Effect: Three innocent-looking photographs are placed in a box. When the box is next
opened, not only are the photographs splattered with blood, but they are now
accompanied by a pair of bloody forceps and three bloody teeth.
The Story: This old box tells quite a tale. It seems that one Joseph Hothingbottom
was a traveling dentist around the turn of the twentieth century. He went from city to
city in central and southern Ohio, treating patients with the standard filling and
extraction of teeth.
In the fall of 1901, the State Dental Board received a number of complaints regarding
Doctor Hothingbottom’s services, or lack thereof. The board investigated, finding
among the doctor’s supplies and equipment this box, which they opened with great
interest. Disappointingly, all they found were a few photographs, which Hothingbottom
quickly identified as patients with outstanding unpaid accounts. The board left after
reprimanding the doctor and warning him to work on his patient relations skills.
A few weeks later, there was a brutal murder in Columbus, Ohio, noteworthy because
the victim had suffered a wicked tooth extraction just prior to his death. Two days later,
Springfield, Ohio was the scene of another murder with the same characteristics, and
within 36 hours of that killing, a woman in Cincinnati was also butchered, once again
suffering from a tooth being ripped from her gums. The press immediately dubbed the
killer “The Tooth Fairie.”
By chance, one of the State Dental Board members was reading in his newspaper an
account of the three obviously related murders and remembered his encounter with
Doctor Hothingbottom. He reluctantly contacted law enforcement personnel and
related his experience with the good doctor.
The police immediately descended on Hothingbottom’s office with a warrant to search
for this box. They found it hidden in the bottom of a hamper full of soiled dental towels
and smocks. When they opened the box, they were repulsed by its worrisome
contents: evil-looking forceps, blood-stained photographs of the three murder victims,
and most disturbing of all, three bloody teeth.
Little doubt as to the identity of the Tooth Fairie.
What you Receive: Seven photographs, including one of Doctor Hothingbottom, and
two each of three patients (the murder victims), one of each of which is blood-stained
Three bloody teeth in a velvet bag
One pair of blood-smeared dental forceps
One box with a flap containing two magnets
One instruction booklet, printed on parchment-like paper