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Belle Gunness is also known as Hell’s Belle,  the black widow, and lady bluebird is a Norwegian  American serial killer.  She targeted the men who had the interest to marry her.  she is known for killing men who were attracted to her and the number is estimated to be between 14 to 40 victims but the exact number is still unknown. Even children who have crossed her path were also in danger of being her next victim.  She emigrated to the US where her husband and children died mysteriously. Her wealthy suitors went missing and a few days later the authorities found the remains of her children and found that it was Gunness who should be blamed. 

Who is Belle Gunness?

No one is born bad but it usually develops as a result of the life events that take place and changes a person’s perspective on life. 

Belle Gunness was born in 1859  in Selbu,  Norway, and was called Brynhild Paulsdatter Storset.  She was raised on a farm and was the youngest of 8 children.  She was born to a stonemason Paul Pedersen Storseth and her mother Berit Olsdatter.  She had a very poor life but she grew up to become a very strong and big woman. She had a very normal childhood. 


At the age of 18, Belle became pregnant and had a miscarriage when she was assaulted by a man.   No legal proceedings were taken against him as he came from a very wealthy family and have bribed his way of being charged.  After the incident, she was not the same again which changed your personality completely. 

Maybe this is the incident that made her one of the worst female serial killers in the US. 

She emigrated to the United States of America and worked as a servant.  But she couldn’t afford the life she wanted.  To live the life she dreamt of,  she decided to achieve it through insurance fraud.

Belle Gunness murders

Belle Gunness

In the year 1884 in Chicago, she got married to mads Sorensen. They had 4 children. Both of them opened a Candy Store which was not very successful.  Then one day the Candy Store and the home burnt down Under mysterious circumstances.  As a result, Belle and her husband were able to collect the insurance money for both the properties and they purchased a better house. 

Among the four children, they had two of them passed away from acute colitis,  which is a chronic digestive disease.  This has very similar symptoms to one who has been poisoned.  And so they collected the life insurance payout for the two children and so no further investigations were conducted. 

On July 30th, 1900 Belle’s husband died.  It was said that he died from heart failure because he was going through treatment for an enlarged heart.  No autopsy was conducted because of his medical history. Belle’s husband had two Life Insurance policies that overlapped, so she was not able to collect them. 

Using the insurance which she managed to collect from her misfortunes,  she purchased a Farm in LaPorte and then became a wealthy woman.  She again married a man named Petter Gunness.  He had children of his own and they moved into the farmhouse that belonged to Belle. But soon after the marriage, the child of Peter died mysteriously, and a few days later when  Peter was trying to take something from the top shelf, he died as a result of a meat grinder that had fallen on top of him and smashed his skull. Belle collected both the insurance payouts from the deaths. 

After the death of Peter,  she began to search for men for marriage.  To find a new husband she advertised in many large newspapers in the area.  The way she placed the advertisement attracted many potential suitors.  She convinced the men to visit the farm and to bring their life savings.  The people in the region saw her with different men.  Although they visited the farm they were never seen again. 

It is believed that she would have killed them, dismembered their bodies, and then would have buried on the farm or fed them to her pigs. 

The end of Belle Gunness

April 28th, 1908, the farmhouse was burnt to the ground.  When the authorities inspected they discovered the bodies of three children. These bodies were suspected to be the children of Belle.  In the basement, there was a headless corpse that belong to a woman, and so they thought that it was the body of Belle Gunness. They closed the case saying that she was murdered. 

woman serial killer

Then a man called Asle Helgelien turned up to the burnt farmhouse to search for his missing brother Andrew.  He was one of the men who responded to the advertisement of Belle but after that, he had never been seen. Asle had a doubt that Belle would have done something to him. when he went to the farmhouse, with the help of a former farmhand, he dug in the hog pen and noticed that the ground was not level. They came across various body parts when digging and Asle recognized some parts that belonged to his brother. 

The media held the story of numerous body parts that were found. Then a serious investigation took place to find out who had fired the farmhouse or the person who had helped Belle for murder. Ray Lamphere was suspected as he was a secret lover of Belle.  But there was no conclusive proof to charge him. He admitted to seeing smoke coming from Farmhouse and did nothing about it, and he was in the prison for a year before he died. 

It is still a mystery whether Belle actually died and the corpse belonged to her, and some say that she faked her own death. But there is no conclusive proof to date. 

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