Before the nineteenth century records were immature and times were extremely different. In the time of the great coliseum one of our most evil modern day killers would not even stand out. So long as the selected victims were not royalty or high class their killings could go unrecorded. When seeking out old cases of serial killers one can expect to run into horrific stories of military leaders or royalty who had erratic and sadistic alter egos. Most members of military and royalty did kill a few times yet it was not noted in the history books because it was somewhat normal behavior back then. It took drastic measures to be considered an evil killer before 1800.
After 1800 we begin to see cases of the middle class and lower class, victims and killers alike. This marks the point that punishment for murder became more of an organized and equal system. Society had changed its views on life value but killers were still able to easily get away with their crimes. There was almost no forensics; most evidence in crimes was witness accounts and circumstantial evidence. Innocent men were put to death and savage killers roamed free their whole lives. By late 1800s things improved but it wasn’t until about 1930-1940 that the justice system became just and advancements in collecting and analyzing evidence began to really take off. By this point it took a lucky or smart criminal to get away with murder. As time goes on the system progresses. However the types of killers that naturally pop up have not changed. When one decides to commit murder that is exactly what they intend on doing. Regardless of any advancement in the legal system, killing cannot be prevented or predicted. Usually they will kill until they are stopped. One way or another, to them the urges are all that matter. So there is a repeating pattern amongst serial killers, same insane reasons, methods, etc. Reasoning is usually not sensible to anyone but the perpetrator. It is difficult for everyday citizens to understand serial killers. All humans retain an instinct to kill and usually will when deemed necessary. But, killing for survival is not at all what serial killers are doing. They are killing for a fix or for pleasure. After their first murder they will relive the experience again and again until the beast takes over again. They can be compared with volcanoes. They are there and we cannot change that, they erupt suddenly with cooling off periods in between, and are capable of causing much death and havoc. Since serial killers have always been, we must go back as far as possible when studying them.
In 37 AD Nero Claudius Caesar was born. His mother was the niece of the Emperor Claudius. She became a widow when it is believed she poisoned her husband. Shortly after his death she married the Emperor. As soon as Nero was next in line to be Emperor she poisoned her husband again. Nero became the Emperor. Then Claudius son was also poisoned. For a while Nero was a just leader. His mother was over-bearing and trying to run Rome herself so Nero arranged for her death. He then proceeded to rule Rome with a satanic quality. In his view Christians were behind every problem in the world. He killed as many as he could in as many different ways as he could. They’d be staked and then Nero dressed as a beast would attack, chew, shred, and remove their genitals. Once he used burning Christians as torches for a garden party. According to records Nero was responsible for the deaths of saints Peter and Paul. He beat his pregnant mistress to death once. In the end greed is what destroyed him. Rome tired of him confiscating their fortunes, forcing the rich to include him in their wills, robbing temples, and even killing senators for their money. Governor of Gaul vowed to help the people of Rome and plotted an attack on Nero. When his world began to close in on him he committed suicide.
In the mid fifteenth century Giles de Rais de laval Baron de Rais was marshal of France, champion of the maid of Orleans, wealthiest man in all of Europe, and all the while a vulgar killer. But, first he was known as a heroic military leader and the chief lieutenant for Joan of Arc during the 100 year war. When Joan was captured in Paris Giles returned home, ending his military career and beginning the next stage of his life. Home for Giles was a castle in Brittany where he was the Baron. He began to practice Satanism and to conjure spirits. In 1432 he began murdering children. His devoted servants brought victims to him, all children, mostly boys. Giles would sodomize, strangle, decapitate, disembowel, and after all that he’d masturbate on the entrails. After an untouchable eight year reign the duke of Brittany stepped in and pressed charges on Giles. The remains of 50 bodies were found in his castle but he was suspected of as many as 140 deaths. On Oct 26, 1440 Giles de Rais was hanged above a fire.
