We all hear cases of serial killers -- the really bad ones like Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer -- the ones that send chills up our spines. We always wonder to ourselves how these men and sometimes women become who they are and how they're capable of such terrifying acts. It’s hard to ignore the things that they've done because we have a hard time understanding people who do such things. What makes someone eat another person or chop them up? These sick acts fascinate us because they're so terrible that they haunt our thoughts.
Although we know a lot about these famous killers, we often tend to forget the names of the victims even though they're the reason why these killers are so famous. Why do we forget the victims? It’s usually because they're gone and we never hear their side of the story. What if we could, though? What if we could hear the stories of victims that came in contact with a serial killer and lived to tell about it? Those would be the names we would remember because it’s almost unheard of that someone escapes the clutches of a serial killer. What an incredible story it would be to have met a serial killer and lived to tell about it. We have those stories, so continue to read on. These are the stories of the ones that survived, the warriors against evil, the ones that got away. These are the true stories of people who deserve recognition for making it.
15 Home Invasion Murderer
Richard Ramirez was a serial killer who reigned in the 80s. He was known for rape, home invasion, and murder. He received 13 death sentences for the murders that he committed.
“When my mom was 16, she was sleeping and woke up to someone trying to open her bedroom window. She ran to my grandma’s room and told her someone was trying to break in. My grandma (being the crazy awesome lady she is) grabs a bat and runs outside and confronts this guy and starts swinging. The guy runs off, and they don’t think too much of it. Sometime later, my Grandma sees the guy on the news, and it’s Richard Ramirez. My mom told this story over and over when I was growing up. She easily could have been one of his victims, I’m so grateful she wasn’t, especially since she was pregnant with me at the time :)” (Thought Catalog).
14 "I Thought You Were a Girl"
Known as the Yorkshire Ripper, he was convicted of murdering thirteen women and seven attempted murders. “Yes. It was scary as hell. I was 16; I’d just started dating a girl who lived a good few miles away from me. One night, I was at her place, and I missed the last bus home. It was around 11 PM, and I lived about 7 miles away, so I had at least an hour’s walk home. I heard a car in the distance behind me; I stuck out my thumb and prayed. The car stopped; the front passenger door popped open. His first sentence was, 'I thought you were a girl!' which wasn't quite as weird as it sounds (I had long hair back then), but he did seem to be a bit peeved a spotty teenage boy got in his car instead of a girl. He asked where I was off to, so I told him. He started chatting about mundane stuff, football mainly. Then, he asked if I had a girlfriend and had I had sex with her tonight. With that, he tried to grab my hand, laughing and asking to sniff my fingers. I was getting really freaked out at this. All I wanted was to get the hell out of that car. My village was fast approaching, and at the end of my road, I asked him to stop and drop me off, which, thankfully, is what he did. As I got out he said, 'You’re a lucky boy. There's a lot of nasty people out there who'd have robbed you and took you for a ride [sic].' I mumbled my thanks and legged it home like the devil was chasing me. Three weeks later on the national news, I saw the guy who had given me that lift. He was charged with the murder of 13 young women around my area. His name was Peter Sutcliffe. He's still in prison, and he was the reason I stopped hitchhiking” (Knowable).
13 Scarier Than IT
In this case, the serial killer was thinking about the personnel and their families, possibly even fantasizing about being free to meet them one day. “My dad worked at one of the prisons where John Wayne Gacy was housed at one point. According to my dad, he was kept away from other prisoners and had minimal exposure to personnel. He said when the time came to transport Gacy that a lot of staff were nearby to watch him be escorted and that Gacy started addressing people by name and asking about their kids by name. Supposedly, Gacy asked my dad about one of my sisters” (Thought Catalog). He was one of the most terrifying serial killers, especially since he often did children’s parties dressed up like a clown. Imagine all those people that had hired him and had no idea, especially since he’s known to have murdered at least 33 teenage boys.
12 Meet Dr. Death
He wouldn’t be the first serial killer to prey on the elderly; nor would he be the first to work in the healthcare field. It’s scary to think that there are killers in a profession where you're expected to entrust your life to them. “His name was Harold Shipman. He was a doctor in Greater Manchester (UK) who killed hundreds of his patients over 20 years. He was the chair of the Parent-Teacher Association at the school where I worked. A friend of my wife was a doctor at a nearby office and often signed the death certificates he falsified. He was unremarkable -- a little rude and abrupt but remarkable in his ordinariness. You wouldn't have given him a second look. He was a sad man. He mainly killed elderly patients who trusted him and were defenseless. One of the victims was my son’s close friend’s grandmother. Still creepy to think about” (Knowable).
