imprisonment in nineteen seventy cindy or like aretha sammy of written songs in support of native american and indigenous peoples rights. Sam was just beginning his journey into activism activism when he died. There's no doubt he would have continued to use his platform to speak on behalf of downtrodden communities when bobby womack was inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame in two thousand nine he reflected on how the world has changed for the better just like sam hoped it would sam cook's voice was silenced long before his song was over never at a loss for words he would have had much. It's more to say about the way things were changing for. The black community over the years he was a visionary who saw the world the way he wanted it to be he he worked to create things like his own record label to make that vision a reality for all the progress that was made during the civil rights movement of the nineteen in sixty s were still far from total equality. Many today's musicians of color have taken up the torch using their music as a platform due to draw attention to racial issues. Sam cook's drive. An adventurous spirit took him to the top of the charts. During his short career had he lived past his thirty three years he would have kept making hits that argued first social change meanwhile the many people still alive who were touched by sam's music are still fighting for the day when that change finally calms <music>. Thanks for listening to assassinations. We'll be back monday. You can find all episodes of assassinations and all other park has originals knows for free on spotify not only to spotify already have all your favorite music but now spotify is making it easy for you to enjoy all your favorite podcast originals like assassinations for free from your phone desktop or smart speaker to stream assassinations on spotify. Just open the app tap browse browse and type assassinations in the search bar and don't forget to follow us on facebook and instagram at podcast and twitter at parkas network. We'll cenex time. Assassinations was created by max. Cutler is a production of cutler media and as part of the podcast network. It's produced by maxon ron cutler sound on designed by dick schroeder with production assistance by ron shapiro and paul liebskind additional production assistance by maggie admire and carly madden this episode would've assassinations was written by molly quinlan and stars kate leonard and bill thomas now that our show is over. We're going to play you a clip of the first episode of our new show natural disasters. It's about krakatoa evo kano that erupted in eighteen eighty three killing thousands and destroying civilization in the streets to hear the full first episode follow natural disasters for free on spotify and anywhere you listen to podcasts or visit podcast dot com slash natural disasters to listen now in the year five thirty five see the islands of indonesia asia were still largely cut off from the rest of the world. Those who populated the beaches in this era were industrious people who labored away on rice farms or on fishing boats among many gods and goddesses they worshiped davies three the goddess of rice she she provided the people with their main source of nourishment but there was another god in the islands though it had been sleeping for millions of of years it sat beneath the earth watching with disinterest as the little islanders went about their little lives for reasons sends unknown the god then awoke vomiting and releasing a thirty mile high cloud of rock fire and and asks blast was a hundred million times more powerful than the man handmade bomb that would destroy hiroshima over a thousand years later inhabitants of the island scarcely had time to flee as soon nominees. He's washed their villages into the sea. Those who did make it to the hills couldn't run fast enough to avoid being burned by clouds of smoke. The god let out one last fiery belch then hit exploded devastating the remaining countryside and leaving the crater in its wake there amidst the pumice and bodies a new god began to form the descendant of the old old one its name would become infamous synonymous with death and creation. It was not the hindu shiva or the shinto. No its name was krakatoa and over a thousand years later in eighteen eighty three it it would prove far deadlier than its father. Welcome to natural disasters occur cast original. I'm your host. Kate and i'm bill every monday. We'll explore the moments in history. When the natural world turned deadly you can find all episodes of natural disasters and all other podcast originals for free on spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts to stream natural disasters for free on spotify just open the app tap app browse and type natural disasters in the search bar from the first recorded earthquake in ancient china in sixteen hundred b._c. E to hurricane katrina in new orleans in two thousand five natural disasters have plagued mankind for the entirety of our existence learning about these events is humbling but it also demystify what used to seem like the wrath of the gods tectonic plates plates crashing together ocean water being sucked into a vortex massive columns of air twisting into a funnel. We now know what makes these disasters tick but the remain just as deadly the following phenomena all fall under the category of natural disasters earthquakes landslides and mudslides volcanoes extreme heat extreme winds lightning wildfires floods drought tornadoes winter weather hurricanes and soon amies each of these has the ability to not only kill a to wipe out entire civilizations when they strike they remind us that despite being the dominant life form warm on the earth we are nothing compared to the geological and atmospheric forces of the planet. This is our first of two episodes. Roads on krakatoa also known as krakatau a volcano that erupted in eighteen eighty three killing thousands and destroying civilization in the soon to straight the strip of ocean between western java and southern sumatra. The impacts packs of the volcano were felt throughout the world and today it is still considered one of the deadliest natural disasters in history in today's episode. We'll follow the volcanoes geological development over a thousand years as well as the development of civilization along the soon to straight trait will then need the inhabitants of the straight circa eighteen eighty three and stay with them as they experienced the beginning of the eruption next episode. We'll cover the bulk of the eruption. As it devastates. Java and sumatra will explore how it made an impact worldwide died then question whether such an eruption is possible today according to the global volcano network as of july two thousand nineteen there are fifty erupting volcanos on the planet this makes them a rare breed read when compared to natural disasters such as a tornado or snowstorm but once volcano does erupt it can have global noble consequences