Bloody Blue Curtain
Curiosity got the best of Aleksandr Petrov, who couldn’t help but look as he walked by a coiled up shower curtain wrapping itself tightly around something inside. As he inched closer to the object, Petrov was horrified to realize it was a bloodied something; possibly a discarded animal carcass.
He’s lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, all his life, and has seen people discard animals similarly, albeit often in a wooded area, not on a popular walking trail.
The object hidden by the curtain seemed too small to be an elk or deer. If it was, surely the poor animal’s feet would jut out. Perhaps, he thought, it could be a smaller animal, like a beaver or coyote, although he doubted that a smaller animal could bleed out as much, depending on the wound.
He saw that the mystery heap lay on the side of a small hill, and he could let it unroll itself. Gravity would do most of the work, his hands would remain clean, and his curiosity about what’s inside would be quenched.
Securing one end of the blue curtain with his left foot, Petrov used his right one to nudge the top of the heap, which sent it rolling down the embankment. Turn by turn, the curtain unraveled itself, leaving bloody splotches imprinted on the grass underneath. The curtain fully unrolled itself, and horrified at the object that rolled out, Petrov was sent backwards on his ass.
Petrov saw the object inside the shower curtain wasn’t an animal carcass like he had guessed it would have been. Presented in front of him and lying motionless in the grass was a hunk of human flesh and bone.
The torso was laying face up, or perhaps face down, it was impossible to tell, because the once-human form was missing its head and limbs.
Police arrived quickly to process the headless heap, but to identify the body, they knew they would need to find the rest of the parts.
“A part of a female body without a head was wrapped in a bathroom curtain. Not far from the place of the first find, a plastic bag was soon found, in which part of the pelvis and thighs lay up to the knee.” — Gazetta.ru
Like a scavenger hunt, St. Petersburg Police walked around until they found the remaining pieces. They found eight in total, scattered through nearby residential buildings, the pieces wrapped in grocery bags and stuffed down trashcans. Now, much like a jigsaw puzzle, they could see the entire picture — and whose torso it was — once they reassembled the body.
A Kind Soul
The victim was 79-year-old Valentina Ulanova.
Valentina Ulanova was the neighbor that everyone wished they could have. Still active at 79, she used her hands for volunteer work. One neighbor remembered Ulanova as a “joyful person”, and was somewhat handy, just as easily baking a friend brownies as fixing a broken garbage disposal.
The thought that anyone could kill and dismember such a sweet lady like Ulanova was too difficult to imagine. Clearly, the culprit responsible had to be some sort of monster, void of a conscience, or perhaps possessed by Satan himself.
It was Ulanova’s kindness and compassion that got her killed.
Tamara Samsonova was not a nice person, but Valentina Ulanova welcomed her to stay in her apartment — a testament to her compassion.
Samsonova lived with other roommates before, but would always find herself evicted. She was a “Gutter Grandmother”, one neighbor said; a bitter and cruel lady who others avoided at all costs.
After confessing to her roommate’s murder, the press referred to Samsonova as “Baba Yaga”. In Slavic and Russian folklore, Baba Yaga lures victims inside her home with her maternal grandmother traits, but once they are inside, she transforms into an evil witch.
It is no surprise that Tamara had overstayed her welcome. In fact, her neighbors despised the 68-year-old and preferred her to leave all together. The tension caused by Tamara led to a quarrel with her roommate, in which she “beat the victim… dismembered her corpse and carried her out to the street.”
Although the Granny Ripper denied the murder at first, she soon confessed after police confronted the hag with CCTV footage. Tamara made multiple trips, carrying out Valentina’s corpse, bag by bag, and deposited the bits in eight different locations around St. Petersburg.
When police asked the crazed killer about her motive, she simply replied, “I really liked her apartment.”
The ‘Killing Diary’
Valentina Ulanova had agreed to let Tamara stay with her because she was being evicted from her own apartment, which the police would later refer to as a “crypt clogged with trash”.
Rummaging through the cluttered apartment, they discovered something extremely disturbing; Tamara’s daily journal.
This diary, which police later termed the ‘Killing Diary’, dated back nearly twenty years to the present week. It was penned in Russian, English, and German, and seemed to be written by more than one person, with multiple writing styles and letterings, although it was, as police soon found out, written entirely by Samsonova’s own hand.
More shocking, of course, was that this “killing diary” described — in vivid detail — ten additional murders.
In this diary, Tamara switches from mundane banter to gruesome outlines of body dismemberment. One entry she would complain about her bitter coffee and in another she would say:
“I killed my tenant, Volodya, cut him to pieces in the bathroom with a knife and put the pieces of his body in the plastic bags.”
Another entry reads,
“I cut out his lungs, removed them from the body and threw them away in the Frunzensky district.”
Several of these murders were verified by excavating the skeletal remains of Tamara’s victims outlined in her journal.
Tamara Samsonova was born on April 25, 1947, and from what we know about her early life; she excelled in academics, receiving a higher education degree from the prominent Moscow Linguistic State Institute.
Both parents worked hard, providing their daughter with many opportunities, and Tamara took full advantage of each one. She was a loved child from a supportive family.
Tamara wasn’t always so hated by her neighbors, even well liked by many. She made extra money by selling vodka from her apartment window, supplementing her employment at a high class hotel.
She was living her best life, even getting married and living comfortably.
So what went wrong??
After the murder of Valentina Ulanova and Tamara’s confession to police, psychiatric test were conducted, and multiple experts found a similar conclusion; Samsonova had been living with a schizophrenic disorder, which was never treated or even recognized.
Tamara Samsonova was once loved and cared for by friends and family, but having schizophrenia, untreated, had caused a definite mental decline for an “undetermined amount of time,” from what the doctors claimed. Her mind had been slipping for years, or perhaps even decades, in Tamara’s case.
This also became clear during the moment of her arrest in which she began clapping her hands and saying how excited she was to be spending the rest of her life in prison.
Book of Spells
The Book of Spells written by Tamara brought resolution for several unsolved cases. Though, the additional puzzle became the book itself, which was missing several pages — and as was later understood why, was for a sinister reason.
Police linked several other unsolved murders to Tamara and her book through two key similarities: First, the victims were cut up, sliced open without precision, and their organs removed. Second, a few of the bodies had torn paper near the body or in its shallow grave. In every case, the paper found seemed to have come from a recipe book of sorts.
Law enforcement found that the missing pages from Tamara’s Book of Spells aligned perfectly with the ones found with the victim’s remains.
The “spells” were recipes using human organs as ingredients. Perhaps we now know why all of Tamara Samsonova’s victims, including Valentina, were missing the organs of the body.
She was using them for stew.