Saturday, January 24, 2009

Dendermonde Joker

The Joker was at the door, and they let him in.

The painted face of the alleged Belgian killer has been drawn by an eyewitness and has now been published. His face and name have now also been revealed (new update for 01.25.09 below).

This drawing was made based on data provided by Rudi Brusselmans who was a witness of the arrest of the crèche attack suspect now being held. (See here for more details on the attack.) The attack happened in the "Fairytale-land" or "Fabeltjesland" creche or daycare.

More comparisons with the Joker have surfaced in the Belgian media.

Correctly, the press there is noting that although the alleged attacker's face was painted white and his eyes were made black, and his distinctive pink/red hair was cut in spikes, "as if he had cut his hair himself," his mouth was apparently not painted, as was Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight.

Incorrectly, the European media said that the day (January 23, 2009) of the Dendermonde crèche or daycare attack was on the same date as the death of Heath Ledger. The first anniversary of Ledger's death, however, was January 22, 2009. To be exact, Heath Ledger was declared dead at 3:36 pm Eastern DST in Manhattan, New York, on January 22, 2009, and hit the news that night and the next morning. The attack on the nursery occurred at 10:00 a.m. CET (9:00 a.m. UTC) on January 23, 2009.

Nevertheless, there appears to be strong evidence the Dendermonde Joker reflects the copycat effect in this instance.

A police officer confirmed: “He had his face painted like Heath Ledger playing The Joker.”

The comparisons are clearcut in terms of mode of violence (knives), outward appearance, and even the arrest behavior. For example, in a headline and subheadline published on Saturday, January 24th, in the UK's Telegraph, the copycat imagery is summed up:
"Belgium 'joker' creche killer snorted with laughter in police interrogation: Belgium's suspected 'joker' killer snorted with laughter when interrogated by police about a frenzied knife attack that left a woman and two babies, aged six months and nine months, dead."
The two infant victims of the attack on a creche in the Belgian town of Dendermonde on Friday, January 23, 2009, have been named as Leon a baby boy aged six months and Corneel, a girl aged nine months.

Marita Blindeman, the 54 year old childcare worker who was killed, raised the alarm before being killed.

Police and prosecution sources have said that the 20-year-old man, dubbed "the Joker" because of his painted white face, eye shadow and ginger hair, has no history of mental illness.

He tricked his way into the Fabeltjesland ("land of fairy stories") day care center at 10 am local time by claiming to have a meeting with one of the members of staff. He then drew a 12-inch-long knife and began to slash at children aged between a few months and two years old.

There were 21 infants in the creche and six supervisors. All of the victims were stabbed in the throat or head. Parents gathered in the Dendermonde town hall and, with psychologists in support, identified the victims using photographs.

The addresses of three daycare locations were found on the suspect ("Kim D") when he was arrested.

Update Sunday, January 25, 2009:

The alleged attacker, now under arrest, and his victims have been fully identified.

The man in custody for the stabbings is Kim de Gelder, 20, originally of Sint Niklaas (= Saint Nicholas), which is eight miles from Dendermonde. His colleagues described the Flemish man as being "crazy about movies."

De Gelder would translate, in English, as "the gelder" = "one who gelds or castrates." But there appears to be an alternative explanation for the name in Belgian (see the comments below), which is related to the word for "gold."

The Church of Saint Nicholas was founded in the 13th century and gave its name to de Gelder's former hometown. The history of Sint-Niklaas proper starts in 1217, when the bishop of Tournai, following advice from the local clergy, founded the church to Saint Nicholas there. The city keeps seven giants: Janneken, Mieke, Santa Claus and Zwarte Piet, and the three Magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar.

Sinterklaas (also called Sint-Nicolaas or De Goedheiligman in Dutch and Saint Nicolas in French) is a traditional Winter holiday figure in the Netherlands, Aruba, Netherlands Antilles and Belgium, celebrated every year on Saint Nicholas' eve, December 5, or, in Belgium, on the morning of December 6. (Ah, the day after, just as the attack in Belgium was the day after Heath Ledger/The Joker's death day.) The feast celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas, patron saint of, among other things, needless to say, children.

The young victims of Dendermonde's ("Rumble or Thunder World's") Fabeltjesland ("Fairytale Land") were nine-month-old Leon Garcia and six-month-old Corneel Vermeir. Marita Blindeman, 54, a daycare worker lost her life attempting to save others.

See comments below for a discussion of what "Fabeltjesland" may or may not mean.

The Belgian and Dutch media and the UK's Telegraph began publishing the photograph of the suspect on January 24-25, 2009. The image being published is the high school year book picture of self-confessed mass-murderer Kim de Gelder. Reports indicate that he cut his hair short soon after finishing high school.

