Friday, October 1, 2010

Serial Killer Bedtime Stories: Bela Kiss

Tonight's serial killer bedtime story comes complete with a Kiss.

A Hungarian serial killer, Bela's exploits were immortalized in a play by the surrealist poet Antonin Artaud called 23. In 1912, after Bela moved with his wife to the village of Czinkota, she started having an affair. Soon the lovers disappeared and Bela told neighbors that they had eloped. The deadly cuckold then started collecting 55-gallon metal drums. He told the village constable that they were filled with gasoline as a precaution for the coming war.

In 1914 Bela was drafted into the military and sent to the battlefield. By 1916 news had returned to the village that Bela died in combat. When soldiers passed through Czinkota looking for fuel, the constable remembered the drums of gasoline in the Kiss household. When the soldiers opened the drums they were startled by the discovery of 24 corpses preserved in alcohol. Apparently Bela, calling himself Hoffman, placed personal ads in newspapers describing himself as a "lonely widower seeking female companionship." Those who answered were promptly garroted and stuffed into 55-gallon drums. Not surprisingly, two of the corpses found were those of his wife and her lover.

After the gruesome discovery, authorities traveled to the hospital were Bela died. There they were told that the Bela that died there was a young man. Apparently Bela had switched identities with one of the dying on the battlefield and was able to escape. There have been subsequent sightings of him in Budapest and persistent rumors have placed him in New York working as a janitor. But in Hungary he is remembered as the one who got away.

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

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