Kiss of Death: Terrifying True Story of A Vampiric Serial Killer
There have been plenty of scary stories of serial killers throughout history, but the tale of a Hungarian man named Béla Kiss may just be the most frightening out of all of them. Born in the late 1800s, Béla Kiss lived in a town close to Budapest, Hungary by himself. Kiss liked to delve in astrology as well as other occult practices. He was generally well-liked by his neighbors, but regarded as somewhat of a loner, as many serial killers turn out to be. Neighbors did notice that Kiss kept several large steel barrels in his home; however, they paid little attention as he supposedly kept them filled with oil in order to prepare for rationing during the upcoming war. He left to fight in World War I after being conscripted in 1914, leaving his home in the care of his housekeeper, Mrs. Jakubec.
In 1916, Budapest police received a phone call from Kiss’s landlord, who had just noticed the several large metal drums that Kiss kept. Remembering how he had been saving the oil for rationing during war, police ordered that the drums be seized for distribution amongst soldiers. However, upon inspecting the drums, they noticed a strange smell emanating from within…
Upon opening one of the drums, against the wishes of the housekeeper Mrs. Jakubec, police discovered something horrifying: a mangled body of a young woman, stuffed inside. Police immediately searched the other drums, finding body after body, all of women that seemed to be strangled to death. They also searched his house, in which they discovered a total of 24 bodies.
In his home, police discovered dozens of letters detailing exchanges between Kiss and young women looking for marriage. Kiss would woo young girls with little or no relatives living nearby, so that no one would notice their disappearance. The women would come to Kiss’s home, where he would poison and strangle them, and then pickle their bodies in alcohol before sealing them inside the drums. The scariest part- police noticed that the women’s bodies were all completely drained of blood. They also found puncture marks on the women’s necks, leading them to believe Kiss was some sort of deranged vampire.
An arrest warrant was put out for Kiss, but he had already escaped during the war, having faked his death multiple times. He was sighted in 1920, when a French soldier noticed a man named Hoffman fit Kiss’ description. Hoffman deserted before police could catch him.
In 1932, Kiss was sighted coming out of a subway station in New York by a detective. There were rumors that Kiss was living and working as a janitor in the city, but police were unable to verify this- when they tried to go interview him, Kiss was already gone. His eventual fate remained unknown. Could he have continued wooing young women and upon meeting them, given them his Kiss of Death? The world may never know.