Archive for the 'Murder' Category

The Howl of the Werewolf, Chapter 14

Chapter 14
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The Howl of the Werewolf, Chapter 13

Chapter 13
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The Howl of the Werewolf, Chapter 11

Chapter 11
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“A first killing is like your first love.”

So says Alexander Pichushkin, 33, the so-called ‘chessboard killer’ of Moscow. ‘Chessboard killer?’ Yup. He hoped to rack up 64 victims, one for each square of a chessboard.

So how close did he come? Pretty close:

“A first killing is like your first love. You never forget it,” he said from a cage in the courtroom, after explaining how he started killing at age 18 with the murder of a classmate.

Pichushkin said he had suggested to his classmate that they kill someone, but when his friend refused, “I sent him to heaven.” He then smirked at the jury.

“The closer a person is to you, and the better you know them, the more pleasurable it is to kill them,” he said.

“In all the cases I killed for only one reason. I killed in order to live, because when you kill, you want to live.”

Often aggressive in court, Pichushkin gesticulated to show the jury how he strangled his victims and the marks his victims had left on his hands as they struggled.

Prosecutors have charged Pichushkin with 49 murders and three attempted murders, but he asked the court to take into account another 11 murders.

“I thought it would not be fair to forget about the other 11 people,” Pichushkin told the court.

Only four short of his goal. No word on how he was caught, apart from his own grandiose statements (mentioned in the article) that he ‘gave up.’ An earlier article refers to him as the “Bitsevsky Maniac,” after the Moscow park where most of his alleged murders took place.

Both pieces mention that Pichushkin would be Russia’s most prolific serial killer since Andrei Chikatilo was convicted in 1992 for 52 murders. Reuters also has a handy little sidebar detailing some of the world’s most notorious serial killers of recent years.

“I cannot react to the horrors that pour out.”

“If I react, the stories will stop.” And these stories must not stop:

PARIS, Oct. 5 — His subjects were mostly children and teenagers at the time, terrified witnesses to mass slaughter. Some were forced to work at the bottom rung of the Nazi killing machine — as diggers of mass graves, cooks who fed Nazi soldiers and seamstresses who mended clothes stripped from the Jews before execution.

They live today in rural poverty, many without running water or heat, nearing the end of their lives. So Patrick Desbois has been quietly seeking them out, roaming the back roads and forgotten fields of Ukraine, hearing their stories and searching for the unmarked common graves. He knows that they are an unparalleled source to document the murder of the 1.5 million Jews of Ukraine, shot dead and buried throughout the country.

[…]

Traveling with a team that includes two interpreters, a photographer, a cameraman, a ballistics specialist, a mapping expert and a notetaker, Father Desbois records all the stories on video, sometimes holding the microphone himself, and asking questions in simple language and a flat tone.

A chilling and poignant story, to be sure. According to the article, there are few traces of the slaughter of the Jews of the Ukraine; unlike Poland and Germany, there were no camps, only unmarked pits that the Soviets were also eager to forget.

I can’t imagine what it must take to absorb that kind of horror, story after story, without judgment. But he’s right – if he reacts, the stories stop. And these stories have gone untold for too long for them to stop now.

Headless Peruvian skeleton found

From National Geographic:

Known for producing giant “Nasca lines” in the earth that depict figures only visible from the sky, the culture is also noted among archaeologists for practicing human sacrifice and displaying modified human heads called trophy heads.

But experts have been divided over whether the heads were taken from enemies in war or from locals offered up for ritual sacrifice.

In 2004 Christina Conlee, an archaeologist at Texas State University, found a rare headless skeleton in a tomb sitting cross-legged with a ceramic “head jar” placed to the left of the body.

The age and condition of both the body and the jar, which is painted with two inverted human faces, suggests that the victim was killed in a rite of ancestral worship, Conlee said.

“This research is important because it provides new information on human sacrifice in the ancient Andes and in particular on decapitation and trophy heads,” she said.

Standard denial from me.

Mentally ill woman accused of being a vampire and killed

From the International Herald Tribune:

GEORGETOWN, Guyana: A woman lynched by Guyanese villagers who accused her of being an evil spirit was mentally ill, police said Tuesday.

Radika Singh, 55, was beaten to death by people who apparently believed that she was an “Old Higue,” a vampire of local lore that drinks the blood of human babies.

