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 Amityville Suicide Club! Member dies of "Suicide by Murder!"

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PostSubject: Amityville Suicide Club! Member dies of "Suicide by Murder!"   Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:33 pm

Suicide Club Members Kill themselves and each other in 1931.
Amityville made world headlines in 1931 because the police discovered a secret suicide club in the village. A leader of the club told the police that if she committed murder it would of been when "my soul had flown from my body." The claim of the supernatural, insanity, and the killing of family show strong similarities to the DeFeo Amityville killing. Below is a 1931 newspaper article about the murder and the 50 members of the suicide club.

Only 26 Out of 50 Members Still Alive

Residents of Amityville were startled to-day to learn of a weird "suicide cult" which already may have claimed the lives of 24 of its original 50 members. The existence of such a "club" came to light, authorities said, with the arrests of a 57 year-old spinster, Louise SCHWARZ, who is under indictment on a second degree murder charge in connection with the death of her invalid brother, Edward, 55. Miss SCHWARZ was taken into custody when police said they had learned she was the only one who would have had the opportunity or the motive for firing the shot which took her brother's life. The tall angular woman is of an old and respected family here and had devoted nearly all of her life to the care of her brother.


She denied the killing and told police her brother took his own life as a member of the suicide club. SCHWARZ was found last Wednesday, freshly shaven and dressed in his best clothes, seated in an easy chair, dead. His ankles were crossed and a revolver lay in his lap, loosely clutched in his right hand. He had two wounds in his head.
Police at first accepted the suicide theory until the coroner pointed out that one of the shots destroyed his motor centers and it would have been impossible for him to have fired the second shot which caused his death.
The coroner also said that as SCHWARZ was a helpless invalid, it would have been impossible for him to dress himself. Miss SCHWARZ was then arrested. She told authorities that if she shot him she did so while "my soul had flown from my body." Her brother, she said, had suffered almost unbearably for the past 20 years and they had
agreed that it was best for him to end it all.


This agreement came, she said, after a meeting of the "Suicide Club" at her home, when members offered prayers for relief of his suffering to no avail. The "cult" originally composed of fifty aged and suffering members, but with only twenty-six remaining, had an unwritten law, she said, whereby it was understood that if the weekly prayers for some member failed the victim would end his life.
It was under this understanding that the brother and sister decided it was best for him to end his life, she said. She helped him put on his best clothes, shaved him and placed him in the easy chair "so that he would look his best in death." She then got the revolver and handed it to him, she said, leaving the house shortly thereafter, not to return until five hours later. When she got back her brother was dead. She called for a neighbor who summoned police.


Authorities were at first inclined to place little credence in her story until she told of how another member of the club, George BREITENBACH had gone home and hanged himself in the cellar of his home after the "club's" prayers had failed. Authorities looked up the case and found the details of the death of BREITENBACH coincided in every detail with her description. Miss SCHWARZ went on to name a dozen late residents of Suffolk County who, as members of the club, had ended their lives, according to officials. Police were attempting to learn the names of other members to ascertain whether the missing 24 of the original 50 had met death at their own hands.

Brooklyn Standard Union 16 May 1931

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