The Problem with Serial Killers: John George Haigh

The Acid Bath Murderer

John George Haigh was born on 24th July 1909 in Stamford Lincolnshire. Whilst he is known as one of the UK’s most despicable serial killers, it should be remembered that he was a stupid fucking idiot with the brains and likeability of fish in the office microwave.

Haigh was brought up in a fanatically religious household. References to ‘the Lord’ were used frequently to remind Haigh that he was always observed by a disapproving deity. Haigh himself claimed that his childhood was bleak and lonely. He had no friends. A tall fence ran around the house, erected by his father, to prevent social contact with the outside world.

Haigh’s parents belonged to the purist anticlerical religious sect known as the Plymouth Brethren. Bible stories were the only form of entertainment allowed in the house. Even participating in sports of any kind was forbidden. According to Haigh Snr, the world was ‘evil’ and the family needed to keep themselves separate.

Personally, I tend to agree with this verdict of the world, but I don’t think it’s an appropriate way to raise a child, unless you want the little idiot to grow up to become as stupid as Haigh.

Haigh was convicted of killing six people, although he claimed to have killed nine. He got his soubriquet as ‘the acid bath murderer’ from his particular form of disposal: placing corpses into acid until they were mostly dissolved. However, I’m calling him exceptionally stupid because Haigh believed this method of body disposal meant he would be exempt from the law.

According to the Crime and Investigation website:

“It was while he was incarcerated that he thought up a new scheme to become rich quickly, instead of toiling for a living. His plan was simply to go after rich, older women. Haigh had also convinced himself that if there was no corpse, then there could be no conviction. Such a belief no doubt prompted him into working with sulphuric acid in the prison’s tin shop where he experimented on mice and made studies of the effects of acid on animal tissue. After Haigh was released from prison, he set out to carry his heinous plan.”

And it’s this notion of no body/no crime that puts him at the top of my list of stupid people who’ve gone on to garner fame as serial killers. He was clearly greedy, manipulative and evil in every way that matters – but he was finally (and deservedly) hanged because of his incredible stupidity.

I’ve included a couple of images in this blog post that illustrate that there are no longer any idiots in the world who make insanely stupid misunderstandings.

Ashley Lister is currently working on a novel that involves researching the history and MO’s of a range of nefarious serial killers. This blog post is another excerpt from his notes.  Conversations with Dead Serial Killers will be available early in 2022.

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