Gilbert Paul Jordan: The 'Boozing Barber' Who Targeted Alcoholic First Nation Women


Kingsway Avenue, where Jordan's barber shop was located. (Flying Penguin/Wikimedia Commons)

From the Grim Sleeper to Jeffrey Dahmer, too many serial killers get away with their crimes because they target marginalized populations that society at large doesn't really care about. Gilbert Paul Jordan, otherwise known as "The Boozing Barber," walked (and killed) free for more than 20 years because authorities turned a blind eye to the deaths of the indigenous women who became his victims, making his crimes some of the most frustrating of the 20th century.

The Demon Barber Of Kingsway

Gilbert Paul Elsie was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1931 and spent his formative years blending into the background. He watched, he learned to cut hair, but what he really liked to do was drink. He was an alcoholic by the time he was a teenager, and by 1961, he'd thrown himself into a life of crime. He abducted a five-year-old girl that May, and two years later, he was accused of theft and rape by two women who he coerced into a car, but both times, he escaped justice.

Instead, he opened his own barber shop on Vancouver's Kingsway Avenue, where he spent the next few decades forcing women to drink to their deaths. He trawled the area's bars for First Nation women, plied them with booze, and then took them to a hotel or his barber shop, where he poured more liquor down their throats after they inevitably passed out. His first victim was Ivy Rose Oswald, who was found dead on the floor of a motel room on April 28, 1965 with a staggering 0.51 blood alcohol level. Even though she was seen in the company of Elsie all night, no charges were pressed, as her death was deemed accidental.