Joseph D. (Joe) Ball (January 6, 1892 September 24, 1938) was an American serial killer, sometimes referred to as 'The Alligator Man', the 'Butcher of Elmendorf' and the 'Bluebeard of South Texas'. He is said to have killed at least 20 women in the 1930s. His existence was long believed to be apocryphal, but he is a familiar figure in Texas folklore. After serving on the front lines in Europe during World War I, Ball started his career as a bootlegger, providing illegal liquor to those who could pay. After the end of Prohibition, he opened a saloon called the Sociable Inn in Elmendorf, Texas. He built a pond that contained five alligators because he misunderstood the term corpus delicti, believing that a murder conviction without a body would be impossible. He charged people to view them, especially during feeding time; the food consisted mostly of live cats and dogs. After a while women in the area were reported missing, including barmaids, former girlfriends and his wife.
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