THE NIGHTMARE CLOSET

Movies, Music, and Nightmares

Belle Sorenson Gunness

(Killings between 1900 and 1908)


She did not poison her victims like many other female killers, she slaughtered them. Belle was a 42-year-old Norwegian immigrant who purchased a property in La Porte, Indiana, using her first husband's insurance after his death. Her husband and two of her children were said to have died mysteriously, although she was not suspected. After moving to La Porte with her children, she married Peter Gunness, who died after just nine months. She collected the insurance payment. Over the next few years, all the men that came vanished without a trace. She became infamed for killing several of her husbands, ranch workers and adopted children.


On June 3 of that year Fish took 12-year-old Grace Budd to his isolated cottage in White Plains, New York from her home in New York City. Once there he strangled the helpless girl, decapitated her and used a saw to cut her in half. He ate bits of her flesh in a stew later and drank some of the girl's blood. The Budd's, who allowed their daughter to go to a fictitious birthday party with the killer they knew as Frank Howard, never heard anything about their daughter until Fish inexplicably sent them a letter telling them he had killed their daughter, adding that he "didn't fuck with her" and that she died a virgin. An address that Fish had not erased well enough on the back of the letter's envelope led police to the old man and the child killer was immediately arrested.

"I just wanted to see if you were asleep." - What she supposedly said to her last farmhand, Joe Maxson (who survived), when he awoke to find her standing over his bed.