Did you know that on average you will walk past 36 murderers in your lifetime? The United States had a large number of serial killers, From H.H. Holmes to Golden State Killer, it is even estimated that anywhere from 20-25 Serial killers are active in the USA right now. A user asked on AskReddit What are some serial killer/facts about serial killers that you find extremely interesting? Some are well known, some are interesting but some are quite disturbing.
1. Dennis Rader, aka BTK (Bind Torture Kill), started communicating with police after years of silence in like 2004ish? He had gone decades without being caught and once again started sending taunting letters and items to them.
He asked them if he could be traced if he sent them his writings on a floppy disc and they assured him through communication in a newspaper that no, they couldn’t trace him. He sent them a floppy disc and they found metadata linking to his church. He was arrested shortly thereafter. He was hurt that they would lie to him because he thought they had developed a rapport…
Additional BTK fact: He worked for a home security company, and gained access to some of his victims’ homes that way.
2. PeeWee Gaskins, the most prolific serial killer in SC drove around in a hearse with a bumper sticker that read “I haul dead people.” He told people that he needed it to take the bodies of people he killed to his private cemetery.
He claimed to have killed between 100 and 110 people.
3. In the John Wayne Gacy case, there were so many bodies crammed underneath the house that the bodies melted together and the bones had to be sorted for more than 2 years to put together the full skeletons.
4. The serial killer Bela Kiss liked to pickle people in barrels stored in his basement. Someone figured it out but they couldn’t get him because he was fighting in World War I. By the time they tracked him down he had disappeared and left a dead guy in his hospital bed.
He supposedly joined the French Foreign Legion and deserted that too, and I think history loses track of him after that, with the exception of one possible sighting as a janitor in New York. The janitor disappeared before anyone could confirm it.
5. Mack-Ray Edwards, he was a serial killer who worked for CalTrans. He’d kill his victims and then bury the bodies in places he would later help build the highways over.
Not all his victims have been found, and many are very likely still under some of the California highways you may have driven over countless times.
6. Jeffrey Dahmer… towards the end right before he got caught, had so many bodies in his apartment that he ran out of the room and stored one victim in his bathtub. He proceeded to shower over him every day for a month!
Think about that… straddling over a rotten corpse to get fresh and clean for the day. Unreal…
7. The Hillside Stranglers picked up a young woman to murder. Then they discovered that her father was Peter Lorre, a legendary Hollywood character actor. They let her go because they feared that killing a celebrity’s daughter would bring too much attention down.
8. The Golden State Killer, known at the time as the east area rapist, would often break into the homes of couples, making the woman tie up the man. He would stack dishes on the back of the man and threaten that if he heard the dishes fall, he would kill everyone in the house, then he would rape the woman repeatedly and ransack the house for hours. At a community meeting about the rapist, a macho man stood up and went on a rant about how a real man would never let such a thing happen to him or his wife. The rapist proceeded to attack that man and his wife soon after, meaning he was attending the community meeting about himself.
9. Rodney AlcadaIn the ’70s there was a serial killer who was known for raping and killing women. He went on a dating show and the woman ended up choosing him but luckily she canceled the date just before. You can find a video on YouTube. It’s really creepy
10. (Richard Chase) I don’t recall which one it was, but I remember hearing that there was a killer who would only go into the home if the front door was unlocked because otherwise he “didn’t feel welcome”. Lock your doors people!
11. Dorangel Vargas killed and ate at least 10 people. He only ate men because he said their meat tasted better than women’s. He also wouldn’t eat fat people because he thought they contained too much cholesterol.
Journalist Vlado Taneski was caught when he reported on his own crimes and included information that hadn’t been released to the public and only the killer could know.
13. Albert Fish would stick needles into his pelvis when he was masturbating. Stick em so deep sometimes they would get stuck. He told this to police, they didn’t believe him until they saw the x-ray
14. I am surprised we don’t hear more about Robert Hansen in popular culture. He would kidnap women and turn them loose in the Alaskan wilderness, where he would then hunt them down like animals and kill them. He didn’t have the highest number of victims, but his method of hunting them for sport is absolutely insane.
15. John Norman Collins used to pick up women on his motorcycle; the bodies of his victims (women) used to be dumped here and there but they were always washed. Turns out he only killed women who were on their period. Also, he was referred to as John Norman Collins during his trial (he later changed his last name to Chapman) because there was a lawyer in town who’s name was John Collins and this was a way to distinguish between them.
16. Pedro Alonso Lopez plead guilty to the murders of 100+ girls and only received a maximum sentence of 16 years as that was the maximum possible sentence in Ecuador.
He was released despite promising to continue killing but disappeared shortly after.
