Vampires don’t just exist in the realm of fiction. There are those serial killers who operate under the delusion that they must kill in order to live. Here are five real life murderers who believed they were actually vampires, terrorizing their victims and communities for years before being brought to justice.
James P. Riva
Riva claimed to be a 700-year-old vampire who needed to drink blood in order to stay alive. On April 10, 1980, in Marshfield, Massachusetts, he stabbed his elderly grandmother in the heart, and then shot her four times with bullets he had painted gold. Riva drank her blood, and then attempted to cover up his crime by setting her house on fire. Before murdering his grandmother, Riva spent time in and out of mental institutions. For years prior, Riva had been drinking animal blood, but believed that drinking human blood would give him greater strength. He also lived under the delusion that his grandmother was also a vampire, who would feed on him when he was sleeping. One of Riva’s other beliefs was that if he were to kill a human, he would transform into a good looking man with lots of girlfriends and a nice car. Riva was sentenced to life in prison for murder and arson.
Born in 1980 in rural Murray, Kentucky, Rod Ferrell belonged to a group of teenagers called the “Vampire Clan”. Similar to James Riva, Ferrell claimed to be a 500-year-old vampire named Vesago. Ferrell’s delusion is said to have come from his obsession with the game VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE. At the age of 16, Ferrell and his friends would practice various vampire rituals which involved drinking blood. He even tried sleeping upside down.
On November 25, 1996, Ferrell graduated from lame gothy teen into abhorrent killer when he murdered Naomi Queen and Richard Wendorf. Naomi and Richard were the parents of cult member Heather Wendoff, who had recently run away. Rod and cult member Howard Anderson, drove from Kentucky to Florida where Ferrell beat Naomi and Richard to death with a crowbar. Ferrell and Anderson fled with two teenage girls, Charity Keesee and Dana Lynn Cooper, and headed for New Orleans. Police eventually caught up to the clan in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 1998, Ferrell was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. Anderson received life in prison, while Charity was sentenced to 10 years and Dana was given a 17-year sentence. Heather Wendorf was cleared of all wrong doing in her parents’ death. Ferrell was the youngest person in the US on Death Row. However, in 2000 the Florida Supreme Court commuted his sentence to 2,000 years to life without the possibility of parole.
To the people of Germany, Fritz Haarmann is known as the Butcher of Hanover or the Vampire of Hanover. During his reign of terror (1918 – 1924), this part-time petty thief and burglar was said to have murdered 24 young men and boys between the ages 10 and 22. Fritz would typically lure his victims back to his apartment where he would provide them with food and drink. During the course of the night, he would bite into their trachea, killing them. Fritz then dismembered his victims before tossing them into the Leine River. Although unsupported by physical evidence, there were rumors that Fritz consumed some of the flesh of his victims and in some cases attempted to sell some of it on the black market as pork. Fritz was executed by guillotine on April 15, 1925.
From 1988 to 1989, Japanese serial killer Tsutomu Miyazaki preyed on young school girls in and around Tokyo. Tsutomu lived under a dark cloud of depression, suffering from an inferiority complex that his friends said stemmed from having an extremely small penis. Tsutomu murdered and mutilated his victims, often drinking their blood as well. Tsutomu was hanged on June 17, 2008.
The Vampire of Sacramento enjoyed consuming the blood of his victims as well as eating parts of their remains. By the time Chase he had reached his teen years, he was already exhibiting the signs of a serial killer as well as being a drug addict, alcoholic as well as a severe hypochondriac. Richard was institutionalized in 1975, at the age of 25, after mutilating a rabbit and injecting its blood into his veins. Richard began his killings two years later staring with the drive-by shooting of 51-year-ol Ambrose Griffon.They ended a month later with a home invasion murder that left four dead. Chase was found guilty of six murders in 1979 and sentenced to die in the gas chamber. On December 26, 1980, Richard was found dead in his cell from an overdose of prescribed antidepressants.