Many serial killers have come and gone over the years, but some have left a much deeper legacy than others. Some are remembered for their extreme physique, some for their weird perversions, and some just have that indescribable qualitymighta famous serial killer.
In this list we will look at the following famous serial killers:
- Ted Bundy
- Jack the Ripper
- John Wayne Gacy
- Karl Panzer
- Jeffrey Dahmer
- Aileen Wuornos
- Harald Schiffmann
- Dennis Rader
- The Zodiac
- H. H. Holmes
- Edmund Kemper
- Albert Fish
- Gary Ridgway
Ready? Let's dive into some of the world's most terrifying stories.
1. Ted Bundy
We can't talk about making a serial killer list without mentioning thisTheodore "Ted" BundyAlso known as "Lady Killer". This charming, handsome young deviant was a real womanizer in more ways than one.
Handsome, ruthless, and cunning, Bundy has become the gold standard of evil around the world, as this provessheer quantityfrom books, movies, TV shows, podcasts and evenTed Bundy-Shirtswho recorded his story.
Although he spent most of his childhood in Philadelphia, Bundy's bloodlust took him across the country in the 1970s. Ted Bundyat least 30 people murdered, and took victims in Ohio, Colorado, Idaho, Washington, Utah, Oregon, Florida and possibly California.
Ted had a thing for young brunette coeds and would often pretend to be hurt to lure these unfortunate women into his now infamous VW Beetle. Once inside, Bundy would attack her with a crowbar, rape her, and then strangle her to death in the woods.
As he advanced, Bundy took more risks, even going so far as to break into a fraternity house and attack four women within 15 minutes.
Unfortunately, his desires were insatiable and like most serial killers, he took too many risks. Bundy was caught in 1975 and sentenced to death in the electric chair. He was executed in 1989 and remains (probably) the most famous serial killer of all time.
2. Jack the Ripper
In search of the shadows of Victorian London, theLegend of Jack the Ripperis the alluring tale of England's most famous serial killer that still captures the imagination 130 years later.
There are many mysteries surrounding the Ripper murders, and since he was never caught, nothing has ever been confirmed. But what we do know is that he killed at least five women by gutting, gutting and leaving them for dead on the midnight streets of London, England in 1888.
Not content with merely shedding the blood of innocent women, the elusive Jack taunted London police with letters and postcards, one of which was sent alongthe removed kidneyone of his victims.
Although Jack's first four were victimsstabbed and mutilatedWithin minutes, Jack's fifth and final victim, Mary Jane Kelly, was a different story. Jack obliterated her to the point where she was unrecognizable, and to this day, the episodes' crime scene photos remain a disturbing image.
The Ripper's legacy remains unrivaled in the annals of true crimehistorians and researchersI'm still trying to understand the mess he made over a century ago.
3. Ed Gein
No serial killer list is complete without mentioning the tomb-robbing ghoul whose dark antics gave birth to themThe best horror characters of all time- Leatherface aus The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Ed Gein was the ultimate mama's boy. He lived with his mother in their farmhouse in Plainfield, Wisconsin until she died in 1949 when Gein was 40 years old. Soon after, Gein began visiting local cemeteries, where he would dig up the bodies of recently deceased women, steal them, and fashion them into various household items.
But eventually, grave robbing wasn't enough for Ed, so he turned to murder. He shot two local women with a rifle, loaded their bodies into his truck, and took them home to his decaying home. Gein soon became a suspect in the disappearance of local shopkeeper Bernice Worden, and when police inspected Gein's home, they found some of the most hideous creations known to man.
Human bones, skull shells, mutilated vaginas, and morelampshademade ofhuman skin, clothing made from peeled skin – and much more. Gein later confessed that his dream was to create a "women's suit" so he could "become his mother."
Because of his affinity for making furniture out of human skin, the character Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs came aboutbased on the creations of Ed Gein.
Gein died in a psychiatric hospital in 1984, but his presence still haunts the Plainfield backwoods. He's one of the most prolific serial killers in the United States, and for good reason.
4. John Wayne Gacy
Chicago Killer Clown,John Wayne Gacywas the classic two-faced psychopath. By day he was a successful businessman, social worker and child entertainer. But at night he was a sadistic, murderous rapist who ran an unlicensed cemetery under his home. When we talk about serial killers with high victim counts, Gacy is definitely at the top of the list.
