"The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run"
"My girlfriend and I were walking home from the movies. It was later at night and we were going under a bridge. We felt safe because my dog, Jack was with us. Jack was a good dog. After a while we noticed Jack was gone, he'd run off. We heard him whimpering and called him to us . He came to me and I could see he had something in his mouth. I said, "drop it, boy" and he did. He was a good dog. What he dropped was a human hand, from "the butcher".
The area has changed, but only by so much. The bridges are still the same. In the 60's we'd go to dinner at Superior and 39th. Chung Wah's Chinese restaurant was located there. Coming from the west, you pass under the railroad tracks on Superior. Its old, almost prehistoric. And right there, if you look, there's holes in the bridge, in the infrastructure.
My Mom would say that "the butcher stuffed the body parts in there, right in the holes".
I've eaten there since, it's now called "The Town Fryer" (since closed). When we would get out of the car, to this day, I can't help but look up at the bridge and remember.
The above stories, in some variation were told to me by my Mother, usually late at night, in the fall, usually you know, around Halloween. Of course, my siblings and I believed every word and wanted more. This was the way I first became familiar with the story, legend and facts of the Cleveland Torso Murders. So, thank you, Mom, for scaring the Hell out of me.
This site makes an attempt to gather all known information and speculation about who is referred to as "The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run" or "The Butcher" or what is referred to as "The Cleveland Torso Murders", "The Kingsbury Run Murders", or simply "The Torso Murders".
This definition is cited from Merriam - Webster online dictionary. Link - the underlines are by us.
Some of the victims remains were found in burlap bags. From Wikipedia:
"Burlap is often used to make sacks and bags to ship goods like coffee beans. It is breathable and thus resists condensation and associated spoilage of the contents. It is also durable enough to withstand rough handling in transit". Again, the underlines are ours.
Cleveland's so called torso murders (chiefly named that because that's usually what they found) were perhaps the most sensational crimes to happen not in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles but in Cleveland, Ohio, home of less than a million people. During a time span of roughly 4 years from 1934 to 1938, at least 13 known victims were and have been attributed to this series of unsolved slayings. The crimes were almost evenly committed against both sexes, 7 males and 6 females, so the murders don't appear to be gender based, ala Jack the Ripper. Also known as the Kingsbury Run murders (after the supposed perpetrator, the "Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run", Kingsbury Run Photo being the principle area the torsos were found) the bodies started appearing shortly after Eliot Ness appeared in Cleveland. With only 2 bodies identified, the killer was either lucky or chose his or her victims well. Ness was never able to solve these crimes and went to his grave a broken, alcoholic shadow of the legend he once was. As the title of at least one book attests, he may have been the 14th victim.
As time has gone on and new information becomes available and as a more historical perspective comes into view some people have begun to see possible connections between this series of crimes and other notable, similar methods of dispatch applied to marginal, individual, members of society. Largely, in crimes of this nature, there appears to be a "victim pool". Poor, transient, addicted, nameless, faceless (and headless, in this case) people of dubious employment if that, are the prey of choice, and for a good reason. In most societies there's a plentiful supply of individuals in these dire straits, if the bodies are found, they are hardly traceable, and nobody really cares. The Whitechapel Murders (Jack the Ripper), the Cleveland Torso Murders, and the Black Dahlia Murders in addition to some other regional crimes have all drawn interest and speculations of co-conspirators or same perpetrator because of certain similarities, not the least of which is knife type mutilations occurring on all known victims.
This is The Cleveland Torso Murders Website and that is the topic that will be covered on these pages. When information seems pertinent or interesting concerning the given subject, it will be included. I grew up on stories about the "Torso Murderer" and tend to think of it as a Cleveland-centric crime. Acknowledging this, there will be no bias in the presentation of the facts concerning this situation that happened over 70 years ago but continues to draw interest locally as well as nationally and sometimes even from abroad.
One last note: there will be no closure. This crime is unsolvable and is only open to speculation. Maybe that's what makes it so intriguing after all these years. That said, we will try to "piece together" as much information in an easily readable format as possible. Your help is needed and appreciated. If you or anybody you know have recollections about this case, grew up hearing about as we did or have insights or theories or questions, contact us.
Something to think about: There was no freeway in the 1930's. I-90 was constructed in 1959. People got around by different means. Ice was still being delivered to "iceboxes". The stock market crashed in 1929 and this was "The Depression" photo. There were shantytowns photo in every major city and people were poor, but not by today's standards. During this time frame FDR was President, there were maybe 123 million people in 48, not fifty, states (Alaska and Hawaii were added to the flag in 1959), milk was 14 cents a quart and bread was about 9 cents a loaf. It was common then to slaughter livestock and cure the meat in ones home. Who does that anymore? We're not talking about a whole cow, but pigs and chickens? Most certainly. Everyone was a "butcher" then, it was a basic skill. Some people still are.
List of Names
Scenes of the Crimes
The Torso Killers Victim List
This map displays the approximate locations of the acknowledged (13) victims of the Torso Murderer. The information used to determine the locations was drawn from many sources and we are humans, prone to error. If you have new information regarding the map or differ with the locations displayed, or just want to share an insight, please contact us at Comments.
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Torso Murders pages: Friends of the site Links Buy a T-Shirt table index
Cleveland Crimeposium pages: Cleveland Crime Chronology Cleveland Crimeposium Eliot Ness Links Mansfield prison pictures
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