Elizabeth Bathory was born in 1560 in Hungary at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains to one of Hungary’s most ancient families. By her teens she was involved with torture, devil worship, and incestuous pervasions with several family members. She married in 1575 to an aristocratic warrior named Count Nazady and moved in to his castle with him. He had a torture chamber inside. After her marriage she began her 35 year killing spree. One day after giving a servant a bloody nose she noticed some blood on her hand and thought that her hand suddenly looked younger. She killed the servant then bathed in her blood after which she claimed she felt totally refreshed. Her lust for virgin blood consumed her from that day on. She used her victim's blood to drink, bathe and even as cosmetics. She believed virgin's blood was the secret to eternal youth. She is suspected of as many as 650 deaths. Most of her victims were peasant women who were either promised a job or outright abducted from off the streets. After meeting Elizabeth they were subject to wild levels of torment which sexually pleased the blood countess. She used whips, scissors, needles, hot branding irons, spike lined cages, her own teeth, and a special made pair of pincers which she used to rip chunks of flesh from the young women. Peasant girls ran low and she began to target more notable victims which eventually led to her arrest in 1610. She was sent to live in a bricked up chamber of her castle. She died of starvation in 1614 by which point she was apparently forgotten.
Later in 1827 we meet a whole different type of killer or killers. William Burke and William Hare were a killer team. It all began when Hare and his wife were running a boarding house. One of the tenants died owing rent money. At the time autopsies were actually illegal in Britain and dedicated medical practitioners were forced to buy bodies from the black market. Hare decided this would be a good way to compensate for the rent he was due and sold the body for £ 7.10.
The pair realized they could make a great and easy living this way but neither felt like digging up bodies. Instead they targeted more of Hare’s tenants. The victims were suffocated so the bodies would be in condition and therefore worth more. When they ran out of lodgers they began to lure their victims in with promises of alcohol or food. They had killed 15 people before they were finally caught. In Jan 1829 Burke was hanged and publicly dissected. 25,000 showed up to watch. Since then ‘to burke’ means to kill for the purpose of dissecting in the English Dictionary.
Jesse Pomeroy was a child killer and mutilator but if that wasn’t bad enough he was just a 12 year old himself. It was Dec of 1871 when Jesse began to lure young boys to remote locations where he beat them, forced them to strip, stabbed them with knives and sewing needles, and eventually killed them. In 1872 he was arrested and placed in a reformatory but released in less then 2 years. Six weeks later Jesse was up to his old tricks. He killed a 10 year old girl and threw her body in a pile of ashes. Five weeks later he lured a four year old boy away and killed him with a penknife. The boys throat was slashed, eyes stabbed, and his genitals nearly severed. He was arrested again in1873 and at the age of 14 he was tried and sentenced to death. Society protested his death sentence so much that it was reduced to life in solitary where he lived until 1932.
H H Holmes or Hermann Mudgett is famous for his “Horror Castle” which he created in Chicago in1893. It literally was a fun house of death. Hermann was known to have suffered a rough childhood, but never the less he was a bright and good looking boy. Yet neighbors remember him as strange. He did not have many friends, but the one he did have he watched fall from a flight of stairs to his death. Once some bullies forced Holmes to stay still while they made a skeleton display in a doctors office touch his face. Hermann was shrieking then but later he contributes his interest in anatomy to this event. After that he began conducting medical experiments on small animals. He graduated from medical school in 1884. By this point he was already a small time criminal. One of his bad habits was taking out insurance on a fake person and finding a dead body to claim the money. By 1886 he moved to Chicago and began using the name Henry Howard Holmes. He found work as a pharmacy assistant with an elderly woman. No surprise, she soon disappeared. Holmes had the pharmacy put in his name. Once he’d acquired enough funds he constructed his Horror Castle across the street. Inspiration for many horror movies is what he really built. The castle had over a hundred rooms connected by secret passageways; trap doors, fake walls, and concealed shafts. Some rooms were sound proof and had peep holes everywhere. He ran pipes from a gas tank to many rooms and could fill anyone of them with gas from a control panel in his room. He also had his own laboratory where he could dissect, experiment, or destroy bodies. Also he had his own lime pit and mini crematoria. He invited a watchmaker to set up shop in a portion of Holmes pharmacy but he began having relations with the watchmaker's wife which the watchmaker found out when his wife turned up pregnant with Holmes kid. He left her and their first daughter behind. Holmes felt he was not ready to be a father so he decided to perform an abortion on her. He succeeded in killing the baby and its mother. Afterwards he killed the couple's first daughter as well. He continued to rent out sections for victims to live in. None were ever seen again and Holmes was feeding a regular supply of bodies to the black market. He’d kept up with his insurance frauds as well which is how he was eventually caught. He confessed to 27 murders but the estimated toll was 50. One strange quality of Hermann Mudgett as a serial killer is that he did not target specific victims; he simply killed anyone who was there and an easy target. He was hanged at the gallows and requested his body be buried under tons of concrete because he feared someone might want his body for medical research. His story is played out in a comic book by Rick Geary. The murder castle was sold and turned into a museum but before it made a dime it mysteriously caught fire and was completely destroyed.
