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Per Ohlin’s Suicide or Murder?

Did Per Ohlin commit suicide, or was it a murder? Dead of Mayhem is a legend and his death has changed the history of Black Metal. Here’s our investigation about the notorious and grotesque details of Per Yngve Ohlin’s life and suicide.

Prologue 1 : Investigation of Per Ohlin’s Death Pt.1

Per Yvnge Ohlin, whose nickname is Pelle and stage name is Dead, was born in Stockholm, Sweden on January 16, 1969. He was a young man with future dreams, who moved to Norway to join the band named Mayhem in 1988. On April 8, 1991, when he was only 22, it was reported as he committed suicide, by shooting himself with a shotgun after he cut his wrists and his neck and wrote a suicide note. But was Per Ohlin’s death really a suicide? Where are any types of methods used such as fingerprinting and DNA identification, handwriting analysis, blood pattern analysis, calculating the time of death by examining the post mortem stages? Norwegian police had all this technology in 1991. What were the autopsy results of the body?

Oystein Aarseth, also known by his stage name Euronymous, was the first person to be present at the crime scene and to come into contact with Per’s dead body. Did the police interrogate Oystein as a suspect? Did they run a fingerprint analysis on him and the crime scene? Was the handwriting analysis done on the suicide note?

They sent the suicide note to Per Ohlin’s brother Anders Ohlin. Is there proof that Per wrote the suicide note with
his own will? According to Oystein’s story, on the day of April 8th, while Per was home alone, Oystein wanted to get in the house, but the door was locked, so he climbed through the window and found Per’s dead body in his room. Then the story gets sickening after this point. Instead of calling the police or the ambulance, Euronymous decides to go to the town, where the nearest store is about a half-hour away, and buys a disposable camera, and comes back home. After that, he begins taking photos of the body, relocating and rearranging all the items in the crime scene. He took the shotgun and placed it next to the body and put the knife on top of it. He grabbed Per’s brain parts and skull fragments to collect and distribute them. He made necklaces from the bones. Oystein took pictures of the corpse and used one of the photos on his album cover. Per Ohlin’s real photograph of a gruesome, graphic dead body has been circulated on the internet on social media, and websites, where underage minors can have access easily. People make fun of this picture and make jokes and memes about it on social media.

The shotgun which Per killed himself belonged to Oystein Aarseth. But even though the crime weapon belonged to him, the police did not interrogate him as a suspect. Somehow, the police assumed the story Oystein told them was the absolute truth. Nobody knows what really happened, how long he stayed alone with the corpse in that house, or what other things he did to Per, or was he with him or what other people were with him before and after Per died. This was Per Ohlin’s suicide note: “Excuse the blood, but I have slit my wrists and neck. It was the intention that I would die in the woods so that it would take a few days before I was possibly found. I belong in the woods and have always done so. No one will understand the reason for this anyway. To give some semblance of an explanation I’m not a human, this is just a dream and soon I will awake. It was too cold and the blood was coagulating all the time, plus my new knife is too dull. If I don’t succeed in dying to the knife I will blow all the shit out of my skull. Yet, I do not know. I left all my lyrics by ‘Let the good times roll’ —plus the rest of the money. Whoever finds it gets the fucking thing. As a last salutation may I present ‘Life Eternal’. Do whatever you want with the fucking thing. Pelle.”In the suicide note, it says “…my new knife was too dull”. The Friday of the weekend Pelle died, he bumped into the drummer of the Mayhem, Jan Axel Blomberg aka Hellhammer at the train station. He told him that he bought a new knife and it was very sharp. But in the suicide note it says “It was too cold and the blood was coagulating all the time, plus my new knife was too dull, if I don’t succeed dying to the knife, I will blow all the shit out of my skull. Yet, I do not know. ”If he had a new, very sharp knife, why would he say his new knife was too dull?

Maybe somebody else forced him to write the note. Is it possible that someone wanted to kill Per Ohlin? Is it possible that this person put the shotgun onto Pelle’s head, made him cut his wrists, then his neck forced him to write the note, but then realized the blood kept clogging in the cold and the victim wasn’t going to die like that, then the person decided to shoot his head with the shotgun?

None of these is known, but anything can be possible. Then, Oystein called Jan Axel Blomberg aka Hellhammer and told him with a happy and sarcastic tone that Pelle went home. Axel asked, “Did he go back to Sweden?”. Because everyone knew that he wanted to go back to Sweden. Oystein said, “No, he went home, he blew his brains out!”. Axel says “Wow! Really?” Oystein says with an excited tone “Yeah, that’s right, but I took lots of photos!”. Hellhammer developed those films for him, instead of telling him what he did was sick and wrong, and he should destroy those pictures. He played the devil’s advocate. Hellhammer talks about this in one of his interviews with a smiling face and says there was nothing wrong with Oystein taking the photos.

The other member of the band Joern Stubberud, known as Necrobutcher, says in one of his Interviews; “Oystein called me on the phone and asked me if Pelle was at my house. But he wasn’t. I had thought about going to the house earlier that day to see him, but I didn’t. So Oystein said that Pelle was safe and hanging in the bedroom. It was a little weird to say, I think”. If Oystein had known that Per was in his bedroom and hanging, why did he ask if he was at Necrobutcher’s house? And why did he have to emphasize that Pelle was ‘safe’? Why did Oystein Aarseth need to call Necrobutcher and tell him these things? Is it possible that these nonsense and contradictory questions and the statements were made out of a guilty conscience and panic state?

Some people claimed that Oystein ate some of Per’s brain matter by making stew with it, to experience cannibalism. Hellhammer says “ We also found some of the brains, and Euronymous took it, cooked it in a stew, and ate it so he could claim himself to be a cannibal. Aarseth thought of sewing his arm off and putting it under a glass display case, but he figured it wouldn’t be very smart because the police would probably ask where his arm was.” This means Euronymous and Hellhammer spent a long time with the corpse before the police arrived at the crime scene.

Oystein calls Jorn/Necrobutcher on the phone to give the news of the suicide. Then he goes to his house and shows him the photos of Per Ohlin’s corpse. Jorn, who truly loves Per/Pelle, feels devastated and gets very mad and tells Oystein to burn those photos and not to talk to him before he does that. But of course, Oystein doesn’t listen to him, and never destroys Pelle’s pictures of his corpse. On top of that, he forces the band members to look at those photos, as if it’s some sort of entertainment. Then, Jorn cannot stand Oystein’s despicable behaviours and leaves the band Mayhem to show his reaction. Oystein’s father claimed that he kept all the pictures and disposed of them after Oystein’s death. Why didn’t the police go after these photographs, which could’ve had clues and maybe evidence to Ohlin’s death? Oystein used one of the pictures he took for the band’s “Dawn Of The Black Hearts” bootleg live album. It goes without saying that Oystein used Per Ohlin’s suicide incident to promote his own name and own business. Per’s family couldn’t take enough action to demand justice when they found out about it. Even if they told the internet websites not to post the corpse photo of Per, nobody really took them seriously. Even today, people print that horrific image on T-shirts and sell them on the internet and in concert venues. Why were some people silenced? What was the reason why Oystein behaved in such a confident manner? What kind of people were supporting him?

5 days after Per’s death, Oystein wrote a two-page letter to Tamas Vamosi. The letter began by discussing business and it centred around Per’s suicide, describing his dead body and the scene in graphic details. He taped a piece of Per’s skull on the bottom right and sent the letter. In 2018, Per’s skull fragment got listed on Serial Killers Ink, where real crime pieces are sold. The skull fragment was sold for $3,500, along with the letter from Oystein/Euronymous that it was posted with. The letter finishes with: “OK!” That should be all. I’m enclosing a little piece from Dead’s cranium in case you’d like to have it. Hear from you soon!”

