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Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper
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London’s Jack the Ripper was never properly identified, but he is world famous. Not only did he kill prostitutes in the late 1800s, but he removed their sex organs as well. Not much is known about him, but it is clear that he had a severe hatred of women, particularly prostitutes, which has led some people to theorise that his mother might have been one as well. He left his victims on full display on the street for police and citizens to discover.

The Zodiac Killer

The Zodiac Killer
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Like Jack the Ripper, no one knows who The Zodiac Killer really is. Unlike Jack, the Zodiac did not seclude himself to the shadows, however. One reason that his murders were so sensational was that he would frequently reach out to various media outlets, teasing them with codes and riddles. The killer was active in the ’60s and ’70s, but there has been no trace of him since his final letter to the press in 1974. Even though psychologists never had the chance to examine him, his crimes showed the lack of empathy of a psychopath.

Listen to our podcast about Dr Harold Shipman – one of the most prolific serial killers of all time. 

David Berkowitz, aka “Son of Sam”

David Berkowitz, aka “Son of Sam”
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In the mid-1970s, New York City-based serial killer David Berkowitz sent the entire city into a panic when he began randomly shooting people – mostly young women with long brunette hair – with a .44-calibre revolver. No one knew when or where the “Son of Sam” would strike next, which is what made him so terrifying. He actually started off as a serial arsonist but was not caught until he went on his killing spree. Berkowitz might have displayed signs of psychosis rather than psychopathy – he has since become a born-again Christian in prison and started acting as a peer mentor for fellow inmates.

Vlad the Impaler

Vlad the Impaler
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This 15th-century Transylvanian ruler is the basis for the Dracula myth. He didn’t have the bat wings, but he was extremely brutal and bloodthirsty. As his name suggests, he would often leave people impaled and put on display outside his castle as they suffered a slow, painful death. It is estimated that he impaled roughly 20,000 people and killed a total of 80,000.

Albert Fish

Albert Fish
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Albert Fish was a ferocious serial killer in the early 1900s. Like Dahmer would do many years later, Fish cannibalised his victims. What made him especially horrifying and depraved was the fact that he would send letters to his victims’ families, describing in extreme detail the terrible things he did to their loved one.

Elizabeth Báthory

Elizabeth Báthory
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Her name isn’t up in lights like Bundy’s or Dahmer’s, but Elizabeth Báthory is history’s most prolific female serial killer. She murdered at least 600 young girls in an effort to retain their youth (after submitting them to torture, she would drink and bathe in the blood of her victims). Báthory was a Hungarian countess, though, and because of her social standing, she was never officially put on trial. Instead, she was under house arrest until her death in 1614.

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Ned Kelly

Ned Kelly
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Australia’s most famous bushranger, Ned Kelly has over the years been exulted to almost heroic status, but his rap sheet is grim and shows all the markings of a psychopath. With early convictions for assault and stealing cattle, in April 1878, a police constable who attempted to arrest his brother for horse theft later alleged that Ned Kelly shot and wounded him. With a warrant for his arrest on a charge of attempted murder, in October 1878, Kelly and his gang ambushed and shot dead three policemen. The Kelly gang were brought down in a dramatic siege after attempting to derail a police train and he was later hanged.

Aileen Wuornos

Aileen Wuornos
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Several documentaries have been made about Aileen Wuornos, otherwise known as one of America’s most famous female murderers. What made her such an intriguing figure was her eccentric, outgoing personality and the way she would sometimes admit her guilt, and at other times completely deny it. One moment she would seem friendly, the next, vengeful. She was put to death in 2002 after murdering men she found on the highways while working as a prostitute.

H.H. Holmes

H.H. Holmes
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In the late 1800s, America’s first serial killer appeared. He called himself H.H. Holmes, and he was a doctor, as well as the architect of a huge Chicago hotel that would later become known as the “Murder Castle.” He built the hotel for the very purpose of murdering and concealing his victims, constructing labyrinthine passageways and trap doors only he knew about. He’s not just fascinating because he was the first known serial killer in America, but because he was such a methodical, efficient psychopath.

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Source: RD.com

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