Cuyahoga County Ohio Ghosts and Hauntings - Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run
Kingsbury Run Area of Cleveland
From 1934 to 1938, a serial killer named The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run stalked, mutilated and murdered 13 people. Their ghosts haunt the places they were murdered.
Between 1934 and 1938, the city of Cleveland was terrorized by an unknown serial killer known as The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run. During his four year reign of terror, he was believed to have murdered at least 13 people. As with most serial killers, other than being recognized as having psychopathic (lack of empathy and guilt) tendencies, he had a trademark leading local police to tie his victims together- The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run decapitated his victims, most while still alive. Many of the bodies were also dismembered, leaving only the torso in one area and the remaining body parts in another area. Some were found in burlap sacks and wrapped in either brown cardboard or local newspapers. Others were simply found dumped along the Lake Erie shoreline and the Cuyahoga River.
Rivaling the murdering, mutilating spree of Jack the Ripper, this faceless, nameless person killed and dismembered thirteen males and females who lived or mingled with those in a shanty-town district of Cleveland── drifters, prostitutes, hobos and even families left homeless during the depression. The murders were never solved. Most of the bodies were found in Kingsbury Run──a slum in the eastern section of Cleveland that made a jagged lope where old stone quarries and an ancient creek bed once existed with beautiful ravines. But by the 1930s near the rutted Erie and Nickel Plate railroad tracks, the land had become a desolate area of dumps and wasteland and an easy place for squatters and the homeless to set up camps. It was an easy place for a serial killer to find his prey and an easy place for this human butcher to dump the remains. The expanse of his hunting grounds were large. Kingsbury Run ran the eastern section of Shaker Heights and west through Kinsman Avenue and all the way to the Cuyahoga River.
When the first victim washed up on the shoreline of Euclid Beach on September 5th of 1934, no one anticipated the corpse would be one in a long line of murdered and mutilated males and females found strewn about isolated areas of Cleveland over the next four years. Twenty-one year-old Frank La Gossie had been taking a stroll along the shore, picking up driftwood when he saw something odd sticking out of the sand along the beach. Upon closer inspection and to his horror, the strange object was a human torso. Later given the name 'Lady of the Lake', and not actually included in some counts as a victim of the Butcher of Kingsbury, this victim would be nearly identical to the other victims found over the next four years. The body found by La Gossie had both arms and head missing. Her legs were cut off at the knees. On February 23rd, 1937 a second woman with a decapitated head would be found in the same area as Lady of the Lake.
It was over a year and a month later, when on September 23, 1935, two boys were playing in a remote area near the tracks of Kingsbury Run, a graceful rift in the hillside often used by area children for sledding. One ran down the hillside, racing the other to the grassy bottom. Neither expected to stop in horror after eyeing a parcel of clothing sticking out of the brush. It was a man. Or what was left of him. His head and male organs were missing. Nearby, another male body was found with identical mutilations. Only his socks were left on his feet. The first body was never identified. His age was only estimated as between 35 and 40.
The second body, however, would be what police would label as the first identified murder victim of the Butcher. His name was Edward W. Andrassy - Age 28 divorced, out of work and one time worked at a psychiatric ward. He had been arrested for public intoxication in the past along with carrying a concealed weapon. He was not well liked, and from hearsay, more than a few people had threatened to kill him. Andrassy had done time at Warrensville Workhouse.
As the next four years passed, the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run would leave his terrible mark with seven male and five female victims. The last would be two victims fished out of the Lakeshore Dump in downtown Cleveland in August of 1938. Then just as suddenly as the murders began, they seemed to end. No one was ever convicted of the murders. Psychiatric analysis described the murderer as someone with slaughtering skills like a butcher or someone with medical skills such as a doctor, veterinarian or medical student - someone, the county coroner described, had enough skill to dissect with finesse. The Butcher was believed to be large enough to carry his victims, and right handed. Police believed he gained the trust of his victims before they were murdered. They also believed most of the victims were poor and unknown with no families who would miss them.
Florence Genevieve Polillo - 4th Victim Found
There were many suspects which included:
- Dr. Frank E. Sweeney, a veteran of a World War I unit who conducted amputations in the field, no murderer was ever convicted of the crimes. He had political ties to a congressman, and had failed lie detector tests. He quickly admitted himself into the Sandusky veteran's hospital in 1938 when the bodies began to be discovered.
-Frank Dolezal, a 32 year old bricklayer, allegedly admitted to her murder, then recanted saying he had been beaten by local police until he confessed.
Although the railroad tracks still remain, the shanty houses of Kingsbury Run are gone. Only weedy patches, buckled streets filled with old factories, buildings and houses running along the highway are a reminder of the old shanty town of Kingsbury Run.
But they say the ghost of the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run still roams the area searching for his victims old and new. And so do his victims where their bodies were dumped.
September 23, 1935 - John Doe 1 and Edward Andrassy were found in Kingsbury Run area known as Jackass Hill at the end of Praha Avenue.
GPS: 41.478888, -81.656845
Euclid Beach: Where Lady of the Lake and Jane Doe V were found. 41.583077, -81.570615
Lorain Carnegie Bridge: Fifth Column was where Jane Doe was found.
June 6, 1937
GPS: 41.49331, -81.687988
A section of Kingsbury Run: Where the Tattoo Man was found.
June 5, 1936
GPS: 41.480354, -81.643059
What used to be the Lakeshore Dump 9th Street Downtown where the last two victims were found.
August 16, 1938
GPS: 41.510377, -81.693707
Sources and Interesting information on the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run.
Mansfield News, March 2 1940
Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio) October 6th 1938
The Kingsbury Run Murders or Cleveland Torso Murders
BY Marilyn Bardsley
The Maniac in the Bushes, copyright © John Stark Bellamy II