The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run


After making a name for himself with the Untouchables by destroying Al Capone’s business ventures and arresting the mobster, Elliot Ness moved to Cleveland and became the Safety Manager where his career would end in ruins because Ness wasn’t prepared to hunt serial killers.

I have talked about the case of the Mad Butcher before. Unofficially, it is unsolved although Ness suspected Frances Sweeney of the crime he couldn’t prove it or pursue him as a real suspects.

Part of The Cleveland torso killer’s signature was the dismembering of bodies. However, it was the 1930s. A time when aside from murdering family members, women were not thought to be capable of serial stranger murders.

Taking the theory that Jack the Ripper was actually Jill the Ripper and applying it to the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run creates a different perspective on the murders. I thought of this last night. Most of the Cleveland torso killer’s male victims were emasculated which is more common in female serial killers than males. This would mean the important part of the Kingsbury Run murders was the decapitations not the dismemberment.

It also makes the dismemberment more about practicality. We understand that female serial killers can be every bit as brutal as male serial killers. We also know that contrary to opinions of the time, females can be serial killers of strangers. It is much, much easier to transport a dismembered body, especially for a woman than a whole body. Which is why suddenly if you look at the killings from the perspective of a female perpetrator, the killings are more about decapitation than dismemberment.

This gender difference would also explain why no matter what Ness did, he couldn’t actually catch The Mad Butcher. Also, female serial killers tend to be more organized than almost all male serial killers. A woman would not attract attention moving baskets or sacks of dismembered corpses, as long as no body parts were sticking out. Because in poor areas like the Third Run, where prostitution, gambling, and speakeasies were common place, a woman wouldn’t be out of place.

However, this would explain how the killer was able to put bodies in places that were in view of everyone without arousing suspicion. Including a train station police headquarters. The only thing it doesn’t account for are the last two bodies.

Of course it’s possible that a female serial killer working with a male would. My problem with Sweeney as the killer is that he was rich, even during the Great Depression. He would have stuck out in Kingsbury Run. He was a doctor and the cousin of a senator. Not the type of person that goes unnoticed around a shantytown, speakeasies, brothels, and gambling parlors.

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