The Death Of Philippe Halsman’s Father
After leaving Europe and moving to the US during the 1940s, Philippe Halsman became one of the world’s most renowned portrait photographers. However, before Halsman’s career even began, his life was almost derailed by a controversial murder case. On September 10, 1928, the 22-year-old Halsman went on a hiking trip with his father, Morduch Halsman, in the Zillertal Valley in Tyrol, Austria.
According to Halsman, he was walking ahead of his father when he suddenly fell into a ravine. When Halsman found his father’s body near a riverbank, he was still alive so Halsman went off to get help. By the time he returned, his father was dead and his empty wallet was now resting beside him. A stone was found with Morduch Halsman’s blood and hair on it, indicating that he was robbed and murdered sometime after his fall.
Authorities soon made the shocking allegation that Philippe Halsman was responsible and charged him with his father’s murder. He was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison. However, Halsman had no discernible motive to kill his father and there was no evidence to implicate him. Since Halsman was Jewish and Tyrol was known for being an anti-Semitic community at the time, this seemed to be the motivating factor behind his conviction.
He had many notable supporters who believed in his innocence, including Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud. The prosecution had presented Freud’s Oedipus complex as a possible motive for Halsman murdering his father, but Freud himself refuted this idea. Halsman eventually garnered a new trial and received a lighter sentence of four years, but his supporters weren’t satisfied. They successfully petitioned the President of Austria to grant Halsman a full pardon, and he was released in October of 1930. The real murderer of Morduch Halsman was never found.
The Disappearance Of Jared Negrete
On July 19, 1991, Jared Negrete, a 12-year-old boy from El Monte, California, traveled to Camp Tahquitz in the San Bernardino National Forest. He was going on an overnight camping trip with his Boy Scout troop and they were planning to hike to the top of the 3,500-meter (11,500 ft) Mount San Gorgonio. As the troop neared the top the summit, Jared wandered away and disappeared after apparently straying onto the wrong trail. When the troop discovered that Jared was missing, an extensive search was conducted of the area by rescue teams. They found a lot of matching shoe prints and some items which belonged to Jared including his backpack, beef jerky, and candy wrappers. In spite of these clues, they could not find any trace of Jared.
This story would probably be a straightforward and tragic case of a boy succumbing to the elements after getting lost in the wilderness, but Jared managed to leave behind one very haunting image. Jared’s camera was also found in the woods, and its film contained 12 recent photographs which were eventually developed. Most of the pictures were landscape shots which were taken before he disappeared, but the last photo was a self-portrait which Jared had taken of himself. Since Jared’s arms were too short to hold the camera out very far, the photo only wound up capturing his eyes and nose. It seemed clear that Jared looked scared and that the mysterious picture was taken after he went missing. This self-portrait of Jared Negrete remains the last existing trace of him.