This pretty Scandinavian countryside harbors a terrible secret. Just beyond the trees you see in the distance of this photo is Lake Bodom, a small but picturesque lake in Espoo, Finland, not far from Helsinki. Only a few hundred yards from where this photo was taken, four young people who were camping along the lake were savagely attacked on the early morning of June 5, 1960, stabbed and bludgeoned repeatedly. The victims were Seppo Antero Boisman and Nils Wilhelm Gustafsson, both 18, and Irmeli Björklund and Anja Tuulikki Mäki, both 15. Of the four, only Gustafsson survived. The triple murder was never solved and is one of the most infamous crimes in Finland’s history.
The Lake Bodom murder case continues to exhibit macabre fascination in the Finnish press and popular culture even to this day. The brutal murders seemed senseless, and police had few suspects, all of whom were ruled out for one reason or another. One of the suspects included Hans Assmann, a former Nazi who emigrated to Finland in the 1950s and was believed to have been a KGB spy. He was also linked to various other murders. Valdemar Gyllström, the mysterious “Kiosk Man,” reportedly confessed to the murders, but the police didn’t buy his confession. He drowned in Lake Bodom nine years after the killings.
Undoubtedly the most famous suspect was one of the victims: the survivor, Nils Gustafsson. Police reopened the case in the 2000s and declared in 2004 that Gustafsson had done it, flying into a jealous rage over his girlfriend, Irmeli Björklund. The police insisted he confessed but the reliability of this claim was questioned. Gustafsson was acquitted of the murders in 2005. He’s still alive and lives a quiet life.
Fans of heavy metal are well familiar with the Lake Bodom murders. The name of the band Children of Bodom directly refers to the incident. All the band members are from Epsoo, the town where it happened.