Top 10 Gruesome Serial Killers

Updated on February 26, 2018
Sudhir Devapalan profile image

I am a front-end developer by profession, but I enjoy writing articles about anything mysterious, interesting, and fascinating.

There are cases when people end up committing murder out of hatred for others. But this is mostly because of a sudden burst of anger or a form of vendetta. It is rarely the case where the person derives an pleasure from this heinous act. This is also seldom repeated. A serial killer, however, is someone who has killed more than three people. They are also sadistic by nature and enjoy the act of killing another person which makes the crime even more gruesome.

1.) Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper is by far the most famous serial killers of all time. There are many who have killed a lot more people than him but what makes him unique is the fact that very little is known about him. He was the most proficient serial killer and has masked his identity even from the famous Scotland Yard police force. He was largely active in the Whitechapel district of London in 1888 and is also known as the "Whitechapel Murderer".

Jack the Ripper targeted the female prostitutes who lived near the slums as they were easy targets. What made the murders gruesome was the fact that he mutilated the corpses in grotesque fashion. The murder of Mary Jane Kelly was the most gruesome of all his works. Her body was mutilated beyond recognition with her face hacked away. Her intestines were removed out and placed beneath her head. Her breasts were cut off and her heart was also missing from the crime scene.

Kill count: ~5
Fate: Never identified or caught.

2.) The Night Stalker:

The Night Stalker
The Night Stalker

Richard Ramirez was an American serial killer, rapist, and burglar. He was active between 1984-1985 and was known as the "Night Stalker". He was born in Texas in 1960. He became a heavy drug user and developed an interest in Satanism. He used to hang out with his cousin Miguel who was a decorated Vietnam veteran. However, he had the habit of torturing women and even shot his wife in full view of Ramirez who was just 13 at the time. This impacted Ramirez and he too became obsessed with violence.

He killed a total of 14 people and tortured dozens more before being captured in 1985. His killing spree of brutal murders, rape, and robberies lasted a total of 14 months. In the murder of Vincent Zazzara and his wife Maxine, Ramirez shot the husband and then brutally assaulted the wife by stabbing her to death. He then gouged out Maxine Zazzara's eyes. He never felt remorse and when he was sentenced to death by gas chamber this was his reply,

“Hey, big deal. Death always comes with the territory. I’ll see you in Disneyland.”

Kill count: 14
Fate: Died of cancer while on death row.

3.) The Sorcerer

The Sorcerer
The Sorcerer

Ahmad Suradji was an Indonesian serial killer who was known as the Sorcerer. He is said to have murdered 42 people between 1986 - 1997. The creepy part is the motive and method in which he killed his victims. He said that during a dream his late father had informed him that drinking the saliva of 70 dead, young women would make him into a mystic healer. Since it would take too long to find 70 women who died young he started murdering young girls.

He claimed himself to be a shaman and many women came to him for making them rich or more beautiful. After being paid, he would take them to a sugarcane field and bury them waist deep claiming it to be part of the ritual. Then he strangled them and drank their saliva. He would then bury the decomposing body with their head facing his house which he claimed would give him more power. He was sentenced to death by firing squad on 10 July 2008.

Kill count: 42
Fate: Death by firing squad.

4.) The Human Dracula

The Human Dracula
The Human Dracula

Tsutomu Miyazaki was born prematurely which left him with deformed hands. Due to this, he was scorned upon in his school and his grades began to drop. He developed an inferiority complex and found it hard to socialize. In his state of depression, he abducted and murdered 4 young girls between 1988 and 1989. He was known as the Little girl murderer and Dracula.

"Mari. Cremated. Bones. Investigate. Prove."

On August 22, 1988, he abducted a four-year-old girl named Mari Konno. He then strangled her to death and molested her corpse. He then left the corpse to rot before returning back to remove some of her body parts. He then sent her ground up bones, teeth, and pictures of her clothes to the girl's family with a postcard containing the words "Mari. Cremated. Bones. Investigate. Prove."

He would also make silent phone calls to the family of the victims. All his four victims were between the ages of 4 to 7. He would strangle them and then indulged in necrophilia. He also drank the blood of one of his victims and ate a part of her hand. He was caught when trying to molest a girl in a park. Even after his capture, he appeared calm and collected. Miyazaki was hanged on June 17, 2008.

Kill count: 4
Fate: Hanged.

5.) The Killer Clown

John Wayne Gacy was an American serial killer and rapist. He had murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 in Cook County, Illinois. Gacy was a clown performer at children's parties. He lured his victims with the promise of construction work and then sexually assaulted and murdered them mostly by asphyxiation or strangulation. He would often refer to himself as "Pogo the Clown" to his victims.

