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April 23, 2004

BTK - Harvey Glatman Influence?

The self named, BTK Strangler wrote the following in a 1978 letter to KAKE:

"You don't understand these things because your not underthe influence of factor x. The same thing that made Son of Sam, Jack The Ripper, Havery Glatman, Boston Strangler, Dr. H.H. Holmes Panty Hose Strangler of Florida, Hillside Strangler, Ted of The West Coast and many more infamous character kill. . . It seems senseless but we cannot help it, There is no help, no cure, except death or being caught and put away. . ."

P.S. How about some name for me, its time: 7 down and many more to go. I like the following. How about you? 'THE B.T.K STRANGLER, 'WICHITA STRANGLER', 'POETIC STRANGLER', 'THE BONDAGE STRANGER' OR 'PSYCHO', 'THE WICHITA HANGMAN', THE WICHITA EXECUTIONER, 'THE GAROTE PHATHOM', 'THE ASPHYXIATER'.

btkblindsThe "Havery Glatman" referred to is actually Harvey Glatman, who killed three young women in the late 1950's. He is one of the first sexually sadistic, serial killers to be identified, even before the term "serial killer" came into use.

I have seen many people on crime forums point out similiarities between BTK and the Zodiac Killer. I agree with those similiarities but I also feel BTK lifted elements of other killer's MO's. I can see some details I believe BTK adopted from Harvey Glatman.

As I said in an earlier entry, I think BTK may have been a fan and even a subscriber of some of those lurid, old "detective", or "true crime" magazines, that were illustrated nearly always with staged photos of models bound, frightened and in danger. Glatman loved these magazines and imitated their photos by forcing his victims to pose in the same manner. More photos would be taken after he killed the woman... to be kept as "trophies", no doubt to be used in "private moments". I think it is very possible BTK learned of, indeed studied the crimes of the killers he mentioned in the pages of "true crime" magazines.

Similiarities or interesting possibilities I see between BTK and Harvey Glatman:

  • As a child, Glatman practiced autoerotic asphyxia, asphyxiaphilia, or hypoxyphilipa. Put simply, he found ways to strangle himself while masturbating. BTK, as seen in the quote above, suggested "ASPHYXIATER'" as a name for himself. Influence? Did BTK have the same perverse attraction as a child or teen? Note that of the nine names he suggests for himself, at least six have to do with strangling in some form. He seems fixated on that aspect of his crimes. I recall a quote somewhere made by a Wichita citizen claiming he would strangle a victim repeatedly but then let them "come back". I can not locate this quote. If anyone reading has heard of this aspect in regards to BTK, let me know. If true, to me this sounds like autoerotic asphyxia to me, practicing it on his victim for his own pleasure.
  • In his teens, before his killing career Glatman began burglarizing homes. At times he would choose a woman, follow her home, watch for a while, then break in. BTK seems to have staked out and stalked his victims for some period of time beforehand as well.
  • During his teenage burglary career, Glatman would bind a female victim, fondle her, and sometimes himself. At this stage, he did not undress or rape his victims. The similiarity I see here is that BTK does not seem to have fully undressed his victims, nor did he rape them. But in some instances semen was found indicating he did masturbate at some point in the crime.
  • Before at least one of his murders, Glatman parked his car halfway down the street from his victim's home. I believe that BTK was parking his car elsewhere as well, and then taking the victim's vehicle to whereever he left his own parked.
  • By the time Glatman progressed to the killing stage, he was carrying with him a gun, a knife, rope or some bondage material, and a camera. BTK had all the same items it seems, in most if not all his crimes.
  • Glatman took photos of his victims before and after death, posing them to suit his fantasies. We know that BTK took some photos after killing Wegerle, also possibly posing her body?

Something else that I have mulled over... the use of venetian blind cord in the Otero murders and on Mrs. Vian's neck. Was this type of cord used in any of the other murders I wonder? It strikes me that this is a lot of venetian blind cord for a person to have. Who has such a thing around? What most people would have would be in use in the obvious place... on blinds on windows, not loose in quantities large enough to bind and strangle several people.

