There are always people who took fancy to fiction by attempting to convert it into reality and get away. With their twisted mind-sets, they set out to enact something they have been obsessed with after reading a piece of literature or seeing a movie, no matter what gruesome a crime it may have been. There have been scores of incidences of absolute carnage owing to such neurotic cases. These psychotic killers executing tasks as depicted in the books have led to many a gruesome assassination. Here is a compilation of top 10 crime incidences that were inspired by novels.
10. The Collector by John Fowles:
The book talks about Frederick Clegg, a butterfly collector and an avid loner, who kidnaps Miranda, his childhood obsession, to his solitary cabin in the woods to add her to his collection. There are two guys known to have taken this book a little too close to heart; Christopher Wilder, a serial killer of 8 young women in the mid 80’s and Robert Berdella, a Kansas butcher, killing 6 men in the 80’s. Both these criminals claimed to have been inspired by the novel.
9. The Batman Comic Series:
Not exactly a novel but it certainly makes an interesting entry to the list. Following the release of “The Dark Knight” based on DC Comics popular Batman series, two incidents, one of Heath Ledger, playing Joker in the movie and obsessed with his character, committing suicide and the second that of an avid fan shooting out at a screening of the movie killing at least 3 people were reported. Creepy, huh?
8. American Psycho:
This 1991 novel by Bret Easton Ellis was adapted into a movie by the same name. In 2004, Michael Hernandez, 14 and claiming to be inspired by the character in the novel, stabbed a high school classmate to death. The South Florida teen admitted to acting out the role of the psychotic killer in real life and believed he was given special powers by God to kill his classmate.
7. The Fashionable Adventures of Joshua Craig:
Written by David Phillips in 1909, this novel was inspired by his real life experiences. However, in 1911, David got the shock of his life when he was shot 6 times by a man named Fitzhugh Coyle Goldsborough. Goldsborough believed that a character in the book, Margaret Severance, was devised by Phillips to defame his sister, whom he was immensely fond of.
6. The Catcher in the Rye:
Published in 1951, this J.D. Salinger book revolves around teenage identity-crisis, anger and confusion. This however inspired Mark David Chapman to kill John Lennon of the famous Beatle group, in 1980. Chapman, becoming obsessed with phonies and prevalence of Lennon’s work, shot him down.
Robert John Bardo, another loon, shot yet another celebrity, Rebecca Shaeffer, after becoming obsessed with the fiction work. John Hinckley Jr. was yet another nut-case, who attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan, after having read the book.
This series of children’s horror fiction novels by R.L. Stine was later adapted into the popular film series “Child’s Play”. Under influence of the books or the films, several took the fiction portrayed too seriously to commit horrific acts of crime. The most notorious of them was Martin Bryant, an Australian. He killed 35 people in a massacre at Port Arthur in 1996. He was obsessed with the child-like appearance of the dolls and their ability to wreak vengeful havoc. This provoked the psychotic to massacre innocent people.
4. The Basketball Diaries:
Memoir of basketball player Jim Carroll, published in 1978, was made into a very successful picture. Inspired by the main character in the novel – film, Barry Loukaitis entered his classroom wearing a black trench-coat which pistols and ammunition hidden and started shooting, leaving 3 people dead. After finishing, he allegedly smiled and said, “That sure beats Algebra, doesn’t it?”
3. Queen of the Damned:
Queen of the Damned (1988), was the 3rd novel in Anne Rice’s ‘The Vampire Chronicles’ series. Exploring Vampire history and the mythology vampire origins, the fiction work was adapted into a movie in 2002. The same year, Allan Menzies, murdered his friend, Thomas, claiming a character of Queen of the Damned told him to do so on the promise of making him a vampire in the next life. The crime was committed in a most gruesome manner with Allan having stabbed his friend to death, drank his blood and ate part of his head before burying him.
2. A Clockwork Orange:
Written by Anthony Burgess and published in 1962, A Clockwork Orange explores human violence and free will to choose between good and evil. In 1973, two incidents were reported that involved 16 year old boys, who attempted to enact characters from the novel; the first beat and trampled to death and the second, dressed as the gang in the book, stabbed a younger boy. In another incident, one John Ricketts, dressed as a droog, assaulted a woman because she was taking up too much space on the dance-floor.
Written by Stephen King and published in 1977, the story revolves around Charlie Decker who bashes his chemistry teacher with a wrench and the turmoil that follows. There were several occurrences of murder along the same lines after this. In February 1996, a kid named Barry took his algebra class hostage using a rifle and hand-guns, killed 3 and was later found to own the book. In December 1997, Michael Carneal, also in possession of the book, killed 3 in his prayer group at high-school, firing at them with a .22 mm pistol.