Anatoly Moskvin, a highly-educated historian, mummified dozens of young girls and kept them in the bedroom of the apartment where he lived with his parents.
Moskvin loved history. He spoke 13 languages, traveled extensively, taught at the college level, and was a journalist in Nizhny Novgorod, a Russian city.
He was also a self-proclaimed expert on cemeteries and dubbed himself a “necropolyst.” One colleague called his work “priceless.”
Unfortunately, Moskvin took his expertise to ghoulish new levels.
In 2011, the historian was arrested after bodies of 29 girls aged between three and 25 were found mummified in his apartment.
A Bizarre Ritual
Moskvin was an ultimate expert on cemeteries in his local city of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. He attributes his obsession with the macabre to a 1979 incident when the historian was 13.
He shared a story in Necrologies, a weekly publication dedicated to cemeteries and obituaries, on how he became obsessed with the dead.
In one of his articles, Moskvin divulged how a group of men dressed in black suits stopped him on the way home from school.
They were en route to a funeral of 11-year-old Natasha Petrova and dragged him along to her coffin, where they forced him to kiss the girl’s corpse.
“I kissed her once, then again, then again.” The girl’s grieving mother then put a wedding ring on Anatoly’s finger and a wedding ring on her dead daughter’s finger.”
A Macabre Obsession Festers
Moskvin’s interest in the corpse-kissing incident never abated. He started wandering through cemeteries as a schoolboy.
He roamed from a cemetery to cemetery. From 2005 to 2007, Moskvin claimed to have visited 752 cemeteries in Nizhny Novgorod.
Desecration of Graves
In 2009, locals began to discover the graves of their loved ones desecrated, sometimes completely dug up. And that’s when Moskvin’s secret mission was unveiled.
The Creepy Dolls
Moskvin lived with his parents in a small apartment. He was reportedly lonely and something of a pack-rat. Inside, authorities found life-sized, doll-like figures throughout the apartment.
It was discovered that when Moskvin visited the cemeteries, he dug up the graves, carried the corpses to his apartment, mummified the dead children, and dressed them in stockings, girls’ clothing and knee-length boots to make them look like dolls. He even applied lipstick and make-up to their faces.
In another grisly twist, he wedged music boxes inside their rib cages. Moskvin also marked the birthdays of each of his dead victims in his bedroom.
By the time he was detained by police, Moskvin had kept one of the young girl’s remains for nine years.
Investigators also found music boxes or toys inside the bodies of the dead girls so that they could produce sounds when touched.
Moskivn admitted to the horrific crimes in court, where he told distraught parents:
“You abandoned your girls, I brought them home and warmed them up.”
Shockingly, Moskvin’s parents claimed to know nothing of the initial origin of Moskvin’s “dolls.”
His mother said:
“We saw these dolls, but we did not suspect there were dead bodies inside. We thought it was his hobby to make such big dolls and did not see anything wrong with it.”
In court, Moskvin confessed to 44 counts of abusing graves and dead bodies.
In his defense, Moskvin told interrogators he had done what he did because he was waiting for science to find a way to bring the dead back to life. In the meantime, he used a simple solution of salt and baking soda to preserve the girls.
Moskvin was diagnosed with schizophrenia and sentenced to a lifetime in a psychiatric hospital.