After that, Oystein sent to Steinmeyer Hakansson two pieces of the lead from the shotgun, one of Per’s skull fragments and pieces of his wet brain along with the certificate of authenticity from Vamosi. Hakkanson confirms everything and says “Yeah, sure, I got it way back, right after he died. Back in those days they were living in a house and didn’t have the best financial aspects, so they didn’t even have a telephone. So I remember I was celebrating New Year’s in 1991 with Dead back home in Sweden. Then he got back, he wrote one letter to me, then someone told me he’s killed himself. So I wrote a letter to Mayhem and then I got the reply back from the guitar player Euronymous. He said, “Well he just shot himself and here’s a piece of his skull. It was a shotgun, you know?’ He also sent me two pieces of lead and a piece of the wet brain. I’ve still got it. I keep it well protected… He sent it to all these former comrades of Dead (Per). A few of them.

There were not that many people… maybe five Oystein also sent pieces to Tony Sakka of Abruptum, Richard Cabeza of Dismember, members of the Swiss band Samael, and a guy from the band Masacre from Colombia. Also, there were more other people who got pieces.

Oystein wrote letters to people, talking about Per Ohlin’s death. In one of those letters, he explains how he examined the brain closely, took close-up photos, writing ‘he he’ at the end of his statements, as laughing reactions, since Per’s death was a funny joke that gave him pleasure. He also mentioned how he observed the body in its Rigor Mortis stage…

Prologue 2- Investigation of Per Ohlin’s Death Pt.2

After a person dies, the dead body goes through 4 different stages, which are Pallor Mortis, Algor Mortis, Rigor Mortis and Livor Mortis. Rigor mortis is a post mortem rigidity that occurs as the 3rd stage of death. The limbs of the corpse stiffen, due to the chemical changes in the muscles. It appears in the face muscles approximately 2 to 3 hours after death, spreads to the other muscles in the body, including the internal organs, within the 6 to 8 hours, stays for another 12 hours and generally disappears 36 to 48 hours after death. The post mortem picture of Per Ohlin that was used on the album cover, doesn’t look like it was rigour mortis. A corpse that is in rigour mortis stage usually looks like a statue, because the body gets stiff. Considering that rigour mortis starts in the facial muscles after about 3 hours, it has to be at least 6 hours before observing stiffness in the body. It reaches the peak state after 12 hours. The photo looks like it was taken not long after Per Ohlin died. The body looks like it’s in a relaxed position. The hair is messy, and the right sleeve of Per’s shirt is off as if he was undressing, or maybe was in a physical struggle with someone before he died. Since in the picture it looks like he died recently, this means, Oystein most likely spent so many hours with the dead body in order to observe the rigour mortis stage. Rigour mortis stage lasts for 36 to 48 hours, which is clearly more than a day, and up to 2 days. What did Oystein do with the corpse all this time? Did he even call the police the same day Per died? The incident was heard on Monday, April 8th.

In another letter Oystein wrote to someone, he stated “ Dead just killed himself a few days ago! Yeah! He blew his brains out with a shotgun after slicing open his arteries in the wrists and throat with a big knife.”

How did Oystein know that the cut was in the arteries? A human body has arteries and veins that carry blood. There are distinctive differences between arteries and veins. Arteries deliver oxygenated blood from the heart to the body, while veins return the used blood from the body back to the lungs to be recharged. The pressure inside of arteries is very high and the blood squirts a long way with a pulse when the artery is cut. The pressure created by the heart, which is directly related to the blood pressure, pushes the blood through the arteries with a pulse. When a vein is cut, it will not have a pulse and will have a slow movement with very low pressure. In the arteries, the colour of the blood is light and bright, but the blood the vein is dark red. Cutting an artery usually results in rapid death. The radial artery is close to the wrists. When it is cut, it will result in unconsciousness in 30 seconds, and death in 2 minutes. The brachial artery runs along the inside of the arms. It is deep, and severing it will result in unconsciousness in 15 seconds, and death in as little as 90 seconds. Both sides of the neck have carotid arteries and jugular veins. If either is cut, the person will bleed to death very rapidly and will die within 5 to15 seconds. How did Oystein know it was the artery cut? To be able to tell, he had to observe the bright colour of the blood, and its rapid pulsive spurts during the cutting action. Also, how did Per Ohlin survive all the artery cuts in 3 different vital spots in his body? First, he cut the arteries in his both wrists, and then he cut the arteries in his throat, after that he decided to sit down and write a long suicide letter, and then finally he decided to shoot himself in the head with Oystein’s shotgun. It would have been very difficult and unlikely for him to have all that long time to cut his arteries and then write a suicide note. Maybe some people forced Per to write the suicide note, and then made him cut himself. Then after he died, they blew his head out just for fun. Who knows? We can only hope that Oystein simply didn’t know the difference between an artery and a vein. Ironically, he knew very well what a rigor mortis stage of a post mortem body was. Did the police use BPA on the blood? BPA stands for blood pattern analysis and it is used to determine where the blood came from, what caused the wounds, from what direction the victim was wounded? How were the victim and the perpetrators positioned, what movements were made after the bloodshed, how many potential perpetrators were present.. etc?

The rabbit hole in this suicide story is so much deeper than what most people think. Nothing really adds up and makes sense in Per Ohlin’s suicide. Kjetil Mahheim says in the Once Upon a Time Norway documentary: “Oystein was at my place when Pelle committed suicide. And later I understood that it was a plan they made that Pelle was going to be alone… They had been talking about that Pelle was going to commit suicide. On the contrary, he encouraged him and winded him up… You can ask yourself whether Oystein did that out of pure evil or if it was just a game that he was playing. The attitude that Oystein had towards the death of Pelle, what he did… he took pictures of his cranium, he did a lot of stuff like that… the fact that he pushed him to do that… of course that is not a good personality trait”. Which people helped Oystein Aarseth to make a plan for this crime and a suicide scenario? The time and exact hour of Per Ohlin’s death were unknown. Kjetil wouldn’t have possibly known that Oystein was in Kjetil’s house during the exact time of Per Ohlin’s death. It is a crime to encourage another person to commit suicide. It is called “inciting suicide”.

People have been criminally prosecuted for manslaughter without ever laying a finger on the suicide victim. In some countries, people can be jailed for this crime. In the United States, intentionally causing a person to commit suicide by force, duress, or deception is classified as murder and intentionally causing or aiding a person, other than by force, duress, or deception, to commit suicide is classified as 2nd-degree manslaughter. Penal Code 401 PC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to help or encourage someone to commit suicide. PC 401 states that “any person who deliberately aids, advises, or encourages another to commit suicide is guilty of a felony. The violation is a felony offence that carries a penalty of 3 years in jail and/or a maximum fine of $10,000. One example of inciting suicide is that a Minnesota nurse encouraged people in Internet chat rooms to live-stream their own hangings. He told people what methods of suicide worked best, and it was a decent choice for them. In another incident, Prosecutors charged a 17-year old girl with involuntary manslaughter after she encouraged her boyfriend into killing himself. She texted him saying “Tonight is the night. It’s now or never.”

