I was reading an article about the convicted US murderer Samuel Little – who confessed to killing 90 women between 1970 and 2014 – when I wondered who were the most notorious serial killers in the known history. So far, the police have been able to link him to 34 murders. If Samuel Little’s confession is confirmed, his heinous crime would make him one of the worst serial killers in the American history. Here we take a look at the most notorious serial killers in the world’s history.
Top 10 most notorious serial killers
Before we talk about those deranged creatures, you should know that a serial killer is someone who murders three or more people in at least two separate events. There is often a time gap of days, weeks or months between the killing events. Serial killers commit murders primarily for psychological reasons. That’s why most serial killers engage in heinous acts such as rape, robbery, and cannibalism of their victims.
10- HH Holmes
Holmes, an insurance scammer and a pharmacist, built a murder castle in Chicago to brutally assault his victims. Most of the rooms in his three-story inn were equipped with gas lines, secret peepholes, soundproof padding, hidden passages, and trap doors. Through much of the 1890s, he took many young women to his inn, where he would asphyxiate them and then conduct horrific experiments on their bodies, according to History.com. When the victims died, he would throw their bodies in the furnace or skin them and sell their skeletons to medical schools. He murdered more than 30 people before being hanged in 1896.
9- Ted Bundy
Bundy was an educated, charming, and handsome young man who had officially admitted to killing 36 young women. According to some estimates, he had killed more than 100 girls and young women before being executed in Florida’s electric chair in 1989. Ted Bundy once described himself as “the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you will ever meet.” He is undoubtedly one of the most notorious serial killers and rapists in the known history. He is known to have escaped prison more than once and murdered multiple victims on the same day. He would often abduct unsuspecting women from the same location. He killed his first victim in Seattle in 1966.
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8- John Wayne Gacy
Gacy was a clown who performed at children’s parties. He was convicted of having tortured, murdered, and raped 33 teenagers between 1968 and 1978. He was executed by lethal injection in 1994. Gacy had buried most of his victims in his own Chicago home. He lured unsuspecting children with a promise of getting them a job before sexually assaulting and murdering them. A psychologist evaluating him said John Wayne Gacy was a very intelligent man suffering from borderline schizophrenia. While he was convicted on 33 counts of murder, the actual number is said to be much, much higher.
7- Jeffrey Dahmer
Dahmer is not only one of the most notorious serial killers, but also an extremely deranged man. He might have murdered fewer people than John Wayne Gacy, but his crimes were far worse. Dahmer confessed to killing 17 young men and boys. He committed his first murder at the age of 18 in 1978. He had also served in the US Army, but was dismissed due to extreme alcoholism. He is notorious as the “Milwaukee Monster” or the “Milwaukee Cannibal.” Dahmer ate some of his victims, and kept the body parts of many in his freezer. He had also raped many of his victims after killing them. In 1992, Dahmer was sentenced to 957 years in prison, but was killed by another inmate in 1994.
6- Andrei Chikatilo
The Russian serial killer is often known as “The Red Ripper,” “The Butcher of Rostov” and “The Rostov Ripper.” He raped, murdered, and mutilated almost 60 young women and children, including a 9-year-old. He killed most of his victims by stabbing them. Chikatilo admitted later that he achieved orgasm only by stabbing women, which is why he was often tempted to kill women. He was convicted of the murder of 53 women and children between 1978 and 1990. Chikatilo was executed in 1994. The actual number of his victims is said to be much higher than 53.
5- Jack the Ripper
We have all heard the name, but few people are aware of his true identity. In 1888, Jack the Ripper lured prostitutes into darkened squares in the Whitechapel district of London before slitting their throats and brutally mutilating their bodies. He had killed at least five prostitutes. Sometimes, he would even cut out a woman’s uterus. The police launched a citywide hunt, but the killer disappeared never to be seen again. However, he had written several anonymous letters to the London Metropolitan Police Service (Scotland Yard), mocking them and teasing more murders. Jack the Ripper has inspired many novels and movies.
4- Belle Gunness
The Norwegian-born American serial killer was known to have married and murdered more than 40 people between 1884 and 1908. She committed her first crime after her first marriage. She killed most of her husbands and their family members through suspicious fire incidents, which made her the beneficiary of the insurance money. She reportedly faked her own death in the fire that destroyed her house in 1908. Though her children had died right before the fire due to strychnine poisoning, the body of the woman found next to them was not that of Belle Gunness.
3- Luis Garavito
Garavito The Beast was one of the world’s most notorious serial killers. He had confessed that he had raped and murdered more than 140 young boys between ages 8 and 16 years. He committed all his crimes between 1992 and 1999 in Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. The unofficial figures suggest he had murdered more than 300 people. He lured poor street children by disguising himself as a monk, disabled person, or a beggar. He was arrested in 2000 and sentenced to 40 years of prison for having raped and murdered 111 children.
2- Harold Shipman
Harold Shipman aka Dr. Death was one of the deadliest serial killers in the known history. The British physician began killing his patients in 1972 and he has been sentenced to a life term behind the bars. However, he was found dead in his prison cell in 2004. He had killed 218 patients by 1998, though the unofficial number of victims is said to be more than 250. Dr. Death injected a lethal dose of morphine to each of his victims, and then claimed they had died of natural causes.
1- Pedro Lopez
Pedro Lopez is the world’s most notorious serial killer. Yes, it’s is, not was. The rapist and child-murderer is known as “The Monster of the Andes.” He has raped and murdered more than 300 children between the ages of 8 and 12. More than 100 of his victims were tribal young girls. He was arrested in 1980 and was convicted of murdering three young girls. He was released from prison in 1998 for “good behavior,” even though entire South America knew that he was one of the most notorious serial killers of the century. Pedro Lopez’s current whereabouts are unknown.