11 The Killer in the Park
We think this woman took some unnecessary risks, but thankfully, she lived to tell about it. “My girlfriend’s aunt ran into one. There was a guy kidnapping and killing women in the area, so a lot of the times, husbands would accompany their wives until he was caught. Her aunt (we’ll call her Sue) decided to take a jog in the park while her husband was at work, so she took her dog. As she was running, she was stopped by a normal-looking man asking for directions. She recalled that he seemed completely normal and was in the middle of giving him directions when her dog planted his feet down and started growling. She was confused and noticed the man shifted a little bit from it. Luckily, Sue decided to follow the dog’s instinct and keep jogging, going through the most public part. A few weeks later, when they caught the serial killer and showed his picture -- sure enough, the same man from the park” (Thought Catalog).
10 Never Take a Ride From a Stranger
John Wayne Gacy at it again. Many people were lucky to avoid his clutches. “This didn’t happen to me, but it actually happened to my father. During the '70s, I believe, when he was in his late teens, early twenties, he was walking home from work late at night in the middle of winter in Chicago. A car pulled up alongside him and with a very distinctive voice said, “Hey, do you need a ride somewhere?” My dad replied “no” and kept walking. He walked a few more steps, and the car pulled up next to him again, and the man inside said, “Are you sure you don’t need a ride? It’s really cold out; I don’t mind dropping you off somewhere.” My dad replied once again, “No, but thank you anyway.” The car drove off, and my dad didn’t think much of it until a few months later when he was watching the news and heard that very distinctive voice once again. The man who offered him a ride was John Wayne Gacy” (Thought Catalog).
9 Meet the Candy Man
We've all been warned about not taking candy from strange men, but this kid really lived it. “I grew up on a small farm in Michigan. Little brother and I were quite blonde, and we often played in the front yard, which was next to a busy road. One day, a man in a van stopped and offered us candy. For some reason (thankfully), we went to the house to ask Mom if that was okay. She got to the front of the house to see the man’s van squealing out of the driveway. Much later, they discovered that that man in the van had driven around picking up and killing innocent victims. I have a vague memory of this happening (back in the '60s in the Grand Rapids area) but had forgotten all about it until my Mom mentioned it recently” (Knowable).
8 A Killer Who Asks For Help
Considering he killed 30 women, this woman was very lucky. “I used to work for the city of Pensacola, Florida as a computer operator. They had two mainframes, one in city hall and the other in the city hall annex across the parking lot, and I had to run backups on both machines. So, one night, I was walking across the parking lot and spotted a Volkswagen bug sitting in the parking lot with a funny-looking man in it. He got out of the bug, and I could see he had his arm in a cast with a sling. He looked ragged and tired. 'Miss, could you come here for a moment? I need some help,' he said. I got the creeps from him and told him I’d call 911. He said, no, he didn’t need the cops; it was just a simple thing he needed help with because his arm was in a sling. I felt even creepier, so I walked really fast up to city hall and went in the back door. I turned to lock the door and was shocked to see this man LEAP up the stairs and try to push his way into the door, but I got it locked in time. I immediately called 911 and got an officer to check out the parking lot, but the car and the driver were long gone. I asked the officer if they would mind staying around the parking lot for the rest of the night. The rest of the night was uneventful, and I went home in the morning. About three days later, serial killer Ted Bundy was arrested 2 miles from city hall. I dodged Ted Bundy” (Knowable).
7 The Joker Returned
James wasn’t necessarily a serial killer, but he’s considered to be a mass murder after he stormed an Aurora theatre killing 24 people. He was also charged with 140 counts of attempted murder. He had many mental health issues and tried to kill himself a few times after he was convicted. “I worked at University of Colorado at the same time as James Holmes (Aurora theater shooting). Had a couple friends that worked closely with him and met him once in passing. I remember thinking when I met him that there was something definitely weird about him. However, when I found out, I was still flabbergasted and terrified. We’d all like to think we would be able to tell just by meeting someone that they’re a monster, but the truth is, you can’t. Seemingly normal people are capable of atrocious things” (Thought Catalog).
