Harvey Glatman: From Disturbing Childhood To Terrifying Serial Killer | The Glamour Girl Slayer


(Harvey Glatman. Picture credit: murderpedia)

*Please be aware that some of the details that I will be sharing in this post will be disturbing and deal with child self abuse as well as sexual abuse, assault and murder*

Often, when it comes to Serial Killers, it comes as no surprise when details emerge that their childhoods were less than satisfactory. Nine times out of ten there are signs and red flags of things to come pretty much early on in childhood through actions, behaviours as well as the environment in which the individual is brought up in. You can't always bank on that as we have seen with so many cases where killers have appeared to have had a normal childhood and then suddenly fallen on the wrong side of the law during their teenage years escalating into more and more disturbing behaviour. 

I've written about so many Serial Killers that I've lost count but in this case, the story of Harvey Glatman is particularly disturbing, not just because of his sadistic crimes but his childhood behaviour. To have a child carrying out disturbing sexual acts on himself at the age of 4 is just too much to stomach. Harvey Glatman was obsessed with sexual practices and rope as a child, he would tie things around his private area in order to gain gratification. It's disturbing to write as well as to read but that was the situation. His parents knew what had been going on and had caught him doing these things on many occasions. They turned a blind eye to it at first but eventually sought help to which they were told that it would just be a phase. Well, Harvey's unhealthy and disturbing behaviour was not just a phase, in fact it was the beginnings of a Serial Killer who became obsessed with binding, sexually assaulting and murdering women. 

As disturbing as this intro into this case is, I would like to go into Harvey's childhood to the very beginning. He was born Harvey Murray Glatman on the 10th of December 1927 in New York City to parents Albert and Ophelia. At first, things seemed pretty normal in the household, Harvey was his parent's only child and was the apple of their eye. The family moved to Colorado and there wasn't anything really out of the ordinary, no traumatic events or reported abuse from either parent but for some reason, Harvey started exhibiting some very disturbing behaviour. He was obsessed with rope and string. He would tie things around his private area for pleasure and he was doing this at the age of 4! His parents put it down to a phase as disturbed as they were and hoped that he would grow out of it but it carried on. By the age of 12 he was carrying out sexual acts in the bathroom involving rope. It sounds like to me that he was indulging in Autoerotic Asphyxiation which involves placing a rope around one's neck to the point of choking whilst masturbating at the same time. It's a very dangerous thing to do and has resulted in many fatalities and serious injury. The blood is cut off by the rope and it gives the individual a light-headed rush to the head which intensifies their orgasm. 

His mother caught him in the bathroom and terrified that her son would accidentally kill himself, his parents sought help and shockingly they were told that it was just a phase and that Harvey would eventually stop. The truth was that even during his childhood his parents knew that their son was not normal but they had no way to help or stop him. All they could do was just try and prevent something terrible from happening but they were truly powerless. It is unknown how or why Harvey was doing these things or where he had learnt it from. His parents could not explain it. 

As is often the case, Harvey wanted to carry out these things on women he desired. As a teenager he would stalk women, break into their houses and go through their lingerie drawers. He fantasized about tying women up, having complete control over them. The pattern of behaviour was escalating more and more because he no longer got a thrill just from the masturbation and stealing women's underwear, he wanted to carry out sexual assaults. He had carried out various sexual assaults during some of the break-ins at various women's homes but on one occasion he abducted a woman and subjected her to a horrific sexual assault, luckily she escaped alive and he was put behind bars but it wasn't long until he was back on the streets. 

Whilst he was in prison he had been diagnosed by a psychiatrist as schizophrenic with a sexual impulse which was a warning right there that this guy was a ticking time bomb. Normally, people have sexual fantasies but know where to draw the line, with Harvey there was no line and no dulling down. As soon as he was released from prison his behaviour only got worse. 

Back on the streets he'd discovered a new tactic for getting close to women, to beautiful women that he knew would probably not look twice at him. He posed as a professional photographer and lured aspiring models to his apartment in the pretence of a photoshoot to help with their modelling portfolio. Once the women were in his apartment the tone had changed, he either convinced them or forced them to allow him to tie them up as part of the photoshoot. 

His first known murder victim was the beautiful 19 year old Judy Ann Dull, Judy had been subjected to a horrific ordeal and it was during this disgusting assault that Harvey was reported to have officially lost his virginity. He'd sexually assaulted women in the past but was technically still a virgin up until that point apparently. He was 29 years old at this time. There are infamous pictures of Judy on the internet and which you will often see pop up on documentaries. The haunting picture of her tied up on the chair with the look of fear in her eyes, it's very disturbing especially if you know what was actually happening at that time and after the picture was taken. After Judy's ordeal at the sick hands of Harvey Glatman, she was strangled and her body was dumped in a desert which was on the outskirts of LA. The location where Judy's body was placed became a regular spot where Harvey's victims would be discarded. Harvey would take the women there to further torment them, sexually assault them before strangling them and their bodies would be left there. 

(Judy Ann Dull. Picture credit: murderpedia)

Harvey went on to kill two other women in a similar manner, Ruth Mercado (24) and Shirley Ann Bridgeford (24). He attempted to carry out another kidnap, assault and murder on another victim, Lorraine Vigil (28). Lorraine initially got in his car on the knowledge that they were going to conduct a photoshoot but she soon realised that something wasn't right and tried to make an escape. Harvey tried to threaten Lorraine with a gun but she bravely fought back, resulting in a slight injury to her thigh. During the struggle, she bit him and managed to get hold of the gun and kept the cowardly Harvey Glatman terrified to move until the police arrived. 

(Judy Ann Dull. Picture credit: murderpedia)

To everyone's surprise, Harvey Glatman was only too happy to tell anyone who would listen, that he had killed women and confessed to everything. He'd kept trophies of his victims in a toolbox which contained photographs, lingerie etc. He wanted to be put to death and having been found guilty of his horrific crimes, he was sentenced to die in the gas chamber at San Quentin State Prison which he accepted. Harvey Glatman died on the 18th of September 1959. 

RIP to the known victims of Harvey Glatman: 

Judy Ann Dull

Ruth Mercado

Shirley Ann Bridgeford

And to all of the possible unknown victims. 

RIP also to the brave and inspirational survivor, Lorraine Vigil who sadly passed away in 2002.

Further Reading & Sources: 

The Big Book of Serial Killers | Book by Jack Rosewood

The Killer Book of Serial Killers | Book by Michael Philbin, Tom Philbin.

Harvey Glatman | Wikipedia

Harvey Glatman | Murderpedia

Harvey Glatman | This Day in History

Rope: The Twisted Life & Crimes of Harvey Glatman | Book by Michael Newton

Thank you as always for checking out my latest true crime post, I hope you will join me in the next one. in the meantime you can find me on my socials here and if you would like to help support my weekly content, donations can be made here

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