© Copyright 2021 Dylan Frost

All rights Reserved.





Author's Note

The Bloodiest Axe Murders

Angels of Death - Female Medical Killers

The Railway Killers

Dr No

The Werewolf of Wysteria

The Gruesome Spree of Anthony Arkwright

Serial Killer Trivia

The Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders

Burke & Hare

The Freddy Krueger Killer

Scotland's Other Serial Killers

The Cincinnati Ripper

The Black Widows of Liverpool

Bind, Torture, Kill

Delphine LaLaurie

The Ratcliff Highway Murders

Jack the Strangler

The Real Hannibal Lecter

Albert Edward Burrows

The Gainsville Ripper

The Dressmaker

The Company Killer

The Earthquake Killer

The Colonial Parkway Murders

Canada's Youngest Killer

The Casanova Killer

Raya and Sakina

The Butcher of Rostov

The Happisburgh Poisoner

The Old Lady Killer






A list of references used in the research for this book can be found at the end of the last chapter.





Between 1884 and 1885, a killer known as The Servant Girl Annihilator killed at least eight people in Austin, Texas. William Sydney Porter, better known as the short story writer O. Henry, was the person who coined the nickname of this killer. The Servant Girl Annihilator deployed an axe to kill six women, an eleven-year-old girl and one man. Several other people were injured in attacks. Six of the victims were black and the unfortunate victims of the killer were usually attacked in their beds (when they were obviously at their most vulnerable). The victims were often dragged outside and mutilated.


The crime scenes were exceptionally gruesome with seemingly gallons of blood surrounding later victims. One victim had her head cleaved in half. As you might imagine these murders created a panic in Austin and around 400 men were arrested and questioned over the murders. Vigilante posses began to patrol at night searching for the killer and huge rewards for the capture of the killer were offered. While the killer was never captured all of this combined activity did seemingly make The Servant Girl Annihilator cease his activities though and the murders came to a halt.


Although there were many eyewitness accounts of the killer (he was deemed to be white and quite short) no one was ever proven to have committed the murders. There is a theory (never proven of course) that The Servant Girl Annihilator was also Jack the Ripper and that three years after the Austin murders he moved to London and started killing again. There was a definitely a similar sort of MO when it came to the murders in both cases so one can see how these theories took root.


A cook from Malaysia named Maurice is often a suspect in this case because he worked in a hotel near where all but two of The Servant Girl Annihilator murders took place and then moved to London. As he was both in Austin and London at the time of the Annihilator and Ripper murders, this cook is often held up as evidence that both killers could have been one and the same. James Maybrick, a recurring Ripper suspect, was also in Austin at the time of The Servant Girl Annihilator murders so he too is often used in theories which seek to prove that the Annihilator was also the Ripper.


All of this though is unproven and open to doubt. Modern perspectives on this case have suggested the Annihilator could have been Nathan Elgin. Elgin was a cook who worked near where the Austin murders took place. He was missing a toe - a distinction which matched a footprint found near one of the murders. Elgin was killed by the police in 1886 when he was caught trying to assault a girl with a knife. All of this suggests that Elgin is a strong retrospective suspect but whether or not he was really The Servant Girl Annihilator is impossible to say with complete certainty.


The Hill Ax Murders of Ardenwald was a grisly case in 1911 where a family were killed in Ardenwald-Johnson Creek, Portland, Oregon. The victims were William Hill, his wife Ruth, and Ruth's two children from a previous marriage, Philip and Dorothy. The killer murdered this family with an axe but he was never caught and this most gruesome true crime case remains a mystery. The family lived in a rural cabin they had built for themselves. On the morning of the 9th of June a neighbour of the Hill family decided to go and check on them because William Hill had not left for work that day as he usually did. The neighbour saw Dorothy, one of the young children, dead on the floor when she spied through a window.


The police were called in and it soon became apparent that the whole family had been killed. William and his wife Ruth were found murdered in bed. They had both been struck with an axe. Philip, the eight year-old boy in the family, was also beaten to death with an axe. It was calculated by the police that Dorothy had been the last to die. Dorothy, who was four years-old, had also been sexually assaulted. There was some evidence too that Ruth had been sexually abused. This was certainly all evidence for the theory that the killer primarily had a sexual motivation for these murders. Ruth was raped after her death while Dorothy was raped prior to her murder and possibly after it too. This obviously indicated that the killer was a necrophile.


