The Wichita Police, Kansas State Attorney's office, or Wichita's version of Gus Grissom should consider another area in their investigation to find the Wichita BTK (Bind-Torture-Kill) Strangler. Last week they were chasing down leads on the Internet. Here is a suggestion on some leads closer to home we think they should follow-up.
They should go visit their local Wichita libraries. Let's explain that suggestion. First, let's go over what we know about the B-T-K Strangler.
The Wichita Strangler is the one who choose this particular name back in the 70's when he was communicating with the newspapers and TV stations in Wichita. His first communique from the Otero letter of October 1974 said in part as follows:
"I write this letter to you for the sake of the tax payer as well as your time. Those three dude you have in custody are just talking to get publicity for the Otero murders. They know nothing at all. I did it by myself and with no ones help. There has been no talk either. Let's put this straight... ."
"I'm sorry this happen to society. They are the ones who suffer the most. It hard to control myself. You probably call me 'psychotic with sexual perversion hang-up.' When this monster enter my brain I will never know. But, it here to stay. How does one cure himself? If you ask for help, that you have killed four people they will laugh or hit the panic button and call the cops.
"I can't stop it so the monster goes on, and hurt me as well as society. Society can be thankful that there are ways for people like me to relieve myself at time by day dreams of some victims being torture and being mine. It a big compicated game my friend of the monster play putting victims number down, follow them, checking up on them waiting in the dark, waiting, waiting... the pressure is great and sometimes he run the game to his liking. Maybe you can stop him. I can't. He has aready chosen his next victim or victims. I don't who they are yet. The next day after I read the paper, I will know, but it to late. Good luck hunting.
YOURS, TRULY GULTILY.
BTK signed the letter with a distinctive mark that police will not describe. It has appeared on other notes they believe to be authentic. There was a postscript:
P.S. Since sex criminals do not change their M.O. or by nature cannot do so, I will not change mine. The code words for me will be... Bind them, toture them, kill them, B.T.K., you see he at it again. They will be on the next victim.
The above letter was found in a textbook in the Wichita Public Library and later traced to a copier at Wichita State University. The Wichita Eagle reported the copier was located in the WSU Library. Look at a map of the BTK's known killings, suspected killings, and home invasion. The Wichita Public Library is in the middle of this killing zone.
Today if you are afflicted with some strange illness what do you do? You go on the Internet and search to find out everything you can about your illness. Back in the 1970's there was no Internet only your public or school library. If you were an adolescent before the Internet where did you go to find out more about sex?
The BTK Strangler is an intelligent young man in the 1970's. Smart enough to know he's sick and perverted. Obviously he can't talk about his strange feelings and this sickness with anyone. He is not like other people. He wants to understand his illness better. He starts going to the library to find out more about "this monster (that) entered my brain."
Now let's start assuming the BTK Strangler is a smart guy who uses libraries. He feels safe in libraries. He likes sitting there in the anonymous quiet. He is researching his sickness, his so called "monster" in libraries. He wants to find out if anyone else shares this perverse monster or this illness. He wanted company as tried to sort out the demons in his head.
Success! He finds kindred spirits. He tells us who those kindred spirts are in a "well organized," two-page, single-spaced, February 10, 1978 letter, which in part says:
You don't understand these things because your not under the influence of factor x. The same thing that made Son of Sam, Jack The Ripper, Havery Glatman, Boston Strangler, Dr. H.H. Holmes Panty Hose Strangler of Florida, Hillside Strangler, Ted of The West Coast and many more infamous character kill. . . It seems senseless but we cannot help it, There is no help, no cure, except death or being caught and put away. . .
P.S. How about some name for me, its time: 7 down and many more to go. I like the following. How about you? 'THE B.T.K STRANGLER, 'WICHITA STRANGLER', 'POETIC STRANGLER', 'THE BONDAGE STRANGER' OR 'PSYCHO', 'THE WICHITA HANGMAN', THE WICHITA EXECUTIONER, 'THE GAROTE PHATHOM', 'THE ASPHYXIATER'.
He says the other men with his illness or "factor x" are: Son of Sam, Jack The Ripper, Harvey Glatman, Boston Strangler, Dr. H.H. Holmes, Panty Hose Strangler of Florida, Hillside Strangler, Ted of The West Coast, and many more infamous character kill...
•The BTK Strangler has been doing some research. He appears to be well read and can now cite a list of serial killers. However, he does not use the term "serial killer." The still infamous Charles Manson is not on his list. He knows something about all of these killers in order to put them on the same list. He now wants to be considered part of this infamous group. Where and how did he do his research between October 1974 and February 1978 to come up with this list?
Focus on two of the obscure names on this list: Harvey Glatman and Dr. H.H. Holmes. Not exactly household names in the mid-1970's. In a previous post we explored the Dr. H.H. Holmes and Glatman references. We firmly believe that the Dr. H.H. Holmes reference offers a key insight.
Herman W. Mudgett aka Dr. H.H. Holmes was called "The Torture Doctor" in a book of that same name published in 1974 or 1975. The BTK was calling himself the "Bind-Torture-Kill" Strangler in October 1974. How many of the serial killers on his list were considered torturers? Torture is one facet of this killer that further distinguishes him. BTK lingered at some of his crime scenes torturing his victims. Dr. H.H. Holmes had a special house built where he tortured his victims. These two men shared a very uncommon urge.
This urge to torture is something the BTK Strangler wanted to understand more about. He wanted to get his hands on everything he could find about Dr. H.H. Holmes to understand this very particular aspect of his own personality. Where did he do that?
•So what? A suggestion (assuming this was not already done in the '70's, '80's, or '90's):
The people in charge of this investigation should go to every library in the Wichita area and secure every book that was on the bookshelves before February 1978 that references Dr. H.H. Holmes. There are two books that we can identify based on Internet searches. Kansas librarians should be brought in to assist in the search for more. Here are the two:
Crimes and Punishment: A Pictorial Encyclopedia of Aberrant Behavior - Volume 5. Symphonette Press, 1974.
The Torture Doctor (1975) by David Franke
Bag and tag these books. Put them through a complete "CSI" type examination. Look for semen, fingerprints, hairs, etc. Look for any written notes, missing pages, or anything left between the pages. See if you can find out who checked these books out prior to the Dr. H.H. Holmes letter. Check to see if any of these books have been reported missing or stolen. Get a complete list of people who had library cards at the Wichita Libraries in the 1970's run this list against your database of suspects. Interview any librarians, who are still around, and were on duty during this period in the 1970's to see if any of them they can recall anyone doing research involving these books or anything related to "torture." etc...
Please tell us if you find anything useful. We're very sorry if you don't-our bad.
BTK (Bind, Torture, & Kill) Strangler Info & Voice Recording [consolidated information]
update: The book Bloodletters and Badmen, copyright 1973, by Jay Robert Nash, is another book on library shelves in the 1970's that the BTK may have been interested in.
Sunday, April 25, 2004