Vampire – Serial Killers
So, there are a lot of murderes that, by murdering, earned the name of “Vampire.” I’ll list today, some of them.
The first is my favourite one, the Vampire of Düsseldorf. I already lived there (Düsseldorf), so that’s a pretty cool way to begin. His name was Peter Kürten, he was born on 26th May 1883 and died on 2nd July 1931. Peter commited a series of sex crimes, assaults and murders against adult and children, most notorioustly from februar to november 1929.
Peter Kürten was born into a poverty-stricken, abusive family in Mülheim am Rhein, the third of 11 children. As a child, he witnessed his alcoholic father repeatedly sexually assault his mother and his sisters. He followed in his father’s footsteps, and was soon sexually abusing his sisters. He engaged in petty criminality from a young age, and was a frequent runaway. He later claimed to have committed his first murders at the age of five, drowning two young friends while swimming. He moved with his family to Düsseldorf in 1894 and received a number of short prison sentences for various crimes, including theft and arson. As a youth he was employed by the local dogcatcher, who taught him to masturbate and to torture dogs . He also performed acts of beastiality including stabbing sheep to bring himself to climax. He also confessed to burning down a farmhouse and watching from the bushes while masturbating.
Kürten progressed from torturing animals to attacks on people. He committed his first provable murder in 1913, strangling a 10-year-old girl, Christine Klein, during the course of a burglary. His crimes were then halted by World War I and an eight-year prison sentence. In 1921 he left prison and moved to Altenburg, where he married. In 1925 he returned to Düsseldorf, where he began the series of crimes that would culminate in his capture and his sentencing to prison for several years.
On 8 February 1929 he assaulted a woman and molested and murdered an eight-year-old girl. On 13 February he murdered a middle-aged mechanic, stabbing him 20 times. Kürten did not attack again until August, stabbing three people in separate attacks on the 21st; murdering two sisters, aged five and 14, on the 23rd; and stabbing another woman on the 24th. In September he committed a single rape and murder, brutally beating a servant girl with a hammer in woods that lay just outside of Düsseldorf. In October he attacked two women with a hammer. On November 7th he killed a five-year-old girl by strangling and stabbing her 36 times with scissors, and then sent a map to a local newspaper disclosing the location of her grave. The variety of victims and murder methods gave police the impression that more than one killer was at large: the public turned in over 900,000 different names to the police as potential suspects.
The November murder was Kürten’s last, although he engaged in a spate of non-fatal hammer attacks from February to March 1930. In May he accosted a young woman named Maria Budlick; he initially took her to his home, and then to the Grafenberger Woods, where he raped but did not kill her. Budlick led the police to Kürten’s home. He avoided the police, but confessed to his wife and told her to inform the police. On May 24th he was located and arrested.
Kürten confessed to 79 offenses, and was charged with nine murders and seven attempted murders. He went on trial in April 1931. He initially pleaded not guilty, but after some weeks changed his plea. He was found guilty and sentenced to death.
As Kürten was awaiting execution, he was interviewed by Dr. Karl Berg, whose interviews and accompanying analysis of Kürten formed the basis of his book, The Sadist. Kürten stated to Berg that his primary motive was one of sexual pleasure. The number of stab wounds varied because it sometimes took longer to achieve orgasm; the sight of blood was integral to his sexual stimulation. Peter Kürten was executed on 2 July 1931 by guillotine in Cologne.
There’s a German movie, called “M – Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder” (1931) which tells Peter Kürten’s history in a very great German expressionist art. And the french movie Le Vampire de Düsseldorf (1964).
The next one is Mohammed Bijeh, also known as the Tehran Desert Vampire. He was born on February 7th, 1975 and died March 16th, 2005 in Ira. Mohammed confessed in court to raping and killing 16 young boys between March and September 2004, and was sentenced to 100 lashes followed by excecution. All the boys were between 8 and 15 years old. In addition, he killed two adults. A brother of one of his young victims stabbed him as he was being punished. The mother of another victim was asked to put the noose around his neck.
The execution took place in Pakdasht south of Tehran, near where Bijeh’s year-long killing spree took place. The killer was hoisted about 10 metres into the air by a crane and slowly throttled to death in front of the baying crowd. Hanging by a crane – a common form of execution in Iran – does not involve a swift death as the condemned prisoner’s neck is not broken. The killer collapsed twice during the punishment, although he remained calm and silent throughout.
The next, Zdzisław Marchwicki (YEAH, say it 10 times. FASTER…!) a.k.a. “Zaglebie vampire”, was born on October 18th, 1927 in Dąbrowa Górnicza, and died on April 29, 1977 in Katowice, Poland. he belonged to a lower-class family. His father went through five marriages in which four children were born (three brothers and a sister) all of whom were later charged along with Zdzisław for criminal conspiracy, robbery and obstructing justice.
Marchwicki committed all of his killings in the following areas: in the neighbourhoods of Czeladź, Będzin (OMG I don’t have ANY idea how to pronunciate this), and adjoining towns in Zagłębie Dąbrowskie and Upper Silesia. The murders started in 1964 and continued, with occasional breaks, until late 1970.
Having been arrested in early 1972, Marchwicki was charged with the murder of fourteen women and the attempted murder of another six, but one attempted murder charge was not proven. After a highly publicized show trial which lasted for 10 months, Marchwicki received the death sentence in July 1975. His execution took place in 1977.
Zdzisław’s brother Jan Marchwicki also received the death penalty, while his third brother Henryk was sentenced to 25 years for taking part in a conspiracy to commit murder. The half-sister, Halina, got a three-year prison sentence for receiving stolen things such as watches and pens that she knew came from Zdzisław’s victims.
