24 July 2009

Fritz Haarmann

We have written case studies about Lamia and the Chupacabra, but other blood-drinkers have been immortalized in rumor and popular stories, also.

Referred to as "The Vampire of Hanover" (also Hannover), Fritz Haarmann (also Haarman) is the subject of a well-documented case of vampirism as perceived by the law enforcement community. Fritz Haarmann was a "military man turned vampire". He was born in 1879 but did not enter the world of the vampire until the early 1900s (Konstantinos 69).

"Haarmann was institutionalized during the late nineteenth century for mental instability, but he escaped" and "became a homeless vagrant." While on the streets, "he learned to butcher meat, but his growing interest was in molesting young boys" (Ramsland 149).

"Sometime around 1917 or 1918, Haarmann met a male prostitute named Hans Grans, who would become his partner in some sadistic and vampiric crimes." The duo would lure young men to their house with the promise of dinner, alcohol, and possibly a home. Satiated and lulled into a stupor, these young men became the perfect victims. Haarmann would attack the lethargic youth, "seize him and bite into his neck, sucking on his blood until the helpless victim died."

"He would kill them after the fashion of a vampire" (Summers 192). "It is estimated that Haarmann vampirized some fifty young men." After drinking their blood, Haarmann and Grans "chopped the bodies into steaks and sold them on the streets as beef. That 'underground' meat market went on from 1918 to 1924" (Konstantinos 71). The meat he sold, but the bones were disposed of in the Leine canal, and ultimately, this act lead to the downfall of the pair. "Skulls floated to the surface in 1924. The police were already suspicious of Haarmann because of his" psychotic and criminal "history and went to question him about the cases of missing men from the area" (Konstantinos). "In 1924, the police investigated the disappearance of one boy and caught Haarmann assaulting him. They arrested Haarmann, but what they did not realize was that he had the head of another missing young man right there in the room...He'd been committing crimes of this kind for several years" (Ramsland 149).

"Haarmann eventually confessed to the crimes and became known as the 'Vampire of Hanover.' He was sentenced to death, and...decapitated" (Konstantinos 71). "Certainly in the extended sense of the word, as it is now so commonly used, Fritz Haarmann was a vampire in every particular" (Summers 193). But, was he simply a "disturbed individual...imitating fictional vampires," or was he "acting on some monstrous instinct"? (Konstantinos 71).

Bis dann,

Konstantinos. Vampires.
Ramsland, Katherine M. The Science of Vampires.
Summers, Montague. The vampire his kith and kin.


  1. Wow. Eww. Never heard of this guy. Interesting read!

  2. This is really hidden history! I have never heard of this. I wonder though, did he believe that he was getting power from the blood? I am reminded of the film Ravenous, which is supposedly based on an actual event... Wonderful blog..

  3. he's not the only one whose done such things in history, there are is a rather sizable list of "criminal vampires" out there.

  4. You are very right, Vodalok. There are many such cases. Perhaps we will discuss them at some later time. There are just so many topics.