Recap: E47 The Atlas Vampire

A Swedish business woman and a prostitute, Lilly Lindstrom’s luck runs out on May 2nd, 1932 when she unwittingly invites a client with murderous intentions into her apartment located in the Atlas section of Stockholm, Sweden. He kills Lilly during sex and completely drains her body of blood and allegedly drinks it, earning the name “Atlas Vampire.”

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Two cops stand in Lilly Lindstrom’s apartment and comment on the grisly scene before them. One of them picks up a bloody soup ladle and deduces that the murderer used it to drink her blood.

Nicknamed “the Call Girl,” Lilly was the only resident in her apartment building to have a phone; she was also a prostitute who ran her business out of her one bedroom apartment. In a flashback scene, Lilly takes a call from a client named Johan and arranges an appointment. She cuts Johan off before he can make requests over the phone, as prostitution is illegal in Sweden, and she wishes for them not to be overheard.

On May 2nd, Lilly invites a client into her home and instructs him to get comfortable. Since she’s out of condoms, Lilly dashes downstairs to bum one off Millie, her neighbor and a fellow residing prostitute. Millie is happy to lend her one, but is surprised to see Lilly again later that night wearing nothing but a raincoat and asking for another. It’s the last she sees her friend alive.

Millie worries when she doesn’t see Lilly for two days and uses a public phone to call her at her apartment. When Lilly doesn’t answer, her concern grows and she climbs the stairs to knock on her door. Terrified by the silence, Millie makes the dreaded call to the police.  

Killed by blunt force trauma to the head, the police find Lilly’s naked body lying face down on the bed with a used condom still lodged inside her anus. They also find saliva on her neck and body. Although there is no concrete evidence to support the theory that the Atlas Vampire drank Lilly’s blood, her completely drained body and the presence of a bloody soup ladle at the crime scene makes it a compelling one.

Despite the abundance of DNA evidence, the lack of forensic technology at the time made it essentially useless. The only way police could identify criminals was by matching their fingerprints, which Lilly’s killer wiped clean from the crime scene.

Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories show hosts Carter Roy and Wenndy MacKenzie discuss the perpetrator in terms more commonly used when profiling serial killers, such as M.O., signature, organized vs. disorganized killing, etc. Although he only murdered one person, given the nature of the crime, police feared there would be more. Carter believes the killer was a doctor or medical professional, noting how expertly Lilly’s body was drained of blood, but too little is known to accurately profile him.

The police strike out when they interrogate Lilly’s clients. Every single one is ruled out as the killer. It’s also speculated that Lilly Lindstrom’s murderer was a police officer, but again, there is no hard evidence to back it up. The wildest theory out there is that the Atlas Vampire was actually a vampire, and that the police secretly caught and killed him before he could claim other victims. As intriguing as that idea sounds, the Atlas Vampire was a human being with a disturbing fetish, not an undead creature of the night.

Whoever the Atlas Vampire was, he was never caught. We’d love to hear your theories regarding his possible identity, especially if it’s one we haven’t considered. But whatever you do, don’t say a vampire!