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  • Writer's pictureMacabre Emporium Pod

Episode 46 - Omaima Nelson and Ragamuffin Day


Omaima Nelson

Omaima Nelson
Omaima Nelson, convicted murderer/canibal

Omaima Aree Nelson was born in southern Egypt, near Cairo, in 1968. She grew up in an excessively abusive household. Her father was very sexually twisted. He sexually abused his wife as well as Omaima and her siblings. At the age of 7, Omaima’s father forced female genital mutilation on her. If you don’t know what that is - it is the removal of a female's clitoris, clitoral hood and inner labia. After all of that is removed, they simply sew the wounds back together from top to bottom. All of this is done WITHOUT anesthesia of any kind, so they feel every single cut, pull and stitch. This causes numerous complications throughout the rest of the person's life from chronic infections that can and have led to death, PTSD, fatal bleeding, shock, urinary issues, chronic pain, fertility issues, painful sex - literally every time, there would be no pleasure, as that was cut away. If a woman that had undergone FGM actually became pregnant, childbirth would require the wound to be cut back open to allow room for the baby to exit the body, and then they would be sewn back shut. Completely unthinkable and super traumatic shit - especially for a 7 year old girl. This still happens to this day in Somalia, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

After this happened, Omaima’s mother woke up and left her husband and took off to a city nicknamed City of the Dead. It was a seedy skid row area, and still is today. The city wasn’t huge, but it housed nearly a million people back in the 1970s. Homeless people roamed the streets, drug dealers and drug addicts flooded the town, it just wasn’t a safe area - especially for children.

Omaima decided at the age of 18 that she no longer wanted to be in Egypt, more specifically in the slums, so she saved enough money to buy herself a one-way ticket to the United States. She chose California as her destination and took flight without ever looking back at where she came from. When she got settled in she found work as a nanny, as well as a maid at another time. She then took up modeling.

Due to her exotic beauty, she had men flocking to her. While she was still at the age of 18, she met and fell in love with an oil worker and they quickly got married and moved to Texas. However, the marriage dissolved after about a month, but I sadly wasn’t able to find out what happened there. But it didn’t take her long to move on. She decided to quit modeling and start bar hopping and was actively looking for a sugar daddy type of man, older with money. She had no connections in the US, really nothing to call her own except the little she was able to bring with her when she came from Egypt. So the thought of having a guy with cash really just had her seeing money signs.

This idea of the sugar daddy, and the cash, cars and lifestyle she could get out of them tripped something in her brain and she might have gone a little crazy. Instead of actually dating these men, she decided she would just have one night stands instead. But this wasn’t going to be a prostitute type of situation by any means. Omaima would get these men to a hotel, tie them up, and then shove a revolver in their face and force their money from them.

In 1991, the then 23 year old Omaima was back in California. She was living in Orange County and happened to walk into a bar and stumble upon a man named William Nelson, who went by Bill, so that is what I will call him from here on out.

Bill was 56 years old at the time, 33 years older than Omaima, but they hit it off. He had formerly lived in Texas, as did she, so they had that in common. He was a former pilot but was convicted of smuggling marijuana in from Mexico in 1984 so that ended that job pretty quickly and put him in federal prison for 4 years. After that he started working at a mortgage company.

Omaima stated later on in life that she felt that dating an older man would give her more stability. That they would treat her better than men her own age. They were established and had their finances in order.

Bill definitely did. He had his own place, a very nice apartment and a sporty little red corvette. Omaima saw that and saw dollar signs. After their initial meeting, the two spent the next month side by side and on a whim, decided to get married. They had an Egyptian priest marry them over the phone in their now shared apartment. After that, they went to the Justice of the Peace and had it legalized in the US.

The newly married couple decided to take their honeymoon in the Corvette. They drove from California to Texas and Arkansas. Bill introduced Omaima to his family at the different stops they made. At one of the family members' homes they stopped at, they all went horseback riding. While riding, Omaima had taken a really nasty spill off of the horse she was riding. Her new family was telling her that she really should go to the hospital and be checked out due to how bad the fall was, but Omaima refused. Instead, she popped 1 Aspirin and took a few shots of Vodka and called it good. Bill’s family was astonished that she was fine after that. They all praised her and called her a very tough young woman.

