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Saucy boy, I already knew I must eat him.
— Beecham (letter's excerpt)[src]

John Beecham (born Japheth Dury) was a former Corporal sent to St. Elizabeth's Hospital for unstable and violent behavior. Following his discharge, he started working for the Census Bureau ending up with finding a way to approach and kill his young victims due to his mental instability.

He's a guest starring character portrayed by Bill Heck.

Backstory Edit

Japheth Dury was born in a hostile family environment in New Paltz, New York, second son of Victor Dury, a preacher. According to his brother Adam, they were raised by a stonehearted mother who claimed that Japheth was the "the bastard child of the Red Injun," implying he was born of a rape perpetrated by a Native American man. Growing up constantly harassed by his mother and without friends, Japheth developed a fragile but violent personality that was physically reflected in a nervous tic, constantly twitching his face whenever uncomfortable or angry. His father, Reverend Dury, worsened his mental instability by showing him photographs of people mutilated in the Minnesota Massacre of 1862. As a result of poor and harsh upbringing, Japheth developed a morbid interest in torturing animals, unknowingly helped by his brother who taught him how to hunt and skin animals. During his teenage years, Japheth developed an interest in climbing the local Shawangunks mountains and befriended an older peer, a farmhand named George Beecham who raped him. Following the assault, Japhet returned home in shock and bleeding. He was barely able to reveal what happened to his brother.

Around 1880, Japheth butchered both of his parents and around the same timeframe, he killed his rapist, George cutting his throat from ear to ear and tearing his eyes before throwing him off a cliff on the Shawangunk mountains. The police and the local press imputed the murder of Reverend Dury and his wife to a group of Native Americans. Since Japheth disappeared, it was widely believed that the Indians had kidnapped him. [2]

In the first half of the 1880s, Japheth assumed the identity of John Beecham and enlisted as a soldier. Described by Captain Miller as "disciplined, attentive to detail, efficient," Beecham attracted negative attention to himself during the Haymarket riots. On May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago, his platoon was called in to "keep the peace, but the violence got ugly. A bomb thrown amongst police, rioters shot and killed." During the retaliation, Captain Miller came across him sitting astride a dead striker, stabbing at the body with a knife, over and over. To make matters worse, Beecham was completely naked, covered in blood and sexually aroused as he defaced the corpse. He was sent to the St. Elizabeth's Hospital, formally known as Government Hospital for the Insane after being found unfit for service by the Regimental Surgeon. [2]

John Beecham was released from St. Elizabeth's Hospital in the summer of 1890, and then moved to New York City renting a room at 23 Bank Street, where he lived for six years. In the spring of 1890, Mr. Charles Murray hired Beecham as an enumerator, the men who did the counting and the interviewing for the Census Bureau. Mr. Murray fired him after a complaint from the Leshka, a Jewish family that claimed Beecham had been visiting their twelve years old daughter, Ellie, on several occasions when he wasn't scheduled for an interview. After having been fired at the Census Bureau, Beecham was hired as a charity worker but was again fired on Christmas Eve and left his rented room. He was later hired by a loan shark to collect money from the indebted, and it was in this way that he came into contact with the families of Giorgio Santorelli and Ali ibn-Ghazi, as the respective fathers owned gambling debts. [3]

In 1893 [3], Beecham befriended Benjamin Zweig, a child who wanted to wear dresses like those of his twin sister, Sofia. Shortly after, Beecham killed both twins and threw their bodies into a water tank on a roof. While Beecham only severed Sofia's throat, he cut Benjamin from the breastbone to the pubis and removed most of his organs. [4]

On January 1st, 1896, the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus Christ, Beecham massacred an unidentified African-American young prostitute, whose murder was recorded by the police as "Unknown Negro Boy Murder." Beecham left the mutilated body on display. [5]

On February 2nd, 1896, the feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, also known as Candlemas, Beecham killed Aaron Morton, a young prostitute working at a brothel called Shang Draper's. [5]


New York City, March 3rd, 1896. [6] Beecham assaulted Giorgio Santorelli after having spied on him for a few days since the holy day of Ash Wednesday. Lured him out of the Paresis Hall, Beecham tore the young prostitute to pieces and gutted him on the under-construction Williamsburg Bridge. After having removed the genitals, eyes, and tongue from the butchered corpse of the child, Beecham disappeared to hide in his secret shelter, where he cooked part of the removed organs, also feeding his black cat with parts of bloody meat.

