Darkness Behind The Smiling Face – Eddie Leonski

eddie leonski

Are you the typical kind of person who appears normal and sane in front of other people, like you have no problem at all because you constantly wear that beautiful smile of yours? One of the common ways we do to cover how we truly feel inside and not let our emotions burst is the art of smiling. But not everyone can truly execute it in a manner that people around will not notice what is really happening. At most the truth can never be hidden. But there are gifted individuals with the art of concealing their personality and motives with their smiling face that radiates an aura of positive notion towards them that when accused of a crime will leave doubts to many.

                             You may have encountered these types of people. The ones who look like angels and like they cannot do insane acts, but are real devils behind your back. This is when looks becomes deceiving to your eyes that you get blinded to see the truth that is only revealed when you are already trapped.

The Power of Smile

                             Psychologists have studied that most of problematic individuals appear to be more smiley than the average person as they go through the process of denying every weakness they possess hence they manifest a positive vibe of themselves no matter what and this behavior is proven to subconsciously creates and feeds their ego of superiority over something or someone that actually incurs great pain in their hearts whereby anger, grudge and resentment grows unconsciously that causes them to think and do evil things like killing most commonly preceded by a triggering factor like intoxication of drugs and/or alcohol, or simply being reminded of a painful thought by someone. And through the power of smile, people who are likely to have this kind of behavior can actually control their emotions and prolong an evil act to plan one that is more satisfying to them. They use their smiling face to act out as if they are not affected in any way even if in reality they have already been offended, through this, they can do more than what one could imagine. And the greatest part is leaving people clueless of the possibility that they can actually do horrific things. Just like Eddie Leonski who murdered 3 women in May of 1942 in Australia.

Who is Eddie Leonski?

                             Eddie Leonski or Edward Joseph Leonski a.k.a “The Brownout Killer” is an American soldier based in Australia during the World War II where he had strangled and murdered three women on the month of May year 1942 that made him listed in the list of known American Serial Killers.

                             Eddie Leonski was born in December 2, 1917, He was the sixth child of the Russian-born John Leonski and his wife Amelia née Harkavitz who resides in Kenvil, New Jersey, United States of America. The family moved to East 77th Street, New York during his infancy.

                      Like most of the serial killers whose names got all over the news and internet. Eddie Leonski grew up in an alcoholic and abusive environment, got bullied, and was overprotected by his mother thus he was often called a “mama’s boy” in their neighborhood. Eddie Leonski was able to finish his secretarial course in the top 10% of his class after leaving junior high in 1933, got employed with several clerical jobs and finally got worked at Gristede Bros Inc. Superior Food Markets, with this you may get the notion that Eddie is doing well, but Eddie had to leave an unhappy family as he was called to serve the U.S. Army and stationed in Melbourne, Australia in 1941.

                      To give you how unhappy Eddie’s Family was, He had a mentally unstable mother, a brother in a psychiatric hospital, and two more brothers have prison records for committed crimes. He had to leave all this to serve in the U.S. Army. But as Eddie was stationed with the 52nd Signal Battalion at San Antonio, Texas, Eddie drank heavily putting peppers on his whisky as his preferred concoctions that lead him and tried to strangle a woman. This incidence happened in January 1942, before Eddie and the other members of Battalion was shipped to Melbourne, Australia, was overlooked and authorities failed to comprehend that a headache is what this guy Eddie would bring them. Perhaps the authorities would have considered it as a natural thing done by someone who had to leave his family for the first time and becomes emotional, anxious or perhaps worried at that time.

                      Shortly, when Eddie arrived in Melbourne, Australia in February 1941, He continued his drinking habit, attempted to rape a woman in his St. Kilda flat, got confined for thirty days in a stockade for his drunkenness, was released and continued to drink like there is nothing left for tomorrow. Eddie, in this stature, and if we are to psychologically asses his behavior, as though many of his colleagues claimed that He is sane and looks happy with his smiling face, really have something going on in his mind that drinking heavily has been his outlet to pacify this crisis within him. Until on May 3, 1942, a woman named Mrs. Ivy McLeod was found murdered in the doorway of a shop next to the Bleak House Hotel, Albert Park.

