The term axe murderer can inspire a uniquely chilling feeling, and the thought of individual axe murderers inspires images of a frenzied maniac willing to kill anyone not fast or lucky enough to evade the swing of his axe. axe murderers have committed many of the most notorious murders and mass murders in history. Some axe murderers included here used an axe exclusively as their weapon of choice, while others used it at times, and different weapons on occasion. An axe killing requires huge physical energy and little physical space between killer and victim. It takes a special kind of maniac to follow through with it. Here are the ten most scary axe murderers in recorded history.
Eva Dugan was a prostitute turned house keeper. In 1927 her employer, you could say, gave her the axe. Enraged by her loss of employment she took a real axe and brutally murdered her boss. She then buried his body and stole his car. Police were baffled by the pair’s disappearance. But having a car in those days, she was soon found. She was sent to prison for auto theft as they had no idea she butchered her employer. But when the corpse of her boss was discovered accidentally, it became clear she murdered him with an axe. Eva Dugan was sentenced to death by hanging. But something went wrong during the execution. The rope snapped, taking her head clean off. Some witnesses were so shocked by her decapitation that they fainted.
Known as the cannibal of Ziebice, Karl Denke was terrifying. He seemed like an ordinary man to friends and family. But police eventually realised he was a brutal murderer. In 1924 a man with bloody visible wounds ran into a police station. He said Denke had tried to kill him with an axe. In Denke’s home police found glass jars of human flesh pickeling. Before admitting to his crimes he hanged himself in prison. We now know he murdered at least 42 victims and consumed the flesh of many/ Police were unable to explain his actions and local children soon told stories of Karl the Vampire. It’s said that what human flesh he didn’t consume he would sell to local butchers, claiming it was pig meat.
The Axeman of New Orleans
The Axeman of New Orleans. This strange killer was known to break into people’s homes at night and brutally murder those inside. Hacking them to death he would leave a bloody axe at the crime scene and disappear into the night. In 12 attacks he left 6 people dead, often slashing their throats and burying the axe into their skulls. Local legends told that he was a mob hitman as his victims were mostly Italian. Or that he was a demon sent by the devil. In 1919 a letter was sent to local newspapers which was supposedly written by the axeman. It was addressed as being sent from hell and in it he claims to not be human. He also claimed that only playing jazz music can protect against his attacks. The axeman was never identified. His killings simply stopped, which left people wondering if he really was a demon.
Lizzie Borden is among the most notorious axe murderers in history, which is strange because technically she is innocent, as she was never proven guilty. In 1892 her father and stepmother were found dead. Police concluded they had been hacked to death with an axe. It was an especially brutal incident, with the step mother being axed 18 times – and the father being axed 11 times. The only sign other than their corpses was an axe head in the basement. Lizzie Borden was at home when the murdered happened and her alibi was shaky at best. She claimed to be in the barn outside when it happened. But police found no sign that she had been there. She was put on trial for the murders and the crime was so brutal that local press made her out to be a monster. They made it seem like she was definitely guilty. And she might have been. She was found innocent due to a lack of evidence, partly because she burned as much evidence as possible before the trial. Despite this she has gone down in history as an infamous axe murderer who got away with it.
Villisca Axe Murders
In 1912 a family of 6 were savagely murdered in a small Iowa town. In the middle of a summer night the family were hacked to death by an axe wielding maniac, along with two guests staying in their home. The axe was found only partly wiped clean. Axe marks were found on the ceiling and walls. It’s thought the killer was in the grip of an absolute frenzy – skull fragments being thrown across the home from the force of the hacking. In each bed was found a victim. Word soon spread in the small town and civil life essentially broke down. Hundreds of people came to the house just to look at the crime scene, which made investigating difficult for police. All local suspects were soon dripped. No one knew who was the killer. No one trusted anyone in the town. The case remains unsolved today. Other small towns in neighbouring states saw similar axe murder cases. Some speculate these cases could be linked and possible have the same killer. Either that or America had several axe murderers at the time. It’s unlikely we will ever know for sure.
