Ransom is the practice of holding a prisoner or item to extort money or property to secure their release, or it may refer to the sum of money involved.
In Europe during the Middle Ages, ransom became an important custom of chivalric warfare. An important knight, especially nobility or royalty, was worth a significant sum of money if captured, but nothing if he was killed. For this reason, the practice of ransom contributed to the development of heraldry, which allowed knights to advertise their identities, and by implication their ransom value, and made them less likely to be killed out of hand. Examples include Richard the Lion Heart and Bertrand du Guesclin.
The abduction of Charley Ross on July 1, 1874 is considered to be the first American kidnapping for ransom.
In 1532, Francisco Pizarro was paid a ransom amounting to a roomful of gold by the Inca Empire before having their leader Atahualpa, his victim, executed in a ridiculous trial. The ransom payment received by Pizarro is recognized as the largest ever paid to a single individual, probably over $2 billion in today's economic markets.
East Germany, which built the Inner German border to stop emigration, practised ransom with people. East German citizens could emigrate through the semi-secret route of being ransomed by the West German government in a process termed Freikauf (literally the buying of freedom). Between 1964 and 1989, 33,755 political prisoners were ransomed. West Germany paid over 3.4 billion DM—nearly $2.3 billion at 1990 prices—in goods and hard currency. Those ransomed were valued on a sliding scale, ranging from around 1,875 DM for a worker to around 11,250 DM for a doctor. For a while, payments were made in kind using goods that were in short supply in East Germany, such as oranges, bananas, coffee and medical drugs. The average prisoner was worth around 4,000 DM worth of goods.
A request for ransom may be conveyed to the target of the effort by a ransom note, a written document outlining the demands of the kidnappers. In some instances, however, the note itself can be used as forensic evidence to discover the identities of unknown kidnappers, or to convict them at trial. For example, if a ransom note contains misspellings, a suspect might be asked to write a sample of text to determine if they make the same spelling errors. In some instances, a person may forge a ransom note in order to falsely collect a ransom despite not having an actual connection to the kidnapper. In popular culture, ransom notes are often depicted as being made from words in different typefaces clipped from different sources (typically newspapers), in order to disguise the handwriting of the kidnapper, leading to the phrase ransom note effect being used to describe documents containing jarringly mixed fonts. On other occasions, a ransom note has been used as a ploy to convince family members that a person is being held for ransom when that person has actually left of their own volition, or was already dead before the note was sent.
There were numerous instances in which towns paid to avoid being plundered, an example being Salzburg which, under Paris Lodron paid a ransom to Bavaria to prevent its being sacked during the Thirty Year's War. As late as the Peninsular War (1808–14), it was the belief of the English soldiers that a town taken by storm was liable to sack for three days, and they acted on their conviction at Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz and San Sebastian.
In the early 18th century the custom was that the captain of a captured vessel gave a bond or “ransom bill,” leaving one of his crew as a hostage or “ransomer” in the hands of the captor. Frequent mention is made of the taking of French privateers which had in them ten or a dozen ransomers. The owner could be sued on his bond. Payment of ransom was banned by the Parliament of Great Britain in 1782 although this was repealed in 1864. It was generally allowed by other nations.
In the Russo-Japanese War — no mention was made of ransom, and with the disappearance of privateering, which was conducted wholly for gain, it has ceased to have any place in war at sea, but the contributions levied by invading armies might still be accurately described by the name.
Although ransom is usually demanded only after the kidnapping of a person, it is not unheard of for thieves to demand ransom for the return of an inanimate object or body part. In 1987, thieves broke into the tomb of Argentinian president Juan Perón and then severed and stole his hands; they later demanded $8 million US for their return. The ransom was not paid.
The practice of towing vehicles and charging towing fees for the vehicles' release is often euphemised or referred to as ransoming, especially by opponents of towing. In Scotland, booting vehicles on private property is outlawed as extortion. In England, the clamping of vehicles is theoretically the Common law offence of 'holding property to ransom'.
Warring international military groups have demanded ransom for any personnel they can capture from their opposition or their opposition's supporters. Ransom paid to these groups can encourage more hostage taking.