17. Ted Bundy helped[tried] in the investigation of the green river killer and made a psych profile which ended up being closer to the actual green river killer than the FBI’s own psych profile. That was also a huge part of the inspiration for the silence of the lambs. Bundy also tried to masturbate to photos of his crime scene when detective Kepple brought them in. Which is why he stopped letting Bundy keep the files.
But Green River Killer remained at large for further 17 years.
18. That most serial killers have roughly average, often below average IQs, and their reputation as smart and difficult to catch is because of a couple of high profile outliers and the fact that their victims are usually the sort of people who cops and society don’t pay as much attention to.
19. Many years ago I read the entire police report on the Green River killer. I was fascinated by his attempts to cover his tracks by buying new car tires and destroying shoes and getting new ones after murders (to avoid leaving traceable tracks behind.) Also fascinating that he took the jewelry off his victims and left it in the lady’s restroom at his workplace and got off on seeing the “found” jewelry on the various women around the office.
20. When police eventually came to the house of Ed Gein they found an absolute pigsty. Gein had been living alone since the death of his brother in a barn fire (it’s speculated that Gein may have killed him) and had let much of the house go into disrepair. They found countless body parts from his various grave digging excursions, including a bag of wilted vaginas and, of course, the infamous skin lampshade and half-finished woman suit made of human skin. There were maggots living in old dishes in the kitchen. It was the type of disorganized mess that you would expect from a man who spent his nights completely disconnected from reality.
All except one room. His mother’s room upstairs remained pristine, except for dust that had collected, and seemingly untouched from the time of her death years earlier. He had such a fear or respect for his mother that he was afraid to set foot in her room long after she had died. He claimed to hear her voice criticizing him from time to time.
This was the central experience that inspired Norman Bates’ character to maintain his mother’s home/image in Psycho.
21. I find it interesting that apparently the BTK-killer installed alarms at several people’s houses because of their fear of the BTK-killer.
22. David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam killer, has been eligible for parole since 2002. He’s consistently either asked to not be released from prison or just skipped his parole hearings together.
When asked how he’s changed in 2016, he responded by saying that “I am no risk, whatsoever.” He’s also been called a model prisoner by prison staff and has even graduated with honors from Sullivan Community College.
He’s also counseled fellow prisoners and even changed his nickname to the “Son of Hope” after converting to evangelical Christianity in 1987.
23. Ed Gein’s desire to become his mother is what inspired Norman Bates from the Novel “Psycho”, which later became the Alfred Hitchcock film. His house full of skin and bones inspired Leatherface and his behavior from “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”. And his overall desire to become a woman inspired Buffalo Bill from “Silence Of The Lambs”.
24. Ted Bundy was actively involved in politics and there was talk that he may one day become the governor of Washington. Also, he confessed to his lawyer that he killed over 100 people, far more than the thirty or so he was charged with.
25. Andrei Chikatilo was caught but was later released because his blood type didn’t match the one found at the crime scenes. Turns out he has a one in a million genetic condition in which his blood type, taken from a blood sample, is different from the type found in his semen.
26. H. H. Holmes. He literally built a murder castle. The book “The Devil in the White City” is about him. Also, there’s apparently a series in works about it from Hulu. He confessed to 27 murders, though it could have been higher. Authorities say it may “only” have been nine.
How this guy has rarely mentioned boggles my mind. He built just to be able to torture and kill.
27. Edmund Kemper has an extremely high IQ and was such an intelligent sociopath that in the end, he wanted to be caught because he knew that what he was doing was morally wrong, despite his lack of ability to feel empathy.
He also spent some of his time in prison helping state psychologists learn how to understand psychotic inmates better; partially by helping them form questionnaires that would be more telling.
28. Jeffrey Dahmer gave the people in his apartment building sandwiches that could’ve possibly been made from his victims’ flesh.
I went to Marquette University in Milwaukee, not far from Dahmer’s apt. building. When the news broke, my boyfriend at the time was riding the bus & a lady was freaking out & crying uncontrollably… she lived in the building & he apparently hosted cookouts regularly.
29. Ed Kemper picked up a girl, I think she was around 14 if I remember correctly, he told her that he was going to kill her then himself, but told her he was just going to take her home and kill himself (he had a thing for not wanting his victims to know he was about to kill them until the last moment). When he got out the car to get something from the trunk, he ended up locking himself out the car with the girl still inside, she could have driven away, but she let him back inside, and be proceeded to kill her. Really goes to show how manipulating he was.
30. Dean Corll, also known as the Candy Man, was a serial killer who had two teenage accomplices. He repeatedly paid them to lure other teenage boys to his house for him to kill. The really fascinating part is how it all ended up going down.