Gacy's murder spree began in 1972 when he brought 16-year-old Timothy McCoy back to his home and stabbed him multiple times in the chest. When Gacy murdered the boy, he claimed he didexperience an orgasm and from that point on pursue the same feeling with 32 other victims.
He procured boys by driving around Chicago at night and picked them up off the street, or sometimes he would bring back boys he had hired to work for his construction company.
Gacy attacked them by surprise as soon as they got inside his house, then strangled them with either his hands or a makeshift tourniquet he called his "rope trick." Who says clowns don't have a sense of humor?
5. Karl Panzer
When you think of history's most notorious serial killers,Karl Panzermay not be the first name that springs to mind, but it definitely deserves a place on the list.
You see, every other serial killer on this list had a preferred victim type. Bundy liked young women, Gacy liked teenagers, Gein liked dead women. But Panzram was a different kind of beast. He didn't give a damn who you are—Panzram would kill you.
In his own words, he was "so full of hatred that he had no room for other feelings".
Born in Minnesota in 1889, Panzram lived a reckless life from a young age. He began train jumping as a young man to get around the country, attacking and breaking into random people along the way to make ends meet. After a few stints in prison where guards raped and tortured him, Panzram's desire for revenge was unstoppable.
He lured American soldiers away from bars and shot them. He targeted boys as young as 11 that he hadsodomize then strangle. Despite only being convicted of three murders, he actually confessed to killing over twenty people.
Panzram despised humanity and fantasized about killing on a large scale. From behind bars, he reportedly said to a prison guard, "I wish the whole world had a neck and I had my hands around it."
6. Jeffrey Dahmer
Between the years 1978 and 1991, theMilwaukee Cannibals Jeffrey Dahmerraped, killed and injured the remains of 17 young men. Not only is Dahmer included on this list of serial killers because of his high body count and bizarre perversions, but he's also one of the few killers who cross racial lines with his victims.
Dahmer primarily killed young black men because that was the demographic to which he was sexually attracted. He lured her back to his apartment with promises of sex, alcohol, or drugs, then attacked her with lightning attacks and strangled her to death.
After they were dead, he would have sex with them, then mutilate their bodies and keep several body parts as trophies.
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As Dahmer became more confident, he began drugging his victims so he could play with them while they were still alive. In some cases, he drilled into their heads and injected them with chemicals in a strange attempt to create human zombies.
Dahmer was caught when one of his victims escaped and told police about the horrors at his home. Safe enough, the police foundhuman body parts, castrated penises in jars and hundreds of Polaroids of decapitated bodies.
7. Aileen Wuornos
Murder isn't just a man's game. There are also a handful of famous killers of the female creed out there.
1989 and 1990 prostitute in FloridaAileen Wuornoswent on a brutal killing spree that cemented her status as America's most heinous serial killer. Wuornos was an abused child who later became a sex worker who suddenly upped her game when she started murdering her clients.
All of Wuornos' victims were men whom she had shot multiple times, with Wuornos claiming that each murder was committed in self-defense. Allegedly, all of these men had hired her for her sexual services but had turned violent, so of course Wuornos retaliated by executing her.
Much like her victims, Wuornos' story is riddled with holes, but whatever you believe, she remains one of the most polarizing figures in criminal history. Her tragic story was adapted into the film'Monster'in 2003, which won actress Charlize Theron an Oscar in 2004.
History's infamous serial killers are disproportionately male, but Aileen Wuornos manages to hold her own in terms of brutality and relentlessness.
8. Harold Shipman
Back across the pond it's to Manchester, England, where the man dubsdoctor deathkilled a record-breaking number of victims during a 28-year reign of terror. In Britain, Shipman is undoubtedly one of the most famous serial killers of modern times.
On the surface, he looks like your average doctor, but Harold Shipman was hiding a terrible secret. He was himmost prolific serial killer in known history. Shipman visited his elderly patients' homes and gave them excessive amounts of morphine; an act that mirrored how his own mother died.
Authorities became concerned after noticing how many patients died in Shipman's care. The final straw came when the daughter of Shipman's latest victim discovered that her mother had left Doctor Shipman a large sum of money in her will. It later emerged that Shipman had forged his dead patients' documents to hide his activities.
Overall, Shipman is believed to have killedat least 215 people, with a possible total of 260+. He denied all the allegations and sadly committed suicide in his prison cell in 2004, taking all his secrets to the grave. The list of serial killers still alive gets shorter and shorter every year.
