Archive for the ‘Morgue’ Category

Hellstatt, Austria is a beautiful town area and sits on a forested mountain, with a blue lake and 19th Century Houses. There is one room some might not see that way, located behind the Catholic Church is the Hallstatt Beinhaus (a well tended cemetery), and there is a charnel house. A small building which has over 1200 skulls.

In the 1700’s the church began to dig up old graves, they needed the space for new burials. The bodies were around 10-15 years old and stacked in the charnel house, their skeletons were then bleached in the sun and family members would stack the bones next to their nearest kin.

In the 1720’s a tradition of painting the skulls with symbolic decorations started. The dates of birth and death, names and decorations helped keep their memory, if they could no longer keep their grave. The older skulls seem to have darker paint schemes and slowly the tradition died out.

Next to the cross, with a gold tooth, is the skull of a woman who died in 1983 with her last wish being to join the painted skulls. Placed in the Beinhaus in 1995 hers was the last to be added.

Hallstatt Beinhaus, an Austrian house of bones filled with hundreds of painted skulls.

https://www.hallstatt.net

 Hallstatt - Beinhaus 2a

I was so sure I had covered this before – Imagine that? So here goes… The Zodiac Killer is a name given to an unidentified serial killer who was in the north California area from the late 1960’s to early 1970’s. The name comes from a letter to the Bay Area press in 1969, it was one of a series that taunted press, police and public alike.

There are 7 confirmed victims, four possible murder victims and a suspected escapee, the murderer claimed a death count of 37 but 12 can be included on the case files from the main information given. The first of the ZK’s murders are considered to have been attributed to those of Betty Low Jensen and David Faraday. On 20th December 1968 at Lake Herman Road, the couple were out on their first date, what they know about the case is that it is believed another car came up before 11pm that night, Jensen exited the car, possibly under threat and as she did so the killer shot Faraday as he was half way out of the car. Jensen was gunned down 28 yards away by five shots, the killer then drove off.

4th July 1969 Darlene Ferrin and Michael Mageau drove into the Blue Rock Springs Park and parked up. A second car came up but drive off almost immediately, then around ten minutes later the car returned, the driver got out and came to the passengers side, he was carrying a flash light and a 9mm Luger. The killer fired off five shots and both were hit, the bullet passed through Mageau into Ferdinand, the killer then walked away. Mageau’s moaning drew him back to the car where he fired two more times. Ferrin died but Mageau survived despite being shot in the face, neck and chest. Someone called up to claim responsibility for all four and police traced the call to a gas station phone booth, they got no further.

1st August 1969, three letters reached the press offices of Vellejo Times Herald, San Francisco Chronicle and The San Francisco Examiner. They took credit for the four shootings and each one had a third of a 408-symbol cryptogram, which would reveal his identity. The killer demanded all three be printed across their front pages or he would cruise around to kill until he racked up a dozen over the weekend. The Chronicle posted their letter and put up a quote from Vallejo Police Chief, Jack E Stiltz, saying they needed more proof of his identity. All three parts were eventually published and the murder spree seemingly never occurred.

7th August, a letter was received at The San Francisco Examiner, where he wrote ‘Dear Editor, This is the Zodiac speaking’ and he went on to provide details about the murders that had not been released to the public.

8th August, Donald and Bettye Harden cracked the code, albeit misspelled, but it said that he was collecting, slaves for the afterlife. He said he would not give away his identity because it would slow down, or stop, him from collecting.

27th September 1969, students Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shephard were picnicking when a man wearing a black executioners hood with with sunglasses over the eye-holes and a cross-like symbol with a circle around it on a bib around his neck. He approached with a gun, said he was a convict who had escaped and demanded their car and the money to get to Mexico.

Shephard was told to tie up Hartnell and then the attacker tied up Shephard, Hartnell was expecting it to be a bizarre robbery but both were stabbed repeatedly and the killer then went to their car and used a black felt-tip pen to draw the symbol and then wrote “Vallejo/12-20-68/7-4-69/Sept 27-69 – 6.30/by knife”. The killer than called in his crime to Napa County Sheriff from a pay phone. Shephard was conscious when he was found and gave a description of the attacker but died later on, Hartnell survived and recounted the event.

