Hello Lovelies! Welcome to the blog post about the Sausage Vat Murderer! As always you’ll find Rebecca’s show notes below the drink break and her sources at the end of this post. If you like the show, make sure to leave us a rating. As always, keep it strange!
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Back in the 1800’s, a man names Hans Muller and his wife opened a sausage factory in New Orleans
They were known for being good natured, having excellent customer service, and, most importantly, making amazing sausage
Over time, Hans became disinterested in his wife, as the hard work aged her before her time, and eventually found a young mistress that he fell in love with
However, Hans knew that as long as his wife was around, he could never have a life with his young mistress
Some sources say they had an argument and Hans lost his temper, others says that one night after the shop closed while his wife was sweeping up, Hans snuck up behind her, wrapped a cord around her neck, and strangled her
No matter the story, the couple lived in a part of New Orleans where space was limited, neighboring houses butted up against each other which made it difficult to conceal things… especially from gossip
Hans had a plan though, so he stuffed his wife’s body into the meat grinder and and made her into sausage until there was nothing left
Hans continued his life with his new mistress, and when people came into the shop and inquired about his wife, his story would change. She was either ill or left town, typically to visit relatives
Over time, the neighbors started whispering about his haggard appearance and bloodshot eyes.
Most importantly, they started talking about the decreased quality in his sausage, some customers noticing bits of cloth and sometimes hair in the meat.
Reportedly, one night, while Hans was cleaning up around the shop, he heard a thumping coming from the back room, like someone was grinding meat to make sausages
When he went to investigate, he froze in his tracks, the ghost of his deceased wife was climbing out of the sausage vat. Sources say (a.k.a. Hans’ account) that her apron was stained with blood and her head horribly mutilated.
After climbing out of the sausage vat, she made her way towards Hans, her moans filling the room and arms stretched out towards him
The hauntings continued, and the neighbors grew more suspicious of Hans’ strange behavior, and even more suspicious of his missing wife
Rumors started spreading, and one day the rumors were confirmed when a customer bit into a piece of a gold ring in a piece of sausage
The police were immediately notified and quickly made plans to raid the sausage factory that evening
When they went into the back room they found Hans, huddled in the corner and screaming, claiming that he could see his wife emerging from the sausage vat for him
He was quickly arrested and placed in an asylum, where he claimed daily that his wife was coming for him, until one day he had complete mental breakdown and committed suicide
The Sausage Factory was sold shortly after Hans’ arrest, and reports say that his wife continued to haunt the building until the day he killed himself
The True Crime:
The story of Hans Muller is reportedly based off of the real story of Adolph Luetgert
Adolph Luetgert was born on December 27, 1845 in Gütersloh, Westphalia (which is located in Germany today)
He was one of 11 children and fulfilled an apprenticeship with a local tannery. After traveling around Germany he headed to London to look for work (he was around 19 years old at this point)
He immigrated to New York city somewhere around 1865 when he was about 20 years old and had $30 to his name (which is around $500 today)
Shortly afterwards, he moved to Quincy, IL, staying there for a couple months before moving to Chicago, looking for a job at a tannery
During this time, he married his first wife, Caroline Reopke, on April 13, 1872 in Germany. Their first son, Arnold, was born there in 1875.
After having a second child and being brought to the United States, Caroline died on November 17, 1877.
In 1878 (some reports saying as soon as 2 months after Caroline died) Adolph married Louise Bicknese who was 10 years his junior
She met Adolph by chance and was working as a servant before their marriage. She was less than 5 feet tall which stood in sharp contrast to her husband
As a wedding gift, Adolph gave Louise a heavy gold ring, with the initials L.L. engraved on the inside of it.
In 1879, Adolph opened a small sausage company that became successful, and in 1897 opened a 5 story plant on the southwest corner of Diversy and Hermitage called the A.L. Sausage and Packing Company.
Next door, he built a 3 story home for Louise and their two sons.
However, Adolph’s infatuation with his new wife did not last, and they were reported to have frequently argued, eventually Adolph moved into a room as his sausage factory
On May 1, 1897, Adolph and Louise went for an evening walk and, even though reports say he told his children that their mother has left on a trip, Adolph reported her missing on May 7.
Because of the overheard arguing, fowl play was suspected, and during the investigation an eye witness saw Louise entering the factory with her husband on May 1st around 10:30 PM.
On May 15, the factory was searched, an employee suggested that they look in the steam vat in the cellar that was used during the sausage making process
When police looked, they found a putrid, reddish-brown liquid that filled the vat halfway.
When they pulled the plug, the slimy liquid and bones fell out. When they searched inside the vat they found a gold ring with LL engraved on it
Near the vat they found hair, pieces of clothing, and half a false tooth
During the investigation it was also uncovered that Adolph had purchased arsenic and potash (one report said 378 lbs of the stuff) before the disappearance of his wife and that he ordered an employee to dump the chemicals into the vat on April 24th and then ordered it to be heated to a boil on May 1.
Adolph claimed that Louise went insane and ran away, and that the potash was for making soap to use when cleaning the factory
The prosecution determined that the potash mixture would be able to dissolve a human body using the mixture Adolph was alleged to use and a cadaver. This resulted in the same reddish-brown fluid and being able to determined that the mixture was capable of leaching calcium from bones while liquefying the rest of the body.
An anthropologist determined that the bone fragments belonged to a human female (this was one of the first reported cases where an anthropologist was called to testify)
The evidence was damming, and not just because the amount of potash he bought would be capable at producing 2000 lbs of soap at a higher price than just buying it over the counter
Adolph was sent to Joliet State Penitentiary, where he died on July 7, 1899. He maintained his innocence.
Today, the sausage factory has been renovated into condos.