Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bait and Switch: The Cannibal Crimes of Joachim Kroll

The Hunter's Legacy

On July 1, 1991, at the age of fifty-eight, the notorious Ruhr Hunter died from a heart attack. However, while he's a little-known serial killer, mentioned in only a few encyclopedias devoted to serial killers, he's managed to inspire some people who know about him to keep the memory of his deeds alive.

Musician Chet Scott, for example, offers a musical project inspired by Kroll. The Ruhr Hunter, with CDs bearing such titles as Torn of This, reportedly bases lyrics and themes on true crime aspects of industrialized culture. Ruhr Hunter's instrumentation has been described as rich and dark, combining "lustmordian drones" with "ghostly harmonics" and "delicate piano melodies." One reviewer noted that the music "inflict[s] an extreme sense of desolation, almost pushing through to being depressive if it weren't for the fact that harsh power electronics come roaring upwards through the resonant atmosphere to keep you refreshed and anxious." Ruhr Hunter is apparently a favorite among fans of "black metal" music.

Ed Gein
Ed Gein

There's also a different kind of artistic venture devoted to Kroll. The author of the Website, "clubmoral.com" set up a "true crime art project" dedicated entirely to Kroll's series of murders. His bibliography of German magazines and newspaper sources is impressively packed (probably the most extensive in the world), and his dedication to the project is clear. This Belgian artist, who has also created exhibits of serial killer Ed Gein and the Manson Family (representing them as knife-wielding machines), says on the Kroll site that he hopes to place all the information on a CD for eventual distribution. Working under his own enlarged images of Kroll, painted on the walls of a remote studio in Germany, he spent months on "Project Jockel." Clubmoral provides a biography of Kroll, a description of the project, information about the crime scenes, a traveling art exhibit, and an extensive study in how the information about Kroll was acquired. The artist even photographed himself nude in one location and took souvenirs from where some of the murdered women and children had died.

Despite Kroll's relative anonymity as a serial killer, his crimes had far-reaching effects on the friends and families of his victims.

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