Let’s face it, we’ve all got a bit of a fascination for the morbid inside of us. That’s the reason serial killer literature makes for such strange reading. You want to look away but you just can’t. You can’t imagine the kinds of horrors people are capable of, the sheer butchery. If there’s one thing you’ll notice though, it’s that serial killers almost always had abusive childhoods.

Here are some of the most notorious killers of all time. 

1. Natalia Baksheev and Dmitry Baksheev

They killed and ate their victims, made pies out of the bodies and sold those pies to others.

This cannibal couple was recently arrested after cops found pictures of them eating human organs on their discarded phone. They’d been active for 30 years, and would frequently take pictures of their ‘meals’, such as a severed head on a platter with oranges, or woman’s hand in saline solution. They even made pies out of the meat and sold it to unknowing people around where they lived, à la Sweeney Todd.


2. Richard Ramirez a.k.a. The Night Stalker

He raped and tortured 25 people and killed at least 13. He even gouged out the eyes of some of his victims.

Serial killers aren’t born, they’re made. Richard’s father was abusive, and his older cousin constantly bragged to him about how many women he butchered and raped in the Vietnam War. With such a fucked up childhood, it’s no wonder Richard went on to rape and kill over 13 people, including a 9-year-old girl.


3. Dennis Rader a.k.a. The BTK Killer

He brutalised and killed 10 people, and masturbated at the crime scenes.

In case you were wondering, BTK stands for Bind ’em, Torture ’em, Kill ’em. Yep, pretty grim from the get go. Between 1974 and 1991, Rader broke into his victims’ homes, bound them, tortured them and finally killed them, usually by strangulation. Strangely enough though, he appeared to have a perfect family life, and his wife and daughters had no idea about this side of him. The most disturbing part of it all? He masturbated at every crime scene.


4. Pedro Lopez a.k.a. The Monster of the Andes

Pedro was sentenced for killing 80 girls, but he actually raped and murdered over 300. He buried his victims along the countryside.

What does a man who raped and killed over 300 women deserve? The death sentence. What did he get? Freedom. This prolific, and criminally insane, serial killer butchered his way through his home country of Colombia, then Peru and Ecuador. He was briefly arrested in 1994, but jumped bail in 1998 and his whereabouts since then are unknown.


5. John Wayne Gacy

He was a professional clown who would torture, rape and kill his male victims.  

Between 1972 and 1978, Gacy sexually assaulted and murdered 33 teenage boys and young men in Chicago, Illinois in a spate of killings that terrorised the States. The truly fucked up bit is that Gacy was a professional clown who frequently performed at children’s birthday parties. He’d lure people to his home with the promise of a job, then torture, rape and kill them. He was executed in 1994.


Check out – The worst serial killers of all time

6. Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono a.k.a. The Hillside Stranglers

They raped and ferociously tortured girls aged between 12 and 28 before murdering them.

The years between 1977 to 1979 saw Kenneth Bianchi and his cousin Angelo Buono kidnap, rape and kill 10 girls between the ages of 12 and 28 in California. Kenneth was deeply troubled from a very young age, and that presented itself in the form of the brutality he displayed later on. The 2 of them experimented with methods such as lethal injection, electric shock, and carbon monoxide poisoning for the killings. The scariest part is that Bianchi almost managed to become a cop at the LAPD while doing all this on the side.


7. H.H. Holmes

He built a real-life murder castle where he would torture his ‘guests’ before killing them.

This one is straight out of a horror story. In 1886, H.H. Holmes, a pharmacist , bought a property in Chicago and turned it into a hotel by 1893. This nefarious hotel, however, had windowless rooms, stairways to nowhere and hallways that ended in dead ends. He also built gas jets into hotel-room walls, a wooden disposal chute and person-size kiln in the basement. Basically, he built the ‘Murder Castle’. Holmes went on to torture and kill an untold number of women, and admitted to 27 murders.


