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Stanley Dean BAKER





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Cannibalism - Drugs
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: April/July 1970
Date of arrest: July 13, 1970
Date of birth: 1948
Victims profile: Robert Salem, 40 / James Schlosser, 22
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: California/Montana, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison in Montana in 1970. Released in 1985

On July 13, 1970, a hippie hitchhiker named Stanley Dean Baker was arrested in California for the murder of a Montana man who had stopped to give him a ride. According to police, Baker admitted that he had shot the man to death and then cannibalized the body. (In fact, Baker admitted to cutting out and eating the victim’s heart and also had bones from the man’s fingers in his pocket when apprehended).

Baker was branded a “hippie satanist” by the popular press because he had both a recipe for LSD and a copy of The Satanic Bible in his possession when he was arrested. While Baker would later tell both law enforcement officials and fellow inmates that he had participated in a “blood drinking cult” in Wyoming, he later confessed that his crimes were actually the result of his drug use and had nothing to do with any involvement with satanism.


Baker, Stanley Dean

On July 13, 1970, California Highway Patrol officers received reports of a hit-and-run accident at Big Sur. 

Three persons had been injured in one car, while two long-haired males sped away in another, fleeing the scene of the crash. Patrolmen found two longhairs walking down a nearby road and noted similarities in the descriptions. Under questioning, one suspect readily confessed involvement in the accident, startling police as he added, "I have a problem. I'm a cannibal." 

To prove the point, Stan Baker turned his pockets out and palmed a human finger bone -- removed, he said, from his most recent victim in Montana. Baker's sidekick, Harry Allen Stroup, was also carrying a bony digit, and the pair were taken into custody on suspicion of homicide. Investigators in Montana found the mutilated remains of victim James Schlosser in the Yellowstone River, his heart and several fingers missing from the scene. 

The case was grim enough, but Baker was not finished talking, yet. According to his statement, he had been recruited by Satanic cultists from a college campus in his home state of Wyoming. An alleged member of the homicidal "Four Pi movement," Baker had sworn allegiance to the cult's master -- known to intimates as the "Grand Chingon" -- and he had committed other slayings on the cult's behalf. There had been human sacrifices, he reported, in the Santa Ana Mountains, south of Los Angeles. 

Displaying supposed cult tattoos, Baker also confessed participation in the April 20, 1970 murder of Robert Salem, a 40-year-old lighting designer in San Francisco. Salem had been stabbed 27 times and nearly decapitated, his left ear severed and carried away in a crime that Baker attributed to orders from the Grand Chingon. Slogans painted on the walls in Salem's blood -- including "Zodiac" and "Satan Saves" -- were meant to stir up panic in an atmosphere already tense from revelations in the Manson murder trial. Baker, 22, and his 20-year-old companion were returned to Montana on July 20. 

Convicted of murder, both were sentenced to prison, where Baker continued his efforts on behalf of the cult. Authorities report that he actively solicited other inmates to join a Satanic coven, and full moons seemed to bring out the worst in Stanley, causing him to howl like an animal.

He sometimes threatened prison guards, and was relieved of homemade weapons on eleven separate occasions, but administrators still saw fit to let him travel through the prison system, teaching transactional analysis to other inmates. 

Harry Stroup discharged his sentence and was released in 1979; Stanley Baker was paroled to his native Wyoming six years later, requesting that his present whereabouts remain confidential. 

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans


Stanley Dean Baker

At three o'clock on the afternoon of Saturday, 11 july 1970, a man out fishing on the banks of the Yellowstone River in Montana snagged a human body at the end of his line. He drove in shock to the nearest ranch to telephone the police, and Deputy Bigelow, who was, stationed at the entrance to Yellowstone National Park responded to the call.

With the aid of some local men, the deputy waded into the turbulent river and dragged the body to shore. Although accustomed to routine drowning cases, Bigelow knew immediately that this was murder. The head was missing.

