Thirty-two-year-old Lilly Lindstrom, who lived alone in an apartment in the Atlas area of Stockholm, Sweden, was known to other residents in her building as “the call girl.” This was not because of her job as a prostitute, but because her room was the only one in the building that had a phone.
It wouldn’t be long before she would become known for something much more sinister.
On May 4, 1932, Lindstrom’s body was found face down on her bed: naked, and, bizarrely, with most of her blood drained. The police who found her had been alerted by friend and fellow prostitute Minnie Jansson, who lived downstairs and hadn’t seen Lindstrom in several days. When authorities entered the room and found Lindstrom’s body, they also found her clothes lying neatly folded on the chair next to the bed. She had been dead for two or three days.
Though the cause of death was determined to have been repeated blows to the head from a blunt object, it was the body’s lack of blood which struck police investigators, giving the case its nickname, the “Atlas Vampire Murder.”
Evidence found at the scene of the crime indicated that Lindstrom had engaged in sexual activity—probably with her murderer—just before her death. Police found saliva on Lindstrom’s neck and body, and a used condom still lodged in her anus. While the sexual activity may have explained the saliva, the blood loss was another story, and police determined that a blood-stained gravy ladle found in the apartment had been used to drink her blood.
Little else is known about the identity or the modus operandi of the so-called Atlas Vampire, and as far as we know he has never struck again. Though there would probably be plenty of DNA evidence to find a perpetrator today, in 1932, such forensic advances were beyond the reach of law enforcement. The police searched the neighbourhood and interviewed several of Lindstrom’s former clients, but never made any arrests. Officially, the case remains unsolved.
Much of the evidence gathered from the Atlas Vampire Murder, including what look to be condom wrappers, are still on display in Stockholm’s Police Museum, alongside a schematic of Lindstrom’s apartment.
In the years since the Atlas Vampire Murder, some have circulated the idea that her killer was a police officer, who would have known how to cover his tracks. There’s little to substantiate this theory, though, besides the murder’s lack of any significant suspects.
Regardless of his identity, it seems unlikely that the Atlas Vampire could still be alive after more than 80 years: unless, of course, he really was a blood-hungry supernatural creature.
By: Orrin Grey (THE LINEUP)
This story was originally featured on The-Line-Up.com. The Lineup is the premier digital destination for fans of true crime, horror, the mysterious, and the paranormal.