The majority of us use photographs to preserve happy memories. Whether it’s a special day like a wedding or just a day at the beach with our friends, photos are our way of capturing the moment, so that we can re-live it in our minds at any time.
But there are those among us who use pictures very differently. Instead of recording happy moments, they use them to catalog human misery and suffering, sometimes even death. For them, the pleasure lies in other people’s pain and photos help them capture their victim's anguish and pain so that they can replay their actions over and over. We’re talking about serial killers and cold-blooded murderers who want to keep gruesome “souvenirs” of their grisly actions.
A few of these photos may look innocent but every single one has a dark story behind it. From narcissistic selfies to Polaroid snaps of unknown victims, each of these photos is a record of just how depraved the human mind can become when murder is the ultimate goal. Some of these pictures were taken by the killers themselves while the origins of others remain unknown. What we do know is this – these murder photos make the blood run cold. These types of killers are out there...
15 The Moors Murders
Myra Hindley was often referred to as the most evil woman in Britain and the handle was well deserved because she committed truly atrocious crimes – all of which involved children.
Together with her lover, Ian Brady, she took part in the abduction, rape, and brutal murder of five children over a two-year period. In one particularly horrific murder, they snatched 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey from a playground and recorded a tape of her screaming while they raped and tortured her before finally strangling her to death.
The killer couple buried their victims in the desolate Pennine moors and often returned to the gravesites to take pictures. This is believed to be one of those photographs.
Hindley and Brady each received multiple life sentences and despite numerous appeals, Myra was never released from prison. She died in 2002.
14 The Truck Stop Killer
Robert Ben Rhoades was a deeply disturbed American truck driver with a dark secret. Between 1975 and 1990 it’s estimated that he raped, tortured and killed more than 50 women, although there are only three confirmed victims. Rhoades, also known as The Truck Stop Killer, converted the sleeping compartment of his long distance truck into a self-made torture chamber where he would imprison his victims for days at a time before finally killing them.
After being caught red-handed with a naked woman handcuffed in the back of his truck he was arrested and police searched his home. Here they found photographs of two of his victims. This picture was taken by Rhoades and shows a terrified young girl (Regina Walters) with her hands defensively in the air, just moments before her death.
13 The Glamour Girl Slayer
The phrase “lonely hearts killer” refers to a murderer who finds their victims via classified or wanted advertisements either in print or on the internet. Harvey Glatman was one such killer. In the late 1950s, he posed as a professional photographer and would approach women under the guise of wanting to photograph them. He would lure them to his apartment and tie them up before sexually assaulting them, all the while taking pictures of his “prizes”. When he grew bored, he strangled them to death before dumping their bodies in the desert. He was known to have killed at least three women.
Glatman received the death penalty after being found guilty of kidnapping, robbery, and murder. He was put to death in the gas chamber of San Quentin State Prison in 1959.
12 Killing Machine
Described by some as a “killing machine” the exact number of victims of serial killer Rodney Alcala remains unknown. There is speculation that he may have killed up to 50 women, possibly even as many as 130. He was sentenced to death for five murders in 2010, and remains on Death Row, awaiting execution.
He would often torture his victims by strangling them until they lost consciousness and then wait for them to wake up before throttling them again. He would often repeat this multiple times before killing them. When police entered his home after his arrest they found thousands of photographs of young men and women many of whom still remain unidentified. The police suspect that many of them were in fact murdered by Alcala.
11 William Richard Bradford
William Richard Bradford also used photography as a way to lure his victims. He was found guilty of murdering a barmaid named Shari Miller and a fifteen-year-old girl called Tracey Campbell in 1984; although police now suspect that he may have killed many more women.
He told the girls that he wanted to help them set up a modeling portfolio before driving them out into the desert. He would start to take photos, but things soon turned deadly. Once alone and isolated he would rape them before slowly strangling them to death.
When police entered his home, they found a stack of photographs depicting 54 girls and young women in modeling poses. They believe that some of these may have been his other victims, but we may never know for sure. Bradford died in 2008, taking his secrets to the grave.
10 The Kansas City Butcher
Robert Berdella was truly a monster in human form. His methods of torture were brutal and drawn out and to make matters worse, he took pleasure in recording each horrific deed with photographs and a written log. Between 1984 and 1987 he killed at least six men – holding each one captive in his basement for weeks at a time before finally murdering them. He was apprehended in 1988 and plead guilty to all charges to avoid the death penalty. He died four years later from a heart attack.
His last known victim (Chris Bryson – seen in this picture) managed to escape by jumping out of a second-storey window and running to a neighbor who then called the police. Although the remains of his victims were never found because he dismembered them and dumped them in a landfill, the photographs and logs were all the evidence the police needed to convict him.
9 Murder Obsession
Jerry Brudos became obsessed with two things at a very early age. The first was high-heeled women's shoes and the second was a burning hatred for women. He claimed that his mother abused and belittled him, leading to this deep-seated hatred. When he was a teenager, he began stalking female neighbors and stealing their underwear and shoes. At 17 he abducted his first victim who he viciously beat although she was lucky enough to escape. Around this time he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and confined to a mental hospital for nine months.