As the century changed the killers did not. Between 1900-1920s the world had another handful of interesting killers to offer. In Hanover, Germany in 1919 Fritz Harmann (Butcher of Hanover) began his killing. He dressed as a cop and lured his victims to his home where he’d sexually assault them and kill them by biting their throats. All his victims were male. Later that same year he met his lover Hans Grans. Hans played the dominate one, selecting the victims and seeing to it that Fritz was the one doing all the actual abducting and killing. It suspected the pair was killing twice a week. They sold the meat from the bodies to the black market, wore or sold the clothes, and threw the bones into a lake. Once a woman went to police with a piece of meat she thought looked suspiciously like a piece of a human. The authorities responded by telling her she should be grateful for such a fine piece of meat in such hard times.
On June 22, 1924 Fritz was arrested for attempting to molest a little boy. A search of his home turned up several of his victims clothes. On July 24 a group of children found a pile of human remains and the bones were being fished out of the lake by shocked fishermen.
Fritz readily confessed to his crimes and Hans involvement with them. He was charged with 27 murders which he disputed was actually more then 40. He was sentenced to death by beheading and Hans received 12 years imprisonment. After his death his brain was sent to Gottingen University for study. Nothing abnormal showed up. Albert Fish, one of the famous cannibals idolized Fritz and collected newspaper clippings about his crimes.
In 1921 not far away in Berlin, Germany Georg Karl Grossman was committing the same type of murders but on women. Neighbors saw women going in but all they ever saw coming out was Georg and his bundles of meat. Georg did sell some of it to the black market but mainly he used it for hot dogs at his hot dog stand. It ended one night when neighbors called the police to report a woman screaming in his home. When police arrived they found a dead woman in Grossmans bed trussed up. He was sentenced to death but hanged himself before his execution date.
The Gorilla Murderer or Earl Leonard Nelson had his killing spree in 1926. Though he only killed for about one year he had a death toll of 22 victims. Earl was born and became an orphan all in the first year of life. Both his parents had died of syphilis. His religious widow grandmother took him in and did her best to instill her strict religious ways into him, and to a degree she did. He grew obsessed with the book of Revelations and thought he himself was Jesus Christ. By 7 years of age he was the neighborhood pest, a dirty little boy who stole from shops and people. When he was 10 he was hit by a trolley while hiding a bike. He was in a coma for a week afterwards. By 14 he dropped out of school. His grandmother died and he went to live with an aunt. There he began to burglarize homes to support his many visits to the brothels. At the age of 18 he was sent to jail for two years for housebreaking. After his release he joined the military but was quickly discharged when the naval mental hospital deemed him a constitutional psychopath. At 22 he met a 58 year old woman named Mary Martin. They fell in love and married but Mary soon discovered her new husband had some quirky tendencies. He took advantage of her as she lay recuperating in a hospital bed. After that Mary decided to end it. A year after the failed marriage Earl attacked a 12 year old girl. He was placed in a mental institution but released after a year and ready to begin killing. On Feb 20, 1926 Earl and the landlady Clara Newman were alone looking at a room Earl claimed to be interested in moving into. Instead he strangled her to death and raped her corpse. During the next few months Nelson traveled between San Francisco and Seattle strangling another 10 landladies to death and raping them afterwards. A manhunt searched along the west coast for the killer. Nelson moved inland and kept up with his killing. Dec 2 he murdered a 49 year old woman in Iowa. On Dec 27 he killed a 23 year old in Kansas, another woman, 28 years of age the very next day. During this last murder he also killed a baby by stuffing a rag down its throat. From April to June he murdered 4 more times, once in Philadelphia, once in Buffalo, once in Detroit and once in Chicago. After all this he headed to Canada where he killed 2 more times before finally getting caught. He swore he was innocent the whole way to his death clutching his bible the whole way.
