::Literate Blather::
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
10 Bizarre Serial Killers in History

(Yeah, we’re stating the obvious, but serial killers are creepy. Damn creepy. But Americans are obsessed with them. How else to explain their popularity in pop culture? From the Showtime TV show “Dexter” to the cult of Hannibal Lector. Well, DaRK PaRTY culled through the historical record and came up with the 10 serial killers that may be the most bizarre in history.)

Karl Denke

Born: August 12, 1870

Died: December 22, 1924

How He Died: Hung himself in his jail cell.

Method of Dead: Germany

Occupation: Owned a rooming house and played an organ at his church.

Number of Victims: 31

Crimes: Denke was so popular with the people who lived at his rooming house that they called him “Papa.” But during a three year period, Papa murdered travelers, vagrants, and beggars then butchered and ate them. He was caught after trying to axe murder a young man who escape from his first-floor apartment. When police searched his home, they discovered two tubs of “meat” soaking in brine and a journal chronicling his killings and cannibalism. He committed suicide by hanging himself with his suspenders without explaining his actions.

Weird Detail: Denke hung himself with his suspenders after he was caught – dying before he could offer any explanation.

Nutshell: He ate vagrants – a lot of them.

Jack the Stripper

Born: Unknown

Died: Unknown

Method of Death: Likely a suicide

Country of Origin: Great Britain

Occupation: Possibly a security guard

Number of Victims: 8

Crimes: During the late 1950s and into the mid-1960s, Jack the Stripper murdered eight prostitutes in London’s East End (just like his namesake Jack the Ripper). Jack the Stripper killed his last six victims by removing the teeth of his victims and then strangling them to death (one theory is that he choked his victims with his, ahem, private parts until they died). Then he threw most of them completely nude except for their stockings into the Thames River. He was never caught, but Scotland Yard believes he was a security guard who killed himself with gas from his oven when targeted as a suspect.

Weird Detail: Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “Frenzy” was loosely based on the case.

Nutshell: You can’t make this stuff up.

Joseph Kallinger

Born: December 11, 1936

Died: March 26, 1996

Method of Death: Choked to death on his own vomit while in prison.

Country of Origin: United States (Philadelphia)

Occupation: Unknown

Number of Victims: At least three

Crimes: Kallinger had a bizarre upbringing with his adoptive parents punishing him by flogging him with a cat-o-nine tails and beating him with a hammer. Killinger enlisted the aid of his 13-year-old son for a crime spree across three states that left three people murdered, two women raped, and dozens kidnapped, brutalized, and robbed. He was caught when he threw away a blood-stained shirt that was traced back to him.

Weird Detail: Kallinger reportedly had hallucinations where he talked with a decapitated head named “Charlie.”

Nutshell: Kallinger said in interviews that he wanted to kill everyone in the world and then commit suicide so he could become a God. His son – who was released from prison at age 25 – is still alive. He changed his name and moved to whereabouts unknown.

Gwendolyn Graham & Cathy Wood

Born: 1963 and 1962

Died: Still alive, but imprisoned for life

Method of Death: Still alive

Country of Origin: United States

Occupation: Nurses aids at a retirement home.

Number of Victims: 5

Crimes: Graham and Wood were lesbian lovers who worked together at a nursing home in Michigan. During 1987, the women plotted to kill patient so that the victim’s initials would spell out the word “murder.” However, the patients they picked were still feisty and their first attempts at murder failed. They decided to target severely sick old ladies. While Wood kept look-out, Graham suffocated the women by pressing a wet clothe over their noses and mouths.

Weird Detail: The two women actually bragged about their exploits to co-workers and displayed the collection of souvenirs they stole from their victims on the mantel in their living room.

Nutshell: They were caught when Wood turned on Graham because Graham got a job at a local hospital and boasted that she would soon begin to kill newborn infants.

John George Haigh

Born: July 24, 1909

Died: August 10, 1949

Method of Death: Hanged for his crimes

Country of Origin: Great Britain

Occupation: Accountant at an engineering firm

Number of Victims: 6 (but possibly 9)

Crimes: Haigh is known as the “Acid Bath Murderer.” He killed his victims with blows to the head or gun shots and then put their bodies into large metal drums filled with sulphuric acid. When the bodies dissolved he would dispose of the remains by pouring the “sludge” into manholes. His primary reason for killing people was to steal their belonging and money.

Weird Detail: Before his execution, Haigh modeled for a wax figurine for Madame Tussauds and even donated his clothing to the museum.

