by Nathan Brand
I was having coffee with a friend when he handed me a file on Spokane's first serial killer. "Have you heard of Bluebeard?" he asked.
I hadn't, and initially thought he was saying "Bluebird," until I opened the file. Though Bluebeard, or James Watson, was nationally known to serial killer historians, he was widely forgotten about locally — most people think of Robert Yates as Spokane's only serial killer. James Watson was a Southern-born chameleon who married over 20 women and killed a third of them. He had so many aliases that he sometimes lost track of who he was — his true birthdate was unknown even to him. Though he bounced around the West Coast and Canada, the Inland Northwest was where he was most comfortable.
He's the subject of Episode 2 of Unsolved Secrets of Lost Spokane. It's only four minutes long, but includes maps, reenactments, and photographs, as well as a prison surgeon obsessed with experimenting on a certain part of the male anatomy.
See episode 1 here.