Peter Kurten (the Vampire of Dusseldorf) began killing on Feb 8, 1929. That night he lured nine year old Rosa Ohliger behind a church and stabbed her to death with a pair of scissors. He went back to the body later that night, soaked it with kerosene and set it ablaze. On Feb 12 Kurten bumped into a drunk then quickly turned and stabbed him to death with scissors. He drank the victims' blood. The sight of blood, taste of blood, and smell of blood according to Peter was sexually arousing. On Aug 11 he killed Maria Hahn, a woman who he slept with. Aug 24 he lured 2 girls into a meadow, Luise Lenzen, 13, and Gertrud Hamacher, 5. Luise was strangled and stabbed, Gertrud’s throat was slit. Miraculously, both girls lived. Another attempted murder followed these two, but then there was another successful killing. Ida Reuter was beat to death with a hammer on Sept 29. Elizabeth Dorrier was beat to death on Oct 11. Her death was followed by 2 more attempted murders and then one more final murder, Gertrud Alberman who was strangled and stabbed 36 times with a pair of scissors. In May of 1930 he played hero to a woman at a train station when another maniac tried to lure the woman out of sight. Needless to say she was grateful for his help and not alarmed when he invited her to join him at his home for refreshments. The next thing she knew she was in the wood with a strange man and the suddenly his hands were around her neck. She was gasping for air and struggling for her life when just as suddenly he released his grip and asked, “Do you remember where I live in case you ever need my help again?” Wisely the woman told him no and he escorted her out of the wood.
Unbelievably, the victim Maria Budlies never reported the incident but did write a letter to a friend explaining her dance with death. Much by coincidence she addressed the letter wrong and it ended up as a dead letter. A curious postal worker opened it and after reading its contents phoned the police with his discovery. Police tracked Maria down and she led them to the Vampires lair.
Peter was born into an abusive family and grew up to become an abusive lover and father. After his failed marriage but before the killings began, Peter committed a string of sexual assaults during which he’d strangle his victims almost to death. Then, less than a week before his first killing he began frantically stabbing Frau Apollonia Kuhn with scissors but passersby heard the screams and intervened. Kurten fled the scene. In 1913, 10 years before he married, Peter robbed the home of a man named Peter Klein. While there he slit the throat of Klein’s 8 year old daughter. On his way out he dropped a handkerchief with his PK initials on it. Authorities used it as evidence to convict the father, Peter Klein, of his own daughter’s murder.
The Vampire of Dusseldorf was a huge fan of Jack the Ripper and studied the case in his free time. He wrote a letter to police revealing the locations of 2 of his victims in a copycat move of Jack the Ripper. He confessed to his crimes proudly and in great detail. He entered a plea of insanity which was rejected and he was sentenced to death by beheading. Kurten said he was pleased with the chosen method of death because he’d be alive just long enough to hear his blood gushing from his body.
Edward Gein would have to be one of the most well known serial killers ever. The funny thing is by the strict FBI definition of a serial killer Gein does not fit. He falls one murder short of the 3 murder qualification. He is so well known because he was simply put, pure evil. His story is the inspiration behind the movie Psycho, the chainsaw massacre movies, Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and Red Dragon. Of course all these movies blew the story way out of proportion. The true story although not the same is just as horrific.
It all begins on a quiet farm in Plainfield, Wisconsin, an area that had been nicknamed the Great Dead Heart of the state. Edwards's father, George Gein was your typical drunkard of a father but he could not compete with his domineering wife, Augusta Gein. The character portrayed of Norman Bates mother (or the second personality of Norman) fits that of Ed’s mom fairly to the tee. Gein’s mom may have even been worse. She was a super strict religious woman. She raised her boys Henry and Eddie to believe sex was an outrageous sin and that women were evil. Her hatred towards sex is likely what kept her spirit alive. According to her the entire world was filthy with sin and she sheltered her boys from it as much as possible. When Ed was 34 and still living at home his father died and the influence of his mother took over. Henry seemed less affected by his mother’s over bearing ways and tried to explain to his brother the way things really were, but Ed wanted to hear none of it.
In 1944 Henry died of a heart attack, or so the coroner said but there were suspicious bruises on the back of his neck. Edward was not bothered by the deaths of his father and brother but when his mother had a stroke and became bed-ridden he was deeply sorrowed. He tended to her every whim and she thanked him by ridicule and mix messages. Sometimes she’d tell him he was worthless just like his father but seconds later she’d cuddle him and whisper sweet nothings in his ear. She eventually passed not long after the stroke. Edward Gein was distraught and alone. It was the beginning of his downward spiral. He had always been sorta strange and a loner though so towns members took no notice of his change. Whenever someone did chat with him he directed the conversation towards Nazis, pirates, and sex change operations.
