Female Serial Killer: Belle Gunness

Unlike most female serial killers, Belle didn’t poison her victims. Instead she slaughtered them.

Belle was a 42 year old Norwegian immigrant. She purchased her Indiana property in 1902 with an insurance settlement from her first husbands death. He had died suddenly in convulsive agony, as did her first two born. The symptoms were signs of strychnine poisoning but the doctors who examined the bodies found nothing suspicious.

After moving to La Porte, she married a young widower, Peter Gunness. Only nine months after they wed, he was killed when a cast iron grinder fell from the stove and stuck him between the eyes. That’s what Belle said anyway. The neighbors didn’t really buy into the story and often claimed that Belle had murdered her knew husband. As with her previous husband, Belle collected another insurance payment.

Over the next six years, a number of men found their way to Belle’s country home. Some were hired hands and others were well off bachelors. One thing all the men had in common was they all vanished without a trace.

In the early morning of April 27, 1908, the Gunness farm house caught fire and burned to the grown. When the blaze was finally put out, the firemen were shocked to discover the remains of four people, three children and one adult woman, stacked in the cellar. Though badly burned, the children were identified as the three youngest of Belle’s children. They assumed the fourth corpse was Belle herself but positive identification was impossible. The body had been decapitated and the head was nowhere to be found.

Suspicion fell on a disgruntled farm hand named Ray Lamphere who was charged with murder. Searchers kept looking for the missing head but it was never found. What they did find though shocked the nation and earned Belle Gunness everlasting infamy.

A dozen butchered bodies lay buried around the property. Some where found in a chicken yard, a privy fault and in a rubbish pit. Each body was carved similar to a turkey. The heads had been cut off, the arms removed from the sockets, legs were sawed off at mid-thigh.

Naturally the discovery of such a nature drew curious onlookers. The Sunday after the discovery, 10,000 people made their way to the property, some came from as far away as Chicago. Families wandered around the farm as if they were on vacation. Vendors had set up stands selling drinks and food.

People have their doubts though that the headless body found was in fact Belle’s. One difference was that the body only weighed 73 pounds. Lamphere himself claimed that Belle had faked her own death and ran away with $100,000 in tainted money. Officially though Belle Gunness was declared dead. Like Elvis though, many “sightings” were reported over the years.

~ by B on August 2, 2006.

29 Responses to “Female Serial Killer: Belle Gunness”

  1. Hey

    Has anyone seen Belle… Arrrrrgh

    help me….



  2. Okay, I’m a dork. Again. I lost all my cookies, and I can’t remember my password to get into your other blog and I went to have it sent to me, but I guess I can’t remember what my log in name was either. And I know we have exchanged emails before, but I can’t find yours.

    Is there any hope for me?

  3. Ah, yes … this is the town next to where I live. her first, possibly first two husbands were killed in chicago. after things got a little hot there, she moved to laporte and took out ads in the norwegian newspapers. essentially, belle took out ads on the equivalent of myspace, conned the men into coming out … swindled them out of their money and then, of course, killed them.

    check out the movie Method … I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s about an actress who is going to play the part of Belle Gunness … and gets a little too into her method acting.

    Let me know if you want more info on Belle … there’s a local museum here, too. 🙂

  4. http://www.crimelibrary.com/classics/gunness/

  5. Hey, found your blog and I like it! I linked it to mine.
    Thank you very much for your work.

  6. hello i am from Norway actualle. And try to guess what i actually am kind of proud that my own country have borned a serial killer.
    but we belive that her first murder actually was back here in Norway. she got pregnant with a man who didnt want the child and she told him that she was pregnant at some kind of barn party… and since he didnt want the child he beat her up and kicked and hit her in the stumack lots of times. it ended with that the child died.
    two or one week after this they found him dead in the river…(this happened at selbu)

  7. The whole thing about the case of Belle, why would she cut off her own head? How would she do it? Why the hell would someone even come to that conclusion? I just think the woman killed off her family, took the money and ran.

