Barbara Daly Baekeland: The Mother Who Tried To "Cure" Her Son From Being Gay By Having Sex With Him

Barbara Daly Baekeland, a wealthy socialite living in New York attempted to "cure" her son from homosexuality by bringing prostitutes to him and when that failed even sleeping with him herself, before he stabbed her to death.

Barbara Daly Baekeland and son Tony Baekeland
Barbara Daly Baekeland and son Tony Baekeland

In the 1940s, Barbara Daly was living the good life, she was a prominent socialite and model for magazines such as Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. She was married to Brooks Baekeland, the grandson of Leo Baekeland, the inventor of the world's first fully synthetic plastic - Bakelite.


On the outside, Barbara looked as though she had no cares in the world and lived a life many young women of that generation could only dream of, but hidden behind her charming smile and bundles of money was a troubled past and world of madness.


In 1932, her father committed suicide that he disguised as an accident so his family could claim money from the insurance over his death. Before she was born her mother had suffered a nervous breakdown, an issue that appeared to be passed down to Barbara as she was known for her erratic behavior.



Her husband, Brooks Baekeland, described Barbara as self-assured and beautiful but told of how he was tricked into marriage. She lied about being pregnant when she wasn't to ensure that Brooks married her.


However, in 1946, Barbara gave birth to Brooks's child, Antony "Tony" Baekeland.


Initially, they were the doting parents that showed off their young child prodigy who they believed would be a future star.


Barbara Daly Baekeland with her newborn son Antony Baekeland in 1946
Barbara Daly Baekeland with her newborn son Antony Baekeland in 1946

Their world crashed when Tony revealed that he was gay, this revelation caused them a major issue as it didn't fit into the world his parents had created and envisioned for him.


Barbara Daly Baekeland was so desperate for her son to get married to a woman, she brought him prostitutes in an effort to "cure her son of his homosexuality."


Barbara and Brooks's marriage hit troubles when Brooks had an affair with one of Tony's female classmates, this combined with his inability to handle the fact that their son was gay, Brooks divorced Barbara in the mid-1960s.


Barbara and Tony then moved to London, this is when their mother-son relationship took a dramatic turn.



Their relationship quickly turned volatile. Barbara was obsessed with turning her son from gay to straight, and when constantly pairing him with other women failed, she took it upon herself, resulting in an incestuous relationship between the pair. Barbara Daly Baekeland was once quoted as saying to her sister-in-law, "You know, I could get Tony over his homosexuality if I just took him to bed."


As a result of his toxic household, Tony was becoming more and more unhinged, until finally, in 1972, he snapped. He lunged at Barbara with a large kitchen knife, this time, however, she managed to escape. Barbara Baekeland never pressed charges against her son, but he did go and visit a psychiatrist.


The psychiatrist was so concerned over the session he had with Tony that he reached out to Barbara, and warned her he believed there was a strong possibility that her son was going to try and kill her. He told her, "I think you're at grave risk."


Baekeland simply responded with, "I don't".



On November 17, 1972, just three weeks after the warning from the psychiatrist, at their London penthouse, Tony Baekeland stabbed his mother Barbara Baekeland straight through the heart, killing her.


After the killing Tony was sent to Broadmoor, a high-security psychiatric hospital where he underwent intensive treatment. With assistance from his influential friends, he was released on July 21, 1980, and moved to live with his Grandmother in New York.


After just a few days of him being in her apartment, he took the same course of action against his grandmother, stabbing her as well. She survived the attack and Tony Baekeland was charged with attempted murder and sent to Rikers.


On the day he was due in court, Tony Baekeland was found dead in his cell with a plastic bag over his head. He had suffocated himself.


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