Then on Nov 16, 1957 Bernice Worden went missing from her hardware store. The last thing she did was write out a half a receipt for Edward Gein. The police headed quickly to his family farm turned death shack and before inside they found the body of Bernice hanging upside down, headless, and gutted like a deer. Soon a dozen officers were parading through Gein’s home finding soup bowls made from human skulls, chairs upholstered in human flesh, a box of noses, a shade pull covered with women’s lips, lamp shades made of skin, a shoe box full of female genitalia, a vest made from the skin of a lady’s upper torso and nine women’s heads mounted on the wall like hunting trophies. Under a bed they found the head of Bernice Worden, two nails with twine tied around them protruded out of her ears. It was being made ready to be hung on the wall with the others. Another of the heads on the wall was recognized as that of Mary Hogan, a foul-mouthed tavern keeper from town, and Ed’s first victim. As for the rest of the bodies, Ed had been grave robbing for 12 years. He said he turned to the dead for companionship when his mother died. He spent the remainder of his life in mental institutions and died at the age of 78. He was buried next to his mom.
The 60s are recognized as a time of hippies, the Beatles, the assassination of JFK, but it is also renowned for a popular cult that struck fear across the nation. The Manson family, a bunch of degenerate young Hippies who came together to take LSD and have orgies, a rather common thing in those free-loving days. The uncommon thing about Charlie Manson’s “family” was that all members worshiped Charlie and followed his orders and believed his crazy myth about the apocalypse. Manson even claimed the Beatles were sending him subliminal messages via the White Album. In Manson’s theory for the end of the world a race war occurs between the blacks and the whites. In the end the blacks would win, but would lack the ability to run a civilized society. At that point Manson + family would come out of a bottomless pit where they would have been taking refuge during the war and take over the world. The race war Manson was counting on wasn’t exactly taking off as fast as he’d hoped so he took it upon himself to give it a little push. He sent a group of his family members off on a mission to take out some important white people and make it look like it had been the blacks. The victims were chosen by a expensive and extravagant home. It was the home of film director Roman Polanski who by luck was away shooting a film. Not so lucky for his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, who was home and slaughtered with four other people that night. The very next night Manson himself selected the home of the LaBianca couple. They carved the word war into the husband and left a fork hanging out of his chest. They left the messages “Rise” “Death to Pigs”, and “Helter Skelter” scrawled around the house in the victim’s blood.
The nation was shocked and left with almost no leads, that is until one of Manson’s warped family members, Susan Atkins began to brag about the families murderous nights to one of her jail mates while in prison other charges. Her constant tales of stomach churning details became too much for the jail mate and she went to authorities with the information.
The trial of Manson and his family attracted a lot of media attention. His followers crowded around, shaving their heads, carving Xs into their foreheads, and singing. His girls openly praised him in the court room. Manson himself repeatedly tried to intimidate witnesses. In the end he and four of his family members were sentenced to death in a gas chamber. Their sentences were reduced to life imprisonment when California Supreme Court abolished the death penalty.
Albert Desalvo, the infamous Boston Strangler killed for the first time in 1962. He approached the apartments of older women and claimed to be a repairman hired by their landlord. Once inside the victims were strangled, raped, and sometimes left with crude objects such as bottles in their vaginas. Desalvo’s signature move was to tie a nylon stocking or bath robe sash tied in a bow around their necks. Toward the end of 1962 the Boston Strangler began to target younger victims, women in their 20s. The crime scenes worsened. One victim was stabbed 22 times; her throat slashed almost to severing her head, and a bull's eye pattern was stabbed into the left breast. Another victim was propped up against a headboard with a broomstick hanging out of her vagina and a Happy New Years card at her feet. He was caught when one of his rape victims led police to his home.