Four years later he married a young girl, but his life of crime was only just beginning. Between 1968 and 1969 he beat four women to death. After each murder, he would dress up in high heeled shoes and masturbate. He took these photos of one of his victims, Karen Sprinker, just hours before her death.
8 Bind, Torture, Kill
From the outside, Dennis Rader appeared to be a wholesome all-American guy. He was a university graduate, worked for a home security company, was president of his church council, a loving father, and even a Boy Scout leader. But the truth was that he was a vicious serial killer who murdered 10 women between 1971 and 1991. His method of killing – binding, torturing, then strangling gave rise to the name The BTK Killer.
The picture on the left-hand side shows Rader posing with his daughter, looking the part of the caring father, but the photo on the right has a darker history. After he murdered his victims he would dress up in the victim's clothing and re-enact the killings, taking pictures while he did so.
7 Suffer The Little Children
Like Daniele Poggiali, Beverly Allitt was an angel of death killer, but instead of preying on the old she preferred to kill children— children that were assigned to her care as a nurse. Over a two month period, she injected 13 children between the ages of 7 weeks and 5 years with either large amounts of insulin, which would put them into a coma, or air bubbles. Four of her victims died.
These chilling pictures of her holding little babies and smiling make the blood run cold when you realize what a monster she really was. In 1993 she was found guilty on all four charges of murder and will need to serve a minimum of 30 years before she is considered for parole.
6 The Candyman
Dean Corll was an American serial killer who was dubbed The Candyman because he would often lure his young victims with the free candy from the factory his family owned. Along with his two accomplices, David Brook and Elmer Wayne Henley, he abducted, tortured, raped, and murdered at least 28 boys during a three-year period in the 1970s.
In 2012 this creepy picture was released to the media. It depicts a young teenage boy restrained with handcuffs. Police believe the picture, which had unknowingly been stored by Henley’s family, was taken in Corll’s apartment and may be a victim that has yet to be identified. Corll died when he was shot by Henley in 1973 and Henley claims that he doesn’t know who the boy is.
5 The Last Photo Of Travis Alexander
The photo above may just look like an innocent snap of a young man but the truth is spine-chilling. This picture was captured by his killer just moments before she brutally murdered him and left his body in the shower of his home for his friends to discover.
His killer was his own girlfriend Jodi Ann Arias. She claimed in court that Travis had been abusive towards her and on the day of his death, they had fought violently forcing her to kill him in self-defence. She claimed that he had become enraged after she took this picture of him in the shower and accidentally dropped the camera. These claims were never proven in court. When his body was discovered he had sustained multiple stab wounds, his throat had been slit and he had been shot in the head. Arias is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
4 Jonestown – Mass Murder Or Mass Suicide?
Although not technically the work of a “serial killer” this photo taken in the aftermath of the mass suicide in Jonestown still makes the blood run cold. And the reality is that one man truly was responsible for the death of more than 900 people – all in one day.
James Warren "Jim" Jones was an American cult leader who set up a massive commune located in Guyana called Jonestown. He was an excellent orator, and was eventually able to convince his followers that they all needed to die as a form of “revolutionary suicide". Some consider the event to be a mass suicide while others believe it was a mass murder as most of the people only drank the poison under duress. Even more heartbreaking is the fact that one-third of the victims were children.
3 In Cold Blood
Joanna Dennehy went on a killing spree in March 2013 which left three men dead and another two seriously injured. All three of her victims were males, and after she brutally stabbed them to death, she left their bodies in ditches outside her hometown in England. The motives for her crimes remain unknown – she pleaded guilty to all the criminal charges laid against her.
Between the murders, she took a series of selfies which she posted on her social media accounts showing her sticking out her tongue and posing with the knife she used to commit her terrible crimes. In 2014 she was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The only other English female killers to receive the same sentence were Rosemary West and Myra Hindley.
2 Killer Dad’s Selfie
In 2014 an American man from Maryland did the unthinkable. He killed his own baby daughter.
Fredrick Miller and his wife were going through a divorce and there was a custody dispute over their daughter, 3-year-old Laila. The child had been staying with her maternal grandfather and great grandmother. In August 2014 Miller entered their home and shot them both before snatching Laila. He put her in his car and drove around taking selfies which he sent to his estranged wife and family. As the police zeroed in on him things took a deadly turn and he stabbed and shot his young daughter before turning the gun on himself. The two other family members that he shot survived, but his daughter was not so lucky.
1 Death Selfie
We expect medical professionals to act a certain way, don’t we? We expect them to be caring individuals who want to help those who are weak and sick. And most of them are caring people, but every once in a while someone like Daniele Poggiali pops up.
Daniele falls under the category of “angel of death” killers. This type of serial killer usually works in the medical profession and kills young, old, or otherwise defenseless victims.
Italian nurse, Poggiali is suspected of being responsible for the death of around 38 elderly patients over a three month period. To make matters worse, she often posed for macabre selfies with the bodies which she shared with her friends. When she was finally caught and confessed she said that she often killed patients when she found their families to be “annoying”. Thankfully she’s now serving a life sentence.
Sources: huffingtonpost.com, wikepedia.org, murderpedia.com, youtube.com, biography.com