Adema is a nu metal band from Bakersfield, California. The band formed in 2000 with members lead vocalist Mark Chavez, vocalist/guitarist Tim Fluckey, guitarist Mike Ransom, bassist Dave DeRoo, and drummer Kris Kohls. After their first two albums, Adema, and Unstable, the band was plagued with years of conflict and lineup changes. Ransom left the band in 2003 followed by Chavez later in 2004 due to conflicts between themselves and other members of the band. Luke Caraccioli replaced Chavez in early 2005 for one album, Planets, but then left a few months later in late 2005. Vocalist Bobby Reeves and guitarist Ed Farris, both from the band Level, were recruited to join as well, but only released one album, Kill the Headlights in 2007, before entering a hiatus. The band's original line up reformed in late 2009 and toured, but both Ransom and Chavez left again before any new music would be recorded. Fluckey took over lead vocals from 2011 to 2017. The lineup released an EP, Topple the Giants. In 2013 Ransom returned once again; Chavez rejoined the band again in March 2017, solidifying the current line-up.D. B. Cooper
D. B. Cooper is a media epithet popularly used to refer to an unidentified man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft in the northwest United States, in the airspace between Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 24, 1971. He extorted $200,000 in ransom (equivalent to $1,240,000 in 2018) and parachuted to an uncertain fate. Despite an extensive manhunt and protracted FBI investigation, the perpetrator has never been located or identified. It remains the only unsolved case of air piracy in commercial aviation history.Available evidence and a preponderance of expert opinion suggested from the beginning that Cooper probably did not survive his high-risk jump, but his remains were never recovered. The FBI nevertheless maintained an active investigation for 45 years after the hijacking. Despite a case file that grew to over 60 volumes over that period, no definitive conclusions have been reached regarding Cooper's true identity or whereabouts. The suspect purchased his airline ticket using the alias Dan Cooper, but because of a news media miscommunication he became known in popular lore as "D. B. Cooper".
Numerous theories of widely varying plausibility have been proposed over the years by investigators, reporters, and amateur enthusiasts. A young boy discovered a small cache of ransom bills along the banks of the Columbia River in February 1980. The find triggered renewed interest but ultimately only deepened the mystery, and the great majority of the ransom remains unrecovered.
The FBI officially suspended active investigation of the case in July 2016, but the agency continues to request that any physical evidence that might emerge related to the parachutes or the ransom money be submitted for analysis.Death of JonBenét Ramsey
JonBenét Patricia Ramsey (; August 6, 1990 – December 25, 1996) was an American child beauty queen who was killed in her family's home in Boulder, Colorado. A lengthy handwritten ransom note was found in the house, and JonBenét's father John found her body in the basement of their house about eight hours after she had been reported missing. She sustained a broken skull from a blow to the head and had been strangled; a garrote was found tied around her neck. The autopsy report stated that the official cause of death was "asphyxia by strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma." Her death was ruled a homicide. The case generated nationwide public and media interest, in part because her mother Patsy Ramsey (herself a former beauty queen) had entered JonBenét in a series of child beauty pageants. The crime is still unsolved and remains an open investigation with the Boulder Police Department.
The police initially suspected that the ransom note had been written by JonBenét's mother, and that the note and appearance of the child's body had been staged by her parents in order to cover up the crime. However, in 1998, the District Attorney said that due to a new DNA analysis, none of the immediate family members were under suspicion for the crime. Also in 1998, the police and the DA both said that JonBenét's brother Burke, who was nine years old at the time of her death, was not a suspect. The Ramseys gave several televised interviews but resisted police questioning except on their own terms. In October 2013, unsealed court documents revealed that a 1999 grand jury had recommended filing charges against JonBenét's parents for permitting the child to be in a threatening situation. John and Patsy were also accused of hindering the prosecution of an unidentified person who had "committed ... the crime of murder in the first degree and child abuse resulting in death". However, the DA determined that there was insufficient evidence to pursue a successful indictment.In 2002, the DA's successor took over investigation of the case from the police and primarily pursued an alternative theory that an intruder had committed the killing. In 2003, trace DNA that was taken from the victim's clothes was found to belong to an unknown male; this discovery induced the DA to send the Ramseys a letter of apology in 2008, declaring the family "completely cleared." In February 2009, the Boulder police took the case back from the DA and reopened the investigation.Media coverage of the case has focused on JonBenét's brief beauty pageant career, as well as her parents' wealth and the unusual evidence found in the case. Media reports have also questioned how the police handled the case. Ramsey family members and their friends have filed defamation suits against several media organizations.Harry Ransom Center
The Harry Ransom Center is an archive, library and museum at the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in the collection of literary and cultural artifacts from the United States, Latin America and Europe for the purpose of advancing the study of the arts and humanities. The Ransom Center houses 36 million literary manuscripts, one million rare books, five million photographs, and more than 100,000 works of art.