6 The Route 40 Killer
Steven Pennell was convicted of killing two women and suspected of killing three others. He often went looking for women on the U.S Route 40 in Delaware. He was later called The Route 40 killer. “I met Steven Pennell, the 'Route 40 Killer' in Delaware. He was working as a contractor at a large company shortly before he was arrested. I would walk a wooded path during my breaks and lunch period. As I was walking, he started slowly following me in his work van and tried to engage me in conversation. I immediately felt a 'something is not right--this person is dangerous,' slipped off my shoes in case I needed to run, and quickly walked in the middle of a large open expanse of lawn where I knew there was video camera surveillance. About 6 weeks later, he was arrested” (Knowable).
5 The Green River Killer
This is a great example of why you should always follow your gut. “I had just moved back home from Kansas City, MO to South Seattle. I needed to find a job quickly. I wasn't looking for a job in a tavern, but that was what I got. I was twenty-one at the time. Soon after starting, I met a man named Gary, who seemed pretty nice. After work, we would talk and have a beer or two. Eventually, he invited me to a nearby cocktail lounge for a Mai Tai, insisting that I 'had to have one.' He showed me pictures of his then infant son and talked a lot about himself. He was boring but nice. However, I began to have this growing feeling of repulsion growing in me. This feeling became so strong that all I could think about was getting away. I told him to just drop me off at the tavern because I couldn't stand for him to drive me home. The next day, he came to the tavern and asked me if I wanted to go out after I got off work. I shook my head and said “no.” He became angry, slapped the counter, and left. I didn't see him again until many years later. I was watching breaking news on a local news station. They showed a picture of an older man whom I didn't recognize. Then, they showed a much younger photo. It was Gary… Ridgway, also known as The Green River Killer. He was convicted of murdering forty-eight women in the Seattle area, but the actual numbers are believed to be closer to 100” (Tickld).
4 Meeting Charles Manson
One of the most creepy and dangerous serial killers in history because he was able to convince people to kill for him. “My dad met Charles Manson in Yosemite. He says that’s where a lot of runaways in the '60s went, so he was probably out there trying to find vulnerable people. Was walking around with a guitar. Offered to sell my dad and his buddy weed. Also told them that he sold his soul to the devil and that any man he pointed to right then and there could be dead in a second if my dad (and his friend) wanted them to be. They were a little freaked out and were quick to get out of Yosemite entirely. My dad says that they drove for a while and saw Charles at a stop sign, and it made no sense that he could’ve gotten there that fast, but I’m not entirely convinced that my dad wasn’t just super baked haha” (Thought Catalog).
3 Killers Released
He was the serial killer who killed a boy and a girl in 1972 and was put away for 12 years. He became eligible for parole and was released in the '80s when he went on to kill 11 prostitutes. It was considered "one of the most egregious examples of the unwarranted release of a prisoner," Michael H. Stone, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University stated. “When I lived in Rochester NY, I walked to work every day (this was back in the '80s). There was always a bread truck outside the door I entered, and the delivery man would be coming out. Older guy. Stocky. I always said 'good morning,' and he always ignored me. This went on for I think a year. I always said good morning. He always acted like I wasn’t there. Right around that time, there were several murders of sex workers in the city, and there was quite the manhunt going on for the perpetrator. One day, we heard that he was caught, so we turned on the news, and there, in the courtroom, was the bread delivery guy. His name was Arthur Shawcross” (Knowable).
2 Chainsaw Massacre
He was the serial killer who inspired the story of The Chainsaw Massacre. He was considered criminally insane, and when he was caught, it was discovered that he used to make chairs and body suits out of his victims. He often ate his victims and had body parts all over his home. He tried to make a bodysuit of his mother so that he could walk around as her. He’s one of the scariest killers in history because of the horrific things he did. He was considered to be mentally incompetent and was sentenced to life in Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. “My grandpa’s aunt bought meat from Ed Gein and served it to the family on more than one occasion. Was probably normal meat, but super creepy still. Apparently, he was just a loner guy in town but not threatening or anything” (Thought Catalog). Yeah, probably just normal meat.
1 When You Want to Hire a Hitman
It’s always shocking to us how many people will hire people to kill off their loved ones. It happens more often when it comes to husband and wife, but still, it’s a common occurrence, and it’s a little frightening to think that someone you know might want you dead. In the case of this confession, this man knows someone who kills people for a measly $5,000. These kinds of killers seem to be everywhere. “A good friend of mine knew a for-hire killer (aka an assassin). He had a flat rate of $5,000, apparently, and passed on the greatest advice I’ve ever heard…. ‘Don’t ever lend anyone more than $5,000…because it’s cheaper to kill you than it is to pay you back’” (Thought Catalog). Terrifying to think of it in that way but probably not a good idea to lend out that kind of money anyway.
Sources: Wikipedia; Reddit; Thought Catalog
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