Desalvo’s father had been a particularly abusive man. He’d bring women home and force the family to watch as he had sex with them, and he’d beat his wife if she complained. Albert remembers one incident when his father knocked out all his mothers teeth and then broke all her fingers one by one. Once Albert himself was beaten with a lead pipe for not responding promptly enough to one of his father’s orders. He began to torture animals at a young age and was in trouble many times for breaking and entering. He joined the army and married a German girl and brought her back home with him. He demanded sex from her several times a day and made up for what he lacked by burglarizing the neighbors homes. One of his really bad hobbies was dressing as an agent from a modeling agency searching for new models. If a woman showed interest he’d insist on taking her measurements during which he’d sexually fondle the woman. But he was eventually caught doing this and also for the burglaries and given a two year sentence. He was free 11 months later. After his release he would dress as a repairman and talk his way into the home of his victims. He’d rape them once inside. He’s suspected of doing this as many as 300 times. It was one of these 300 victims that later led police to him.
He confessed to 11 murders but was able to buy his way out of the electric chair and received life imprisonment instead. In Nov 1973 he was stabbed to death in jail. Relatives of Desalvo and also relatives of the victims have suggested that Albert Desalvo was not the real Boston Strangler. His family says he merely confessed to the murders because with the 300 rapes he was looking at a rather hefty sentence anyway and assumed as a murderer he might get book offers, interviews and so forth. In 2001 the bodies of Albert Desalvo and of his last victim were exhumed. DNA was extracted from the victim and compared with Desalvo’s. Unsettlingly, they did not match. This is strong evidence to back up his families claims, but so is the fact that after he was arrested the killings stopped.
Another murderous rampage occurred in the 60s, the rampage of the Zodiac. Much has been done to attempt to solve this case, but no definite answer has been provided. This leaves a damper on our ability to study and understand the Zodiac. Thanks to criminal profiling we can almost be sure as to what type of person he was but as to exactly who he was we have not decided. By fitting the pieces of the puzzle together we can see he was an egotistical man because he made sure none of his crimes went unnoticed, he chose his own nickname, and made empty threats which he never saw through.
It began on Dec 20, 1968. A teenaged couple was shot to death at a lover's lane 20 miles north of San Francisco. On July 5,1969 he shot another young couple at a golf course. The woman died but the man lived. He then phoned police to announce the shooting and also to take credit for the other one back in December. Six weeks later he sent three letters to three different newspapers explaining how much he loved to kill and that all his victims would be his slaves in the afterlife. He signed the letter with a symbol, a circle with a cross going through it. He sent another letter just a few days later to the Examiner.
On Sept 27 he attacked another couple. This time he wore a black hood with his symbol on it, a knife in his belt and a semi-automatic in his hand. He tied the couple up and stabbed them repeatedly. Then he wrote on their car in black marker his symbol and the dates of his three attacks. An hour later he called police to yet again take credit for 2 more deaths. He’d counted his chickens before they hatched. The girl would die a few days later but the male pulled through. He killed once more, this time a cab driver shot at point blank range in the head. He cut a piece of the cabbies blood soaked shirt and sent it to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle with another letter. In this letter he mentioned how he might hijack a school bus someday and kill all the children. He never made good on that promise and never killed again. He did continue to send letters to brag about what he’d done and how he’d gotten away with it.
The story of Ted Bundy’s childhood is no walk in the park. He was born to a young unwed mother who pretended to be his sister for the first few years of his life. His grandparents pretended to be his mother and father. His grandfather could be somewhat abusive at times and had his moments with almost everyone he lived with. Yet, there was nothing that seems to be extreme enough to have caused Bundy to be the barbarous killer he became. Bundy attributed his murderous rage to his genetic make up and pornography. He spoke fondly of his grandfather and feels he was not a factor in what Ted became. Bundy could be right. Perhaps he was a born killer. By the age of three he was caught sneaking butcher knives into bed with his aunt. This is a rather young age for one to show signs of becoming a serial killer, especially considering the circumstances at home were not all that abnormal. In school Ted shinned as his true self like he always did. He was a brilliant boy with a slightly above average IQ but he would throw temper tantrums when he didn’t get his way and was very violent with schoolmates. By high school he was a thief and a peeping Tom. Ted recognized his differences at a young age and was able to begin work on his public persona. He portrayed himself as a charismatic and compassionate gentleman. When in actuality he was, so he claimed, unable to feel compassion or to truly love anyone.
