Thursday, September 22, 2011

Balapa (or, Valapa), the Hungarian “Poison Witch” Serial Killer - 1905



FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): Six women have been arrested at Hodmezo-Vasarhely, in Hungary, for poisoning their husbands.

The police found that they had visited a reputed witch named Balapa, and went to arrest her. When Balapa heard that she was to be tried for complicity she swallowed a quantity of poison, but recovered after an antidote had been administered.

She then made a full confession of having sold poison to the women in custody.

Further inquiries have brought to light twenty cases of infanticide in which Balapa is believed to be implicated, and a number of women have been arrested on a charge of having caused the children’s deaths.

[“A Witch Poisoner,” The Daily News (Perth, W. Australia), Jul. 10, 1905, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 2): Hold-Mezo Vasarhely, Hungary, June 1. – A great sensation has been created here over the arrest of an old woman by the name of Valapa, who is accused of being implicated in a wholesale murder affair. The woman is charged with having supplied the poison with which six women killed their husbands.

When she was arrested Valapa swallowed some of her own poison, but was revived. She made a confession in which she admitted assisting in the half-dozen murders.  It is also believed that she is responsible for a score of infanticides which have occurred recently. The wives are also being arrested.

[“Wholesale Murder – Old Woman Confesses to Having Furnished Poison With Which Six Women Killed Their Husbands.” Reading Times (Pa.), Jun. 2, 1905, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT (translated from German): From Budapest we are telegraphed a report that in Hodmezö-Vasarhely several more women have been arrested on suspicion of poisoning husbands whom they had become tired of. The name of the city Hodmezö-Vasarhely was named many years ago on the occasion of a similar affair. Even then, the scandal was mass poisoning that had been committed by young women on their aging spouses. The trial of the murderers and the poison suppliers has caused disgust and dissatisfaction far beyond the country's borders.

The hope that this process would be cleansing and deterrent does not seem to have been fulfilled. Again, inhuman women are said to have poisoned their husbands to enjoy the freedom of the victims after death, or even to cash in the sums awarded insurance companies. Once again, the police have come to the rescue in a major poisoning scandal. Six women were found to have killed their spouse with poison they acquired from an old woman named Balapa.

In addition, various women in Hodmezö-Vasarhely are said to have been responsible for about twenty child murders. These murders are said to have been carried out with poison that the women received from the Balapa.

The police wanted to arrest Mrs. Balapa. However, this was informed and attempted suicide by taking poison itself. However, she managed to live and she confessed and compromised the six wives in the affair who had administered poison.

[The Husband-Killers. Recent poisoning in Hodmezö-Vasarhely.” (Die Morderinnen ihrer Gatten. Neuerliche Giftmorde in Hodmezö-Vasarhely.) Illustrated Kronen Zeitung (Vienna, Austria), Jun. 2, 1905, p. 9]

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FULL TEXT: Aus Budapest wird uns telegraphich berichtet, dass in Hodmezö- Vasarhely neuerlich mehrere Fauen under dem Verdachte verhaftet wurden, ihre Gatten, deren sie überdrüssig geworden waren, durch Gift bei Seite geschasst zu haben. Der Name der Stadt Hodmezö-Vasarhely ist vor Jahren anlässlich einer gleichen Affäre viel gennant worden. Auch damals handelte es sich um Massenvergiftungen, die von jungen Frauen an ihren alternden Ehegatten verübt worden waren. Der Prozess, der damals gegen die Mörderinnen und die Giftlieferanten geführt wurde, hat weit über die Grenzen des Landes Abscheu und Entsegen hervorgerufen.

Die Hoffnung, dass jener Prozess reinigend und abschreckend wirken würde, scheint sich nicht erfüllt zu haben. Wieder sollen entmenschte Weiber ihren Männern Gift in die Speisen getan haben, um nach dem Tode der der Opfer die Freiheit zu geniessen oder gar die Versicherungsfummen von den Assekuranzgesellschaften einzukassieren. Wieder ist die Polizei einer grossen Giftmischeraffäre auf die Spur gekommen. Sechs Frauen wurde nachgeweisen, dass sie ihre Gatten mit Gift, das sie sich von einer alten Frau namens Balapa verschafft haben, getötet haben.

Ausserdem sollen verschiedenen Frauen in Hodmezö-Vasarhely etwa zwanzig Kindermorde zur Last fallen.Auch diese Morde sollen mit Gift vollzogen worden sein, das die Frauen von der Balapa bezogen.

Die Gendarmerie wollte Frau Balapa verhaften. Diese erhielt jedoch Kenntnis davon und beging einen Selbstmordversuch, indem sie selbst Gift nahm. Es gelang jedoch, sie am Leben zu erhalten, und sie hat hereits das Geständnis abgelegt, dass sie den in der Angelegenheit kompromittierten sechs Frauen Gift verabfolgt hat.

[Die Morderinnen ihrer Gatten. Neuerliche Giftmorde in Hodmezö-Vasarhely. Illustrierte Kronen Zeitung (Vienna, Austria), 2. Juni 1905, p. 9]

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Painting: by Bela Endre (born in Hodmezo-Vasarhely), “Bolco mellett,” 1905

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For more than two dozen similar cases, dating from 1658 to 2011, see the summary list with links see: The Husband-Killing Syndicates

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