So, did Kjetil report to the police that he knew this suicide scenario was actually Oystein’s and his companions’ plan? Or did the police in fact interrogate anybody at all? Oystein Aarseth obviously had something to do with Per Ohlin’s death. So, he should have been considered as the number one suspect. In one of his interviews, Oystein said he had financial problems, and with a laughing tone, he stated that after Per’s suicide, things started to work out better for him and was able to open up his record shop Helvete. According to this statement, did Oystein get any possible financial gain from Per Ohlin’s death? Oystein had another interview on Swedish radio in 1993. About the black circle, he said “The black circle activities must not be revealed to the public… that would not be good.” The interviewer mentioned the rumours about the photos of their singer’s body, and the body parts of his corpse being passed around, and asked him if it was true. Oystein answered: “ We refuse to comment on details, but let’s just say that we are not normal people. We worship death and aren’t scared of a corpse. It isn’t every day that you get to see a corpse, so you have to make the most out of it. But we don’t wish to go into details.” In his interview with the “Kill Yourself” magazine, he said: “There is nothing which is too sick, evil or perverted. I have no problem with killing someone in cold blood. Death metal is for brutal people who are capable of killing people, it’s not for idiotic children who want to have a fun hobby after school.”

Metalion, who was friends with Oystein since 1985, also confirmed that Oystein worshipped death and he was extreme with his evil actions. Oystein always openly declared that he could easily kill people, and was capable of performing sick, and evil actions in the most extreme, brutal ways that were possible. This means, Oystein had the potential and ability to hurt Per Ohlin, both when he was alive and after he died. In the interview with Finn Hokon Rodland, Axel/Hellhammer says “First, we focused on Lavey and the satanic bible, but then we realized that it was just bollocks. We went on to actual devil-worshipping, instead of that childish satanism. Oystein became all obsessed with this and changed his personality towards others. He really changed. He was authentic in his belief in the devil and was controlled by all this. He got that power, and that influenced him to become everything else than a communist. He was like a little tyrant. He had a very bizarre ability to live in self-deception and then you had a bunch of people believing in him, who he slimmed around his little finger. I and Oystein never had an argument. We looked up to each other for a set of reasons. At first, Oystein was interested in communism, thinking that it was a good dictatorship to control people, but then he figured that it was too humanistic for him. So he began to practice fascism. Oystein had a manipulative and provocative personality. He formed and directed a satanist cult, called Inner Circle, and this cult kept expanding more and more. In his interview with a Swedish radio, he said: “The bigger we get, the more we can manipulate people into thinking like us. We declared war on Christianity. We want Christians to come with their weapons and attack us”. He said he wouldn’t be directly involved in murders and crimes because if he got caught, it would hurt his organization. This was an interesting statement coming from him. Those were the times when satanist rituals were being performed, crimes and murders being committed by his black/inner circle, which included church burnings, hate crimes, attacking and murdering people because they were gay… and so on.

An Act or A Joke? : Inner Circle

As much as Oystein chose to stay behind the scenes, and conduct the crimes remotely, he once joined Varg Vikernes and Bard Guldvik, the drummer of Emperor, in performing the burning of the Holmenkollen Chapel. They together planned to bomb the chapel. When the homemade bomb refused to denote, they used gasoline on hymnals and Bibles and burned down the whole church. They possessed all kinds of weapons, including homemade bombs. Also, Oystein controlled others around him, in terms of what kind of music they had to listen to. “But Euronymous would take an interest and put you on to different things as well, like industrial music, or punk or synthesiser music,” says Ivar Bjornson from Enslaved. Euronymous said that the term black metal can apply to any kind of metal so long as it is “Satanic” He said, If a band cultivates and worships Satan, it’s black metal, it can be ordinary heavy metal or just ‘noise’. What’s important is that it’s Satanic; that’s what makes it black metal. He rejected bands like Immortal being called black metal, as they are not Satanists. So, was he using metal music to spread his theistic satanist ideologies? He would play synth music at home, and apparently, it wouldn’t matter to him even if the music is just “noise” as long as it’s satanic enough. He talked about the band Abruptum’s music in one of his letters and said “It’s not ordinary music, it’s evil. They were torturing each other hard, in a studio, during the recording. You can hear in the music that they suffer. Great! One of them almost died recently. That’s how it should be.” Apparently, Oystein had an obsession with death, killing, torturing and everything evil. These things gave him a great amount of pleasure. Euronymous would always send death threats to people, which his band members always confirmed in their interviews. Necrobutcher said in the Once Upon a Time in Norway documentary “Oystein sent death threats to death metal bands with Hawaiian t-shirts.” Stian Johannsen, known as Occultus, who was one of the Inner circle members, joined Mayhem as a new singer and bassist after Per’s death. But he left the band after receiving a death threat from Euronymous. Johannsen openly states this fact in his interview. This means Oystein told his friend that he would kill him. So, he was the kind of person that could easily turn against people if something about them didn’t fit his agenda.

The Exploitation of A Friend’s Personality, His Death&Body

Oystein claimed that Per killed himself because he was against metal head musicians wearing jogging pants which made the music commercialized. “I’m very disturbed by this style of metalheads, so let me blow my brains out to show my reaction!” type of opinion can’t be a reason why someone would want to commit suicide. This was one of the other things Oystein Aarseth fabricated to create a perfect deception. As Joern Stubberud and Varg Vikernes have stated in their interviews, all of these were Oystein’s own opinions about the music industry. He used Per’s death for his own business and promotion. Oystein also claimed that Per killed himself because he supported evil and satanism. In one of his letters, Per said “ I’m not an expert on the subject of Satanism. I cannot say I’m a Satanist because I’m not a member of any evil sect or any sect at all.”

He also said, “I have always hated Christianity and its heartless and unwilling followers who in their mild ignorance, happy and blessed that they have no will of their own”. This point of view was completely different from Oystein’s ideas. Because as he always stated, Oystein hated people, he didn’t want them to be free and think for themselves, instead, he would want them to be slaves, rot and die under dictatorship. He always said he was against individualism, compassion, peace, freedom and wanted to spread hatred, sorrow and evil. He was a theistic satanist. In an interview by Esa Lahdenpera conducted in August 1993, Oystein stated: “I believe in a horned devil, a personified Satan. In my opinion, all the other forms of Satanism are bullshit. Satanism comes from religious Christianity, and there it shall stay. I’m a religious person and I will fight those who misuse His name. People are not supposed to believe in themselves and be individualists. They are supposed to obey and be the slaves of religion. They have to do whatever ‘We’ tell them to do”. Oystein was against the teachings of Anton Lavey and Aleister Crowley, The LaVeyan satanism doesn’t believe in religious dogmas and promotes individualism and self- spirituality. Oystein stated that he would never accept any type of music band that would promote The Church of Satan, and they would be the opposite of him, as they were freedom and life-loving atheists.

Varg Vikernes tells a story in one of his videos when he visited Oystein in Krakstad, where Oystein and Per/Pelle lived in the same house. Varg says he noticed that Pelle did not want to talk to Oystein/Euronymous, because when he was around, Pelle stayed in his room, and he would come out only after Oystein left the house. Varg also said Hellhammer didn’t want to stay there and moved out of the house. Varg says “Oystein would talk bad behind other people. He said Necrobutcher smoked hushes, staying with his girlfriend. He was talking down to him. He was also talking down to Hellhammer saying that he moved to Oslo to go to pubs and pick up women. We knew something was wrong. The vocalist and another band member of Darkthrone visited us. They had released their album Soulside Journey. They wore jogging pants. Euronymous preached them in a mean tone, saying that Metalhead people should not dress the way they did, this is not how they were supposed to look. Euonymus was jealous because his own band didn’t even rehearse, but Darkthrone was releasing records on Peaceville, which was a big company at the time”. Varg says their concern was not how the metal bands dressed but how they sounded and how they even used the same studios to sound the same. He says “A couple of months after Christmas, Pelle passed away. And Eurnonymous claimed that Pelle was complaining that metal people were wearing jogging pants. So that’s why he killed himself. But all the band members knew that this was a lie. It was not Pelle’s idea at all. Euronymous used this for his own agenda”. In 1991, they lived in the same house, where the band also rehearsed. Per spent most of his time in his room, writing letters and drawing pictures. Necrobuther says Per and Oystein started to get on each other’s nerves a lot, after a while, they lived together. Oystein would harass Pelle all the time, tell him that he didn’t belong to their group of friends, encourage him to die, tell him that he should kill himself, and cut himself more on stage. Especially after Hellhammer moved out of the house, Pelle had to live alone with Euronymous.

