Monday, 30 March 2015

REAL LIFE SUPER VILLAIN - Adam Worth, the Napoleon of the CriminalWorld.

Looking at the world of fiction and popular culture...  and real people acting like super villains.

This one's pretty obvious.  Professor James Moriarty, one of Holmes's major nemeses in his few appearances, was called by Holmes, "The Napoleon of Crime" in his first appearance a couple of months after Worth's trial.  Not that Worth is the only possible inspiration for Moriarty, but the sharing of a sobriquet says that Worth is likely a Real Life Super Villain.

The following categories come from 10 Rules to Tell if a Character is a Super Villain.

Code Name

No code name but a variety of names:

  • Adam Werth: possible birth name.
  • Henry Judson Raymond: the name he used once he moved to England.
  • A variety of names he enlisted under in the American Civil War to make money as a bounty jumper.
  • A variety of identities as a criminal mastermind in New York.
  • "The Napoleon of the Criminal world":  A name given to him by Robert Anderson, Spy, Scotland Yard Detective and top policeman of his time.
  • Also called "'Master Thief of Modern Times" and "The Man Who Stole the Gainsborough."

Distinctive Look

No particularly.

Giant Building & Vehicles

Maybe not giant, but his time as a criminal mastermind in New York earned him houses, jewels, a yacht.

Shady Past

Doesn't seem to have a shady past until the Civil War when, at 17, he lied about his age and enlisted.  Injured at the Second Battle of Bull Run he discovered, while in hospital, he was listed as dead and fled.  He then became a bounty jumper - taking a payment to enlist in the place of a rich man - and he made money by doing this a number of times.  The Pinkerton Detective Agency and others began to track bounty jumpers and Worth fled to New York where as many as 3,000 bounty jumpers are thought to have ended up.  There he became a pickpocket, heading a gang and eventually being caught and sent to Sing Sing for three years.


Escaping from Sing Sing down a drain into a train tunnel and decided to become a more organised criminal to get away from the risky life of a pickpocket.  Quickly he became a successful criminal in New York, masterminding and financing the robbery of trains, banks and jewelers' safes, going as far as to tunnel into prison to help Piano Charlie Bullard escape and then helped him rob a Boston bank by tunneling in from a neighbouring store.  Police and Pinkerton interest cause Worth to flee to Europe under an assumed name with Bullard and Bullard's wife (who also happened to be Worth's lover.)

Worth robbed pawn shops in Liverpool, ran an illegal gambling den in Paris and formed a criminal network in London.  When In 1876, Worth climbed in  Thomas Gainsborough's window took the recently rediscovered painting of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire.  He stole $500,000 worth of uncut diamonds in South Africa and undercut Diamond sellers in London.  Finally he was arrested during a robbery in Belguim.


After he was released from gaol, he met with Allan Pinkerton and made a deal to receive $25,000 to return the painting of the Duchess of Devonshire and lived peacefully in London as Henry Judson Raymond until his death.  His eventually son went to work with the Pinkerton Agency.

Working for the Greater Good

No sign he was working for the greater good, he did however, abhor violence and banned his associates from using it.




Criminal mastermind, must be on some level.

Action Villain

Climbing down drains and in windows and taking part in robberies.  He seems to count.

Was Adam Worth a super villain?  Do the poll.

~ DUG.

The above is a work of fiction, an similarity to actual persons living or dead is quite possibly the point, but is not meant to prove that they are actually Super Villains.  We leave it up to them to do that themselves.

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