Belle Sorenson Gunness (Killings between 1900 and 1908)
Unlike various other female killers, Gunness didn’t poison her victims – the lady slaughtered them. She was a 42-year-old Norwegian immigrant who purchased a house in La Porte, Indiana using her first husband’s insurance money after his passing away. Her husband as well as two of her children were believed to have died inexplicably, although she wasn’t a suspect. After moving to La Porte with the rest of the woman’s children, she married Peter Gunness who passed away after just 9 months. She collected an additional insurance payment. Over the next several years, other men that landed into her life disappeared without trace.
She became famous and known as a a black widow – killing a number of her husbands, ranch workers as well as adopted children.
She would place matrimonial ads inside newspapers and offered men marital bliss along with a life filled with lots of love. Several hopefuls visited La Porte holding their life savings with them. She would subsequently drug them and then cut them up as she sliced her hogs. She would next wrap them up with oilskin and then bury them on her farm.
A letter she wrote reads – “My heart beats in wild rapture for you personally, My Andrew, I love you. Come prepared to remain forever. ”
There are numerous accounts of the woman’s background. She was reportedly one of 8 children and was given birth to in Stoersetgjerdet in Norway. One story says that she got pregnant with a man and he kicked her on her stomach while in public causing her to lose the child. He disappeared right after that. According to the woman’s sister, Belle was considered to be crazy for cash.
In 1908, Gunness’ farmhouse burned to the ground. When it was put out, the remains of several individuals were discovered – males, children, and even a female. The children were recognized as hers. The woman was assumed to be Gunness herself, although the body was found with no head. It was believed she died in that fire.
Many butchered bodies were found all around her property, carved like turkeys. The heads were taken off, arms removed, and legs sawed off at the thigh.
Despite the presumption that she perished, her ranch hand and lover, Lamphere, claimed that he had helped Belle fake her very own death and escape when he ended up being arrested. Officially, she was assumed dead.
She was believed to have killed forty-nine people.