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30 classic cases of serial murder from around the world, including;
Fritz Haarmann: German monster who murdered as many as 70 boys, then sold their flesh on the black market as pork.
Anatoly Onoprienko: Known as “The Terminator.” Onoprienko’s crimes were so brutal that the Ukrainian government mobilized an entire army unit to stop him.
Zhang Yongming: Chinese serial killer whose home was found to contain bags of human bones, chunks of pickled human flesh, and a collection of eyeballs!
Jack Unterweger: Celebrated author and media darling who got his kicks brutalizing prostitutes across the globe.
Clifford Olson: A truly horrific serial killer who drugged and murdered at least 11 young victims, conducting sickening experiments on some of them.
John Wayne Glover: A repulsive sex fiend who preyed on elderly women in Sydney’s Mosman suburb, battering at least 6 victims to death.
Pedro Lopez: The “Monster of the Andes” accumulated a barely believable toll of 300 victims, all of them children.
Nikolai Dzhumagaliev: Known as “Metal Fang” due to his unique dental work, this serial killer served up the flesh of his victims to his unsuspecting dinner guests.
Archibald Hall: Butler to the British nobility by day, thief, conman and serial killer by night.
Alexander Spesivtsev: A Siberian cannibal who preyed on street children, slaughtering them in his filthy apartment and handing over their flesh to his mother to cook.
Plus 20 more riveting true crime cases.
The years that followed World War I were a bleak period in German history. Fresh from its defeat on the battlefields of Europe, the country now faced punitive sanctions and the massive reparations debt imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. For the ordinary citizen it was a time of deprivation and food shortages, when hyperinflation meant that the vast majority of Germans were barely able to keep body and soul together. As if this were not enough, the era also produced three of the most depraved serial killers of this or any other decade, Georg Grossman of Berlin, Karl Denke of Munsterberg, and Fritz Haarmann, the so-called Butcher of Hannover.
Friedrich “Fritz” Haarmann was born on October 25, 1879, the sixth child of an impoverished family. He was a quiet, and somewhat effeminate, boy who eschewed the rough and tumble games of his male counterparts and preferred playing with dolls.
At 16, despite his poor academic record, he enrolled in military college and surprised his family by proving to be an excellent cadet. However, his military career was short-lived and he was discharged within a year for medical reasons.
Back in Hannover, Haarmann found work in a cigar factory and also came to the attention of the police as a child molester. Arrested on molestation charges he was confined to an asylum but escaped and fled to Switzerland.
When he returned to Germany two years later, Haarmann took up residence at his parents’ home and began working in his father’s business. However, the arrangement was short lived. After attacking his father during an argument, Haarmann again found himself in custody. Assault charges against him were later dropped.
For the next decade, Haarmann made his living as a petty thief and conman. He was a less than capable criminal and was arrested on numerous occasions, spending several short terms in prison. Through these arrests, Haarmann came to establish a relationship with members of the Hannover constabulary, and began supplementing his income by providing the police with information on other criminals.
This arrangement shielded Haarmann from prosecution until 1914, when he was convicted on fraud and theft charges and sent to prison. No bad thing as it turned out, World War I erupted soon after and Haarmann was spared conscription. He’d spend the entire duration of the war in jail, before his release in 1918.
Haarmann emerged to a country in financial ruin, but also one with boundless opportunities for the sharp-eyed criminal. He soon resumed his work as a police informant, while also picking up the threads of his illicit activities. Soon his catalog of offences would include murder.
Haarmann’s first known victim was 17-year-old Friedel Rothe, reported missing on September 25, 1918. Friends of Roethe told the police that they had seen the youth in the company of Fritz Haarmann shortly before his disappearance, but investigators dismissed these allegations. It was only at the insistence of Rothe's family, that they eventually raided Haarmann's apartment. They found their star informer in bed with a naked boy.
