Reason First: Death and Potions- The Serial Killer Herman Billick

The seer probably didn’t see time in jail coming.

Reason First: Death and Potions- The Serial Killer Herman Billick

Herman Billick received a life sentence despite there being no evidence that he held arsenic amongst his possessions. This came about after the judge commuted the death sentence after several stays. The root of all of this? Billick befriended a man named Martin Vzral, a milk tycoon, who prided himself as a successful businessman. Meanwhile, Bellick roamed about as a ne’er-do-well and a schemer. He offered love potions and even claimed to be a “Cardreader and Seer” according to cards that he had printed.

“The Great Billick” wanted to place a spell on one of Vzral’s enterprise opponents. In the run of things, Vzral died. Then his second daughter succumbed. Another daughter took a turn for the worst and died. Soon the last daughter perished. All of them had varying amounts of insurance policies in their names.

Mrs. Vzral escaped capture because she ingested arsenic before a warrant could be authorized. But not Bellick, who in the years 1905-1906 in Chicago killed these people for the thrills. Was it a part of his traveling show persona? Was it is sideshow mentality that made him think that he could get out of trouble in a puff of smoke and glittering mirrors?

In actuality, Billick was pardoned in 1917. His way of showing himself to be an unscrupulous man certainly surfaced.

The reason behind Billick’s iniquity was irrationalism. He ascribed to the mystical and let the unknown and unknowable guide his path. By overlooking the rationality tied to business and the power that it takes to run one, Billick dug himself into a hole. He reached the bottom and happened to climb up and out, but not unscathed.

He must have wished that he could use a potion or two to get him out of the mess that he had made. Despite his release, he probably never gained enough mental fortitude to fight off the pangs in his mind. It is interesting that he killed almost an entire family that had nothing to do with the rivalry between Vzral and the other milk entrepreneur. Billick couldn’t conjure up enough tricks to prevent him from serving at least a little bit of time.

The thoughtlessness of this man is what sent him crashing down morally. Yes, he avoided death by the state and had his sentence commuted and saw release. This is all true. But the fact that he used unreason in his dealings paints a picture of a man unable to deal with facts. He went about life feeling that everyone should do something for him. He felt that he could make a fast dollar by selling hopes and dreams. His fortune telling and made up ideals punctuated the fact that he was a serial killer. The multiple bodies that mounted because of his ugly soul contributed to his infamy. Instead of at least being an “honest” seer and not taking anyone’s life, Billick could have taken his show on the road. He could have snatched up some coins with his eccentric exhibition.

Had he not been a killer, Billick could have become a spectacle performing feats of magic and “psychic powers.” While all of this would have been false and dare say vicious, they would not have been criminal. The illegality of killing people stood during Billick’s time and it did before and after. For his role in the Vzral family slayings, Billick ought to be condemned for all time. Though he did receive a pardon, he still killed these people without remorse or regard. So, if reason is to reign supreme, the citizens of the world should not be mystical seers but prophets that know history and can predict the future.

fact or fiction
Read next: Chad Alan Lee

I am a forever young, ego-driven, radical hipster from Delaware. Investor. Objectivist for life. Instagram: @skylerized


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