Pretty much, his one accomplice, Elmer Wayne Henley Jr, was out looking for victims one night when instead he ran into a female friend whose father had been abusing her. Henley ended up taking her and a male friend to Corll’s home in order to escape the abuse. As expected, Corll wasn’t too excited about a girl being brought because he usually/exclusively killed boys, so Henley and his two friends wake up tied up. Corll says that he’s going to kill them all, but Henley manages to talk his way into getting untied so he can help Corll kill the others instead. Before anything happens though, Henley grabs Corll’s gun and pretty much refuses to harm the girl, saying that Corll’s gone too far this time; Corll starts goading Henley, saying that he won’t shoot him.
Henley does in fact shoot him.
He ends up untying the two other teens, who end up telling Henley to call the police; during the call, Henley admits to shooting Corll, and he goes on to confess to everything when the investigation into Corll and the shooting begins.
Probably the craziest part of this story is what Henley said to his male friend while waiting for the police to show:
“If you [weren’t] my friend, I could have gotten $200 for you.”
31. Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, was actually interviewed nine times during the investigation. But the police discounted him each time because he had the wrong accent. Some hoaxers had sent a number of letters and a recording claiming to be the Ripper, and the police were looking for a guy with a Geordie (Newcastle) accent rather than Sutcliffe’s Yorkshire accent.
The hoax is believed to have cost three more women their lives, because it was only when he confessed to the murders in 1981 that Sutcliffe was finally caught and the recording was proven to be fake.
The hoaxer was named John Humble, and he was sentenced to 8 years in prison in 2006 for it.
The twistedness and desperation of such an act is fascinating and truly goes to show how disturbed he was. Makes you wonder too what would have happened if he was successful, like would he stop killing or would he just amass a growing harem of sex slaves?
33. Josef Mengele (The Angel of Death) was awarded for bravery when he jumped into a burning tank to pull out a wounded soldier. I always found that interesting how you could risk your life to save someone and then spend the rest of it torturing and slaughtering people.
34. Richard Kuklinski killed a man and left his body in an oil drum outside of a diner just to see how long it would take for someone to investigate. He would order sandwiches from the place and sit on the drum while he ate. He also made a clicking noise with his mouth when he was angry. If you heard that, you were as good as dead.
35. Brazilian serial killer “little Petey” murdered over 40 people in prison. He began by murdering the gang that killed his girlfriend and then stabbing his father, who was in prison for killing his mother, during a visit. He was well-liked because he was considered a sort of vigilante avenger, despite killing indiscriminately within the prison (no difference between drug possession and a murderer). Because of Brazil’s odd sentencing laws, he could only serve a maximum of 30 years and is currently a YouTuber and ranch hand
36. Mary Bell. She killed her first victim around age 10 and the second a few months later. She left notes about the killing and visited the mothers of the boys she killed, asking if she could see the body or if they were sad that their sons were dead.
She was released at age 23 after only 12 years and her, her daughter and her grandchild all have been granted anonymity for the rest of their lives.
37. Dr. Harold Shipman. He lost his mother, watching how morphine eased her pain before she passed. Then he became a doctor, using morphine overdoses to kill people – especially rich old ladies, and wrote himself into their wills with forgery. He was eventually caught because it was suspicious that every single one of his patients had him in their will, and that they all died under his care – but he did “inherit” a number of estates and a lot of money before getting caught.
38. Edmund Kemper, also known as the coed killer, committed a series of murders and rapes in California before finally killing his abusive mother, at which point he drove to Arizona, called the police, confessed to everything, and waited for them to pick him up at the payphone. He provided intimate details of the case before he could get representation so there was NO WAY to get out of being found guilty for his crimes.
In court, a lawyer asked him what he felt was a just punishment for what he’d done. He thought about it and replied, “Death by torture.”
To this day, he declines to attend parole hearings, and has repeatedly asserted that people like him do not belong in society.
Shortly after getting inside the house, Rader locked (Shirley Vian) Relford’s three children – ages five, four, and eight – in the bathroom with blankets and toys, and he tied the 26-year-old mother to the bed in a complicated bondage position.
Rader killed the young woman by putting a plastic bag over her head and tying a ligature around her neck. Her young children cried and screamed, repeatedly trying to escape from the bathroom to help their mother. By the time one of Relford’s children managed to force the bathroom door open, the 26-year-old was dead and her killer had left the scene.
40. Mark Brandon Read(aka chopper) was a renowned killer in Australia. However, he only targeted drug dealers and people who made attempts on his life. When he got old, he was told he had liver cancer and had only a few weeks to live. He was asked by the television show 60 minutes Australia if he wanted one last interview before he died. He accepted. When asked about all the murderers, which he previously claimed as self-defense, not him or he covered them up, he just confessed to all of them, claiming they were never self-defense and he had committed the ones he previously denied. Then he passed away a few weeks later. Went out listing everyone he killed. It shocked everyone. I would suggest looking him up, he’s very interesting.
