Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"I wrecked trains because I like to see people die. I like to hear them scream."


Sylvestre Matuschka (Hungarian: Szilveszter Matuska, January 24, 1892, Csantavér (now Vojvodina) - cerca 1945), a former officer in the Austro-Hungarian army, was arrested in October 1931 and charged with arranging the derailment of several trains. It is conjectured that he caused the crashes in order to obtain sexual gratification.

Matuschka's most notorious crime was the derailment of the Vienna Express headed towards Vienna as it was crossing the Biatorbágy bridge near Budapest at 12.20am on 13 September 1931. The incident resulted in the death of 22 people and the wounding of 120 others, 17 of them severely.

Matuschka carried out his crime by blowing up a portion of the bridge, causing the engine and nine of the eleven coaches forming the train to plunge into a ravine 30 meters deep. Matuschka was discovered at the scene of the crime but, having passed himself off as a surviving passenger, he was only arrested one month later, on 10 October 1931.

At his trial, Matuschka claimed to have been ordered to derail the express by God. He was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted and the former army officer reportedly escaped from jail in Vác in 1944. According to some reports, he served as an explosives expert during the latter stages of World War II; he was never recaptured and his fate is unknown.

Matuschka has been quoted as explaining his crimes by saying: "I wrecked trains because I like to see people die. I like to hear them scream." It was reported that he achieved orgasm while watching the trains he had sabotaged crash.

In 1990 Matuschka became the subject of a song, Sylvestre Matuschka, by the band Lard. In 1982 a Hungarian/German TV film based on the case, titled The Viaduct, was broadcast.

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