The level of the abuse must have been unbearable that Per had to stay in his room when Oystein was around, but would come out and socialize around other people when he was not in the house. Hellhammer says he was fed up with their arguments, which turned into physical fights, so he moved to his grandmother’s house. He also says “Oystein would play synth music which Per hated. One night he played that music all night, and Per had to go into the woods to be able to sleep. But Oystein followed him and shot in the air with his shotgun”. Pelle was a guy from Sweden, who had future dreams, hoping to find them in Norway. He was a very talented artist. Besides his drawings, he designed logos and album covers. He wrote some of the songs in Mayhem. As a singer, he had an emotional and powerful voice, which made him a shining star in the band. Per’s stage name was ‘Dead’, and he was wearing corpse makeup on the stage, which was his artistic image, to express the concept of death in his art. Euronymous began to do the same stage make-up as Dead did. Necrobutcher was upset with him and told him that the corpse makeup belonged to Pelle, and he shouldn’t be wearing the same makeup. Maybe Euronymous was jealous of Per, how he was bright, genuine, unique, and creative, so he did all these evil things to him. Jorn Stubberud/Necrobutcher said in his Norwegian channel NRK TV interview; “I have read some letters and flyers that Oystein had written to get people interested in coming to the concert… and what he had in mind, was that Pelle would cut himself and then spray some blood on people, and Oystein was very turned on by that idea, But I was not as excited about it, I thought it was a damn stupid idea and that it was taking things too far. So I gave him knives that were dull as hell for him to use and just do these theatrical moves with those knives.. So he kind of didn’t get that deep with them and everything was fine thought. Until he realized that this was not raw enough and crushed a cola bottle and started cutting himself with it instead, and then it went deep at once. He cut himself so damn bad that he had to leave the stage, it was just…awful. Oystein thought it was a fun thing to do, he knew that something like that would shock people, while I thought it was not worth it. That friend was too important because… even though he talked about it himself, I did not want to encourage him to do so. While Oystein encouraged him to do it and that was when the trouble started between me and Oystein”. Oystein wrote a letter to Abo Alsleben; ”In case one or more gigs are very brutal, Dead will probably cut himself. Do you think you can find a knife, which is big and looks very brutal? A kitchen knife is quite good. Another thing is that Dead is insured so that he doesn’t have to pay the hospital bills himself, but he won’t get money if they find out that he has cut himself. So we must be prepared to tell the hospital that we were at a party where some people started to beat up people, we can blame Nazi-skinheads, he he. It’s also important that in case Dead cuts too deep, we must have the possibility to bring him to the hospital fast.” Oystein Aarseth was the kind of person who would make detailed plans and deceive people for his own personal gains. Obviously, he was using Per Ohlin for business purposes, as if he was a circus animal to him.

Oystein Aarseth opened up his record store Helvete after Per Ohlin died. Thomas Ericcson made an interview with Marius Vold in the 10th episode of his podcast. Marius was talking about Oystein’s record store Helvete, and his cult that consisted of chosen people called “The Black Circle”. Marius says “After the bad media attention, Oystein got scared. He knew he had been doing something wrong and was going to go to jail. He got scared so he closed the shop.” Besides, he says if Euronymous closed the store, his parents told him they would buy him an apartment. Then, he shut down the store and moved to his new apartment.  What kind of crimes did Oystein commit, so he was afraid of going to prison? He had already stated that he would not be involved in murders and crimes directly because if he got caught, this would hurt his organization. If the police caught him, some crimes would be revealed. Is it possible that Oystein was involved in Per Ohlin’s death in any way? Why did his parents make him close the store? According to some rumours, his parents and had some sort of authority over people. Maybe this was the reason why Oystein was able to send death threats to people around him. Norwegian airlines announced that they would use the images of famous people on their planes, to celebrate their 10th anniversary. So they started a campaign for this. Oystein Aarseth, who is considered to be one of the symbols in metal music, was among the famous people that were nominated.

However, the Aarseth family requested that Oystein’s image not be used and refused to give a reason. Norwegian spokesman Lasse Sandaker Nielsen, reported in Dagbladet newspaper that they respect their wishes. Besides that, Oystein’s parents asked Mayhem’s drummer Hellhammer to remove the parts of the music that Varg had recorded. Hellhammer agreed to do as they said, however; he could not play the bass guitar, so he couldn’t make the changes. Interestingly, the Aarseth family always had the nerve to demand what they wanted . On the other hand, Per Ohlin’s family couldn’t take the necessary legal actions in terms of the proper investigations of the suicide incident. They couldn’t make Oystein explain himself for his unacceptable and despicable acts. Oystein exploited Per’s death for his own gains. Per’s family was devastated. They saw the grotesque photo of Per’s corpse being circulated on the internet, the album cover and the T-shirts. They contacted websites, told them not to use the image, but nobody listened to them. Is it possible that they had no choice other than to keep silent? At first, Anders didn’t even know that his big brother’s photo of his corpse was being used in Mayhem’s album cover.

One day, he went to a record shop and saw that Mayhem released a new album. When he held the album in his hand, and the moment he saw his brother’s dead body image on the album cover, he experienced the second biggest trauma of his life. He didn’t deserve this. His children will have to go through the same trauma he did. Oystein Aarseth caused permanent damage to the Ohlin family that will pass on from one generation to another. Anders Ohlin gives an important message in his interview: “Everybody who appreciates Pelle can honour him by not showing the “post mortem” pictures publicly, and also help his family to get others to stop displaying them as well. My children will soon be old enough to eventually come across these pictures, sooner or later. I try to prepare them for that moment. I don’t want to expose them to the shock that I had to go through when I saw the pictures myself”.

People sometimes tend to make speculations about things that are not true. Some people speculate that Pelle was starving himself to death. Pelle had no problem with his appetite. However, he would spend most of the money that his father sent to him for groceries, to buy stamps and to ship out Mayhem’s demos, rather than buying groceries. This is how much he cared about Mayhem’s future success. He would write letters to people, and try to sell records. He would create artwork and logos for album covers, and write song lyrics.

According to the Turkish concert organizer Arcan Ogutverici, Per Ohlin had no problem with eating food. Mayhem’s Turkey concert took place in the city of Izmir in December 1990, which was only 4 months before Pelle passed away. Izmir concert organizer Arcan Ogutverici hung out with the Mayhem band members for 2 days. During the time he spent with them, Ogutverici says that they had good food, and Pelle ate everything that was offered, along with the other band members. In one of his letters, Per Ohlin says “ Turkish cops won’t throw us in their so much talked about prisons. I’ll buy some kebabs there.” Pelle liked the taste of Turkish kebab and obviously, he was talking about buying some. A person who tries to starve themselves won’t likely mention what kind of food they would like to have. Jorn Stubberud in his interview with ‘The Death Archives’, says “Pelle was drinking tea all the time. He was thin. He did eat but not bloody enough. He mostly fed on spaghetti and ketchup”. Actually, a picture of Per Ohlin can be found on the internet, where he eats fast food at a party. Anders says in his interview at P3 Dokumentar Podcast, Black Metal Morden in 2017: “Pelle actually could just skip eating, just to be able to send a cassette tape to someone or be able to arrange a gig somewhere. If you are going to be a little harsh, I think at some point the others gave up. And it’s my personal interpretation that he kind of suddenly turned around and noticed that he did not have the rest of the band with him, and I think he was completely devastated by that.” This means Per was serious about his art and his business, to the point where sometimes he would rather spend his time and money on expanding the business for the Mayhem band, instead of food. Per Ohlin, in one of his letters he wrote to his pen pal Old Nick, was talking about astral travel, and the lights people see during a near-death experience. He stated: “I was told that the white plane I then entered, without I knew it, was the dead world and I died. But also got thrown back after a short time, which rarely happens. So, of what I’ve heard, I have some kind of purpose to achieve here. That happened almost 8 years ago, and I’m trying to find what I have to do ‘here’ before I can enter that light again”. Per was a sensitive and spiritual guy and he was referring to his near-death experience at the hospital when he was a child. Per believed that he had a mission in this world before his time came to pass on to the other world. So he always wanted to learn and explore to achieve his goals in this life. Obviously, he wasn’t trying to die and was doing everything he could, to
pursue his dreams.

