Monday, September 8, 2008

Serial Killer Bedtime Stories: Jane Toppan

Based on the emails we received after the post about female serial killers, and with the Satin Strangler media coverage once again proving that female serial killers are smoking hot, we thought you'd enjoy this bedtime story about Jane Toppan, another sizzler.

Born in Boston as Nora Kelly to typical future serial killer misery in 1854. When she was still an infant her mother died and her tailor father was institutionalized for trying to stitch his eyelids shut. After a brief stint in an orphanage, Nora was adopted by the Toppan family and changed her name to Jane. From then on she led a very normal life until, as a young woman, she was jilted by her fiancee, had a nervous breakdown and unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide.

Although she excelled as a student in Nursing School, she raised some eyebrows with her morbid curiosity for autopsies. Eventually she was unceremoniously dismissed after two patients died mysteriously under her care. Not the passive type, Jane forged her nursing degree and went out looking for a job as a private nurse.

Jane was a considered a kind and sensitive nurse who regularly took care of the sick and elderly for Boston's best families. However, most of her patients and their families died mysteriously after ingesting some of her "special" potions. Over two decades, Jane blazed through the homes of New England society with her trusty morphine cocktails to the tune of a least 31 deaths.

America's premiere female "Angel of Death," Jane's deadly trail unraveled in the summer of 1901 when all four members of the Davis family dropped dead. Suspicious of the kindly nurse who had treated them, the husband of the fourth victim ordered the Massachusetts State Police to perform an autopsy on his wife. Authorities confirmed that a lethal dose of morphine and atropine killed his wife. Jane fled Boston and was finally arrested in Amherst on October 29, 1901.

In custody Jane confessed to 31 kills. It is believed her true body count is somewhere between 70 to 100 deaths. In her 1902 trial, doctors said Jane was "born with a weak mental condition." In true serial killer madness, Jane declared in court, "That is my ambition. To have killed more people -- more helpless people -- than any man or woman who has ever lived." Having fulfilled her wish, she was found insane and sent to the state asylum in Tauton, Massachusetts where she died in August, 1938, at the ripe age of 84.

Although she was remembered by the hospital staff as a "quiet old lady," she still had murderous fantasies permeating her brain. Orderlies remember how she would say, "Get some morphine, dearie, and we'll go out in the ward. You and I will have a lot of fun seeing them die."

Sweet dreams, and may you remain forever Crazy 4 Crazies.

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