New Orleans, Louisiana, March 14, 1919: The savage serial killer from “Hell,” known to us as The Axeman, who has murdered or horribly wounded 9 New Orleanians with his ax since May of 1918 and is still on the loose, has now sent a letter to this newspaper and issued a diabolical threat to everyone in our city. In the letter below, The Axeman taunts our police for their inability to track him down; he threatens to hack more of us to death; and, he fiendishly has instructed all of New Orleans to play jazz music in our homes on Tuesday night, March 18th—or else! Here are excerpts of The Axeman’s open letter, listing his address as Hell:
Hell, March 13, 1919
Esteemed Mortal: They have never caught me and they never will. They have never seen me, for I am invisible, even as the ether that surrounds your earth. I am what you Orleanians and your foolish police call the Axeman. When I see fit, I shall come again and claim other victims. I alone know who they will be. I shall leave no clues…. Undoubtedly, you Orleanians think of me as a most horrible murderer, which I am, but I could be much worse if I wanted to be. If I wished, I could pay a visit to your city every night. At will, I could slay thousands of your best citizens, for I am in close relationship with the Angel of Death. Now, to be exact, at 12:15 (earthly time) on next Tuesday night, I am going to visit New Orleans again. In my infinite mercy, I am going to make a proposition to you people. Here it is: I am very fond of jazz music, and I swear by all the devils in the nether regions that every person shall be spared in whose home a jazz band is in full swing at the time I have mentioned. One thing is certain and that is that some of those people who do not jazz it on Tuesday night (if there be any) will get the axe. Hoping that thou wilt publish this, and that it may go well for thee, I have been, am and will be the worst spirit that ever existed either in fact or realm of fantasy. The Axeman
This letter has been thoroughly scrutinized by police, and so far, no clues have been found. So, all we can do now is wait for Tuesday night. The police are frustrated that they have not been able to nab this demon, but The Axeman leaves no traceable clues when he commits his heinous crimes. Until he slips up, this crime spree will likely continue with his same bloody methods: Break into a random home at night, using his axe. Ruthlessly attack his victims wielding that same deadly axe. Leave the axe in a pool of blood at the scene as his calling card. Then, vanish into the night.
Tuesday night, March 18th, 1919, came and went. The Axeman did not attack that night. Some of the more frightened New Orleanians did, in fact, play jazz that evening. However, the more aggressive citizens posted circulars throughout the city prior to Tuesday, inviting The Axeman to join them in their homes for “farewell” drinks and some rather loud, well aimed “socializing.” He apparently declined all such invitations.
But, The Axeman did not stop his reign of terror. He hacked to death three more people in the months that followed, bringing his total number of victims to 12. His last attack was in October, 1919, then, the killing stopped, never to resume. It took New Orleans over a year to lose the fear that had been created by this rampage.
Just like the serial killer, Jack the Ripper, who terrorized London in 1888 with his slashing weapon, The Axeman was never caught, never identified, never a trace of him was ever found.
So, today, 92 years later, the deadly fear that clutched New Orleans has long since eased. And The Axeman himself has been relegated simply to a horrible nightmare in Southern Memories.