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This head of a serial-killing bandit has been preserved in a jar since 1841
09:36 am


serial killers
Diogo Alves

This is the head of Diogo Alves. Don’t be fooled by his seemingly placid, almost benign, yet surprised look. Diogo was a robber and a brutal serial killer who murdered some seventy people between 1836 and 1839, at the Aqueduto das Águas Livres (Aqueduct of Free Waters) over the Alcântara valley in Portugal. Diogo robbed his victims then tossed their bodies over the side of the 213-foot high aqueduct. At first, the local police thought this rather staggering number of inexplicable deaths were copycat suicides. When access to the aqueduct was closed to prevent any more “suicides,” Diogo formed a gang and turned his attention to the homes of the valley’s population. After a raid on the house of a local doctor, where Diogo murdered four of the people inside, he was arrested and sentenced to death by hanging in February 1841.

His execution coincided with the rise of the bogus science of phrenology. It was suggested by physicians that Diogo’s head be preserved in formaldehyde for examination in order to determine whether there were any signs or abnormalities in the shape of his skull that could explain why he committed such terrible crimes. This may seem utterly fantastic today, but it’s worth noting that the scientific desire to find some physical cause for behavior is not new. As recently as just after the Second World War, American scientists obtained sections of the brain removed from the skull of executed Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. This gray matter was examined in a bid to ascertain whether there was any physical cause to Il Duce’s anti-Semitic and racist beliefs.

Diogo’s well-preserved head still remains in a glass jar at the University of Lisbon’s Faculty of Medicine.

See more pictures of Diogo’s head and the aqueduct where he committed his crimes here.
A portrait of Diogo Alves from 1840.
Photo: Rafaela Ferraz.
See more pictures of Diogo Alves’ head, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘The Giggler’: The horrific serial killer from Boston whose calling card was ‘laughter’
09:29 am


serial killers
The Giggler
Kenneth Harrison

One of the only photos of Boston serial killer Kenneth Harrison, aka “The Giggler.”
Serial killer Kenneth Harrison began his Boston murder spree that would span the course of three years in 1967. His first victim was a six-year-old girl who had accepted a ride from Harrison while he was working as a Boston cab driver. Harrison somehow convinced the child to exit the cab with a promise of a “piggyback ride” on a bridge on the Fort Point Channel that separated South Boston from downtown. Harrison allegedly flew into a rage and thrust the girl over the bridge into the water. Her body was found almost two months later on a popular patch of beach and her death was ruled “accidental.”

When Harrison claimed his second victim, he would also acquire his macabre Batman villian-like moniker of “The Giggler.” On June 15th, 1969 Harrison was drinking his way to oblivion in the various bars and titty-clubs in the mythical downtown Boston den of sleaze, known as the Combat Zone. While at a standard Zone dive, the Novelty Bar, Harrison joined ex-Marine and city employee Joe Breen on the shuffleboard court and the two drank and carried on together for the rest of the evening. After Breen’s pals came back to the Novelty to collect their friend after checking out a few more of the Zone’s watering holes, Breen and Harrison were gone. And that’s because Harrison had already taken Breen out to the back of the Novelty and smashed his skull in—leaving the 31-year-old face down in a puddle of dirty water. Later, Harrison dropped a dime on himself by calling the Boston Police Department switchboard in the early morning hours of June 16th. Here’s a transcript of the chilling call which you can listen to here:

Switchboard Operator: Boston Police

Harrison: My dear, at the corner of Washington and Kneeland Streets in a construction site there’ll be a man down in the water, dead. The Giggler…Ah ha ha ha…

Harrison would add two more victims to his list in 1969 with the heinous murder of a nine-year-old boy he strangled with a piece of twine before disposing of his body in a train tunnel in South Station, and a 75-year-old woman who he also he tossed from the Fort Channel Bridge. Following the murder of the boy, Harrison once again tipped off the Boston PO on January 6th telling them where to find the child’s body. Unfortunately the cops weren’t able to put the two calls together. When he was finally apprehended a few weeks after the murder of his shuffleboard partner Joe Breen, Harrison would confess to all four murders and in November of 1970 he was convicted for the first degree murder of Breen, for which he received a life sentence. He would also received three additional life-terms, one for each of his other victims. During his confession Harrison also tried to take responsibility for the arson of the transient-friendly Paramount Hotel that claimed the lives of eleven, and injured more than 50. According to Harrison, and keeping true to his ominous nickname, he noted that he set the fire for “shits and giggles.” Harrison was never indicted for the blaze. In accordance with a plea bargain for the murders, Harrison ended up serving his time at a place we used to hear horrific stories about as kids growing up in Boston, Bridgewater State Hospital.

