Short Stories Stories based on Real Events

An Open Mind, the Fate of Peter Kürten

The Vampire of Dusseldorf, a man who did unspeakable things for the pleasure of it. A story based on real events and the ultimate fate of Peter Kurten. Not for the faint of heart.

Normally I fabricate a tale, twist the imagination. This is not one of those tales. This is true.

Bisected, spinning, mummified. Not words that would typically be attributed to a head. The dim light forced shadows into the cavities, increasing the tones of brown and yellow, the dried leather of a tongue, still looking wetly pink. The whole thing mounted on what looked like an oversized fishing treble hook.

No words, or babble of excitement anymore, all four drew in breath not releasing it.

The overall appearance was simply monstrous, a young family picked its way through the museum nestled in the Wisconsin Dales, reviews from the website calling it ‘delightfully creepy’ through the camp schlock horror exhibits is this monstrous lump of flesh. Empty sockets balefully seeing its plexiglass tomb. No words, or babble of excitement anymore, all four drew in breath not releasing it. Pausing for a beat, the father, horrified whisked the children away while drawn to the exhibit unable to tear his eyes away from it until its view was obscured.

The empty mind of the man hollowed and exposed.

Peter Kurten before his trial in 1931

Doctors performed this procedure in Germany in 1931, bisecting the head laterally, cleaving the skull from crown to neck. The brains measured and weighed, the spaces searched and scoured. Looking and prodding. For the sake of the macabre, the head is mummified, the face screaming like a snake about to strike hapless pray. Barbaric and horrific. Maybe a precursor to the horrors to come. Who was this poor unfortunate?

What were they looking for?

No one ever reads the little card explaining about the man. They cannot bring themselves to turn away from the leathery grinning memento mori. The card reads thusly:


The Dusseldorf Vampire

Believe it or Not! Beheaded murderer, Peter Kurten had his head bisected and mummified in anttempt by scientists to understand the workings of his mind… therefore his head was bisected to study his brain and the skull’s internal cavities.

One lucky victim described him as a simple and pleasant looking man. Married happily to a woman he was devoted to. There was that tingle and compulsion, the need to dominate and to do things to anyone that fell into his grasp. And in his grasp things were opened to him that we cannot really understand. The victims ranged from children to adults, even branching to the assault of animals.

He was savage and brutal and a pleasant looking man. Someone who looked normal and fine. Someone who would, well do something unpleasant at the death of those of his victims. I could tell you of Christine or Rudolf. I could but the response of those he recounted his exploits to at the trial will suffice. They were sickened and horrified. The exsanguination being enough to climax, drinking blood from the throats of victims. The nature of these crimes was one for the insane for a Freudian nightmare, a Lovecraftian inmate of insanity.

The leading psychologist Dr Berg and other eminent names from Germany pronounced the result of this maniac. He was legally sane and could control his actions. He could control his actions. He did not.

His final words were ones that chilled all those who heard it. “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.”

Though horrific, there is more to the head that is macabre and strange Calmly spinning looking never to see anything So, we forget. We let history wash away the horror. We wait to look, watching, knowing it happened to others in books and films. Just ask yourselves this, do you really know a person? Let me answer for you.

Monsters are conquerable and defeated by a hero. Monsters are not real. Even through dead eyes with the mind open for all to see, we still cannot find the thing that makes us evil. This thing is missing ethereal, untraceable.

The reason he killed was pleasure.

We search for meaning rather than admitting a fundamental truth. Lustmord, murder for pleasure. It is a capacity we all have. That man you saw a while ago, didn’t he look very pleasant and completely normal?

By magpiestories

An English teacher by trade, an author at heart, it only took a global pandemic for me to start writing my first novel. Along the way, I found a love for creating shorter fiction which I share on this site along with some updates and (hopefully) useful writing tips.

I hope you have a... pleasant time reading.

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