Top 10 Serial Killers

Gacy, Bundy, Dahmer. Do these names sound familiar? These are only some of the names which make up the top 10 serial killers of all time. In the following article, we will be going over such criminals who have changed the way we look at the world...
WARNING - This article contains descriptions of the serial killers and their horrific doings. If you are not an adult, please seek parental guidance before reading this article. This piece is supposed to be taken for informative purposes only. OpinionFront neither supports or gives justification for the acts committed by these individuals.
No matter which culture, country, or ethnicity you belong to, we as a society look at murder as a heinous crime. We value human life more than anything else in this world. However, we have witnessed countless serial killers and mass murderers throughout history, and seen/read about their rise and spread of terror. Almost anyone who has heard or read of their killings often see them as "heartless monsters". They are tough to spot in a crowd because they look like everyone else. They don't possess any particular facial or physical features that distinguish them from the crowd. In fact, they strive to portray themselves as "normal" people. The interesting fact is that they are very soft-spoken and polite to people. Their attributes, behavior, actions, intentions, and habits are what shows who they really are and what they are capable of. The reason to put these names on the list of top 10 serial killers in the United States or the world, is due to the nature of their crime and/or the number of their innocent victims.
Most Notorious Serial Killers
  1. Gilles de Rais
  2. John Wayne Gacy
  3. Jeffrey Dahmer
  4. Ted Bundy
  5. Henry Lee Lucas
  6. Pedro Alonso Lopez
  7. Ed Gein
  8. Belle Sorenson Gunness
  9. Albert Fish
  10. Andrei Chikatilo
These murderers, which we will be discussing below, are not just standard killers. In fact, these are some of the most notorious and horrific killers that have been convicted of their crimes. * The list is provided in no particular order.
Gilles de Rais
Born in 1404, Gilles de Rais is the "predecessor" to the modern serial killers. Rais was a military captain, which was led by St. Joan of Arc, who shortly after began his killing spree. He was accused of 80 to 200 cases of torture, rape, and murder. Although some historians believe that his crime had risen till 600 cases (as most of the bodies were either buried or burned with all their belongings). These victims used to range from 6 to 18, including both the sexes. However, Rais generally used to prefer boys, but would settle for young girls if circumstances called for it.

Rais would lure young boys who had blonde hair and blue eyes to his residence. There, his victims were raped, tortured, and mutilated. Sometimes, he would ejaculate, perhaps via masturbation, whilst his victims were dying. One of Rais' servants, Henriet, would aid him as his accomplice in collecting the young boys and witnessing the massacre as well. Rais would often take a bath in his victims' blood and other times watch and take pleasure as Henriet tortured them. There were other accomplices as well to help Rias continue his gruesome acts and burn or bury the bodies later on. One of the most gut-wrenching acts which puts Rias in our list was to set the severed heads of his victims so that he could judge which one was the most fair.
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John Wayne Gacy
The biggest shock for everyone in the United States came when John Wayne Gacy, a respected member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, owner of a contracting business, and local Democratic party's precinct captain confessed about his crimes. On December 22, 1978, Gacy admitted to burying his victims underneath his house, in a crawlspace and disposing 5 other victims in the Des Plaines River. Gacy was born in 1942 and had a normal childhood as he had a good relationship with his mother and sisters. However, his father was an abusive alcoholic. After Gacy married and had two kids, rumors about him being a homosexual and a child molester began to circulate.