The injuries on the victims were horrendous. They had skull fractures and the faces of William and Ruth were destroyed beyond recognition. Philip was the only one of the four victims who received the blunt end of the axe. The others were all killed by the sharp end. Although there was evidence that some of Ruth's jewellery had been taken, a sum of money and a few other valuables were still the cabin when the bodies were discovered. This indicated that a financial motive for the robbery was secondary at best.


The cabin was very small with only two rooms. The killer hung clothes and clothes over the windows so that he could kill (and sexually abuse) the family in private. There was ample evidence that the killer had used the wash basin to clean himself up after these bloody murders. It is believed that the murders took place after midnight at around 12:45 a.m. This is because a neighbour told the police that his dogs started barking at something around this time. The police sent bloodhounds out to see if they could pick up a scent but nothing came of this. The police were equally frustrated when they questioned all the people that lived near the Hill family but failed to extract any sightings or details of suspicious strangers in the area in previous days (or indeed hours).


Many of the 'hobos' and transients in the immediate area fled for fear of being arrested in connection with these murders. Armed posses and vigilantes soon arrived in the area determined to track down this deranged axe murderer. The murders had understandably turned this community upside down and left everyone both shocked and angered. The main suspect in this case was Nathan Harvey. Harvey lived near the Hill cabin and had been on bad terms with William Hill because of a dispute over land rights.


Nathan Harvey was found to have a potentially dark past. Several years previously a teenage girl had been found murdered in a fruit field he owned. There were also a number of suspicious deaths within the Harvey family. The police gathered evidence that Harvey was something of a lech who often often made improper and crude sexual advances. They also got an eyewitness account that Harvey had been seen in the area the night of the murders. In the end though, Nathan Harvey was not charged with the axe murders and let free. One of the reasons for this (besides lack of evidence) was that Harvey's friends protested at his arrest and even put together a large petition which people signed to confirm their belief that Harvey couldn't possibly be a murderer.


Another suspect was a man named William Riggin. Riggin claimed that on the night in question he had robbed the Hill cabin with a Mexican man named Brown. Riggin claimed he had waited outside while Brown robbed (and unknown to him MURDERED the family). However, Riggin then changed his story and gave another version of what had happened. Riggin was basically a very unreliable narrator who had some obvious mental health problems. The police ultimately didn't believe any of his confessions. A couple of local vagrants who lived in the woods in the local area briefly came under suspicion in this case but in the end nothing came of this and there was no evidence against them. The Hill Ax Murders of Ardenwald was an unsolved mystery and remains so to this day. Given how long ago these murders occurred it appears that the identity of the killer might never be known.


The Axeman of New Orleans was an American serial killer active in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1918 and 1919. There were six people killed and six injured during his bloody spree of violence. The killer was never identified and seemed to target the local Italian community. The killer used an axe or razor to kill the victims. Sexual sadism was the most likely motive as the killer never seemed to rob the victims. Because the victims were Italian-Americans some sort of Mafia link was suspected but this was never proven. The identity of the killer remains a mystery.


There were some male victims but this is presumed to have been as a consequence of them being in the wrong place at the wrong (to put it mildly) when the axeman broke into a house. Those who are unconvinced by the Mafia theory think the axeman was simply a sexual sadist obsessed with killing. On March 13, 1919, a letter supposedly written by the Axeman was published in the newspaper. The letter read:


'They have never caught me and they never will. They have never seen me, for I am invisible, even as the ether that surrounds your earth. I am not a human being, but a spirit and a demon from the hottest hell. I am what you Orleanians and your foolish police call the Axeman. When I see fit, I shall come and claim other victims. I alone know whom they shall be. I shall leave no clue except my bloody axe, besmeared with blood and brains of he whom I have sent below to keep me company.


