The Cannibal Kroll
Sometimes, when the world goes awry, it’s a little easier for monsters to get away with their strange and terrible deeds. Joachim Kroll came of age during the second World War. Europe at the time was racked with depression and the business of recovering from the trauma of the era. Perhaps in more peaceful times, the so-called Ruhr Cannibal would have been stopped from committing his crimes, or perhaps he never would have done so as at all. At this point in history, there is no way to tell.
Kroll was born Hindenburg in the province of Upper Silesia. He came from a large family, and though details are vague, it is well known that he wet the bed until a late age, something that is often seen in serial killers.
Born in 1933, Kroll’s father died when he was young. Throughout most of his early years, there was no sign of trouble at all. Then in 1955, his mother died, and it was as if a switch had been flipped. Kroll’s murder spree began less than 3 weeks after his mother was buried. Incredibly, it continued until he was finally caught some twenty years later.
For Kroll, his killings always had a sexual element. He began with sex dolls, and when caught, he admitted to strangling the inanimate dolls long before he killed a human. Over the course of his murderous career, Kroll killed at least 14 victims. Given how scattered and confused he was when he was caught, the number might be much higher.
When viewed through the lens of history, Kroll was a meticulous killer. This was probably reason why he got away with literal murder for so long. He would kill regularly, but unlike similar murderers, he was content to wait a few years between each slaying. Even then, he was careful to kill his victims in different places. On top of that, there were a few other killers active at the time, further muddying the trail.
Kroll had a pattern when he killed. His victims met quick deaths, mostly through strangulation. Afterwards, he would sexually assault the corpse, and then he would remove pieces from the body that he wished to eat.
Kroll’s day of reckoning came in 1976 when he kidnapped a four-year-old girl. Police went from door to door looking for anything that could be used to find the child. Kroll might have gotten away with it again, if a neighbor hadn’t spoken up.
When he was asked if he had noticed anything unusual, he mentioned that the apartment building that Kroll managed always had blocked pipes, and that the smell was terrible. When the neighbor asked Kroll what was blocking the pipes, Kroll replied, “Guts.”
With that information, the police went to investigate, and sure enough, the found the strangled and assaulted body of the little girl. Kroll was immediately arrested, and the police began the grisly business of taking apart his home.
They found human remains in the refrigerator with a hand cooking in a pot of water on the stove. Indeed, when they checked the toilet, they found guts where Kroll had attempted to flush them away. In his testimony, Kroll stated that the eating of human flesh for him was no more complicated than saving money on his grocery bill. This explained the grotesque cuts that police would find on the dead bodies.
During the trial, Kroll related one tale that stuck in the minds of the press of the day. He spoke about watching a young couple having sex in a car. He decided he wanted to kill them, and so he slashed the car’s tires. The young man drove off, but an unlucky turn brought them right back to where Kroll was waiting. Kroll waved them down as if he were a pedestrian in distress, and when they stopped to help, he killed them both.
During his trial, it became clear that Kroll was not in possession of all of his senses. He believed that he would be given an operation where the murderous impulses would be surgically removed from his head, and he would be released.
Instead, Kroll was given life imprisonment, and he died of a heart attack in 1991.