Ironically, he volunteered for a suicide hotline where Ann Rule (author and Bundy’s co-worker at the time) says he saved many lives. Another occasion he saved a drowning toddler and even chased, caught, and stopped a purse snatcher. However, all this was merely a part of his public persona, an alternate Ted Bundy mask he wore to avoid suspicion over what he really was. In Jan 1974 the real Ted showed up shortly after a bad break-up he says had nothing to do with it. He broke into a basement where an18 year old female slept. He yanked a piece of her bed frame off and bludgeoned her almost to death. Before leaving he shoved the metal rod up her vagina. Amazingly, she lived but remembered nothing of the assault. During the remainder of the year Bundy killed seven times. Two of his victims were killed in the same day and lured from the same crowded beach in broad daylight. In Sept of the same year he moved to Salt Lake City and enrolled in the University of Utah. Two months after that he resumed with his killings. One of the victims was the daughter of a police chief. Her mutilated remains were found in a canyon. He drove out to Colorado sometimes and wouldn’t you know it five women turned up dead there. On Aug 16, 1975 Bundy was pulled over for erratic driving. In his car, among many other incriminating items, cops found handcuffs, an ice pick, and a cut nylon stocking mask. He was arrested and then put in a line-up where he was identified multiple times by women he’d attempted to rape or kill. He was sentenced to 15 years in Utah and then sent to Colorado to stand trial for murder. Their were sighs of relief everywhere when authorities announced they’d caught the killer, all sighed too soon. Bundy chose to defend himself which gave him rights to the courts law library. On June 7, 1977 he escaped out a window in the library when a guard let his guard down. Eight days later after hiding in a cabin in the woods, starving, and tending a wounded leg he stole a car and drove himself to the courthouse. He circled around in the parking lot for 15 minutes before someone came to see their most wanted criminal behind the wheel. He was taken into custody but escaped again after losing 35 pounds and squeezing through a trap door in his cells ceiling. He headed straight to Tallahassee, Florida where he’d decided to swear off killing and assume a new identity. One day before his fake birth certificate arrived in the mail he lost control and was killing again. He sliced the throat of a 12 year old girl and threw her body in a pig shed. Shortly thereafter he killed six more women at a collage dorm in a matter of 15 minutes with only a stick wrapped in a t-shirt. Each victim was left lying in her bed as though she were asleep. Yet again he was pulled over for bad driving on his way out of town. By Feb 15, 1978 he was back in prison and again facing trial. He was sentenced to death by electrocution but managed to delay his death for a decade. On Jan 24, 1989 he sat in the chair. After his death his brain was removed and studied. Nothing abnormal showed up.
The Night Stalker popped up in June of 1984. His killing spree took place in San Francisco and Los Angeles. From June of 1984 to Aug of 1985 he killed 13 times, according to the courts anyway. According to Richard it was 20 times. Almost all of his murders were committed in the same fashion. He’d get high on crack/cocaine and select a home, usually one that proved easy to enter. Once inside he’d shoot the man of the house so he could rape and torture the woman, usually killing her in the process. He removed the eyes of one of his victims and kept them. One of his victims he let live because he said she looked good for her age, and in fact after the rape he sat and talked with her for a while. The same woman, before he raped her pleaded with him that he let her 12 year old hide in the closet. He agreed. On his way out he stole their car. When the stolen vehicle was later found abandoned the detectives were able to lift a fingerprint from inside. The owner, Richard Ramirez had a small-time criminal history. One of his mug-shots was used to make his face known to the public. Only days later while attempting to steal another car he was recognized by an entire east LA town. The men of the town began chasing him with weapons and when they caught up to him began to beat him. He might have been beat to death but the police arrived.
In the court room he put on quite a performance. A pentagram was drawn on his palm. He flashed the pentagram and smiled for the cameras. He chanted “Evil, evil” once while using his fingers as devil horns. Upon his sentence of death being announced Richard said, “You maggots make me sick. You don’t understand me. I am beyond good and evil. I will be avenged. Lucifer dwells in us all.” And, on his way out of the court room he said, “Big deal! Death always went with the territory. I’ll see you in Disney Land.”
His childhood was typical for serial killers. He was the youngest of 13 children and raised mostly by his siblings. Perhaps the biggest influence in his life was his cousin Mike. They did drugs and took hunting trips together during which Richard was ridiculed if he could not kill the prey with his bare hands. After serving in Vietnam Mike came home an even crueler maniac. Richard did his best to keep up with him. One day though, Mike shot and killed his wife right in front of Richard and Richard was left alone after that incident. His mother kicked him out for his excessive drug habits. After this he moved from Texas to California where he proceeded to become the Night Stalker. He remains on death row in San Quentin prison.
