Serial killers are absolutely the most hideous human beings in society. While they lack any empathy for their poor victims, they can often masterfully mask their sick and twisted fetishes beneath their ‘nice and normal’ guy (or gal) façade.
In fact, they often appear to be charming and charismatic on the exterior. But just beneath the surface is a dangerous sociopath with the capacity to engage in the most gruesome acts against humanity.
Here are the 10 most notorious serial killers:
10. Andrei Chikatilo
Andrei Chikatilo was born on October 16, 1936 in the Ukraine. Like most children in his country at the time, he had a very difficult childhood, as famine and deprivation were widespread. However, he developed, eventually earned a degree from Rostov University, and became a schoolteacher.
Chikatilo committed his first known sexual assault in 1973 against a 15-year-old girl. Months later, he sexually assaulted another teenage girl whom he locked in his classroom. He was also caught fondling himself in the presence of his students. Yet, he was not disciplined for these particular incidents. He finally lost his job after an increasing number of complaints by his students. He moved to another town after several complaints of child molestation, which is when he committed his first documented murder.
Chikatilo’s first murder victim was a nine-year old girl. The child struggled as he tried to rape her, so he stabbed her to death. He ejaculated while he was in the process of knifing her, and during the encounter he discovered that he could experience sexual arousal by slashing and mutilating children and women to death.
Overpowering his victims, Chikatilo would tie them up, then savage them with a knife, his teeth, his bare hands, ripping open their stomachs, biting off their noses, gouging out their eyes, slicing off their tongues, nipples, and genitals, sometimes while they were still alive. This is how he became known as “The Rostov Ripper,” or the “Butcher of Rostov”.
When he was finally caught in 1990, he confessed to the gruesome murders of 56 people. He was found guilty in 1992 of 52 counts of murder and he was executed in 1994.
Gary Ridgeway was born on February 18, 1949, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was raised in Washington State where he was a poor student, a frequent bed-wetter, and known to be cruel to animals. When Ridgeway was 16, he led a 6-year-old boy into the woods and stabbed him nearly to death.
After his high school graduation, he joined the U.S. Navyand served in Vietnam. Upon his return, he worked at a job painting trucks where he was employed for over 30 years. Though Ridgeway was married three times and was supposedly‘very religious,’ he had an insatiable appetite for sex and an odd obsession with prostitutes.
Ridgeway officially began his murder spree in 1982. His victims were usually prostitutes or runaways he picked up on Pacific Highway South. Because his first five victims were found in the Green River, he became known as the “Green River Killer”. Ridgeway would usually pick up victims and then strangle them. Their corpses were often left in clusters and sometimes posed, often nude. He would also return to the bodies to have sexual intercourse with them. Ridgeway is believed to have killed about 71 women in the span of 8-10 years.
While hemanaged to escape the authorities for several years, he was finally caught in the year 2001 when a DNA test revealed a match. He was convicted of murder and has received multiple life sentences.
8. Donald Henry Gaskins
Donald Henry Gaskins was born on March 13, 1933, in Florence, South Carolina. His mother wasn’t married when she became pregnant with him, and they lived with several different men during his childhood. Many of his mother’s boyfriends beat him as a young boy.
Gaskins was known tolocals as “Pee Wee” because of his small stature. However, though he was tiny, the violence he experienced at home followed him to school, as he was extremely volatile, constantly fighting with other classmates, and being punished on a daily basis. He finally quit school at age eleven and worked on cars at a local garage. Gaskins still struggled with his emotion of hatred, especially toward women.
While working at the garage, Gaskins befriended two boys that worked there and the trio soon became troublesome as they began burglarizing homes, picking up prostitutes, raping young boys and then threating them not to tell the police. They were eventually caught for gang-raping a young girl and were beaten by their parents until they each bled. While the other two boys left the area, Gaskins continued his life of crime, landing himself in and out of prison multiple times.
Gaskins would often describe what he called, “them aggravated and bothersome feelings” that seemed to push him into criminal activity. He found some relief from them in September 1969 when he picked up a female hitchhiker in North Carolina. He became angry with her during sex for laughing him and he beat her until she was unconscious. Next, he raped, sodomized, and tortured her, and then sunk her weighted body into a swamp where she drowned.
His acts of brutality continued, as the“bothersome feelings” of his became a driving force in his life. In fact, he worked on mastering his skill of torture, often keeping his mutilated victims alive for days. Sometimes, he cannibalized their severed parts while they watched in horror. As sick as he was, he would also force them to eat their own body parts.
When it came to recreation killing, Gaskins was an equal opportunity murderer. While he preferred females, he also enjoyed doing the same thing to males.
After Gaskins was finally caught, he claimed to have killed between 80 to 90 people, picking up hitchhikers on the coastal highways in the American South. He was eventually sentenced to death, which turned into life imprisonment without any parole.
However, that didn’t stop Gaskins’ killing spree, as he became the only man to have ever killed an inmate on death row. He was finally executed in South Carolina on September 6, 1991.
In his taped memoirs for the book, “Final Truth” by author Wilton Earl, Gaskins said, ‘I have walked the same path as God, by taking lives and making others afraid, I became God’s equal.Through killing others, I became my own master. Through my own power, I come to my own redemption.