krakatoa though not the deadliest volcano in history displayed some of the most dread inspiring natural phenomena china. It's constant eruptions generated tsunamis every hour. The volcano's ash plume caused pumice to rain from the sky hi for miles magma seeping from the ocean floor turned the sea to acid. This is to say nothing of krakatoa. Most stunning display its final implosion that led to the loudest sound in recorded history heard throughout the world more than any other volcano okay. No krakatoa reminds us that these fiery behemoths are not to be underestimated. They are capable of destroying entire civilizations civilizations in the blink of an eye and their effects spread across the globe in may eighteen eighty three three dutch colonists continued to exploit these soon to straits as they had for two hundred years in the middle of the strait surrounded by water the volcano slept it had grown into a sizable island measuring about six miles across with its highest peak reaching almost three thousand and feet into the air locals incorrectly assumed it was actually three volcanoes pair boo tan donovan and raka talk there were three funnels on the island but in order to actually be considered as three separate volcanoes they would have to each the fed by their own magma chamber. This was not the case. One magma chamber fed all three funnels. They were one volcano not ought three one massive killer. The large island of java was located about fifty miles to the east. It contained tained the fourth point lighthouse on its western shore as well as the dutch hub of batavia in its central region the even larger island of sumatra light fifty miles to the north of krakatoa several dutch colonies dotted its shores including tim bong home of johannah and willem barring may fifteenth eighteen eighty three johanna and her husband villain sat in their mansion in cut tim box mantra eyeing buying each other nervously as the latest tremor rocked their home villa was the dutch controller for the colony essentially the head accountant the local economy it was a demanding job that had long since outgrown the simple description of accountant and come to include more for general island management responsibilities tremors had become commonplace in the area throughout may eighteen eighty three it was at least enough for philemon woman johanna to write a telegram to be sent to their supervisor. Something should be done they thought but what they weren't sure they had two young children and a baby on the way and their parental instincts were kicking in not strongly enough it would turn out it took them five days to work up the courage to send the telegram by that time may twentieth eighteen eighty three. There was much more obvious cause for alarm. The volcano krakatoa had silently blown. It's top and was now spewing a thirty six thousand foot cloud of ash lava and pumice into the air this resembles a stromboli ian type eruption in which volcano releases gas into the air but not much lava it is often caused by pockets of ocean water seeping into the volcanoes magma stream and exploding volcano was becoming unstable. If sea water was being heated inside of it then that meant the water cover tectonic plate it sat on was moving down into the crust plate next to it. This process is known as subduction tectonic plates are massive pieces of the earth's crust. I that constantly move and crash into one another generating earthquakes and volcanoes as water was sucked down toward the earth's core it was superheated and traveled as magma back toward the earth surface this fill the volcanoes magma chamber and made it fit to burst krakatoa was merely warming up this was a fireworks display before the main event and cruella lourdes the dutch colonizers and the locals into believing that this was the worst the volcano had to offer in may eighteen eighty three the only johanna and villa meiring seemed to be taking the situation seriously on may twenty first villa met with local fishermen who claimed aimed at the beach they had been fishing on literally exploded the sandbanks split apart with black smoke and lava spewing forth he he of the other fishermen barely escaped with their lives. Johanna was skeptical finding their story to be too grandiose to believe but then the buyer inks received a response to their telegram. The dutch government wanted villa to personally investigate the volcano. This was a nerve wracking assignment who knew what could happen to someone who stepped foot on the volcano. Nevertheless villain hired hired a local guide and took a small boat across the strait as they approached the island was obscured by thick smoke fill. 'em watched as the water beneath the boat gradually turned from its natural blue color to a shade of muddy gray soon the lobbying waves grew heavy with ash and stones villa and his guide gagged as their lungs were filled with poisonous gas peering through the thick smoke they could just barely make out the volcano it slopes as empty and gray as the water surrounding it it like the fable of the frog in a pot of boiling water. The people of katembo song and batavia the main colony and java were being slowly lowly cooked alive unaware of the increasing temperatures beneath their feet after his boat trip to the waters around around krakatoa villain buyer inc turned back from the island apparently not making landfall and by may twenty seventh eighteen eighty three. He was relieved that the volcano seemed to have calmed there was no longer any significant plume of smoke rising from the spires. Here's the volcanoes continue tranquility over the next several weeks led many to believe that there was no further danger either that or they became became accustomed to krakatoa peculiarities fishermen accepted gashes and boiling water surrounding the island and learned the cast their nets elsewhere where and the citizens in the colonies became less and less afraid of the occasional tremor that shook their homes according to research done by the history channel a woman in nearby batavia was annoyed that the earthquakes interrupted the ball concerts at townhall author simon winchester writes that there are very few reports of the volcano from june and july eighteen eighty three all that remains things are some vague references to smoke emanating from the island. It was clear that something was brewing beneath a volcano but the colonists colonists and locals could be forgiven for failing to imagine the magnitude of what was soon to take place. Perhaps the barrier of water separating separating the island from the colonies gave people a false sense of security. Perhaps the greed of the dutch led them to ignore the problem and fear fear of the colonizers prevented the islanders from fleeing but krakatoa was a hulking unfeeling thing and as the summer reached it's send in august eighteen eighty three it prepared to unleash an apocalypse on the sunanda straight <music>.

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