Why do memes exist? Ninety percent of the time, it’s to be funny. Usually, there is some kind of irony between what is pictured and what the words are meant to convey. The other 10 percent of the time, they usually try to make some kind of social or political commentary.
When it comes to serial killer memes, you’re dealing with dark humor and horrible truths. Serial killers, by definition, murder many people, often in ways far more gruesome and depraved than just shooting them and for reasons that we can never understand. When you’re trying to make light of these situations, it’s best to have a twisted sense of humor.
It’s also best to try not to see these people as human. Yes, they all have mothers and fathers who probably wonder where things went wrong and who love their kids no matter what, but these memes are easier to enjoy if you don't see these criminals as people. The things that they did were beyond that of the average murderer.
So, with those warnings, don’t feel too bad if you laugh. It makes dealing with the grisly truth a little easier. Just don’t forget these people are out there, living among us. Detach yourself from reality and enjoy 15 Serial Killer Memes that Are Twisted AF.
15 Ted Bundy
So here’s your first test to see if you can get through this list. Can the killing of probably more than 30 women be considered funny? Depends on your sense of humor. Ted Bundy, after a decade of sitting on death row claiming he was innocent, admitted to killing 30 women between 1974 and 1978. His suave demeanor and good looks allowed him to get close to his victims, who thought he was a charmer. He was put to death via electric chair in 1989 in Florida. Bundy introduced the concept of “serial killer” to a generation, but he also introduced the concept of necrophilia. Yup, it wasn’t enough for Bundy to kidnap, rape, and strangle his victims. Once they were dead, he enjoyed having sex with the corpses. When he was finally put in prison, Bundy seduced his case worker, and the two were married. She gave birth in 1982, claiming the serial killer was the father.
14 The BTK Killer
Dennis Rader hits all of the serial killer stereotypes. First, he obviously kills people. Rader can claim 10 confirmed victims from 1974 to 1991 (although he did take 1978-1984 off), and there may be more if he’s to be believed. Next, he has weird signatures, almost like a villain from Scooby-Doo. Rader would always leave “BTK” scrawled somewhere at the murder scene with BTK standing for “Bind, Torture, Kill.” Rader also liked to send letters to newspapers and mock the police. It was this penchant for teasing the police following his crimes that allowed for his capture when a floppy disk he sent contained hidden encrypted information leading police to figure out who he was. Finally, he’s got the weird sexual fetish of many serial killers. In Rader’s case, he stole underwear from his female victims and liked to wear them. He’ll be rotting in a Kansas prison for the rest of his life.
13 Ed Gein - The Butcher of Plainfield
Here’s a lesson with memes: sometimes, when the subject is so beyond crazy, you don’t need to have great photos; you just need to know the backstory. Ed Gein may have only officially killed two people but The Butcher of Plainfield, as he was labeled, is remembered more for what he did to bodies than the actual killing of them. This psycho would dig up dead bodies from graveyards around his Plainfield, Wisconsin home and do all kinds of crazy stuff with the different parts. After killing his second victim, and not doing a good job hiding it, police tracked Gein back to his home. They found that woman’s headless body hanging in his shed like a deer. Yeah, that’s weird, but when they went into the house, it got downright messed up. Police found human bones strewn about the place, a wastebasket Gein made out of human skin, bowls he’d created from human skulls, and other skulls mounted on his bedpost. That just scratches the surface because they also discovered leggings made from real human leg skin, a mask made of his first victim’s face, a lampshade made from the skin of someone’s face, and a belt made from female nipples. He spent the rest of his life in a mental institution before dying in 1984.
12 Adolf Hitler
When it comes to serial killers, it’s hard to think of anybody who's more notorious than the Nazi Party Leader Adolf Hitler, whose leadership and decisions led to the execution of 6 million people, including 1.5 million people during The Holocaust. For those who don’t know the Kony referenced in this meme, it’s Joseph Kony, who was the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel force that operated in Uganda from the late 1980s to around 2009. At its peak, the LRA had 3,000 soldiers, and its goals were similar to that of Hitler, except Kony wanted to “purify” the Ugandan Acholi people. Along the way, he ordered the killing of thousands, kidnapped children, forced them to become sex slaves, and forced two million people to flee their homes while he was in power. A 2012 documentary brought his story to the mainstream. These days, Kony’s whereabouts are unknown, but with less than 100 followers left, he's not considered the threat toward humanity he once was. The joke here seems to be that Hitler isn’t impressed with Kony’s atrocities since his own were so much worse.