Once the honeymoon was over, they headed back home to Costa Mesa, California and had a conversation about the upcoming holiday, and wanted to make it a special one as it would be their first holiday together, and as a married couple. Bill picked up the phone and called his daughter, Margaret, and let her know that he and his new wife would be cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year and that he would love to have her there. Margaret declined the invitation, not knowing that this would be the last time she would ever hear from her father.

December 1st, 1991 things would take a turn for the worse. A man named Jose Escavera woke up to what sounded like someone banging on his door. Instead of him just going to open the door, he went to peek out the window to see if he could see a car or anyone out front. He didn’t see a person, but he saw a red Corvette parked in his driveway. The car didn’t look familiar to him at all, so he left it at that and went back to bed.

The next afternoon around 1, Jose was home and watched the same red Corvette from the previous night return and pull into his driveway. He waited until he heard knocking on his door before he opened it to see who it was. He found a bloodied and crying Omaima staring back at him. He didn’t know her well, they weren’t friends, but they had been acquaintances, and she surely felt comfortable enough coming to him in this condition. He let Omaima in and she began telling Jose about how Bill had tried to rape her because she refused him, and that he then turned violent. He attacked her, and the only way she could defend herself was to grab the closest thing to her and beat him with it. That thing was a lamp, and she didn’t just beat him…she beat him to death.

While she was still in verbal diarrhea mode, she let Jose know that she had also dismembered Bill and put him in a bunch of bags, that she needed him to help her dispose of the bags, and also needed to use his truck to do so. In return for his help and his silence, she would give him $75k and two motorcycles. Jose thought about it, and agreed to help Omaima. He told her to head back to her apartment and he would go and get his truck and meet her there. But he lied. As soon as Omaima got in Bill’s Corvette and drove off, Jose picked up the phone and called 911. He told them the entire conversation he had just had and where they could find Omaima. Needless to say, Jose never showed up to help dispose of Bill’s body.

But you know who did show up? The police!

When the police arrived, they found little miss Omaima sitting in the driver’s seat of the red Corvette. They immediately questioned her, but she denied every allegation thrown her way, including even speaking to Jose in the first place. She said Bill was out of town, in Florida, on a business trip. She cooperated, or at least seemingly did, but her answers were just strange, and quite a bit contradictory.

The officer speaking with Omaima noticed a suitcase in the backseat of the car, and Omaima gave them permission to look inside of it. What the officer found shocked him. It was full of human organs. Most notably, a pair of lungs with black spots on them - which means whoever they came out of was a smoker, which Bill was. There was no way of knowing as of yet who they belonged to. But of course, Omaima had her way out of that too, stating that those belonged to someone that Bill had killed. Couldn’t give a name or reason as to why Bill would have killed this person.

On December 2nd, 1991, Omaima was arrested on suspicion of murder. But the police still had to enter the apartment and investigate so it was a waiting game at this point for everyone.

The police returned with a warrant to search the Nelson’s apartment. We may have thought blackened lungs in the back seat of the car was bad, but it gets much, much worse. When the police entered the apartment, the smell of blood was pungent so they already knew something gnarly had taken place here. They just hadn’t found it yet. They saw a bunch of suitcases lying around, and upon further inspection - like once they were opened, saw that they were filled with trash bags. They opened the trash bags and found body parts that had been chopped off of a body, just stuffed in a bag inside a suitcase like a turkey at Thanksgiving. Ba dum tiss!

The next area officers searched was the bedroom. Upon entering the room, it looked like a struggle had ensued. The mattress itself was wet. When they removed the sheet, they found that the mattress had actually been soaked in blood, all the way through from top to bottom. The four bed posts had been broken, like there had been a severe struggle. The lamp that Omaima had told Jose she used in self defense, well, that was in the bedroom too. Covered in blood, hair, fingerprints and tissue.