Uffe Cederlund, in his interview with Mysikens Makt says: “Pelle was an excellent lyricist, and had an amazing vision”. Abbo Alsleben says: “He gave everything. In between songs, he drank water, otherwise, his cracked voice would not have held. After every song, he had to rest. Mentally, he was very strong, convincing and unmistakable. Physically, he was sensitive, delicate and fragile. The energy generated by his voice came solely from his mind.” In a letter to Old Nick that Per wrote in March 1990, he says: “I’ve never been in any art school and in fact, I don’t know how to draw at all. I’d like to be a professional designer or something like that, but I can never save enough time for that…” Anders says “Pelle had the notion of becoming someone famous, and that it was only a matter of time before he’d get rewarded accordingly. Everything was too late, and the band was falling apart. The one who hadn’t already realized was Pelle himself. He must have felt so disappointed” Per Ohlin was strong, talented but humble and certainly had a vision in life. Maybe Oystein knew the band was falling apart, so he made plans to use Per’s death to promote his business. Per said in an interview with Battery N5: “I guess I should take care of my voice more than I do. But I can tell you that I don’t smoke and don’t drink very often either and as for drinking, that’s because of lack of money and time.” Per was completely aware that he had to take care of himself. He made so many logical and mature statements about his art, life, and his specific future goals. “Dead could not drink hard liquor. I don’t think he was used to drinking anything but low-alcohol Swedish folköl – kid stuff. Whenever he tried anything stronger, he was like a typical first-time drunk. That night, (new year evening 1989) he got stupid and out of control… he tipped over a big table full of beer bottles in the living room, and he tried to smash the big window facing the garden.”Metalion”, “The Slayer Mag Diaries” Per wasn’t used to drinking alcohol and as the bandmates state, he didn’t drink very often. That same night he told his friend “Tonight, we’re going to Transylvania!…” but his dream never came true.

Psychosis: A Syndrome

Some people also speculated that Per Ohlin had Cotard’s syndrome, or known as walking dead syndrome, so he ended up committing suicide. Cotard’s syndrome is a very rare condition with about only 200 cases worldwide. It was first described by Dr Jules Cotard in 1882. Cotard’s syndrome is a condition in which the patient denies the existence of their own body, and have delusions of death or immortality. Cotard syndrome patients are in denial of self-movement. Because they believe that they have lost organs, blood, or body parts. They believe they have no soul or they are dead, or they have the negation of the mind, brain, and intellect. They go into self-starvation and self-condemnation.

Another symptom of this condition is nihilism, in which a person believes that nothing has any value or meaning. The neural disconnection makes the person think that their own face doesn’t belong to them, so they are not able to recognize their own face, which results in derealization from the environment. They also wouldn’t recognize other people’s faces they know and would believe that those people are impostors. Patients have a range of psychotic disorders, and medical conditions such as dementia, which is a loss of memory and judgment, encephalopathy which is a condition, where a virus affects the brain, multiple sclerosis which is a seriously disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord, Parkinson’s disease, which is cell damage in the brain leading to shaking, stiffness and difficulty in walking, stroke, subdural bleeding, history of mental illnesses, schizophrenia, substance abuse, brain tumour, stroke, blood clot or injury to the brain, bipolar disorder. To give a few examples of Cotard’s syndrome cases; in 1788, Charles Bonnet reported that an elderly woman was preparing a meal when she felt a draft and then became paralyzed on one side of her body. When feeling, movement, and the ability to speak came back to her, she told her daughters that she was dead, and they should treat her as if she was dead. In 2009, Belgian psychiatrists reported the case of an 88- year-old man who came to their hospital and told them he was dead and was concerned and anxious that no one had buried him yet. The Greek doctors also treated a 72-year-old woman who went to the ER claiming “all of her organs had melted; only skin had remained and that she was practically dead.” New York psychiatrists reported on a 53-year-old patient, Ms Lee, who complained that she was dead and smelled like rotting flesh. She asked her family to take her to a morgue so that she could be with other dead people. If we pay attention to the causes and symptoms of Cotard’s syndrome, we can realize that this is a very serious and very rare condition, and is seen mostly among old people. When we talk about difficulty walking, moving slowly, not being able to recognize one face and their loved ones’ faces, neurologic and medical illnesses, the speculations that Per Ohlin killed himself because he had Cotard’s syndrome were extremely out of logic. Pelle, as seen jumping and playing around in a video recording, was a cheerful, and energetic young guy. He had a great sense of humour, and he would show this by adding humour in his fantastic and horror-themed drawings. He never tried to kill himself by starving himself either. He was just not paying enough attention to his diet.

As always mentioned in his letters to his friend Old Nick, the reason why he was feeling depressed was that he hated Norway and Scandinavia and the people there. Per had a very broad artistic vision and creativity, but he had financial problems. He was trying to live in another country and wasn’t able to speak his own native language with those people around him. Most guys in the band had girlfriends, he didn’t. So, he was feeling unhappy and sometimes lonely. Necrobutcher says in the NRK TV’s documentary: “Pelle was like a little brother to me. When the interviewer asks if Pelle was depressed, he answers “No”. Then he continues: “I usually picture him smiling from ear to ear. He had a great sense of humour. He believed in the afterlife… He was such a happy guy…I still get a lump in my throat, just talking about it…” and he says it was a total surprise for him to hear that he actually committed suicide… Morgan Steinmeyer Hakansson says: “When Dead joined the band, then it really became the Mayhem that I appreciated. As a person, he was very serious and interested in what he was doing, but he still had a very humorous side, you wouldn’t believe it! He was probably one of the most humorous guys I ever met. To me, it was a great inspiration to get to know him. I really admired the December Moon demo by Morbid. He had a strong vision and had a unique way of thinking, and so it was a great inspiration and it still is in a way”. So, Per had the ‘Dead’ persona on stage as part of his artistic performance but he was a sweet, and funny person off stage. He inspired many people with his beautiful personality and artistic talents. Honesty was also one of Per’s great personality traits. Necrobutcher says in the Death Archives that one day the police stopped their car while they were all driving. He says “The cop was flippant because he knew me very well. Suddenly Pelle had to answer to authority. ‘I don’t even smoke cigarettes’ he said. The cop ‘really’ believed that. Here was a long-haired skinny dude who looked like a total hippie. Pelle realized that the cop didn’t believe him, so he showed him his box of snus. The cop became even more suspicious but we were clean.” Per never smoked anything. He only chewed on snus, which is smokeless tobacco from Sweden. He was so truthful and brave that he would never hide anything from anyone. Per Ohlin would also add humour to his horror-themed drawings.

