Gruesome Illinois: Murder, Madness, and the Macabre in the Prairie State
"When I came out [of prison], I wanted blood--anybody's blood. I wanted to kill people and see it run," said Chicago serial killer Henry Spencer. The penitentiary gave him ten dollars when they turned him loose. He spent eight dollars on a pistol and started robbing people.
"I have been killing people...ever since. I liked it in a way. When I robbed anyone, it was a sort of satisfaction to clean up the job by shutting the victim's mouth forever."
"After my first stretch in the penitentiary, I became cold-blooded, and for five cents would kill a man and drink his blood," said Spencer. "The treatment I received down there was enough to drive a man crazy. They would beat me and hang me up by the fingers for some slight infraction of the rules."
"I've always had a natural hatred for women. I killed them as I would so many flies."
"Whenever I felt like killing anyone, I'd hit them with a hammer or shoot them, whichever happened to be handiest."
Henry Spencer murdered as many as 29 people between 1900 and 1912, and yet no one alive today knows who he is. Henry Bastian killed nine people on his Milan Murder Farm in as many years, but like Spencer, he's fallen through the cracks and disappeared to history.
Gruesome Illinois is a collection of true-life stories - most of them rescued from old newspaper accounts published over 100 years ago. Only a few of the events in this book - such as the Monmouth Ax Murders and Chicago serial killer H. H. Holmes have ever made it into print. Except maybe in musky-old county histories. Even then, they are lucky to rate a paragraph.
Read them now, if you dare!