Bigelow called Sheriff Don Guitoni, who drove Coroner Davis to the scene. All three men crouched over the body, which was clad only in shorts. It was that of a male. Apart from the missing head, the arms had also been severed at the shoulders and the legs chopped off at the knees. The abdomen and chest were covered with stab wounds, with a particularly large ugly hole in the chest.

The coroner looked shocked when he concluded his examination. 'I never saw anything like it,' he said grimly. 'The poor fellow's been stabbed about twenty-five times and I figure he's been in the water about a day ... He was a young fellow, probably in his early twenties.' He paused. 'There's one other thing,' he said. 'The heart is missing!' The chest had been cut open and the heart removed.

For the sheriff it was a major headache. All normal means of identifying the body - the head and hands had been deliberately removed. But why the gratuitous butchery of the rest of the body? Why cut off the legs? Why remove the heart?

The only thing it suggested was that it was some form of cult murder. There had been a rash of them recently, all connected with secret groups of devil-worshippers. The Sharon Tate case had grabbed the headlines, but similar bizarre killings were going on all over the USA.

The torso was taken by ambulance to the morgue in Livingston for a proper autopsy to be carried out, while police teletyped details of the victim to Wyoming and other neighbouring states. It was impossible to tell where the body had been dumped in the river, and the Yellow stone passed through Wyoming before entering Montana and the National Park. Although police searched the river and its banks for many miles, no traces of the missing limbs were found.

The results of the autopsy indicated that the victim had been stabbed twenty-seven times with a sharp-pointed blade of at least five inches in length. The removal of the head and limbs had been crudely performed, possibly with the knife used to inflict the stab wounds. The victim was in his early twenties and had been dead for twenty-four hours when found. Police had to wait until someone was reported missing.

On the Monday morning a teletype message came chattering into the sheriff's office in Livingston, concerning a missing person who resembled the description of the torso. James Michael Schlosser, aged twenty-two, had been reported missing from the town of Roundup, a hundred miles away, that same morning.

He had set out on the Friday to drive to Yellowstone Park in his Opel Kadett sports car, but had not turned up for work on the Monday. When his office colleagues got in touch with his landlady, they discovered that the popular young social worker had not returned home.

Schlosser was described as being six feet tall and weighing two hundred pounds. The age, height and weight fitted the torso. Sheriff Guitoni put out an alert for sightings of his Opel Kadett car, which might have been dumped in the area. It was a 1969 vehicle, yellow, with black racing stripes.

An hour later that same car was, in a collision with a pick-up truck on a dirt road in Monterey County, California, just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. The car had been travelling at speed on the wrong side of the road. The truck suffered only a dented bumper, but the car was a write-off. The driver of the truck was a businessman from Detroit on holiday. He got out of his truck and approached the car, from which two large young men were emerging. Both men were typical Californian hippies, with long hair and beards.

One was blond, the other dark. The blond man was about six feet tall and very powerfully built, with shoulder-length golden hair. He wore a leather waistcoat and bell-bottom trousers, topped with an Army fatigue jacket. His companion wore cowboy boots and a green Army field jacket. The businessman might have expected trouble, but the hippies were friendly.

The businessman wanted to exchange driver's licences, but neither happy had one, so he took the registration number of their vehicle and suggested he should drive them both to the nearest telephone so the police could be notified of the accident. Both hippies shrugged and got into his truck. But when he drove into a service station in the town of Lucia, both men got out and ran away into nearby woods.

The businessman phoned the police and told them about the incident, giving the registration number of the other vehicle. It was that of the car belonging to the missing Schlosser, and the California Highway Patrol were alerted to keep an eye out for two hippies, wanted in connection with a homicide.

Patrolman Randy Newton was out cruising the Pacific Coast Highway when he got the call over his radio, and he turned off into a dirt side-road, figuring that the two fugitives could not have got far.

He came upon the suspects walking along the road just two miles out of Lucia, trying to hitch a lift. The two men had no identification, but readily admitted having been the two men in the Opel Kadett involved in the accident. Newton arrested both men and radioed for assistance. When fellow officers arrived, the two suspects were handcuffed and advised of their rights.