They moved on to the bathroom after they were done looking over the bedroom. I assume when you take the role of a police officer, you’re told you may see some hideous shit…but this bathroom and walked the officers walked into is truly the stuff of nightmares. When they opened the bathroom door, they turned on the light and the floor was just covered in blood. They then looked up, and found Bill’s hollow torso hanging from the ceiling. He had been skinned. Whether he was skinned before or after he died, or before or after he was hung up there, is unknown.

The kitchen was next, and this room wasn’t any better than the others. The officers found a frying pan on the stove with pieces of turkey frying in oil, along with two severed hands. They were facing palm down in the pan. They looked for more evidence, and went to the trash can. They found pieces of discarded turkey meat in there, along with cranberry sauce and human flesh. They kept looking and opened the refrigerator, but found nothing there. They checked the freezer and found nothing really suspicious there, just your usual frozen vegetables and meats. However, they were interested in what was inside basically a ball of tinfoil. They opened it, and found Bill’s head. It had been cooked, and they could tell by the texture of his skin and smell alone, that it was deep fried.

All of this happened 3 days prior. On Thanksgiving Day.

During Bill’s autopsy, the medical examiners were able to tell via ligature marks on his ankles that he had been tied up, and tightly. They were not able to tell if his wrists had been tied up due to the damage to the skin and tissues during them being hacked off by Omaima. Bill’s actual cause of death wound up being from 25 different head wounds. She had stabbed him with scissors, hit him with an iron, and then bludgeoned him with the lamp.

Now, Omaima did have wounds also. And she was taken in to be checked out. After she was checked, the doctors that saw her agreed that they were self-inflicted. Not in the way that she did them to herself on purpose, but in the way that the force she had to use to hack through Bill’s body, and pull the blades back out, once they broke free of bone, she would have been hitting herself in the face.

Now that they had this incredible mountain of evidence against Omaima, it was time to get her side of the story. She was already being held in custody, but now they wanted a confession.

Omaima tried to talk her way out of the heinous shit that she did by defending what she did. She said that Bill was an abusive man who repeatedly raped her and beat her. Yet no neighbors ever heard fighting or thumping coming from their apartment. She also claimed that she had no memory of killing Bill, and that the demons inside of her made her do it. She said she had a vision of two blood soaked women repeatedly telling her to kill him, so she did.

Omaima tried to explain away the ligature marks on Bill’s ankles by saying that he liked “kinky” sex and had consented to being tied up for foreplay. Idk about you, but foreplay for me has never been tying someone up, killing them and then deep frying their head, but to each their own. At any rate, investigators found that the way she had tied Bill up was suspicious. It was done with such precision, it made them wonder if she had done this before. So they got the idea to dig into her past and see if they could find anything, while continuing to investigate everything in the apartment with a fine tooth comb.

While digging through Omaima’s history, they found a man by the name of Robert Hannson. He was a former boyfriend of hers, and he let the officers know that he ended his relationship with her after a night where she tied him up, pointed a revolver at his face, and demanded money from him in November of 1990. Does this sound familiar? Like what she used to do to her one night stands, she had carried on to her boyfriend…and ultimately her husband who met his demise at her hands. Robert said he never went to the police about it because of his own pride. He felt it would make him less of a man, and he didn’t want to be seen as a victim, so he just kept it to himself.

Back to the investigation…

All remnants of Bill were gathered and weighed, and cross referenced with his newly renewed driver’s license. The weight gathered and the weight on his license were starkly different. Like 80-100 pounds different. So where did the rest of Bill go? Well, neighbors had claimed they heard the garbage disposal going on and off a few times. This was substantiated, as there was blood and tissue found in the drain. But the amount of on and off time during the one day neighbors said they could hear it wouldn’t have been enough to dispose of 100 pounds of flesh and bone. So where else did it go? Hold tight, I’ll get to that in a minute.

