As much as we all love reading about the lives, deaths and day-to-day activities of many of the world's most infamous serial killers and murderers, often the deeds remain distant and mythical until we are confronted by the images of the murders themselves... and - of course - the evidence and court exhibits which helped convict them. Therefore this week's blog is less of an investigation into the mind of a killer, and more of an "oh, I've always wondered what that looks like" piece of piontless voyeurism... which we all love.
Simply hover over the images to see it in fuller detail as well as the caption explaining what it is and scroll down underneath the gallery for a fuller description. Enjoy part one. Mx.
#1 - Aileen Wuornos' gun: The .22 revolver, which originally belonged to Charles Carskaddon, which she used to kill him, as well as Troy Burress, Peter Siems, Walter Jeno Antonio and David Spears, which she carried in a floppy purse, and was later recovered from a river.
#2 - Dennis Nilsen's cooking pot & knives: The large cooking pot that Dennis used to boil the heads of his last three victims (Stephen Sinclair, Graham Allen and John Howlett, before flushing their flesh and intestines down the toilet. Learn more about Dennis Nilsen on Murder Mile.
#3 - Dr Crippen's pyjamas: The exact brand of pyjamas (Jones Bros) which supposedly Dr H H Crippen had given to his wife Cora, a swatch of which Home Office Pathologist Sir Bernard Spilsbury found on the limbless / headless / boneless torso believed to be Cora - for which Crippen was executed - even though the corpse... was of a man. Read more here.
#4 - Ed Gein's lampshade; Murderer, grave-robber and necrophile, Ed Gein fashioned many of his victim's corpses into household objects, such as wastebaskets, chair seats, skulls as bedposts and serving bowls as well as a full “woman suit” - complete with mask, corset and leggings and a lampshade made from the face of Bernice Worden. Learn more about Ed Gein.
#5 - Dr Harold Shipman's typewriter: Britain most prolific serial-killer (convicted of 15 murders but suspected of 257 so far, possibly as many as 450+) used this typewriter to fabricate the hastily written Last Will & Testament of Kathleen Grundy leaving her entire estate of £386,000 to himself, shortly after he had injected her with Diamorphine. Learn more about Harold Shipman.
#6 - Jack Ruby's revolver: The .38 revolver as used by club-owner and gangster Jack Ruby on 24th November 1963 to kill Lee Harvey Oswald, the supposed lone assassin of US President John F Kennedy. He fire a single round into Oswald's abdomen, fatally wounding him.
#7 - Jack the Ripper's infamous "Dear Boss" letter: although people often site the "Dear Boss" letter as "proof" that Jack the Ripper actually exists, it is entirely disputed who wrote the letter, with many theorising that it was simply written by a eager journalist to ramp up a flagging story, as the (supposed) Ripper murders occurred during the birth of tabloid newspapers, although the Ripper nuts will disagree. Want to learn about a real "Ripper in London"? Try the Blackout Ripper.
#8 - Jeffrey Dahmer's drum: the blue 57 gallon drum which police found the the corner of Dahmer's living room from which "a strong odour emanated", and contained not only hydrochloric acid but also the dismembered torsos of Matt Turner (20), Jeremiah Weinberger (23) and Joseph Bradehoft (25), Dahmer's last victim. Watch an interview with Dahmer.
#9 - Lee Harvey Oswald's rifle: The 6.5×52mm Carcano Model 91/38 infantry rifle as purchased by Lee Harvey Oswald via mail order from Klein's Sporting Goods in Chicago costing $12.95 including ammunition. It was (supposedly) used to shoot and kill US President John F Kennedy from the Texas Book Depository on 22nd November 1963, although conspiracy theories remain. The rifle is kept in a secure location within the National Archives (Maryland). A replica is on display at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas by the stairs where the original rifle was found.
#10 - John George Haigh's oil drums: where the "Acid Bath Murderer" thought he'd outwitted the Police by confessing to the murder of Olive Durand-Deacon, but believing that under the law of Habeus Corpus that he could not be convicted unless a "body" was found, little did he realise that "body" refers to "any evidence that a corpse existed" (not just a complete corpse), including the contents of an oil drum, full of sulphuric acid, which had failed to dissolve 28 pounds of human body fat, part of a human foot, human gallstones and part of a denture of his final victim.
#11 - John Lennon's glasses: as worn by John Lennon on 8th December 1980, as he was shot five times (four times in the back) by Mark David Chapman, outside of the Dakota building in Manhattan. The original photo was tweeted from Yoko Ono's Twitter account in a series of messages condemning the lack of gun control in America. The blood stains are Lennon's.
#12 - John Reginald Christie's cubby-hole: Having fraudulently sub-let his flat at 10 Rillington Place (Ladbroke Grove, London) to a couple, top floor tenant - Beresford Brown - discovered a hidden alcove in Christie's kitchen, peeled back the wallpaper and found the bodies of Kathleen Maloney, Rita Nelson and Hectorina MacLennan. Three of the six bodies he'd later be convicted of murdering, even though Timothy Evans had been executed for the murder of the first two.
#13 - John Wayne Gacy's clown suits: although these were never used to convict him, when he wasn't the serial killer of 33+ young men, Gacy raised funds for local organisations by working as a children's entertainer called Pogo the Clown. These two clown suits are currently on display at the National Museum of Crime & Punishment, Washington DC. Read more about Gacy.
#14 - Peter Sutcliffe's toolkit: Dubbed "The Yorkshire Ripper", Peter Sutcliffe murdered 13 local prostitutes and attempted to murder 7 others in Leeds and Bradford in the late 1970's, using various tools including knives, screwdrivers and a ball-peen hammer. Upon his arrest at home on 2nd January 1981, Sutcliffe attempted to dispose of his "murder kit" by telling the Police he was "bursting for a pee". Learn more about the "Yorkshire Ripper".
#15 - Ted Bundy's bitemark: During his trial, Odontologists Richard Souviron and Lowell Levine confirmed that the bite wounds that Bundy inflicted on Lisa Levy's left buttock (victim of the Chi Omega House sorority) matched castings taken of Bundy's own teeth. Learn more.
#16 - The Assassination Pellet that killed Georgi Markov: Although no-one has never been convicted of his killing on the 7th September 1978 on Waterloo Bridge, this is the micro-engineered pellet (1.70mm/0.07 inches wide) which was stabbed into his thigh using a umbrella and contained deadly Ricin, which led to a very painful death 48 hours later. It is believed the dissident Bulgarian writer was assassinated by the Bulgarian secret police with help by the KGB.
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a writer, crime historian, podcaster and tour-guide who runs Murder Mile Walks, a guided tour of Soho’s most notorious murder cases, hailed as “one of the top ten curious, quirky, unusual and different things to do in London” and featuring 12 murderers, including 3 serial killers, across 15 locations, totalling 75 deaths, over just a one mile walk.
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a crime writer, podcaster & tour guide of Murder Mile Walks, hailed as one of the best "quirky curious & unusual things to do in London".
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