Who would have such cord in quantity? Someone who installed blinds and window coverings possibly? Someone who repaired them when the cord was broken might very feasibly have rolls of it on hand. I found at least one such business in Wichita, whose website states they have over 35 years experience. If that 35 years was all in Wichita, that puts them in the right time period. In this vein, I noted that after the Fox murder telephone call, witness reported the man who left the receiver hanging, wore a "blue-gray industrial-type uniform or outfit and possibly a hat which had earflaps." and that he was driving a "late-model van, probably not over two or three years old, which may have had some type of writing, possibly advertising, on the side of it." A commercial blind and window covering business that installs might very well have such a van and possibly have employees wearing such an outfit.

I won't name the business, since that seems possibly unfair to a reputable establishment. But I noted with interest that their current address is on West Central. The Fox phone call was made at 8:20 am on the corner of Central and St. Francis Ave. I cannot find that intersection on any map online. This may be pertinent or not, certainly gave me reason to consider it though... as if he made the phone call on the way back to work that morning?

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Posted by: Psyche | April 23, 2004 12:32 PM

This is the most current article on the "suspicious six"


Posted by: Psyche | April 23, 2004 12:41 PM

Psyche~ I read the same thing about asphyxia. I think it was on the ezboard. I will look for it. Here is some info on the cords. From the Kansas board. I'll be back with more...

From: AnnieB Apr-21 8:48 pm
To: petpeeve (22 of 127)

930.22 in reply to 930.8

A few things with kids:
* He put a bag over the little Otero boys head. This could indicate that he had to hide his eyes for whatever reason. It possibly signifies some sort of a connection with that child.

* He ceased tying up the Vian child when he began crying, and instead shut the childen in the bathroom. These children were not harmed eventhough BTK said that he had intended to kill them, but that, the phone ringing unexpectadly cut short his deed.

* There were venetian blind cords cut from some venetian blinds, which had been placed outside of a daycare, (Or some other sort of childcare center. I can't recall exactly) for the purpose of washing. This was done just before one of the murders took place, and after the murder, it was reported to the police. Why was he there? This has always bothered me. Did he really just happen upon those venetian blinds laying on the lawn...run up...cut them and then run away? Or was he there regularly, and thus, less likely to raise suspicion when he cut them? I think he was at that child care center for a purpose. Maybe I am reading too much into this point but to me it is another connection to children.

* Someone said that there are parks near most, or possibly all of, the homes wherein the murders took place. I asked this question before because I really don't know...were these parks where children might play? If so, couldn't he have been there with children, stalking...watching, while again avoiding detection because it was all considered normal behavior?

* He wrote about S. Vian in nursery rhyme form, fashioned from a children's book. And he wrote a poem on an index card with a children's stamping kit.

I still believe that there is some sort of a connection with children which was more than just a fleeting connection. Father, older sibling...something.
Edited 4/23/2004 10:28 am ET by AnnieB

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Posted by: Jules | April 23, 2004 01:04 PM

Well if the cord came from blinds discarded somewhere, my whole idea of the Blind business is way off base. But he was supposed to have used the cord to bind all the Oteros up. It seems like that would take more than what you'd get from one blind. Maybe there were a lot of them discarded.

I still am fixated on him being a subscriber to true crime mags, and studying Glatman and others from them.

Posted by: Psyche | April 23, 2004 01:11 PM

Jules, if you want the name of the one I am talking about, email me and I will reply.

Posted by: Psyche | April 23, 2004 01:30 PM

Psyche~ On the Blinds thing...My relatives own a custom window coverings shop in Wichita. I will name it since it isn't the one you are talking about (Laurco Fabrics) We are pretty distantly related, but I wonder if they would know about other companies using vans and uniforms. Might see if I can ask through the grapevine kinda thing. I couldn't find the address on W. Central of the one you are trying to locate. I do however know where Saint Francis is. My son was born at Saint Francis Hospital. The link has a star for the hospital, just south of it is Central. Note that streets don't switch from E. to W. until Broadway. Compare this to the address you have. I will email you my email address if you need further help with locations!