On April 20th, 1989 Harrison took his own life by swallowing as many of his anti-depressants as he could, most likely inspired to do so in order to avoid being killed by an inmate at Concord State Prison where Harrison was due to be transferred to on April 21st.

An article on Harrison’s murder of Joe Breen and his subsequent arrest in ‘The Boston Globe.’

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The Boston Strangler does Sinatra: Albert DeSalvo’s creepy single, ‘Strangler in the Night’
When satanic serial killer Richard Ramirez terrorized Willis from ‘Diff’rent Strokes’
The Combat Zone: A look back at Boston’s mythical dens of sleaze

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Infamous serial killers do portraits of Charles Manson

Charles Manson portrait by John Wayne Gacy
“Murderabilia” is a term used to describe collectibles related to murders or murderers. During the 1990s, which seemed to be the “golden age” of public obsession with serial killers, a cottage industry formed around the sale of artworks created by infamous death-row killers—that is until May of 2001, when eBay banned the sale of such items, forcing the industry underground.

The most well-known serial killer artists were John Wayne Gacy, Richard Ramirez, Glen Edward Rogers, Henry Lee Lucas, and Ottis Toole. Though the argument could be made that Charles Manson is not technically a “serial killer,” he is nonetheless one of the most infamous criminals of our time, and murderabilia items related to Manson still fetch high dollars among collectors.

Perhaps playing to their audience, some serial killer artists have done portraits of Manson, proving there are no limits to bad taste.

Here we have a portrait of Manson painted by rapist and murderer of 33 boys and young men, John Wayne Gacy:

Next, we have this portrait of Manson drawn by convicted killer of 11 (though he has confessed to hundreds of unsolved murders), Henry Lee Lucas:

More Manson after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Cheerfully NSFW paintings of Satan worshippers, serial-killers, suicide and strange sex
09:55 am


serial killers
Kristen Liu-Wong

“I Forgot How Much I Liked All Of Them” a painting inspired by the 2000 film “Battle Royale” by Kristen Liu-Wong
The alarmingly colorful works of Los Angeles-based artist Kristen Liu-Wong depict scenes of strange sexual encounters, killers doing their dirty work, as well as all sorts of other weirdness. And I’m completely obsessed with her brightly-colored mayhemic paintings.

“House 1121”

“Satan Worship in the Suburbs”

“She Decided to Be With A Bad Boy For Once”
As the title of this post should strongly indicate, the images from Liu-Wong’s captivating catalog of work are definitely NSFW, and feel like a hybrid of cartoon art crossed with classic Japanese erotica commonly referred to as “shunga” or “spring pictures” (which dates as far back as the 1600s). Liu-Wong’s vivid imagination is beautifully unfettered and her paintings that include visions of kinky sex, murderous stalkers and disembowelment seem almost cheerful, thanks to her liberal use of bright colors that look like they came into Liu-Wong’s possession by way of a time-traveler from the “neon” 90s. Many of the paintings featured in this post are also for sale. Click here for more information on that.

“Don’t Pet My Dog”
More colorful murderous mayhem after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
The Boston Strangler does Sinatra: Albert DeSalvo’s creepy single, ‘Strangler in the Night’

Strangler in the Night single by serial killer Albert DeSalvo (The Boston Strangler)
“Strangler in the Night” single by serial killer Albert DeSalvo (aka “The Boston Strangler”)
During the early 60s my old home town of Boston was terrorized by an ultra-violent serial killer dubbed “The Boston Strangler.” Once the alleged killer, Albert DeSalvo, was apprehended, fellow Bostonian Dick Levitan, a news reporter for long-running Boston talk radio station WEEI, was one of a few journalists allowed access to DeSalvo for interview purposes. DeSalvo was never actually convicted of any of the thirteen murders but was sentenced to life in prison for a series of rapes. He was found stabbed to death in the infirmary of what was then known as Walpole State prison in 1973.