Nutshell: Haigh was under the mistaken impression that police couldn’t arrest him for murder if there were no bodies for evidence. He also claimed to be obsessed with blood from an early age.

Marcel Petiot

Born: January 17, 1897

Died: May 25, 1946

Method of Death: Beheaded by the guillotine

Country of Origin: France

Occupation: Medical doctor and former mayor.

Number of Victims: 26 (but might be as high as 60)

Crimes: After a life of crime (stealing, shoplifting, and drug trafficking), the good doctor had a special house constructed in Paris during the Nazi occupation of France during World War II. The house contained a death chamber. Posing as a member of the French Resistance, Petiot lured Jews and other fugitives with offers to help them. He would poison his victims and watch them die from a window installed in the death chamber. Petiot was actually caught by the Nazis and let go when they discovered what he was doing. After the war, the French authorities finally caught up with him when they found 27 dismembered corpses in his basement.

Weird Detail: Petiot obtain a medical degree despite spending time in an insane asylum while at school.

Nutshell: Petiot expertly played the French and Germans against each other claiming to work for each one of them. He also used the war as a shield for his gruesome activities.

Henry Lee Lucas

Born: August 23, 1936

Died: March 13, 2001

Method of Death: Died of a heart attack while serving multiple life sentences.

Country of Origin: United States (Virginia)

Occupation: Drifter

Number of Victims: Convicted of 11 murders (but confessed to as many as 350, but later recanted).

Crimes: Lucas was a glass-eyed drifted who killed his mother during an argument. During his youth, he often tortured and had sex with animals. After being released from prison for murdering his mother, he was arrested on suspicion of killing two people and he began a bizarre orgy of confessions – telling authorities he had killed hundreds of people, belonged to a Satanic cult, killed Jimmy Hoffa, and delivered poison to Jim Jones. He was eventually convicted of 11 murders, but his confessions and convictions remain in dispute among many.

Weird Detail: The movie “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” was based on Lucas’ confessions to police.

Nutshell: Lucas was a born loser and a liar. He spun so many lies that it is difficult to determine how many people he murdered, but most experts agree that killed many.

Edmund Kemper

Born: December 18, 1948

Died: Still alive

Method of Death: Serving a life sentence

Country of Origin: United States (California)

Occupation: Highway Department Worker

Number of Victims: 10

Crimes: At age 15, Kemper murdered his grandmother and grandfather. He told police: “I just wanted to see what it felt like to kill Grandma.” Being extremely intelligent, Kemper fooled doctors that he was cured and was released from prison. From May 1972 to February 1973, the enormous Kemper (6 feet, 9 inches tall and 300 pounds) went on a murder spree. He picked up female hitchhikers, murder them, and then have sex with the dead bodies. He later brutally murdered his mother, decapitated her (using her head as a dart board) and then raped her headless body. Discouraged that his crimes weren’t being reported properly, Kemper called police and confessed to his crimes.

Weird Detail: Kemper has become one of the most notorious serial killers in history because of his charm and his willingness to talk with authorities. He has been the subject of several songs by Goth bands such as The Berzerkers, Church of Misery and Macabre.

Nutshell: Kemper is a violent sociopath who killed and then bragged coldly about his murders. Once asked about what he’d do if he saw a woman from his prison window, he said: "One side of me says, 'Wow, what an attractive chick. I'd like to talk to her, date her.' The other side of me says, 'I wonder how her head would look on a stick.'"

Anna Maria Zwanziger

Born: 1760

Died: July, 1811

Method of Death: Beheaded for her crimes

Country of Origin: Germany

Occupation: Domestic servant

Number of Victims: 4

Crimes: Zwanziger poisoned her victims with arsenic, which she called “her truest friend.” Her method was to seek out bachelors or divorced men and become their maid or cook. She even fed a baby a poisoned biscuit. When she was caught by police, they discovered that she had put arsenic in the salt, pepper, sugar and coffee of her latest employer. She later confessed that it was wise for authorities to kill her because she would never be able to give up poisoning people.

Weird Detail: She was the daughter a successful innkeeper and married an attorney who drank himself to death.

Nutshell: Zwanziger was able to integrate herself with her employers and gain their trust before beginning to poison them and her fellow servants.

Read our interview about Jack the Ripper here

Read about the high crimes of George W. Bush here

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Blogger The Pilgrim said...
Great list, if you like those check these monsters out:

Top Ten Serial Killers

Anonymous bonnie holt said...
Love your list I am a college student and taking a serial killer class and this will help me out alot.

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