In 1878 a family of four were discovered dead. Their murders were so brutal it left them unrecognisable. What was clear is that an axe was the murder weapon, leaving their skulls crushed and no longer able to contain brains properly. The crime was reported by a mysterious man called Pierre Provost. He walked to a neighbours house to report it. First reporters of crimes often become the first suspect. So Provost was under suspicion from day one. It was made worse when they found out he was living with the family at the time of their deaths. He claimed to have heard the murders taking place and escaped out of a window. Police investigated the window and it hadn’t been opened for so long it was covered in cobwebs. So clearly he was lying. He hanged himself in jail. You’ll notice a lot of axe murderers commit suicide when caught, that’s kinda their thing.
Mary Russell Murders
In 1828 there was a merchant ship resting in Southern Ireland. It was set to transport mules to Barbados, which sounds exactly like the type of ship I’d love to work on. But that would have been a mistake because seven of it’s crew members were brutally murdered. They were murdered by the ship’s captain, William Stewart. For reasons not quite clear he believed they were about to commit mutiny and take control of the ship. So each member was brought in front of the captain and tied up while under threat of being shot. All the while he was ranting about their apparent conspiracy to mutiny. When they were restrained, Captain Stewart proceeded to murder seven of them with an axe. One by one he hacked into his crew members until all seven were dead. The captain was put on trial, where a jury heard he was insane and committed the act while in the grip of madness. And on that basis the jury could not call him a murderer. They ruled him not guilty due to derangement. He was sent to a mental asylum where he late killed a hospital worker. This story was largely forgotten until a few years ago when a book mentioned it. It’s quite a story to forget.
In the 1930s and 40s the press and politicians linked Marijuana to violent crime, claiming it drives people mad and dangerous. One of the ways they swayed public opinion was by pointing to a 1933 mass murder. Victor Licata took an axe to his parents, two brothers, his sister, and a dog. When questions by police he claimed they had stolen his arms. And as revenge he knocked them unconscious with an axe. He seemed unaware they were all dead. He admitted smoking marijuana not long before the killings. Looking back now he might have been schizophrenic. But his madness was blamed on marijuana. He was sent to a lunatic asylum where they called him the mad axeman. Some of the most famous anti-weed propaganda was later inspired by Licata.
Greenough Family Massacre
In 1993 a family of four was massacred in a small Australian town. With a population below one thousand, Greenough isn’t familiar with violent crime. So when an entire family was found massacred it’s fair to say people lost their minds. Karen Mackenzie and her three children were the victims, hacked to death by an axe wielding maniac. Police concluded some details of the attack were so shocking the public should never know them, and still today such details are kept secret. Some police were so traumatised by the investigation that they retired from law enforcement. The mass murder inspired many to call for the death penalty to be reintroduced. When 22 year old Bill Mitchell entered the home he killed the 16 year old boy immediately. He then took an axe to the boy’s sleeping family members. It was five weeks before the killer was arrested. And those five weeks were not fun for anyone who lived nearby.
Savannah axe murders
The oldest city in the US state of Georgia is called Savannah. In 1909 the city was shaken by largely forgotten Edwardian massacre. It was a triple murder. Two women were found beaten to death within the house. They were mother and daughter, known as being harmless and friendly. But they were discovered beaten to death with the blunt side of an axe. Another woman was staying with them as a guest. She was found barely alive at the front door. Her throat was cut and she soon died in hospital. The police response to the murders was curious. They basically just went out and arrested as many black people as possible. As newspapers put it at the time “150 Negro’s are arrested and awaiting interrogation” – So evidently the investigation wasn’t going great. Especially considering angry mobs were ready to lynch suspects. It was just a disaster. But the last victim, before she died, claimed her husband took the axe to her.
He was arrested as were two other men. All three denied any involvement. The other two men were boring so let’s just focus on the husband. He was found guilty of murdering the woman with an axe and sentenced to death. But one day before his execution his sentence was changed and in 1923 he was pardoned by the governor. Like then, many today doubt he did it. It seems that the real axe murderers or three women got away with it.