Serial killers have always been the object of morbid fascination of media, psychology and people – driven by the need for a logical explanation of such a deviant behavior. The horror genre idolizes them and their imagery is vastly popularized through the rock’n’roll music (Marilyn Manson anyone?). While undoubtedly there is something enchantingly different about the depths of their mind a certain je ne sais quois about their personality, it takes more than a cursory look at some of the creepiest serial killers’ legacy to grasp the magnitude of their psychopathic capabilities.
In Russia being an exemplary member of the Communist party will keep you out of prison – even if there’s a spiraling pile of evidence pointing to the fact that you’re a sexually-repressed serial killer. Nicknamed ‘The Butcher of Rostov’ Chikatilo killed at least 52 women and children between 1978 and 1990 until he was finally convicted in 1992 and executed in 1994. All his killings had a sexual motif to them since he could only get off by stabbing or slashing women or children to death.
Also known as ‘The Vampire of Sacramento’ Chase killed six people over the course of one month in Northern California in 1977 drinking their blood and consuming parts of their bodies. Perhaps he shouldn’t have been released from the mental hospital he was admitted in for eating raw animals or placing them in a blender with Coca Cola to make a milkshake. It was not until he was released that he started killing people, claiming he did so because he had to prevent Nazis from turning his blood into powder via poison they had planted beneath his soap dish. He finally committed suicide in his jail cell in 1980. Till this day Chase is still considered a textbook example of what carefully-administered drugs in government mental institutions can do to an already demented individual. Kudos to the government for unleashing him on the unsuspecting society only after uncovering his full potential.
Dahmer is responsible for the murders of at least 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991engaging in sodomy beforehand and subsequent necrophilia, dismemberment, and cannibalism. He was arrested for fondling a 13-yearold boy, but was released when he managed to convince the judge he was an innocent boy lover in need of some therapy. Evidently he needed more than that as by 1991 he was killing approximately one person per week.
He was eventually arrested after attempting to subdue another man with a lady’s name, Tracy Edwards, in his house in order to murder him. His plan was to disolve his remains in acid, which he then planned on pouring down the toilet. Fortunately for Tracy the would-be victim punched Dahner in the face and kicked him in the nuts before running like a madman out of his apartment (with the handcuffs Dahner had been trying to tie him up with still attached to his hand). Once the lucky guy managed to escape and led two cops back to Dahmer’s apartment where he was reported to have acted friendly until the police found photos of mangled bodies, a severed head in the refrigerator, three more severed heads around the apartment, dismembered genitals and a vat of acid with human remains deteriorating inside. He was found guilty on 15 counts of murder and sentenced to 15 life terms, totaling 937 years in prison. In 1994 he was beaten to death in the prison yard in Wisconsin.
Everyone has a way to deal with recession or when things get a bit tight around the belt, but the way that the Ruhr Cannibal did was definitely not advisable. Kroll is responsible for 13 murders including the dismemberment and consumption of parts of his victims, claiming he did so to save on his grocery bills. Upon his arrest he believed he would be administered an operation to cure him of his homicidal urges, but was instead given nine life sentences and died from a heart attack in the prison of Rheinbach.
Rader was an American serial killer who murdered at least 10 people in Kansas between 1974 and 1991. All of his murders followed a very strict pattern of binding, torturing and killing his victims receiving sexual gratification from it. He wrote several letters to the police that eventually lead to his incarceration in 2005. He is currently serving a life sentence.
No serial killer list can claim to be complete without the infamous Theodor ‘Ted’ Bundy who raped and murdered numerous young women across the United States between 1974 and 1978. He would usually approach his victim in a public place, gaining their trust. He was notorious for spending a lot of time with the corpses, applying makeup and having sex with their decomposing bodies until putrefaction forced him to abandon the remains. After his arrest he was sentenced to death by electric chair, which was carried out in 1989.
Termed the ‘Green River Killer’ Ridgeway was convicted of 48 murders over a 16-year course up in Washington State (the nickname originating from the Green River where remnants if his first victims were found). He targeted only women – mainly prostitutes and he would often bury several bodies in the same spot (in a hole he had previously dug) referring to them as ‘clusters’. He is currently serving a life sentence in Seattle.
The Moscow-born Pichushkin is known as ‘The Chessboard Killer’ for notoriously claiming his aim was to kill 64 people, the number of squares on a chessboard. He was convicted of the murders of 49 people, but is believed to have killed above 60. A childhood incident made him prone to aggressiveness and extremely sensitive to social rejection. Committing his last murder in 2006, he was sentenced to a lifetime in prison with the first 15 years spent in solitary confinement.
Another serial killer with a cool nickname – ‘The Killer Clown’ – who not only set the standards for horror but has been the alleged inspiration behind Stephen King’s Pennywise in ’It’. His job as a clown at children’s birthday parties made it easy for him to have access to and gain the trust of his victims – young boys which he raped and murdered. He was executed with a lethal injection in 1994.
Of the most notorious and still uncovered killers in modern history. The Zodiac Killer operated in Northern California in the late 1960s and early 1970s, murdering a total of seven people with as many as four more attributed to his killing patter, but unconfirmed. Despite lack of evidence and closing the case for being ‘inactive’, it was reopened again in 2007. He was famous for sending letter to the local newspapers claiming they contained the key to the revealing of his identity. Each letter contained 1/3 of a cryptogram and although it was deciphered it gave away nothing about his identity. A subsequent cryptogram was sent in 1969, but it has never been decoded. 1974 was the final year there was any sign of activity from The Zodiac with 1967 being the year of his last identified murder.