Real Life Horror: The Night Stalker

Ricardo “Richard” Ramirez was born February 29, 1960, in El Paso, Texas. The youngest of five children, he suffered two serious head injuries during his childhood: at age two, a dresser fell on top of him, cutting open his forehead; at age five, a park swing knocked him unconscious. The latter injury caused epileptic seizures that persisted into his teens. Ramirez’s serial killer future was further helped by his physically abusive dad and his whackjob cousin Miguel “Mike” Ramirez. Mike Ramirez, a Vietnam vet and Green Beret, regaled his then-twelve year-old relative with tales of his exploits in Vietnam, which all … Continue reading Real Life Horror: The Night Stalker

Real life horror: Matawan, New Jersey

  (Rerun here, because it’s the hundredth anniversary of these attacks.) I’m profiling a different sort of killer today: the shark (or sharks) responsible for the Matawan Creek attacks in 1916. It started on July 1, 1916, when 23-year-old Charles Van Sant arrived in Beach Haven, New Jersey. Eager to escape the heat, the vacationing Philadelphian dove into the Atlantic Ocean. He was about fifty feet from shore when other swimmers noticed a large shadow following him. He never heard their warning cries. The shadow pulled him under. A few moments later, the area where he’d been turned red. Alexander Ott, … Continue reading Real life horror: Matawan, New Jersey

Real life horror: Belle Gunness

I’ve done a good deal of picking on the guys lately, so I thought I’d switch genders and profile a female serial killer. This wasn’t easy. Sure, there’s Aileen Wuornos (the subject of Monster, starring Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci, great flick), but as I stated earlier, I wanted to do the not-so-famous killers. Problem is, there are not that many female serial killers. I did find a few killer nurses and black widows, and I was originally going to post on one of them, but then I came across Belle Gunness. Born Brynhild Storset in Norway in 1859, she changed her name to Belle when she immigrated … Continue reading Real life horror: Belle Gunness

Real life horror: Cleveland torso murders

Ah, Cleveland, Ohio. You’ve given us Drew Carey, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and, in 1935, headless torsos. In September 1935, two schoolboys were walking through Kingsbury Run, a shantytown near the Cuyahoga River. They decided to race to the bottom of Jackass Hill. The winner found something else besides glory in the bushes at the bottom of the hill: the headless body of a young white man, naked except for a pair of black socks. Along with his head, his genitals were also missing. I bet Show and Tell was interesting the next day. The police came and began investigating the … Continue reading Real life horror: Cleveland torso murders

Real life horror: Dean Corll

From Wisconsin (Ed Gein) we travel to my home state of Texas, for a lesson on why you should not take candy from strangers. Dean Corll was born in 1939 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His family moved to Texas in 1950, settling in Vidor, a small town roughly 90 miles from Houston. Corll played trombone in the school band and graduated from Vidor High in 1958. Shortly afterward, the Corll family packed up and moved to Houston, where Corll’s mother continued the small candy company she’d started in Vidor. The “Pecan Prince” candy company specialized in pecan chewies, pralines, and … Continue reading Real life horror: Dean Corll