Posted by: Jules | April 23, 2004 01:30 PM

If the blinds place I am referring to was at the same address then, as it is now... then it is about 9 miles or so from the phone booth BTK used at Central and St. Francis

Posted by: Psyche | April 23, 2004 01:40 PM

I don't think you are as off with that idea as you do. I have heard of that business. In fact I'm positive they have vans, don't know about uniforms. Interesting to think about anyway. I agree with you about the mags. I also STRONGLY agree that he studied other SK's and took bits from each.

Posted by: Jules | April 23, 2004 01:44 PM

Well even if they use vans and uniforms now... or not... we still wouldn't know if they were using them then.

Fox was killed sometime after she got home that night. BTK made the Fox call at 8:25 in the morning at a pay phone at Central and St. Francis. Do I have that right? And the business I am speculating about is about 9 miles down Central from that pay phone. So,just wild spec... but he could have been calling on the way to work, or after he had gone to work and picked up the van.

Posted by: Psyche | April 23, 2004 01:53 PM

Yes you are right. Also keep in mind this was the 70's. Were there payphones on every corner? Need to check location, but it seems within a few miles of the murder as well...

Posted by: Jules | April 23, 2004 02:02 PM

Found it!

Posted by: Jules | April 23, 2004 02:10 PM

I find the reference to "Dr. H.H. Holmes Panty Hose Strangler of Florida" also very intriguing.

Posted by: dutch | April 23, 2004 06:22 PM

I think there was supposed to be a comma in there, but I don't know if BTK left it out or someone transcribing along the way.

Dr. H.H. Holmes was a "doctor" in the late 1800's who was a serial killer. http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial6/holmes/

But he was not a "panty hose strangler". There were NO pantyhose then. LOL

I have found nothing on the net about a pantyhose strangler except something about an old Aussie TV show, with a pantyhose strangler character.

I have asked several times if anyone else knows who he is talking about. No replies. My guess is STILL that he was a reader of true crime mags and that the "Panty Hose Strangler" was the name they stuck on someone and BTK was a fan. Remember the letter to Fager's widow, where someone claimed to be a "fan" of the murderer's work?

Posted by: Psyche | April 23, 2004 07:21 PM

JULES... did you find out anything about that blind installer business?

Posted by: Psyche | April 23, 2004 09:57 PM

The van and uniforms? Not yet, have to make a couple of calls to send the question through the grapevine. I don't know them well enough to just call up and say, "Hey haven't seen you in 10 yrs. How's it going, oh yeah did any of your competitors use vans or wear gray uniforms 20+ yrs ago?" LOL!! My family already thinks I'm slightly excentric! As for the address, yes I did look. The Fox home is less than 5 miles from where the call was placed. The business is like you said about 9 miles. All on the same side of town. Interesting theory. Right now I'm looking for any info on the pantyhose strangler.

Posted by: Jules | April 23, 2004 10:31 PM

Good luck, I sure couldn't find anything on a Panty Hose Strangler. Tried it as one word, two words etc.

I just bet it was the nickname some true crime rag gave to a perp they wrote about in the 70's and BTK admired his "work" as he says. Copied him probably. Which one did he strangle with hosiery? Fox?

Posted by: Psyche | April 23, 2004 10:37 PM

OK JULES... how about this? He said "Panty Hose Strangler", but maybe it was the Stocking Strangler he meant?

This guy sounds right up BTK's alley. Used a stocking in some cases, but used VENETIAN CORD in one.

Posted by: Psyche | April 23, 2004 10:49 PM

Psyche~ OMG! I think you got it! That has to be it! Gotta finish reading it!

Posted by: Jules | April 23, 2004 10:54 PM

You know what JULES? I think WPD should be asking Carlton Gary who has written him over the years. It would be just like BTK to write him and tell him he admires him. Don't you think?

These guys love to write each other. I was shocked to read of Bundy and others corresponding with each other while in prison.

Posted by: Psyche | April 23, 2004 10:57 PM

JULES.. Look... Carlton Gary's trial started in August 1986. BTK killed Wegerle in September 1986.

Connection? Inspired to kill again when he reads of Gary going to trial?

Posted by: Psyche | April 23, 2004 11:06 PM

Just finished reading...You are on to something! I have a suggestion. Since we know WPD is monitoring the Kansas site, and you posted there yesterday. Post that suggestion, see what others on that site think of the theory of the Stocking Strangler being who BTK was talking about. After all this Stocking guy started in 1970. BTK started in what 73? I wonder when the papers started reporting about this guy..When did they give him a name?

