Evil is all around us. It’s in our schools, our stores, our movie theaters, and sometimes, even in our homes. But what does evil look like? The worst part is that there is no one true standard for evil. It can look like your neighbor, your teacher, or even the person who installs your security system. Unfortunately, we’ll never truly be able to fully understand what makes up an evil human being, but we can at least learn from the past and try to figure out how to prevent it from walking amongst us in our everyday lives.
When you picture a terrifying murderer, you might think they have a ski mask, some sort of hooded costume, or a disfiguration that sets them apart- just like the movies. Unfortunately, most well-known murderers look just like normal people like you, me, and our friends and family. At one point in time, all evil murderers were walking around amongst us, everyone around them unaware that at some point in time, they would cause huge amounts of tragedy. All of these murderers on the list had family members and friends who wanted to take pictures of these people so that they could remember them forever. Most of us would like to go the rest of our lives without ever looking at the faces of these monsters.
Perhaps looking at these pictures will give us some sort of tools for recognizing evil in the future. Either way, it’s chilling to see these people in normal settings. Here are 15 photographs of murderers before they were caught.
15 Karla Homolka And Paul Bernardo
Karla and Paul Bernardo were just like any other couple. They loved each other, decided to wed, and looked forward to starting a family together. That was until Paul struck up an obsession with Karla’s younger sister, Tammy. One night, the two worked together to drug and rape Tammy. Tammy woke up and got away safely, but this would be the only time. They eventually were able to get a hold of Tammy again; this time resulting in her dying from choking on her own vomit while she slept after being raped by the two. This was the first out of three girls that the couple would drug, rape, and murder together. They eventually were caught. Paul was sentenced to life in prison while Karla got away with a light sentence, claiming Paul had abused her and that she wasn’t always a willing participant in what they did. She now lives under a different name with her new husband and three children in an unknown location.
14 Osama Bin Laden
To everyone in our country, Osama Bin Laden is seen as one of the worst men in American history. We know him as the villain who caused our country to lose so much. When we picture him, it usually involves him somewhere hiding in a cave, masking his face with thick facial hair. We never picture him with a family, friends, or any loved ones. But that is most certainly not the case. From the picture above, you can clearly see that Osama Bin Laden had a massive family, and all were seemingly normal. Osama is the one all the way on the right in the green turtleneck. If you walked by this family, you would have never thought twice about any one of them being so evil. Unfortunately, that smiling little boy would become a face of evil to our country for eternity.
13 James Holmes
James Holmes is the psychotic man who is responsible for shooting many innocent victims at the Aurora movie theater during The Dark Knight Rises screening. When the shootings first occurred, his face was everywhere, all with that dumb, shocked look and bright orange hair. We’ve pretty much only seen him in a courtroom setting until this photograph gave us a glimpse into what he used to be like. There’s’ not much in the picture; it’s a poor quality close up and isn’t even in color. But we can still get a much more chilling sense into his past life. He looks young and innocent, barely cracking a smile. If you saw this boy in school, you would never ever assume that he would turn into such a monster. When you stare at his face, you can’t see the future of bombs, guns, and murder that soon awaits him.
12 Casey Anthony
Casey Anthony became infamous after her high profile case was screened on television live after she was accused of murdering her three-year-old daughter. She’s the only one on the list who wasn’t caught and sentenced, but seeing a picture of her is still spine-tingling. The court found her to be innocent, but the public would most certainly disagree. Casey Anthony is no longer capable of holding her own job and is rumored to sell pictures of herself to differing publications whenever she’s low on cash. We wonder if this picture is one of them or if it was just used as courtroom evidence against her. Either way, to us, she just looks like a girl who’s trying to have some fun. What did she know at this point in her life? Was she aware that she would one day be in eternal hiding after being accused of murdering her own daughter?
11 Fred And Rose West
Fred and Rosemary West are even more sadistic than the first killer-couple on our list. They were known for abducting, torturing, raping, and murdering 10 victims, two of them their own children. The couple met only after Fred was already in a different marriage with two children. The couple were still in love and decided they wanted to marry and start their own life together. The two had over seven children together, not all of them even being Fred’s as Rosemary worked as a prostitute inside their home. They had sexual and deviant fetishes that led to them harming many innocent and young women. They would usually lure these unsuspecting victims into their home on the premise that they would be a nanny to the children. They were caught after Fred’s daughter told police about how Fred had raped her. The body parts of the victims were found buried throughout the basement of their home.
10 Jodi Arias
Jodi Arias is another high profile case that the people in our country spent hours watching. She was accused and convicted of murdering her on-again off-again boyfriend, Travis Alexander. The photo is actually the two of them together. This looks like any ordinary photograph that two people you know would post to social media. You can easily picture the caption now along the lines of enjoying drinks or time together. But their friends and family probably never really had any idea that at one point, Jodi would viciously murder Travis in his own shower. The two don’t look overly infatuated with each other, but there’s most certainly nothing out of the ordinary that would ever give you a hint into their future together. Next time you see a couple post a photograph like this on social media, just remember what they have the potential of becoming.
