The Vampire of Sacramento
Superstitions arise from many things, but in the end, they are all instructions that remind us to protect ourselves. In general, a superstition is a way that we can ward off evil and to avert misfortune from falling upon us. However, the truth is that for the most part, misfortune falls on the just and unjust alike, and you never know what is really going to protect you.
Richard Chase, known as the Vampire of Sacremento, didn’t enter houses that were locked. Houses that were unlocked he saw as invitations where he could go in and wreck the mayhem that had plagued his thoughts for his entire life.
Long study tells us that sometimes, it is something as simple as remember to lock a door may be all that stand between us and the human predators who live among us.
Chase was born in 1950, and as far as any records go, he had a troubled life from the beginning. His mother was abusive, and a great deal of his own mental dysfunction became apparent as he grew older. He had the three signs that often mark a future serial killer: he was a bedwetter, he had pyromaniac tendancies, and he enjoyed torturing small animals. As he grew up, his behaviors subsided into drug addiction and alcoholism.
As he grew older, Chase became a hypochondriac. He left his mother’s house because he was convinced that she was poisoning him, and he was convinced that the cranial bones in his head were moving around on him. He variously halluncinated that his heart had stopped beating or that it was shrinking at times. During this period, he would kill various animals, eating them raw or putting them in a blender so he could drink the resulting slurry. Chase was briefly institutionalized, but in 1976 was released because he was not considered a threat to himself or to other people. At one point, a year later, he was picked up for being covered in blood, but it was discovered the blood was only that of a cow. He was released again.
In 1977, Chase killed a father of two in a drive-by shooting. This was his first murder, but it would not be the last. During this period, he claimed to go up to doors, testing to see if they were locked or not. Locked doors, he left peaceably. He stated that he saw unlocked doors as a kind of invitation.
In January of 1977, Chase killed a pregnant young woman by shooting her with the gun from his previous drive-by. After she was dead, he stabbed her corpse several times before violating it sexually and removing several organs.
Just three days after that murder, he killed four more, a woman, her two children and the woman’s friend. He was in the middle of assaulting the woman’s dead body when one of the children’s playmates came to the door. He was frightened away, and police summoned to the scene discovered his footprints in the blood that was shed.
Chase’s highly publicized trial started in 1979. His defense tried to argue his case down to second-degree murder, stating that due to his long mental health history, he was not in control of himself at the time of the terrible murders. The jury, however, rejected this idea, and that May, he was sentenced to death via the gas chamber.
When he was in prison, Chase gave a series of interviews which showed the world how lost in his own head he was. He did not believe that he should be charged for his crimes because aliens and Nazis were giving him orders he could not obey.
Other inmates, frightened by the ferocity of Chase’s crimes, stayed away from him and urged him to commit suicide. In 1980, Chase was found unmoving and not breathing by a guard. An autopsy showed that he had taken an overdose of of his antidepressants and died from it.