41. In the Zodiac killer case, the number one suspect, Arthur Leigh Allen had a lot of circumstantial evidence suggesting he was the killer. Enough for him to be certainly the Zodiac, but he was never apprehended due to the evidence coming out as negative.
- He lived in Vallejo near a couple of the murders
- He took one sick day off work, a day after one of the suspected murders happened
- His mother gave him a Zodiac watch for Christmas which had the same symbol
- He was incredibly smart and had knowledge about fingerprints and DNA and may have planted false evidence
- He spoke with his friend before the Zodiac murders, Don Cheney about writing a novel about a man named Zodiac who killed couples at random with a gun and a torch attached to it and taunt the police with letters
- He told police he was going to Lake Berryessa on the day one of the murders happened but went to the coast instead
- Also admitted to having bloody knives in his car on the day of that murder (which he claimed he killed a chicken)
- The boot print left at one of the crime scene had the same shoe size as Allen and was a wing walker military boot (Allen had been in the Navy before)
- Was supposedly able to write with his left and print with his right in which the Zodiac letters are written in.
- A surviving victim picked his face out of a lineup in 1991
The evidence gets weirder:
- He was arrested in 1974 for child molestation and released in 1977, there were no Zodiac letters sent during this period.
- He was a school teacher and was fired in 1968 because he molested some of his students. And in one of the letters, he threatened to kill school children.
- He wanted to be a bouncer at his friend, Ralph Spinelli’s nightclub but he wouldn’t let him. He told him he will go to San Francisco to “kill a cabbie”. That night Paul Stine, a cab driver was shot point-blank in the head.
- Multiple search warrants were made against Allen in the early 90s and the search conducted found bombs and formulas for bombs, which were identical to the ones found in the Zodiac letters.
- An unidentified man named “Lee” was known to associate with one of the victims, and Allen always went by his middle name.
- He died in August 1992, a month before he was meant to meet up with investigators about the case.
- He was overweight, and a witness says Allen was not the man they saw on the night of the Paul Stine murder
- Fingerprints did not match and a palm print found on a letter didn’t match
- DNA did not match on a stamp licked (Allen had a habit for getting other people to lick his stamps because the glue made him sick)
No one was ever arrested during the Zodiac case
42. Whenever I read about the BTK killer waiting for one of his next victims to come home and then getting frustrated and leaving due to her running late, it gives me chills. That woman cheated death.
Not all his victims have been found, and many are very likely still under some of the California highways you may have driven over countless times.
44. Ted Bundy worked at a suicide hotline center with author Ann Rule.
45. Jeffrey Dahmer was neglected by his parents in childhood and hadn’t even seen his mother for 10 years prior to incarceration. At sentencing, his father and stepmother asked for 10 minutes to say goodbye and hug. His father often visited him in prison and he had weekly phone calls with his mother. Despite the heinous crimes they seemed to have some kind of unconditional love. It makes all of the stories I hear about estrangement seem to have a different, strange perspective.
46. Issei Sagawa. A cannibal who was caught in France and pronounced insane, however after going to a mental asylum in Japan they declared him as being sane, he checked out straight after. He’s still free to this day if I remember correctly, and in interviews has stated that he may kill and eat human flesh again. While I was watching the interviews I felt beyond unsettled, really doesn’t make me feel better that he’s still out there.
47. Jeffery Dahmer was arrested for sexual assault of a southeast Asian boy, after he got out of prison and started his sex zombie initiative he abducted the brother of the kid he was previously arrested for assault. He tried to turn the brother into a sex zombie and at some point, the kid got out, he was stumbling around and some ladies called the cops when they saw the kid (the kid was seriously messed up). Well, Dahmer found the kid while the kid was in police custody, Dahmer was able to convince the cops to release him into his custody……great police work.
48. Ted Bundy was raised to believe that his mother was his older sister.
49. I ran across a story about Robert Berdella, “the Butcher of Kansas City,”, and I was familiar with the neighborhood where he lived. I used Google Maps to find his home, only to be shown a space between two other houses.
When Berdella’s trial was over, a local businessman bought the home and demolished it, reportedly so it wouldn’t become a shrine to a murderer.
50. Paweł Tuchlin, a polish serial killer, was admitted into the psychiatric ward. He started making sculptures out of bread and was quite good at it. He fell in love with one of the doctors there and to show his affection he made a vagina out of bread (he used natural hair too) and then gave it to the doctor. She then suffered a mental breakdown.