Manuel Blanco Romasanta has been made famous in Spain due to two successful films about him, but his fame was already great in the 19th century. He is regarded as Spain’s first documented serial killer, criminal psychopath… and werewolf!
Romasant was born on 18 November 1989 in the small village of Regueiro, Orense province, in Spain’s most north-westerly Galicia region. According to documentation of the time, he was quite educated and well-off for his station in society. Unusual for the time, he could both read and write.
He started off as a tailor, but following the death of his wife when he was just 24, he gave up tailoring and decided to become a travelling salesman. According to legend, he became famous for the high quality fat and lard and travelled widely through Galicia, Portugal and Castile. Little did his customers know where this commodity came from.
The first murder case came on his travels outside Galicia, for the murder of Vicente Fernández, the constable of León.
The constable was charged with recovering a debt of 600 reales which Romasanta owed to a Ponferrada supplier where he bought the merchandise for his mobile shop. Fernández was found dead and Romasanta was judged by default (for failing to appear). He was sentenced to 10 years in 1844. He had escaped to the mountains of Orense and used the village of Rebordechao, in Vilar de Barrio, as his base for his peddling operations.
It wasn’t long before a number of women and children started disappearing. In total 7 women and 2 children who had known Romasanta had vanished after being in his company. In many cases he had offered to act as a guide around the city. He even passed on their news to family in other towns, telling them of how happy the victims were in their new life.
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