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Andreas BICHEL






A.K.A.: "The Bavarian Ripper"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Fortune-teller - Robberies - Dismemberment
Number of victims: 2 +
Date of murders: 1806 - 1808
Date of arrest: May 19, 1808
Date of birth: 1760
Victims profile: Barbara Reisinger / Katharina Seidel
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife - Beating with an axe
Location: Bavaria, Germany
Status: Executed by beheading on June 9, 1809

Andreas Bichel enticed young women into his house, under the pretence that he was possessed of a magic mirror, in which he would show them their future husbands; when he had them in his power he bound their hands behind their backs, and stunned them with a blow. He then stabbed them and despoiled them of their clothes, for the sake of which he committed the murders; but as he killed the young women the passion of cruelty took possession of him, and he hacked the poor girls to pieces whilst they were still alive, in his anxiety to examine their insides. Catherine Seidel he opened with a hammer and a wedge, from her breast downwards, whilst still breathing. "I may say," he remarked at his trial, "that during the operation I was so eager, that I trembled all over, and I longed to rive off a piece and eat it."

Andreas Bichel was executed in 1809.

The Book of Were-Wolves, by Sabine Baring-Gould, [1865]


Andreas Bichel

1770 - 1808

"The Bavarian Ripper"

Despite an occasional inability to keep his hands off things that did not belong to him, Andreas Bichel was not considered to be a dangerous man. It was true that he sometimes pilfered vegetables from neighbors' gardens, & once, while working at an inn, he was caught trying to sneak away with some of the hay from his employer's barn, but in the early 19th century, in the Bavarian town of Regendorf, he was still considered to be a harmless enough fellow. He certainly kept up a respectable front: he had a wife, children, & a home & was able to suppost all three.

In order to support his family, Bichel was willing to try unorthodox vocations. After he wore out his welcome with his innkeeper employer, he went into the business of fortune telling. He professed to be able to see people's futures through a special magic mirror, as it was called. What this amounted to was a magnifying glass propped up on a small wooden board, a makeshift device that was supposed to provide a mystical glimpse into things that will be.

This fortune telling gimmick would play a part in the first murder Bichel would commit. When Barbara Reisinger came to his house in 1807, on a day that his family was not around, Bichel was only interested in the woman as a prospective housemaid. But then something about her triggered an altogether different idea.

Steering into the conversation away from her qualifications for employment, he told her about his talent for divination, & the young woman agreed to have her fortune told. But the procedure for seeing the future in this case turned out to be quite unusual, if not outright bizarre. Bichel had Reisinger sit down, facing the magic mirror placed on an adjacent table. To make sure she wouldn't touch the magic glass & thus ruin the spell, Bichel insisted that the youn woman's hands be bound behind her. She would also have to have her eyes covered. Clearly not the suspicious type, Reisinger went along with this. Once she was bound & blindfolded, Bichel got hold of a knife & plunged it repeatedly into her neck. According to some accounts he severed her spinal cord, then stabbed her in the lungs. Whatever his exact methods, Bichel disposed of the body before his family returned home.

Over the next few months Bichel lured three other young women to his house & tried the same thing, but these women weren't about to have their hands tied. They left his house unharmed.

In 1808, though, Bichel found a young woman named Catherine Seidel, who was passing through town & was naive enough to submit to Bichel's peculiar fortune telling request. She also agreed to Bichel's request that she come to his house in her best dress & bring three other dresses besides. The young woman ended up like Barbara Reisinger.

A short time later, Catherine Seidel's sister was in Regendorf looking for her missing sibling & chanced upon a discovery in a local tailor's shop. The tailor was in the process of making a waistcoat, & he was using a distinctive corded fabric that looked awfully familiar to Seidel's sister. It was material that had come from the petticoat worn by Catherine at the time of her disappearance. The material had been supplied by the person who had ordered the garment-Andreas Bichel.

Catherine's sister notified the local police, who went to Bichel's house to investigate. Bichel's explanation for Catherine's disappearance was that she had met a young man at his house & had run off with him to elope. The story didn't impress the police. They searched the house. In a bureau they found a collection of women's clothes, including some that had belonged to Catherine.

They then continued the search, intent upon finding the bodies that went with the garments. They got on the right track when they followed the nose of a police dog that kept sniffing at the Bichel woodshed. Inside, the police dug under a pile of straw & uncovered a woman's body, cut in half. Nearby, they dug up a human head & another bisected human corpse. The missing Barbara & Catherine were now accounted for. Despite all the evidence presented against him at his trial,

Bichel denied everything. He was confronted with the mutilated bodies of the two women he allegedly murdered. This proved to be too much for him: he collapsed in his chair. Later, in his jail cell, he became so rattled that he confessed to both murders. As for what had triggered his first killing, he gave what would have to be one of the most insipid motives for murder that was ever offered. Bichel, apparently still a petty thief at heart, said he had decided to kill Barbara because he had been tempted by her fine clothes. Some extravagant ...



DATE(S): 1790s-1808

VENUE: Bavaria

VICTIMS: 50+ suspected

MO: Fortune-teller who stabbed/robbed female clients.

DISPOSITION: Beheaded for two murders, 1808.

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



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