11 Alexander Pichushkin - The Chessboard Killer
If somewhere between 48 and 60 people were being kidnapped and murdered from the same place over a period of years, you’d think that avoiding that place would make sense, but Russians continued to visit Moscow’s Bitsa Park and continued to die while Alexander Pichushkin went on one of the country’s most notorious serial killings. He’d go to the park, find somebody -- usually a homeless old man -- offer his victim free vodka to lure him or her to a secluded area, and then kill the person with repeated whacks to the head with a hammer. Despite the fact he was once quoted as saying, “For me, life without murder is like life without food for you,” doctors at a Russian institute said Pichushkin was sane but had antisocial and narcissistic personality disorders. It’s not known what his exact body count is, but he was dubbed “The Chessboard Killer” because he said he wanted to kill 64 people, the number of squares on a chessboard.
10 Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris - Columbine
It’s hard for a lot of people to believe it’s already been 18 years since the Columbine High School massacre, where two students, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, terrorized their school, killing 13 people and injuring 24 before killing themselves. To this day, there's not a completely clear reason why the two seniors took their Littleton, Colorado, high school hostage for an hour in the late morning and early afternoon that day in April of 1999. After crisscrossing the school, using an array of guns, knives, and small explosives, Klebold and Harris committed suicide, both with bullets to the head. It was a tragedy, without a doubt, but we still find this meme to be clever. It's a slight reworking of the theme song to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, summing up the situation.
9 HH Holmes - The Murder Hotel
We include this meme to remind everyone to not always believe everything on the Internet. Yes, Dr. Henry Howard Holmes is one of the first documented serial killers in the traditional sense, but the supposed number of victims (over 100) and the “murder hotel” are mostly fabricated urban legends that have grown over the years. Holmes actually confessed to 27 murders, but only nine could be confirmed. Some of the people he claimed to have killed were actually still alive, so you should take anything the evil doctor said with a grain of salt. As for his hotel, it doesn’t appear he ever set out to create a “murder hotel” when he bought a building in Chicago. His intent was to build a hotel in time for the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, but the job never got done. His “stairways to nowhere” were more a function of running out of money before renovation could be complete than a diabolical scheme to trap and kill people. The doctor was also a well-known con artist and bigamist in the Chicago area. When he died in 1896, he had three wives.
8 Jared Loughner
If we had to give the award to a serial killer who looks like he should be a serial killer, it would go to Jared Loughner. The dude just looks the part. While you can make an argument he was a mass murderer and not a serial killer since he only had one major incident, we think that’s splitting hairs. On January 8, 2011, a member of the US House of Representatives, Gabrielle Gifford, was holding a typical “meet the locals” meeting in the parking lot of a supermarket just outside of Tucson. Loughner showed up and started shooting, injuring Giffords and 18 other people. By the time the shooting ended, six others were dead, including a nine-year-old girl and a federal judge. Four months earlier, he had been kicked out of his community college for strange behavior and disrupting students. Motives? Out to get specific people? Those are probably answers we'll never have. He was sentenced to life plus 140 years in federal prison. Maybe he’ll be able to grow eyebrows while there.
7 Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs
Hollywood has long had a fascination with serial killers. Maybe it’s because their stories are often so crazy in real life, it’s an excuse to put them on the big screen. While the movie Zodiac is probably the best film about a serial killer, our favorite actual serial killer ever memorialized on-screen has to be Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. Every time you hear somebody say, “Put the lotion in the basket,” you have this movie and actor Ted Levine’s amazing portrayal of the killer in your head. The movie was an adaptation of the Thomas Harris's book of the same name, which came out in 1988. Somehow, we don’t think Buffalo Bill -- who wanted to be a woman so much, he killed fat ones to make a skin suit out of their flesh -- could have been captured as creepily in words as he was on film.
6 John Wayne Gacy - Creepy Clown
If you’re one of those people who fear clowns, John Wayne Gacy isn’t going to make things any better. We couldn’t decide which one of these memes we liked better, so we thought you’d want to see both of them. Gacy, when he wasn’t performing as Pogo the Clown at children’s parties in suburban Chicago, was busy raping, torturing, and murdering 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978. This doesn’t count the sex assaults where the victims lived. Gacy, sometimes promising to show his victims handcuff and rope tricks that were part of his clowning act, would lure the males back to his home just outside Chicago and murder them, usually by strangulation. Of his 33 victims, police found 26 decomposing in the crawlspace of his home. Three were found elsewhere on the property, and he said four were thrown in the river. He was killed via lethal injection in 1994, so he can’t perform at kids' parties anymore.
