*Necrophilia: Sexual intercourse with or attraction towards corpses.
Confession – I have a somewhat unorthodox annual tradition where I like to stay in “Bed & Breakfast” Victorian mansions in obscure locations across the United States. Back in 2013, I enjoyed a gloomy visit to the Vrooman Mansion in Bloomington, IL. My train back to Chicago was stopped in the city of Joliet due to a snowstorm. I couldn’t help but overhear the prying whispers that traveled amongst the passengers about the abnormal occurrence that had just taken place in this otherwise normal town involving young teen Alisa Massaro, a supposed necrophiliac.
“They had a threesome on top of their dead friends,” said a woman on the platform. “The police found them playing video games on top of the bodies when they showed up.”
This event sparked my curiosity as to not only why, but HOW people commit these atrocious crimes. After doing a bit of research, I uncovered several similar necrophilia cases throughout the country. The following is a list of some of the most shocking and unconventional cases on record.
Case #1: Alisa Massaro: Nightmare on Hickory Street
On January 10, 2013, Alisa Massaro, 18, and her boyfriend Joshua Miner, 24, plotted a homicidal party with two friends, Bethany McKee, 18, and Adam Landerman, 19, which would be dubbed as “The Nightmare on Hickory Street.” Massaro expressed her necrophilia fetish to Miner years prior. The four friends invited only two other guests to their party and strangled them to death for cash and drugs. McKee left the scene, but the remaining three placed a sheet over the dead bodies and had a ménage à trois on top of them. Miner was accused of being the mastermind behind the plan to help fulfill his girlfriend’s necrophilic intentions. Unfortunately for them, only $120 was found on the victims and their families reported them missing after a few days. The police found the accused playing video games on top of the corpses and appeared “surprised” that they were caught. There was no evidence found that the bodies were sexually assaulted post death. Massaro received a plea deal of ten years in prison if she testified against all others accused. Miner, McKee and Landerman were all sentenced to life in prison.
Case #2: Edmund Kemper: The Co-ed Killer
Edmund Kemper III was a necrophile known as “The Co-ed Killer.” At 24, he was found guilty of the murders of six female students, his mother, and his mother’s best friend. At the age of 15, Kemper had a history of kills, including the murder of his abusive grandmother. Kemper also murdered his grandfather because he feared he would be upset about the death of his grandmother. Kemper picked up female students who were hitchhiking along the highway between May of 1972 until February 1973. He took them to rural areas where he dismembered their bodies and had sex with their corpses. He collected their decapitated heads and would have sex with them at home. Ultimately, Kemper wanted to kill his abusive mother whom he despised. He claw-hammered his mother and strangled her best friend on Good Friday in 1973. He then calmly called the police to confess his crime, but not before having sex with his mother’s decapitated head. The police refused to believe him as he was a common figure at a local, police hangout bar called “The Jury Room.” Kemper finally convinced the police that he was “The Co-ed Killer” after many follow-up calls and providing actual evidence. Kemper was found guilty on eight counts of murder in the first degree and was given a life sentence. Fun fact: You can find Ed Kemper Valentine’s Day cards for sale on Etsy.
Case #3: Anthony Merino: And the 92 Year-Old Woman
In 2007, Anthony Merino, 24, worked as a lab technician at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, New Jersey. He was found sexually desecrating a 92 year-old woman’s dead body inside the morgue of the hospital. Details about the woman and how long she had been dead were not released. Merino was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Rumors of his now defunct Myspace page stated he worked as a Histotechnician. Histology is the microscopic study of biological tissues and involves the section of abnormalities in thin slices of human or animal tissue.
The most peculiar rumor on Merino’s myspace is a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”
Karen Greenlee, 22, worked as an apprentice embalmer at the Memorial Lawn Mortuary in Sacramento, California. Greenlee stole a hearse she was driving to a funeral on December 17, 1979.Greenlee spent two days with a 33 year-old man’s corpse before she tried to commit suicide by overdosing on codeine Tylenol. Found in her victim’s casket was a five page letter confessing she had slept with at least 20 to 40 dead men. However, the police found Greenlee before she was left for dead. Greenlee was only convicted of stealing a hearse and had to pay a $255 fine with eleven days in jail since acts of necrophilia were not illegal in the state of California at the time (now it’s a felony). Greenlee continued to work in mortuaries even during her trial before she was sued by her victim’s mother for $117,000 on account of emotional distress. Greenlee gave a detailed and remorseless interview about her fixation with necrophilia to Jim Morton for his book Apocalypse Culture. She later regretted the interview, changed her name and moved to another town. Greenlee’s conviction influenced Barbara Gowdy’s short story “We So Seldom Look on Love” which inspired the 1996 indie film, KISSED.
Ted Bundy is one of the most notorious serial killers in American history. He confessed to at least 36 murders during the 1970s; some believe it was more than 100. Bundy put makeup on the corpses, then had sex with them. He often returned to the dead bodies to assault them repeatedly. Bundy later admitted he took home and had sexual relations with his victims’ decapitated heads – his reason being that necrophilia was the ultimate form of possession. Bundy’s fiancee, Liz Kloepfer confessed that she pretended to be dead during sex or else he could not have an orgasm. One of the most fascinating, little-known-facts about Ted Bundy is that he actually served as a consultant to the police during the “The Green River Killer” case in 1984, which successfully helped identify the killer as Gary Ridgway. Bundy provided insightful parallels to homicide detective, Robert Keppel, about the mind of a serial killer and how to catch them. This event inspired aspects of characters in Thomas Harris’ RED DRAGON and the relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling in the novel, THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.
Society wants you to believe that necrophiles are few rather than many, but just remember Karen Greenlee may still be lurking by the bodies inside your local funeral home.