Jeffery Dahmer was born in 1960 in Milwaukee but was raised in Ohio. Dahmer describes his parents as neglectful and constantly arguing. Signs of what he was to become showed up early. He’d torture and kill animals, collect their bones, and even had his own pet cemetery in his back yard. Some of the animals were staked into trees or had their flesh burned away with acid. Aside from his weird behavior Jeffery did well in school. He was an attention hungry person though and would act out a lot for people to take notice of him. He’d even fake seizures just for the attention. He was experiencing deranged fantasies and drinking heavily before he even graduated. Once some neighborhood boys saw the head of a dog impaled on a stick by Jeffery’s home. Its body or what remained of it anyway was nailed into a tree nearby.
Dahmers parents split up and left the house with Jeff. He was only 18 at the time. Only a few weeks later and he’d begun to kill. The first victim was a 19 year old hitch hiker. He went back to Dahmers home where they drank, talked, and had sex. But when he tried to leave Dahmer pounced on him. He was smashed in the back of the head with a barbell and then strangled to death. He destroyed the body, cutting it into pieces and throwing them in plastic bags. After this Jeffery thought he might get his life back on track and enlisted in the military. He was discharged after two years. He picked up work in a blood bank and then at a chocolate factory. But, the urges to kill were returning. He hung in gay bars looking for his next victim. He soon selected one and after drinks, conversation, and sex he killed the man. He did not kill again for a year. Then suddenly he killed two more men, keeping the skull of one of them.
Murder was not Dahmers only criminal activity though. He was arrested once for urinating in public and again for drugging and sexually assaulting a 13 year old boy. He was sent to jail for 10 months. After his release in March of 1990 he killed three more times. The body's parts he kept around were beginning to smell, neighbors were beginning to ask questions, for which Dahmer had prepared answers. He apologized for the smell but his fridge had broke and the meat had gone bad inside. It was believable enough.
In 1991 one of his victims escaped and was seen naked running from Dahmer. When police arrived Jeffery explained that it was his gay lover and him having a fight that just got a little out of hand. The men were left to their business and the 14 year old boy died later that night. Soon Dahmer began to feel untouchable as most serial killers do if they get away with it long enough. Over the next two months he killed five more times. Later that year another of Jeffery’s victims escaped, this one sporting a pair of handcuffs, a dazed expression, and a story of attempted murder. He led police back to his attackers home where they found a house full of evidence. The gig was up. They found photos of various bodies/body parts, a freezer containing three heads and many other body parts as well. Jeff said he was saving one of his victims heart for consumption later. Another head was found in a fridge. Seven skulls and five complete skeletons were found along with other human remains kept in a lobsterpot. They also found Dahmers tools of death, acid, chloroform, formaldehyde, and three electric saws used for dismemberment. All in all the remains of 11 men were found. Jeffery Dahmer confessed to 17 murders. In 1992 he went on trial. His lawyer suggested that because Dahmer did cannibalize, commit necrophilia, and so thoroughly destroyed and degraded the bodies that he was insane. The plea was denied and he was sent to prison. He turned down the option of being placed in a protective unit for his own safety. In 1994 he was killed by a fellow jail mate. His brain was removed for study, but his parents were in disagreement as to whether it should be allowed or not. In the end it was not studied and eventually cremated.
Nowadays we are still having problems with serial killers. As you sit reading this article a young boy is torturing animals, suffering abuse, and having uncontrollable urges. He is entering puberty with a strange obsession with death. Will he be the world's next serial killer? Hard to say, but if he does not fill the slot someone else will.
We are now looking for artists, writers and interviewers to take part in the world famous Serial Killer Magazine. If you are interested in joining our team, contact us at MADHATTERDESIGN@GMAIL.COM
We are now looking for high resolution scans of Serial Killer letters, death certificates, birth certificates and other interesting serial killer Murderabellia to be printed in future issues of Serial Killer Magazine. Anyone who submits high res scans of such items, will get full credit for their contribution. If you are interested, contact us at MADHATTERDESIGN@GMAIL.COM