Posted by: Jules | April 23, 2004 11:09 PM

You know they don't even have to talk to Gary, the prisons monitor what goes in and out.

Posted by: Jules | April 23, 2004 11:11 PM

It says he returned to Fort Meyers Florida at 16 and then on to Gainsville. Where did Nellie Farmer live? I can't find where the crimes happened. Didn't BTK call him the Pantyhose Strangler in Florida?

Posted by: Jules | April 23, 2004 11:21 PM

Shoot, that's right Jules. So Gary may not be who he was referring to. Darn it.

Back to it being someone relatively obscure in the SK world.

Posted by: Psyche | April 23, 2004 11:22 PM

He committed the rape/killings in Georgia. The string of restaurant robberies were in Florida

Posted by: Psyche | April 23, 2004 11:30 PM

All of his crimes seem to have happened in Columbus, GA. I don't think we should rule this guy out yet... Panty hose, venetian blind cords, years match. Lets keep digging on him.

Posted by: Jules | April 23, 2004 11:33 PM

Considering BTK said Pantyhose not Stalkings and FL not GA. This could have been a mistake or on purpose...Seriously how many other SK's were there in that part of the country using blind cords and pantyhose? I wonder if the knots used in Gary's stranglings are detailed anywhere. BTK's are check for similarities. Stretch but who knows. What do you think about suggesting on the Kansas board?

Posted by: Jules | April 23, 2004 11:38 PM

I don't know Jules. Gary fits and he doesn't fit. I don't think there would be any know similiarity between him and BTK, because most of the time Gary used the stocking, not cord.

Still it seems like the dates are very fortuitous. Especially Wegerle soon after Gary is convicted.

Posted by: Psyche | April 23, 2004 11:51 PM

Check this out...

Posted by: Jules | April 23, 2004 11:52 PM

The Johnsville News blog has a new BTK entry

Focusing on BTK's mention of H.H. Holmes

Posted by: Psyche | April 24, 2004 12:02 AM

Here's an interesting site. I'm working on looking through all the SK's listed for FL and strangling. It will take me some time. Let ya know what I find.
Boy I hope this doesn't bore everyone else when the read all this! LOL!

Posted by: | April 24, 2004 12:13 AM

Was that you Jules?

Posted by: Psyche | April 24, 2004 12:16 AM

Sorry yes.

Posted by: Jules | April 24, 2004 12:25 AM

Great insights here. The Panty Hose/Stocking Strangler reference is very interesting. Always excellent writing and "out-of-the-box" thinking here at "The Knot"...my favorite "crime" hangout.

Posted by: dutch | April 24, 2004 12:47 AM

Thanks Dutch...but I will disappoint you if you think me just a "crime" hangout. There's no telling what I will write about when the mood or the muse strikes. Personal stuff, silliness, yada.

The beauty of the blog is the freedom to bore, to bloviate, to be brilliant, to be bitchy, whatever you feel like at the moment your fingers hit the keys.

Let me know if you find anymore on the "panty hose strangler" Jules or the blinds angle. You are a great researcher.

Posted by: Psyche | April 24, 2004 12:59 AM

I researched every last one that had anything about FL or strangling. The only one that happened before 1978 when BTK wrote the letter was Carlton Gary! I really think that has to be who BTK was referring to. He did mis-spell Harvey, don't know if he left out the comma between H.H. Holmes and the Pantyhose Strangler or not. I don't think it's all that big of a stretch. You know what else I'm wondering about? What if...He IS still alive and is behind this re-emergence? Several of the sites I went to didn't list him as a serial killer. Maybe because they have no name...not solved. Maybe he wants his claim to fame before he's gone?? All the other SK's he mentioned in that letter are famous after all.... (In his mind that is)

Posted by: Jules | April 24, 2004 01:20 AM

I included that link about Gary's DNA testing because I was wondering what percentage of the population that happens to. Isn't there something about BTK's semen and only 6% of the population matching something about it? Just wondering if there is a connection.

Posted by: Jules | April 24, 2004 01:22 AM

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