Fritz Haarmann | The Vampire of Hanover

At Least 24 Victims

One of the most prolific vampires recorded, Fritz Haarmann, was active between 1918 and 1924 in Germany. And preferred the blood of male victims. He was tried for 27 murders but found guilty of 24. And he could have been responsible for many more.


Fritz Haarmann’s victims were all between 10 and 22 – or at least those that are known. He himself claimed to have killed between 50 and 70 individuals. 

There are some [victims] you don’t know about, but it’s not those you think.

The first known victim was 17-year-old Friedel Rothe in 1918. Whose friends notified the police – it was perhaps this that prompted Haarmann to begin making excuses for his victims’ absences and convincing their friends and families not to make a missing person report. Because when the police arrived at his apartment they found him with a half-naked 13-year-old boy.

His final victim, in 1924, was another 17-year-old by the name of Erich de Vries. His dismembered body would be later found in the lake near Herrenhausen Gardens. 

Fritz Haarmann - bag of bones

Fritz Haarmann | The Butcher of Hanover

Extensive mutilation, sexual assault, murder, and dismemberment were all part of Fritz Haarmann’s MO (Modus Operandi) but the strangest thing was his method of killing. Haarmann would bite through their Adams-apple, sometimes whilst strangling them, during his throws of passion. Supposedly drinking the blood until they were dead.

Disposing of the body was meticulously planned and carried out even if each murder wasn’t. He found the act of dismemberment abhorrent but his need to kill far outweighed his distaste. 

  • Cloth over the face
  • Remove intestines and place in bucket
  • Insert towel into cavity
  • Three slits between ribs and shoulders
  • Take hold of ribs, push until bones break around shoulders
  • Remove heart, lungs, and kidney
  • Dice and add to bucket
  • Sever arms and legs
  • Pare flesh from limbs and torso
  • Sever head
  • Strip flesh from skull
  • Wrap head in rags, place in a pile of straw 
  • Hit with axe until splintered
  • Remove brain and add to bucket
  • Smash skull to pieces

It was this last fact that he relied on to deny the murder of certain victims. If the skull was found intact it couldn’t have been him. And yet, in his earlier murders and in the last he did not smash the skull to pieces. 

Fritz Haarmann | Wolf-Man

When he was a young pup, the sixth in the litter of Johanna and Ollie Haarmann, he was a quiet child. Preferring the company of his siblings and playing with dolls. Mollycoddled by his mother and doing poorly at school he left in 1894 and, after a brief stint as an apprentice, joined the military school where he reportedly did well. However, a medical issue would result in him returning home. And after being charged with sexual offences and institutionalised, he was determined to be incurably deranged. His escape would lead to him being called up to serve in the military once more. 

Whilst he considered his time in the military as the happiest of his life his medical issues would soon raise their head. And this time he was dismissed through unsuitability for service. Once again he returned home, this time to his pregnant fiance and a job at his father’s factory. Things did not go well.

Fritz Haarmann was in and out of prison, for petty offences, burglary, and conning people, from 1905. After his fiance threw him out and called the engagement off.  Turning informant to help keep the police focused on other people’s criminal activities, which in turn allowed him a much greater freedom.

Fritz Haarmann would often make citizens arrests of those travelling on illegal documents during his time as an informant. The police came to rely on him.

Bag of Bones

Two young children, playing by the side of the river, discovered a human skull. Two weeks later a second skull was found. And then in a field, not far away, two boys found a bag of bones. As discovery after discovery was made, the newspapers reminded the people of the huge numbers of young men who had disappeared in the area. And hundreds of Hanover residents came out to search the banks of the Leine River. 

The police could ignore the evidence no longer, or the public’s interest, and dragged the river bed. They found a further 500 human bones. A court doctor confirmed they belonged to over 22 separate individuals and suspicions fell on Haarmann. Two undercover Berlin officers were brought in to keep an eye on his activities. 

Did Fritz Haarmann suspect?

Bringing a boy to the attention of officers and insisting he be arrested for travelling on illegal documents might have been an attempt to throw suspicion from himself.

But the boy had a different story to tell about how he’d been held in Haarmann’s apartment for days, and repeatedly raped. The police searched the heavily bloodstained apartment. They found the personal possessions and clothes of his victims. With every lie he told to cover what they found, he dug himself a larger hole.  Evidence and witness reports began pouring in to drown him in his crimes.


Although he denied it, rumours of both cannibalism and selling the meat of his victims -diced or minced- for others to consume, spread. He was known to sell contraband meat but there was no proof of either his guilt or innocence on this particular account. 

Sentenced to death in December 1924, Fritz Haarmann was beheaded on April 25th, 1925

Make it short; make it soon

Fritz Haarmann addressing the court.
His wish was granted.


By K.T. McQueen

A young woman with a promise to keep.
Another with a curse to lift.
And a werewolf looking for a new mate.
When Alice invited her friends, Sarah, Paul, and Dave to stay in her Grandmother’s Romanian farmstead they were expecting to take a break from studying and have a good time. Of course, that wasn’t the only reason Alice was there but her friends didn’t need to be involved in that. And she could happily show them where her family was from. And the town where she had spent her summers without them ever suspecting anything.
But then they meet the hunter, the werewolves catch their scent, and Sarah reveals a secret that could end her friendship with Alice and spell disaster for all of them.

Moon, Noctisbellum Inc.

Book 2 in the Noctisbellum Inc. series