A Horrible Story

The most awful affair that ever occurred in Hannibal took place yesterday forenoon. A man named Sebastian Hupfer, a German by birth and a shoemaker by trade, killed his child during a fit of insanity. The man in question has resided in Hannibal several years, bearing the reputation of a cruel man to his family. His wife left him some time since, it being found utterly impossible to live with him. His conduct has been remarkably strange for a long time, but was attributed to natural meanness, instead of a species of insanity. Yesterday morning, as he states, he conceived the idea that the devil was in his dog, and that by killing him he would perform a righteous service. He accordingly dispatched the canine. We believe this aroused a suspicion that all was not right with him, and a policeman was sent for. The man having no apparent symptoms of insanity or drunkenness, the officer left him, after giving some advice. After the policeman had gone, the shoemaker imagined the devil was in one of his children, a little girl 8 years of age. Calling her to him, he seized her, placed a strap around her neck, threw her to the floor, placed his foot on her head, and taking a knife, cut out her heart and swallowed the coagulated blood. He was arrested some time after committing the deed He was found in his own house with the door fastened. He makes no attempt to conceal his guilt, but gives a straightforward history of the affair, manifesting no regret at the occurrence. He stated that by drinking the child’s blood he would never want food, and that he felt justified in the course he had pursued. He is pronounced by some, if not all, the medical faculty who have examined him, as a monomaniac on the subject of religion. He has not tasted food since committing the foul deed, claiming that he will want no nourishment the remainder of his life. He will probably be sent to the insane asylum. On any subject aside from that of the murder he seems rational, but persists in justifying himself in the perpetration of the act for which he is now imprisoned.

Source: Hannibal Mo Courier, February 6, 1869