7.John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy was born on March 17, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. He was the son of Danish and Polish parents and he endured a significant amount of abuse during his childhood. His childhood friends said that his father would often beat him for no apparent reason and would verbally and emotionally abuse him. Gacy also struggled with his sexuality.
To escape his father, he moved to Las Vegas where he worked in a morgue for a short time. This was his first experience with a dead body. He felt an immense sense of shock after he climbed into a casket with a recently-deceased male teenager and began massaging the body. That’s when he moved back home to Illinois andmarried his first wife. They moved to Iowa shortly after the wedding.
During his time in Iowa, Gacy began committing a series of sexual assaults on teenage boys, which eventually led to his arrest. He was charged and convicted of sodomy and was sentenced to 10 years in an Iowa prison. He was released after only 2 years because of his model behavior. However, after his release, he continued soliciting and assaulting teenage boys.
While Gacytried to maintain an impeccable image on the outside, he carried great darkness on the inside. His first murder occurred in his home when he picked up a 15-year-old boy from the Chicago bus terminal. After the boy stayed the night, Gacy stabbed him repeatedly with a knife. AsGacy described to investigators, “That’s when I realized that death was the ultimate thrill.” He hid the boy’s body in a crawl space under his home.
Over the next several years, Gacy continued assaulting, raping, and murdering teenage boys. He would lure his victims to his home with a promise of work or money before he murdered them. His method of killing was strangulation using a tourniquet. He buried 26 victims in the crawl space under his house.
He was eventually caught, convicted of 33 murders, and sentenced to death. He was executed by lethal injection on May 10, 1994.
William George Bonin was born in Connecticut on January 8, 1947. Both of his parents were alcoholics and his father was a gambler who was physically abusive toward his wife and children. Bonin and his brothers were also severely neglected as children, often being fed and clothed by sympathetic neighbors. The boys wereeven placed in an orphanagewith very strict rules for a short time. However, they eventually returned home to thei parents, and the family moved to California.Bonin still had a troublesome adolescence and was known to molest his younger brother as well as several neighborhood children.
After high school, he joined the U.S. Air Force and got married (but soon divorced). At the age of 21, he had sexually assaulted a youth and then committed three more sexual assaults on boys over the following four months. The victims were between the ages of 12 and 18 and in each case, he restrained the victim before forcibly engaging in sodomy, oral sex, and methods of torture which included beating and squeezing the victims’ testicles.
He eventually advanced into murder and became known as the “Freeway Killer,” raping, torturing, and murdering at least 21 young men between 1979 and 1980. Bonin would dump the bodies along the freeways in Southern California.
Bonin would lure his victims into his Ford Econoline van, and then overpower and restrain them with handcuffs or a wire cord. The victims were sexually assaulted, beaten all over their bodies, and tortured before being killed by strangulation. One victim was forced to drink hydrochloric acid; three victims had ice-picks driven into their ears, and another victim died of shock.
Bonin was convicted of the murders linked to the “Freeway Killer” in two separate trials in 1982 and 1983. He spent 13 years on death row before being executed by lethal injection in 1996.
His evil side was still on full display during his prison sentence as he corresponded with many of the victims’ families about how their children responded to his torture.
Dennis Rader was born on March 9, 1945 in Sedgwick County, Kansas. He was the oldest of four sons, and according to several reports, he tortured animals as a child.
He also had a fetish for women’s underwear and stole underpants of his victims and wore them. He would also later admit that from a very young age, he developed fantasies about the bondage and torture of women.
After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he landed a job in the meat department of a supermarket. He then attended Wichita State University where he earned a bachelor degree in administration of justice. He began working for ADT Alarm Services where he installed security alarms as part of his job at one point. He later became a dogcatcher and compliance officer in Park City.
Rader had a reputation for stalking women in the 1980’s and 1990’s, and several of the women filed restraining orders against him. He eventually began his killing spree and murdered at least ten people in the Kansas area over a ten-year period.
He was feared for being a BTK killer, which means Bind, Torture, and Kill. He was also infamous for sending letters to people from the media, where he explained how he killed his victims. In his letters, he described how he would bind his victims and strangle them until they passed out. He would then force them to wake up and do the same thing all over again. He would get sexually aroused from a piece of the victim’s clothing and liked to collect items from each murder scene.
Rader alsoenjoyed taunting the police for not being able to catch him. However, his letters eventually led to his capture in 2005. He was convicted of 10 counts of murder and is still serving out his prison sentence without parole.
4. Aileen Wuornos
Aileen Wuornos was born on February 29, 1956, in Rochester, Michigan. She was sexually abused as a child and thrown out of her home as a teenager. Her father was convicted of child molestation and later committed suicide in prison. Her mother abandoned her and she lived with her grandparents for a while. Wuornos later claimed that she was sexually abused by her grandfather and had sexual relations with her brother.
At the age of eleven, Wuornos began trading sexual favors for money, beer and cigarettes. She became pregnant at 14 and gave the child up for adoption. She moved to Florida and worked as a prostitute, having many run-ins with the law. In 1989, she killed a man who picked her up and his body was later found in a junkyard. She went on to kill at least five other men after that.