'If you wish you may tell the police to be careful not to rile me. Of course, I am a reasonable spirit. I take no offense at the way they have conducted their investigations in the past. In fact, they have been so utterly stupid as to not only amuse me, but His Satanic Majesty, Francis Josef, etc. But tell them to beware. Let them not try to discover what I am, for it were better that they were never born than to incur the wrath of the Axeman. I don't think there is any need of such a warning, for I feel sure the police will always dodge me, as they have in the past. They are wise and know how to keep away from all harm. Undoubtedly, you Orleanians think of me as a most horrible murderer, which I am, but I could be much worse if I wanted to. If I wished, I could pay a visit to your city every night. At will I could slay thousands of your best citizens (and the worst), for I am in close relationship with the Angel of Death.


'Now, to be exact, at 12:15 (earthly time) on next Tuesday night, I am going to pass over New Orleans. In my infinite mercy, I am going to make a little proposition to you people. Here it is: I am very fond of jazz music, and I swear by all the devils in the nether regions that every person shall be spared in whose home a jazz band is in full swing at the time I have just mentioned. If everyone has a jazz band going, well, then, so much the better for you people. One thing is certain and that is that some of your people who do not jazz it out on that specific Tuesday night (if there be any) will get the axe. Well, as I am cold and crave the warmth of my native Tartarus, and it is about time I leave your earthly home, I will cease my discourse. Hoping that thou wilt publish this, that it may go well with thee, I have been, am and will be the worst spirit that ever existed either in fact or realm of fancy. he Axeman'


As you might imagine, everyone who read that letter made sure to play jazz music on the night in question! It obviously worked as there were no murders. Whether or not the letter really was from the Axeman is open to debate. It is certainly not unknown for crackpots or time wasters to pretend to be serial killers (look at the case of wearside Jack in the Yorkshire Ripper murders). The terror spree of the axeman seemed to end rather abruptly and the true identity of this deadly killer was never established. It has been speculated that the Axeman could have been Joseph Momfre. The story goes that Momfre was shot to death by the widow of the Axeman's last victim in an act of revenge. However, the evidence for this theory is vague and has never been verified. As a consequence of this the Axeman's identity remains elusive and mysterious.


The Villisca axe murders were eight murders which took place in 1912 in the town of Villisca, Iowa. Six members of the Moore family and two guests were all murdered in their home. The case remains unsolved. The Moore family was composed of parents Josiah B. (aged 43), Sarah (née Montgomery) (39), and their four children: Herman Montgomery (11), Mary Katherine (10), Arthur Boyd (7), and Paul Vernon (5). On the tragic day in question, Ina Mae (8) and Lena Gertrude Stillinger (12) were also at the home as guests of the family.


Members of the Moore family were last seen in public attending a local church service. This was a fairly well-heeled family who had many friends in the local community.


The next day, neighbours of the Moore family found it strange that they didn't see any sign of activity in the house that morning. Usually they would see people coming and going and the children doing chores in the garden. All was strangely quiet though. A neighbour of the family asked Josiah B. Moore's brother Ross to go and check on the house to see that everyone was alright. Ross was to discover though that things were far from alright in the house. The entire family plus their two house guests had all been murdered. The murder weapon was an axe and all the victims had been bludgeoned to death. Josiah's death was especially gruesome because the blows from the axe had removed his eyes from his body. It is believed that this was the only death where the sharp end of the axe was used. The other victims were battered with the blunt end.


The police found two cigarette butts in the attic. This led them to presume that the killer had hidden in the attic until the family were asleep. The murders were estimated to have taken place after midnight so this seemed like a sound theory. The killer was very brutal in these murders and there large pools of blood in the house from the repeated blows the victims had received. All but one of the victims were killed in their sleep. Twelve year-old Lena Gertrude Stillinger was found to have defensive wounds on her arms though - which suggested she had woken and put up a struggle.


The police believe that the killer probably tried to rape Stillinger as he killed her. The main suspect in these murders was Reverend George Kelly. Kelly was a minister who travelled around a lot. He was in Villisca the night of the murders. Kelly was known to have an unhealthy interest in young women and girls and was apparently a Peeping Tom in private. He had spoken at the church service some of the Moore family had attended just prior to their grisly demise. The case against Kelly was that he (suspiciously) left town only hours before the victims were discovered. It is said that he actually confessed to the murders but the authorities didn't believe him and so took no further interest in his ramblings.


