Be forewarned that although some direct quotes have been edited
for content, this section still contains very graphic information.
The Issei Sagawa case is perhaps one of the strangest instances in the history of cannabilistic crime. Although Sagawa cannot be classified as a serial killer, his crime - as well as several others here - are sufficiently bizarre to warrant their inclusion. Issei Sagawa was a student of English literature at Wako University in Tokyo when he first attempted murder. Sagawa had become infatuated with a female German student, and fantasized about cannabilising her. One night he broke into her apartment and began looking for an umbrella or other object with which to stab or bludgeon the woman. However, before Sagawa could find a weapon, the woman awoke and began screaming, sending Sagawa fleeing into the streets.
A few years later, Sagawa, still harboring fantasies of killing and devouring a beautiful Nordic woman, moved to Paris, where he enrolled in the prestigious Censier Institute. In 1981 he met a twenty-five year old German woman named Renee Hartvelt, who befriended him. Sagawa later said, "I am amazed. She's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. Tall, blonde, with pure white skin, she atonishes me with her grace."
Sagawa asked Hartvelt, a student working toward a Ph.D in French literature, to teach him German. Hartvelt, fluent in the language, began visiting Sagawa's apartment for the lessons. Soon Sagawa made his romantic intentions clear, and Hartvelt thwarted them. Still, she continued to see him.
On the evening of June 11th, 1981, Sagawa asked Hartvelt to read him his favorite German expressionist poem. Hartvelt read the poem in what Sagawa called perfect German. He asked her to read it again, this time turning on a tape recorded.
Hartvelt never finished the poem. Sagawa, creeping up from behind, shot the woman in the neck with a .22 rifle. Then the horror began.
On his Internet website, Sagawa says of the murder, "I start to take off her clothes. It is hard to take the clothes off a dead body. Finally it is done. Her beautiful white body is before me. I've waited so long this day and now it is here. I touch her ass. It is so very smooth. I wonder where I should bite first. I decide to bite the top of her butt. My nose is covered with her cold white skin. I try to beat down hard, but I can't. I suddenly have a horrible headache. I get a knife from the kitchen and stab it deeply into her skin.
Suddenly a lot of sallow fat oozes from the wound. It reminds me of Indian corn. It continues to ooze. It is strange. Finally I find the red meat under the sallow fat. I scoop it out and put it in my mouth. I chew. It has no smell and no taste. It melts in my mouth like a perfect piece of tuna. I look in her eyes and say: "You are delicious." I cut her body and lift the meat to my mouth again and again. Then I take a photograph of her white corpse with its deep wounds. I have sex with her body. When I hug her she lets out a breath. I'm frightened, she seems alive. I kiss her and tell her I love her. Then I drag her body to the bathroom. By now I am exhausted, but I cut into her hip and put the meat in a roasing pan. After it is cooked I sit at the table using her underwear as a napkin. They still smell of her body. Then I turn on the tape of her reading the German poem and eat. There is not enough taste. I use some salt and some mustard and it is delicious, very high quality meat. Then I go back to the bathroom and cut off her breast and bake it. It swells while it cooks. I serve the breast on the table and eat it with a fork and knife. It isn't very good. Too greasy. I try to cut into another part of her body. Her thighs were wonderful. Finally she is in my stomach. Finally she is in my stomach. Finally she is mine. It is the best dinner I've ever had. Afterwards I sleep with her. Next morning she is still here. She doesn't smell bad. Today I must finish cutting up her body.I have to put it into suitcases and sink it in the lake. It will be her grave. I touch the cold body again and I wonder where I should start. I start to cut off all the meat before amputating the limbs. While I cut her calf I suddenly want to taste it. I see the beautiful red meat beneath the fat. I grasp her knee and her ankle, and tear it with my teeth. It is tender. I slowly chew and savor it. After eating most of the calf I look at myself in the mirror. There is grease all over my face. And then I start to eat at random. I bite her little toe. It still smell of her feet. I stab the knife into her arch and see the red meat deep inside. I thrust my fingers inside and dig out the meat and put it in my mouth. It tastes okay. Then I stab the knife into her armpit. Ever since I saw it under her yellow sleeveless top I wondered how it would taste this good. The wonderful taste cheers me up and I devour her underarm up to the elbow...