Early&Later Life : Becoming Dead

Per Ohlin had a difficult childhood. Their parents got divorced and he was affected by that psychologically as a sensitive child, so he began to express himself with his unique artistic drawings, and then later on music. His little brother Anders says Per was bullied by other kids at school and they would always beat him up. One day, he was attacked by the other kids when he was 10 years old, and when he was hospitalized, he had a near-death experience. Later on, he became interested in the afterlife. Anders says in his interview with Finn Hakon Roland: “Had he not been a musician, I would have hoped that he would have been an illustrator or an artist. He read and made his own comic strips ever since he was a little kid. He made drawings of animals in the beginning, later it was about war, and finally then horror. Often with a certain sense of humour. He shocked the whole family when he one day said that he was in a band. He was maybe 14 or 15 years old. He had never played an instrument and bought his first guitar after he started with the band. I think he spent more time drawing on it than playing it. The very first band was called “Ohlin Metal” then he started “Scapegoat” and then “Morbid”.

I think his idea was to create music that would reflect how he experienced a horror movie. One of his bigger passions was to watch horror movies and to read old ‘shock series’ from the 70′s. So I would imagine that he wanted to capture the same feeling you get watching horror movies and transfer it to the music. An interesting parallel is that many horror movies are budget quality, but you still get that creepy feeling watching them. That probably attracted him, you know, that it should be possible to create the same feeling in music as well, on a budget, so to say.” Per Ohlin also had great acting skills. He played in a music video called ‘Bewitched’ by Candlemass, a Swedish epic doom metal band established in Stockholm in 1984. The music video was directed by former Bathory drummer Jonas Akerlund. The song Bewitched was in the album called ‘Nightfall’ which is the second studio album, released on 9 November 1987 through Axis Records. He was a true artist who had the passion to use his skills in all forms of arts, including singing, acting, drawing and designing. Anders also says that Per moved to Norway to join Mayhem and their father gave the band members his old car, to help them out.

He says “Pelle was impressed by the raw and horror-like style that Mayhem had. I guess he felt that Mayhem was like a Norwegian equivalent to Bathory, that was in need of a vocalist, and he absolutely didn’t want to miss that opportunity. When he showed me a Mayhem album for the first time, I remember I was getting scared just by looking at the band logo, I had never seen anything like it. He always complained there was no money and nowhere to live and stuff like that. But there was always something going on. Talks about a gig, a tour, an album.

Those things didn’t pan out like it was planned, but some things did in fact happen. He was both social and not social. He and I could talk for hours about everything between heaven and earth. So I find it difficult to recognize when people are saying that he was a quiet person. He talked with everybody and everything! He was not afraid to show what he stood for, and he didn’t take shit for what he believed in and thought was right. I guess that probably irritated quite a few. His friends remember him as a fantastic and fun buddy to be around but also being full of secrets. For use in the family, the secret thing was not on our radar. We used to say that Pelle couldn’t lie. He was totally hopeless when you told him something secret because five minutes later he would sit and tell it to our mother. For some years after his death, we would get phone calls from bookstores with packages to deliver. All of them were books about strange legends and witchcraft.

Per Ohlin was an honest and brave guy who lived for his honour. Also, it had to be a little strange for someone making suicide plans to receive book deliveries from bookstores. He was an intensive book reader. One of the books he was looking for was called ‘Demonomanie Des Sorciers’ by Jean Bodin. This one could have been among other books that were delivered to his parent’s address after he died… Erkal Sertkaya who was other organizer responsible for the concert venue during the 1990 Mayhem Izmir concert says he and Per had a long conversation before the concert. He says Per was calm, polite and extremely gentlemen, and he was even more polite than Oystein. Erkal also says after the band members completed their stage makeup when they were backstage, Per called him and was trying to tell him something, but he can’t completely remember the conversations, as this happened so many years ago. The Izmir concert organizer Ogutverici says Per was not very talkative, however; he saw him chatting with a girl by the stage, before the gig. Then he realized that Per looked very cheerful and excited. Necrobutcher says: “Pelle wasn’t a gloomy guy at all, but he was anti-social. He used this as a nerdy shield. Say, you’ve got psychological issues, or you pretend you have, just to avoid interacting with people in social situations. It was almost like an artistic thing with him. He was fine spacing out in the presence of people he didn’t know. For him, there was no point in talking to people about the weather”.

It was obvious that Per would interact more openly with the people he was comfortable with. It was his decision to become social or to keep his distance, depending on the situation and the environment. “Dead wasn’t that much of a letter writer. It was easier for him to talk so he started to call me, usually around midnight. He was thinking of going in new directions, including using Eastern European folk music.”- Morbid ‘Year Of The Goat’. Per didn’t like technology much she stated in his letters to his pen pal. He had an intellectual mind, the wisdom, and understanding of how humans have changed with high technology and they have become disconnected from nature. He says “…it was many generations ago since humans lived in forests and near nature, so now we’re only used to computers and disgusting technology. Humans adjustment to new times and hi-tech has made our brains different, our instincts are almost gone etc. but I believe that for some hundreds of thousands of years ago we could feel like animals in many manners. Have you been living in a forest for a longer time? Have you then felt your mind can turn back to be more primitive… at least that’s how I feel it then. I’m working on that, for example when I need new, old and different ideas for lyric material. I’ve tried that out, to sit in a lonely and a half broke down cabin in a dark forest by night. The worst thing about the modern time is the modern way of thinking and there is too much to explain.” Per admired nature. He was a member of Nature and Youth field biologists when he was younger. This explains why he asked a woman on the train if the fur coat she was wearing was real or fake in an upset tone, as his brother Anders tells the story. He was an environmentalist as a younger kid. Per wanted to be alone at night to be able to work on his lyrics and art. As a true artist, spending alone time, being connected with nature, helped and inspired him to come up with new ideas for his future artwork. It wasn’t because he was making plans to kill himself.

Per Ohlin was getting ready to start a new life in Sweden. He was making plans to reunite with his old band Morbid from Sweden. In the Fall of 1990, Per Ohlin, got together withJens Näsström (Dr. Schits), and John Hagström (Gehenna) for rehearsals, finally after 3 years of break. They planned to record a single that would include a new song called “I Love the Dead” and the new version of the song “Deathexecution”. They wanted to start a new project using Eastern European Folk Music that Per had in mind. Per was very serious about reforming the band Morbid and was probably going to leave Mayhem. But for some reason, while he had these tangible actions and specific short term plans, Per suddenly committed suicide. As his parents also wanted, he was going to start school in Sweden and study arts. Because his dream was to become a comic book artist as he mentioned this many times in his letters to his friend Old Nick. According to their plans with Nick, he was going to visit Italy to meet his friend, and then they would go to Transilvania together to see the Carpathian Castles, and also travel East Europe.

Old Nick says: “He didn’t tolerate people or Norway itself, a nation he claimed had nothing to offer. He even dreamed of leaving the country, feeling Scandinavia altogether, then finding shelter in Transilvania, Greenland or Iceland. He wanted to settle down in a place where human beings were seldom seen. Moreover, he wanted to travel, writing that he wanted to visit Italy and many other places and that he wanted to become a comic book artist. In other words, he was making plans. Shortly after, he would commit suicide.