He would place real handcuffs on his victims and lure them in the pretext of demonstrating "trick" handcuffs. Then he would dare them to free themselves. While his victims, mostly boys, were busy trying to free themselves, he would tie a rope around them or threaten to slit their throats if they made a noise. Later he would molest and rape his victims. His wife left him after he was arrested for coaxing a fellow employee to engage in homosexual acts. When he started his contracting/building maintenance business, he hired mostly young teenage boys to continue his crimes. His employees soon started to disappear along with the sexual complaints against Gacy. His neighbors started to complain about strange odors coming from his house and that's when he surrendered himself voluntarily when he realized that the police were about to arrest him

Police discovered tons of evidence along with 33 bodies buried on and near Gacy's property. Gacy was easily convicted and was sentenced to death by lethal injection which was carried out on May 10, 1994. As Gacy's last meal, he was given French fries, fried chicken, Coke, and a strawberry shortcake. Gacy's last words: Kiss my ass.
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Jeffrey Dahmer
During his childhood, Jeffrey Dahmer was fascinated with dissecting dead animals. By the time he reached his teenage years, he was already an alcoholic and a loner. His father enlisted him in the Army after he dropped out of college, but was discharged due to heavy drinking, after which he lived with his grandmother for 6 years. Later, he was asked to move out because of his arrest for exposing himself in public.

Dahmer's killing spree began after he was first arrested in Milwaukee for fondling a 13 year old boy. For a year, he was sentenced to a work release camp and was released on probation only after 10 months (good behavior). At age 18, right after he was released, Dahmer murdered Steven Hicks, a 19 year old hitchhiker; his first murder victim. He had invited Hicks to his place and gave the reason to killing Hicks, "I didn't want him to leave". Between 1978 and 1991, Dahmer had murdered around 17 boys and men. These sick murders also involved acts such as forced sodomy, removal of his victims' limbs, cannibalism, and necrophilia.

Dahmer was convicted on 15 counts of murder and sentenced to 15 life terms (937 years in prison). During his trials, Dahmer expressed his remorse towards his actions and expressed his wish for his own death. Christopher Scarver, a fellow inmate of Dahmer, brutally attacked him and another inmate on November 28, 1994. Dahmer was being taken to the hospital, but died en route due to severe head trauma.
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Theodore Robert Cowell a.k.a. Ted Bundy
We serial killers are your sons, we are your husbands, we are everywhere. And there will be more of your children dead tomorrow. ~ Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy was born in 1946 to an unmarried mother who was only 22 years old. Growing up, his grandparents made him believe that he was their son and that his mother was his elder sister. Bundy was a good student and got his heart broken by his first love, who left him. He then spent years trying to win her back, and when he did, he started to kill innocent people, majority of them between 1974 and 1978. Later on, he dumped his girlfriend just like she had before.

Bundy was really attractive and good looking, which helped him in luring his victims. His unique style of approaching potential victims would include him faking an injury to his arm by placing a fake cast or sling over it. He would drink alcohol before approaching them and gain their trust by acting as a policeman or a fire department personnel. He would then take the victims to his car and hit them with a crowbar over their heads. Bundy would then go on to rape and sexually assault his victims just before strangling and mutilating the bodies.

Bundy is considered to be the more charming and handsome serial killer out of the lot. However, the other side of Bundy would rape, murder, and engage in necrophilia with his young female victims. It is also said that Bundy would visit the Taylor Mountain, where he would dump the corpses, apply makeup on the dead bodies, and then sleep with them till the bodies would decay. In 1989, Bundy was executed for 40 murders of which he confessed about. He also kept some of his victims' severed heads in his room or apartment for some time. Before he was executed in an electric chair on January 24, 1989, Bundy admitted to his pornography addiction and how it had led him into doing those things. Bundy's last words: I'd like to give my love to my family and friends.
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Henry Lee Lucas
Sex is one of my downfalls. I get sex any way I can get it. If I have to force somebody to do it, I do... I rape them; I've done that. I've killed animals to have sex with them, and I've had sex... while they're alive. ~ Henry Lee Lucas

Henry Lee Lucas was born August 23, 1936 to an alcoholic couple. His mother would occasionally work as the neighborhood prostitute to run the house while his father (who had no legs due to a freight train accident) would drown himself in alcohol all day. The Lucas family had 9 children, out of which some were given away to relatives, foster homes, and certain institutions. But Henry was "lucky" enough to stay with his parents. Henry and his father were regular witnesses to his mother's beatings, violent outbursts, and parade of strange men who shared her bed. After his father's death (fatal case of pneumonia), Henry would always be subject to his mother's cruelty and beatings. He was introduced to bestiality by his mother's live-in lover, "Uncle Bernie". Desperate to know what sex with a human would be like, at age 15, Henry picked a girl near Lynchburg, strangled and buried her body in the woods when she tried to resist.

