Hey all! As you might have heard, the Creepy Catalog team is spending this week in New Orleans. I’ve been researching some of the creepy happenings of the city, and trying to create fact-sheets about them.
Let me know if I missed any critical info about the Axeman, OR if you have any insight on creepy New Orleans—past or present:
Without further ado, here are some facts:
1. The Axeman was a serial killer who operated in New Orleans, Louisiana in the early 1900s.
2. As you might have deduced by his name, his murder weapon of choice was an axe.
3. He is said to have arrived in New Orleans at least by May 1918, if not before.
4. The Axeman’s first attack was on an Italian grocer Joseph Maggio and his wife that May. They were both butchered in their sleep, and police found a chiseled out panel in the house’s back door that allowed the Axeman to invade.
5. An axe, still bloodied with his victim’s blood were left at the scene.
6. Surprisingly, however, no valuables—including jewelry and money left in the open—were stolen.
7. The only real clue provided to police was a message scrawled with chalk on a nearby sidewalk:
“Mrs. Joseph Maggio will sit up tonight. Just Write Mrs. Toney.” (check)
8. A month later, the axeman attacked again. Another Italian grocer, Louis Bossumer and his wife, were viciously struck with an axe. They were found by neighbors, laying in a pool of their own blood. By some lucky miracle, they both managed to survive the brutal attack.
9. Like the last instance, the bloodied axe was left at the scene of the crime.
10. Annie Harriet Lowe, Bossumer’s wife, initially told police that she was attacked by a “young dark man.” She later changed her story, however, and said that Bossumer attacked her. Police were skeptical of this new story, doubting that Bossumer could attack her and then split his own skull with the axe.
11. The Axeman showed no signs of slowing down his killing sprees. A few months later in August a Mrs. Edward Schneider was awaken in the night just in time to witness a giant axe get brought down on her face. Miraculously, she survived the attack.
12. Joseph Romano (another Italian grocer) was axed days later. While he initially survived the assault, he died after being found by authorities.
13. Quickly, hysteria begins to overcome the entire city. People—particularly the Italian community—are terrified of becoming the next victim of the axeman.
14. Families began sleeping in turns, so that others could keep watch. Whole neighborhoods would respond to rumors about the axeman by organizing search parties (to no avail).
15. Al Durand reported to police that he found a discarded axe by his back door. Someone had attempted to enter by removing a panel, but the door proved to be too thick. This sparked more hysteria across the city.
16. Another grocer, Paul Durel, also found a discarded axe left outside his door. A crate of tomatoes had made it impossible to chisel through.
17. In one of his most grisly attacks yet (which is saying something), Mrs. Charles Cortimiglia woke up to find her husband struggling with a large man in dark clothing. She screamed, sheltering her two-year-old daughter in her arms. She begged the axeman for mercy (at least for her child), but he ignored her, bringing his axe down on the head of her daughter. Mrs. Cortimiglia survived the attack, but her child did not.
18. Police were getting more and more frustrated, and they had few clues or leads to investigate. Many people in the New Orleans area began to suspect that the axeman wasn’t a human at all, but rather a ghoul or a demon.
19. In March 1919, the Axeman revealed himself (sort of). He sent a letter into a newspaper, revealing that he loved jazz music and would spare anyone who played jazz that he enjoyed:
Hell, March 13, 1919
They have never caught me and they never will. They have never seen me, for I am invisible, even as the ether that surrounds your earth. I am not a human being, but a spirit and a demon from the hottest hell. I am what you Orleanians and your foolish police call the Axeman.
When I see fit, I shall come and claim other victims. I alone know whom they shall be. I shall leave no clue except my bloody axe, besmeared with blood and brains of he whom I have sent below to keep me company.
If you wish you may tell the police to be careful not to rile me. Of course, I am a reasonable spirit. I take no offense at the way they have conducted their investigations in the past. In fact, they have been so utterly stupid as to not only amuse me, but His Satanic Majesty, Francis Josef, etc. But tell them to beware. Let them not try to discover what I am, for it were better that they were never born than to incur the wrath of the Axeman. I don’t think there is any need of such a warning, for I feel sure the police will always dodge me, as they have in the past. They are wise and know how to keep away from all harm.
Undoubtedly, you Orleanians think of me as a most horrible murderer, which I am, but I could be much worse if I wanted to. If I wished, I could pay a visit to your city every night. At will I could slay thousands of your best citizens, for I am in close relationship with the Angel of Death.
Now, to be exact, at 12:15 (earthly time) on next Tuesday night, I am going to pass over New Orleans. In my infinite mercy, I am going to make a little proposition to you people. Here it is:
I am very fond of jazz music, and I swear by all the devils in the nether regions that every person shall be spared in whose home a jazz band is in full swing at the time I have just mentioned. If everyone has a jazz band going, well, then, so much the better for you people. One thing is certain and that is that some of your people who do not jazz it on Tuesday night (if there be any) will get the axe.
Well, as I am cold and crave the warmth of my native Tartarus, and it is about time I leave your earthly home, I will cease my discourse. Hoping that thou wilt publish this, that it may go well with thee, I have been, am and will be the worst spirit that ever existed either in fact or realm of fancy.
20. Some citizens dared to boldly challenge the Axeman. Daring men submitted editorials to newspapers daring the Axeman to visit their homes. One promised to leave the window open for him.
21. Suspects were questioned about being the Axeman, but police were never able to make an arrest.
22. Some have speculated that the Axeman was Joseph Momfre, a man who was killed by the widow of one of the murder victims.
23. Others are more skeptical, as no evidence of Momfre’s murder exists in LA police records.
24. A creepypasta written by an editor at a publishing company claims to have a photo of the axeman leaving the scene of a crime. It’s a creepypasta, so take it for what it’s worth, but it’s a creepy photo either way.
25. And that’s pretty much all we know about the horrific Axeman of New Orleans.