11th October 1969, a passenger got into Paul Stine’s Cab and wanted to go to Presidio Heights. The result was that Stine got shot in the head by the passenger, he took is wallet, car keys and a section of his shirt. Three teenagers saw the events and called the police.

14th October 1969, the Chronicle got another Zodiac letter containing the stolen section of Stine’s shirt. He proceeded to threaten to kill school children on a school bus. His plan was to shoot out a tyre then pick them off one by one as they came out of the bus. 2pm on the 20th October, he called demanding F. Lee Bailey or Melvin Bellie appear on the local T.V. station A.M San Francisco. Bellie appeared and the lines were kept open, someone called in saying they were the Zodiac Killer several times, they called themselves Sam and arranged to meet in Daly City but the suspect never arrived.

9th November 1969 the Zodiac Killer then sent another 340 character cryptogram, so far this one has not been decoded. The day after he mailed a 7 page letter saying two policemen had spoken to him only three-minutes after he had shot Stine and then on 20th December, that same year, he mailed Bellie supposedly he wanted help from the very famous criminal lawyer.

22nd March 1970 saw Kathleen Johns off to see her mother, she was 7 months pregnant and had her 10 month-old daughter with her. She was on Highway 132 near Modesto and a car came up behind flashing its light and honking the horn. Johns pulled off the road and stopped, the man in the car said he’d seen her wheel nuts were loose on her back tire and offered to help her out. When she tried to drive off the entire wheel came off and the man came back, he offered to help take her to a gas station, and stranded, she got in with her daughter.

The car passed several stations but did not stop, when she asked him why he did not stop he would change the subject. John’s escaped when she jumped out with her daughter at an intersection, eventually he gave up because he could not find her. She then managed to hitch a lift to the police station and the cops found her car gutted and torched.

20th April 1970 he wrote again with another 13 character cipher and said he was not responsible for a police station bombing, he threatened instead again to aim at a school bus. 28th April he then wrote to say that he was upset not to see any of the Zodiac symbol buttons and in response had shot someone. The closest match for a shooting that could be found was for a police Seargent shot in his car. His case however was not definitively linked as a Zodiac killing and remains unsolved. In the letter he also left instructions to find a bomb, the cipher he gave was not decoded but no bomb was ever found or detonated either.

24th July 1970 the Zodiac took credit for John’s abduction, he left another letter on 7th October 1970 with the Zodiac symbol on it drawn in blood. Inspectors Armstrong and Toschi, both on the case, said it was probably it was the killers blood.

27th October 1970, Chronicle reporter Paul Avery got a Halloween Card signed with Z and the symbol. He had been covering the case and threatened that he would be next. Avery got another letter soon after they gave similarities between the Zodiac’s killings and that of the murder of Cerri Jo Bates, four years prior. He reported his findings.

22nd March 1971 and a card was posted to Paul Avery at the Chronicle claiming responsibility for a missing woman called Donna Lass, she had gone missing 6th September 1970 and was thought to be from the Zodiac. Lass’s body has never been found.

13th November 1972, Vallejo Times-Herald ran a story that postulated two young people from Santa Barbara were the Zodiac’s victims. The victims were Robert Domingoes and Linda Edwards who had been shot on 3rd June 1963. They’d been shot and hidden in a small shack but the killer had failed to burn it down.

The final letter authenticated as the Zodiac came three years later on 29th January, 1974. It praised the horror film The Exorcist as a comedy and tallied his victim score as 37.

Subsequent letters came but after that last they have not been verified as the original Zodiac. In April 2004 the case was marked as inactive but not closed. The case was then reopened in March 2007. Several of the victims have been named, put forwards and even had people come forwards to confess but as of yet no charges have been brought forwards and no one has been put on trial.

The Zodiac killer has inspired films, music, games, liberate and was used in a mobile game, one I played for a while, which was EA’s Cause of Death. If the killer is still alive he would be in his late 60’s as a minimum and so he may have been incarcerated, killed, committed suicide or even still walking around.

Zodiac-Killer

Anatoly Moskvin hit the news in 2011, for a rather bizarre and disturbing set of criminal charges. He was arrested in connection with a series of grave desecration events in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. Moskvin’s occupation was as a local historian and cemetery explorer. He is said to speak 13 languages and described as a ‘genius’ but it seems he had something odd in his home.