De Gelder is on suicide watch in his undisclosed location in Bruges, Belgium. He has gone on a hunger strike and was moved to the medical section of the Bruges jail.

Sunday media report that "some 7,000 of Dendermonde's 43,000 residents walked in a silent march past the creche Fabeltjesland (Fairytale Land)."

Thanks to Dutch/Belgian translations from Theo Paijmans.


FilmNoir23 said...

This is just an INCREDIBLE example of The Copycat Effect, no?


Ben Fairhall said...

A very sad one, too.

Anonymous said...

You wrote: De Gelder translates as "the gelder" = "one who gelds or castrates."

Geld is English for 'castrate', in Dutch or Flemish the name Gelder means 'Buyer', or 'Seller', from Dutch geld = 'money'. The name can also come from the province Gelderland; De Gelder meaning, 'from the province of Gelderland'.

Fabeltjesland does not mean 'Fairytale-land', it means 'Land of (small) Fables'. There is a (small) difference between a fable and a fairy-tale.
In Holland a popular children's show was called 'De Fabeltjes Krant' (Fables Newspaper), and Fabeltjesland can be a pun on Fabeltjeskrant.

Unknown said...

You wrongly translated 'Dendermonde' as 'Thunder-Worlds', whereas it just means 'Mouth of the river Dender'. At Dendermonde the Dender joins with the river Scheldt, which then contnues to Antwerp

Loren Coleman said...

I appreciate all of the corrections to my translations. I really do.

Of course, we must go back beyond the name of something like a river to learn what it means too. Thus that's what I found various sites translating "Dender" as "rumble" or "thunder."

cryptidsrus said...

This is some creepy, stuff, ain't

Wish this was ocnvered in more depth over here.

Wonder what his motivation was??? Aside from the obvious "copycat" one. I agree this is an excellent example of the "Effect."

Anonymous said...

gelder = ledger

Anonymous said...

According to several internet sources, the name of the river Dender is derived from "Tanara" (probably a Celtic word) meaning "agitated water" (in Dutch: "woelend water") or "the bubbling one" (in Dutch: "de bruisende").

Relating "Dender" to the Dutch word for thunder ("donder") is folk etymology probably.

As for "de Gelder", I agree with the last point of Ivo Waterlaken. It seems to me that this surname (probably assumed by an ancestor of his sometime in the 17th c. or thereabouts) refers to someone who was from Gelderland. It essentially means "the Gelder". Someone from Gelderland could have been referred to as "a Gelder" or "the Gelder" in the same way that someone from Holland could have been called "the Hollander". "Gelre, "Gelder" etc. were old names for the province of Gelderland, this name having its own origins.

Anonymous said...

This is a really creepy story!

And yes : gelder = ledger It gets even creepier...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, that is honestly creepy. Thanks for pointing that out.

I wonder if De Gelder had made the same connection (assuming of course that his rampage was connected to the Ledger 'Joker' character) in his own mind?

Anonymous said...

He choosed and planned his own dead by hungerstrike until spring...
...67 days...also a copy of ???

The law (and médics) is feeding him now against his will...

Loren Coleman said...

More appreciation to various individuals sharing their own detective work regarding the translations and onomatological insights regarding the human names and location names involved here.

I must caution, once again, however, that it is stopping short to merely say someone's family name is based upon or named after a location.

In other words, to feel that an understanding of the onomatology is achieved by saying that "de Gelder" means someone from Gelderland, or "Dendermonde" is due to being tied to the Dender River, does not take this exercise to its completion.

To examine the etymology of the names involved, some investigation of what each root word means must be undertaken.

Thank you all.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, the town name "Dendermonde" is derived from the Dutch for "where the river Dender joins (the river Schelde)", not from "thunder etc."

Ben Fairhall said...

The Odin/Nicholas connection is very interesting in light of the 'Santa Claus' shootings in Covina.

Odin also connects to the various Ring cycles, and thus to Grail and Dragon lore- the realm of the goddess.

Call me a one-trick pony; but I sense the Divine Feminine at work here. (Or the Feminine Daimonic.)

Notice how androgynous this Joker is?


Anonymous said...

Belgium is a hotbead of "Gladio"-type NWO activity and has been for many decades. It was the sight of the Brabant supermarket massacre of the '70s, the murderous Dutroux pedophile ring of the '80s, and more recently the home of Antwerp street rampager Hans van Themsche. All mysterious affairs that have never been fully investigated.

Watch for Belgium to follow England into an anti-knife and -violence crusade which will only result in more control of the population by the gub'mint.

Anonymous said...

The most common use of "creche" in US English is to refer not to an infant day care center, but to the Nativity scene of the baby Jesus. Thus tying into the St. Nicholas connection.

Anonymous said...

Hope he doesn't overact like Heath Ledger.

Anonymous said...


