On May 4, 1932, a 32-year-old prostitute, Lilly Lindeström, was found murdered in her small apartment in the Atlas area of Stockholm near Sankt Eriksplan in a crime that became known as the Atlas Vampire Murder.
Lilly has last been seen alive by a neighbor Minnie. Days earlier, Minnie claimed that Lilly had come down twice in order to borrow condoms, then, around 9 P.M., came back down with just a coat covering her nude body.
After these events, Lilly disappeared. Worried, Minnie rang Lilly’s room only to receive no answer. When Minnie failed to even hear Lilly on the other side of the door, she called police.
She had been dead for between two and three days before police broke into her apartment. Lilly had suffered repeated blunt force trauma to her head, and was found naked and faced down on her bed.
Her clothes were neatly folded on a nearby chair. A used condom found in her body suggested that she had engaged in sexual activity before her death. The cause of death had been repeated blows from a blunt object to Lilly’s head.
What soon became apparent to the officers at the scene though was the complete lack of blood in Lindeström’s body, it had been almost entirely drained of all her blood.
They found saliva on Lilly’s neck, but reports do not mention any of the puncture wounds normally associated with vampire stories.
A blood-stained gravy ladle was found nearby, and investigators believe it was used by the perpetrator to drink Lilly’s blood. No fingerprints were found at the scene.
In the immediate aftermath, the police searched Sank Eriksplan (Lilly’s neighborhood, which is named after King Erik IX [1120-60], the patron saint of Stockholm) and even interviewed eight of Lilly’s former clients. All were ruled out.
By all accounts, this is where the story ends – no further clues, no suspects, and only a pernicious idea that the murderer was a police officer, and therefore knew how to fully clean a crime scene of all damning clues.
To this day, the death of Lilly Lindeström remains a cold case, and the identity of the Atlas Vampire might forever be a mystery.