A Harvard psychologist once said that 1 in 25 Americans are sociopaths, whereas they have severe antisocial behavior and lack any conscience. Not all of them are dangerous, but some of them are also psychopaths. That’s where you get serial killers. A psychotic sociopath would kill you in a heartbeat and think no more about it; no remorse; no conscience; they’d sit down and have dinner afterwards. Luckily, people like this are in the minority. However, every now and then, you have a person, born with sociopathic tendencies, who also grows up suffering physical or mental abuse. They act out by torturing and killing small animals. Their inability to feel guilt coupled with their ever-increasing vicious need to lash out at others produces a deadly homicidal maniac. What’s worse is that on the outside, in public, they remain quiet, demure, looking like everyone’s average neighbor. Ever hear those interviews they conduct after a serial killer is caught: “…he was always quiet. I can’t believe he would ever do something like this!” That’s probably what their victims thought too.
Psychologists say that a serial killer never stops killing; there is no satiating their desire. The only way they stop is if they are incarcerated or die. That doesn’t mean that they can’t change their methods or areas of operation, leaving law enforcement believing the killing spree has ended. Fortunately, many serial killers have been caught. However, you might be surprised to learn that some of the most heinous and horrifying remain at-large. We might not know why they stopped, nor if they really did, but here’s a list of 15 of the world’s most terrifying serial killers who were never caught.
15 The Babysitter
Having a killer on the loose in your area is always frightening, but it is made all the worse when he is targeting children. For the residents of Oakland County, Michigan, that is exactly what occurred. For a period of thirteen months, spanning 1976 to 1977, a serial killer was targeting small children. Dubbed, "The Babysitter," the killer was responsible for the brutal deaths of at least four children in the area. The victim’s bodies were found in different locations throughout the county. Parents were afraid to let their children out of their sight or, for that matter, go to school!
14 Servant Girl Annihilator
Someone was killing young women who worked as domestic help in the homes of Austin, Texas. The killings began on December 30, 1884, with the bloody axe murder of Mollie Smith. The killings continued for over a year. Most of the victims were African American. Local writer, O. Henry called him the Servant Girl Annihilator, and the name stuck. This was actually a misnomer as the murderer had no qualms of killing anyone else who got in his way: one victim’s boyfriend; another victim’s child, who luckily survived; and a pair of women who happened to be in the vicinity of an intended victim. Six women and the one man were murdered by this maniac, and seven others severely wounded.
13 Jack the Stripper
Jack the Stripper was the clever little nickname attributed to a serial killer who tormented London in 1964. He was so named because his killings were so similar to those of the infamous Jack the Ripper. Like the Ripper, Jack the Stripper was killing prostitutes. He killed between six and eight of them, leaving their bodies in the River Thames.
12 The Frankford Slasher
The Frankford Slasher terrorized the Philadelphia neighborhood of Frankford from 1985 to 1990. Nine murders were attributed to this brutal serial killer during that period. All of the victims were sexually assaulted and then viciously stabbed to death. Witnesses reported that several of the victims were seen with a middle-aged white male shortly before their murders. Oddly enough, this didn’t stop the police from arresting Leonard Christopher, an African America male, who worked at a fish market near the location of the murder of the eighth victim, Carol Dowd. He didn’t fit any of the witness descriptions and the evidence against him was completely circumstantial; however Christopher was nevertheless convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
11 The Black Doodler
The Doodler, or Black Doodler, was responsible for fourteen murders and three assaults between January 1974 and September 1975. He stalked San Francisco’s gay community, frequenting after-hours gay clubs and restaurants. He would meet an unsuspecting male victim, have sex with them, and then stab them to death and mutilate their bodies. Before doing so, he would always sketch them, hence the name “The Doodler.” Some believe the killer struggled with his own homosexuality and that was why he lashed out at other homosexuals.
10 The Bone Collector
Also known as the West Mesa Bone Collector, this killer buried the remains of eleven women in an area of desert near Albuquerque, New Mexico, known as the West Mesa. The skeletal remains were discovered in February 2009. It took the police weeks to uncover all the bodies which were buried in shallow graves over a 92-acre piece of land earmarked for a home development. The police soon learned that all the victims were prostitutes and ranged in age from fifteen to thirty-two years old. They all went missing between 2003 and 2005. There was virtually no forensic evidence found at the scene and the police had little to go on. No suspect was ever officially named despite several men with violent pasts being connected to the area where the bodies were found. With no witnesses or corroborating evidence to link any of the men to the crimes, the deaths remain unsolved.