His house contained 29 life-sized dolls made from various female corpses in mummified states. The dolls were brightly dressed and their faces and limbs were covered in cloth. At the point the details were released it was not clear is each body/doll had actual remains in each one and I couldn’t see much in the way of a follow up, but the police and teams involved likely have a hard job of identifying all of them.

In the flat the investigators found the photographs and nameplate taken from headstones, instruction for making dolls and maps of cemeteries in the region. Shoes found in his home matched footprints found in the cemeteries and it is reported that he singled out Muslim Graves.

Lonely? Disturbed? Moskvin was caught out and no doubt this bizarre story will yield more details in the future but for now it is a curious psychological piece, what was he aiming at in the end if anything at all?

There we go a creepy tea break read!

It was 26th March, 1991 and five Korean boys went missing, they had gone out to Mount Waryong, near Daegu, to catch frog eggs, but more likely salamanders but the translation is easier for frogs, the name frog boys would stick easier. The five boys never returned and the name the Frog Boys (개구리소년 or Gaegurisonyeon) is really the term to identify the group of boys. The boys went missing on what was a national holiday in South Korea at the time, it was the 1991 local elections and the boys went out to play, no doubt the political interest being little to zero given their age. The local elections being held would also no doubt contribute towards people not paying as much attention to their behaviours that day, as all eyes would be centered on the events and so they were free to do pretty much most things without the usual adult eyes around them, perhaps this was a good time up until the end which seems a shame, when I was young being a little naughty was a big highlight! 

They were: 
Woo Cheol-won, aged 13 years.
 Cho Ho-yeon, aged 12 years.
 Kim Yeong-gyu, aged 11 years.
 Park Chan-in, aged 10 years.
 Kim Jong-sik, aged 9 years.

The boys disappearance had 321,000 police officers, volunteers and interested parties all searching for them, the searches were shown live on TV. Several of the parents left their jobs so they could continue in the search and sadly around 550 false claims about what had happened were made, no doubt making that job even harder.

The boys were not likely to have got lost as they knew their way around Mount Waryong living only a few miles away from it, there was no trace of the boys found and a reward offering 42 million won (around $35,000 for the USA audience) did not seem to tempt anyone to come forward that knew about the events either. There was one man that called the police claiming that he had kidnapped them in exchange for a ransom and that they were dying of malnutrition but it was established that it was a lie and so nothing more came of it. 

In 1992 a film was made about the events called Come Back, Frog Boys and has a running time of 1 hour and 37 minutes. I really wasn’t able to find a lot more about this and the film I could find on youtube had no translation, I don’t know Korean so it wasn’t really something I felt I could get any merit out of watching.  Around this time there were several speculations about how it might have been the authorities that did it, alien abductions, South or North Korean involvement and the inevitable accusations that it might have been the parents themselves. 

26th September 2002 and a man searching for acorns found the bodies in an area that had already been searched, the man first reported them anonymously (later being named as Mr Choi Hwan-tae) and the police recorded that finding to be death by hypothermia. The bodies had been found huddled up together and entwined, suggestion that maybe they had tried to get warm or comfort one another but again they knew the area and they were close enough to people for their cries to have been heard. 

It is worth a small mention, for the sake of trying to be a little thorough, that even if the boys knew the area there is a chance with mist or even going a little off track it can be possible to get lost even if it is temporary. As a young child I went up Pendle Hill, Lancashire, many times and I can locally pop to the Peak District, you can think you know your way around well enough but the mist can really affect it and familiar things seem very unusual until you can wait it out and look again. Now I am not saying that this is part of the cause of death (carry on reading it will be obvious why) but it just more information about the local area to keep context and to keep information collated.

In the end Mount Waryong had been searched around 500 or more times before the boys were found and nearby they had found shell casings that would not have supported the theory of hypothermia either.  The bodies had been buried in a way that forensics determined had meant they were hastily buried, moss had grown in their skulls and they had lain in a gully, eventually the water gave way and this exposed their bodies. The parents refused to accept the initial outcome and a full investigation was put into action to find out the truth. 

