4 Grisly Crimes We Wish We Never Heard About
Every so often, we hear about a crime story so interesting, we have to share it with you. Other times, we hear about a crime story so terrible, we quarantine it from public view, for your sake. We bury it, in a folder marked “Do Not Open.”
Today, however, is Halloween. Today, normal rules of decency don’t apply. Today is the day we open the folder. Sorry.
The Russian and His Human Dolls
Anatoly Moskvin said he first became fascinated with girls’ corpses when he was a boy. A funeral procession walked through his Russian hometown, and an adult pushed his head forward to kiss the dead girl’s face. Years passed, and he never had any kind of romantic relationship, but he wanted to be a father, and he tried unsuccessfully to adopt. Meanwhile, girls kept dying and being buried in cemeteries. What if he could bring them back to life and raise them as his?
His career also involved documenting cemeteries; we don’t whether this career inspired his plan or resulted from it. In the years leading up to 2011, Moskvin illegally dug up 150 graves. From these, he managed to move the corpses of 26 girls to his home. Ultimately, he said he planned to resurrect them using unclear means, and till he figured out how, he worked at preserving them. He dried them, stuffed their bodies with rags to combat their sunken appearance and covered their faces with cloth or masks.
When they discovered what he’d been doing, authorities charged Moskvin with desecrating graves and dead bodies. He has spent the last decade committed to a psychiatric hospital.
Moskvin, 45 years old in 2011, lived with his parents. While that suits the stereotype of an emotionally stunted man, you may be shocked that he carried all this out without his parents noticing. They often stayed elsewhere, and when they were at home, they thought he was simply building life-size dolls. Indeed, the above photo looks merely like a creepy doll. Now that you know what it really is, you may find mere creepy dolls never scary again.
The Geisha’s Penis Grab
Many of you read about Moskvin and were expecting the revelation that he was a necrophiliac. He was not. Never fear, however. We have for you next someone who did have sex with a corpse — or at least with one piece of a corpse, so if that’s not something you want to hear about, you might want to close your eyes when reading this story.
In the 1930s, there lived in Japan a geisha named Sada Abe. She moved from geisha-ing to having sex for money (not the same thing, exactly) then to waiting tables. She and the married owner of the restaurant started an affair, which she described as a happy one. He stayed with his wife, though, and Abe grew jealous. One night, in May 1936, she put a kitchen knife to his penis and said she’d cut it off. He thought she was joking. Then she choked him. He liked this as well, and she choked him again the next several times they had sex.
Later, having drugged him so he couldn’t fight back, she choked him harder, to death. She used that knife to cut off his balls and erect penis. She carved her name into his arm and wrote both their names on the sheets in his blood. Then she left the hotel, wearing his underpants.
She did not castrate him to defile him, she’d later say. She cut off his genitals because those were the parts of his body she treasured most. In the three days before police managed to find her, she repeatedly put the penis into her mouth. She also tried sliding it into other orifices, with less success. When the judge at her trial heard this testimony, he admitted getting aroused.
Japan sentenced Abe to six years in prison and released her early, on the murdered man’s death anniversary. She went on to write a memoir before returning to the restaurant industry. As for the penis, it went on display at a medical school museum. Rumor spread that it was a magnificent penis of notable size, but people who visited it found it to be unremarkable.
In 1922, Fred and Dolly Oesterreich were arguing in their Los Angeles home. Seemingly out of nowhere, a man appeared and shot Fred dead, with a gun retrieved from the couple’s own bedroom. He locked Dolly in the closet and took some valuables. Neighbors who heard the gunshots called the police, who freed Dolly and naturally assumed the killer had been an intruder.
The killer was actually Dolly’s lover Otto Sanhuber, who lived in the house with them. He had lived in the attic for years — without the husband’s knowledge. He’d secretly lived with the couple for a full decade, even though the Oesterreichs had moved from Milwaukee to L.A. halfway through, forcing Dolly to choose a new home with a suitable attic and to smuggle Otto from the old home to the new one.
Dolly got away with it for years. Eventually, a second lover of hers (whom Dolly had entrusted with disposing of the gun, as the whole coverup was her idea) got jealous about a third lover of hers and told the police what he knew. They finally searched the home and opened the attic to discover an emaciated Otto. They convicted him of manslaughter, but so much time had passed that he saw no jail time. The public dubbed him the Bat Man, because he lived up in his roost.
The obvious victim in this horror story is Fred, but we also want to highlight the nightmare that was Otto’s life. He described himself as Dolly’s voluntary “sex slave.” Being a sex slave is fun for an afternoon, but when it means being confined to an attic for years, some protest may be in order. And after Fred’s death, Otto did not become free to live openly as Dolly’s paramour or even to live in the rest of the house. He continued to live in the attic for another eight years, until police liberated him. The only difference, post-Fred, is Dolly gave him a typewriter. He used this to write short stories, which she tried to sell.
The Arm Chop
A housepainter peeked in on on Florida man Larry Singleton in 1997 and saw him strangling a naked woman. When police arrived, Larry answered the door covered in blood, and they saw he’d stabbed Roxanne Hayes to death. It was a brutal crime, and that’s not even the main crime of his we’re going to talk about today. We instead need to talk about Mary Vincent, who testified during Singleton’s sentencing for killing Hayes. Thanks in part to her testimony about an earlier crime, he was sentenced to death.
In 1978, Vincent was 15 and homeless and was hitchhiking her way to visit her grandfather. Singleton picked her up. Once he left the main road and refused to turn back, she realized the danger of this situation. She managed to exit the vehicle, but Singleton then stopped her from fleeing by hitting her on the head — with a sledgehammer.
He spent most of that night raping her, though Mary was conscious only intermittently. When his own body proved inadequate, he used a butcher knife instead. Afterward, he chucked her off a ravine to leave her for dead, but he first chopped off both her arms at the elbows with an axe. Some speculate that by removing her arms, he sought to keep her from being identified through fingerprints. A court would later suggest that he simply aimed to torture her.
Mary Vincent didn’t die in the drainage ditch where he’d dumped her. She stuck what was left of her arms in the mud, which kept her from bleeding to death. Still naked, and with four broken ribs, plus a concussion, along with the double amputation, she climbed back up the 30-foot ravine. She flagged down a car, who took her to the hospital, where she immediately talked to a police officer.
Within six months, Singleton was found guilty, but the maximum sentence possible for the half a dozen charges related to the offense added up to only 14 years. In eight years, he received parole. Many people objected, saying that even if they agreed in general with the idea of convicts rehabilitating themselves and getting second chances, perhaps this particular guy should not be free. In time, he proved them right.