In 1986, Wuornos met 24-year-old Tyria Moore in Daytona, Florida, and the two were romantically involved. Authorities were eventually able to track down the two women from fingerprints and palm prints left on a crashed vehicle from another missing man. Wuornos was arrested in Port Orange, Florida, while police found Moore in Pennsylvania. To avoid prosecution, Moore made a deal with authorities and she obtained a phone confession from Wuornos, who took full responsibility for the murders.
Wuornos claimed that each of her victims had either raped or attempted to rape her. Although her sanity was questioned, she died by lethal injection in 2002.
Her story was depicted in the 2003 film Monster.
Jeffrey Dahmer was born on May 21, 1960 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was considered to be a happy and energetic child. However, he recalled that there was much “tension” in the home between his parents (who later divorced).
His childhood peers described him as timid and quiet. However, at a young age, he was also known for collecting animal carcasses, dismembering them, and storing their body parts. When he was a teenager, Dahmer discovered that he was homosexual, although he didn’t tell his parents. He later admitted that he began to fantasize about sexual dominance and control over a completely subservient partner, and these thoughts became intertwined with dissection.
Dahmer committed his first murder in 1978 at the age of 18, just three weeks after his high school graduation. He picked up a hitchhiker, brought him home, and beat him with a dumbbell until his victim fell unconscious. He then strangled him, stripped him naked, and masturbated as he stood over the victim’s dead body.
Dahmerlater dissected the victim’s body and buried the remains in his backyard. After several weeks, he dug up the remains, removed the flesh from the bones, dissolved the flesh in acid, crushed the bones with a sledgehammer, and scattered the bone remains in the woods behind his home.
Throughout his adulthood, Dahmer struggled with alcoholism and began to regularly frequent gay bars and bathhouses. However, during his sexual encounters, he became extremely frustrated with his partners moving around during intercourse. So, he began administering sleeping pills to them as he would lace their drinks with sedatives and then rape their unconscious bodies.
Over the period of 13 years, Dahmer sought out men, mostly minorities, at gay bars and other familiar places, and lured them home with him. He gave them alcohol laced with drugs before strangling them to death. He then had sexual intercourse with their corpses before dismembering their bodies. While he would usually dispose of their bodies, he would often keep their skulls and genitals as souvenirs. He also photographed his victims at various stages of the murder process so that he could relive the experience. Dahmer also cookedthe body parts of some of his victims and ate them.
Dahmer was finally caught in 1991 and sentenced to 16 life terms. However, he was killed (beaten to death) by a fellow inmate in 1994.
Theodore “Ted” Bundy was born on November 24, 1946 in Burlington, Vermont to an unwed mother, Eleanor Louise Cowell. For the first three years of his life, Bundy was raised by his maternal grandparents in order to avoid stigma of being the child of an unwed mother.
Friends, family, and even Ted were told that Ted’s mother was his older sister. Louise later left Philadelphia with Ted and moved to Tacoma, Washington where she met and married Johnny Bundy. Bundy formally adopted Ted and the couple had four more children together.Ted, however, expressed a lifelong resentment toward his mother for never talking to him about his real father.
Ted Bundy was often described as being very friendly and charismatic. However, behind the façade was a sick and twisted individual. In the course of four years, he kidnapped, raped, and killed at least 36 young women across several states. After murdering his victims, he would engage in sexual acts with their corpses. He also decapitated at least 12 of the women and kept their heads as trophies.
Bundy would often lure his victims by pretending to be an authority figure or a disabled person. Once near or inside his vehicle, he would overpower his victims, beat them, and restrain them with handcuffs. Most of them were sexually assaulted and strangled, either at the primary scene or a pre-selected site. Sometimes, he would simply break into their homes at night and stab them to death while they were sleeping.
Bundy was finally arrested in 1979 and sentenced to death by the electric chair in 1989.
1.Henry Lee Lucas
Henry Lee Lucas was born on August 23, 1936 in Blacksburg, Virginia. His parents were alcoholics and his mother was a prostitute. She was exceptionally cruel to him, as she would often force him to watch her have sex with her clients and cross dress in public. As a result, Lucas’ violent sexual behavior began in his early teenage years.
In 1960, Lucasmurdered his mother and was convicted for the crime. He was paroled in 1970, and jailed again after attempting to kidnap of 15-year-old girl. Lucas was released in 1975 and shortly after, killed two more women.
A drifter, he roamed throughout the South, allegedly killing female hitchhikers. Then the 40-year-old Lucas met homosexual Otis Toole and they became romantically involved. The two men spread their version of hell on the highways of America. Toole was Lucas’ accomplice in more than 108 murders and Lucas became infamous as America’s most prolific serial killer as he killed 350 people in a span of twenty years.
He was arrested in 1983 and he confessed to murdering more than 600 people, though little proof existed beyond three known victims.
At one point, Lucas was on Death Row. However, his sentence was changed to life in prison by Texas Governor George W. Bush. He died in prison due to natural causes in the year 2001.