The stories below are a few of the infamous murders. Please come and visit each week and I will post new murder cases. I will explore the crimes, evidence, and suspects of America's dark history of murder and some of the killers that got away and some that didn't.
The Blood Countess
Elizabeth Bathory was one of history's few, female, serial killers. She was born in the year 1560, at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, in Hungary. She was a member of a powerful political family and grew up in a privileged household of aristocrats. The period allowed for wealthy families to get away with anything, including torture, brutal beatings of servants, and, even, murder. Historians claim that Elizabeth had a dark, sadistic nature and was prone to violent, uncontrollable rages and was quite narcissistic, taking great care with her looks. She admired her beauty in mirrors, demanded continuous praise, and used several ointments to preserve and whiten her skin. She was not denied any request and showed no mercy to those that opposed her. She married a brutal man, Count Ferencz Nadasdy, at the age of fifteen, joining two of the centuries, most legendary, cruel families. Elizabeth, with her husband's encouragement, became a cruel, powerful mistress, running their enormous estate with an iron fist. They often participated in the "punishment" of unruly servants by tortuous methods. Historians say the Count taught Elizabeth the art of torture by tying a naked servant girl in the forest, covering her with honey for the bugs to nibble and the bees to sting and how to freeze someone to death, in the winter, by pouring water over their naked flesh until they were unable to move. The Count was often gone to war, but Elizabeth was never far from his mind. He sent her black magic spells from distant lands, as a token of his love. He encouraged Elizabeth, in his letters to her, to beat servant girls to the brink of death, which many say she derived great pleasure from doing. She accumulated an entourage of "mentors" in the practice of black magic, sorcery, and witchcraft and would often write letters to her husband describing each new technique she had learned. The Count became bedridden in 1601, with a bad leg and died three years later, leaving Elizabeth a middle aged widow. Historians claim, that after her husband's death. she became even more cruel. Pretty, young women and children began to go missing from nearby villages, often going with Elizabeth on the premise of employment at the castle, never to be heard from again. The peasants were suspicious of the circumstances of the disappearances, but feared going against nobility, and only spoke to their priests about their suspicions. It has been said that Elizabeth beat the peasants until their bodies were swollen, cut them with razors, and burned them, although her favorite method of torture was beating her victims to death. Elizabeth finally ran out of peasant girls and moved on to lesser nobles, feeding off of what she had been able to get away with thus far, and perhaps, an arrogance and a bit of stupidity because that was her downfall in the end. The Countess was convicted by a panel of twelve judges on eighty counts of murder. The Countess's accomplices eagerly testified against Elizabeth, in hopes of getting immunity. They told tales of unimaginable torture, from the victims being beaten until "their bodies were as black as charcoal" and of Elizabeth stabbing her victims with needles until they "bled out". They told of Elizabeth cutting the fingers off of the victims and of shoving hot pokers in their mouths or up their noses. They also described Elizabeth's fascination with bathing in the victim's blood, believing it kept her young and beautiful. After the Countess's trial, investigators found a registry, written in Elizabeth's hand, of 650 female names and small details of each woman. The King, himself, wrote the court a letter of his knowledge of at least 300 victims, but the charges remained at eighty. The court sentenced each one of her accomplices to death by torture, but were unable to strip Elizabeth of her royal immunity, so she was confined to a few rooms in her castle, with the windows and doors boarded up, leaving only a small opening for the passing of food. Elizabeth died three years into her confinement and left a chilling message to her accusers and the judges that presided over her trial. She vowed to send 99 cats to tear their hearts out, which, of course, never came to light. Rumors began to circulate about Elizabeth's preoccupation with blood and the biting of her victims and she became one of the first "vampires" of the sixteenth century.
The pictures below are of the castle in which the Countess carried out her sadistic torture of young woman and children, and the tower where the Countess spent her last few years in seclusion
The Black Dahlia
Her name was Elizabeth Short and she was the victim of a terrible murder. Elizabeth was only 22 years old when she was murdered, her body, bisected and mutilated, was found on January 15, 1947 in a vacant lot, in Hollywood, California. She was dubbed "The Black Dahlia" by the press who reported on the horrific crime. Although as many as sixty people laid claim to the murder, the crime remains unsolved to this day. Who could've perpetrated on this beautiful, young woman? What could she have done to deserve such a fate? Could the murder have been solved if the press had not arrived at the scene, destroying any evidence that may have been left, before detectives got there? A LAPD officer, John St John, came in charge of the case and, with the help of an anonymous informant, came into possession of a recording of Arnold Smith going into great detail of what had happened to Elizabeth. He described many details of the way Elizabeth was bound, tortured, and mutilated before she died. He described everything in such vivid detail, the detective was certain he had his suspect. As fate would have it, Smith burned to death in a hotel room, a fire caused by his own hand, before police could actually question the man. Was Smith the murderer, bragging about how he had gotten away with the crime or possibly a accessory to the murder? Was he a friend of the murderer, possibly doing the recording to help with the guilt he felt about knowing of the murder? These questions will never be answered. Any confession or lead died with Smith, leaving Elizabeth in limbo for all eternity, never receiving justice for the crime that was committed on her.
These are the actual crime scene photos taken the day Elizabeth was found. The shocking evidence of the torture and mutilation she suffered at the hands of her murderer.
The Boy in the Box A.K.A "America's Unknown Child"
This story is one of the saddest I have come across. The body of a young boy, approximately 4-6 years old, was found on February 25, 1957, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The little boy was found in an old bassinette box from J.C. Penny. His little body was wrapped in an old plaid blanket. Although his hair and nails were freshly cut, his hair was cut crudely and in small clumps all over his body indicating it was cut while he was deceased and naked or immediately before he died. His hands and feet were wrinkled, indicating he was submerged in water for an extended period of time, just before or after he died. The coroner had a hard time determining his age because he was severely malnourished, he only weighed a mere 30lbs. His cause of death? It was multiple blows to the head. His body was covered with deep bruises which were an indication of prolonged abuse. Police scoured the area for leads, they put up thousands of posters asking for information on the whereabouts of the boys parents or any relatives or persons that might have known the boy at all. Many people stepped forward, at first, offering tips, with some claiming he was the son of so and so. All the leads turned out to be false, with no match to the boy. Detectives even dressed and posed the boy in a "lifelike" position, hoping someone would recognize him. On July 24, 1957, after nearly five months in the city morgue, he was laid to rest in a potter's field, alongside prisoners, unclaimed bodies, and body parts. The lead detectives in the case had become so attached to the case, they pitched in and bought a casket and served as pall bearers, carrying the boy to his grave, They had even pitched in and bought a head stone, the only one in all the potter's field, which simply read, "Heavenly Father, Bless this Unknown Boy". The detectives in the case never gave up hope of finding out who the boy was and doggedly pursued any and all leads that came their way. In 1998, the little boy was exhumed for DNA and reburied in a Ivy Hill cemetery and given a new head stone that read, "America's Unknown Child". What happened to this little boy? Who could have done such a terrible thing to a young child? To imagine the abuse the boy suffered at the hands of his abuser and possibly his murderer is unthinkable.
The top photos are of the autopsy conducted on the boy and the following photos are of the boy posed in the "lifelike" position, along with both his grave sites and funeral procession in 1998.
Kingsbury Run Murders or The Cleveland Torso Murders
This is a bizarre and mysterious case of an unknown serial killer or killers in the 1930s. Two young boys playing in a deep ravine known as Kingsbury Run on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio, stumbled upon the decapitated bodies of two victims. Police were called to the scene of the gruesome murders. The bodies were of two male victims, one was approximately 40-45 years old and the other was much younger, a man in his twenties. The older man's body had been there for a while , as it had already begun to decompose and the younger man's body had only been there two to three days. At the scene, police were able to locate both men's heads buried some feet away from the bodies and their penises that had been cut from their bodies were found near one of the heads. The police also found a an old blue coat, a light cap, a blood stained union suit, and a metal bucket, that contained what appeared to be oil, and a torch. The bucket contained crank case oil, decomposed human blood and a considerable amount of straight, black hair, determined to be human. The older man's body had been burned beyond recognition with oil, acid, or some other chemical. The autopsies of the bodies determined that the cause of death had been decapitation and there were what appeared to be rope burns around each victims wrists, indicating both men had been bound, emasculated, and then decapitated while alive and conscious. In all, there were at least twelve victims in all, with two victims being uncertain in relation to the murders and the police suspected there could have been as many as forty victims in all, even though they could not find conclusive evidence linking them. They say that the killer may have crossed state lines into Pennsylvania, where more decapitated and dismembered bodies were found, one headless victim was found in a boxcar in New Castle, three more victims were found in various boxcars in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. Decapitated bodies were also discovered in the swamps near New Castle as early as 1921. The killer murdered both men and women, and only three of the victims were ever identified, Edward Andrassy, Flo Pilillo, and. possibly, Rose Wallace. The killer always decapitated and dismembered his victims and often burned them with chemicals. Police could not always identify the victims because of the amount of time it had taken to find the bodies and sometimes not finding the heads at all. The killings came to an official end in 1938, although the murder of Elizabeth Short (The Black Dahlia), was investigated by police as one of the possible victims of this monster, but could never quite link her to the deaths in Cleveland and Pennsylvania. Could this killer still be alive? Could he have already died, taking with him the identities of his victims? Would there have been a greater possibility of identifying the victims, today, with all the new technology available? Would the killer have been caught? The story makes my skin crawl, knowing that there had been such a sadistic murderer and he was never found, either by cleverness or sheer luck. It is one of the many unsolved murders in America's dark memory.
These are the photos of the various crime scenes of the Torso Murders.