Vera Renczi

Vera Renczi’s trouble had begun very early in life. Born in Bucharest, Romania, in 1903 to a wealthy family with ancestral links to Hungarian nobility, she had no trouble obtaining everything she wanted. Her real name is not known – apparently Renczi is her second husband’s name. Some sources claim that she was the daughter of a romanian beautiful woman and a hungarian businessman. When she was 13, her mother dies and Vera moves with her father in Berkerekul, a town in former Yugoslavia. Before her fifteenth birthday young Vera had been chased from a boys’ dormitory after midnight. Vera’s father’s attempts to curb her radical social life were not very successful at first, but he congratulated himself when Vera presented the man whom she said she wanted to marry. Her father quickly agreed, even though the bridegroom-to-be was much older than Vera.

Vera bore the man a son, Lorenzo, but shortly after the child’s birth, she told the neighbors that she feared that her husband had left her for another woman. The neighbors scoffed at Vera’s suspicions. Her husband was known as a pillar of the community. Vera stuck to her story, and after a few months without the presence of the husband to deny his infidelity, everyone believed that the lovely young mother had been deserted. No one suspected that the man lay in coffin number one in the cellar of the house. Before Vera had ended her bizarre collection, there would be 35 coffins neatly arranged in rows for her to admire as evidence of her powerful sex appeal to men.

Without a mate to keep her home, Vera roamed the streets of the city of Berkerekul, loving dozens of men, until she finally settled upon Josef Renczi. It was shortly after she had chosen Renczi as her next husband that she told friends and relatives that she had received word that her first husband had died in an automobile accident, and that she was now free to remarry. Renczi had sought thrills, women, and excitement all over Europe, and it was not long before he tired of the ordinary world in Berkerekul. Sensing his wandering spirit, Vera made sure that Josef would never leave her side—or at least her cellar. She fed him a dose of poison and watched him die an agonizing death.

From then on, throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Vera Renczi did not bother to marry her victims. If she had made her choice of temporary mates from any other strata of society, she most surely would have been discovered sooner. But she was content to have and to hold and to kill only those whose presence would not be missed by the permanent residents of the town. It was, in fact, when she changed her choice of man of a higher caliber that she was discovered. Invited to a party in town, Vera noticed a young banker, who was obviously very much in love with his new wife. With jealousy flashing through Vera’s brain, she knew she had to possess that man. After being introduced to the handsome banker, her sophisticated good looks quickly gained his interest. It was not very long thereafter that he was learning the techniques of love from a very experienced mistress.

To Vera’s dismay, the banker had a very strong sense of guilt. When his wife announced to him that she was pregnant, he knew he could no longer see his demanding mistress. He paid her one last visit to tell her that their affair had ended. The visit was fatal. Vera already had a coffin inscribed for him in the basement. But Vera Renczi had never before had to contend with a determined wife. The banker’s bride explained to the police that the young man was missing and that he had confessed to having had an affair with Vera Renczi. The police questioned Vera, but she was able to divert them by saying that she did not know that the man was married. Since the police had no other evidence, they had to drop the case.

But the wife of the banker was persistent. She poked around, asking questions and finally turned up enough evidence to link Vera with the disappearance of over a dozen men. The police reopened the case, and a search of the Renczi house revealed the incredible basement crypt with the body of the young banker and over 30 other occupied coffins. In the raid that uncovered this grisly secret, the police found Vera Renczi sitting among her lovers. Inspection of the coffins showed that one of them contained the body of a young boy. “My son,” Vera explained coldly. “He threatened to expose me.”

 Coffins found in Vera's house basement

When asked why she did it Vera’s only explanation was that she could not stand the thought of her lovers in the arms of another woman, so she had successfully kept them “faithful” to her.

Vera Renczi entered prison, feeling no remorse for her crimes; but a few years after her imprisonment she went insane, spending the nights laughing and talking with her dead lovers. Not many years later she joined them. Some have speculated that Renczi' story may have inspired Joseph Kesselring's play Arsenic and Old Lace, yet this is incorrect. It was the Amy Archer-Gilligan case which the playwright used as his model.

Real Vampires, Night Stalkers and Creatures from the Darkside by Brad Steiger;;

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Real Vampires, Night Stalkers and Creatures from the Darkside by Brad Steiger page 23

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