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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptical Inquirer > September October 2017 > The Monster of Florence: Case Closed?

The Monster of Florence: Case Closed?

The Terrifying Story of the Most Infamous Ritual Murders in Italian History, Part 2

Massimo Polidoro is an investigator of the paranormal, lecturer, and cofounder and head of CICAP, the Italian skeptics group. His website is at

The story of the Monster of Florence, after consuming energies and investigative efforts on the inconclusive Sardinian lead (see previous column), forced the investigators to start from scratch—almost. On September 11, 1985, just three days after the last murder attributed to the serial killer, an anonymous person wrote to the police of San Casciano naming for the first time Pietro Pacciani, a violent peasant who had already been convicted for murder twenty-six years earlier, killing a man whom he had caught making out with his girlfriend. An initial search of his premises failed to find any incriminating evidence, however, and only on October 30, 1991, did Pacciani (who had since ended up in prison after raping his own daughters) receive notice that he was under investigation for the Monster’s crimes.

A series of searches at Pacciani’s house in Mercatale eventually led to the discovery of several objects, including bits of paper with plate numbers written on them, a .22 caliber cartridge, and some German-made objects, perhaps belonging to the young German men who became victims of the Monster while camping in the Italian countryside in 1983. There was no gun, but another anonymous person sent the police of San Casciano a spring guide rod, part of a .22 caliber pistol, wrapped in two strips of flowered fabric. It was the same type of cloth found in the house of the farmer’s daughters. On January 16, 1993, Pacciani was arrested on charges of being the maniac killer.

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