                      The Australian journal had dubbed this incidence “Brownout Crime” where Eddie’s alias “The Brownout Killer” was derived. The setting of the environment during that time calls for the street lights be dimmed at night to avoid bombings by the Japanese, and this got to Eddie’s advantage that shortly after Mrs. McLeod’s murder, another lady was strangled to death on the 9th of May, and the dead body found outside a city boarding house was identified to be Mrs. Pauline Thompson. Eddie Leonski went unnoticed with all these crimes until his third victim Mrs. Gladys Hosking was found murdered with the same modus in Royal Park on May 18, 1942. All three had their genitals exposed but no evidence of penetration was found.

                      As reports of killings were over the newspapers, and Eddie Leonski was able to read the crime, and He confided his crime with one of his fellow soldier that He even described himself as likened to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by saying, “I’m like him – two personalities”. From here, Eddie Leonski knows all along that he is battling a personality crisis within him.

The Criminal’s Fate

                      Eddie Leonski was apprehended shortly after diligent investigative jobs done by Detectives in-charge of the brownout crimes in May 22, 1942. What led to his arrest are the evidences found such as the singlet bearing his initials that was retrieved from one of his survivor victims, matched description of the same police reports from other women who experienced the same strangling incidence but managed to escape and the mud that was found on His uniform that he washed and hanged outside his base camp when an official went over the base camp to confirm their suspect was indeed Him, the investigation of the murder of Mrs. Hosking gave the detectives clues with the foot prints on the mud where Mrs. Hosking was assumed to have been dragged and where they found her dead. The same mud was found on the hanged uniform that has initials of “EL” printed on it, the same initials found on the singlet given by a survivor victim.

Eddie Leonski, despite having his crimes done in an Australian soil had his trials conducted by the U.S. Military Law. Leonski confessed his crimes in a calm manner during his trials and was convicted with three murders and sentenced to death at a general court martial in July 17, 1942. It was General Douglas MacArthur Himself who confirmed the sentence on October 14 and further review upheld the findings and was again sentenced on October 28. The General Court-Martial Order 1 promulgated Eddie Leonski’s death sentence on November 1, and shortly days after, Gen. MacArthur personally signed Leonski’s order of execution that was entrusted to his Chief of Staff, Richard Sutherland.

On November 9, 1942, early on Monday, Eddie Leonski’s appearance was still looking unconcerned despite knowing his fate and as officials handcuffed him and escorted him to his death place, He remains calm and smiling as if this was not a big deal for him. Eddie Leonski at age 24 was hanged and finally met his death in Metropolitan Gaol, Pentridge Prison.


                      Most Serial Killers often undergo psychological tests as trials on their case are on-going. And if not all, most are proven to be associated with mental impairment that causes them to have committed such impeccable crime. In Eddie Leonski’s case, His sanity was doubted overtime, but was declared to be sane before his execution.

                      However, there had been disputes with this matter as one Psychologist had ruled out that Leonski’s crime was brought about by his resentment towards his mother thereby exhibiting what they called a “symbolic matricide” where one commits the crime of killing his own mother. Leonski, basing on his younger experiences having been overly protected by his mother must have been nagged every day of his life that the voice of his mother must have resembled into the voices of his victims at the time He was intoxicated by alcohol and committed his crimes. This was evident as Leonski states “I wanted her voice” as he confessed his crimes on the court. Though Leonski’s motives were vague until his death, many wondered how a smiling and vibrant good looking man could do such crime.

                      Leonski himself, have admitted that he has a dual personality as he described himself to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde which at that time is a popular non-fiction novel character who portrays the good and evil side of a man. Many would claim and attest that Eddie Leonski is very good and decent when in his normal state but shows of power and boastful acts when drunk. And because he was drunk most of the time and no one had ever known the reason why he binge into drinking alcohol. We can assume therefore that as most violent people under the influence of alcohol is psychologically experiencing a deep rooted problem in their life and they become uncontrolled at some point that they themselves would admit and say that it was not them who did such crime but it was the evil within them.

                      To the question of whether Leonski was sane or insane, that He may really be normal and only loses his sanity when drunk or maybe he did inherit such psychological impairment as his family history reveals. It is obvious that the answer is that Eddie Leonski is indeed a psychopath who murdered three women. And even if we claim that killing during the World War II is seemingly a normal activity as evident by the number of recorded serial killing crimes in the History of America during that time. Like the others, Eddie Leonski is battling with his thoughts as well and apparently failed to control himself and let the evil person of him take charge and brought him to his own grave.

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