7 of History's Most Notorious Serial Killers

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7 of History's Most Notorious Serial Killers


In books and movies, serial killers are portrayed as psychopathic criminals who find joy in killing people. They are defined as some who kill three or more people. What makes them unique and infamously horrifying is that they disguised themselves as normal, law-abiding citizens. But the truth is, they have twisted minds and use unexpected ways to kill people for their entertainment. The behavior they exhibited range from the nightmarish to the atrocious to the absolutely unimaginable.

As Edmund Kemper, one of the worst serial killers of all time, put it: “There was actually a sexual thrill. You hear that little ‘pop’ and pull their heads off and hold their heads up by the hair. Whipping their heads off, their body sitting there. That’d get me off.” With that, prepare to feel tingles in your spine with some of history's most terrifying serial killers. 


A scene from the Jack the Ripper movie / Photo by: Paramount Pictures and Getty Images via History


1 - Jack the Ripper

Probably the most notorious of them all, Jack the Ripper was able to enjoy killing while not being caught. In the late 19th century, an unidentified serial killer stalked London who gruesomely killed female prostitutes by slitting their throats and abdomens. Usually, he would take their internal organs. According to an article by History, a history-based online website, Jack the Ripper remained an enduring source of fascination not only because of how he killed women but because he seemed to disappear like a ghost. His identity remained anonymous throughout these years. 



Ted Bundy along with the arresting officers / Photo by: Bettmann and Getty Images via History


2 - Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy is handsome, brimming with charm, and well-educated. But behind these traits hide a dark personality. Bundy is considered one of the most deranged serial killers of all time. Between 1974 and 1978, he kidnapped and murdered at least 30 women, but many people believed that the number of his victims is much higher. His case was the first televised murder trial which made him an instant star. 



H.H. Holmes / Photo by: Chicago History Museum and Getty Images via History


3 - H.H Holmes

Known as the pharmacist who built a "murder castle," H.H. Holmes spent his early career as an insurance scammer. When he moved to Illinois to work as a pharmacist, he built a three-story inn that he secretly turned into a macabre torture chamber. According to reports, he led his victims, mostly young women, in rooms that are equipped with hidden peepholes, soundproofed padding, trap doors, and gas lines. He confessed to having killed at least 27 people but only convicted for only four murders. 



Jeffrey Dahmer on trial / Photo by: AP Photo via History


4 - Jeffrey Dahmer

For 14 years, Jeffrey Dahmer, popularly known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, have murdered 17 young men. But he didn't just murder them. He also raped, dismembered, and sometimes ate his victims. According to an article by Online Psychology Degree Guide, an online site intended to provide information about several different types of psychology degrees, in 1994, he was beaten to death in prison although he would have have been executed for his deranged crimes. 



John Wayne Gacy / Photo by: Tim Boyle and Getty Images via History


5 - John Wayne Gacy

Clowns are funny and bring joy in people, but that is not the case with John Wayne Gacy. Gacy, known as "The Killer Clown," was sentenced to 10 years in jail after being caught sexually assaulting two teenage boys in 1968. However, he only stayed there for 18 months because he reportedly behaved behind bars. After he was released, Gacy regularly visited children's parties and events where he performed as a clown. Little did everyone know that this is only the start of his horrific crimes. Gacy had kidnapped, tortured, and murdered 33 boys over the next six years. 



Mugshot of Pedro Lopez / Photo by: Bustle


6 - Pedro López

Pedro López is listed among the most notorious serial killers who have never been found. Reports showed that he had raped and killed more than 300 women across Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia. It was believed that at least 100 of them were tribal women. In 1980, Lopez was arrested and led police to the graves of 53 victims between the ages of 9 and 12. However, he was released for "good behavior" in 1988 and was not found since then. 



A mugshot of David Berkowitz / Photo by: Bustle


7 - David Berkowitz

Popularly known as the "Son of Sam," David Berkowitz had killed six people and wounding seven others with a .44 caliber revolver from the summer of 1976 to the summer of 1977. According to an article by Bustle, an online American women's magazine, he would send letters to the police after his shootings. Berkowitz taunted them and promised more victims. Eventually, he was caught and indicted on eight shootings. According to him, he was only obeying orders from his neighbor Sam's dog, Harvey. 



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