It’s been a bit since we chatted about a serial killer. So I went a-searchin’ and stumbled on... a weird one (even by serial killer standards).
Richard Chase made headlines when he murdered and mutilated six people in the span of a month in Sacramento, California in the 1970s.
So what sets him apart from other serial killers, you ask? Oh nothing crazy, just that he DRANK THE BLOOD of his victims. This little habit helped him gain the nickname, The Vampire of Sacramento.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we dive in, let’s answer this week’s riddle:
When you need me, you throw me away. When you don’t need me, you bring me back.
What am I?
Answer: A ship’s anchor!!
Were your puzzle solving abilities up to the task? Your ability to solve riddles and ciphers will be important when solving the crime in our Private Detective virtual series. (The beta test is underway and we cannot wait to drop Part 1 for everyone.)
But it’s not ready yet, so let’s get back to this vampire fella. (Also, if you’re squeamish, maybe skip this one. The dude is messssssed up.)
I saw the sign, and it opened up my eyes
As a child and even more so as an adolescent, Richard Chase displayed some early warning signs. He wet the bed. He set small fires. He was cruel to animals.
These three habits are sometimes known as the Macdonald triad - a predictor of sociopathy in a patient, first proposed in 1963 by psychiatrist J.M. Macdonald.
As a young adult, Chase’s father kicked him out of the house. He turned to alcohol and drugs and that eventually developed a substance abuse problem. (It was during this point he found psychotropic drugs and his mental illness became exacerbated. Who knew! More drugs didn’t solve it…)
On a few of these drug-assisted occasions he became convinced his heart had stopped and thought he was a walking corpse (ya know, like...a vampire).
I’ve. Got. Psycho vision. I’ve. Got. Psycho vision
In 1975 Chase injected rabbit’s blood into his body and was hospitalized. The incident led to him being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and soon after, institutionalized.
There he earned the nickname “Dracula” among the hospital’s staff. Why? Oh, nothing crazy, just killing birds around the grounds and trying to drink their blood.
When asked why he was trying to drink bird blood, Chase said it was to stave off a poison that he had imagined to be slowly turning his blood into a powder.
Despite this insane behavior, Chase was released from the hospital and into his mother’s care. (How? Seriously. How do they release this person?)
I fought the law, and the law won
Chase ditched his mother’s house to live alone pretty soon after release. Then he began capturing and killing small animals. He would either eat them raw or blend their organs with soda and drink it.
In August 1977, police found him near Lake Tahoe covered in blood and in possession of a liver in a bucket. Officers determined both the blood and organ were a cow’s, so they let him go. (Sure, because it’s normal if it’s a cow…).
By December of 1977, that same year, the killing began. One of his M.O.’s was an unlocked door. He felt it was “an invitation” for him (very vampire-ish, this guy really leaned into it).
Dec 1977: Ambrose Griffin. Chase shot him in the chest outside the grocery store.
Jan 1978: Teresa Wallin (first unlocked door victim - all future victims were the same). Shot three times then stabbed her. Then he cut out her organs and drank her blood...out of a yogurt cup…
Jan 1978: Evelyn Miroth, her sons (6 year-old) and nephew (1 year-old), and Dan Meredith. All Evelyn’s house. Evelyn had multiple organs missing. All shot except the 1-year-old who was found behind a church...decapitated.
It was Miroth’s murder that led to his capture. Someone knocked on the door during the incident and Chase fled in Miroth’s car.
However, police identified Chase’s prints in the blood at the scene. They then searched his house and found all his utensils stained with blood. His fridge contained human brains….
Chase was arrested and found guilty (despite his attempt at an insanity plea). He was put to death.
Dive deep...maybe? Idk, maybe just watch the uplifting video and call it a day
I know, I know, depressing read for a Wednesday morning. Here’s a video of celebrities reading mean tweets about themselves to cheer you up. But if you DO want to deep dive into this insanity, here’s a 2-part Serial Killer podcast:
-Andy & Mark
Pssst. Hey! You. Yeah, you, the one still reading. Question: are you a true fan of Mystery and Crime? If so, join our official Mystery Nibbles Facebook group and our official SubReddit. We discuss all the goods: mysteries, crime, and anything ‘spicious.