The Black Magic Murders of Ahmad Suradji

Picture of Ahmad Suradji. (Image source/credit here.)

Picture of Ahmad Suradji. (Image source/credit here.)

Ahmad Suradji, also known as Nasib Kelewang, was a self-proclaimed black magic master who ritualistically killed 42 women and girls over an 11 year period.

 A cattle breeder by trade, he lived in Medan, in West Java, Indonesia, where many women would make the journey to his house seeking guidance and assistance in matters of health, love and finance.

Suradji would generally charge between $200-$300 for his services, with most of his female clients longing to be wealthy or attractive and some asking him to perform black magic rituals to keep their significant others from cheating. As a Dukun, or Shaman, they believed, just as the vast majority of the Indonesian population does, that black magic could help them.

Ahmad Suradji on trial. (Image source/credit here.)

Ahmad Suradji on trial. (Image source/credit here.)

A revered position, many Dukuns make a living with this occupation, and although primarily healers, they are used for a variety of reasons; some are exorcists, some perform blessings on new businesses, and farm lands and on individuals, and some can see the future through spirits. Some Dukuns even offer a darker service of casting curses and hexes and spells for revenge.

Suradji was something of a sorcerer, and between the years of 1986 – 1997 he murdered 42 of his clients in ritual slayings that he believed would ultimately make him more powerful.

Inspired by a dream he had in 1988, in which his deceased father visited him, Suradji would lead the woman and girls out to a sugar cane plant on the outskirts of Medan, and bury them up to their waists in earth before strangling them with a cord. Once dead, he would strip the bodies of the women naked and bury them facing in the direction of his house.As instructed by his father in the dream, he would also consume the victim’s saliva.

His objective was to kill 70 victims in this way, but he was caught at just over half way through his mission at confirmed victim number 42, after the discovery of a body, later identified as Sri Kemala Dewi, by a local man at the sugar cane plantation.

Picture of Ahmad Suradji. (Image source/credit here.)

Picture of Ahmad Suradji. (Image source/credit here.)

Investigators found clothing linked to over 20 women who had been reported as missing in and around the local area. All of the victims were between the ages of 11-39 years old. If Suradji was running low on clientele, it was said that he would also kill local sex workers to get closer to his goal.

Despite the official recorded body count of 42 victims, it is possible that the actual number could be almost double that.

Suradji was convicted, along with one of his three wives (all sisters) who had helped him hide the bodies.

Despite protests by Amnesty International, he was executed by firing squad in 2008.

This article originally appeared on Real Life is Horror, a blog about the unexplained, the creepy, and the unsolved. It has been reposted with the author’s permission. 

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The Werewolf of Bedburg

Woodcut print of Peter Stubbe's execution.

Woodcut print of Peter Stubbe’s execution.

As the Cologne War raged in the Electorate of Cologne from 1583 to 1588, the rural town of Bedburg was plagued with a streak of mysterious murders and animal mutilations. Children who went missing soon turned up dead in the fields, and people began to report seeing a strange wolf-like creature.

In one of the few incidents that left a survivor, the monstrous wolf attacked a group of children playing in a meadow. The wolf carried off one of the little girls, but the children’s cries attracted the attention of some near-by cows suckling their calves. Fearing for the lives of their young, the cows with their sharp horns came running to the rescue, and the wolf dropped the girl and took off.

bedburg2

After years of trying to search and trap the beast, some hunters stumbled upon it and let their dogs loose to chase it. When the hunters caught up with their dogs, however, they found that they had caught something entirely different. It was not a wolf, but a local farmer named Peter Stubbe.

The hunters were terribly confused. Peter Stubbe was a wealthy and well-respected man in their community. At first, they were afraid that their captive was the Devil. They went to Stubbe’s house to see if he was there, and when they discovered that Stubbe was missing, were then assured that they had the right man. They turned him over to the authorities, and Stubbe was tortured on the rack until he made a confession.

