The Story Of The Cape Cod Vampire May Have Inspired 'American Horror Story: Red Tide'

Beginning in the spring of 1968, women began disappearing in the Provincetown area of Cape Cod, MA. What began as missing persons cases quickly turned into a homicide investigation after four bodies were found in the Truro woods during the winter of 1969.

These four women had been murdered, and their bodies were reportedly covered in bite marks. Realizing there was a potential serial killer in the area, the press soon labeled the yet unknown culprit as the Cape Cod Vampire.

The murderer turned out to be a 24-year-old carpenter and father of three, Antone "Tony" Costa. Costa had a history of violence, theft, and drug abuse, and has since been suspected of up to nine murders. The depraved nature of his crimes has inspired books, television shows, and perhaps even a season of American Horror Story.

  • Women Started Disappearing From The Provincetown Area In Late 1968

    In late May of 1968, Sydney Monzon was seen getting into a car with a young man in Truro, Cape Cod, just outside Provincetown. She was never seen after that. Several months later on September 10, a local teen named Susan Perry also went missing without a trace. Then on January 24, 1969, Patricia Walsh and Mary Anne Wysocki both vanished while visiting Provincetown. Walsh and Wysocki had driven in from Providence, RI, and were seen giving a ride to a young man before they disappeared.

    The four missing women who were eventually found all had one thing in common: They had been seen with a local resident named Antone "Tony" Costa just before they disappeared. In fact, Perry was considered to be his girlfriend, whom he referred to as "kid chick." He also told friends that Perry had gotten involved in drugs and left town for Mexico following her disappearance.

  • Police Eventually Found Three Bodies In A Cannabis Garden

    While searching the Truro woods on February 8, 1969, police found the body of Perry. It would be another month before Walsh, Wysocki, and Monzon were found in a secret cannabis garden. The three women had all been buried in shallow graves about a mile and a half from where investigators had found Perry's remains.

    Their cause of death was later determined to be gunshot wounds to the head, though their bodies showed additional trauma, which the media would sensationalize.

    The investigation into the four homicides quickly narrowed when authorities confirmed the cannabis garden belonged to Costa.

  • The Case Gained International Attention After Details About The State Of The Bodies Were Released

    The Case Gained International Attention After Details About The State Of The Bodies Were Released
    Video: YouTube

    Coverage of the missing women in Cape Cod had stayed mostly local, but after their bodies were found, the media flocked to Provincetown as graphic details of the case were made public. District Attorney Edmund Dinis gave a press conference where he claimed that not only had Walsh and Wysocki been shot in the head, but their hearts had been removed. He also explained all of the women had been dismembered, stating, "A razor-like device was found near the graves. Each body was cut into as many parts as there are joints." Dinis also noted the bodies had bite marks on them, as well as signs of necrophilia.

    After the press conference, a media storm quickly grew around the case, and the unknown culprit became known as the Cape Cod Casanova, Chop Chop, the Cape Cod Cannibal, and most notably, the Cape Cod Vampire. However, it was later discovered some of Dinis's claims were entirely false, resulting in misinformation that surrounds the case to this day.

  • Costa Was Arrested For The Murders Of The Four Women In March 1969

    Costa became a suspect after authorities learned not only that the cannabis garden belong to him, but that he had been seen with all four women prior to their disappearances. Costa's fingerprints were also recovered from the owner's manual of Walsh's Volkswagen van, which had been abandoned near the site of the bodies. Walsh and Wysocki had also been staying at the same inn where Costa rented a room, and their luggage was found hidden in his closet.

    Costa had two run-ins with the law following his return to Cape Cod in the spring of 1968. He'd been arrested for driving with a suspended license after Perry disappeared, and he was arrested again for failing to pay child support after his divorce had been finalized in August.

    When brought in for questioning in March 1969, Costa failed a polygraph test and apparently couldn't keep his stories straight. A psychiatric evaluation later labeled him as having a "schizoid" personality.

  • The Four Women In Provincetown Were Likely Not Costa's First Victims

    Costa's criminal record began in November 1961 when he was only 16. He had broken into the home of a teenage girl and attempted to assault her. He was subsequently arrested for the crime, but later given a one-year suspended sentence. Five years later in 1966, Costa was supposed to give a ride to two women named Bonnie Williams and Diane Federoff. The women were headed to Pennsylvania but were never heard from again.

    When Costa returned to Cape Cod from California in the spring of 1968, his girlfriend Barbara Spaulding wasn't with him when he arrived. She had left her baby with her family and was never found. In November of that same year, Costa was implicated in the death of a woman named Christine Gallant, who was found dead in her bathtub. Investigators later determined the two had been doing drugs together, and Gallant died from an overdose.

  • Costa Regularly Babysat For Local Children

    In 2021, Liza Rodman published her nonfiction book, The Babysitter: My Summer with a Serial Killer, about the various times Costa babysat for her. Rodman reportedly hadn't thought about Costa for decades but began to have violent dreams about him coming into her room. When she asked her mother about Costa, Rodman's mom confirmed he'd been a serial killer, though Rodman says she had no memory of it.

    Rodman claims she can only recall Costa driving her and her sister around in his truck, taking them to his cannabis garden in Truro, and being one of the few adults she trusted. As Rodman put it in an interview, "The person I knew certainly was not the person I researched." Rodman noted it felt like she was writing about two different people.