|Vampire of Dusseldorf
|26 May 1883
|2nd Jul 1931
|1913 – 1930
|Raped and murdered females, stabbed victims with scissors & knife
|24 May 1930
|Executed by Guillotine
Kurten was born in a suburb of Cologne, Germany into a poor family of 13 children. His father is said to have brutalised Kurten’s mother and the children. His father often had sex with Kurten’s mother in front of all the children and ended up being jailed for incest with one of his daughters.
Kurten was introduced to bestiality with dogs by a dog-catcher who lived in the same building as the Kurten family. He took Kurten on his rounds when he captured dogs, often torturing or killing them. As he grew Kurten widened the practice to include sheep, goats and other farm animals. He discovered pleasure when stabbing the animal during sex with it.
He claimed to have drowned two friends when he was nine. He said he pushed one overboard, the second dived in to save the first and Kurten held both under the water until they drowned. The incident was treated as a tragic accident.
Kurten had many spells in prison for petty crime. Between spells if incarceration he was responsible for many sexual assaults. His first murder victim was a 10-year-old girl called Christine Klein who was sexually assaulted and stabbed in her bedroom above the pub where her parents were working.
Kurten was called up for military service at the beginning of World War One but deserted after a spell in the 98th Infantry Regiment.
He moved to Dusseldorf and continue his criminal past by getting involved in arsons and sex attacks. He is said to have stabbed one elderly woman 24 times but she survived the attack.
In 1929 he killed a nine-year-old stabbing her 13 times. He went on to murder other young girls, women and men. The press deemed him the Vampire of Dusseldorf after rumours that he was drinking the blood of his victims.
Kurten was eventually identified after raping a woman that he let go. He revealed his murderous past to his wife saying that she would be paid handsomely for turning him over to the authorities. His wife did so and Kurten surrendered to police without issue.
Kurten confessed to many sexual assaults, rapes and murders and was tried for nine murders and seven attempted murders. The trial lasted 10 days.
He was found guilty and executed by guillotine on 2nd July 1931 in Klingelputz Prison, Cologne. AS he waited for the sentence to be past re reputedly turned to the psychiatrist present and said, “Tell me… after my head is chopped off, will I still be able to hear, at least for a moment, the sound of my own blood gushing from the stump of my neck? That would be the pleasure to end all pleasures.”
Following the execution his head was dissected and mummified. The brain was kept for research but revealed no abnormalities. His head is currently on display at the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum in Wisconsin Dells, America.