Serial Killers, are the most terrifying and fascinating killers of all. Psychopaths who commit countless murders just for the sheer joy of doing it. They don’t just kill, but kill methodically and brutally. Their macabre nature has fascinated ordinary people for thousands of years now. We still don’t fully understand why they do it, but looking into some of the most famous killers, gives us some idea. This list is focusing on famous killers who happen to be serial killers, and so won’t include famous killers like Hitler, or Genghis Khan.
H.H. Holmes: No One Escaped His Murder Castle
H.H. Holmes was a pharmacist who started work on what he would refer to as his “murder castle”, in 1885. It was actually just a three story inn, which he slowly transformed into a lair for torture and murder. He would bring young women back to his “castle”, and then knock them out with poison gas. The inn was filled with trap doors, and chutes. He used these to transport their bodies to the basement, where he would torture his victims. Since the building was technically an inn, he opened his doors to visitors, in order to bring in more victims.
He funded his macabre lifestyle through insurance scams, but his greed would eventually be his undoing. Holmes had a partner who he worked with to do his insurance scams, but failed to pay him his share. Outraged, his partner tipped off the police, and Holmes was later arrested. He confessed to killing 27 people, but some estimates say he might have killed as many as 200. He was one of America’s most famous killers, known as the “Beast of Chicago”.
Andrei Chikatilo: the Rostov Ripper
“When I used my knife, it brought psychological relief. I know I have to be destroyed. I was a mistake of nature.”- Andrei Chikatilo. Between 1978 and 1990, Chikatilo sexually assaulted, and killed at least 52 women and children. In September of 1978, he committed his first murder. He lured a 9 year old girl called Yelena Zakotnova, to an old house he had purchased. He then tried to rape her, but couldn’t get an erection. When she started to struggle he stabbed her three times in the abdomen, and ejaculated while stabbing her. On 14 February 1994, Chikatilo was taken to a soundproof room, and executed with a single shot to the back of the head.
Gunness was an American serial killer from the 1800’s. She would marry a man and then collect a large insurance payment after he was found dead. She did this multiple times. Her first husband died in a mysterious fire, and the second had his head smashed in by a meat grinder. After these two events, she placed an advert asking for suitors to marry her, and saying that they should come to her farm. Many men made it to the farm, but only one ever made it back. In 1908, the farm was burned to the ground. Inside, the charred bodies of her children were found, and so was a body identified to be hers. However, this body was much smaller than hers. While looking for her real body, countless other bodies were found, including the suitors. She was never seen again.
Ted Kaczynski, also known as the unabomber, was a serial killer who concentrated on bombing universities, and airports. He set off over a dozen bombs in several states across the us. His goal was the destruction of the “world wide industrial system”. He supported a nature-centred form of anarchism instead. Kaczynski was a child prodigy, who entered Harvard at the age of 16. He got a PhD in mathematics, and became a teaching assistant at Berkeley.
In 1971 he moved to a secluded cabin, and began learning survival skills in order to try to learn to survive on his own. But, he was devastated by the destruction of nature surrounding his cabin. He bitterly came to the conclusion that living among nature was impossible. He began bombing in 1995, and sent a message to newspapers saying that his acts of terror would end if they published his manifesto. The FBI put on the longest and costliest investigation in its history, but eventually managed to identify him.
Ridgway killed 90 people in the 80’s and 90’s, all of them women and girls. He dumped his first victims in the Green River, which gained him the moniker Green River Killer. He managed to evade the police by targeting prostitutes. Not all of his victims were prostitutes, but they normally women or girls in vulnerable positions. Some of them were under-age runaways. He would strangle them, and then dump the bodies in secluded areas. Sometimes he would come back to the bodies to have intercourse with them.
John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy was a serial killer who murdered 33 men and boys. One of the most disturbing parts of this, is that he did so while dressed as a clown. He gained the name “Killer Clown” because of this, but while dressed, he would refer to himself as “Pogo the Clown”. He hid the bodies of his victims in the crawlspace under his house. The authorities managed to capture him, and he was sentenced to death. His last words were “Kiss My Ass”.
Bundy used his charisma to manipulate many women, often by pretending to be injured, and claiming he needed help. He then attacked them while they were somewhere secluded and killed them. He would hide the bodies somewhere, but then return numerous times to rape the bodies. Only stopping when the bodies began to putrefy. He beheaded some of his victims, and kept their heads as trophies in his apartment. Ted Bundy is one of the United States most famous killers.
Alexander Pichushkin: The Chessboard Killer
Pichushkin is suspected of killing 49 people, mostly with hammer blows. Pichushkin was only a student when he committed his first crime, in 1992. It’s been claimed that he was competing with Andrei Chikatilo, the “Rostov Ripper”, who killed 53 people. Pichushkin has said that his aim was to kill 64 people, because it’s the number of squares on a chessboard. Later on he decided to take that back, claiming that if he didn’t get caught, he never would have stopped. His signature style, was to lure homeless people by offering them free vodka, and after drinking with them, drive the hammer into their skulls. After they died, he would take the vodka bottle, and force it into the wound.
Henry Lee Lucas
Lucas killed his mother, but was released from prison because of overcrowding. He then went on a 20 year killing spree. The authorities caught him and he was convicted for 11 homicides, but confessed to killing 3,000 people. Lucas was incredibly cunning, and managed to gain a lot of suspicious privileges while in jail. He was often taken to restaurants by the police, and allowed to wander around jail without handcuffs on. He even knew several security codes. This is despite the fact police believed him to be one of the worst mass murderers in America’s history, after he confessed to countless, previously unsolved, crimes.