The Center has a reading room for scholars and galleries which display rotating exhibitions of works and objects from the collections. In the 2015-2016 academic year, the center hosted nearly 6,000 research visits resulting in the publication of over 145 books.John Crowe Ransom
John Crowe Ransom (April 30, 1888 – July 3, 1974) was an American educator, scholar, literary critic, poet, essayist and editor. He is considered to be a founder of the New Criticism school of literary criticism. As a faculty member at Kenyon College, he was the first editor of the widely regarded Kenyon Review. Highly respected as a teacher and mentor to a generation of accomplished students, he also was a prize-winning poet and essayist.Kidnapping
In criminal law, kidnapping is the unlawful carrying away (asportation) and confinement of a person against their will. Thus, it is a composite crime. It can also be defined as false imprisonment by means of abduction, both of which are separate crimes that when committed simultaneously upon the same person merge as the single crime of kidnapping. The asportation/abduction element is typically but not necessarily conducted by means of force or fear. That is, the perpetrator may use a weapon to force the victim into a vehicle, but it is still kidnapping if the victim is enticed to enter the vehicle willingly, e.g., in the belief it is a taxicab.
Kidnapping may be done to demand for ransom in exchange for releasing the victim, or for other illegal purposes. Kidnapping can be accompanied by bodily injury which elevates the crime to aggravated kidnapping.Kidnapping of a child is also known as child abduction, and these are sometimes separate legal categories.Lindbergh kidnapping
On March 1, 1932, Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr., 20-month-old son of aviator Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, was abducted from the crib in the upper floor of his home in Highfields in East Amwell, New Jersey, United States. On May 12, the child's corpse was discovered by a truck driver off the side of a nearby road.In September 1934, a German immigrant carpenter named Richard Hauptmann was arrested for the crime. After a trial that lasted from January 2 to February 13, 1935, he was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. Despite his conviction, he continued to profess his innocence, but all appeals failed and he was executed in the electric chair at the New Jersey State Prison on April 3, 1936. Newspaper writer H. L. Mencken called the kidnapping and trial "the biggest story since the Resurrection." Legal scholars have referred to the trial as one of the "trials of the century". The crime spurred Congress to pass the Federal Kidnapping Act, commonly called the "Lindbergh Law", which made transporting a kidnapping victim across state lines a federal crime.Matt Whitaker Ransom
Matt Whitaker Ransom (October 8, 1826 – October 8, 1904) was a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War and a Democratic U.S. senator from the state of North Carolina between 1872 and 1895.National Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom, Vallarpadam
The National Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom, Vallarpadam-Ernakulam, is a large centre of pilgrimage, and the major Christian pilgrim centre of India. According to the Holy See, the apparition of the Virgin Mary in Vallarpadam is the only approved one in India. Vallarpadam Basilica is the most important Marian Shrine in India. People from all parts of the world irrespective of caste or creed go to the church to seek the blessings of Mary, the mother of Jesus, popularly known as "Vallarpadathamma".Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy
The Royal, Celestial and Military Order of Our Lady of Mercy and the Redemption of the Captives (Latin: Ordo Beatae Mariae de Mercede Redemptionis Captivorum, abbreviated O. de M.), also known as the Mercedarians, is a Catholic mendicant order established in 1218 by St. Peter Nolasco in the city of Barcelona, at that time in the Principality of Catalonia (Crown of Aragon), for the redemption of Christian captives. Its members are most commonly known as Mercedarian friars or nuns. One of the distinguishing marks of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy is that, since its foundation, its members are required to take a fourth vow: to die, if necessary, for another who is in danger of losing their faith. The Order exists today in 17 countries.Ransom (1996 film)
Ransom is a 1996 American crime thriller film directed by Ron Howard and written by Richard Price and Alexander Ignon. The film stars Mel Gibson, Rene Russo, Gary Sinise, Brawley Nolte, Delroy Lindo, Liev Schreiber, Evan Handler, Donnie Wahlberg, and Lili Taylor. Gibson was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. The film was the 6th highest-grossing film of 1996 in the United States. The original story came from a 1954 episode of The United States Steel Hour titled "Fearful Decision". In 1956, it was adapted by Richard Maibaum and Cyril Hume into the feature film Ransom!, starring Glenn Ford, Donna Reed, and Leslie Nielsen. The film was also influenced by Ed McBain's police procedural novel King's Ransom.Ransom (TV series)