It's been twenty-four hours now. Some huge flies hover and buzz in the bathroom. I try to chase them away, but they came back. They swarm on her face. They seem to tell me that I've lost her forever. It is no longer her. Where is she? She's gone far away. I've broken her. Like a child who breaks his toy. I try to use an electric knife to cut her body. It doesn't work. It just makes a loud sound. I use a hatchet. I strike several times. It's hard work. I strike her thigh. Her body jumps up. If she could feel, it would have hurt. Finally the thigh separates from her body. I bite it again, like I would bite a chicken leg. Then I cut off her arms. It is even harder than the thigh. I use the electric knife again. It makes a shrill sound, like the sound of her shrill voice. It works this time. Her hand still wears a ring and a bracelet...
I put her hands into the plastic bag along with her legs. And then I see her face. It is still quiet. She has a small nose and a sweet lower lip. When she was alive I wanted to bite them. Now I can satisfy that desire. It's so easy to bite off her nose. As I chew the cartilage I can hear the noise. I use a knife to cut off more of the cartilage and put it in my mouth. It really doesn't taste very good. I scoop out her lower lip with my knife and put it in my mouth. It has hard skin. I decide to eat it later when I can fry it. So I put it in the refrigerator...
I try to eat her eyes. It's hard for me to stab into them, though it is the easiest part of her face. I can see tears coming from them. It frightens me. Her eyes are all that is left of her face. It is nearly a skull.
I decide to take out her stomach. When I stab under her navel a little fat appears and then I can see the red meat under the fat. I slice a piece of the red meat and put it on a plate. Then I stab into the stomach. The internal organs appear. There is a great length of rolled tubes and I find a gray bag at the end of the tubes. It must be the blader. There is a strong smell as soon as I pick it up. I thrust my hand into her body cavity. There is another bag. It must be her womb. If she had lived she would have had a baby in this womb. The thought depresses me for a moment.
I pull out the intestines. My hands sting from the digestive juices. At last I have to cut off her head. It is the most difficult thing I have to do. I cut off the meat on her neck until I can see bone, then I cut again. She still wears her necklace. I try to use the electric knife, but it doesn't work very well. It just makes its shrill sound.
So I use the hatchet. I imagine myself on the guillotine. It is surprisingly easy to cut through. With the head gone her body is now only flesh. When I grab the hair and hang up the head, I realize I am a cannibal. I put the head in a plastic bag. I separate the body and put it into two plastic bags. They are heavy. It is hard to put them into the suitcases. I am finished. It is midnight. I call a taxi.
I am back home. I turn on the TV and open the refrigerator. I put the dishes on the glass table. I reconize each pieces of meat. This is part of her hip and this is part of her thigh. I fry them on the stove. I set the table. There is mustard, salt, pepper and sauce. I put her underwear beside the dish. I sniff it and look at a nude woman in a magazine. I try to remember which part of her is in my mouth, but it is difficult to connect the meat with a body. It just seems like a piece of meat. I continue to eat her body until I am caught. Each day the meat becomes more tender, each day the taste is more sweet and delicious. "
Eventually, Sagawa knew he must find a way to dispose of Hartvelt's body. After calling the taxi, he lugged the suitcases with Hartvelt's remains to a park, where he planned to submerge them in a lake. However, he saw people in the park and panicked, leaving the suitcases in the open.
The two people he saw waited until Sagawa was gone, then opened up the suitcases. Upon finding Hartvelt's dismembered and headless body inside, the horrified couple contacted police.
Only two days after the murder, police arrived at Sagawa's apartment with a search warrant. Upon opening the refrigerator, they found pieces of Renne Hartvelt's body inside. Sagawa confessed freely and was taken into custody.
There was never a murder trial in the case of Renee Hartvelt. Three psychiatrists found Sagawa delusional and incompetent to stand trial. After spending time in a French psychiatric facility, Sagawa's wealthy and powerful father managed to have his son transfered to Matsuzawa, a mental hospital in Japan. Fifteen months later, in August 1985, Sagawa was released.