Stubbe admitted that he was the wolf that had been terrorizing the town. He said that he could transform into a wolf by putting on a magical belt that the Devil had given him when he was 12-years-old. His list of crimes was vast and gut-wrenching. Besides killing lambs and eating their raw flesh, he admitted to murdering 13 young children and 2 pregnant women. He even tore the fetuses out of the women’s wombs, and “ate their hearts panting hot and raw.”

If this wasn’t horrific enough, Stubbe also said he regularly committed incest with his teenage daughter Beele. They had a little boy, but Stubbe killed him and ate his brain. His mistress, a tall and beautiful woman named Katherine Trompin, participated in the bloodshed as well. Beele and Trompin were arrested and charged as accomplices, and the three were sentenced to death on October 28th, 1589.

Three days later, Trompin and Beele were burned at the stake. Stubbe was first laid on the wheel, and then had flesh pulled off his body in 10 different places with hot burning pincers. After that, his arms and legs were broken with a wooden axe, and then he had his head chopped off. As a final punishment, his body was burned and his head was placed on a pike.

More woodcuts of Peter Stubbe.

More woodcuts of Peter Stubbe.

Most of what he know about Stubbe (whose name has also been given as Stumpp, Stumpf, and Stube) comes from a London pamphlet that was printed in June 1590. The pamphlet, which takes the claims of Stubbe being a werewolf seriously, was translated from a now lost German source. While we don’t exactly know how true the pamphlet is, Stubbe was certainly a real person, and his case was mentioned in the diaries of a local city councilor named Hermann von Weinsberg.

There is the possibility that Stubbe was innocent, a victim of religious prejudice. The Cologne War was a conflict fought between Catholics and Protestants, and even though the war was over by the time Stubbe was caught, tensions remained high. In a region that was overwhelmingly Catholic, Stubbe was Protestant. If he really was the killer, he probably suffered from schizophrenia. The reports of a werewolf might have stemmed from hysteria, or Stubbe possibly wore a wolf’s skin while committing his crimes. In any event, the authorities never found the magical belt he claimed to have possessed.

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20 Classic Woodblock Prints of Japanese Ghosts and Monsters

This is a gallery of 20 Japanese woodblock prints depicting yūrei (ghosts) and yōkai (monsters). Most of these were made in the 19th century. The name of each artist is listed below the respective print.

20. “The Sailor Tokuso and the Sea Monster.” A sailor encountering an umibozu, a sea spirit that destroys and drowns any boat that it comes across. They are said to be the souls of drowned monks.

yokai

Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

19. “The Ghost Oiwa.” A character from the kabuki play Yotsuya Kaidan. Oiwa committed suicide and then returned from the grave to haunt her husband.

Katsushika Hokusai.

Katsushika Hokusai.

18. “The Ghosts of Togo and His Wife” shows the ghosts of two peasants harassing their samurai lord.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

17. “Various Yokai Flying out of Wicker Clothes Hamper.”

Omoi Tsuzura.

Omoi Tsuzura.

16. The Yuki-onna (Snow Woman) kills people who are stuck in snowstorms by freezing them to death with her icy breath.

Sawaki Suushi.

Sawaki Suushi.

15. “Ashinaga and Tenaga Fishing.” The yokai with the long arms is an Ashinaga-jin, and the one with the long legs is a Tenaga-jin.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

14. “Okiku the Well Ghost.” Okiku was a servant girl who was thrown into a well by her master.

Katsushika Hokusai.

Katsushika Hokusai.

13. The ghost of Kohada Koeiji, a man who was killed by his wife and her lover. In this scene, he is hiding in a mosquito netting while watching his killers get into bed.

Katsushika Hokusai.

Katsushika Hokusai.

12. “A Ghost Appears to Kingo Chunagon.” Encounter of a ghost by late 16th century samurai Kingo Chunagon.

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.

11. “Child’s Nightmare of Ghosts.”

Kitagawa Utamaro.

Kitagawa Utamaro.

10. “Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Spectre.” Takiyasha was a 10th century princess whose rebellious father was killed by the emperor. In this scene, Takiyasha has summoned a giant skeleton to fight imperial officials.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

9. I’m not sure about the title of this one, but the man is the immortal sage Gama-Sennin. The giant toad is Gama’s companion, and they’re watching some other toads fight.