  8. Hi. I am also a Norwegian. Lately I have read a lot of books about the Gunnesscase. What is interesting is that almost all of the books I have read says different things about her. The amount of people she killed goes from 14 to 70, and it it is very difficoult to find the complete storyline in this case. It is also peculiar that this story is not much talked about in Norway. I have talked to so many people about this, and they all go ” What ? Belle Gunness ? Never heard of”. I am from the capital of Norway, but my impression is that in Selbu, where she origined from, they all know about this story. I have special interest in this case, because I work with theatre and I really want to make a piece about Belle Gunness. It is the perfect material for theatre. Till this day I have found one one-act-play by Lillian de la Torre – “The coffee cup” , but it is not really good. It is about some female crime writer that goes to see an old lady in Indiana some years after the fire, because the rumors has it that she owns Peder Gunness old coffee cup. And guess what – it turnes out that this old lady is Belle Gunness who got away. So – If anyone here has good tips about litterature on the case, I am thankful for every tip !

  9. i liked how she faked her own death…and i liked her method in slaughter

  10. I heard that a movie about Belle is being filmed in Northern Indiana. Does anyone know anything about this?

  11. My great grandmother Eldora Hudson was Belle’s neighbor, and she saw Belle after the fire. I just love how every story or book written makes it sound like she died in the fire. There were eye witnesses that saw Belle after the fire, and some LaPorte residents identified her years later in California. I know a lot more than most of the stories written because of stories that were passed down through my family. My great grandmother had a funny feeling about her, and with right cause!!! There were a lot of things she wouldn’t even talk about because they were so horrendous! (any questions email me at healinghandstherapy@juno.com)

    • Thats awsome that your great grandmother was belles neighbor. I’m actually writing a paper on belle. And if you have any more information please contact me at (303-886-55120

  12. Hudson should be Hutson. I accidentally mispelled it.

  13. This is a cool website. I am glad I am not the only one that noticed no two Belle Gunness stories are the same. I am writing a book on her and it is hard to confirm details.

    I am truly suspicous that good old Belle slaughtered and sold the meat of her gentleman callers. She WAS a pig farmer. Sorry guys. hee hee. There was a show on tv that said she poisoned her victims. Like anyone knows. She could have drawn and quartered on her front lawn or roasted her gentleman callers up for dinner for all they know.

  14. Yeah, it’s incredible how many different stories exist about her with huge discrepancies.

  15. way to kill like a man.

  16. u all r looooooooosers!!!!!!!!!
    this wasnt all that informative being the fact i have to do a report on her……thanks so much

  17. i think there are alot of parts of this article that are not accurate and need to be researched further. i live in laporte and have been up and down mcclung road dozens of times. i’ve been trying to figure out the exact location that the gunness farm used to be in. we had an article in our local paper last week – they’ve exhumed the remains of what is thought to be belle gunness and are going to be doing dna testing to try to determine if it’s her. should be interesting to find out.

  18. helllo
    im taniya from sri lanka………..give more information about silencem killers

  19. for anyone who lives in the La Porte area and is interested in this story, i was born and grew up in La Porte. There is (or was?) an exhibit on her at the La Porte County Historical Museum in the basement of the courthouse in La Porte. Check it out, there is a wax figure of her.

    • Shut the fuck up no one is interested I can’t beleive all u queers are so interested in this shit and u all wanna blow your loads in each others mouths

  20. Does anyone know where on McClung Rd her house stood or if I could get any land marks?

  21. i am not from norway and u guys are ugg for being proud of having this bitch from ur country. u all are freaks and u can go suck a big ol dick. man fuck these niggers

  22. hahaha wow how did this sight become like youtube and such…to: CARL and BIllY, your both fags and im not from norway but i am norwegian and im proud that she came from the same people as i do. She may have been a sadistic bitch but she was obviously brilliant enough that nobody really knows her story or how many people she killed because everybody’s facts are different. I adore serial killers and if you ignorant fucks find it necessary to look up subjects like this and make your opinions know than heres my fucking opinion…you both can go choke and die on a bowl of fat, hairy, greasy cocks and try not to love gargling those marbles so much.

  23. haha.

  24. The mother of the 1900’s would thrash you all within inches of your life. Jack the ripper has spoken. Peace and order.

  25. she sounds physco!!!!!!! school project why did i have 2 pick a female serial killer?

  26. wierrd physco girls scare me remember that!

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