On December 2nd, 1992, Omaima went to trial for the murder of her husband, Bill Nelson. She went on the stand and admitted to killing him and dismembering him to make it easier to dispose of his body. She admitted to frying his hands to remove his fingerprints so they couldn’t be identified, and she also admitted to castrating him, just out of spite. She gave no explanation as to why she deep fried his head. Omaima said she went into a trance-like state and spent 12 hours killing Bill and hacking him into pieces to make his disposal easier.

Omaima had dressed herself in a red dress, red high heels and red lipstick as part of a ritual right before she killed Bill. She said that she was a descendant of Ancient Egyptians and that Sekhmet communicated with her and acted out on her behalf. Sekhmet was a warrior goddess with some severe bloodlust. She had the head of a lioness and dressed solely in the color of blood - red.

Her psychiatrist, Dr. David Sheffner, took the stand and told the courtroom how Omaima was deeply disturbed and psychotic. Some new details emerged that had not been known to anyone beyond himself and Omaima, ya know…doctor patient confidentiality and all. You see, while she was in session with Dr. David, she let him know that she did cook parts of her husband along with the turkey, but we already knew that. What we didn’t know was that she cooked and ate his ribs. In her very own words she said “I did his ribs just like in a restaurant. It was so sweet. I only eat the parts with muscles, particularly thighs and calves, which are my favorite. I make a very tasty stew with the tongue. And I use the eyes to make a nutritious and healthy soup.” It had been rumored that Omaima was preparing Bill for Thanksgiving dinner, with him as the course, and that she was planning to feed him to his own family if any of them showed up.

Omaima was convicted of second degree murder on January 12th, 1993. She was also charged with assault, false imprisonment and robbery of a former boyfriend (which I am only assuming is Robert Hannson). She was given 28 years to life in prison. She became eligible for parole in 2006 but was denied because she was found to be unpredictable and a threat to public safety…yeah, no shit.

She had another parole hearing in 2011, and this time, Bill’s daughter Margaret showed up. Omaima apologized for murdering and mutilating Bill, but followed that up with it being a life or death situation for her, and she would have been dead if she hadn’t killed him. So she was sorry he was dead, but happy she was alive.

Margaret had prepared something to say at this parole hearing, and it was definitely an impact statement. Part of what she said was about how the baby girl she had given birth to 8 weeks prior would never get to know her grandfather. Margaret is quoted as saying “I don’t know the adequate punishment for a murderer who doesn’t even leave a family a body to mourn over, but I do know you don’t let her out.” Omaima was again denied parole, thankfully.

Omaima remarried while she was still in prison in the 90s. The man she married was well into his 70s. They were allowed 3 conjugal visits. Apparently one of them was near the kitchen, where knives of all sizes and types laid out in the open. He mentioned how he never once felt threatened by her, even with all of the weaponry around. He has since passed away, and he left Omaima a huge chunk of money.

Omaima Nelson is being held at Central California’s Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, CA. She will be eligible for parole again when she is 58 years old, which will be 2026.

So, US men, if you ever see someone that looks like her during or after the year 2026, may be best to just avoid her at all costs, unless of course you wish to be Ms. Hannibal Lecter’s next holiday meal of liver and fava beans.



Ragamuffin Day

Ragamuffin Day, NY
Children painted/dressed up for Ragamuffin Day

Thanksgiving last year I brought everyone probably one of the most fun topics for me to research. That was the Macy’s parade and its balloons.

We all learned they used to release the balloons at the end, where a pig stalked the Empire State Building, Snoopy has appeared in the parade more than any other character, and the parade has only been canceled one time.

But even before we get to Thanksgiving day parades, the national dog show, or the tradition with your Dad which is watching the Detroit Lions lose on Thanksgiving day.

Thanksgiving Day has always been accredited to Abraham Lincoln in 1863, after Sarah Josepha Hale, an editor of “Godey’s Lady’s Book” and author of Mary Had a Little Lamb, urged President Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. In her letter, she explained:

“You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritative fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution."

