Peter Kürten (May, 26 1883 – July, 2 1931) was a German serial killer infamously known as the Vampire of Düsseldorfa. He committed a series of sex crimes, assaults and murders most notoriously in the 1920s in Düsseldorf, Germany.
He got his start when a neighbor taught him how to torture animals, learning to stab them while rapping them. When he was 9 years old, Kürten perpetrated an accident that killed two of his friends. Throughout his life, he was put in jail for various crimes that included theft, arson and nonfatal strangulation.
In 1929, Kürten attacked 23 people. One women survived being strangled into unconsciousness recalled her attacker whispering in her ear, “This is what love is about.”
Kürten was arrested for rape and immediately confessed numerous assaults and 13 murders. He explained that drank the blood of many of his victims because he found blood to be sexually exciting. He even admitted to once biting the head off a swan and ejaculated as he drank the blood. He claimed he was insane and that he life had been devoted to depravity and that his role model was Jack the Ripper.
Kürten’s first kill was a young girl in 1913 in her bed at an inn at Koln-Mulheim in the Rhine River Valley. He made two small incisions on her throat- one about 1-2 millimeters and the other about 9 centimeters. A mat next to the girl’s bed had absorbed most of the blood with very little being left on her clothes. He admitted to inserting his fingers into the girls genitals, which caused bruising.
After killing the girl, Kürten tried killing a sleeping victim, but was frightened away before he could act. He struck two others with hatchets. He also strangled several women without killing them.
He was arrested and went to prison for 8 years. When he got out, he married and moved to a different town, but when he was charged with assault on two of his domestic servants, Kürten moved back to Düsseldorf and began his series of assaults and murders to include setting fires, attempted to strangle 4 women, and stabbing another woman 24 times (she recovered).
Kürten confessed that sometimes he drank the blood from the throat wounds and temple. Once he drank so much blood that he became ill, and another time he licked the blood off his victim’s hands.
Some of his victims survived and some died. At his trial, defense psychiatrists declared him insane, but the jury ignored them. He was executed in 1931 for 9 counts of murder.
Kürten said that if he could her his blood bubbling from his neck stump right after he was decapitated, he would die a happy man. “That would be the pleasure of all pleasures.”
- Sixteen years after his first murder in 1913, an 8-year old girl was found in the same general area. She was nude and stuffed underneath a hedge. She had been stabbed 13 times with a sharp object. Her body was covered with gasoline, and semen stains were found on her undergarments.
- A week later, a 45-year old man was found dead next to a road. He was bleeding from 20 stab wounds, many were made to his temples.
- Six months later, and two girls were murdered at a local fairground. The 5-year old was strangled and her throat cut open. The 14-year old was strangled and beheaded.
- Three weeks after that, an adolescent was raped and battered to death with a hammer.
- Six weeks later, a 5-year old disappeared and a letter arrived at the local newspaper with a map indicating a factory where the body could be found. She was stabbed 36 times and her body was badly mutilated.
- The same map also gave the location of another body- a young woman who had been missing for several months. She was left battered, stabbed and hacked up in a field.