“He(Joseph Jr.) was a sacrifice, I was to murder three million people on the planet earth, and he was sacrificed to see if I could murder one of my own, at the end of murdering all the people on the earth, I was going to murder my own family and then take my own life and become God.”

Joseph Kallinger at trial

Early Life of Joseph Kallinger

Joseph Kallinger’s life was by no accounts – normal, when he was just one year old, he was put into foster care as his father left his family and his mother was unable to take care of the family.

Young Joseph was adopted by an Austrian couple, Stephan and Anna Kallinger on October 15, 1939. His new home was a house of nightmares, Joseph was abused by his adoptive parents – both physically and verbally.

At the age of six, he suffered a hernia inflicted by his adoptive parents, and after returning from the hospital his parents taunted him, telling him that the doctor has fixed his little bird, while he was at the hospital, implying he would be rendered impotent.

When he was 8 years old, his mother bashed him over the head with a hammer for defiantly stating that he wanted to go to the zoo on a class trip. Most of the time Joseph was locked inside closets, forced to kneel on rocks, starved, and whipped. He was so scared of his family that when a group of adults sexually abused him, he didn’t tell them, as he was afraid of getting severe punishment.

Joseph’s adoptive parents refused him to enjoy normal childhood activities, like riding a bike, having birthday parties, or even playing with the neighborhood children. They forced him to work in the shoe shop after school and on weekends, in order to train him taking over the family business.


Joseph’s Marriage With Hilda Bergman

As a child, Kallinger often rebelled against his teachers and his adoptive parents, at the age of 10 Joseph tried to make some friend by stealing money from his parents and bribing neighborhood children to attend movies with him. Once caught his parents would burn his fingers on the stove to burn the demon thief out of the finger that steals. But he continued stealing, enduring the pain, each time he was caught, until finally relenting from the pain.

Joseph dreamed of becoming a playwright and had played the part of Ebenezer Scrooge in a local production of A Christmas Carol in ninth grade. Eventually, his parents allowed him to attend the theater on Saturdays, which is where he met Hilda Bergman. Joseph’s parents did not approve of their relationship and told him not to see her, but Joseph married her and had two children with her at the age of 17.

Joseph Kallinger with children

The marriage did not last long, Joseph and Hilda divorced in 1956, due to domestic violence at the hands of Joseph. The divorce affected Joseph, and he was hospitalized due to severe headaches and loss of appetite, which doctors believed was a result of stress surrounding his divorce.

Marriage With Elizabeth

Joseph married Elizabeth on April 20, 1958, and had five children with his second wife. He was extremely abusive towards his family and often inflicted the same punishment on them that he had suffered from his adoptive parents.


Joseph and Michel Kallinger’s Reign Of Crime

Joseph’s mental state began to deteriorate over time, he committed arson by setting his family house on fire in 1958 and collected $1,600 in an insurance payout, and he would do the same four more times over the next nine years.

Joseph Kallinger was arrested and imprisoned in 1972 for child abuse, but after certain tests, he was found incompetent to stand trial, as well as being a paranoid schizophrenic. His children later recanted their allegations and he was released.

By 1974, Joseph Kallinger began hearing the voice of God, emanating from a disembodied head he referred to as Charlie. That voice spoke to him and told him to kill young boys and sever their penises.

In early July of that year, he enlisted the help of his 13-year-old son, Michael Kallinger to help him carry out his horrific plans. When Joseph requested Michael’s help, the boy responded with great enthusiasm: “Glad to do it, Dad!”

Together they murdered Jose Collazo, a Puerto Rican boy, whom they lured to an abandoned factory before torturing and severing his genitals, and then asphyxiating him to death.


Joseph Kallinger Murdered his own son

Joseph’s next victim would end up being his own son, 14-year-old Joseph Jr, he made several attempts to take his son’s life before. Joseph and his son drowned him and dumped his body at a demolition site in August 1974. Police could not arrest them due to a lack of evidence.

The insurance company at the time told that Joseph took out a large life insurance policy on his sons. Though Joseph claimed that his son, Joseph Jr. has run away from home, the insurance company, suspecting foul play, denied paying out the claim.