A few days later he challenged Dr. Kreizler by throwing Giorgio's tongue into his calash, wrapped in a newspaper with an article on Henry Wolff's exculpation from the murder of the so-called "Boy on the Bridge." Covered by a long black coat's lapel and with a hat lowered to cover the eyes, he spied on Kreizler and Moore. As soon as Kreizler found the envelope and saw him in the crowd, Beecham fled inside an abandoned building. Although Kreizler had chased after him, Beecham managed to escape from a hole in the ceiling. [4]

After kidnapping a boy known as "Fatima" from the street, Beecham spent time with him, caressing him and talking to him in an attempt to secure the boy's trust. The boy was curious to know what happened to Beecham's mouth, probably referring to the tic that caused spasms on his face. [5] During an undefined number of days, Beecham had promised to "Fatima" to save him from the brothel, and bring him to his "Castle in the Sky," as Fatima told his friend "Bernadette" – who, in turn, told it to John Moore. [7]

On April 3rd, 1896, Beecham killed Ali ibn-Ghazi and left his mutilated body on display on the roof of Castle Gardens. While Dr. Kreizler and his ensemble analyzed the crime scene, Beecham lurked in the shadows clinging to the ceiling beams. When the team was forced to flee due to the arrival of the police, John Moore lost his sketchbook and Beecham retrieved it, taking it with him to his shelter to look at the drawings of the children he had mutilated and killed. [8]

Beecham sent a letter to Mrs. Santorelli, venting his frustration with insults and ravings about "red Injun", "cannibal immigrants" and "lustful children." Fascinated by Dr. Kreizler and his group of investigators, Beecham sent them messages pretending they were from alienist. Having gathered all of them in a cabaret, Beecham secretly observed their reaction in reading the letter that Mrs. Santorelli gave to Miss Howard. [7]

In the days around the Feast of the Ascension, Beecham approached Stevie Taggert dressed as a prostitute as a decoy. However, as soon as Beecham became aware of the trap, he escaped chased by Detective Sergeant Marcus Isaacson across the filthy streets of the ill-famed quarter. Inside a dark and shabby building, Beecham managed to outsmart the detective making him waste all the bullets before hitting him hard in the head and running away. After knocking-out Cyrus Montrose on the roof as a distraction for Dr. Kreizler's team, Beecham kidnapped a young boy named Rosie from the brothel that the team was keeping under control. Later that night, Beecham vented his rage on the boy, exposing the mutilated corpse at the foot of the Statue of Liberty. [9]

Eager to satisfy his murderous manias, Beecham entered a brothel's room with the intention of kidnapping one of the children while playing hide and seek. Unfortunately for him, the police broke into the brothel for a raid arresting the young prostitutes and their pimps. Beecham then disappeared through a window with the same rapidity and silence with which he had entered the building.

A few nights later, Beecham came down from the ceiling of the Bath House and assaulted a boy named Maxie. After luring him to the locker room and stripped him, Beecham undressed and began to quickly stab the boy, quickly creating a pool of blood. Unbeknownst to him, a friend of Maxie – Joseph, who was also a friend of "Fatima" – witnessed the murder and ran to hide in one of the cabins. As Beecham dragged Maxie's bloodless body to place him in the pool, the killer heard Joseph and kidnapped him. [3]

After imprisoning Joseph in a safe place, Beecham trained hard in climbing for the Feast of John the Baptist. Aroused by a tied-up Joseph, Beecham put a kitten in a sack and repeatedly smashed it against a wall. Noticing that Joseph had wet his pants, Beecham scorned him in a similar fashion of how his mother used to insult him as a child. Meanwhile, Beecham had also become angrier because Miss Howard and the rest of the team had discovered his apartment, making it impossible for him to return. Once the long-awaited day arrived, the killer brought Joseph to Croton Reservoir where he intended to butcher him.