The boys clothes had been found tied in knots and had not naturally entwined, they were found in an area that the boys already knew and that they would have called out for help and been heard most likely.  Forensic experts also determined that three of the children had died from blows to the head, and that one of the boys had died from a shotgun wound to his head and two skills had traces of blood on them. The forensic team was led by professor Kwak Jeong-sik who said that three of the boys showed marks on the skulls and tentatively confirmed they had died by being beaten to death. 

On 25th March, 2004 a funeral was held for the boys and their skulls were donated to medical science by their parents.The sad part of this? In 2006 the statute of limitations passed for the case which meant that the killers could go free if they were found but in 2015 it appears that for this case this restriction was lifted, so they can still continue to pursue it with charges being made if anything knew should arise. It is pretty clear from the notes that the case was not managed particularly well and that the parents pressing for further results was the only way to get the correct judgement on their passing but this has all ended up with little further evidence to go by and many potential clues having been missed. 

In 2011 a film was made, Children, and was created based on what information they could find on the case. Now I highly doubt this film is accurate and the synopsis even mentions alien abduction but my feeling is that this really is just a tragic event and if anyone is to be blamed it is a natural human involvement not a supernatural one. A more sensible theory listed amongst many is that it might have been hunters who then panicked and buried them too afraid to come forwards or hunting illegally knew they could not admit to it without getting themselves into further trouble. 

There is a Wikipedia Entry for the film – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children_(2011_film) (link will remain unless Article 13 kicks in I guess)

Sources: Wikipedia, youtube, bizarreandgrotesque.com, englishchosun.com, reddit r/UnresolvedMysteries
LINK I would highly recommend this link if you want something from a more local point of view, and someone there at the time and a few theories in there you might think make sense. 

 

Stripper. Go on let out the groan, it feels better.

JTS is the nickname attacked to an unidentified serial killer from 1964 to 1965. I am going to detail the victims of the serial killer that are confirmed:

  • 2nd February 1964, Hannah Tailford was found dead near Hammersmith Bridge, the 20 year old was strangled, several teeth were missing and her underwear had been forced down her throat.

  • 8th April 1964 saw Irene Lockwood found dead on the shore of the Thames; a 57 year old man named Kenneth Archibald confessed three weeks alter but it was inconsistent and a third victim came to light. She was 26 years old.

  • 24th April 1964, Helen Bathelemy was found dead in an alleyway. The 22 year old case yielded the first evidence, paint flecks used for car manufacturing, it was felt it likely came from the killers workplace.

  • 14th July 1964, Mary Flemming’s body was found in an open street, close to heavy police presence and again paint spots were found on the 30 year old’s body.

  • On the 23rd October 1964 Frances Brown was last seen alive by a fellow prostitute, Kim Taylor, who saw the 21 year old picked up by a man who is now believed to have been her killer. She was found a month later, 25th November.

  • Bridget O’Hara’s date of death could not be confirmed as her body had been stored in a warm heated area, she was found in a storage shed. Once again the body had flicks of paint on them.

Possible victims also include a 21 year old Elizabeth Figg, she was found five years before the Stripper murders started, 17th June 1959. She was in the area and had also been strangled. The other was Gwynneth Rees who was found dead in a rubbish tip near the Thames, she was 22 years old and again had been strangled, she also had several teeth missing. She was discovered 8th November 1963.

7,000 suspects were interviewed and at an initial conference Chief Superintendent John Du Rose falsely stated that they had narrowed it down to 20 people. After a short period it was claimed to be 10 and finally three, but what is known is that after this no more Stripper murders occurred.

There have been theories put forwards about who the murderer was, one of them was that it might be a man named Mungo Ireland. He was picked up as a suspect for O’Hara’s murder and worked as a security guard near Heron Trading Estate. The estate was linked to the paint and shortly after the link Ireland committed suicide, but research suggests that he was in Scotland at the time that she was most likely murdered.

Howard Jones, convicted murdered from Wales, was also put forward as a suspect as he killed two girls in 1921, he did not get the death penalty because of his age and was released in 1941 where they think he went back to his home town, of Arbetillery. In 1942 he was in London and had come to marry and have a daughter. He was not considered for it at the time but it seems that much of the speculation about him comes merely from coincidence and not fact.

What do you think?

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By Source, Fair use, Link