Here are summaries of my programs and presentations. I have given these presentations at the Law Enforcement Executive Program of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, the Johns Hopkins Police Executive Leadership Program, the Deadly Ink Mystery Writers Conference, the Mt Holly, New Jersey Courthouse, and to various community groups, book clubs and similar organizations. Several presentations were taped for local TV.
The programs are from 30 minutes to an hour in length, including questions and answers. If you represent a group or association that would be interested in one of these presentations, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge(s) : The Inside Story
Did you ever wonder
-Why is the Bay Bridge curved at one end? There’s a reason.
-Why did they only build two lanes on the first bridge? There’s a reason.
-Why do the two bridges look so different? There’s a reason.
-And who the heck is William Preston Lane, Jr., anyway? There’s an answer.
Former engineer John Reisinger will tell the whole twisted story of the poltics, the history, the economics, and, oh yes, the practical reasons for how the bridges came to be, and how they wound up the way they are today. You’ll also hear:
-How the bridge was almost a tunnel.
-How the bridge almost wasn’t a suspension bridge.
-Why the second bridge was built after a referendum turned it down.
Mayan Conquistador: The strange story of Gonzalo Guerrero
Would-be Conquistador Gonzalo Guerrero is shipwrecked on the Yucatan coast of Mexico in 1511 and captured by the Maya. After a hazardous struggle to survive in this bizarre and bloody new land, he becomes a Mayan warrior and marries a Mayan woman, the beautiful and clever Zazil Ha. But several years later, other Spaniards arrive bent on conquest, and Guerrero must choose between his new family and the land of his birth. Where does his loyalty lie; to his relatives and family in Spain, or to his Mayan wife and her people, now facing death or enslavement at the hands of the Conquistadors? If he abandons Zazil Ha and returns to the Spaniards, he will be treated as a hero; if he remains, he will become a renegade.
He made his choice….and made history.
John Reisinger, author of The Confessions of Gonzalo Guerrero shows us the dangerous and alien world of the Maya, and the tragic story of the Spanish conquest; a struggle between two worlds that only one could survive.
The other solution to the Lindbergh kidnapping: Bruno Hauptmann was convicted, but one famous detective obtained a signed confession from someone else!
This is the story told in Master Detective, of Ellis Parker, America’s Sherlock Holmes. After a brilliant 40 year career as a detective, and dissatisfied with the conclusions of the New Jersey State Police, Parker did his own investigation of the Lindbergh kidnapping and obtained a signed confession from a suspect different than the man who was executed for the crime! Parker’s reward? He was sent to jail, where he died. Could he have been right? Did this country detective find the real solution to America’s most notorious crime?
The Secrets Behind the Structures
All over the world, from the Great Wall of China to Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World are famous structures that have a bizarre and colorful history few know about. Former-structural engineer John Reisinger will let you in on some of the little known stories behind some well-known structures, including the real reason for the tower on top of the Empire State Building, why you can not see the Great Wall of China from the moon, how the French contrived to keep Hitler from having his picture taken atop the Eiffel Tower, why the Hoover Dam contains miles of water pipes, how a courageous architect saved Chartres Cathedral from destruction, why the London Bridge tourist attraction in Arizona is not the real one, and how balloons were used to lay out the construction of Disney World.
In Search of the American Sherlock Holmes: Tracking down the facts behind Master Detective
What does it take to solve an historical mystery? How do you unravel a 70 year old cold case? This is the exciting, and often strange story of the research that went into reconstructing the story of Ellis Parker and his involvement in the Lindbergh Kidnapping case. The trail includes a mayor who was a safecracker, an attorney who once defended the Boston Strangler, a retired naval officer whose mother had secrets, some juvenile delinquents, a pizza delivery man, and a box of old newspapers found in an attic.
(Note: An abbreviated version of this presentation can be combined with the previous one.)
Improving on Reality: Writing Creative Non-fiction or Fiction Based on Real Life People and Events
This session will tell you the five things you MUST do, five things you MUST NOT do, and the one most Improving important predictor of success.
What is involved in writing non-fiction? How is it different from fiction and what are some of the things to look out for? For anyone who wants to write non-fiction, as well as those who have not touched non-fiction since their last high school book report, John Reisinger will help make it all clear. He will cover the ins and outs of this demanding, but rewarding brand of writing including selecting a topic, researching, organizing, selling and promoting it. If you have an idea for a non-fiction work, but aren’t sure just how to go about it, this is for you.
