Many people have a morbid interest in serial killers. We are at once horrified by the crimes they commit and fascinated by their bizarre, often shocking, motivations. Somehow, the stranger the circumstances, the more compelling we find them.
It doesn’t get much stranger than America’s first serial killers: the “Bloody” Bender “family.” Over a three-year period in the 1870s, these four individuals worked together to kill more than a dozen people, but that’s not the whole story…
The Bender family — consisting of John, Elvira, Kate, and John Jr. — owned and ran an inn and general store in Labette County, Kansas, between 1871 and 1873.
During those years, they are suspected of killing more than a dozen guests who spent a night at their inn.
The Benders had a trap door in the floor of the cabin. The theory says that they would sit the guest at the seat of honor at the table, which was located above the trap door. Allegedly, this is how they were capturing their victims.
John would hit the guest in the head with a hammer and some of the others would slit the throat of the victim. The body would be dumped down the trap door into a foul-smelling cellar drenched with blood, to be buried later under the cover of darkness.
Later the investigation revealed more odd facts. This killer “family” may not have been related at all…