Henry had confessed to almost 3,000 murders, one of which was his mother as well. After striking his mother with a knife, 5 days later he was arrested and boasted about raping his mother's corpse. Later on, he went to state that he was making it up. Over 90 of the murder cases, which were closed after Henry's confession, were re-opened as officials thought that he was toying with them to see how far he could go with them. Henry also had an accomplice, Ottis Toole, who participated in over 100 murders with him. In 1998, Henry was sentenced to death penalty. Although, Henry died in 2001 while he was in prison due to heart failure. His death left series of questions and doubts about him actually killing all those people or making them up as he went along.
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Pedro Alonso Lopez
Pedro Alonso Lopez is known as "the monster of Andes" and is indeed THE monster because of his murder-hungry behavior. He killed about 350 women and children, out of which, 100 were tribal women in Peru. He was born in 1949 and was the 7th of the 13 children. At age 8, his mother (a prostitute) caught him touching his sister's breasts and was then thrown out of the house forever. While he was living on the violent streets of Colombia (during the turbulent times), a man offered to take him to a safe home. But instead, he took Lopez to a deserted house where the man repeatedly sodomized him.

He went back to living on the streets and begging for food. When an American couple saw him, they felt bad for him and provided shelter for him. The couple even sent him to school specially for orphans, but a male teacher molested Lopez. After the incident, Lopez ran away and came back to living on the streets, where he would commit various petty crimes. At age 18, he went to jail where he was gang-raped by 4 inmates. All these incidents combined, brought rage inside him and eventually he killed 3 of the 4 inmates who had raped him. In 1978, he moved to Peru after being released from prison. There, he began abducting young girls. Throughout the night, he would calm them down with ensuring words, however, at dawn, he raped and strangled them (he would stare into their eyes as his victims died). Lopez would kill his victims during the day, so that he could see their eyes more clearly. He would use the corpses to play morbid games and hold tea parties. The discovery of all these murders was possible after a flood washed out all the bodies he had buried.

After he was arrested (due to an abduction that went wrong), Lopez confessed of killing more than 100 children in Peru, 100 in Colombia, and around 110 in Ecuador. He also added that if given the opportunity to walk on the streets again, he would not hesitate to kill more people. According to BBC, Lopez had been arrested in 1980, but the Ecuadorian government helped free him in 1998 and deported him to Colombia. During an interview, Lopez said that he was "the man of the century" and was released due to his good behavior. A biography documentary made by A&E reported that in 1994, Ecuadorian government released him and then rearrested him in an hour as an illegal immigrant, and handed him to the Colombian authorities. After claiming him insane, Lopez was held in Bogotá hospital's psychiatric wing. Lopez was declared sane in 1998 and was released on a US $50 bail. In the same documentary, they mention the Interpol releasing an advisory to rearrest Lopez by the Colombian authorities after the information of fresh murder in 2002. However, no concrete information about Lopez's whereabouts after this incident is available.
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Ed Gein
Edward 'Ed' Gein, born in 1906, was born to a submissive alcoholic father and a dominating, religious mother. Gein was very much attached to his mother, as she would teach his elder brother and him about immorality, evilness of women, and discouraging sex or sexual thoughts/desires. This made him kind of a "sissy" and shy. After his father died of alcoholism, Gein's elder brother mysteriously died in fire (Gein's brother would criticize his "unhealthy" attachment with their mother).