But the blond man seemed anxious to talk, positively eager, even. Identifying himself as Stanley Dean Baker, aged twenty-three, and his companion as Harry Allen Stroup, aged twenty, Baker said they were both from Sheridan, Wyoming, and had been travelling together since 5 June, hitching lifts when they could.

The prisoners were searched, and in Baker's pockets police found small lengths of bone. Officer Newton studied them curiously and asked Baker what they were.

Baker blurted out: 'They ain't chicken bones. They're human fingers.' Then he added, memorably and in typically American phraseology: 'I have a problem. I'm a cannibal.

Both men were taken to the police station in Monterey, Baker continuing to talk in the patrol car about his compulsion to eat human flesh. He claimed to have developed a taste for it after having electric shock treatment for a nervous disorder when he was seventeen, and referred to himself as 'Jesus'.

At the police station Detective Dempsey Biley took over the questioning. Baker almost boasted of how he had killed the owner of the Opel Kadett, saying Stroup had not been with him at the time. He and Stroup had split up when they reached Big Timber, a few miles from Livingston, because Baker had managed to hitch a ride with James Schlosser.

When Schlosser had said he was going to the Yellowstone Park for the weekend, Baker had asked to go along, and the two men had set up camp for the night close to the Yellowstone River.

In the middle of the night Baker had crept over to his sleeping companion and shot him twice in the head with a .22 pistol he habitually carried. Then he had cut up the body into six parts, removing the head, arms and legs. When asked what he had done with the dead man's heart, Baker replied: 'I ate it. Raw.'

He explained that he had cut off the dead man's fingers to have something to chew on, and dumped the remainder of the body in the river, along with the pistol, before driving off in his victim's car.

Later he had met up with Harry Stroup along the road and offered him a lift. He insisted that Stroup had not been involved in the murder.

Both men were searched thoroughly and among Baker's possessions was a recipe for LSD and a paperback book called The Satanic Bible, which was a handbook of devil-worship with instructions on how to conduct a black mass.

Baker described the location of the camp where he had killed Schlosser, and when police officers located it and searched it, they found evidence that murder had indeed taken place at that spot. The earth was splattered with dried blood and a bloodstained hunting knife was found. There was also the usual debris which accompanies any such murder: human bone fragments, teeth, skin and a severed human ear.

The pair were taken before a judge in California and waived extradition. Subsequently they were flown back to Montana, where they were arraigned before District Judge Jack Shamstrom on 27 July. The pair were remanded in Park County jail, but on 4 August Judge Shamstrom approved a motion that Baker be sent to Warm Springs State Hospital for psychiatric evaluation. Harry Stroup had remained silent throughout, apparently guilty of nothing more than having befriended a homicidal maniac and devil-worshipper. Those short lengths of bone found on Baker were sent to a pathologist for examination and proved to be bones from a human right index finger.

No motive for the crime was claimed by the prosecution, apart from the cannibal aspect: the lust for human flesh. But as we have seen from an examination of man-eating tribes in New Guinea and elsewhere, the eating of a slain foe symbolizes total conquest and total contempt' for the victim, who is digested and then excreted.

It may be that Baker, the non-conforming hippy with no job, viewed the young Schlosser, a college graduate with a sports car, horn-rimmed glasses and expensive camping equipment, as a respectable 'square' who had prospered within the system; a symbol of everything he could not be and a mirror to his own failure.

In that case envy would be the motive, a 'have-not' who saw himself as a social reject, lashing out violently at a respectable member of society - with the same blind ferocity as a snake striking at a stick.

This story is taken from Cannibalism: The Last Taboo, by Brian Marriner (Arrow Books, London, 1992)

The Wacky World of Murder



MO: Mutilation/cannibal murders influenced by Satanism.

DISPOSITION: Mont. life sentence (paroled 1985).



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