I don’t think there might be anyone who doesn’t know what a serial killer is. There are a large number of shows on the television like Criminal Minds and True Detectives, movies like American Psycho and Silence of the Lambs and even books that have reference to serial killers.
Let us start with a history lesson. Giles De Rais was a French nobleman. Prior to this serial killing business, he was a celebrated military captain in the army of Joan of Arc. In his lifetime, Giles tortured raped and murdered hundreds of young children, mostly boys. He was fascinated by the pain and suffering of these children. He tortured them with most inhumane method possible. In 1440s he was found guilty of heresy, sodomy and murder. They ordered his death by hanging and burning his body.
On December 21, 1978 Chikatilo committed his first known murder of 9 year old Lena Zakotnova. He tried to rape her but in order to control the struggling child; he slashed her with a knife, ejaculating while doing so. His main victims were young girls and boys. He raped, killed and mutilated their bodies. In some cases he also ate body parts of these victims. In 1980, Chikatilo was arrested and confessed to 56 killings. 18 months later, on 14th Feb 1994, he was killed by a bullet to his head
Though he is the only person in this list who killed less than 10 people but he is still a special case. Ireland decided to kill gay men because they were ‘easy targets’ and no one concerned about them. In his 4 month killing spree, Ireland killed 5 gay men. He used to call police and taunted them for not catching him. In one phone call he even said that it was his New Year resolution to kill people. He was jailed in December ’93 for the murders and got 5 life terms of imprisonment.
Dennis Rader was the maniacal serial killer who killed 10 people in and around Wichita Kansas. He reportedly sent letters to police claiming the deaths of his victims with proofs like some item that he took from victim’s place or photos of victims. He did all the killings during 1974-91. After alleged hiatus of 13 years, his letters resurfaced. In 2005 Dennis Rader was caught and was sentenced 10 consecutive life imprisonments.
Dr. Harold Shipman is a blot on England’s medical history. He was found guilty of murdering his patients, mostly elderly women. Contrary to what is common in most of the serial killers, there was no sign of violence, sexual overtones or known reason for these murders. He was arrested in 7th September 1998. Found guilty of more than 200 deaths, he was sentenced to 15 life imprisonments.
Gary Ridgway is the best proof of deception. He was married thrice, was a social person. His wife never knew and never ever thought he could’ve killed 49 women he confessed of killing and the rest he was still suspected of. His main victims were prostitutes and runaway teenagers. In 2001, about 20 years after the first Green River murder, Gary Ridgway was found guilty and got 48 life sentences without parole.
Jack the Ripper is the most famous name in Serial Killing history. This case always remained unsolved because of lack of technology. In 1888, this killer allegedly killed 5 prostitutes all near the Whitechapel, England. Though there are many theories but none of them is proven true and thus it stays one big mystery.
Iqbal confessed to the murder of 100 orphan and runaway boys in his 18 month stint. He drugged, raped and strangled his victims and then cut the body into pieces and put them in vat filled with Hydrochloric Acid. Then the liquefied remains were thrown into the nearby river. Iqbal allegedly said that he had no regrets of what he did. He kept photos of the victims and other details in a diary. Late in 20001 he and another of his accomplice was sentenced to death by hanging.
Jeffrey Dahmer murdered at least 17 boys and men between 1978-91 after luring them into his apartment. He committed his first murder when he was 18. He was caught in 1991 when his intended victim managed to escape and tell a police patrol car that was passing nearby. Police found human heads in refrigerator and bodies in acid vats. He was charged of sodomy, necrophilia and cannibalism. The court found Dahmer guilty of 15 killings and sentenced him 15 life imprisonments. He was beat to death.
Pedro Alonso Lopez, accuse of rape and murder of more than 300 girls across South America. His primary targets were young girls. He lured them to isolated places and preyed on them. Then he killed them by strangulating. He was caught when one such abduction failed and he was trapped by market traders. Police did not believe him when he confessed to 300 murders. Then a flash flood uncovered a mass grave containing his victims. After serving 14 years in Ecuadorian prison he was sent to Columbia.
Dennis Nilson killed more than 15 men and boys by luring them into his household. He preserved the bodies and slept with them on his bed. As he was a loner, this was in order to ease his loneliness. He would have got away with the killing if not for the plumber who decided to get the pieces blocking the drain analyzed. When the body started to decay, Nilson used to cut it into pieces and drain it. The plumber was shocked to discover the pieces blocking the drain as human flesh.
Robert ‘Ted’ Bundy can be considered one of the famous U.S. serial killer. He had a way of gaining trust of his victims. He often get his victims in public places and got out without doubt. After raping his victims he strangled them and threw the bodies near Taylor Mountain, where he would often visit them and lie with them or have sex with decomposing bodies. He raped and killed numerous young women between 1974-78. Although he confessed to 30 murders. police knew better than that.
Kroll was a German cannibalistic serial killer known as Ruhr Cannibal. He killed and ate 13 people, including kids in his lifetime. When asked by a neighbor what is blocking the pipe, he simply replied ‘Guts’. Neighbor reported this to the police who was desperately finding a four year old girl. Police found the body of girl cut up in Kroll’s apartment. Some parts were in the fridge and others were being cooked. He claimed that he ate flesh of his victims in order to save grocery bills.
Richard Chase’s reason for all the killings was that Nazis were trying to turn his blood into powder by the poison they planted under his soap dish. To save himself from losing all his blood, he started killing people and drinking their blood. A witness saw him leaving the scene where he left perfect finger prints. Eventually he was caught and sentenced to death in Gas Chambers.
Another history lesson at the end. This lady can be considered as the worst serial killer in Hungarian history. She used to get peasant girls at good working price but once entered, these girls never left the palace. In 25 year period she killed and mutilated hundred of victims. When rumors of girls disappearing reached King Mathias II, he sent a team of men to the castle of Countess. They reported the ongoing slaughter where girls were being killed and tortured.