In a very creepy and super strange twist in this infamous case, Levitan was paid an undisclosed sum by Astor Records for the rights to record a riff on the song “Strangers in the Night” (which was recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1966), called “Strangler in the Night.” The lyrics for “Strangler in the Night” were culled by Levitan from an interview he conducted with DeSalvo after he was arrested and Levitan himself even lends his voice to the spoken word track that was performed along with musical accompaniment by a band from Marlboro, Massachusetts called “The Bugs.” This wasn’t the only time details of DeSalvo’s horrific exploits were pressed into a record: 1969’s “Midnight Rambler” by The Rolling Stones is also loosely based on the Strangler’s killing spree.
The sleeve for the single
The sleeve for “Strangler in the Night”
Creepier still is the fact that you can actually own a piece of this super bizarre piece of dark history as the single (whose B-side features the song “Albert Albert” by The Bugs about DeSalvo’s crime spree) is currently up for sale for the tidy sum of $127.20 over on Etsy. At the time of this writing there are also a few kicking around on eBay (which includes a reproduction of DeSalvo’s signature on the sleeve) if collecting this kind of messed up memorabilia is your thing. You can listen to the recording after the jump. If you need me, I’ll be under the bed…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Cauldron reportedly used by serial killer Ed Gein advertised at small town auction
08:19 pm


serial killers
Ed Gein

I understand the fascination with murderbilia—to a point. John Wayne Gacy’s clown paintings are terrifying, and Charles Manson’s music is unsettling its seductiveness (in an AM gold kind of way); we’re usually drawn to these artifacts because we think they can provide some insight into murderous minds. Obviously, this is unlikely; lots of perfectly harmless and good people create disturbing art (and if Hitler’s watercolors are any indication, we should be on the lookout for the banal, not the unnerving). Still, there is that vain hope that we can understand something about the monsters in our midst by examining their more mundane hobbies and habits, perhaps learn to identify their kind, and maybe keep ourselves safe that way.

Then there are the people who just covet gruesome souvenirs.

Recently, a cauldron that supposedly belonged to notorious serial killer Ed Gein—a cauldron he supposedly used to store the discarded remains of his victims—was advertised at a modest, small-town Wisconsin auction. There is some debate as to whether or not the cauldron actually belonged to Gein—a few people have wondered why such an object wouldn’t have been seized for evidence, and it’s a good question. The backstory sounds plausible enough though—the seller got it from his grandmother, who had purchased it at a Gein estate sale. The seller also says that a former neighbor of Gein’s recognized the cauldron from when he helped police clean up the gore at Gein’s farm. That part sounds a little more suspect—I’m not sure the police would enlist civilians for that kind of job.

Regardless, I’m not so much curious about the authenticity of the cauldron as I am the mindset of a prospective buyer—why would you want such a thing? You can’t even make the (in my opinion, pretty dubious) argument that it has a historical significance (love you Lemmy, but you’ve got a ghoulish hobby). And if it is a fake, who is more perverse—seller or buyer?

The cauldron was set to be auctioned on the 28th—no word on if it sold, or for how much. You can see pictures from the ad below.




Gein’s Wisconsin farmhouse
Via Cult of Weird

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
When Stoners Attack: ‘It’s Zippy, your favourite serial killer!’

Reefer Madness—not so ridiculous after all?
Another month, another PCP face-eating incident – it’s difficult to imagine this particular drug ever wholly shedding its unfortunate association with spontaneous cannibalism.

All such occurrences recall to me a curious chat I once had with an engaging crank who claimed disembodied and malevolent spirits liked to haunt pubs and bars, as sufficiently inebriated souls (if sufficiently weak-minded) were easy to “hitch a ride with” – hence the middling mayhem that forever orbits serious boozing.

Accordingly, might we posit that PCP can open channels to some very unpleasant (not to mention peckish) entities indeed?

If you keep an eye out for these incidents, you might also observe that some of the other, generally better-regarded recreational drugs appear to induce comparable states of spiritual vulnerability. To my mind, one of the most illustrative (not to mention blackly comic) examples of this phenomenon took place in 2004, when the then 24-year-old Daniel Gonzales – aka “Zippy” aka “The Freddy Krueger Killer” and the “Mummy’s Boy Killer”– ended up going on a four day knife-wielding killing spree around Sussex and North London after a night’s raving – killing four and attacking two others.