Charged with sexual assault, Haarmann was sent to prison for nine months. But the police had missed a trick. Had they searched Haarmann’s apartment, they would have found Friedel Rothe’s head, hidden behind a stove.
Haarmann's latest brush with the law did nothing to damage his arrangement with the police. Back on the streets he resumed his career as an informant and also returned to his murderous activities. Over the next five years he would claim at least 26 victims, most of them young runaways or male prostitutes who he picked up at Hannover's central railway station.
Haarmann’s M.O. was simple. He’d lure his young victims back to his apartment with promises of work or food or cigarettes. Once there, he’d overpower them, then rape and strangle them, usually biting through their throats as he was committing sodomy. The victim would then be dismembered, choice cuts held back for sale as pork on the black market, the rest of the corpse tossed carelessly into the River Leine.
The clothes and other possessions of the victims were either sold or kept by Haarmann or his lover, Hans Grans. Although not actively involved in the killings, Grans was well aware of them and even on occasion pointed out potential victims to Haarmann. Grans, Haarmann later confessed, urged him to kill only the “prettiest” boys.
By 1924, Haarmann was claiming on average two victims a month, and even in those uncertain times such a spate of disappearances inevitably drew the attention of the police. Then, after human bones and other body parts started showing up in the Leine, outraged citizens demanded action.
In June 1924, the police dragged the river and found over 500 human bones, later determined to have come from at least 22 separate individuals.
Suspicion quickly fell upon Haarmann, who was often observed talking to young men at the Hannover rail station and who, as well as being a convicted child molester, had been a suspect in the 1918 disappearance of Friedel Rothe.
Haarmann was placed under surveillance and, on the night of June 22, was observed prowling the railway station. He was arrested after trying to lure a boy to his apartment. A search of his premises turned up bloodstains on virtually every surface. Then, after the police discovered trunks full of clothes and other items, Haarmann was placed under arrest.
But the evidence was not quite as conclusive as it seemed. Haarmann explained away the blood by insisting that it came from his illegal trade as a butcher. He said the clothes were second hand items that he had purchased for re-sale. As he was a trader in both meat and used clothing, the explanations seemed plausible.
But here luck finally turned against Fritz Haarmann. While he was being interrogated, a family named Witzel arrived at the police station to enquire about their missing son, Robert. While they waited, a man walked past wearing a jacket that Mrs. Witzel recognized. When she confronted the man, he said that he’d bought the jacket from Fritz Haarmann. The garment turned out to have a label inside bearing the name Robert Witzel.
Faced with this new evidence, Haarmann eventually admitted to murdering Witzel, and numerous other boys. Asked how many, he stunned investigators by answering nonchalantly, “somewhere between 50 and 70.”
Haarmann went on trial in December 1924, charged with 27 murders. The trial was a sensation throughout Germany, with Haarmann dubbed a ‘vampire’ and a ‘werewolf’ by the press. He certainly lived up to that billing, taking the stand to describe his modus operandi as follows:
“I would throw myself on top of those boys and bite through the Adam's apple, throttling them at the same time.
“Afterwards I'd make two cuts in the abdomen and put the intestines in a bucket, then soak up the blood and crush the bones until the shoulders broke. Now I could get the heart, lungs and kidneys and chop them up and put them in my bucket. I'd take the flesh off the bones and put it in my waxcloth bag. It would take me five or six trips to take everything and throw it down the toilet or into the river. I always hated doing this, but I couldn't help it - my passion was so much stronger than the horror of the cutting and chopping."
Haarmann was found guilty on 24 of the 27 charges against him. Condemned to death on December 19, 1924, he requested a public execution. He also asked that his headstone bear the inscription, “Here Lies Mass-Murderer Haarmann.” Neither request was granted. He was guillotined within the walls of Hannover Prison on April 25, 1925.
Hans Grans, Haarmann’s lover (and possibly his accomplice) was initially also sentenced to death, although his sentence was later reduced to 12 years in prison.
Human Monsters Volume One features another 29 shocking serial killer cases from around the world.