If we’re going to talk about serial killers, we have to mention Ted Bundy. He kidnapped, raped, and dismembered at least 30 women. He often kept their heads as souvenirs. Why was he so unique? Ted Bundy showed the world that killers could be attractive, incredibly smart, and successful in life according to societal rules.
Ted Bundy was in a relationship with someone who had a child, and he did very well in school. He was actually on track to become an attorney before he was captured. On top of that, he was deeply religious. In fact, much of his church supported him during his trial until the evidence became overwhelming.
Andrei Chikatilo was a monster. He murdered 52 people, many of whom were children. But, what makes him even more horrifying isn't the fact that he killed children, but that he would sexually assault, mutilate, and cannibalize them. Many victims had their eyes stabbed out. While trying to catch him, detectives solved around 1,000 unsolved crimes.
It was difficult to catch Chikatilo because he had a rare genetic disease. Detectives tested semen found at the scene and discovered the killer’s type was AB. When testing Chikatilo, his blood type and saliva were type A, but his semen was type AB. Since they hadn’t tested his semen, they were forced to release him. They later caught him, and he was executed.
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Jeffrey Dahmer was one of the most messed up serial killers in America. He was convicted of murdering 17 young men, but he didn’t just kill them. He raped, dismembered, and sometimes ate his victims. At trial, Dahmer admitted to trying to create sex slaves by giving them crude lobotomies via drilling a hole in the side of their head.
The question on everyone’s mind: how can a seemingly normal young man do such horrible things? No one knew his past at the time. Even his own parents had no clue he’d tortured animals in his spare time. On the outside, Dahmer was initially energetic and happy until age four when he had double hernia surgery. Then, he became withdrawn and quiet.
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Albert Fish was a truly deranged man. In the early 1900s, he was found guilty of raping, killing, and cannibalizing three children. However, he claimed that he had murdered over 100 children during his lifetime. He also boasted that he had “children in every state.”
What makes Albert Fish stand out is the fact that he had absolutely no remorse, and that he killed children. Another thing that was unique was that he flaunted it in the face of the parents. He sent a letter to the mother of one of his victims that detailed how he’d lured the little girl, strangled her, and cut her up. It also described how he’d eaten pieces of her over nine days.
John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy was the monster who raped, tortured, and murdered 33 teenage boys over 6 years. He lured them to his home, killed them, and buried them in various places in his home. Most of the bodies were found in the crawl spaces under his house. Gacy was a contractor, so doing this kind of thing was fairly easy.
The fact he was a contractor was part of the reason he stands out as a serial killer. Gacy had a thriving business where he hired young men to complete jobs over the summer. On the side, he was a clown at children’s birthday parties. Gacy may be part of the reason so many people are now afraid clowns.
Jack the Ripper
Nearly everyone knows Jack the Ripper, but no one knows for sure who committed these atrocities. The Ripper was a man or woman who had terrorized Whitechapel in 1888. The person killed at least five prostitutes and left them for dead. The killer slit their throats and their abdomens—the latter to remove the woman’s uterus as a prize.
Naturally, the thing that makes this case so interesting to many is the fact that the killer was never captured. There were suspects in mind, but nothing ever panned out. It’s unlikely that we’ll ever figure out who had completed these murders, but it has certainly inspired plenty of novels and movies on the topic.
Pedro Lopez is one of the most terrifying serial killers on this list. While he was convicted of killing 110 girls, he confessed to an additional 240 in Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador. The horrifying thing was that he was only sentenced to 16 years. Of those years, he only served 14 before being committed to a hospital. Lopez spent another year in the hospital and was released.
Pedro Lopez’s victim count is naturally one of the most surprising things about him, and it’s what makes him stand out. What really makes him even more unique (and makes him so much scarier) is that he's free. As of this year, his whereabouts are unknown.
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Edmund Kemper began killing at the young age of 15. Instead of a random person, he killed his own grandparent first because he “wanted to see what it felt like to kill Grandma.” After six years, he was released from prison and went on to rape, murder, and defile the corpses of eight women.
