Of late there has been a spate of documentaries on serial killers (Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, The Golden State Killer and of course, the perennial favorite, Charles Manson and family). We are fascinated and repulsed by them; they are like road side carnage that, try as we may to avert our eyes, we simply have to gawk with morbid curiosity. They do unspeakable things; they are evil incarnate, and we absolutely love to hate them. But they are not without redemption. As the following thoroughly researched piece will show, they have, well, after their own fashion, an exquisite sense of humor.
In the nineteen teens and twenties, a man with the ludicrously benign name of Albert Fish terrorized New York City. This fiend, also known as the Brooklyn Vampire and the Moon Maniac, raped, tortured and murdered- and his demonic appetites focused on children. In addition to his other vices, he was an unabashed cannibal.
He wold abduct children, and after murdering them he cooked them, savoring their most delectable parts in stews and roasts. Well mannered gourmet that he was, he would then send his victims’ parents thoughtful, eloquent thank you notes expressing gratitude for providing him such tasty meals.
Life long penal system recidivist Gary Gilmore had gained fame for insisting to be executed for a pair of senseless murders he committed in Utah in 1976. He was interviewed by Playboy Magazine shortly before being dispatched by an eager firing squad. The interviewers asked him why, after the second murder, he carelessly shot himself in the hand; allowed himself to be sighted near the crime scene by someone he knew; then, called his cousin, describing his predicament and asking for a ride home. Instead, she called the police. When the interviewers asked if shooting himself then calling his cousin suggested a subconscious desire to get caught, he replied, “Accidents can happen to psychopaths as easily as anyone else.”
In the summers of 1976 and 1977, David Berkowitz, a.k.a. the Son Of Sam, believed his dog was exhorting him to embark on a murder spree. He murdered six people and wounded several others on the steamy streets of the Big Apple-terrorizing Queens and the Bronx- paralyzing with fear the neighborhoods of Flushing and Yonkers. He mocked the police between murders in the form of enigmatic letters. But ultimately, his luck and elusiveness ran out. When finally captured, a search of his car produced a machine gun.
“Where were you going with that machine gun?”, asked the arresting officer.
“To the Hamptons”, The Son Of Sam blithely replied. “To the Hamptons.”