The father and son duo began extending their crime spree outwards to neighboring cities and states. On November 22nd, the father-son team burglarized a house in Lindenwold, New Jersey, but no one was home. At their second stop, they broke into the home of Joan Carty where Joseph tied Carty to the bed and sexually assaulted her.

Eleven days later, Joseph and Michael Kallinger broke into a home in Susquehanna Township, Pennsylvania, where they held five women hostage. They robbed them at knifepoint, and managed to get away with $20,000 in cash and jewelry, as well as slashing on the victim’s breast.

The father-son duo traveled to Maryland, where they held Pamela Jaske captive in her home, forcing her to perform oral sex on Joseph. Then on January 6, they did the same with victim Mary Rudolph.


Final Wave Of Crime

Two days later, on January 8, Joseph and his son invaded a home at Leonia, New Jersey where they held eight captives at gunpoint while they ransacked the house. When Joseph and his son entered the house, they overpowered and tied up three residents. When others entered the home, they were forced to strip and were bound with cords from lamps and other appliances.

21-year-old Nurse Maria Fasching, who had come over to help care for their grandmother was also taken hostage by Joseph. Maria was stabbed to death for refusing Joseph’s order to bite of a male victim’s penis.

While Joseph and Michael were busy torturing them, a victim managed to crawl her way through the front door and screamed for help. Michael signaled his father that someone was coming, and they fled the scene, got on a city bus, and dumped their weapons in a blood-stained t-shirt on their way home.

The Kallinger’s fell under police radar after they found the t-shirt, aside from an eyewitness description and police sketches produced of the suspects matched their description. Police also learned of the suspicious circumstances surrounding Joseph Jr.’s death and his prior child abuse charges.


Trial of Joseph Kallinger

On January 17th, 1975 police arrested Joseph and his 11-year-old son James on charges of kidnapping, rape, burglary, and Maria’s murder. However, James was released later after concluding that he was not the son involved in the crimes.

Joseph Kallinger arrested

At his trial, Joseph testified that he was 1,000 years old and was a butterfly before he received his present bodily form. Joseph took the stand in his own defense and denied breaking into the home of Henry Bogins with his 13-year-old son and binding and robbing four women who were there for a bridge game.

He testified on the day of the alleged robbery he was in his shoe shop all day, “I never hurt anybody, I couldn’t,” he said.

Joseph was declared schizophrenic by a psychologist but found fit to stand trial, however, Joseph couldn’t convince Jury that he was insane. The case against him was too strong, and he was found guilty on the charges of Burglary, robber, and kidnapping, and was sentenced to 30 to 80 years in prison.

Joseph and his son were charged with three counts of murder in New Jersey state courts. Joseph pleaded insanity, claiming God had told him to kill. He was sentenced to prison for 30 to 80 years by a judge who called him “an evil man… utterly vile and depraved.”


Severed Head “Charlie”

Joseph started blocking toilets, began collecting ups of water, and placing them under his bed. He threw excrement and cups of urine at the guards and spent much of his day rolling of the floor of his prison cell and howling. He told the prison psychologist that a severed head named “Charlie” floats around his cell and gives him instruction on what to do. At one time, he was found sleeping on the floor on his prison cell, he told the guards that Charlie had taken over his cot and wouldn’t let him sleep on it.

His violent outbursts have continued in prison as well, with Joseph setting himself on fire in March 1977. A few weeks later he assaulted a fellow inmate before lighting a fire on his cell block. At one instance he slashed another convict’s throat in an unprovoked attack, but his victim managed to survive.


On the other hand, Michael Kallinger was judged to be under his father’s control, he was sentenced to a reformatory. After finishing his sentence, he changed his name and moved to a new state.

Joseph Kallinger died of heart failure and a seizure on March 26, 1966, at the state correction institution at the age of 60.

Joseph Kallinger Interview


When asked “Why did he kill his own child?” This is what Joseph had to say: “He was a sacrifice, I was to murder three million people with the planet earth, and he was sacrificed to see if I could murder a life I owned, at the end of murdering all the people on the earth, I was going to murder my own family and then take my own life and become God.”

Michael Kallinger joined his father in his crime spree but what about other serial killers and their children? Read about what happened to children of serial killers?

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