The Mystery Of The Atlas Vampire Murder, A Gruesome Crime That Remains Unsolved

The Atlas Vampire Murder has rightfully earned its place among the oddest unsolved crimes of all time. In 1932 Sweden, sex worker Lilly Lindeström went into her room with what was almost certainly a paying client. A few days later, police discovered her dead body in that same room. Unfortunately, there's very little that police were able to ascertain about the details of this case. The lack of evidence makes it highly likely no one will ever solve this mystery.  

How does someone kill another person in a populated building without anyone hearing anything? Even more disturbing is that Lindeström's body was found drained of blood but there was no evidence as to how it had been drained. She hadn't been hung upside down and there was no entry point where a siphon could have sucked the blood from her. As a result, this is by far one of the most notable unsolved Swedish murders. The murderer, nicknamed the Atlas Vampire, is probably long dead by now. Unless, of course, he truly is an undead bloodsucker. Here's all the strange details of this bizarre unsolved murder.

  • The Killer Drank The Victim's Blood With A Gravy Ladle

    The Killer Drank The Victim's Blood With A Gravy Ladle
    Photo: swxxii / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    The police found a very clean crime scene when they came upon Lindeström's body, but one strange detail would eventually lead to a gruesome deduction. Lilly Lindeström's body was almost completely drained of blood and there was no obvious explanation for how this happened. A bloodstained gravy ladle was among the few pieces of evidence found. Putting two and two together, Swedish police officers determined that the gravy ladle was probably used by the killer as he consumed the victim's blood. It's unknown if he ladled the blood over food as if it was gravy or if he simply drank straight from the spoon.  

  • The Atlas Vampire Left A Disgusting Sexual Calling Card

    The Atlas Vampire Left A Disgusting Sexual Calling Card
    Photo: alvaro tapia hidalgo / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    One of the first things police noticed when they entered Lilly Lindeström's room was that she had clearly had sex almost immediately before her murder. In fact, a used condom was still hanging out of the deceased woman's anus. This made it even more obvious that Lindeström perished at the hands, or fangs, of one of her male clients. Due to the brutality of her murder and the location of her wounds, it's even probable that Lindeström and her client were still having sex when he bashed her head for the first time. 

  • Lilly's Death Was Brutal, But The Killer Was Tidy

    Lilly Lindeström probably didn't see the first blow coming. The medical examiner determined that she died from blunt force trauma. There were multiple blows to her head. When police found her bludgeoned body her clothing was on a chair beside her, neatly folded. Perhaps this compulsion to be tidy helps explain why the Atlas Vampire drained her blood.  

  • Lilly Was Last Seen Asking A Friend For Some Condoms

    Lilly Was Last Seen Asking A Friend For Some Condoms
    Photo: hollowcrown_ / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Lilly Lindeström worked as a prostitute, as did her friend and neighbor Minnie Jansson. As a result, the two sometimes supplied each other with condoms. Jansson was the last person aside from the Atlas Vampire to see Lindeström alive. A few days before her body was found, Jansson reported that Lindeström had gone downstairs and asked for some condoms. Jansson was concerned when she didn't see her friend in the halls over the next few days and was the one to contact the police.  

  • There Was Tons Of DNA Evidence, But No Way To Test It

    There Was Tons Of DNA Evidence, But No Way To Test It
    Photo: Sanofi Pasteur / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    1932 was pre-DNA testing. This criminal justice tool wasn't used during a case until 1986, which gave murderers an unfair advantage over the police. Therefore, despite the fact that police found semen, saliva, and other types of highly tangible evidence, there was nothing they could do with any of it. Sadly, this allowed many criminals to walk free, including the Atlas Vampire. 

  • Lilly Was Dead For A Few Days Before Police Found Her Body

    It took 35-year-old Minnie Jansson a few days to contact the police with her concerns. When officers entered Lilly Lindeström's room, they immediately knew that a murderer was on the loose in Stockholm. Lindeström died two to three days before the discovery of her dead body. This means that the murder most likely happened the night Lindeström asked Jansson for condoms or, possibly, the next morning. No one saw Lindeström's client enter or exit the building.