There was no one to control Gein after his mother died and he developed strong obsession towards sexual fantasies and female anatomy. He was very fascinated with the Nazi camps for human experiments and would rob graves and execute such experiments on his own. It is believed that Gein dug his own mother's grave to do the experiment. As time went by, his experiments became more and more gruesome and cannibalistic. He always wished to turn into a woman, so would make breasts with human skin and wear it over his chest. To do a sex change, he believed that he would require fresh bodies, and hence began his killing spree.

After the police caught him, they found hanging corpses that didn't have any heads or throats, skulls used as bowls, human skin used as pieces of jewelry, dangling lips, skin used as chair upholstery and facial skin and female genitalia (including his mother's) used for making silver painted masks. The police also made a shocking discovery of Gein's mother's heart, that was kept in a pan on top of a stove. Gein would also use his victims' skin for making dust bins and furniture for his house and clothes for himself.

A serial killer who would skin his victims, dig up corpses, and decorate his house with parts of the victims' bodies, Gein was history's most inspirational killer. Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and The Silence of the Lambscharacter, Buffalo Bill, were characterized on him. Gein was accounted for 15 cases (women) as his victims and was admitted to the Waupun State Hospital. Even though he would skin his victims, Gein admitted that he would not sleep with any of them because "they smelled too bad". At age 78, Ed Gein died of cancer.
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Belle Sorenson Gunness
Belle Sorenson Gunness was born in Norway in a family of 8 children. There is not one but many different accounts about her actual background. One of the stories suggested that when she was pregnant, the father of the baby kicked her in the stomach in public, which caused her to lose the child. The father was said to have disappeared after the incident. According to Belle's sister, she was crazy about money. At age 42, she bought a property in Indiana with the help of her first husband's death insurance money. Her husband and 2 of her children passed away (mysteriously), however she was not a suspect. When she immigrated with the rest of her children, she got married to Peter Gunness, who died 9 months later. Again she received her husband's insurance money. For the next few years, many men who entered her life started to vanish without any trace. Belle soon became the black widow for killing her husbands, ranch workers, and adopted children.

Belle would give matrimonial advertisements in the newspapers, which promised marital bliss and life full of love to men. Many men who read these advertisements would travel to La Porte with hopes of marrying Belle, along with their life savings. She would drug these men and cut them as if they were pigs. Then wrapping them with oilskin, she would bury their bodies in her farm. A letter written by Belle (apparently to one of such hopeful men) reads, "My heart beats in wild rapture for you, My Andrew, I love you. Come prepared to stay forever."

The discovery of her killings was possible after her farmhouse caught fire in 1908 and burned down completely. There, several remains were uncovered, which included men, children, and a woman. The children were later identified as being hers and the woman was assumed to be Belle herself, but without a head. Authorities thought that the headless body was of Belle and that she died in the same fire. Several butchered bodies which were carved like a turkey were discovered at her property. These bodies didn't have any heads and arms, and the legs were sawed off from the thighs. Although there have been many more female serial killers who have spread their terror, Belle Sorenson Gunness takes the cake.

Lamphere, Belle's lover and ranch hand, during his arrest, claimed he had helped her escape by faking her own death. However, officially Belle was presumed dead. Belle Sorenson Gunness was said to have killed 49 people.
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Albert Fish
Albert Fish is considered to be America's most despicable pedophile, serial killer, and cannibal. He was born with the name Hamy Fish and was the youngest in a family of 4 children. Many of his family members had mental health issues and after his father's death, his mother put him in an orphanage. He would get whipped there oftentimes and also realized that he was aroused by this and also enjoyed the physical pain. At age 12, he got into homosexual relationships and was also introduced to drinking urine and coprophagia. He would watch other boys undress in public bathrooms, which later on led to male prostitution. Even after he was married and had 6 children, he continued to be a male prostitute.  