Edmund Kemper caught everyone’s eye because he was malicious toward strangers and his own family. One of his last murders was his own mother. He sexually assaulted the corpses of the women, including his own mother’s. On top of that, he had an incredibly dark, inhumane sense of humor.
Charles Manson was a cult leader, and while he didn’t actually murder anyone himself, many people still consider him a serial killer. Manson’s followers committed a series of nine murders at four locations, including the slaying of the famous (and pregnant) Sharon Tate. Manson reportedly told his cult to “destroy everyone, as gruesome as you can.”
Manson caught the public’s eye for a couple of reasons. The first was that the victims were incredibly famous, and it occurred in a very rich neighborhood. The murders shocked Hollywood in a way we’ll hopefully never see again. The second reason was that the murders were so grisly. The cult had cut out Tate’s baby and removed one of her breasts, as well as mutilated the other victims.
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The Zodiac Killer
The Zodiac Killer baffles the public and investigators like the infamous Jack the Ripper. The Zodiac Killer claimed to have killed 37 people, but police can only link the killer to 5 deaths and 2 injuries. Many of the victims were couples that were stabbed, while others were shot. The murders were shocking but not as brutal as others on the list. So, why is The Zodiac Killer so popular?
Naturally, the fact that no one has been tried for the killings is one of the biggest draws. The police had suspects, but nothing stuck. What really makes him stand out was the taunting letters he sent police and media. The Zodiac sent ciphers to the media, claiming that the puzzle included his name. Other ciphers sent included messages and threats.
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Ahmad Suradji was an Indonesian serial killer who admitted to killing 42 girls and women that were between the ages of 11 to 30. He was a cattle-breeder with plenty of land, which made it easy to “hide” his victims after he strangled them. What made him so infamous wasn’t how many he killed, but rather why.
Ahmad Suradji would strangle his victims and then bury them up to their waists in a sugarcane field. All of the victims’ heads were facing his house because he believed that this would give him more power. Suradji was sentenced to death by a firing squad in 2008.
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Tsutomu Miyazaki was a Japanese serial killer, cannibal, and necrophile who abducted and murdered four girls in 1988 and 1989. This serial killer has several names, including The Otaku Murderer and The Little Girl Murderer. Out of all of his titles, The Human Dracula is one of the most terrifying, and it’s also the one that made him stand out.
Miyazaki was a cannibal, and that included drinking the blood of his victims. Most of his victims were around four or five. He was also known to send letters to the parents. One parent received photos of their daughter’s body and teeth. In court, he showed no remorse and even said he’d done a good job.
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Better known as "The Son of Sam," David Berkowitz put New York on edge during the summer of 1976 and 1977. He killed a total of six people and wounded seven others with a .44 caliber revolver. The murders themselves were terrible, but not particularly gruesome when compared to other serial killers.
What caught the media’s eye was the letter Berkowitz left near the bodies of one of his murders. Berkowitz called himself “The Son of Sam” in these letters and detailed abuse, murder, and cannibalism. Later, Berkowitz claimed that his neighbor’s dog had told him to kill because it demanded the blood of “pretty young girls.”
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Ed Gein is one of the most popular serial killers out there. He was the inspiration for a myriad of fictional serial killers including Normal Bates, Leatherface, and Buffalo Bill. It wasn’t the fact that he killed two people that thrust him into infamy. It was what he did with the bodies, and what he did with bodies of individuals he hadn’t killed.
When police went to investigate Gein, they found the missing woman they were looking for. Gein had killed her and strung her upside down in a barn. The body was open, the organs had been taken out, and was missing her head. Inside the house, police found five heads and four skulls. They also found skin masks as well as lampshades, wastebaskets, and chair covers out of human skin.
Richard Ramirez is better known as “The Night Stalker.” The scariest thing about Ramirez is that his crimes were committed over the course of a single year. Once he caught, he was sentenced to 13 death sentences because of what he had done to his victims.
The media was more than happy follow everything about Ramirez, and the world watched in terrifying anticipation. What made him so scary was that he broke into people’s homes and attacked people when they thought they were safe. On top of that, Ramirez was an avowed Satanist and showed no remorse for his crimes.