Per didn’t seem like someone who wanted to kill himself, even though a near-death experience at the age of 10 changed his life, and the perception he had of it. Per was known as an extremely friendly person and that warmth was evident in his letters. He didn’t sound evil at all, despite all the darkness and wanting to live among vampires. The idea was to visit those places and finally meet in person. Unfortunately, those plans never came true.” Per would say in his letters that he wanted to learn and know everything. He specifically wanted to find the kind of flower that would turn someone into a werewolf when consumed. Old Nick didn’t believe Per committed suicide. He sensed something was wrong. According to a Vice article by Andrea Bosetti, November 2017, Old Nick says after Ohlin’s death, he received a rather apathetic letter from Oystein, in which the Mayhem guitarist simply stated, “Pelle committed suicide, but that stamp gun you spoke of would definitely come in handy. Would you please send it to us?” Oystein always talked about Per’s death as if it was a casual and fun incident. He was cold, ruthless and had a lack of compassion and empathy.

Besides the speculations about Cotard’s syndrome, the way Pelle chose to be quiet around people, and his eating habits, some people also try to give the image that Pelle/Dead was the only singer that cut himself on stage or performed weird actions. For his stage character ‘Dead’, Per would bury his clothes before gigs, and wear them on stage or would put a dead animal that he found on the street in a bag, and smell the animal right before going on stage. He would sometimes cut himself during his performances. He would do these things to mentally prepare himself for the ‘Dead’ persona he became on stage. As an artist, he wanted to be genuine and feel the concept of death as much as possible, and so he could fully share this experience with the audience. He had a deep cut on his belly. It was because when he was a child, he was hospitalized and had to have surgery. Per explained in one of his letters to his friend Old Nick that the doctors cut him on the wrong side, because of that he had a huge scar on his body. Ironically, Sven Erik Kristiansen, who was known as Maniac, the other singer of Mayhem, would also cut himself on stage. Necrobutcher says “I think Maniac has a troubled mind, like a crazy guy. Let’s say you’re on stage, you get a blackout. ‘What’s the next line in my lyrics? Shit, I’ll just cut myself instead.’ He probably won’t agree. ‘No, that’s nihilism.” There are so many examples of performers who cut and self mutilate themselves, and did extreme activities during their live performances on stage. To mention just a few; Ozzy Osbourne bit off a bat’s head on stage. Maryln Manson cut himself, ironed a Nazi flag, performed sexual activities with a strap-on dildo, and urinated on the crowd. Sid Vicious from The Sex Pistols cut himself on stage, destroyed guitars and other band gear. Red Hot Chilli Peppers performed live in the nude in front of thousands of people. Iggy Pop rolled around in the glass and slashed himself on stage. GG Allin cut himself and ate his own faeces during performances. He used to defecate on stage and throw it at the crowd. For some reason, Per Ohlin seemed to be the centre of attention for his stage activities, while others went even more extreme. Jorn Hagstrom in ‘Blood, Fire, Death’ says: “There was no discussion about what to sing or how it should sound; he knew exactly. He led the band from the very first day and had strong convictions. He was a bit odd. Very gentle, but at the same time, trying to give the impression that he was evil.” “The band Morbid rehearsed three times per week, with Pelle demanding greatness from the other members. John Hagstrom remembers Pelle getting extremely annoyed if someone made a mistake. If a riff wasn’t tight enough, he might force the band to play the songs 10 times in a row, until he was satisfied.” – Blood, Fire, Death. So, Per was a professional in performing his art and he only used the dead, evil image for his stage art.

Euronymous : Perpetrator of Ohlin’s Death and a Megalomaniac?

Necrobutcher says he is very sad about Per Ohlin’s death, still feels sorrow today and has been crying over it for years. He describes Oystein as an asshole and a backstabber in his interviews. He says Oystein was happy about Per’s death, while he was down with grief and was crying for years and is very upset with him for the things he did to Per. Joern quit working with the band after Per’s death, as a reaction to what Oystein did. Then Oystein replaced Varg as a bass guitar player in 1992. But in 1993, he called Necrobutcher on the phone, asked him to come over to his apartment, and told him that he wanted him to return to the band. Joern says he thought that Oystein had destroyed the pictures of Pelle, so he decided to join the band again. After a couple of weeks, Oystein got killed by Varg. Joern says it was karma after what he had done to Per Ohlin and he had plans to kill Oystein himself if Varg didn’t. Joern says he still grieves Per’s death and is very angry with people who sell and wear t-shirts with Per’s dead body picture printed on them, he says “For some fans, it isn’t just a Mayhem concert, it’s more like a travelling murder scene. I used to attack them, threaten to kill them, tell them to piss off! But now I’m more numb…”

Oystein called himself “Euronymous”, which is interestingly very similar in spelling to the name “Eurynomos”, a demon who eats corpses in Greek mythology. The daemon is called “Eurynomus” in Latin and was listed as “Euronymous” in the Satanic Bible. “Euronymous also had the ability to turn invisible and intangible, the perfect spy! He was “hired” by the antagonist Philonecron, to spy on the protagonist.” as is stated in Wikipedia. Interestingly, Oystein states at the end of one of his letters that his real name is Euronymous, Prince of Grymyrk. The word Grymyrk means “cruelty”. So Oystein called himself the “Prince of Cruelty”. He must’ve been delusional, to the point where he would actually deny his legal name and tell people that his real name was Euronymous.  His bandmates say Euronymous was theatrical, and he would pretend. He had very similar character traits to the demon prince of Grymyrk, the Euronymous, flesh-eater. The demon would disguise himself and act like a spy. Oystein always said he wouldn’t be directly involved in the crimes, so he knew that he had to disguise himself. He also always stated that he wouldn’t want people to be happy, he wanted them to suffer in pain, rot and die under dictatorship. Most importantly, Oystein openly stated that he had no problem with killing someone, and must make the most out of a dead body. Some people claim that Euronymous ate some of Per’s brain after he died. This also is very similar to the demon character Euronymous who would eat the flesh of corpses. Besides that, he made necklaces with Per Ohlin’s skull and sent them to people all around the world, along with Per’s wet brain matter. Oystein claimed that Per supposedly killed himself because he was against the commercialism of metal music. Ironically, this was actually his own idea.  He used Per’s death for his personal and business gains. When Oystein said his real name was Euronymous, maybe he was telling the truth, Since he had similar characteristics…

Sigurd Vongraven from Satyricon says “I was in conflict with Euronymous. He tried to beat me. When he realised that he could not intimidate me or spin me around his little finger, and I was mentally and character-wise completely up for it, he gave me up and tried to win me over instead. The honest truth is I felt a lot of the stuff Euronymous was doing was quite idiotic. He would ask people to do things he would never dare to do himself. And he would do a lot of talking and a very little action at times”. In one of his letters, Oystein talks about Necrobutcher’s girlfriend in an insulting way. “We live in Mayhem live together in one house, except for our bass player. He lives with his fat one Smitty girlfriend, I fucking hate her!”  Oystein hated everybody around him.  Jorn Stubberud says in The Death Archives: “Pelle lived with me for a bit, and a bit at Oystein’s, then we put him in a part of the youth club that wasn’t burned down. Pelle went back to Sweden for Christmas, when he returned home, someone had broken in and stolen some of his comic books.” Who would have stolen Per’s comic books? Apparently, there was somebody around him that intentionally wanted to hurt him. There were incidents about Oystein hurting and trying to kill people, confirmed with his own statements. Anders Odden in Once Upon a Time in Norway says “There was a rumour that Oystein poisoned a Polish guy from a fanzine, who came to Norway to write about Mayhem. He stayed with Mayhem for over a month and was freeloading. Oystein said that he started poisoning him with lead. Finally, the guy left and no one ever heard from him.” The Polish guy’s name was Marci. Here is an Interview is taken from Slayer #8: Have you been in contact with our friend Marci lately? Euronymous: “This is very irritating because we have just heard that he has moved to Chicago! How he managed to do that is a mystery, but our revenge will hit him there as well. Unfortunately, the poison we gave him wasn’t strong enough to kill him, but I won’t rest before he is dead. Coming to America was his dream, and we hate that he probably is happy now. But we also know that the poison caused him pain and that he suffers a lot from it, and in the end, he’ll also probably get cancer……if we don’t kill him before that. He’s going to die.”