Albert Fish is also known by the names like Brooklyn Vampire, The Boogeyman, Gray Man, and the Werewolf of Wysteria. To the public, he was a kind grandfather, wonderful husband, and a model father to his kids, a complete contrast to the monster that he was from inside. Fish had acquired a strange interest in castration and would visit brothels to get himself whipped and beaten. This is when he turned into a complete psycho-masochist. He would also love to push needles inside various parts of his body, including his genitalia. Later on, X-ray reports showed that there were about 27 needles inside his body. At age 55, Fish started to experience hallucinations and believed that God had ordered him to castrate young boys. He was later on diagnosed as a religious psychopath, as he started mutilating and murdering young boys.

Fish was suspected to have killed 5 children, but admitted to have "had" about 100 children in all the states. This psycho killer was sentenced to an execution on an electric chair. No one really knows what Fish meant to say about "had"; did it suggest cannibalization or molestation?
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Andrei Chikatilo
Born in 1936, Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo was a Ukrainian serial killer convicted of 53 murders (women and children). Chikatilo's parents were farm laborers who lived in a one-room hut. When he was a child, Chikatilo would sleep in a single bed along with his parents. Chikatilo was a chronic bedwetter and was beaten and scolded by his mother. During World War II, Chikatilo's father drafted him in the Red Army and was captured after being wounded in battle. After witnessing the effects of Blizkrieg (all mechanized military forces), he was frightened and excited by it. Growing up, Chikatilo was shy, especially towards females. The only sexual experience Chikatilo had was at age 17 when he pounced on his younger sister's friend, who was merely 11 years old, wrestled with her on the floor and ejaculated as she was struggling.

In 1963, after being introduced to a woman by his sister, Chikatilo married her and had a son and a daughter. Chikatilo was a teacher of Russian language and literature in Novoshakhtinsk, but his career ended in 1981 after complaints of child molestation (both sexes) came out. In 1978, Chikatilo committed his first murder when he moved to Shakhty. He secretly took the 9-year-old girl to an old house and tried to rape her, but couldn't achieve an erection. He strangled her to death and stabbed her body, which helped him ejaculate meanwhile. After committing this murder, he realized that he could only achieve sexual arousal and/or orgasm while he stabbed and slashed women and children to death.

Chikatilo's murders were much more violent than other killers as he would stab his victims uncontrollably till he could release his sexual tension or was satisfied. In 1990, Chikatilo was arrested and during interrogation, he confessed to around 56 murders. After his trial in 1992, Chikatilo was found guilty of 52 killings and was sentenced to death. In 1994, Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo was shot in the back of his head.
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Behind every murder, as each victim becomes a target one after another, lies a reason; either they have mental illnesses or harvest pure hatred and rage due to their past, childhood, or certain events. Now I am not going to say that these reasons are justified because of who they are and what they've been through (in life), but it does give us something to think about. Their illness, hate, rage, mental disorder, or behavioral issues make them famous as they grab the attention of the public. Throughout history, there have been many such psychopaths who have managed to spread their terror amongst people. Few other notable mentions are David Berkowitz, Herman Webster Mudgett, Coral Eugene Watts, and Bruno Ludke. These killers are mere fragments of the beasts, psychopath and sadistic minds, who have succeeded in making the act of murder from a grotesque anomaly to an everyday horror. Doctors, who look in the psyche of any serial killer, report that each individual acquires positive attitude towards life and people during their childhood. However, this attitude can quickly change into a negative one due to physical and emotional child abuse.

Researchers, who attempt to understand a serial killers psychology and how their minds wrap it around the bizarre fantasies it creates, mention that it thrives in isolation and are brought to life when they develop the need to live them. At times, they dwell on each murder for days and get completely caught up in it. But in the end, they find out that even a murder doesn't help fulfill their fantasies completely, which leads them towards their killing spree. Searching for some sort of satisfaction, these famous serial killers and many more just like them around the world, never find what they are looking for and keep refueling their fantasies in hopes of achieving it in the future.