Ransom is an internationally co-produced drama television series created by David Vainola and produced by Frank Spotnitz, starring Luke Roberts, that began airing on CBS. Ordered straight-to-series with 13 episodes on June 6, 2016, the series is a co-production between Canada's Global, France's TF1, the United States' CBS, and Germany's RTL, while the latter is airing the series on its sister network VOX. The series premiered on Global and CBS on January 1, 2017.On May 17, 2017, CBS announced that Ransom was cancelled in the United States. A day later, RTLGroup also reported that they left the project after low ratings in Germany. It was reported on the same day that the other broadcasters behind the series were attempting to fund a second season. In late June, various sources reported that Global and TF1 ordered a second season, to be produced without the former partners. Production was set to start in late July 2017. On October 10, 2017, CBS and Global officially announced that Ransom had been renewed for a 13-episode second season, which premiered on April 7, 2018 on CBS in the United States. On July 16, 2018, CBS and Global announced that the series has been renewed for a 13-episode third season, which premiered on February 16, 2019.Ransom County, North Dakota
Ransom County is a county in the U.S. state of North Dakota. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 5,457. Its county seat is Lisbon.Ransom E. Olds
Ransom Eli Olds (June 3, 1864 – August 26, 1950) was a pioneer of the American automotive industry, after whom the Oldsmobile and REO brands were named. He claimed to have built his first steam car as early as 1887 and his first gasoline-powered car in 1896. The modern assembly line and its basic concept is credited to Olds, who used it to build the first mass-produced automobile, the Oldsmobile Curved Dash, beginning in 1901.Ransom theory of atonement
The ransom theory of atonement is one of the main doctrines in western Christian theology relating to the meaning and effect of the death of Jesus Christ. The first major theory of the atonement, the ransom theory of atonement originated in the early Church, particularly in the work of Origen. The theory teaches that the death of Christ was a ransom sacrifice, usually said to have been paid to Satan or to death itself, in some views paid to God the Father, in satisfaction for the bondage and debt on the souls of humanity as a result of inherited sin.Ransomware
Ransomware is a type of malicious software from cryptovirology that threatens to publish the victim's data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid. While some simple ransomware may lock the system in a way which is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, more advanced malware uses a technique called cryptoviral extortion, in which it encrypts the victim's files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them. In a properly implemented cryptoviral extortion attack, recovering the files without the decryption key is an intractable problem – and difficult to trace digital currencies such as Ukash and cryptocurrency are used for the ransoms, making tracing and prosecuting the perpetrators difficult.
Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan that is disguised as a legitimate file that the user is tricked into downloading or opening when it arrives as an email attachment. However, one high-profile example, the "WannaCry worm", traveled automatically between computers without user interaction.Starting from around 2012 the use of ransomware scams has grown internationally. There were 181.5 million ransomware attacks in the first six months of 2018. This marks a 229% increase over this same time frame in 2017. In June 2013, vendor McAfee released data showing that it had collected more than double the number of samples of ransomware that quarter than it had in the same quarter of the previous year. CryptoLocker was particularly successful, procuring an estimated US $3 million before it was taken down by authorities, and CryptoWall was estimated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to have accrued over US $18m by June 2015.Rayleigh, Essex
Rayleigh is a market town and civil parish in the District of Rochford in Essex, England, located between Chelmsford and Southend-on-Sea. It lies 32 miles (51 km) to the east of central London. It had a population of 30,196 in 2001, increasing to 32,150 at the census 2011.The Space Trilogy
The Space Trilogy or Cosmic Trilogy is a series of science fiction novels by C. S. Lewis, famous for his later series The Chronicles of Narnia. A philologist named Elwin Ransom is the hero of the first two novels and an important character in the third.Trinitarian Order
The Order of the Most Holy Trinity and of the Captives (Latin: Ordo Sanctissimae Trinitatis et captivorum), also known as the Order of the Most Holy Trinity or the Trinitarians, is a Catholic religious order founded in Cerfroid, outside Paris, in late 12th century. From the very outset, a special dedication to the mystery of the Holy Trinity has been a constitutive element of the order's life.
Papal documents refer to the founder only as Brother John, but tradition identifies him as Saint John de Matha, whose feast day is celebrated on 17 December. The founding-intention for the order was the ransom of Christians held captive by Muslims, a consequence of crusading and of pirating along the Mediterranean coast of Europe. The Order has the initials "O.SS.T." Its distinctive cross of red and blue can be traced to its beginnings.