Some Monsters Walk on Two Legs

I’m dealing in the following with unsolved crimes against children.
If there is a possibility, dear reader, that this topic may trigger something – skip it here.
See you back for Sunday Music ?

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It started easy enough last evening when I went to the Smithsonian magazine to have a look. I was astounded to find an article from 2012 listed among the most popular reads, “The Children Who Went Up in Smoke” about the SODDER children who vanished on Christmas 1945 from the house of their parents in Fayetteville, West Virginia (Ger., Eng.). Yes – it is a staple for armchair-sleuths, and it is surely caused by the season of the year that this article is ranked high in saied list. I do not want to speculate about what has happened to them, or if it is possible to find a solution to this riddle – or if there actually exists a riddle. Some may say that the father of the children sadly destroyed any possible traces when he bulldozed over the place where his house had stood ; others may point to the ominous letter that was sent to the grieving parents 1968 – if this was not a terribly cruel prank, it surely must indicate that at least one kid survived what ever has happened to them. Read Ms ABBOTT’s article, and if you are interested, look at others too (here, and here f.e.). I do not want to dwell on this surely interesting case, but want to describe my meandering through and to other cases. For example I found this interesting blog about cold cases by Stacy HORN.
In a forum someone mentioned the BEAUMONT children (no German article, Eng.), about whom I had never heared before. Three children vanished in January 1966 from Glenelg Beach (Eng.), near Adelaide, Australia. As I understand, nobody was ever brought to court for this, the case remains unsolved. One of the main suspects is a man called Bevan Spencer von EINEM (no German article, Eng.) who is serving a life sentence for murder of a teenager. von EINEM is saied to have been the member of a group called “family” that has committed several severe crimes. “Family” here is a name given by a police officer, who in an interview sarcastically described this group as “a fine family”, it is not a chosen name like what MANSON did – who btw is freshly married, incredible.
The wikipedia-article about The Family Murders (no German article) does not mention the names of those involved or say that these individuals, with the exception of von EINEM, faced a worldly judge for their alleged deeds. I do not know what is going on there, and do not want to speculate.
What made me think is that there was a group of  “up to 12 people, several of them high-profile Australians”, who kidnapped, drugged, sexually abused and in some cases killed & tortured teenage boys and young adults.
At first I would think of a typical “Verschwörungstheorie”, conspiracy theory (Ger., Eng., German list, English list), a construct blaming “evil forces” or a specified social group for grave misdeeds – the mother of them all is in my opinion still the story of the Protocolls of the Elders of Zion (Ger., Eng.), and what all is connected with this, there are surely older examples too. This is the route this creature DUTROUX (Ger., Eng.) took, who always claimed that he was just a kind of henchman for a group of well-situated and well-connected persons in Belgium. As far as I can see these claims have never been proven and there seems nothing to be to it. What is a bit disturbing is the seemingly high number of witnesses who died while the case was investigated, 27 in all. That the investigation was far from effective and deeply spoiled by corruption, inefficiency and sheer distrust between the different authorities involved, can not seriously be denied.
Different is what is known today as the CASA PIA Scandal (Ger., Eng.) in Portugal : Here it is proven that a clique of well-connected, influential people were over years abusing orphans, some of them handicapped. The investigation and trial took ages, but finally a verdict was reached, nobody was burnt at the stake, sadly. [Note to OldKnudsen : I still oppose the death penalty as fundamentally wrong and scorn it as a modern and enlightened state unworthy ; it deters no one from committing crimes and is only a tool for revenge. I admit that revenge sometimes has something to itself.]
In merry old England a seemingly comparable case is brewing. I do not mean this monstrosity connected with the name of the city of ROTHERHAM (BBC, Ger., Eng.), but what is centred around DOLPHIN SQUARE (no German article, Eng., DailyMail) and Elm Guest House in London. Again a group of well-connected people abused and allegedly killed young boys over years.
I am not so much interested in the single person who does commit sadistic crimes, I’m more interested in how it is possible to do this in the middle of a more or less civilized society. What factors must come together that such a group can form and be active over years ? Protected, even when authorities are informed. Has someone worked about this, compared such groups, searched for similarities & distinctions ?
I think it would be a worthy endeavour and perhaps sharp the eye for such buboes.

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13 thoughts on “Some Monsters Walk on Two Legs

  1. I’ve always had an interest in true crime, which may seem morbid on the surface. For me, it’s trying to understand just how depraved people can be to do something which seems totally unfathomable. We studied sociopathology a bit in human growth and development class. It’s very complex, and nobody really fully understands it. However, not all sociopaths kill.

  2. Uff – what a yelling new outfit! But the text is pretty readable.

    C’mon, stop brooding, having dismal thoughts or morbid topics – cheer yourself up with answering silly questions 😉

  3. PS: No misunderstanding, please: the topic you brought up is terribly serious – I don’t doubt or want to play it down. But I learned: Don’t jump into the hole where somebody sits – you will not be able then to bring him a ladder … Keep your integrity, please!

  4. Of the cases cited, I only previously knew of the missing Beaumont children. (btw, Glenelg is a very nice beach town. I went to an excellent ocean-side seafood restaurant there.)

    re: Why? Motive and opportunity. But I have no idea what triggers such predatory behavior. Sorry.