9 BTK Killer
The BTK killer might be one of the most chilling photographs on the list. BTK stands for bind, torture, and kill, so you can assume the level of evil in his crimes. He was able to get away with his crimes for years, taking a break in the middle in order to raise a family. He was an outstanding citizen, always helpful and offering a smile to his friends and neighbors. Once he was outed as the evil man he is, his hometown was shocked! He was also even known for installing security systems that people had actually asked for in order to protect themselves from the BTK killer that was on the loose! When you see a picture like this, you see a normal man and his daughter. Nothing in this photograph gives us any hint at all that this man enjoyed causing people so much torment and torture.
8 Dzhokhar And Tamerlan Tsarnaev
Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are the two terrorists responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing. They are the two young boys pictured in the middle. Seeing a picture of a child is extra haunting. Children are the most innocent humans we know. We would never ever imagine any child to grow up and be such an evil monster. This photograph gives us a glimpse into their past life, making us wonder at what point in time did everything go wrong? What made these children turn into such monsters? What happened from the point in time this picture was taken to the point that they decided to take bombs to a public setting that would make them think it was ever OK to harm another person? Perhaps it was something that happened before the photograph? Or maybe they were destined to be evil no matter what occurred throughout their lives.
7 Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof is the disturbing individual who is responsible for shooting up the Charleston church. His photograph is a little different than the rest of the pictures on the list. In most of the other photographs, we saw innocent faces with no hint that this person may be a monster at some point in their future. But that’s not necessarily the case for Dylann. You can see in his face that he is a disturbed individual. You still probably wouldn’t assume that this would become another mass shooter. But you can clearly see that something is already a little off with him. Or maybe that’s only because we are already aware of this man’s crimes. Perhaps if we had seen the photograph before, we wouldn’t know anything different. It’s hard to say for certain, but no matter what the case may be, this is now a haunting photograph.
6 The Craigslist Killer
Unfortunately, this is one of few that actually exist that give us a glimpse into the normal life that The Craigslist Killer once had. The Craigslist Killer was like any ordinary, successful man. He went to a nice college, found himself a pretty girl, and planned to have a basic life together once they wed. But instead of following through with his destiny, he let his disturbed side get the best of him and ended up being sentenced to life in prison for murdering several prostitutes he found through Craigslist. He ended up committing suicide in his cell after conviction, writing the name of his fiancé on the wall in his own blood. The smaller photograph on the right was actually taken down from the website that she had set up specifically for their wedding. They certainly had no idea of the real future that awaited them.
5 One Of The Columbine Shooters
The Columbine shootings are by far one of the most infamous mass shootings our country has ever seen. It was really one of the first nationally covered shootings we had seen in a while and really kick-started the controversial debate over gun control. How could young high school students be capable of causing so much terror throughout their school? This photograph actually comes from the mother of one of the accused shooters. She included it in her book discussing what it was like to be the parent of an infamous monster. There is absolutely nothing that would hint in this photograph that this little boy would become such a monster. He’s just happy to enjoy playing with his toys with his mother by his side. She looks at him and hopes for a bright future full of love and happiness. Unfortunately, neither of them knew any of the true terror that had awaited them.
4 Rodney Alcala
The most chilling thing about this photograph is that it is a screen grab taken from the popular show, “The Dating Game.” Rodney Alcala has been infamously dubbed “The Dating Game Killer,” as he had appeared on the show before he was ever caught. Rodney was known for abducting, photographing, and murdering various victims,with a body count still unknown today. He was caught through his photographs, his “Dating Game” appearance having no connection to the murders. It is still haunting to know that at one point, the public watched and celebrated an evil man that they had no idea was responsible for causing so much pain. How many other murderers have we watched on our own screens, unbeknownst to us that they partake in vicious and brutal crimes? Rodney reminds us that even game shows aren’t free of evil.
3 Jeffrey Dahmer
Jeffrey Dahmer is one of the most infamous serial killers in pop culture history. He was one of the first serial killers to be known for living such a normal life before being caught. To many, he was handsome, well put together, and seemingly normal. But that all changed when authorities began to find body parts in his home. Even if you see a picture of Jeffrey Dahmer now, he doesn’t necessarily look like a serial killer. It’s hard to picture him out of an orange jumpsuit, but at one point in time, he was just living an ordinary life like you and I. He even enjoyed posing for goofy photographs, like the one above. He is a constant reminder that you can never assume someone’s innocence just based off the way they appear to others.
2 John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy is another criminal on the list infamous for his vicious crimes. He was known as the Clown Killer, although he never actually murdered anyone while wearing the clown costume. But he did, however, commit brutal and gruesome crimes- mostly on young and innocent children. But before he was caught, he did have a family, pictured above. They actually look pretty happy to all be together, John looking like a normal and proud stepfather and husband. Sure, maybe he liked to dress up like a clown and also paint weird clown paintings, but that still never gave us a hint that he also enjoyed killing innocent children! John Wayne Gacy was so good at hiding his identity and getting away with his crimes that his total body count is still unknown, as they were finding buried murder victims even after he was already rotting away behind bars.
1 Charles Manson
Charles Manson is the only one on the list who never actually did commit any murders. But he is still one of the most evil men that our society has ever produced. He was responsible for forming the Manson Family, a cult known for murdering and attempting to murder countless famous victims. The cult was based in Death Valley, with Manson as the influential head. He would maintain cruel control over the cult, often separating mothers from their children and sometimes forcing people to participate in orgies. But at one point, he was just a happy, innocent, married man who looked forward to his future with his beautiful wife. So what was it that caused him to turn so evil? Was it something that happened before or after the photograph was taken? Or has this evil man always been just that, an evil man?