Just like the infamous female Norwegian-American serial killer, Belle Gunness, Hungarian serial killer Kiss Béla (sometimes Béla Kiss) sought out his victims by placing advertisements in local newspapers highlighting his desire to find a significant other.
His first two victims were his own younger wife, and the local man she had been having an affair with, when the couple had first moved to Cinkota.
His wife’s lover would be the only male found among his victims.
Kiss Béla would correspond with the women who answered the ads and then purposefully select those who were not local, and had few, if any, friends and relatives who would notice if they went missing.
He would then fleece them for cash, and much like the dating website scams of today, would proclaim love and charm them with marriage proposals while draining them of their finances.
He would sit at his desk in a secret office that was off limits to his loyal house keeper (who had no idea of what he was getting up to) , surrounded by books on the subject of murder by asphyxiation and different types of poison and the effects.
When his prospective wives showed up to his abode, it wouldn’t be long before he did away with them, pickling their bodies in alcohol and sealing them into metal barrels in his backyard- barrels that he convinced the local authorities were used for nothing more than to stock gasoline in the face of the upcoming inevitable rationing as a result of the war.
(His home on the left. Pic source X)
(The barrels where he kept his pickled victims. Source X)
In reality, those numerous drums were metal caskets containing his 24 victims.
Investigators claimed to have evidence indicating at least 30 victims.
Police claimed that the bodies were pieced at the neck, and had been drained of all blood, much like the victim of the famous unsolved caseof the atlas vampire many years later in Sweden in 1932. This lead to local rumors that connected Béla with vampire lore.
At the time of the discoveries, Béla had already been conscripted to fight in the Great War.
The closest investigators ever got to the notorious serial killer was when they received news that the wounded soldier was recovering from ailments at a hospital in Serbia. When they located his bed and threw back the covers, the cadaver of another soldier was laying in his place. A search of his home turned up nothing and authorities theories that he switched identities with a dead soldier in order to evade the law.
Kiss Béla was never found.
The last reported sighting of him was allegedly in the 1930’s, where someone claimed they saw in New York City working as a janitor.