Beecham's plans were hampered by Dr. Kreizler and John Moore, who had rushed to Croton Reservoir to rescue Joseph. In the dark, Beecham first assaulted Moore and then Kreizler, knocking them down and gaining enough time to begin undressing as usual during his ritual murders. Without paying attention to Kreizler's attempts to get him to reason by psychoanalyzing Beecham's past abuse at the hands of his mother, Beecham took Joseph in his arms and was ready to go to the roof when Connor shot him.

Beecham fell to the ground, wounded. Meanwhile, Connor enunciated his plan to kill not only Beecham but also Kreizler in order to clear his name and being reintegrated as Police Captain. Miss Howard arrived just in time to stop Connor's plan by shot him dead. Beecham took advantage of the chaos to escape to the roof, where he died in the arms of Kreizler, who tried in vain to keep him alive in order to discover the reason behind the murders and, possibly, finding a treatment for his alleged mental illness.

Hours later, Kreizler and Detective Sergeants Lucius and Marcus Isaacson dissected Beecham's skull to study his brain. Not having found abnormalities that could have explained his deviant behaviors, they left Beecham's corpse outside the police department with a message explaining who it was. [10]

Appearance and Personality Edit

John Beecham is a tall man in his thirties, with broad shoulders, a strong muscular build, and light brown hair. [10] His physical appearance as a strong and handsome young man stands in stark contrast with his mental history of violence and madness. Beecham is a rape survivor as well as a victim of both physical and psychological abuse perpetrated by his own parents. Strongly traumatized by photographs of mutilated bodies shown to him by his father during childhood, Beecham has a history of deep scars that led him to believe the macabre, violence and abuse as normal. Since childhood, his traumas have caused a psychosomatic reaction manifesting itself through severe facial spasms. Such tic was alleviated only during climbing mountains, or murders. In addition, Beecham experienced sexual gratification in the mutilation of male bodies. [2] According to Ellie Leshka, one of the potential victims who escaped death thanks to the sudden intervention of her parents, he only craved a deep friendship with a kindred soul, and was not a dangerous or perverse man. [3]

Modus OperandiEdit

John Beecham used his past torments and demons to establish close contact with his victims. Since he was familiar with unfortunate and poor situations, Beecham was able to gain the trust of the children who lived in the tenements. Sharing these traumas with them, it became easy for him to attract them to their untimely death. [3] Once isolated, Beecham gave free rein to his wild and violent nature. The murders were ritualistic and methodical, and followed the Catholic calendar. Every death or, in some cases, the sighting of the potential victim, took place in holy days. [6] The murders were also connected to both heights and water — in some cases, just the sight of it — as part of his ritual taking place on rooftops where it was possible to find or see water. [8]

After having tied his victims, Beecham proceeded to torture their bodies. After he removed the boys' genitalia, Beecham used to severe the right hand above the wrist. Both the ulna and radius cleanly cut by using a hunting knife known as Arkansas toothpick [5] Massive damage to the thorax with lateral lacerations to the abdomen were also common. Generally, he cut out the eyes of his victim, but removed only one eye from Rosie — possibly, because he was disturbed by approaching people in the area. To compensate that and escalating in his thirst for blood, he took Rosie's heart and removed a section of scalp covering the parietal bone. [11]

In some if not all murders, Beecham has cannibalized parts of his victims, based on misunderstandings and false belief to follow an indigenous ritual. [7] This belief had been indoctrinated by his late abusive father. [3]