Sagawa, a free man for nearly twenty years, has attained a macabre celebrity in Japan. He appears in interviews and videos, and has been the subject of a song by the Rolling Stones. Sagawa has also appeared as a regular columnist in a Japanese tabloid, and has graced the covers of gourmet food magazine. He is also the published, best-selling author of In the Fog, his account of the Hartvelt murder and cannibalism.
Sagawa has also staked his claim on the Internet, on a site which features his account of the crime as well as his paintings of nude women. Of his morbid notoriety, Sagawa says, "The public has made me the godfather of cannibalism, and I am happy about that. I will always look at the world through the eyes of a cannibal."
Manuela Ruda had discovered both vampirism and Satan before she met her husband, car parts salesman Daniel. At the age of 14, Ruda says, she "was in England and Scotland, met people and vampires in London. We went out at night, to cemeteries, in ruins and in the woods.
"We drank blood together, from willing donors. You can't drink from the arteries, no-one is allowed that. I had implanted pegs put in the teeth which were pulled out and were replaced with fangs. "I also slept on graves and even allowed myself to be buried in a grave to test the feeling." (Hollinger Telegraph New Media Limited .)
Daniel and Manuela Ruda, 26 and 23 respectively at the time of the murder, visited the United Kingdom twice, visiting Scotland for five months in 1996 and London in February of 1997. However, they made their home in western Germany, in the Ruhr region. Their apartment, near the city Bochum, was decorated with knives, axes, cemetery lights, skulls, and a coffin in which Manuela sometimes slept.
In July 2001, the couple invited Daniel's friend and coworker, German Frank Haagen, to their apartment. When Haagen arrived, Mrs. Ruda said, "strange beings" and "other beings were present." (Hollinger Telegraph New Media Limited .) In court, Manuela described the attack:
"We were sitting on the couch the whole time, then my husband stood up," she said. "He had terrible, glowing eyes and hit out with the hammer.
"Frank stood up and said something, or wanted to say something. The knife was glowing and a voice told me: 'Stab him in the heart.'
"He then sank down. I saw a light flickering around him. That was the sign that his soul was going down. We said a satanic prayer.
"We were then exhausted, and alone, wanted to die ourselves. But the visitation was too short. We could no longer kill ourselves." (Hollinger Telegraph New Media Limited .)
According to the BBC and other British news agencies, the couple stabbed Haagen sixty-six times, left a scalpel protruding from his body, then carved a pentagram into the dead man's stomach and drank his blood from a bowl. They ended the night by having sex in Manuela's coffin.
A week following the murder, the Rudas were arrested at their apartment. The couple told authorities they had attempted suicide several times in the intervening days, and Manuela stated that she had "signed over my soul to Satan two and a half years ago." Daniel had even purchased a chainsaw, so as to not meet Satan "empty-handed."
Police found Haagen's mutilated and decomposing body next to the coffin. Of the horrific crime prosecutor Dieter Justinsky said, "I have never, ever seen such a picture of cruelty and depravity before. They simply had a lust for murder.
"Both believed in Satan, they worshipped him. A death list found in the flat contained the names of future victims. They drank his blood, slept in coffins and believed they would achieve immortality as vampires."
Neither Manuela nor Daniel hesitated in confessing to the crime. "We wanted to make sure that the victim suffered well," Manuela said. Daniel, in a statement read his lawyer, explained, "I got the order to sacrifice a human for Satan." He also compared the crime to a car involved in a deadly accident. "The car would not be charged. The driver is the bad guy. I have nothing to regret because I haven't done anything."
The Rudas trial was nearly as strange as their crime was gruesome. The judge, Arnjo Kerstingtombroke, believed the two should submit to therapy in prison to "ensure that they never repeated their crime." (BBC News.) The defense pushed for an acquital, saying that the Rudas were "mentally unfit." Experts tended to agree, testifying that Daniel and Manuela suffered from "severe narcissistic personality disturbances". In late July 2002, the Daniel and Manuela Ruda received their ssentences; 15 and 13 years respectively in a secure psychiatric ward. Manuela admonished the court, "It was not murder. We are not murderers. It was the execution of an order. Satan ordered us to. We had to comply. It was not something bad. It simply had to be."