  5. Hi 63mago,

    I like your new blog design – very nice indeed.

    Your entry Some monsters walk on two legs is of much interest to me.

    This topic is, naturally, very harrowing material, but I have been aware of several child disappearances here in England, most notably that of Genette Tate. I cannot begin to imagine how Genette’s poor parents cope with day to day life. I am quite sure that something like that – a young, defenceless, beautiful, child who just disappears into thin air in 1978 – cannot corrode one’s life in the worst possible way. In this case, I’m sure that the passage of time does not make things better, only worse from not knowing what happened.

    I spend most of my time trying to write light-hearted things for my blog, but once in a while, I’m deeply touched by a serious topic, such as yours. I don’t think there is any easy or straightforward answer to why these things happen.

    I’ve watched countless interviews with the UK’s prominent criminologist, Professor David Wilson, as well as other leading UK and US forensic psychologists/psychiatrists. There are, of course, a variety of psychiatric conditions which might pre-dispose a perpetrator to abduct a child and conceal that child’s whereabouts: schizophrenia, personality disorders, and pure psycopathy. But then again, some of this discriminates those living with mental illness. Not every schizophrenic is a child abductor or murderer.

    Having studied lots of child abductors and murders at the British Library in Central London as part of my own interest in criminology, the one key factor time and again in the perpetrator seems to be an early abusive and highly dysfunctional childhood. I hear US forensic psychologists talk of violence against children being ‘normalised’ in the eyes of the young abused child, and therefore he/she grows up thinking it is okay to do the same to others. I do not think child abductors or murders are born that way: I believe it is a long road they travel down to reach that stage, and the traumatic events they suffered as children is just one factor, but an important factor nonetheless. I think there are other factors too: the likelihood that parents who abuse their children are themselves suffering from mental illnesses which can be genetically passed onto their own children, making the prognosis for the abused child bleak, to say the least.

    What experts do know is that early childhood abuse can have devastating effects on the child throughout the rest of his/her life in a multi-dimensional way: distorted body image; lack of self-confidence; addictions such as alcohol and drugs; disassociation; rage and uncontrollable violence; petty crime; self-harm; suicidal behavior; psychotic disorders… the list is endless. This is not to say that every child who is abused goes onto abduct children or murder. The largest proportion do not.

    Like you, dearest 63mago, sometimes I delve deeply into this subject and the whole thing is both haunting and horrifying. I think it’s important to tell oneself there is a very serious side to the world, that must be accepted.

    Rather poignantly, after one of my long stints at research into child abductions at the British Library, I took a rather rambling walk through the streets of Central London, and ended up walking past the Old Bailey, which is the central Criminal Court in England, where most child murder and abduction cases are heard. Above the main entrance to the Court is a fitting admonition inscribed in the stone: “Defend the Children of the Poor and Punish the Wrong-Doer”. Quite so.

    Thanks for a very interesting blog entry.

    God bless all the children in the world.

    Fanny xxx

  6. We’re afraid of what we will find out — about ourselves and our tendency to abuse power and abuse people and…so on

    We’re afraid to put Power on trial.

    We’re too lazy to disassemble our institutions and rebuild them with the controls that are truly needed. (Disassemble the Catholic Church and rebuild it so that ____ doesn’t happen anymore.)

    We’re still pretty barbaric. Of course we’re improving, but we’re still pretty barbaric.

  7. I do not think it’s morbid to study what humans do to other humans Cara – then history would be the most morbid subject at all … what it possibly is after all.

    No need to jump into my hole, dear Anna ! Usually I dig meself out …

    No need to say sorry LX – I also have no idea.

    Thank you Schauml. No it has not brought me down, it is just about the way I wandered through wikipedia and the way my thoughts wandered.

    Thank you Fanny Love for your insightful comment.
    What makes me wonder is, how do individuals with such a disposition, organise ? How can such an organised group carry on with their deeds, even when it is verifyably brought to the attention of authorities responsible ? How does it work that such groups carved a space of total freedom for absolutely immoral deeds in the middle of modern societies ? This motto above the court’s entrance is very chivalresque, protect the weak, administer the law. Thank you for the link about Mr WIlson, I will follow it and read about the man, and what he has to say.

    The rat-catcher had at least a comprehensible motif (he was not payed for his work), dear Mitzi.

    Yes, the human animal is the one to be feared.
    Thank you IDV. I was a bit unsure, but I think all in all the readability is better.

    (Political) Power is only given for a certain time and for a certain use, it’s not the license to act out wild instincts or realise sadistic phantasies. I think into the administrative institutions of any democratic state checks and brakes are built in – but not for this kind of abuse. The fathers and mothers of the German Grundgesetz surely had not something like this in mind when they finally signed the official document, nor did the founding fathers of the American Verfassung. The church of Rome must change itself from within – that can not be a job of a state, but only for groups in a society that have an interest in this. Btw they already did change their canonical laws in such a way, that they can have an internal processus based on details and evidence which a worldly Staatsanwalt would throw out. Maybe it’s the inner barbarian, but I’m not sure about this Happy Apathy.

  8. there must be thousands of cases like these. this one became known to me when i moved here. this year was 25 years since the boy vanished. i always feel so bad for the parents. this kid must be dead, but he only died once. for his folks, he dies every day.

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