"We’re not seeing any resemblance in this case with The Joker from the latest batman movie.” The solicitor ended all the speculations about resemblances between the killings in Dendermonde and the Batman movie The Dark Knight. The main resemblance would have been the white painted face from the killer, just like The Joker. But now it became clear that the killer didn’t paint his face, but that he just has a very pale skin. They did find make-up in his backpack, but it wasn’t white. He only carried black eye-liner with him. They searched the guy’s house and didn’t find any clue that the Batman movie inspired him to do the gruesome thing he did.

Loren Coleman said...

Source, please?

Solicitor on which side?

That the police "didn’t find any clue that the Batman movie inspired him" merely tells us that the clues they were looking for were not visible to them, if true? And that all others that were presented before are now being ignored?

This case seems to be getting, well, a whitewash now.

Anonymous said...

@Loren Coleman:

The source is pretty much every dutch newspaper there is. I translated the article from the newspaper 'het nieuwsblad'.
The whole Joker thing got blown way out of proportion by the media. The only 'clue' they had, was that he had a white painted face according to some witnesses. But now they confirmed that's not true. There never were any real clues, only rumours and now they turn out to be false. The killer was not inspired by the movie, nor by Heath Ledger. I've been following this case from day one and I hate the fact that they connected it to The Dark Knight. It has nothing to do with it.

CosmicD said...

I understand he has schizophrenia.

In that case: hemight - in a psycnotic state - have seen the joker as a role model, possibly one that could aid him in correcting or avenging certain thins of his past. What that is I don't know but I know the behavioural patern of people with schizophrenia. These "stories" that have to be played out are often a very twisted form of fantasy and partial reality (from experiences) slapped together in wild associations.

Paitents often let figures (real or imaginary) play important roles (passive or agressive,that depends on the personality of the person).

Also in my oppinion, the bullet proof jacket was merely a phantasm of association to enhance his ego. I'm almost sure he was "directed to wear this". In a psychosis there's often lack of perception of consequences.

Often schizophrenia sufferes cast "ego elements" and put themselves upon a pedestal in the psychotic story. They have to play out: they are a key figure.

You're not gonna get the real story out of him directly cause if he's schizophrenic, he really DOESN'T remember.

He needs to talk freely and things have to be rememebered from his past by others. Then, peers and people close to him will discover that he'd always has a schtick of some sort for repeating the same elements over and over.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

RE Gelder = Ledger

A Knight`s Tale (2001)
Heath Ledger: Sir William Thatcher | Sir Ulrich von Lichtenstein of Gelderland

If he is truly a Ledger fanatic...

Very sad circumstance, regardless of the motivation.

Anonymous said...

Hmm...the so-called copycat didn't really look like the joker... why do people think "the Joker made me do it" is actually a reason for some tragedies?

It's sort of like the people who think "the Joker (character) killed Heath Ledger."

What if there is no connection, would that be worse than if the murderer was following in the character's twisted footsteps?

CosmicD said...

The connection is'tn "real", as if it is some kind of direct order. The connection is symbolic. You know you can dream about rescue boeis saving your house from getting under water during a flood but that does not mean they will in reality. All those "role models" that some schizophrenia sufferrs stage in their delusions have a highly symbolic and sometimes surreal value.

Thuth said...

We're at three deaths that have evoked the symbol of the Joker in the collective consciousness.

How many does it take until there's a pattern or a connection? Four? Five? Six? Two? One?

Everyone defines it for themselves, within the confines of their own belief systems.

It seems like that solicitor, and the anonymous commenter are working pretty hard to define it for us - or for themselves, and we're getting in the way. ;)

But again, that's those zany belief systems acting up again.

Loren, please continue posting these as this feels like a dark twisting of our reality, indeed.

Thank you, and all, for your work.


Thuth said...

Here's a personal synch -

Dender is the equivalant of a rumbling sound. It means rumble according to internet translators (I don't speak dutch). My wife and I watched West Side Story on TV yesterday and the sharks and the jets kept saying, Let's have a rumble. Let's have an all out rumble. Meaning a big fight.

The rumbling earth or a big rumble between the forces of good and evil at the end of the Mayan/Vedic cycle?

Or nothing. We'll certainly find out.


Anonymous said...

Thuth, Dender does not mean rumble in Dutch. The word that means rumble in Dutch is donder


Anonymous said...

The quote from the eyewitness that jounralists used was "face painted like `A' joker" not "the" Joker. The witness could have easily been saying that the guy looked like a joker from a pack of cards- you know centuries old character in all standard decks plus the tarot and just as recognisable to to many people as a character from a film. De Gelder had red hair, in the artists rendition he looks no more like `The Joker' as he does any other goth or clown character. There is, as yet, no evidence of `the copycat' effect and all such reportage is merely speculation and heresay.

Loren Coleman said...

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