LA hood rock queen Mary Magdalan has been kind enough to send us a list of her Top 10 Serial Killers. Shying away from the usual picks, what lies after the jump is a fascinating list of some very obscure serial killers, many of whom operated outside the borders of the United States (See people? We don’t get ALL the fun). Check out the list and see if you know of them all.
9.William Bonin (1947-1996; United States) ‘The Freeway Killer’–in the course of a single year (1979-1980) Bonin picked up and murdered no less than 21 boys and young men, and is suspected of an additional 15. He overpowered, sexually assaulted, tortured, and strangled many of his victims; others were found to be stabbed and/or shot, one was forced to drink chlorohydrate acid, and two victims had ice-picks driven into their ears. After murdering his victims, he dumped their often nude corpses along the freeway or in alleys. Bonin was charged and convicted of 14 murders and executed by lethal injection.
8. Fritz Haarman (Weimar Germany; 1879-1925) ‘The Butcher of Hanover’/'The Vampire of Hanover’–believed to have murdered 27 young men and boys between 1918 and 1924. He claimed to have killed his victims by chewing through their throats, while sexually assaulting them, and later sold a portion of their remains as ‘black market meat’. When asked the number of his victims, he responded, “Thirty or forty, I don’t remember exactly”. He was convicted of 24 murders and sentenced to death by beheading.
7. Westley Allan Dodd (1961-1993; United States)–only convicted in the deaths of 3 victims, Dodd had begun sexually assaulting his cousins as a teenager, and was later believed responsible for the increasingly violent sexual assaults of as many as 50 boys, all under the age of 12. He also kept a detailed diary, with graphic illustrations, of his fantasies involving the brutal torture and sexual assault of young boys; he designed a torture rack, never built, with the purpose of maximising his victims’ suffering. His third murder victim, a 4 year old boy, was sexually brutalized and hung with a wire hanger in Dodd’s closet. Upon his conviction of all three murders, Dodd stated that, if not executed, he would kill prison guards, escape, and return to “killing and raping kids.” He was executed by hanging, his choice (he was given the option of lethal injection or hanging, and chose hanging as it was the manner in which his final victim died).
6. Leonard Lake and Charles Ng (1945-1985, 1960-current; United States)–thrill killers believed responsible for the murders of 11-25 victims in California. Lake, as the leader, kept video-diaries outlining his beliefs and fantasies, most dominated by sadism and torture; when recovered, these videos provided evidence of Ng’s active role in the torture and rape of several women, two who were psychologically controlled with the knowledge of what their captors would do to their infant children if they did not cooperate (both infants, along with their fathers, had been murdered already). Upon arrest for petty theft, Lake committed suicide with a cyanide capsule hidden in his belt buckle. Ng fled to Canada, was eventually extradited, and pled innocence by virtue of his ‘victimization’ by Lake. His claims were dismissed and he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death in 1999.
5. Fred and Rosemary West(1941-1945, 1953-current; United Kingdom) ‘The House of Horrors’–believed to be responsible for the torture deaths of at least 12 young women and children, including their own daughter, who’s disappearance led to their eventual exposure when her body was exhumed from beneath their patio. Their crimes were notable for the level of brutality as well as the depravity in their every day lives (they were revealed to have sexually abused all of their daughters together, as well as murdered 1 stepdaughter, 1 of Fred’s daughters from a previous relationship, and their own eldest), despite being perceived as wholesome and ‘normal’ by their neighbors. Upon his arrest, and eventual rejection by Rosemary as a result, Fred chose to commit suicide, leaving Rosemary to carry the responsibility of 10 murders, for which she received 10 life sentences.
4. Jane Toppan (1857-1938; United States) ‘Jolly Jane’, ‘Angel of Death’–a serial poisoner unlike any female killer of her time, she utilized a combination of atropine and morphine to elicit a contradictory physiological response (the atropine offset the visible effects of the morphine, which in itself would have been identified as the cause of death if used alone). She claimed to derive a ‘voluptuos delight’ (meaning sexual thrill) in observing the suffering and death of her victims, even stating that she would crawl into bed with her victims and fondle them as they expired. When finally revealed, she confessed to 11 murders and stated that her goal was “to have killed more people — helpless people — than any other man or woman who ever lived.” She was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and was reported to taunt the nurses, in her later years, “Get the morphine, dearie, and we’ll go out into the ward. You and I will have a lot of fun watching them die.”
3. Andrei Chikatillo (Soviet Union; 1936-1994) ‘The Rostov Ripper’–murdered approximately 54 women and children, mutilating and cannibalizing his victims. In the course of his attacks, he bit off many of his victims tongues and/or genitals, disemboweling others; many times, removed organs were not recovered and Chikatilo admitted that he may have ‘nibbled’ on internal organs (most notably the uteri of many of his victims), but denied that he had eaten them. He was convicted of 52 counts of murder and sentenced to death, which was carried out in 1994.
2. David Parker Ray (1939-2002; United States) ‘The Toy Box Killer’–Although never convicted of a single murder, Ray is believed responsible for the deaths of as many as 60 women. Ray was charged and convicted for the kidnapping brutal sexual torture of three women in his homemade ‘toybox’. His brutalization of his victims encompassed all aspects of their living experience: he introduced them to their imminent torture with a pre-recorded monologue, heightening their sense of terror prior to engaging in all manner of physical and sexual depravity. Ray was sentenced to 223 years for his crimes, but died after only 8 months into his sentence. His daughter and girlfriend were also indicted and served time for their roles in his crimes.
1. Erzebet Bathory (1560-1614; Hungary) ‘The Blood Countess’–rumoured to bathe in the blood of her victims to maintain her beauty, the crimes of Bathory are far more sadistic than simple bloodletting. The idea of the blood-bathing likely emerged from her gruesome appearance following the torture of her victims, invariably young women, except that the blood was the result of brutal beatings and torture, not deliberate exsanguination for cosmetic use. One favoured method of torture was to place a young woman in a cylindrical cage with long spikes constructed inside, hoisted several feet off the floor, while Bathory or a servent would jab at the victim with a red-hot poker, forcing the victim against the spikes, as Bathory stood underneath, literally showered in the victim’s blood. She was also known to use pins and needles jabbed under her victims fingernails or through their lips, silver pincers to rip away her victim’s flesh, and would even bite them on the cheeks, breasts, and elsewhere, tearing away flesh with her teeth. According to her own notations, based on records, she was likely responsible for more than 600 murders. Nearly all of Bathory’s accomplices, entirely her servants, were put to brutal deaths while Bathory herself was sentenced to be walled into an apartment of rooms in her castle, where she was found dead 3 1/2 years later.
*for the very reason that they are the most obvious, I excluded John Wayne Gacey and other more ‘pop-culture’ serial killer icons. This is not to minimize the significance of their crimes, but to highlite the great acts of evil unknown to most readers, as well as to increase the depth and variety of ‘types’ of sadistic lust murderers within human culture. Other killers, such as Albert Fish, I excluded to to the lack of information on their crimes. All we know about Fish, for sure, is that he killed one little girl and was likely responsible for many others, but none were verified beyond a reasonable doubt prior to his execution.