Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lavinia Fisher: The First Female Serial Killer

                                                                     Lavinia Fisher

It seemed fitting to start my first blog post with Lavinia Fisher the woman known as the first recognized serial killer. Lavinia Fisher was born in 1793, although her origins are unknown. Lavinia grew up and married John Fisher. They resided near Charleston, South Carolina making a profit from owning a hotel, the Six Mile Wayfarer House, in the beginning of the 1800's (Weiser,1). Mysteriously, men started disappearing in Charleston and when it was brought to the authorities attention they started to investigate. It was then determined that most of the men were last seen at the Six Mile Wayfarer House. Although the authorities did start an investigation, unfortunately it was dropped due to no evidence and the Fisher's being well known in the town. As time passed by more men still were disappearing in Charleston. Rumors were flying around town and locals still believed the Fisher's had something to do with all the disappearances. The locals decided to take the matter into their own hands and have a man named David Ross stand watch in the area. While on watch David Ross was attacked and dragged before Lavinia Fisher (Weiser,1). Expecting her to help him she did the quite opposite by choking him and smashing his head through a window. Miraculously Ross escaped and alerted authorities right away. Around the same time a man was traveling and wanted to stay at the Six Mile Wayfarer House. Before retiring for the night the man was questioned profusely by Lavinia.When the man got to his room he realized how suspicious it was that he was questioned so much and believed he was going to be robbed. Instead of sleeping in the bed he fell asleep on a chair in the room. In the middle of the night he awoke a loud crash and noticed his bed had disappeared into a black hole beneath the floor. The traveler then jumped out of the window and fled to the police. Lavinia and her husband were both found guilty and were hung on the gallows in 1820 (Weiser,1). Lavinia Fisher wasn't so compliant when being hung she requested to wear her wedding dress, and she had to be carried while screaming and ranting. Right before she was executed she yelled to the crowd " If any of you have a message for the Devil, give it to me, for I am about to meet him!"(Weiser,1).
This case is so interesting because it's almost considered a myth. There's no records on Lavinia's childhood and on till she resided in Charleston. Many people argue about many aspects of this case. For example, some people believe they gave their victims tea with poison in it, then finished them off when they slept. Others believe they used the tea with poison then had a mechanism flip the bed underneath the floor so they could kill them. Even Lavinia's last words aren't completely known overtime different variations were suggested, although almost all are the same in context. Lastly to this day it's still argued if Lavinia is even a serial killer, yet alone the first female one in America.

If that isn't enough people believe the jail she stayed at ,the Charleston Jail, is haunted by her spirit. It is said that Lavinia roams the halls and occasional peaks out a window in the jail. In 2011 the hit show Ghost Adventures took a trip to the Charleston Jail to investigate. Below is the whole episode on the Charleston Jail and Lavinia.

Personally, I believe Lavinia Fisher is a serial killer and I do believe her ghost haunts the Charleston Jail. Common in most serial killers their are many factors from their past that explains their actions, but in this case their is no past history that is known. There is so many unknown answers it is almost amusing, because you can create your own version of how you portray Lavinia Fisher.

So how do you portray Lavinia Fisher? Innocent and wrongfully committed? or a coldblooded female serial killer?

Work Citied:

Weiser, Kathy."Lavinia Fisher." Legends of America.Web. 13 Jan. 2013.           <>.


  1. Based on the information you provide, it does seem as if Livinia Fisher was a serial killer. But she certainly didn't work alone. Could it have been more of a crime syndicate? Do serial killers generally work alone (I assumed so, but now I'm not so sure, after thinking about this and then thinking of our serial killer-shooters from earlier in the decade here in DC).

    Don't forget to add the works cited entry when you do traditional documentation.

  2. I feel like this is a story you tell around the campfire and the fire dies just as you talk about her cell being haunted. It's creepy, very enticing, and invites you to spend the next hour figuring out how in the hell the first man survived to tell the police after getting choked and smashed into a window. And the second guy was blessed to not be in the bed when that happened. If that was me i would've ran past the police, and would have been long gone.

  3. Wow, this is very interesting to me, who know a woman was the first serial killer. I like how you grasp the me into reading about who Lavinia Fisher is and what she did. I would love to know more about the story if there is any information like why she did it or was she mentally ill. I think that this was a good choice for your first post and I am looking forward on reading more.