I see some death arriving soon

to some creepy, crawly and delicious denizens of the deep.

It’s Dungeness Crab season here on the West Coast.

Gentlereaders, start your butter warmers.

Sam Spade did in the Crab Louie Caper.

September 11

Ms. Carnacki and I took our vacation on the week of the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. We did not want to see the constant reminders of one of the worst days in the nation’s history. After the attacks, I had traveled to New York City because the New York Times wrote an editorial that if people wanted to help, what New York needed was a return of the tourists. I didn’t want to be a tourist, but it gave me a chance to see friends in the city, to overtip waitresses and cab drivers and to do something. For weeks after the attacks, I wrote thank you notes to different embassies and consuls of nations that had expressed their support and condolences after the attacks. It seemed like the right thing to do, a bit of personal diplomacy if you will. It’s easy to forget how united the nation and nearly all the world were after Sept. 11, 2001. The administration took the goodwill many people felt and perverted it for their own partisan ends (re: Max Cleland) and agenda that had nothing to do with capturing or killing Osama bin Laden (re: Iraq).

So we were on vacation in the Outer Banks in September 2002. A tropical storm blew in and we stayed in our motel room and played Old Maid with the kids and watched TV until the power went out and read books by flashlight and watched the storm. I took my oldest daughter, who was on a Nancy Drew kick at the time, and we practiced watching people in the lobby while pretending to read the newspaper.

The storm blew away a day later than expected. It delayed our trip to Kitty Hawk. On the morning of Sept. 11, 2002, we were at the birthplace of aviation. It gave the visit a poignancy that it wouldn’t have had on any other day. I carried my youngest on my shoulder and my oldest ran in front of me with her arms spread and we ran along the trail where the Wright Brothers flew and landed their craft.

I thought of those mothers and fathers lost on that terrible day who would give anything to have a day like I was having with my girls. So I hugged them even tighter.

Everything else I want to say about Sept. 11, I said in this post.

To the dead we owe only the truth

It is not about the movie.

It’s not about polls or politics or the election of 2006.

It’s about them.
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It’s about Christine Lee Hanson.
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She was 2 1/2 years old and on United Flight 175 with her mother and father when the hijackers took it over.

She did not know that when President George W. Bush took office in January, he and his National Security Advisor Condi Rice would ignore the warnings presented to them by the outgoing administration and by counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke.

She did not know that for months Clarke and others attempted to issue warnings to Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney about a gathering threat.

She did not know that U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft produced a budget to cut funding for counter-terrorism measures.

She did not know that when President Bill Clinton had attempted to kill Osama bin Laden, Republican Congressmen and media pundits denounced him for trying to distract what they saw as the more important investigation into whether a young woman willingly performed oral sex on him.

She did not know that on Aug. 6, 2001, a CIA briefer gave Bush a report entitled “Bin Laden determined to strike in the U.S.”

She did not know that Bush told the briefer he had “covered his ass” but Bush remained on vacation and took no action such as ordering increased security for airports or any other counter-measures to stop the attack.

All she knew was that she was on a plane with her mother and father.
The flight must have been incredibly rocky with the hijackers taking the jet into a power dive as they headed for New York City.

Her father was on the phone with her grandfather during those last moments.
Her father knew they were about to die.

Imagine if you will what it was like to be Christine’s father and mother. You know you are about to die with your young daughter next to you. Your dreams of growing up together with her, teaching her to read a book, watching her climb a tree, playing catch with her, sending her off to school, are about to end.

It must have been horrifying. Yet at the same time you probably fight to reassure her and reassure your father on the phone with you that it is all right because you do not want her last moments on earth to be terrifying. You probably want to fill them with love, with comfort.

Christine’s grandfather said later that his son told him, “Don’t worry, Dad. If it happens, it’ll be quick.”

One plane had already crashed into a Twin Tower.

Then the plane sped into the second tower.

Christine’s father said, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God” and her grand father heard a scream and he watched on television as the second plane flew into the World Trade Center.

Moments after Christine died, the president’s top adviser whispered in Bush’s ear.
Bush went back to listening to children read “My Pet Goat” to him.

Just six months later, Bush said he did not know where the man who masterminded the scheme to kill Christine was. And he didn’t spend that much time on him.

That is the sad truth we owe Christine.

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