The manslaughterer in Vänersborg
In 1867, or 150 years ago, Vänersborg began to install gas-powered street lighting. One of the most conspicuous street lamps in the city was a four-arm candelabra. It was going to be placed in the market square, but things changed and it was decided to locate it in the middle of Plantaget in front of the town hall (now Kulturhuset) which was in the process of being built.
A dramatic, tragic accident
The street lamp was made of cast iron and was thus very heavy: in fact it weighed over one and a half tonnes. A substantial support had been built to erect the lamp. It would be pulled into position using ropes and a number of workmen engaged for the job. Something broke suddenly, and both the street lamp and the support fell to the ground. Unfortunately the street lamp hit one of the men, Johannes Andersson, on the head and his skull was crushed. His workmates took him to the hospital, but they could only state that his death had been instant.
The day after the tragic event, however, the street lamp was in place and spread its clear gaslight over Plantaget. It had already been christened with its fateful name, the Killer.
Johannes had no wife or children, but he had supported his mother, Britta Stina Ekberg. Soon after her son died she ended up at the poorhouse.
The Vänersborg Museum website
Do you want to know more about the history of Vänersborg? Click here to go to the Vänersborg Museum website.
More about death
Murder and blood, life and death. The tradition of honouring the dead is found in most of the major religions and cultures. Here you can immerse yourself in historic finds, events and phenomena at Västarvet's museums and cultural attractions - as a way of remembering the dead. Click here to read more about death.