Sylvestre Matuschka ranks among the most bizarre mass murderers in history. Way before World War II, he anticipated the great plane bombers of the 1950s and ’60s like Albert Guay and Jack Gilbert Graham, with a single-handed bombing campaign directed against the railways of Central Europe.
He served under George Washington during the Revolutionary War. But Barnett Davenport made his mark on early America in far less heroic way: he’s remembered as the first known mass killer, a crime dubbed “the most horrid murders ever perpetrated in this country, or perhaps any other.”
On a single day in 2011, Anders Breivik killed 77 people, most of them attendees at a youth camp organized by the Norwegian Labour Party. A thoughtful piece in the new New Yorker by Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard takes a look at the mass murderer from the inside out, examining his mind and his motives.