ByRob Harris, writer at
Sometimes I play video games.
Rob Harris

The infamous German serial killer Fritz Haarmann - also known as 'The Vampire of Hannover' has finally been cremated, 89 years after his death.

In one of the most notorious trials of the century, Haarmann was convicted of murdering 21 unsuspecting young males, before dismembering their bodies and throwing their gruesome remains in the Leine river. Seven horrific years passed between the first gory murder and his eventual execution, so how did the disturbed mastermind get away with it for so long?

Let's start at the beginning.

'Sadistic tendencies'

Haarmann's house
Haarmann's house

From a young age Haarmann was recognized as exhibiting sociopathic traits. As a child he would tie his sisters up and impersonate supernatural creatures by tapping on windows in the middle of the night. This odd behavior would only grow to become more sinister...

He escaped from a mental hospital

In 1898 Haarmann was arrested for molesting children. Instead of standing trial he was sent to a Swiss mental institution, but the padded walls couldn't hold him for long. Six months after he arrived, Fritz was on the loose again, escaping the hospital and fleeing back to Germany.

He impersonated a police officer

Haarmann (middle) with police officers
Haarmann (middle) with police officers

Back in Hanover Haarmann met his partner and criminal accomplice Hans Grans. Fritz began luring young men to their apartment by pretending to be a police officer. What's most shocking, however, is the way he killed his helpless victims. After they followed him home he would bite clean through their throats (giving him his nickname), before chopping them up and disposing of the bloody carcasses in the nearby Leine River.

He killed in this very room

The Vampire of Hanover himself admitted:

I would throw myself on top of those boys and bite through the Adam's apple, throttling them at the same time.

Evidence that the victims had been sodomized was also found at the scene.

The victims' bones started appearing in unusual places

These are the actual bones of Haarmann's victims, which began washing up on the banks of the Leine River in 1924. In total, 500 bones belonging to the murdered men were discovered. Naturally, suspicions began to arise...

He was caught red-handed

In 1925 German police arrived at Haarmann's house and found the walls covered in blood. Fritz tried to pass it off as animal remains but the quick thinking sociopath was immediately arrested on suspicion of murder. Although he confessed to killing between 50 and 70 people, actual estimates range from 24 to 27, though no one knows the extent of the horror for sure...

On April 15, 1925, the 'vampire' proved he was mortal after having his head beheaded by guillotine. His eerie last words were:

I repent, but I do not fear death.

What's perhaps even more disturbing is the fact that Haarmann's head remained in the University of Goettingen's medical department for research purposes.

Thankfully, this monster has finally been reduced to ashes, but his horrific legacy will forever live on. Cover your necks.


Was it right to burn Haarmann's head?


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