An insight into the singularly bizarre turn of Zippy’s mind was provided when an old friend of his sold their correspondence (conducted after Zippy was convicted and locked up in a maximum security psychiatric institution) to an English tabloid. In this correspondence, Zippy comes across as a truly ungodly mixture of Ali G and Jack the Ripper. Generally buoyant – “Bruv, it’s Zippy, your favourite serial killer!” – but forever pining for his beloved Ketamine and Doomcore (a fast, particularly unpleasant form of techno), the least effort at introspection reduces Zippy to a state of bewildered incoherence.

“Did you read my story in da paper? Enuff of dat cos it’s doin my head in, I just wanted to be like the guy in Scream or Halloween nuffin wrong wiv dat iz there? Wouldn’t you wanna be like Mike Meyers? But it ain’t worth it. U ’ave to pay the price.”

Deep. But however hard our “favourite serial killer” on occasion tries to meditate upon his actions (“I done somefin sick + I can’t believe it”), Zippy’s thoughts tend more towards raving than redemption:

“I know you will still be partying when I get out so we can go to Amsterdam together and all that. I won’t be in here forever so not to worry – as long as you stay goin partys and snortin K.”

You’ve got to admire Zippy’s conviction that, in the extraordinarily unlikely eventuality of his release (Zippy’s judge recommended he be incarcerated indefinitely –  and poor Zippy actually died in custody in 2007), his old pals would be so keen to pick up where they left off – skipping over to the ’dam to feast on psychedelics with a geriatric serial killer. Certainly Zippy’s “eccentricities” were generously tolerated prior to his arrest, as the following vignette (offered by Zippy’s correspondent in the accompanying tabloid interview) vividly demonstrates:

“Only a year before the murders we were round a friend’s house when Zippy pulled a map out of his pocket and unfolded it. He’d marked several churches in red ink and also named vicars serving at each. Someone asked what it was and he said he was studying it because he planned to kill all of the vicars in one, long rampage. Everyone just burst out laughing.”

A retrospectively sinister moment, you imagine! And one that arguably fits the hypothesis of possession – as might the following account of the killings themselves. Walk us through it, Zip, how did it all come to pass?

“Well I guess u wanna no wot happened! Remember that party wot we went to, it all happened after that party. I went out + killed 4 people cos I was so bored, basically I don’t know why I done it.”

So it would seem. At the time, the tabloids launched a half-baked witch hunt for Doomcore, but quickly lost interest after establishing that Zippy was one of about seven people who actually liked it. You’d think they’d have gone after recreational drugs (or even slasher films) instead. But, possession theory aside, I would recommend steering clear of anyone whose ideal night in consists of Doomcore, Freddy Kruger, and a gram of Ketamine. And whatever you do, don’t give them any PCP.

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Leave a comment
Pizza slice helped link suspect to Grim Sleeper serial killings
01:30 am

Current Events

serial killers
Grim Sleeper

Speaking of ‘Law & Order’—as you do—certainly the above headline, taken from the LA Times, would qualify as a one-sentence high concept for the show. It’s practically a one-sentence short story.

Los Angeles police detectives used a piece of discarded pizza to help build their case against a man accused of being the Grim Sleeper serial killer, sources told The Times.

Lonnie David Franklin Jr., 57, was arrested at his home in South Los Angeles on Wednesday morning after police said they made DNA matches linking him to the killings of 11 people over the last three decades. Prosecutors said they have charged Franklin with 10 counts of murder, noting that he is eligible for the death penalty.

Franklin is a former city trash collector who at one time worked as a vehicle mechanic at an LAPD station, sources said.

“He’s the neighborhood mechanic” said neighbor Eric Robinson, 47. “He volunteers at the park. A very good man. His daughter just graduated from college, I believe. He’s a good mechanic, worked out of his garage. I’ve been here since 1976; that’s how long I’ve known him. I’m not pretty shocked, I’m all the way shocked.”

The killings went on since the 1980s and the Grim Sleeper killer has been tied to the homicides of ten women and one male. A survivor who was shot and raped in 1988 described her attacker as black, in his 20s, 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10, about 160 pounds, soft-spoken and articulate, with neatly trimmed hair and a pockmarked face.

The Grim Sleeper’s victims were all black and most were hookers or drug addicts. The murders stopped in 1988 and picked up again from 2002 to 2007.

Pizza slice helped link suspect to Grim Sleeper serial killings (Los Angeles Times)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment