Creative Commons. Towards the end of his life, Carl Panzram gleefully confessed to 21 murders, more than acts of sodomy, and thousands of robberies and arsons. Panzram was born in Minnesota in to East Prussian immigrant parents. He was released from school in his teens and shortly after he ran away from home.
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By his teens, he was an alcoholic and was repeatedly in trouble with the authorities, usually for burglary and theft. He ran away from home at the age of 14 and claimed to have been gang raped by a group of hobos. In adulthood, Panzram was a prolific thief, and he was frequently caught and imprisoned. While incarcerated, Panzram frequently got into trouble by attacking guards and refusing to follow their orders.
The guards retaliated, subjecting him to beatings and punishments. Panzram served a jail sentence from to at Fort Leavenworth's United States Disciplinary Barracks for larceny shortly after enlisting in the U. Army in William Howard Taft was then Secretary of War and approved the sentence. In August , Panzram burglarized Taft's New Haven home, stealing a large amount of jewelry and bonds, as well as Taft's.
In his autobiography, Panzram wrote that he was "rage personified", and he would often rape men whom he robbed, not necessarily because he was homosexual, but because it was his method of dominating and humiliating people. He also engaged in vandalism and arson, at one point considering an ambitious plot to scuttle a British warship docked in New York harbor in order to provoke a war between Britain and the United States.
By his own admission, one of the few times he did not engage in criminal activities was when he was "employed" as a strikebreaker against union employees.
On another occasion, he tried to sign aboard as a ship's steward on a US Army Transport vessel, but was discharged when he reported to work intoxicated. On June 1, , Panzram burglarized a house in Astoria, Oregon and was arrested soon after while attempting to sell some of the stolen items. He was sentenced to seven years in prison, to be served at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, where he arrived on June On arrival, he became inmate number and was under the supervision of warden Harry Minto, who believed in harsh treatment of inmates, which included beatings and isolation among other disciplinary measures.
Later, Panzram stated that he swore he "would never do that seven years and I defied the warden and all his officers to make me.
Earlier, he helped Otto Hooker escape from the prison, and Hooker killed Minto while evading capture. While on the lam, Panzram was involved in two shootouts before being returned to the prison. On May 12, , he sawed through the prison bars and escaped again. This time, he avoided capture and caught a freight train heading east. In , Panzram committed his first murders. He lured sailors in New York away from bars, got them drunk, raped and shot them and dumped their remains into the river.
He claimed to have killed ten in all. He was stopped only when the vessel he was in was shipwrecked near Atlantic City, New Jersey; his last two potential victims escaped to parts unknown. Panzram then went to Luanda, Angola, where he claims to have raped and killed an or year-old boy. In his confession to this murder, he wrote: "His brains were coming out of his ears when I left him and he will never be any deader. Back in America, Panzram claimed he shot a man dead for trying to rob him.
He also asserted that he raped and killed two small boys, beating the former to death with a rock on July 18, in Salem, Massachusetts and strangling the latter later that year in New Haven, Connecticut. After his last arrest in , he also claimed to have committed a murder while burglarizing homes between Baltimore and Washington, D. Three of these last five killings are confirmed.
With the death of the Oregon prison warden, Panzram was involved in at least one murder, as an accessory before the fact, prior to In , Panzram was arrested for burglary and held in Washington, D.
During his interrogation and jail time, he voluntarily confessed to killing two boys. At this time, he was befriended by a young prison guard named Henry Lesser Lesser gave Panzram some writing materials which the prisoner used to write his autobiography, detailing his crimes and his nihilistic philosophy:.
For all these things I am not in the least bit sorry". In light of his extensive criminal record, he was handed a year sentence which was to be served at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. Panzram was sentenced to death. He refused to appeal, even threatening to kill human rights groups that attempted to appeal on his behalf. Panzram was hanged on September 5, When they put the noose around his neck, he allegedly spat in his executioner's face and declared, "I wish all mankind had one neck so I could choke it!
I could kill ten men while you're fooling around! Henry Lesser pressed for the manuscript to be published for forty years, and it finally was released in as Killer: A Journal of a Murder.
It has gone through a number of reprints, the latest being in OCLC: The song "Reminiscences of a Minnesota State Training School Alumnus, Class of ," by the New York orchestral-pop band Flare from their album Cut Affairs of the Heart features a Panzramesque figure extolling his prowess as a killer and lover , to the accompaniment of massed horns, strings, ukuleles and keyboards.
LD Beghtol wrote, arranged and sings lead on this surreal vaudeville tune. Carl Panzram. During his final prison stretch in the late 's, Carl Panzram confessed to twenty-one murders,. Panzram was born on June 28, to Prussian migrant parents in Minnesota. Carl Panzram was a person always in trouble.
Then again three years later, when a string of burglaries landed him in reform school, he retaliated by burning the place down. He would leave the institution at age thirteen, filled with the knowledge that would last him a lifetime -- "how to steal, lie, hate, burn and kill" He went home to his mother, who was grieicng over the drowning death of her favourite son, so Panzram moved on again. He ran away to pursue a transient life. In a boxcar he was gang raped by four hobos. I left that box a sadder, sicker but wiser boy The bums seemed to have taught Carl another valuable lesson: "I had learned that a rectum could be used for other purposes than crepitating".
He also joined the army for a short stint, he was drunk when he enlistd which may accoutn for his un-army like behaviour which culminated in a court-martial and three years at Leavenworth. He is still there, unless the buzzards and coyotes have finished the last of him long ago. At one point during his trips Carl killed a young boy. This is how he explained it in his own words: "I sat down to think things over a bit. While I was sitting there, a little kid about eleven or twelve years old came bumming around.
He was looking for something. He found it too. I took him out to a gravel pit about one quarter mile away. I left him there, but first committed sodomy on him and then killed him. His brains were coming out of his ears when I left him, and he will never be any deader.
He embarked on a career of spectacular brutality. With proceeds from one of his many robberies Panzram bought a yacht, named the John O'Leary a name he would adopt himself, and lured ten sailors aboard with the promise of free bootleg liquor. However this was not meant to be, after the sailors drank themselves into oblivion, Panzram drugged the men, raped them, slit their throats and dumped them overboard.
Later, in West Africa, he hired eight native guides to help him hunt crocodiles. Instead, he killed his hired hands, sodomized their corpses and fed them to the hungry reptiles "for sport. When he returned to the United States in , Panzram was arrested for a string of burglaries. He was sentenced to 20 years. There, he vowed he'd "kill the first man that crosses me".
Robert Warnke , a civilian laundry man was in the wrong place at the wrong time, Panzram took and iron bar and smashed the man's skull in. He was sentenced to Death Row for the murder, where he befriended a jailer, Henry Lesser, who listened intently to Panzram's story and would later publish it. Even when human rights organisations tried to have his life spared, Panzram would retort: "I prefer to die that way, and if I have a soul and if that soul should burn in Hell for a million years, still I prefer that to a lingering, agonizing death in some prison dungeon or a padded cell in a mad house The only thanks you or your kind will ever get from me for your efforts on my behalf is that I wish you all had one neck and that I had my hands on it I have no desire to reform myself.
My only desire is to reform people who try to reform me, and I believe that the only way to reform people is to kill'em. Finally he got his wish and was due to be hanged on September 5, Bitter to the end, Panzram went to his maker with a curse on his lips: "Hurry up you Hoosier bastard", he snarled at the executioner preparing the noose.
Born on June 28, , on a Minnesota farm, Carl Panzram was trouble from the beginning. Stuck at home with a hard-working, unloving mother after his father and brothers slipped away one-by-one, he made his first court appearance at the age of eight for drunkenness and went downhill from there.
At twelve years old he was sent to a boy's school after being caught stealing and subsequently began urinating and masturbating into beverages that he served to officers at the school and was found dumping rat poison into a commander's coffee. Not done yet, Panzram set fire to and dstroyed the school's warehouse. It was the beginning of a cycle that would repeat itself in his future life in adult prisons: cause trouble, be punished severely, stubbornly refuse to break, and cause even more trouble.
Consumed by hatred of all mankind by the time he was released, Panzram began robbing his way across the United States and throughout the world, spending much of his time in prisons until he began killing around While refitting a yacht he had bought with stolen cash Penzram hired a succession of workers to help him out.
When they were no longer of use or he tired of their company he would shoot them dead, ten in all. The cold-blooded killer next traveled to Africa and killed a young boy before he mass-murdered six men that had been hired to assist him in a crocodile hunt. The croc's got to feast on the men's corpses instead.
Guide to the Carl Panzram Papers
Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? A detailed memoir and self-analysis by a mass murderer. Panzram was born in on a Minnesota farm and died in on the gallows at the U.
Carl Panzram’s Autobiography
Special Collections is pleased to announce that the Carl Panzram Papers are available for research and that portions of this collection have been digitized! Carl Panzram, a notorious serial killer and criminal during the s, boasted of killing twenty-three people, committing thousands of robberies and larcenies, and sodomizing a thousand men and boys. After forming a friendship of sorts, Panzram gave Lesser his autobiography, penned over several months, which Lesser had encouraged him to write. Although Panzram was later transferred to Leavenworth Prison in Kansas, he continued to correspond with Lesser.