On October 3, 1863, President Lincoln responded to her requests unlike other presidents before him like George Washington had done exactly 74 years before in 1789, and Proclaimed that the last Thursday in November was a day of Thanksgiving and praise. According to the National Park Service’s website, the battle of Gettysburg where 51k Americans Union and Confederates lost their lives and this being a victory for the Union would play a big role in his proclamation for a national day of Thanksgiving.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, …to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving... And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him …, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

So by 1870 with this new holiday, the children of New York City would get an extra day off school or maybe work, since one out of eight children in the city of NY was part of the labor force. Would use Thanksgiving day to cut loose as you could say into a precursor to Halloween and mischief night known as Ragamuffin Day.

A few sources said that Ragamuffin Day generally took place in Irish-dominant neighborhoods. In the earlier days of this holiday during the morning hours while Thanksgiving dinner was being prepared, the children would dress as hobos, so torn ratty clothes, dirt on their faces, etc… but their clothes were baggy and oversized so they either borrowed the clothes from their parents or hard borrowed by other means. Then they would go door to door and or anyone on the streets asking “Anything for Thanksgiving?” in hopes of nuts, candies, fruits and vegetables, pennies, trinkets, etc… Pretty much they were just begging for whatever.

But at night there would be stories of the children becoming more aggressive in asking for their treats and lighting bonfires. Some of these children were as young as five years old. Also, gunfire and gang fights would break out in Brooklyn due to Ragamuffins crossing paths. My assumption is these would be street gangs just taking part in the festivities of the holiday and just becoming attached to this.

In the early years of the holiday, dressing like a hobo was the costume of choice but as time went on stores would start to sell Thanksgiving day masks and candies. Some of these store-bought masks would be prominent men and the foremost political leaders of the times and would have over-exaggerated features as well in the masks like oversized noses and ears for example. Unfortunately in these times, people of other cultures would get the same treatment in these face masks as well. In later years it was reported that children would also dress up as Disney characters as well and boys in drag as well

The New York Times observed on Dec. 1, 1899, when reporting on the holiday, "There were Fausts, Filipinos, Mephistos, Boers, Uncle Sams, John Bulls, Harlequins, bandits, sailors, soldiers in khaki suits," Some masqueraders rode horses; others straddled bicycles. Everyone "was generous with pennies and nickels, and the candy stores did a land-office business."

Some of these candies were spiced jelly candies like gump drops, opera drops (creme-filled chocolates), crystallized ginger, and tinted hard candies.

By the 1900s Ragamuffin Day was so popular the children and some adults of NYC clogged the streets so badly that Ragamuffin parades would be held instead but as the ragamuffins marched into the 20s they would soon have competition for the streets, the Macy’s parade.

By the 1930s there was a call in the NYT to bring an end to the traditions of the Ragamuffin Day as the great depression had just hit. Due to this, it was deemed in poor taste to beg for treats as thousands in NYC were begging to just survive day to day. Not only this, it was the upper class wanting an end to Ragamuffin Day. Because just like now you go to the wealthier subdivisions because you know they give out full-size candy bars and so on.

Even though the parades still went on for both Macy’s and the Ragamuffins, In 1937 one group known as the Madison Square Boys Club would march with signs in the parade, “American Boys Don’t Beg.”

By the 1940s and 1950s ragamuffin parades would vanish from NYC streets to Macy’s parade and trick or treating during Halloween, and the last Ragamuffin parade in 1956, or was it the last one?

Ragamuffin parades continued in the outer boroughs of New York City after losing popularity in Manhattan more than likely due to the popularity of the Macy’s parade. The parades are still held in the area, including in Bay Ridge, held since 1966, in Park Ridge, New Jersey, and in Hoboken, New Jersey. Other communities include the Westchester County municipalities Pleasantville and Briarcliff Manor (where the parade has been held for about 30 years).

In September 2016, Bay Ridge in Brooklyn would rename Third Avenue to "Ragamuffin Way" in honor of the neighborhood's 50-year-old tradition. Also in the same part of Brooklyn would set a record for the parade hosting about 6,000 children and 35k spectators.

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