He had an abusive father who looked down upon him for his failures. He was also alienated in his school. He worked as a fast food chain manager in the 1960s and organized social gatherings in which he worked as a clown. On May 10, 1968, Gacy was charged with sexual assault and arrested. It was found that he had buried the bodies of his victims under his house. A total of 27 bodies were found on his property. He was found guilty and sentenced to death by lethal injection on May 10, 1994.

Kill count: 33-34
Fate: Lethal injection

6.) The Butcher of Plainfield

The Butcher of Plainfield
The Butcher of Plainfield

Edward Theodore Gein was a murderer and body snatcher who was also known as the Butcher of Plainfield. He confessed to killing Mary Hogan in 1954 and Bernice Worden in 1957. It was also found that he had exhumed corpses from local graveyards to make artifacts from the bones and skin.

When police entered his house, they found the Worden's decapitated body hanging upside down by her legs. All her internal organs were removed. There was also many human bones, bowls made of human skulls, masks which were made from the skin of female heads, fingernails, etc. He was found to be mentally unstable and sent to a mental asylum. He died of Cancer on July 26, 1984.

Kill count: 2
Fate: Respiratory and heart failure due to cancer

7.) The Zodiac Killer

The Zodiac Killer
The Zodiac Killer

The Zodiac killer was active in Northern California from the late 1960s. The name "zodiac" originated from the fact that he sent challenging encrypted messages to the press. Of the four messages sent, only one could be deciphered. He is known to have killed at least 5 people and this number could be as high as 37.

The first attack took place on December 20, 1968, when David Faraday and his girlfriend, Betty Lou Jensen were shot dead near their car. There was no motive for the killings and the police could not identify the suspect. The police got the sketch of the Zodiac killer from eyewitnesses but he was never caught.

Kill count: 5-37
Fate: Never caught

8.) The Lady Killer

The Lady Killer
The Lady Killer

Theodore Robert Bundy was an American serial killer, rapist, and burglar who assaulted and murdered over 30 young women. He used his charm to exploit women into trusting him. He would them take them to a secluded spot, overpower and kill them. He would sometimes revisit the body several hours at a time to perform sexual acts on the decomposing corpse until the stench was unbearable.

Ted Bundy's killing spree started around 1974. He lured his victims to his car by feigning injury. During his trial, he was something of a celebrity because of his charm and intelligence. He fought for his life for years to prevent his death sentence. However he could not escape justice forever and on January 24, 1989, he was executed.

Kill count: 30+
Fate: Execution by electrocution.

9.) Dr. Death

Dr. Death
Dr. Death

Harold Frederick Shipman was a British practitioner worthy of the title "Dr. Death". He was found guilty of murdering over 218 of his patients although the count could go as high as 250. He is also the only British doctor to have been found guilty of murdering his patients. He was also known as "The Angel of Death". He killed his victims by injecting lethal doses of painkillers.

Shipman would forge the will of his patients so that he would get their money and then kill them with an overdose of morphine. The local undertaker was concerned with the death rate of Shipman's patients but the police could not find anything against Shipman. After the death of Kathleen Grundy, a wealthy 81-year-old widow, a post-mortem revealed that she had died of a morphine overdose. He was imprisoned and on 13 January 2004, he hanged himself in his prison cell.

Kill count: ~250
Fate: Suicide by hanging.

10.) The Milwaukee Cannibal

Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer also was known as the "Milwaukee Cannibal" was an American serial killer who was active between 1978 and 1991. He is known to have raped, murdered and dismembered 17 men and boys. He is also known to have indulged in necrophilia, cannibalism and the permanent preservation of body parts.

"It's hard for me to believe that a human being could have done what I've done, but I know that I did it."

Dahmer killed his first victim in the summer of 1978 when he was just 18 years old. He picked up an 18-year-old hitchhiker named Steven Mark Hicks, took him to his house and strangled him to death. He would often keep body parts of his victims as trophies. When police found three heads and body parts in the fridge, he admitted to cooking and eating his victims.

Dahmer also tried to convert his victims into zombies. He initially tried using sleeping pills. Then he tried drilling holes in their skulls while they were alive and pouring boiling water and acid into their skulls. He was arrested on July 22, 1991. On the morning of November 28, 1994, Dahmer was assaulted by Scarver who was serving a life sentence. He was struck in the head with a metal bar and died.

Kill count: 17
Fate: Murdered in prison.

© 2018 Sudhir

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