8. Jeffrey Dahmer a.k.a. The Milwaukee Cannibal

He raped, killed and ate his young male victims. He even drilled holes in their skulls while they were alive.

Jeffrey Dahmer became one of the most notorious killers and sex offenders of all time when he was arrested. He was caught for the murders of 17 young men between 1978 and 1991 who he raped, dismembered, and ate after cooking parts of their bodies. He even attempted to create mindless sex slaves by drilling a hole in the heads of his live victims. He was beaten to death in prison.


9. Ted Bundy

He raped and killed 30 women, keeping their heads as trophies.

Arguably the 2nd most famous killer ever, after Jack the Ripper of course. Ted Bundy displayed a brazen thirst for killing that went beyond simple bloodlust. Between 1974 and 1978, he kidnapped, raped and killed 30 women, though the actual number is believed to be higher. He also – wait for it – kept the severed heads of several of his victims in his apartment as trophies.


10. Ed Gein a.k.a. The Butcher of Plainfield

He’d use the skin of his victims to make suits, lamps and masks. 

This is the man who inspired characters like Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. While Ed didn’t have a kill count as high as some of the others on this list (he killed his brother and two local women), he did like to dig up the dead bodies of women similar to his mother and use their skin to make suits, masks, bowls, lamps and more.


11. Edmund Kemper

He would kill and then have sex with his dead victims, as well as with their dismembered heads.

Between May 1972 and February 1973, Kemper committed a series of 6 gruesome murders in which he picked up hitchhiking female students along the highway, took them to rural areas. Here, he would kill and then decapitate them, and have sex with their corpses. He kept a collection of their dismembered heads in his apartment and would later have sex with those as well. To top it all off, he beheaded his own (abusive) mother, and had sex with the head.


12. Dean Corll a.k.a. The Candy Man

He bit off the testicles of one of his 28 victims, and broke glass test tubes inside the urethra of another. Nuff said.

A sick, twisted beast of a man, Dean Corll raped, tortured, and murdered at least 28 boys between 1970 to 1973 in Houston, Texas. He would strap his victims down on a board and then proceed to perform unimaginable tortures on them. He bit off the testicles of one of his victims and also broke off glass test tubes inside their urethras.


13. Andrei Chikatilo a.k.a. The Butcher of Rostov

He murdered and raped 52 women and children and could only get an erection when he was killing someone.

Also known as The Rostov Ripper, this Soviet serial killer committed the sexual assault, murder, and mutilation of at least 52 women and children between 1978 and 1990. He was a sick paedophile who could only achieve arousal and an erection by stabbing and slashing women and children to death.


14. Fred and Rose West

They brutally tortured their victims, burning them, cutting them and finally killing them.

A pair that looked fairly normal from the outside, this insidious couple tortured, raped and murdered at least 11 young women and girls between 1967 and 1987. They would hire girls as nannies, lock them in the basement and then go on to perform lengthy, sadistic acts of bondage torture on the victims before cutting off their knee-caps and killing them.


15. John George Haigh a.k.a. The Acid Bath Murderer

He would knock out his victims before throwing them in a bath full of acid to burn them alive.

An English criminal with a penchant for conning people, John would charm wealthy individuals into believing he was a successful businessman in the 1940s. Once he had their trust, he’d lure them to a decrepit warehouse where he’d shoot them and pour the bodies into sulfuric acid to dissolve them. He would then forge papers to collect their life savings. He was hanged in 1949.


16. Moninder Singh Pandher and Surinder Koli

Surinder Koli sexually assaulted and murdered over 17 children.

The Nithari killings in 2006 saw the chopped up bodies of 17 people, all girl children except for one adult, being dug up from around the residence of Moninder Singh Pandher. The case has dragged on since, and it was found that Surinder Koli would chop up the bodies with butcher-like precision into 3 pieces before disposing of them in the drain.


No sleep for the wicked.