This all changed though when Kelly began badgering the police and surviving relatives with letters about the case. Kelly seemed obsessed with the Moore family murders and not only that he seemed to have a suspiciously large amount of knowledge about the intricate details of this case. The police began to get more and more interested in Kelly as a potential suspect and in 1917 he was put on trial. There were two trials in the end but Kelly was not convicted. He was cleared of all charges. It should be noted that Kelly recanted his confession too. Reverend George Kelly was not the most stable person in the world and had spent a lot of time in mental hospitals. It appears he was simply a troubled man who developed an unhealthy interest in this case.


The police obviously took a close look at other murders with a similar MO. This eventually led them to a man named William "Blackie" Mansfield. Mansfield was an alleged serial killer speculated to have committed other axe murders. The Burns Detective Agency of Kansas City and Detective James Newton Wilkerson both thought that Mansfield was the prime suspect and on the strength of this Mansfield was arrested on suspicion of murdering the Moore family. However, to the embarrassment of those who felt convinced of his guilt, Mansfield was able to provide evidence from wage slips to show that he wasn't even in Villisca when the murders took place. As a consequence, Mansfield was released and even won damages from the police. In another twist though an eyewitness claimed to have seen Mansfield boarding a train in Villisca the morning that the Moore family victims were discovered.


Another suspect in this case is Henry Lee Moore (no relation) - a man who killed his mother and grandmother with an axe several months after the Villisca axe murders. The similarity in these two sets of murders is obvious. One of the more outlandish theories in this case is that the Moore family were murdered by the same killer who committed the Hinterkaifeck murders in Germany ten years later. The main basis for this theory is that the murders were very similar in that two different families were both killed in their home by an axe. While this is not impossible it does seem rather unlikely that a mad axeman would hop across the Atlantic to commit an identical set of murders a decade later! The truth is though that we simply don't know who the Villisca axe murderer really was. This case remains a puzzling mystery.


The Hinterkaifeck murders was the name given to six murders took place on March 31, 1922 in Bavaria, Germany. The six victims were Andreas Gruber (63) and Cäzilia Gruber (72); their widowed daughter Viktoria Gabriel (35); Viktoria's children, Cäzilia (7) and Josef (2); and the maid, Maria Baumgartner (44). They were killed on their farm. The victims were found in the barn. There was said to be a strange atmosphere at the farm even before the murders. The family found some tracks in the snow which indicated that someone had been snooping around the property. There was also a curious incident where a maid quit because she claimed that she kept hearing strange noises coming from the attic. Other members of the family are said to heard footsteps in the attic. Another strange detail is that a Munich newspaper was found on the land. No one in the family or the immediate area purchased Munich newspapers so this was definitely odd and suggestive of someone who was from out of town spying on the farm.


Although there seemed to be ample evidence that there was an intruder secretly scoping out the farm none of this was reported to the police. The family evidentially felt that it was nothing serious or perhaps decided their imaginations had been running away with them. Most of the family were murdered in the barn while two victims were murdered in the house while they were sleeping. It is believed they were somehow lured there one by one by the killer. A mattock was used as the murder weapon. A mattock is a hand tool used for digging, prying, and chopping and is similar to the pickaxe. These were brutal murders in that the victims had their skulls smashed. It is believed that the killer stayed at the farm for another three days while the bodies of the family lay around the property.


It took a while for the locals to realise that something had happened. After a few days they noted that the family hadn't turned up to church or been seen by anyone for a while. Eventually, some locals went to the farm to take a good look around. They made a most grisly discovery when they entered the barn - where most of the family had been killed. The killer had stacked the bodies and tried to cover them in hay. The other two victims were found in the house. The initial theory of the police was that this was a case of violent robbery. They assumed the killer was a ruthless thief who had a financial motive for the murders. However this theory was negated by the fact that a large stash of money was found in the house. If the killer was only after money he surely would have found this cash and taken it.


The really odd thing about the murders is that, despite the risk, the killer had continued to stay at the house for three days even after he had killed the family. He had eaten bread from the pantry and even fed the cattle. In the weeks before the murders some locals had experienced a few incidents which - in hindsight - were rather alarming. One local had noticed a group of men in the woods near the man who he had never seen before. There were also reports of lone strangers seen in the woods near where the murdered family lived. It seems plausible that one (or even more) of these strangers were responsible for the murders and scoping out the property before they struck.


