LAST_UPDATESat, 23 Jun 2018 4pm

This Serial Killer Was So Famous His Head Is Now Kept In A Jar In A University

In the well-to-do houses in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, a man by the name of Diogo Alves used to haunt the streets as the first serial killer, and the last man to be sent to the gallows in the country.

Born in Galicia in 1810, Alves seemed like he had a normal life and no one would have expected him to live a secret life as a murderer.

In his quest for a shortcut to wealth, he turned to crime. Every night, Alves awaited farmers who were commuting back from the city, steal their gains and pushed them to their deaths. And he shockingly did this 70 times in the three years he was active in the rural landscape where he worked in, Aqueduto.

Eventually, he moved on to robbing homes and murdering its occupants. And when he was finally apprehended by authorities, he was executed to death by hanging.

Now Alves’ head can be found in a jar in the University of Lisbon Faculty of Medicine – as phrenologists had requested for it to be preserved for future generations, so they could study the cause of criminal minds more in depth.

According to them, a person’s nature is influenced by the shape of his or her skull.

Reports by Atlas Obscura however suggest there is little evidence that such a study of Alves’ personality ever took place in the University, though similar ones did.

Nevertheless, Alves’ head is so famous, it had even inspired a comic book, a fictionalised biography and novel, and the 1911 silent film Os Crimes de Diogo Alves (“The Crimes of Diogo Alves”).