Oystein Aarseth was killed by Varg Vikernes at his apartment flat in Oslo in 1993. It’s been speculated that the murder was the result of a power struggle, and Oystein owed Vikernes a large sum of royalty payments. Varg says: “Oystein told his friends that he was planning to kill me. I heard that Oystein was going to tie me up, electroshock me, take me to the woods, torture me, kill me and make a snuff film with it”. And then he says when Oystein invited him to sign the contract for their new band, his actual intention was to ambush him, so what he did was technically manslaughter but in the intention of self-defence. For someone like Oystein, who sent death threats to people, took photographs of a corpse, and did horrific things with its body parts, making a snuff film wasn’t a bizarre action to perform after all. This was normal behaviour, matching his personality. Necrobutcher, in his interview with Heavy Consequence, says “I wanted to kill him because I was mad at Oystein, but later on I heard that Varg had already killed him and that Norwegian police had wiretapped Varg’s phone, so they knew why he went to Oystein’s place. And the police must have said ‘We couldn’t get this guy for the church burnings, so let’s nail both of these guys down, It was bad karma for him, we all know what he did to Pelle”.

Were the police forced to look the other way when they couldn’t arrest Oystein for his past crimes before? Was this their chance to finally take care of both criminals? Varg was the last person that Oystein got to threaten, and this time, he was the one that lost his life. Karma works in mysterious ways, yet, nothing will bring back Per Ohlin. Varg was responsible for some of the church burnings. And Oystein was scared to get caught and go to jail for his own crimes. He got so panicked that he had to shut down his store Helvete. So, the police had the chance to bring down both criminals. One would die and the other one would go to jail. Two birds and one stone. Why wouldn’t the police prevent a murder? Vikernes was involved in church burnings and was found guilty of several of these cases. He was also charged with the arson of Fantoft Stave Church, although the jurors found him not guilty. Varg was also claimed to have killed a man in Lillehammer. BT journalist Finn Bjorn Tonder set up a meeting with Varg, who was also known as Count Grishnackh. The journalists were taken to an apartment and warned that they would be shot if they called the police. Vikernes and his companions told the journalists that they had burnt the churches, and knew who had done it, and said that the attacks would continue. They claimed to be devil worshippers and said: “Our intention is to spread fear and evil” Vikernes claimed that all the burnings, except for the one at Stavanger, were done by one person. Who was he referring to by saying ‘one person? Who was that person behind the scenes? Varg was working with Oystein in the Black Circle cult. They were very close until they began to have power struggles over things. While others were actively involved in all sorts of crimes, Oystein chose to conduct things behind the stage. Basically, they both had weapons, they both performed the same actions as theistic Satanists. Also, Oystein had the habit of sending death threats to people. The day Per Ohlin died, Oystein didn’t call the police right away, instead, he took his time to take care of other things at the crime scene and in the house. Is it possible that he needed some time because he had to get rid of some evidence, such as destroying some weapons or other things in the house? It’s always good to question, rather than accepting the story blindly that the media tells people to believe. In 1994, finally, Vikernes was convicted of first-degree murder, church arson and possession of explosives.

The police found 150 kg of explosives and 3,000 rounds of ammunition in his home. However, even though he was sentenced to 21 years in prison, he was released on parole in 2009. The police were supposed to serve justice and protect individuals’ lives unless they had another hidden agenda in their mind? This raises the question of whether the police were bribed or silenced when Per Ohlin died since certain things did not add up in his suicide story. Oystein’s friend Anders Odden, made this comment regarding Oystein’s murder: “It wasn’t odd that he ended up getting killed. He thought he could threaten to kill people without it having any consequences “I think many people felt relief once he was gone”. Writer and musician Erlend Erichsen also agreed with Odden and said: “Nobody was there to boss them about. The black metal police were gone”. Manheim also stated that Oystein became “extreme” and said: “He liked telling people that they were worthless; that he was the best. He was all “I define black metal. Black metal is me!” … I think he was trapped in the image of Mayhem. He became a megalomaniac. In the documentary Pure Fucking Mayhem, he said “Oystein’s daily life was a total theatre, that was based on the black metal archetype of Euronymous. This real-life “theatre” began with the dark evil that led to greed, jealousy, hatred, lies, power struggles, crimes, betrayals, murders, and finally ended with karma, while an innocent child, Pelle lost his life in the hands of these monsters.

Per Ohlin was buried at Österhaninge Kyrkogård, Klockarlötsvägen 14A Osterhaninge, Haninge kommun, Stockholms län, 13795 Sweden. Jorn Stubberud was the only band member that attended Per’s funeral…. And Oystein Aarseth used exactly these statements in one of his letters “We will not attend his funeral. Dead would’ve hated that. It is expensive. His mother told us that we had to be there, but I don’t give a fuck, I’m not a fucking therapist. I’m counting on that our bass player will be there, but that’s because he is a sentimental wimp-fucker who didn’t even have the guts to see the blood.” … But when the time came for the final curtain call, Oystein drowned in his own blood.

If Per Ohlin was still alive today, he was probably going to study an art-related major, such as Fine Arts or Film Making in college. He was going to become a successful comic book artist for sure. He was going to be able to transfer the horror and death concept he used in his music, to other mediums of art. So, he was most likely going to create incredible works of art in several other art forms. He was a talented, spiritual, honest child who lived for his honour and his dreams. He said he had a purpose and a mission that he needed to accomplish on this earth, before passing on to the other world, through the light. Unfortunately, he lost his precious life being in the wrong place surrounded by the wrong people… The true face of Mayhem and Morbid, the legendary ‘Dead’, the beautiful young man with a heart of gold Per Yngve Ohlin, is never dead indeed, but he is a legend that lives forever and ever…until the end of time and beyond…

References : 

  • Once Upon a Time Norway documentary
  • Abo Alsleben, Mayhem Live in Leibzig, Wie Ich Den Black Metal Nach Ostdeutschland Brachte
  • Oystein Aarseth, a letter to Abo Alsleben. Mayhem Live in Leibzig, Wie in Den Black Metal Nach Ostdeutschland Brachte
  • Jorn Stubberud – Helvete, Historien Om Norsk Black Metal, NRK
  • Uffe Cederlund – Musikens Makt Podcast, 2019
  • Pelle Ohlin – Letters From The Dead
  • Anders Ohlin – P3 Dokumentar Podcast, Black Metal – Morden, 2017
  • Kjetil Manheim – Once Upon A Time Norway Documentary
  • John Stubberud – The Death Archives
  • Jens Nasstrom – Bardo Methodology, 2017
  • John Hagstrom – Blood, Fire, Death
  • Jon Axel Blomberg – Interview by Dmitry Basik, June 1998
  • Per Ohlin – Battery N5 Interview
  • Episode 2- It Is I Who Is Death, NRK TV
  • Episode 3- Hell Opens, NRK TV
  • Morbid – Year Of The Goat
  • Serialkillersink.net
  • Euronymous interview in Swedish Radio 1993, Antichrist Magazine TV
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2 Comments

  1. I think Dead leaving dead birds under his bed, and describing his hate for Norway and its people as obvious signs of depression/mental illness. I could see Oystein working him up and inciting the act, but I’d doubt he had the guts to pull the trigger.

    Multiple people described Pelle as depressed and hard to got to know. While I admire the guy and wish he stuck around it seems hard to look at it as anything else.

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