One of the main suspects in this case was Lorenz Schlittenbauer. Schlittenbauer had had an affair with the murdered Viktoria Gabriel and was alleged to be the father of the (also murdered) Josef. When locals went to the farm to see why the family seemed to have gone missing and found the bodies in the barn, Schlittenbauer attracted suspicion because he went into the house alone and used a key to open the door. Where did he get the key from? And why wasn't Schlittenbauer wary of the fact that a killer might be on the grounds and waiting on the other side of the door? Schlittenbauer disturbed the crime scene that day to such an extent that many think it was deliberate.


A few years later, when the farm was demolished, Schlittenbauer was found on the property as if he was looking for something. What was he searching for? The theory for motive when it comes to Schlittenbauer is that he murdered the family because they wanted money from him for the upkeep of Josef. Despite all of this interesting (but hardly conclusive) evidence though, Schlittenbauer was never charged and even took legal action against anyone who suggested he was a murderer. Karl Gabriel was another suspect. He was the husband of Viktoria Gabriel but supposedly died in World War I. The theory here was that he didn't really die in the war and, using an assumed name, went home and murdered the family.


A maid who worked at the farm suggested that the murders were done by two local burglars called the Thaler brothers. This though would not explain why the thieves didn't take the money in the house. The same maid (who was obviously something of an amateur detective) also named the Bichler brothers (Anton and Karl Bichler) and Georg Siegl as suspects. Anton Bichler had worked on the farm and knew the property and land very well. He was also said to have a dislike of the family. Georg Siegl had also worked at the farm and was once accused of stealing tools there. The former maid at the farm believes that the Bichler brothers and Georg Siegl could well have conspired together to murder the family and rob the farm. There were several other suspects like this but the mystery of The Hinterkaifeck Killer was never solved. The police never managed to deduce who murdered the family at the farm and given how long ago these crimes happened it seems very unlikely now that anyone ever will.




Jane Toppan was born in Boston in 1854. She was known as The Angel of Death. Toppan murdered at least 31 people with lethal injections in her duties as a nurse. Her parents were Irish immigrants and life was not exactly plain sailing for Jane Toppan as a child. Her mother died of tuberculosis and Jane Toppan's father was said to be so crazy that he once tried to sew up one of his eyelids. Jane Toppan was a bright girl though and entered medical school in 1885.

She was known as Jolly Jane to her colleagues because she was always laughing and smiling. Everyone seemed to like her. She worked at Cambridge Hospital in Massachusetts and developed a fondness for working with patients who were sick or elderly. Jane Toppan first attracted mild suspicion in her medical duties because she was completely obsessed with autopsies. She was absolutely fascinated with death and loved going to the morgue. Jane Toppan used her patients at the hospital to experiment with the drugs morphine and atropine. She would vary the doses to see what reaction occurred in the patient. Naturally, she created bogus medical charts for her patients to disguise what she was actually doing.

Jane Toppan is said to have got a sexual thrill from her murders. She said she even climbed into bed with one patient she had just killed. In 1889, she worked at the Massachusetts General Hospital and continued to murder patients with overdoses. However, her murders were not just confined to the medical world. In 1895 she killed her landlord by poisoning and also murdered his wife. Jane Toppan then killed her sister Elizabeth with strychnine. You didn't have to be in hospital to be at risk from Jane Toppan. She would murder people anywhere given half a chance.

In 1901, Jane Toppan was hired as a private nurse to look after an elderly man named Alden Davis. You can probably guess what happened next. Yes, she murdered this man. But she didn't stop there. She also murdered his sister and two daughters. The relatives of the victims were understandably suspicious of Jane Toppan after these tragic and sudden deaths. They arranged for a medical test on the youngest daughter and the tests concluded the reason for death was poison. After she was taken into custody, Jane Toppan confessed to many murders.

Toppan told the police that she was perfectly sane and always knew exactly what she was doing. She said to the police - "That is my ambition, to have killed more people — more helpless people — than any man or woman who has ever lived." Toppan told the police that she experienced a thrill from having absolute power over patients and enjoyed taking them to the brink of death and then reviving them - and so on. Despite her claim that she was perfectly sane, it was clearly obvious that Jane Toppan was not sane in the least. Jane Toppan was so disturbed she had even poisoned herself once to appear ill and attract sympathy from a prospective boyfriend.