5 Making Some Jokes
OK, let’s lighten this stuff up a bit. One of the strange sub-genres of serial killer memes is the panel joke. It runs from top to bottom and is a little like a comic strip you find in the newspaper, except it involves people who raped, tortured, and killed people. Then again, who doesn’t feel like reading Family Circus is a little bit of torture? We’ve picked a few of the clean versions that are out there. Fair warning: If you find this stuff funny and want to see more by Googling them up, know that they get much more graphic and much more profane than what you see here. It seems like Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer are the most popular serial killers to be included in these memes, and you’ll see those two in the middle. The meme on the left includes Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy, while Dahmer returns on the right with Richard Ramirez, the serial killer best known as The Hillside Strangler. These three (Bundy, Dahmer, and Gacy) are arguably the most well-known serial killers in American history.
4 Andrei Chikatilo - The Red Ripper
You’ve already read about Alexander Pichushkin, The Chessboard Killer, elsewhere on this list. Well, if you’re wondering at all whom he took inspiration from, it's this sick and twisted guy. The meme itself isn’t nearly as stomach-churning as most of the others, but it's creepy if you think about it. Chikatilo, known as the Butcher of Rostov and the Red Ripper, committed sexual assault, murder, and mutilation on over 50 women and children from 1978 to 1990. That’s four a year! That’s one every three months! He confessed officially to 56 killings and was sentenced to death for 52 of them, the execution taking place in 1994. Now, imagine this guy, who looks fairly harmless -- like he sells shoes or bags your groceries -- coming up to you and asking “How You Doin?” It’s mildly irritating when Matt Leblanc says it as Joey on Friends; it’s downright unnerving when you think of this serial killer doing it.
3 Even More Ted Bundy
If you have to teach your kids not to trust people, we suggest you illustrate your lesson with the story of Ted Bundy. This is one of those memes that's not meant to make you laugh or cringe because of the dark humor. It’s meant to educate. Serial killers often have a type, and it took just one girl to spurn Bundy before he had the type he wanted to seek revenge on. But because he was good-looking and well-spoken, nobody ever thought Bundy could be dangerous. Ironically, during one of his college stints, he worked to help create a pamphlet to teach women how to avoid being sexually assaulted. He attacked some of his victims after posing as a law enforcement officer or another official. They just thought he looked the part and trusted him. The lesson here is never to trust anybody who claims to be someone just because you think they look safe enough... and don’t part your hair in the middle.
2 Jeffrey Dahmer
Jeffrey Dahmer is the serial killer that most of Generation X and Millennials can identify because there just hasn’t been as big a whack job who seemed like he belonged in movies since Dahmer came along. He's confirmed to have raped, murdered, and dismembered 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. The last bunch of corpses got the worst of it, being involved in such activities as necrophilia, and -- the one everybody knows Dahmer for -- cannibalism. It’s hard to find a meme that doesn’t make a joke about the fact that he liked to eat other people, and this is one of our favorites because of the witty wordplay. Dude sandwiches! Hahaha! Too funny. In a ruling that we still don’t understand, he was found to be legally sane at his trial in 1992. While he was sentenced to 15 life sentences, he didn’t last long, having been beaten to death by a fellow inmate in 1994.
1 Albert Fish
You don’t hear about Albert Fish much because his crimes are around 100 years old, but if he had done today and said the things he said back then now, this guy would have been 10 times more infamous than Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. Fish was a child rapist and cannibal along with being a murderer who earned such nicknames as The Brooklyn Vampire, Moon Maniac, and Werewolf of Wysteria. He only confessed to three murders, although police have tied him to five. He did, however, tell newspaper reporters he “had children in every state” without elaborating what that meant. That’s flippin’ creepy. He was eventually caught for the kidnapping and murder of a 10-year-old girl named Grace Budd. If you really want to see how sick one of these serials killers can be, track down his apology letter to Grace’s mother, where he explains what happened. He was executed in the electric chair in 1936, and his alleged last words were “I don’t even know why I’m here.”
Sources: Slate.com, tumblr.com, wikipedia.org