Under any circumstance, these types of stories about serial killers and things related should never be regarded as a joke or anything less than vile and terrifying. While there seems to be the stigma that if you like researching serial killers and the like there’s something wrong with your head, I beg to differ. I’ve personally done hours of research looking into the lives of serial killers, be it what they committed, their lives before the incidents, and the victims they proceeded to commit the acts on. I don’t see myself as someone with a mental issue in relation to that research because it’s interesting.
Another reason I try to dive into this topic is because it’s interesting to wonder what they themselves must have been thinking when they decided “I’m going to commit these crimes.” Documentaries and the like have done a great job of portraying these individuals in many ways, but very seldom do you see people really crack into the minds of a killer, give or take a few of course.
I do know, however, that there are psychiatrists and doctors that have done research to conclude that it can often times be due to lingering issues from their younger lives, or a brain malfunction that really began to take control later in their lives. I’m here today to not only shine light on that, but I want to go through and pick out some of the most vile and terrifying acts ever committed by a serial killer. Bear in mind, these stories are not for the faint of heart.
15. Gary Ridgeway – Killed 90+ People
Gary Ridgeway is an American serial killer currently serving life imprisonment without parole due to the convictions and confessions of his killings. Otherwise known as the Green River Killer, Gary Ridgeway committed presumably 90+ killings in the span of time between 1982 to 1998. His main focus for his killings were finding prostitutes near the areas of Seattle and Tacoma. While there are still a few victims that remain unidentified, there has been a confirmed amount of 49 women between the ages of 12 and 38. Much like many other serial killers in history, Gary Ridgeway was said to have a fairly troubling life at home witnessing multiple violent arguments between his parents. I imagine those violent outbreaks attributed in some way to his killings later in his life, but that’s honestly tough to conclude. However, given the nature of his poor communication skills and bad grades in school, it’s very likely that multiple cases attributed to his later convictions.
14. Jeffrey Dahmer – Necrophilia & Cannibalism
Everybody probably already knows who Jeffrey Dahmer is at this point, given that he’s been a common trend in serial killer documentaries and movies alike. Off topic a little bit, if you’re looking for a fantastic adaptation of a Jeffrey Dahmer movie, be sure to check out Dahmer in which Jeremy Renner portrays the character beautifully. Anyway, Jeffrey Dahmer, otherwise known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, was an American serial killer that was convicted of 17 killings between the years of 1978 and 1991. His main target was specifically of the male persuasion proceeding to perform necrophilia and cannibalistic acts upon them. Although some friends of Jeffrey Dahmer would say that he came off as very quiet and perhaps friendly, he was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and schizotypal personality disorder among others. It’s not particularly easy to conclude that these diagnoses had any part in his killings, but it’s evident through the diagnoses that he wasn’t normal. He had been beaten to death while serving his sentence at Columbia Correctional Institution.
13. Ted Bundy – 30 Female Victims
Alongside Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy is also regarded as one of the “most famous” serial killers in history based on the multiple documentaries and movies portraying the character. He was an American serial killer who targeted young women and girls, much like Jeffrey Dahmer, except female as opposed to male. The assumed amount of victims surpasses 30 and he committed these crimes between the years of 1961 and 1974. There are quite a few people that are both interested in this topic and those that aren’t that would be surprised to find somebody that hasn’t heard about Ted Bundy, given how his name has circulated time and time again. While other serial killers were given a sentence in prison be it life imprisonment or otherwise, Ted Bundy was sentenced to death via electric chair, which you can see in several movie adaptations. And let me tell you, if it were me, death via electric chair would be the least sought after form of execution.
12. Richard Ramirez – The “Night Stalker”
Among the many serial killers we will be covering in this article, it’d certainly be lacking if I wouldn’t mention Richard Ramirez. Otherwise known as the Night Stalker, Richard Ramirez was an American serial killer who was known to have committed several home invasions in the greater Los Angeles area. Although his victim count came to 14, he’s also been convicted of several counts of attempted murder, sexual assault and burglary, hence the moniker of Night Stalker. Richard Ramirez was heavily regarded as popular given that many fans would send him letters and pay him visits while he served his time, which to me seems a bit far in regards to obsession. However, while he did serve his time in California, he died of complications of B-cell lymphoma while awaiting his execution. When the news broke out in regards to his death, fans and the like found closure in some ways or another. Again, I don’t necessarily condone the fan base behind serial killers, however I can certainly understand the interest.
