Carl Panzram felt odd from a young age: by the age of five or six he was a liar and thief and claimed to become meaner the older he grew. In , he was arrested and jailed for being drunk and incorrigible. While there, he was repeatedly beaten, tortured, and raped by staff members in what attendees dubbed "the paint shop", because children would leave "painted" with bruises and blood. He ran away from home at the age of 14, a couple of weeks after his parole and merely two weeks after attempting to kill a Lutheran cleric with a revolver, to become a hobo. He often traveled via train cars. He later claimed that he was once gang raped by a group of hobos aboard a train.
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Carl Panzram felt odd from a young age: by the age of five or six he was a liar and thief and claimed to become meaner the older he grew. In , he was arrested and jailed for being drunk and incorrigible. While there, he was repeatedly beaten, tortured, and raped by staff members in what attendees dubbed "the paint shop", because children would leave "painted" with bruises and blood.
He ran away from home at the age of 14, a couple of weeks after his parole and merely two weeks after attempting to kill a Lutheran cleric with a revolver, to become a hobo. He often traveled via train cars. He later claimed that he was once gang raped by a group of hobos aboard a train. Early crimes[ edit ] Panzram claimed that after escaping from a Montana State Reform School—along with an inmate named Jimmie Benson—both were involved in a string of burglaries, robberies, and arsons throughout the Midwest until they split up.
In , at the age of 15, after getting drunk in a saloon in Montana , Panzram enlisted in the United States Army. Secretary of War William Howard Taft approved the sentence. Panzram later claimed that any goodness left in him was smashed out during his Leavenworth imprisonment. While incarcerated, Panzram frequently attacked officers and refused to follow their orders.
The officers retaliated, subjecting him to beatings and other punishments. By his own admission, one of the few times he did not engage in criminal activities was when he was employed as a strikebreaker against union employees. He broke out of jail after two to three months.
While he was on the run, he used the alias "Jeff Davis". He was arrested in Harrison, Idaho, but again he escaped from county jail. He was arrested in Chinook, Montana, under the alias "Jefferson Davis" and sentenced to one year in prison for burglary to be served at the Montana State Prison. Within a week, he was arrested, giving his name as "Jeff Rhoades" in Three Forks , for burglary, and returned to Deer Lodge for an additional year.
Warden Harry Minto believed in harsh treatment of inmates, including beatings and isolation, among other disciplinary measures.
Later, Panzram stated that he swore he "would never do that seven years and I defied the warden and all his officers to make me. The one true bit of autobiography he did give was his occupation: "thief". After two shootouts, he was recaptured and returned to the prison. He would never return to the Northwest. Whitney to Panama, where he tried to steal a small boat with the help of a drunken sailor who killed everyone on board and was arrested.
He then began a murder spree that spanned eight years and multiple countries. With the money stolen from Taft he bought a yacht, the Akista. He claimed to have killed ten in all. In , Panzram was foreman of an oil rig in Angola, and later burned the rig down out of spitefulness. He later claimed that, while there, he raped and killed a boy estimated to be years-old.
In his confession to this murder, he wrote: "His brains were coming out of his ears when I left him and he will never be any deader. In Providence , he stole a yawl and sailed to New Haven, for victims to rob and rape and boats to steal. He picked up Walosin and promised him a job on the boat, but instead, sodomized him. Panzram threw the body into the river. At Newburgh, New York , Walosin, who had witnessed the murder, jumped overboard and swam to shore.
He reported to the police at Yonkers that he had been sexually assaulted by Panzram. On July 9, Panzram tried to escape from jail. He later conned his lawyer by giving him ownership of a stolen boat in return for bail money. Panzram then skipped bail and the boat was confiscated by the police. While in county jail, he confessed to being "Jeff Baldwin", and that he was wanted in Oregon.
He was discharged in July , and is alleged to have committed a murder in Baltimore , in the summer of In response to offers from death penalty opponents and human rights activists to intervene, he wrote, "The only thanks you and your kind will ever get from me for your efforts on my behalf is that I wish you all had one neck and that I had my hands on it.
Panzram was so astonished by this one act of kindness that after Lesser provided him with writing materials Panzram, while awaiting his execution, wrote a detailed summary of his crimes and nihilistic philosophy.
In this he made it quite clear that he did not repent in the least of all the robberies, murders, rapes, and arsons he had been involved in. For all these things I am not in the least bit sorry. It was released in under the title Killer: A Journal of Murder.
For 18 long years, the 6-foot tall, tattooed man with cold gray eyes acted as a single-man crime wave. This cold blooded killer , lived with more than a dozen aliases. No one knew anything about him while he lived, no one came close to guessing that all the hundreds of heinous acts were done by a single man until the November of He left his musings with his only known friend Henry Lesser, a 26 year-old jail guard. But how did Carl come to be? He was raised with five other siblings by his parents John and Matilda Panzram who were immigrants from Germany.
Carl Panzram: America's Most Repulsive Serial Killer
Let us have a look at the truly disturbing life he lived. Carl was raised on a farm with 4 other siblings, when his father abandoned the family Carl was enraged and started a life of crime. Carl Panzram started stealing from a young age. Carl panzram makes a bomb and burns down a piece of the shool. On the 7th of July , he built a firebomb to burn down the school in retaliation for what they did to him.
Carl Panzram papers, 1928-1982
Published September 1, Updated October 5, "His brains were coming out of his ears when I left him and he will never be any deader. Creative Commons Towards the end of his life, Carl Panzram gleefully confessed to 21 murders, more than acts of sodomy, and thousands of robberies and arsons. Panzram was born in Minnesota in to East Prussian immigrant parents. He was released from school in his teens and shortly after he ran away from home. Panzram moved from place to place by hopping train cars and it was during one of his rides in a train wagon that he was gang raped by a group of hobos. The whole affair shocked Panzram but, according to him, left him a much wiser boy — a boy who would soon start raping others. Panzram continued riding trains, burning down buildings, and stealing.
Guide to the Carl Panzram Papers
Note: Other Information: Please note that only photocopies are available for research. Permission must be granted by the Head of Special Collections to view the original documents. Around this time, Panzram began working in the fields of the family farm and was often beaten if he made mistakes. When he robbed a neighbor at age eleven, he was sent to the Minnesota State Training School where he was beaten and sexually abused. This experience was the first of many at various reform schools, jails, and prisons. He left home at age thirteen or fourteen and rode trains all over the Northwest. He was eventually caught for larceny and sent to the Montana State Reform School in