Criminal penalties were given out to Halina’s son, also called Zdzisław, for failing to inform the police about the murder conspiracies. In the course of the trial, and afterwards, there was much dispute whether Marchwicki was the real vampire. He did not show typical serial killer behaviour, remaining rather passive and demure during the criminal trials. While in prison waiting for the results of the appeal, he reputedly wrote a diary in which he described the killings in minute details, along with all the associated emotional ups and downs. It is firmly established today that the diary was dictated to him by police officers through a fellow prisoner. It seems barely possible that Marchwicki, who dropped out of school at an early age and had a low IQ (DÃ!) would write using a style that used complex sentences and included police slang terms.
There’s another polski guy, called the Vampire of Bytów, his name was Leszek Pękalski and he was born on February 12th 1966 in Osieki near Bytów, Poland. He is believed to have killed at least 17 people between 1984 and 1992. At some stage of criminal procedures he admitted to having killed as many as 80 people, but he later retracted his confessions. Nevertheless, due to problems with the collection of evidence, he was convicted for only one murder. As of 2007, he is serving a 25-year term in prison and is to be released in 2017, and he’s still alive.
The last one, a British one, John George Haigh commonly known as the “Acid Bath Murderer” or “The Vampire Of London”. John was born July 24th 1909, and died on August 10th 1949 , was active douring the 1940s. He was convicted of the murders of six people, although he claimed to have killed a total of nine, dissolving their bodies in concentrated sulphuric acid before forging papers in order to sell their possessions and collect substantial sums of money. During the investigation, it became apparent that Haigh was using the acid to destroy victims’ bodies because he misunderstood the term corpus delicti, thinking that if victims’ bodies could not be found, then a murder conviction would not be possible. The substantial forensic evidense beyond the absence of his victims’ bodies was sufficient for him to be convicted for the murders and subsequently executed.
On 6 July 1934, Haigh married the 21-year-old Beatrice Hammer. The marriage soon fell apart. The same year Haigh was jailed for fraud. Betty gave birth while he was in prison but she gave the baby up for adoption and left Haigh. He then moved to London in 1936, and became chauffeur to William McSwan, the wealthy owner of an amusement park. Following that he became a bogus solicitor and received a four-year jail sentence for fraud. Haigh was released just after the start of World War II.
While in prison he dreamed up what he considered the perfect murder of being able to destroy the body by dissolving it with sulphuric acid. He experimented with mice and found it took only 30 minutes for the body to disappear.
He was freed in 1944 and became an accountant with an engineering firm. Soon after, by chance, he bumped into McSwan in the Goat pub in Kensington. McSwan introduced Haigh to his parents, William and Amy, who mentioned that they had invested in property. On 6 September 1944, McSwan disappeared. Haigh later admitted hitting him over the head after luring him into a basement at 79 Gloucester Road, London SW7. He then put McSwan’s body into a 40-gallon drum and tipped concentrated sulphuric acid on to it. Two days later he returned to find the body had become sludge, which he poured down a manhole.
He told McSwan’s parents, William and Amy, that their son had fled to Scotland to avoid being called up for military service. Haigh then took over McSwan’s house and when William and Amy became curious as to why their son had not returned as the war was coming to an end, he murdered them too – on 2 July 1945, he lured them to Gloucester Road and disposed of them.
Haigh stole William McSwan’s pension cheques, sold their properties — stealing about £8,000 (£256 thousand when adjusted for inflation) — and moved into the Onslow Court Hotel in Kensington. By the summer of 1947 Haigh, a gambler, was running short of money. He found another couple to kill and rob: Dr Archibald Henderson and his wife Rose, whom he met after purporting to show interest in a house they were selling.
He rented a small workshop at 2 Leopold Road, Crawley, West Sussex, and moved acid and drums there from Gloucester Road. On 12 February 1948, he drove Henderson to Crawley, on the pretext of showing him an invention. When they arrived Haigh shot Henderson in the head with a revolver he had earlier stolen from the doctor’s house. He then lured Mrs Henderson to the workshop, claiming her husband had fallen ill, and shot her also. After disposing of the bodies in acid he forged a letter from the Hendersons and sold all of their possessions (except their dog, which he kept in a pre-filled 10 gallon drum of acid) for £8,000. This 1948 amount (the previous £8,000 mentioned above was worth more due to post-war deflation) is the equivalent of £216 thousand in 2010.
Haigh’s next and last victim was Olive Durand-Deacon, 69, a widow and fellow resident at the Onslow Court Hotel. She mentioned to Haigh, by then calling himself an engineer, an idea that she had for artificial fingernails. He invited her down to the Crawley workshop (number 2 Leopold Road) on 18 February 1949, and once inside he shot her in the back of the head, stripped her of her valuables, including a Persian lamb coat, and put her into the acid bath. Two days later Durand-Deacon’s friend, Constance Lane, reported her missing. Detectives soon discovered Haigh’s record of theft and fraud and searched the workshop. Police not only found Haigh’s attaché case containing a dry cleaner’s receipt for Mrs. Durand-Deacon’s coat, but also papers referring to the Hendersons and McSwans. Further investigation of the sludge at the workshop by the pathologist Keith Simpson revealed three human gallstones and part of a denture which was later identified by Mrs Durand-Deacon’s dentist during the trial and conviction.
Questioned by Detective Inspector Albert Webb, Haigh asked him “Tell me, frankly, what are the chances of anybody being released from Broadmoor?”. The inspector said he could not discuss that sort of thing, so Haigh replied “Well, if I told you the truth, you would not believe me. It sounds too fantastic to believe”. Haigh then confessed that he had not only killed Durand-Deacon, the McSwans and Hendersons, but also three other people: a young man called Max, a girl from Eastbourne, and a woman from Hammersmith.