11. John Wayne Gacy – The Original Creepy Clown
If you’ve ever told anybody that you have a fear of clowns, John Wayne Gacy is probably one of the main reasons as to why. Certainly that’s where I fall, even if there are people out there that’d say Stephen King‘s IT was the main proprietor. So yes, John Wayne Gacy, otherwise known as The Killer Clown, was an American serial killer whom was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering around 33 teenage boys and young men. Although the victim number has been confirmed, he’s also been convicted of sexual assault, indecent liberties with a child, and sodomy among all else. While his killings spanned between the years of 1972 and 1978, John Wayne Gacy was sentenced to death in 1980 while previously spending 14 years on death row. Much like Ted Bundy was executed via the electric chair, John Wayne Gacy was executed via lethal injection at the Stateville Correctional Center.
10. Edward Gein – Digging Up & Keeping Bodies
I know we are talking about a lot of terrifying and vile things in this article, but that’s to be expected as these are some of the worst I could find. Now, there are some that wouldn’t fall under the definitive serial killer moniker though their acts were terrifying and potentially the most vile you can think of, that’s where Ed Gein falls. He was an American murderer and evidently a body snatcher who committed crimes by way of digging up corpses and turning them into keepsakes and trophies. Although unlike the other killers on this list, Ed Gein only confessed to killing two women on this list. Regardless, he was sentenced to life at the Mendota Mental Health Institute. The only reason people dispute whether or not he is definitively a serial killer is based on the amount of murders alone, however his namesake has been the direct influence of several slasher films that are known to follow the stories of serial killers.
9. James Holmes – Colorado Theater Mass Murderer
The scary thing about looking into information regarding serial killers and mass murders is finding that it’s been happening for quite some time, and even more recently it continues to be a thing that is nearly impossible to predict. While I don’t necessarily condone how much the media likes to latch onto the acts of recently convicted mass murderers and serial killers, they are still worth mentioning. James Holmes falls into this category, and I’m sure we all remember what happened. If you can’t recall, James Holmes is the perpetrator that brought the 2012 Aurora shooting. This is an event that happening during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, and even today there are people that won’t step foot into a theater as a result. Although I’m sure theaters have taken the necessary security precautions to defend themselves from things like this, it just goes to show you that it is nearly impossible to look at someone and know everything about them right away. James Holmes is currently incarcerated and serves 12 life sentences on top of an additional 3,318 years without parole.
8. Adam Lanza – Sandy Hook Psychopath, 28 Kills
If you don’t know who Adam Lanza is, I swear you must be living under a rock. The crime committed by this 20-year-old is by far one of the most disgusting and fatal things that has ever happened in recent years. Back in 2012, Adam Lanza was the perpetrator behind the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting which led to 28 deaths including children between the ages of 6 and 7 years old. I don’t care who you are, but if you somehow find something positive out of this disgusting act, I don’t want to know you. This act of killings took the world by surprise and it created an unbelievable silence as we mourned the loss of kids of the future as well as the other victims involved. Adam Lanza proceeded to commit suicide on the scene via shooting himself in the head. Before this act, he is also known to have shot and killed his mother prior to arriving to Sandy Hook Elementary School.
7. Seung-Hui Cho – Virginia Tech Shooter
The shooting at Virginia Tech, otherwise known as Virginia Tech Massacre, was an event where a Virginia Tech senior by the name of Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded 17 others. The total estimated amount of deaths that occurred on this day is approximately 33, with 23 other non fatal injuries including the 17 aforementioned. I remember the day this had happened because I was sitting in high school when I heard a fellow classmate talking about it. I wasn’t entirely sure what to believe at the time, but it ended up being a fact and in the classroom at the time, we all just went quiet and tried to put into thought what had actually happened. This incident happened back in 2007 and because of this, Seung-Hui Cho committed suicide via gunshot to self after the police found his location. Since then, the Virginia Tech Massacre has brought up gun violence and gun laws across many different platforms.
6. Jack The Ripper – 19th Century Butcher
Perhaps while being one of the most wide spread names in history, one of the most interesting serial killers in history would have to go to the unidentified person by the name of Jack The Ripper. Everybody at one point in their life has heard this name floating about whether it’s on TV, in the newspaper, or on the internet. Contrary to some others on this list, there really isn’t much definitive information regarding Jack The Ripper other than the fact that he committed deadly crimes in London toward female prostitutes during an assumed time from 1888-1891. While there still is no lead on the identity of this foul person, individuals have gone as far as saying that it is strictly a myth and Jack The Ripper doesn’t exist. However, there are those that have done extensive research on this topic though to this day the identity of Jack The Ripper remains at large.