The World of Rhett Butler: Civil War blockade runners in the Bahamas
Despite talented generals and dedicated troops, the south depended on shipping and international trade to keep supplied with the vital materials, medicines, manufactured goods and munitions critical to fighting the Civil War. By shipping its cotton to England, the south could purchase manufactured goods it could not produce itself. Knowing this weakness, the Union set out to steadily strangle the Confederacy with a blockade by sea, one ship at a time.
So while huge armies fought it out on land, Union warships and nimble blockade runners fought a lonely and critical battle on the high seas and the southern harbor approaches. In this desperate and high stakes struggle, a daring blockade runner captain could quickly become very wealthy….or very dead.
Hear about the brotherhood of blockade runners and how they ran cotton bales out of the south and then returned with arms, ammunition and medicine…if they were able. Hear about the fast ships, custom built in the shipyards of Glasgow, and how one almost consumed itself when fuel ran low. Hear the colorful stories of the blockade runner captains and crews who lived it up in Nassau between runs, the captain that took a horse through the blockade as a present for Jefferson Davis, and the captain who risked his life to run in a shipment of chamber pots! It’s a side of the Civil War you seldom hear about.
What made the Roaring 20s roar: High Times and Low Crimes
Were the Roaring 20s really glamorous like The Great Gatsby, an endless round of flappers, speakeasies and jazz? And were gangsters the only ones committing crimes?
John Reisinger, author of the Max Hurlock Roaring 20s Mysteries will show you how Prohibition caused more drinking than ever, and why the era was considered the Golden Age of mysteries. He’ll discuss some of the sensational real-life crimes that inspired the Max Hurlock Roaring 20s Mysteries. You’ll meet Babe Ruth, Amelia Earhart, Duke Ellington, and of course, Al Capone, among others.
So grab your raccoon coat, ankle on down and take a load off while you visit the Jazz Age. It will be the bee’s knees!
No DNA? No Problem!: Real life crimes solved by smart detectives and unusual methods
With so many CSI programs on TV, many people think solving a crime is simply a matter of matching up DNA samples, but this presentation looks at other, simpler methods that have yielded big dividends in real cases. Detectives in these cases used. psychology, metallurgy, botany, local knowledge, and plain old shoe leather to get their man. Hear how a college professor solved the last great western train robbery with a microscope and a pair of dirty overalls, how police tried to use photography to track Jack the Ripper, how a killer was caught with a coffee stain, and how a botanist trapped a murderer with some weeds.
Rooms of Doom: Real-Life Locked Room Mysteries
Ever since Edgar Allan Poe Murders in the Rue Morgue, just about every fictional detective has encountered an impossible crime in which a corpse is discovered in a locked and sealed room. Locked room mysteries make for entertaining reading, but do they ever happen in real life? Elementary; they do. Here are some locked room crimes that bedeviled police. Some were solved, but some were not. In one case, the victim was a mystery author!
Writing is the Easy Part: Getting published in spite of everything
Many writers worry about where their work is coming from when they should be asking where is it going. What is really involved in getting your work published? Are publishers just itching to grab your masterpiece or will you meet with a collective yawn? For local author John Reisinger it took five years and three broken contracts before Master Detective saw the light of day. Hear the exciting story of the slush pile, the publisher who went to jail, the agent who was looking for a Pulitzer Prize winner, the mysteries of the query letter, and all the ways a work can get rejected. Learn what to do and what not to.
Engineering: What is it and why should you care?
Engineering is using scientific principles and ingenuity to make the world a better place. But that’s just the beginning. Find out why the towers of the Verazzano Narrows bridge are not parallel, how engineering designed the Skipjack, why there are miles of pipes buried in the concrete of Hoover Dam, why structures in the Arctic need ventilation below them, how a huge lump of concrete helps the Knapp’s Narrows bridge be the busiest drawbridge in America, why there is no Outer Harbor Tunnel in Baltimore, and how engineers used balloons to bring telephone service to an African nation.
Deathstyles of the Rich and Famous: Three prominent men whose deaths are still unsolved
The classic mysteries of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s often featured a rich man killed in an isolated setting among a host of suspicious characters, but that never really happened, did it? Actually, it did. Here are three real life wealthy and prominant men of that period who died mysteriously. One was killed at his Hollywood bungalow, one on an ocean liner, and one at his tropical estate. No one was convicted in any of these cases. You can’t make up plots like these! Hear the stories and follow the clues. It might not be too late to crack these cases.