9. Dennis Rader
Bind, torture, kill - that's how Dennis Rader acted.
This pillar of the Wichita community lived a double life. He was a loving husband, father and corporate man, but he posed as an elusive BTK killer, killing entire families and taunting the policemutilated barbie dolls.
It began in 1974 where he entered a family home and strangled both parents and two children. Similar killings followed, and Rader began taunting the police with letters of confession. He targeted older women in their homes because he could easily overpower them.
Unlike other famous serial killers, Rader was able to suppress his BTK alter ego for years. He went from 1977 to 1985 without killing anyone and again from 1987 to 1991. By that time he had killed 10 people and he never killed again.
But amazingly, BTK wasn't caught for another 14 years. His ego forced him to continue his game of cat and mouse with the police, which led to his arrest. He most likely would have gotten away with his crimes if only he could have lived a quiet life and kept to himself.
10. Der Zodiac-Killer
In the 1960s and 1970s, the Zodiac Killer terrorized New York City. He stabbed and shot couples in dark love alleys, he taunted the police and he threatened to detonate a school bus full of children.
But despite an extensive search for the elusive Zodiac killer, the person responsible for these crimes remains uncaught. Suspects have come and gone over the years and much progress has been made on the case, but there have never been any arrests.
Last one of the Zodiac cipherswas solvedby amateur code crackers - a staggering 51 years after it was originally sent to the police. You can look at oursZodiac Killer-Number-Shirt Yesterday.
11. H. H. Holmes
H.H. Holmes, widely credited as America's first serial killer, was a businessman and con man, as well as a murderous fiend. In the late 1800s, Holmes built a hotel (commonly called 'the murder lock') to satisfy his twisted desires.
Holmes' establishment was not so much a hotel as Satan's lair. Inside, he built soundproof and airtight rooms, mazes of corridors that seemed to lead nowhere, slides that led into barrels of acid, torture rooms, and even a crematorium.
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His plan was to kill the body parts and organs, dismember them, and then sell them to medical schools. Holmes was caught after a failed insurance scam and sentenced to death. He was hanged in 1896.
12. Edmund „Ed“ Kemper
With a gigantic height of 2.10 meters and a natural, dominant demeanor, it's not hard to believeEdmund Kemperperhaps the most physically imposing serial killer of modern times.
Kemper, known asthere Coed-Killer, terrorized California in the 1960s and 70s,Kidnapping and killing college girlsand hitchhikers.
Once isolated, Kemper strangled his victims in his car, took them home, and dismembered their bodies. To end his reign of terror, Kemperkilled his own motherand buried her head in his back garden.
Curiously, Kemper turned himself in to the authorities. When asked what an appropriate punishment for his crimes would be, Kemper calmly told the judge that "death by torture" was the only appropriate ending to his story.
13. Albert Fish
SayAlbert Fish was a disturbed manwould be an understatement. Fish was perhaps one of the most perverted people who ever lived, committing acts that are deeply disturbing even by today's standards.
Known asthe werewolf of Wysteria, Fish was a serial killer, child killer, and cannibal who claimed to have eaten "kids in every state." Between 1924 and 1932, Fish kidnapped, killed, and ate at least three children, although he claimed to have killed many more.
Fish also had a penchant for extreme sadomasochism. After his arrest, Fish was declared by experts to be a "psychiatric phenomenon" and claimed that no other living person harbors as manysexual abnormalitieslike he did.
In the hours leading up to his execution, Fish composed his final statement, resulting in several pages of handwritten notes. Fish's attorney said he would never reveal Fish's last words to the public because of their extreme content.
14. Gary Ridgway
Known asthe Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway amassed one of the highest serial killer body counts in US history after murdering at least 49 women over a period of nearly 20 years.
Ridgway focused on sex workers and runaways, lured them into his car under the pretense of sleeping with them, and then strangled them. He then disposed of their bodies in and around the Green River in Washington.
Over the years, police have uncovered body parts and skeletal remains in the Green River, leading to the theory that a serial killer may have been using the area as a garbage dump. DNA evidence later linked Ridgway to several of the murders.
It is widely believed that Ridgway may have killed in addition to the murders for which he was convictedmuch more. He also made our list ofSerial killer in Washington state.
We hope you enjoyed this list of the best serial killers! Who are we missing from the list? Let us know in the comments!
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