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The Deusseldorf Vampire

Remember the vampire hunting kit photos I posted a couple of weeks ago? There were more vampiric thrills & chills to be found at the museum where I was idea-gathering for my next Partners in Crime book. This was the ACTUAL HEAD of the Deusseldorf Vampire, Peter Kurten. According to the Believe It Or Not! signage, Kurten was a German serial killer who was so brutal, scientists decided to analyze his brain after he was executed to see what made it unique.

The Believe It Or Not museum got what was left: a bisected, mummified head. And what's even better was the way it was displayed, in a case that looked like a 1940's refrigerator with a big, glass door, on a continually revolving meathook.

Photography was tricky in the museum. I found that shooting without my flash best captured the mood and lighting, but it was also a low-light situation, so even though I did my best to brace my camera against my body like I've seen in digital photography tutorials, they're still grainy and blurry. Try clicking on the pictures if they seem small. And, y'know, you'd like to get a better look at a bisected head.

I am totally creeped out by the eyelashes.

This one was my favorite photo, because he seemed to have an agonized expression.

Grossest of all, perhaps because it allowed real life to elbow in on what would otherwise be just a macabre fantasy, was the dead fly at the bottom of the display. Thanks to my SO for being the hand model.

ETA: it's not actually mummified. More like dried.



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 16th, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC)
Wow. that is fascinating and interesting considering how autopsies are done today. The cut a straight light down his face if I'm not mistaken they now just cut the top of the head to retrieve the brain.

I so Love stuff like this.
Feb. 16th, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC)
The = they...light = line. duh, I think i need to go to bed if I'm typing like that. O.o
Feb. 16th, 2009 11:25 pm (UTC)
I read what you meant rather than what you typed, too :D
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 17th, 2009 09:42 am (UTC)
We were pleasantly surprised at the size of their collection. We thought it would be more rinky-dink.

They had the Ripleys TV show playing on monitors hanging from the ceiling, and a segment about a headless chicken who lived for several months because a piece of its brain stem was intact almost made me physically sick. (I know I'm having a great time if I come close to puking.)
Feb. 17th, 2009 04:39 am (UTC)
There you live close to that city and never know such stuff.
That's creepy! Then again, there was a cannibal in another city couple of years back, that one creeps me out almost more, mostly because it was so recent.

(And the names are Kürten/Kuerten and Düsseldorf/Duesseldorf, had me confused for a moment there with 'eh? oh!')
Feb. 17th, 2009 09:40 am (UTC)
Oh, look at that, I totally misspelled. Sorry! (German seems to do that to me, I don't know why. When I mail something to someone in Germany, I need to look at the address like every two letters.)

I remember that more recent cannibal. I have a show about him taped somewhere but I haven't watched it yet.

So you live near the home and I live near the head now ;-)
Feb. 17th, 2009 10:04 am (UTC)
German does that to a lot of people ^^ It's no matter, it was just this moment of confusion and I thought I'd give a nudge.

I've seen several documentaries about it and...it is kind of creepy. Even if the guy he ate wanted to. I mean *shudder*

At least the head is dead. And won't cut open jugulars anymore.
Feb. 18th, 2009 12:31 am (UTC)
I saw this post and my first response was to my family:

Me: "Hey! Come look at this! It's a mummified head!"
Living Room: *dead silence*
Me: "It's cool!"
Living Room: *more silence*
Me: *cranky* "Now, don't everybody rush at once."
Living Room: "We won't."

Next time I'll tell them I made cookies to start the rush.
Feb. 19th, 2009 10:21 am (UTC)
I like the way your mind works! I can just imagine. "Hey, where're the coo...eeew."

I also realized my mom would be the first one at the monitor looking for the head. Maybe that explains something about me.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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