You’ve likely heard about Jack the Ripper but what about Jack the Stripper? Or the Axeman of New Orleans whose bloody axe, killer taste for jazz and letter postmarked from Hell had an entire city burning the midnight oil on a dance floor in hopes that he’d spare their lives? And let’s not leave out the Phantom Killer’s Texarkana moonlight murders.
Axeman of New Orleans
In a letter to the editor of the New Orleans Times-Picayune dated March 13th 1919, the Axeman writes, “I am very fond of jazz music, and I swear by all the devils in the nether regions that every person shall be spared in whose home a jazz band is in full swing...One thing is certain and that is that some of your people who do not jazz it on Tuesday night (if there be any) will get the axe.”
And it was no joke. By that point in his year and half long killing spree, the Axeman had hacked a dozen people in their beds with his namesake weapon of choice. So when the clock struck 12:15 on Tuesday night, March 19th – the appointed time of his visit to the city – dance halls, clubs, restaurants, bars and private homes were filled past capacity with New Orleanians eating, drinking, dancing and listening to live jazz.
What other serial killer has gotten an entire city to turn out for an all-night party?
Jack the Stripper
Like the Ripper of 1888, the police never caught Jack the Stripper, the serial killer responsible for the “nude murders” in West London between 1964 and 1965. Also like the Ripper, Jack the Stripper targeted prostitutes, and he left their bodies in various places around London – some disposed in the River Thames.
However, instead of using a knife like his predecessor, the Stripper knocked out his victims’ front teeth, strangled and then stripped them of their clothing before dumping their bodies. Considering that some of the victims were also known to engage in the pornographic movie scene, it’s been theorized that the victims may have known each other, and that the killer may have been connected to this scene, as well.
Either way, Jack the Stripper killed six – possibly eight – women, which is more than the Ripper’s canonical five.
The Phantom Killer
In the spring of 1946, this serial killer’s knack for eluding capture by the police turns the lively Texarkana into a ghost town – doors locked and windows nailed shut, residents barricade themselves inside their homes, armed to the teeth with guns. The Phantom Killer attacked on weekends, usually three weeks apart and used a .32 caliber gun.
While the Phantom’s choice of prey primarily consisted of young couples occupying lonely or private areas outside city limits late at night (such as popular teenage make-out spots), no one in town was willing to take their chances. Residents both young and old adopted a strict “shoot first, ask questions later” policy and some went as far as setting booby traps outside their homes.
Needless to say in the Texarkana of 1946, if you wanted to pay someone a visit, it was prudent to call ahead first. Otherwise, you’d be more likely to be shot by a neighbor than the Phantom himself.
To learn more about these three unknown serial killers, check out the podcast Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories at parcast.com or visit check it out on itunes, GooglePlay, Stitcher or any other podcast directory.