Utagawa Yoshitora.

Utagawa Yoshitora.

8. “Oiwa the Lantern Ghost.” Another depiction of the ghost featured in entry 19#.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

7. Print from Kuniyoshi’s “Bakemono Chunshingura” series, a monster adaptation of a popular play about the 47 Ronin.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

6. Depiction of a scene from the kabuki play “Ume no hara gojusan tsugi”.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

5. “The Priest Raigo of Mii Temple Transformed By Wicked Thoughts into a Rat.”

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.

4. “The Woman Shizunome Oyaku.”

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.

3. “The Ghost of Kamata Matahachi.” This is a scene from the 1855 kabuki play “True Record of the Famous Song for Hand-balls”. The male ghost is Kamata Matahachi, and the female ghost behind him is Kikuno. They had both heard about a love affair the main character Mari Yashiro had, so Yashiro killed them.

Utagawa Kunisada.

Utagawa Kunisada.

2. A print of tengu and other demon masks.

Utagawa Kunisada.

Utagawa Kunisada.

1. “The Laughing Demon.”

Katsushike Hokusai.

Katsushike Hokusai.

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The Jiangshi, a Vampire Zombie that Moves by Hopping

jiang

The jiangshi, meaning “stiff corpse”, is a monster from Chinese folklore somewhat similar to Western vampires and zombies. There are several different ways a person can become a jiangshi, and while they are usually dead beforehand, some living people can turn into jiangshi after being bitten or attacked by one. People who commit suicide, aren’t buried after death, or whose corpses become possessed by malicious spirits can all become jiangshi. Daoist priests can also reanimate the dead and turn them into jiangshi.

A jiangshi from the 1985 Mr. Vampire movie.

A jiangshi from the 1985 Mr. Vampire movie.

Jiangshi tend to vary in appearance, an individual jiangshi’s looks depending on how exactly long it had been dead. Some that had just recently died look like ordinary human beings, while others that had died a long time ago look just like rotting corpses. All of them are known, however, for their peculiar way of movement. Because of rigor mortis, a jiangshi’s arms and legs are very stiff, so they’re forced to hop and keep their arms stretched forward to grab victims easier.

Another scene from Mr. Vampire. These jiangshi were put to sleep by a Daoist priest.

Another scene from Mr. Vampire. These jiangshi were put to sleep by a Daoist priest.

In popular culture, especially in Hong Kong movies, they are usually depicted with claw-like fingernails, greenish-white skin, and wide open mouths. They wear the uniform of a Qing official, the period of Chinese history (1644-1912) when the Han Chinese were ruled by the Manchu.

A man wearing a Qing-era costume.

A man wearing a Qing-era costume.

Jiangshi avoid the sun, and because they’re afraid of rooster calls, rest in caves or coffins during the day. Once night-time comes around, they emerge from their hiding places and look for victims whose life force they can suck up. There are many ways a jiangshi can be defeated, including showing them their reflection in a mirror, setting them on fire, or throwing the blood of a black dog on them.

The word “jiangshi” has been used in Chinese literature as early as the time of the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), but this early usage referred to a corpse. By the time of the Qing, it had come to denote a supernatural reanimated corpse. Jiangshi stories were quite popular during the Qing-era, and their conventional costume might be a reinforcement of anti-Manchu backlash.

An illustration showing what the method of

An illustration showing what the method of “transporting a corpse over 1000 li” looked like.

The source of the jiangshi monster might have come from the practice of “transporting a corpse over a thousand li”, a common method of moving dead bodies in the region of Xiangxi. Dying away from home was considered a very big deal in traditional China, and families who were too poor to afford transportation to bring back a relative who died in a far away location would buy the services of “corpse walkers”. Corpse walkers, typically a team of two men, would tie corpses upright upon long bamboo rods that were carried horizontally. When seen from far away, because the rods would bump up and down, the corpses looked like they were hopping. This practice was often done at night, to avoid seeing people and because it was cooler outside.