Stories of vampires date back farther than I care to remember. Bloodsucking terrors of the night with large canines that can transform into bats. That said, they're merely works of fiction; stories meant to keep their reader awake at night shivering.
That's where stories like the Chupacabra rear their ugly head—presenting the exsanguinated corpses of cattle as its grisly prizes to unfortunate farmers. Whether or not those killings are the work of a mutant canine or alien is up for debate, though it's often agreed upon it isn't a vampire. After all, no humans were harmed.
And that's true. The Chupacabra hasn't claimed any humans—yet anyways. However, if we take a trip back to 1932 and go to Stockholm, Sweden, we'll find that there was one person who was ahead of his time. Someone who almost no doubt had some sort of obsession with vampires. They came and went in the snap of a finger and left behind arguably one of history's most unnerving unsolved murders.
They were simply known as the Atlas Vampire.
|A crime scene photo from Lindeström's apartment.|
It all started in May of 1932 in the Atlas district of Stockholm, Sweden. Lilly Lindeström was 32 years-old and a sex worker. She went to her neighbor, a fellow prostitute by the name of Millie Jansson, for condoms. When Jansson didn't see Lindeström the next morning, she contacted police. It wasn't until two days later that she seen again, this time by police, who went to her apartment for a welfare check. It was there that they found Lindeström face down, naked, on her bed. She was dead when police entered, having been killed by blunt force trauma to the head. There was also evidence that sexual intercourse had taken place—evidenced by the condom that was lodged in Lindeström's anus.
On its own, that's nothing odd in the way of murders. What sets this apart is what was found next to Lindeström: a gravy ladle, stained with blood. It was quickly determined to have been used by the killer to drink her blood. Said detective was likely promoted for his ingenious deduction of what it was used for and given a turbo mansion.
Lindeström's body had also been drained of all of its blood. Saliva was also found on her neck. Whether or not the killer drank it all is unknown, but one can only assume they wished to be live up to his potential idols.
With a fair amount of evidence and a field of work that Europe was no stranger to when it came to be grisly murders, police had no shortage of suspects. Their eyes first set on the men who frequented Lindeström's apartment the most. Alas, they were quickly cleared of any wrongdoing—though it remains a mystery if their hypothetical wives at the time didn't later become the focus of an investigation.
With that out of the way, the reality of the situation set in. While Stockholm police had evidence in front of them, their list of suspects was even greater. One could even say that there were too many suspects. Another major issue was the time period the murder took place in. The Great Depression was ravaging not only the United States, but the world abroad. Its effects in Sweden included falling wages and unemployment rising. Due to the nature of Sweden, some now wonder if the Atlas Vampire wasn't a man from Stockholm, but rather a drifter who may have snapped thanks to his lack of a stable life.
However, there was no evidence to prove this. Nor were there any witnesses to vouch for such a possibility. No clothes that didn't belong to Lindeström were found at the crime scene, no suspicious persons were seen, and no mysterious bats were seen arriving, but never leaving.
One other possibility, and one that I personally find plausible, is that the murderer was a police officer. While law enforcement officers are people I admire highly, it's not unheard of for police precincts to sometimes cover up wrongdoings to save face. The unprecedented level of violence and sheer unfathomably heinous nature of the Atlas Vampire case, coupled with the extremely difficult times that Sweden was in, likely would've left a very noticeable blemish on the Atlas district of Stockholm's image—let alone the entire city. However, as the motto of this entry goes: there's no evidence for this. Still, I found it worth mentioning.
One of the final, and the least likely, suspects in the case is a real vampire. There are some out there, be it ironically or unironically, who do think that one of the legendary creatures of the night did in fact sleep with Lindeström, only to then claim her as a snack, before flying off back to whatever crypt it came from. The likelihood of such a creature being real is up there with Bigfoot really being William Shakespeare, but I won't take away the fun one may have with the Atlas Vampire's name being literal.
There are a plethora of other suspects that I can't either find information on or simply don't find prominent enough to mention. I encourage you to go read up on the case yourself though. That said, the Atlas Vampire was a one-of-a-kind murder, with no other similar attacks coming from it. Whether this had to do with the killer finding the taste of blood wasn't particular great, or this was some bizarre ritualistic murder, has never been determined. For all we know, the killer contracted an STD that claimed their life.
In the end, the case remains open and will likely never be solved. Vials of blood and other samples are now on display at Stockholm's Police Museum.