We will never know exactly how many people she actually killed. By any standards, Jane Toppan was completely ruthless. She once poisoned her best friend so that she could have her friend's job as a matron. Jane Toppan would kill literally anyone given the chance. As for explanations for why this woman became a compulsive killer, Jane Toppan was once jilted at the alter when she was supposed to get married. This is speculated to have been one of the sources of her anger and mental instability. "If I had been a married woman, I probably would not have killed all of those people," she said. "I would have had my husband, my children and my home to take up my mind."

Jane Toppan was found not guilty of her crimes by reasons of insanity and committed for life in the Taunton Insane Hospital. She died in 1938 at the age of 84. There was a rather dark irony when Jane Toppan was sent to the Taunton Insane Hospital. At one point, she refused to eat anything at the hospital and complained that someone was trying to poison her!

Antoinette Scieri was an Italian woman who moved to France with her family when she was very young. During the First World War she worked at a nursing station which cared for the wounded. Scieri was (like most serial killers it seems) a prolific thief in her early years and stole money and valuables from wounded soldiers. She would even forge letters to their relatives and get them to send her money. As the wounded soldiers were ill or barely awake she was able to get away with her rather heartless thefts and fraud for a time. She was jailed though in 1915 for stealing a soldier's paybook but released after a fairly short sentence.

Scieri got married after this and had some children but the marriage didn't last long and she ended up living with a man named Joseph Rossignol. Joseph Rossignol was a violent drunk and so this relationship was stormy to say the least. In 1920 they moved to the south of France and Antoinette Scieri came up a new way to make money. She got some work caring for elderly people. As you might suspect, having a woman like Antoinette Scieri caring for elderly and vulnerable people was a recipe for disaster. The unfortunate elderly folk under her care soon began shuffling off this mortal coil.

When an elderly husband and wife died while being looked after by Scieri, it roused no suspicion because of their age. It wasn't just her patients who Scieri posed a danger to. She also poisoned her lover Joseph Rossignol to death around this time. Her next victims were two elderly sisters who she poisoned with coffee. One of the sisters found her coffee bitter though and secretly poured it away. The other sister died. This incident fanned the first flames of suspicion concerning Antoinette Scieri.

Her last victim was a woman named Madame Gouan-Criquet. After she died, Gouan-Criquet's husband was very suspicious of the fact that his wife's condition seemed to get markedly worse each time she was visited by Antoinette Scieri. When he looked under the bed of his wife he found a bottle of the herbicide pyralion. Antoinette Scieri had finally been rumbled. The bodies of a number of people who had died after being 'cared' for by Scieri were exhumed and found to contain pyralion. These of course included the body of Joseph Rossignol.

Antoinette Scieri tried to pretend she was innocent and blamed the murders on a neighbour but this was all nonsense. She eventually confessed and was sentenced to death in 1926. The death sentence though was commuted to life in prison and she died behind bars. Antoinette Scieri was a classic example of a killer who dons the 'mask of sanity' and hides in plain sight. She was said to have an excellent bedside manner and those people who employed her thought she was kind and caring. Nothing could be further from the real truth. The authorities deemed her to be of sound mind and not insane. She knew exactly what she was doing and was a calm and calculating killer.

When it comes to medical professionals, Miyuki Ishikawa is up there with the worst killers in terms of numbers. Ishikawa (born in 1897) killed more than 103 newborn children in Japan in the late and post-war years. She is known as Oni-Sanba (which translates as Demon Midwife). Ishikawa was a hospital director in the Kotobuki maternity hospital and highly experienced and respected. During the war and in the years that followed a large number of infants ended up in the hospital where Ishikawa was in charge. As you might imagine, Japan was pretty much destroyed in the last years of World War 2 and the death and destruction created many orphans and many destitute transient people who couldn't care for a child.

Many of the parents of these infants had no money (some of them didn't even have homes) and Miyuki Ishikawa found that the hospital was overloaded with babies. However, rather than seek to establish or find places where the overflow of babies could be looked after, Miyuki Ishikawa decided there was


Publisher: BookRix GmbH & Co. KG

Publication Date: 11-01-2021
ISBN: 978-3-7487-9820-0

All Rights Reserved

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