Beecham's modus operandi was precise and morbid, as well as horrifying and degrading to the victims, who, however, he claimed he had never raped. [7] He had practised from an early age with the torture of small animals like cats, pursuing the killing of cats even in adulthood; probably, to keep his instincts against human beings at bay for days that did not fit into his murder scheme. [2]

Memorable QuotesEdit

Beecham's letter to Mrs. Santorelli

"My dear Mrs. Santorelli,
I don't know as it is you what is the source of the vile LIES I read in the newspapers or if the police are behind it and the reporters are part of their scheme.
But I figger it might be you, and I take this occashun to straten you out.
In some parts of this world, such as where dirty immigrants like yourself come from, it is often that human flesh is eaten regular as other food is so scarce and people would starve without it.
Of course it is usuly children what is eaten as they are tenderest and best tasting, especially the ass of a small child. And then these people that eat it come here to America, dirtier than a Red Injun.
On February 19th, I seen your boy parading himself outside the church with dirt and paint on his face. I decided to wait and saw him several times before one night I took him away from THAT PLACE. Saucy boy, I already knew I must eat him.
So we went straight to the bridge, and I trussed him and did him quick. I collected his eyes and took his ass, and it fed me for a week, roasted with onions and carrots.
But I never had him, though I could have. And he would have liked me to. He died unspoiled by me, and the papers ought to say so.

These Bloody Thoughts

Beecham: "Come closer, child."
A Fruitful Partnership

Dr. Kreizler: "He had nothing to do with what your mother did to you! [GASPS] He's as innocent as you once were. Killing him won't rid you of her!"
Beecham "You think that's why?"
Castle in the Sky



  • Beecham remained hidden for most of the series, appearing sporadically in brief scenes where his hands were shown, or his heavy sighs were heard.
  • In the novel by Caleb Carr, he was conceived in a night when his drunk father, Victor Dury raped his wife.
  • The letter sent to Mrs. Santorelli by Beecham is based on the letter that serial killer Albert Fish sent to his victim's mother. Fish was a child rapist and cannibal active in New York and neighbouring states between 1890 and 1930.

Episode AppearancesEdit


  1. Carr, Caleb, The Alienist, Chapter 32. Random House.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 John Sayles (writer) & David Petrarca (director); (March 12, 2018); "Psychopathia Sexualis". Episode 8.The Alienist. TNT
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Hossein Amini (writer) & Jamie Payne (director); (March 19, 2018); "Requiem". Episode 9.The Alienist. TNT
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hossein Amini (writer) & Jakob Verbruggen (director); (January 22, 2018); "The Boy on the Bridge". Episode 1. The Alienist. TNT
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Hossein Amini & E. Max Frye (writers) & Jakob Verbruggen (director); (January 29, 2018); "A Fruitful Partnership". Episode 2.The Alienist. TNT
  6. 6.0 6.1 E. Max Frye (writer) & James Hawes (director); (February 19, 2018); "Hildebrandt’s Starling". Episode 5.The Alienist. TNT
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Gina Gionfriddo & Cary Fukunaga (writers) & James Hawes (director); (February 12, 2018); "These Bloody Thoughts". Episode 4.The Alienist. TNT
  8. 8.0 8.1 Gina Gionfriddo (writer) & Jakob Verbruggen (director); (February 5, 2018); "Silver Smile". Episode 3.The Alienist. TNT
  9. E. Max Frye (writer) & Paco Cabezas (director); (February 26, 2018); "Ascension". Episode 6.The Alienist. TNT
  10. 10.0 10.1 Cary Fukunaga, John Sayles & Chase Palmer (writer) & Jamie Payne (director); (March 26, 2018); "Castle in the Sky". Episode 10.The Alienist. TNT
  11. John Sayles (writer) & Paco Cabezas (director); (March 5, 2018); "Many Sainted Men". Episode 7.The Alienist. TNT