5. Henry Lee Lucas – The “Highway Stalker”
Although the confessions of his killings are vastly different that the confirmed killings, Henry Lee Lucas was an American serial killer whom was involved or behind hundreds of unsolved murders. Although only 11 have been confirmed, he confessed to killing hundreds of people. Eventually, the confessions of over those hundreds of murders came to be known as false. Also known as The Confession Killer and The Highway Stalker, Henry Lee Lucas was sentenced to death and passed away in 2001 at the age of 64. Although the case was seen as pretty ridiculous based on the confessions, multiple forms of media pay tribute to the case: Confessions of a Serial Killer, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and Drifter: Henry Lee Lucas. I can’t speak for what the first two are like as I’ve not experienced them for myself, however Drifter: Henry Lee Lucas is certainly worth the watch if you’re interesting in knowing more about the man in a thrilling movie environment.
4. Dennis Rader – BTK Killer
Dennis Rader, otherwise known as the BTK Killer, is an American serial killer that is responsible for murdering ten people in Kansas. While Dennis Rader was committing these murders, it’s said that he would send letters to police and news outlets describing in detail how he committed the murders during the time they were taking place. I don’t know about you, but I would have hated to be the news team that opened their mail box and found a letter describing the murder of potentially somebody I knew. People think a ransom letter is terrifying, so I can’t imagine how terrifying receiving a letter of that magnitude would feel like. Furthermore, Dennis Rader was sentenced to life imprisonment with no parole, and currently serves his sentences at El Dorado Correctional Facility. His main use of strategy regarding the murders was suffocation and strangling though he’s also been noted as hanging and stabbing his victims.
3. Albert Fish – The “Werewolf of Wysteria”
By this time in the article, I sincerely apologize if you’re feeling uneasy as I know some of these are tough to get through, but we’re almost done. All I can say now is prepare yourself for what is to come, especially with this one. Albert Fish, or otherwise known as Gray Man and the Werewolf of Wysteria was an American serial killer who is described as a child rapist and cannibal. It is estimated that Albert Fish has more than 9 victims who were either raped or cannibalized, though Albert Fish had stated that the number was reaching toward the hundred mark. Much like Ted Bundy, Albert Fish was executed via electric chair and was convicted not only of murder, but of kidnapping, grand larceny, and theft. There are still a few suspected victims regarding the Albert Fish case, however only 3 names have been confirmed. Albert Fish certainly takes the cake for being one of the most vile and sinister serial killers there is.
2. H.H. Holmes – America’s First Serial Killer
Speaking of H.H. Holmes, I recently caught a documentary on Netflix about him titled H.H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer, certainly worth a watch if you’d like some in depth information regarding this man. H.H. Holmes, otherwise known as Herman Webster Mudgett, was one of the very first documented serial killers. There is a specific hotel in Chicago where most if not all of his murders took place. People have named this hotel the “death house” or “murder castle” among other names. H.H. Holmes is believed to have been behind an estimated amount of 200 murders which he then was convicted of four counts of murder in the first degree along with six counts of attempted murder. H.H. Holmes used his hotel to build torture chambers within the hotel and brought in mostly female victims who never would have believed there to be torture chambers within the hotel. Once he was caught, he was then sentenced to death via hanging.
1. Zodiac Killer – Still at Large
I’m sure given the silly phenomenon that revolved around the Zodiac Killer and Ted Cruz, people know about this man a lot more than they did prior. However, I can’t say that for fact, it was certainly interesting to see the theories provided regarding that connection. Much like Jack The Ripper, the Zodiac Killer has never been identified, though images have been thrown around the internet providing his possible identity. The Zodiac Killer was active between the 60’s and 70’s and was said to have murdered victims in Benicia, Vallejo, Lake Berryessa, and San Francisco. Regarding his killings, only 5 have been confirmed dead, 2 have been confirmed injured, though they have led to a possibility of close to 30 victims in total that were murdered by this unidentified individual. There really isn’t a whole lot more in regards to information about the man, however it is still regarded as one of the most terrifying acts by a serial killer based on the mystery alone.