Shiva Made Schizos - the backpages

the Acid Bath Murderer


Deaths:     6+      Attempts:   0
1) William Donald McSwan / ? / September 6,1944 / placed in acid
2) Donald McSwan / ? / July ?,1945 / placed in acid
3) Amy McSwan / ? / July ?,1945 / placed in acid
4) Archibald Henderson / ? / February 12,1948 / placed in acid
5) Rosalie Henderson / ? / February 12,1948 / placed in acid
6) Olive Durand-Deacon / 69 / February 18,1949 / shot point-blank in back of head


A) had a morbid fascination with death and in-turn,suffered from a bloodlust disorder
B) was highly threatened by proverty,so he murdered his victims for their valuables to sell/pawn
C) suffered from extreme narcissium mixed with an overbearing need for wealth and fame


(Haigh,on the subject of his parents)
" Although my parents were kind and loving,I had none of the joys,or the companionship,which small children usually have.From my earliest years my recollection is of my father saying: 'Do no' or 'Thou shall not'.Any form of sport or light entertainment was frowned upon and regarded as not edifying.There was only condemation and prohibition...It is true to say I was nurtured on Bible stories but mostly concerned with sacrifice.If by some mischance I did,or said,anything which my father regarded as improper,he would say:'Do not grieve the Lord by behaving so.'And if I suggested that I wanted to go somewhere,or meet somebody,he would say:'It will not please the Lord.' "
(Haigh,on what he did to Deacon)
" She was inveigled by me into going to Crawley in view of her interest in artifical fingernails.Having taken her into the storeroom,I shot her through the back of her head while she was examining some materials.Then I went out to the car and fetched a drinking glass and made an incision-I think with a penknife-in the side of her throat.I collected a glass of blood,which I drank.I removed her coat and jewelry(rings,necklace,earring,and crucifix)and put her in the 45-gallon tank.Before I put her handbag into the tank,I took from it about 30 shillings and a fountain pen.I then filled the tank with sulphuric acid,by means of a stirrup-pump.I then left it to react. "
(Haigh,on a reoccuring dream he had as a child)
" I saw before me a forest of crucifixes which gradually turned into trees.At first there appeared to be dew,or rain,dripping from the branches,but as I approached I realized it was blood.Suddenly the whole forest began to writhe and the trees,stark and erect,to ooze blood...A man went to each tree catching the blood...When the cup was full he approached me.'Drink,'he said,but I was unable to move. "


Notable British Trials Series:The Trial Of John Haigh #78 (1953)
Infamous Murders (1973)
Les Vampires Humains by Albin Michel (1979)
The World's Most Infamous Murders (1983)
Murder Casebook: The Acid Bath Murders #6 (1990)
A Is For Acid starring Martin Clunes (2002)

Full Name: John George Haigh
Alias(s): the Acid Bath Murderer; the Vampire Killer
Birthdate/Birthplace: July 24,1909 (Yorkshire,England)
Died:August 6,1949-death sentence carried out by hanging

Spotlighted : February 2006
On February 20,1949,a man named John Haigh and a woman naemd Constance Lane-came into a police station to report that Deacon had gone missing;Haigh claimed that Deacon was suppose to have met with him at an Army and Navy surplus store,but when he arrived,she never showed.Authorities went to Deacon's apartment building,and after speaking to numerous people,they found out that Haigh lived inside the very same building.Authorities became suspicious of a young man living in a building that contained nearly all widowed-women whom were quite wealthy.With the suspicion,they decided to run a background check on Haigh;they found out that Haigh had been in prison several times before,for various crimes(mostly:swindling,conspiracy to commit defraud,forgery,obtaining money by false pretenses,forgery and theft).With this information,authorities questioned Haigh about Deacon's disappearence more thoroughly,but the only notion that stood out from Haigh's answers was that he was was director of Hurstlea Products in Crawley.Authorities decided to investigate furthur into that and found out that Haigh was lying about being director,and was infact just renting a two-story brick storefront from the Products company.Workers from the company claimed that Haigh had stated he was doing a "conversion job" inside the building(a conversion job is where a person uses strong acid to break down materials,and gets paid for it).Authorities quickly obtained a search warrant for the building-inside they found(among items used by a person who works in the conversion career)a briefcase with Haigh's intials on it;inside,papers were found that pertained to both Hendersons and all of the McSwans(which included:passports,ID cards,and driver licenses)-most importantly among the items was a cleaner's reciept for a Persian lamb coat.When the authorities traced the reciept,it came back stating the coat belonged to Deacon.Deacon's disappearence was placed in the newspapers and a man,who owned a jewelry shop,came forward-stating that jewelry had been pawned the same day that Deacon had been stated to have disappeared.The jewelry was handed over and,soon after,it was confirmed by a relative of Deacon's to have belonged to Deacon.This wasn't exactly enough evidence yo arrest Haigh,so the authorities asked the owner of the jewelry store to point out to them-the man who pawned the jewelry.The owner pointed out Haigh;Haigh was placed under arrest,and after a few hours of questioning(and many lies on Haigh's part),Haigh finally confessed to the murder of Deacon,and soon after,eight additional murders.
Due to the lack of evidence,Haigh was only charged with Deacon's murder.He went to trial on April 1,1949,and pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.In all,the prosecution called on 33 witnesses,but the trial was suddenly postponed for the defense,so that Haigh could under go psychiatrict evaluations.Twelve medical doctors evaluated Haigh,and nearly every one of them found Haigh to be completely sane.The trial resumed its proceedings on July 18,1949 with all evaluations completed.Haigh,at this point,had run out of money to pay for his defense team;a newspaper company called "News of the World",volunteered to pay for Haigh's defense team,if in turn,Haigh would grant a no-holds-barred interview with them.Haigh agreed,but instead told them he would write his life's story and allow them to publish it,instead.The newspaper company agreed,and Haigh's defense was paid for.Haigh reinstated his plea of not guilty at the resumed trials(but left out "by reason of insanity").Although Haigh's sanity was no longer on trial,the majority of the witnesses,as well as the closing arguments centered around Haigh being "insane".The prosecution brought all 33 witnesses back to the trial to testify once again,and on the afternoon of only the first day of trial-the prosecution rested.After just fifteen minutes of deliberations,the jury found Haigh guilty-he was sentenced to death.While in prison,awaiting execution,Haigh was still being observed by medical doctors,and even up until the day he was executed,the doctors noted he was completely "sane".On August 6,1949-Haigh's death sentence was carried out by hanging at Wandsworth Prison.Before Haigh's execution,he was asked to participate in a death mask for Madame Tussaud's Chamer of Horrors wax museum-Haigh agreed to it,and his wax figure can still be seen in the museum till this day.