The most infamous killer in India’s history must be Stoneman. This horrific murderer is suspected of murdering thirteen homeless people in Calcutta over a period of six months in 1989. The killer is also believed to have committed twelve more murders a few years prior in Bombay. He is called the Stoneman due to his method of murder. He would locate beggars asleep in a secluded area and proceed to crush their skulls with a stone. The police still remain unsure if the Stoneman is one person, a group of individuals, or if the murders are possibly being committed by a copycat imitating the original murder.
8 The Rainbow Maniac
São Paulo, Brazil: a city known to be home to one of South America’s most lively gay communities. The largest gay pride march on the planet occurs in São Paulo every year. It remains one of the most tolerant cities in South America. However, in February 2007, a brutal wave of homophobic murders began occurring that gripped the gay community in terror for over a year. Police were hunting for a serial killer dubbed by the media as the Rainbow Maniac.
7 The Monster of Florence
"Il Mostro di Firenze," otherwise known as the Monster of Florence is a notorious serial killer who preyed on couples who were caught in secluded areas around the Italian city of Florence. Between 1968 and 1985, he is believed to have killed sixteen people, all shot at close range with a .22 caliber pistol. The first murder was committed on August 21, 1968, and immediately police began questioning suspects with very little to go on. Over the years, the killer kept committing more murders. Numerous suspects have been arrested by the police who desperately wanted to solve the murders. Four men have been charged and convicted of the killings at different times during the period; only to have their convictions questioned whenever another murder would occur using the same weapon and method.
6 Atlanta Ripper
Beginning in 1911, and continuing for the next four years, a vicious killer stalked the streets of Atlanta, Georgia. The first victim, Rosa Trice, was found in January 1911, with her skull bashed in and her throat cut ear to ear. No apparent motive was found. The killer was called the Atlanta Ripper, a nod to the famous London killer from some years prior. Soon the bodies of other victims began to turn up, with between 15 and 21 murders believed to have been committed by this vicious slasher. One victim, Belle Walker, was just fifteen yards from her home when the Ripper got her.
5 The Cleveland Torso Murderer
Beginning in late 1934, in Cleveland, Ohio, a serial killer was beheading and dismembering his victims, and sometimes even emasculating them. Forensics indicated that some of the victims were beheaded while still alive! Also known as the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run, this monstrous killer has an official body count of twelve; however investigators believe he is responsible for many more. Heading up the investigation was the most famous law enforcement officer in the country, Eliot Ness. However, even he was unable to crack the case.
4 The Axeman
Between May 1918 and October 1919, a brutal killer was terrorizing the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. He had attacked at least fifteen unsuspecting victims in their homes. He violently swung his axe at their heads, killing most of his victims. The Axeman, as he was called, began taunting police with letters claiming he was a demon from Hell. Many of the victims were Italian-American and appeared to have been chosen at random.
3 The Phantom Killer
In the Spring of 1946, someone shot eight people in the Texarkana, Texas area, of which five were killed. Many of the victims were young couples in cars looking for a secluded area to be alone. Dubbed the “Phantom Killer,” he was attacking only on the weekend, late at night, which also inspired another nickname for the killings, the Moonlight Murders. Local residents were terrified and many nailed their windows shut and purchased firearms. Every weekend, the city would basically shut down at dusk.
2 The Zodiac killer
He’s one of the most infamous serial killers of all-time. He taunted police with enigmatic letters mailed to local newspapers. He claimed to have killed a total of 37 people, and he was never caught. He’s the Zodiac Killer. His reign of terror was in the late 1960s, when seven people in secluded “lover’s lane” areas were gunned down in Northern California, five of whom died. His first two victims were two high school kids, Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday, who were out on their first date. The unsuspecting teens made the mistake of stopping off at a local "lover’s lane" where the Zodiac came upon them and killed them both.
1 Jack the Ripper
He’s arguable the most notorious serial killer ever so the number one spot had to belong to the infamous Jack the Ripper. The identity of this serial killer has eluded us for over a hundred years after his grisly killing spree terrorized London’s East End in 1888. He is believed to have killed five women in London’s Whitechapel district, though there could be as many as eleven victims. His moniker comes from a letter that was written by a hoaxer claiming to be the killer. The letter was proven phony, but the name he signed it with stuck.
Jack would encounter the women – all prostitutes – in the middle of the night, slashing their throats and proceeding to savagely mutilate their bodies, even sometimes removing their organs to keep as trophies. His precision in doing so led some to believe he had medical training. All the murders took place between August 31 and November 9, 1888. During that time, Jack mailed several letters taunting the police, one of which even included a small piece of a human kidney. Over the years there have been several suspect theories, with some claiming he was royalty, others that he was prominent surgeon, yet the Ripper’s identity remains unknown.
Sources: prairieghosts.com, allday.com, theguardian.com, biography.com, clevelandpolicemuseum.org.
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