PortugalCivil flag of Iran (1933–1964).svg

Within the darkest corners of human history, lurks the chilling presence of some of the most notorious serial killers the world has ever known. From Harold Shipman, the sinister "Doctor Death," to the depraved acts of Joachim Kroll, these individuals etched their names into infamy with their heinous crimes. Join us as we peel back the layers of the twisted minds behind these macabre tales, delving into the horrors they unleashed upon their unsuspecting victims. Brace yourself for a bone-chilling journey into the abyss of serial killers, where the grotesque and the unimaginable become disturbingly real.

open access

Harold Shipman (1946-2004)

Known as "Doctor Death," Harold Shipman is believed to have committed about 218 murders of his patients between 1972 and 1998. The true number of his victims is likely much higher.

Shipman, who worked as a practicing doctor, had easy access to potential victims, allowing him to carry out his killing spree without raising suspicions.

However, due to the high number of cases involving patient deaths, people eventually began to suspect foul play. Most of his victims were elderly women, whom he claimed had died in their sleep. However, it struck some as unusual that many of these women died during the day. Moreover, Shipman requested an unusually large number of cremation certificates, which drew the attention of an undertaker who reported the suspicious circumstances surrounding the cremations.

In 2000, Shipman was eventually convicted after a victim's daughter reported that he had attempted to draft a will for her mother in which he would be named as the beneficiary. He died by suicide in prison in 2004.

Andrei Chikatilo (1936-1994)

Between 1978 and 1990, Russian serial killer Andrei Chikatilo sexually assaulted, murdered, and mutilated more than 50 young women and children. Chikatilo's preferred method of killing was stabbing and slashing his victims with a knife. His youngest victim was just nine years old.

Chikatilo later admitted that he could only achieve sexual arousal by stabbing women, which made it difficult for him to resist his strong urges to kill.

Chikatilo earned several nicknames, including the "Butcher of Rostov," the "Red Ripper," and the "Rostov Ripper." Although he confessed to a total of 56 brutal murders, he was officially tried for 53, sentenced to death, and executed by firing squad in 1994.

Jeffrey Dahmer (1960-1994)

No compilation of the most disturbed serial killers would be complete without mentioning Jeffrey Dahmer.

Dubbed as the "Milwaukee Cannibal," Dahmer was ultimately convicted of murdering 17 young men over a 14-year period. However, his crimes went far beyond mere murder. He engaged in acts of rape, dismemberment, and even cannibalism of his victims.

During his trial, Dahmer confessed to drilling holes into his victims' heads in an attempt to turn them into mindless sex slaves. While Dahmer likely would have faced capital punishment for his crimes, he was beaten to death by a fellow inmate in prison in 1994.

Albert Fish (1870-1936)

When a serial killer is given nicknames like "The Brooklyn Vampire," "The Moon Maniac," "The Werewolf of Wysteria," "The Gray Man," and "The Boogey Man," it's safe to say that he was truly deranged.

Fish was tried and found guilty of raping, killing, and cannibalizing three children in the early 1900s. However, he claimed to have murdered around 100 children and even boasted about having victims in every U.S. state.

One of Fish's most horrific acts was sending a letter to the mother of his victim, 10-year-old Grace Budd. The letter detailed how he lured the young girl, strangled her, and then dismembered her body to consume over the course of nine days.

John Wayne Gacy (1942-1994)

When it comes to describing the depravity of a serial killer, it's hard to top the case of John Wayne Gacy.

Known as the "Killer Clown," Gacy held a job as a children's entertainer named "Pogo the Clown." This occupation gave him access to potential victims without arousing suspicion.

Gacy was convicted of raping, torturing, and murdering 33 teenage boys over a span of six years. He would lure his victims to his home, where he would then strangle or asphyxiate them before burying their bodies on his property.

In 1994, Gacy was executed for his heinous crimes.

Jack the Ripper (Unidentified Serial Killer ∼1888)

Jack the Ripper is a name known to many, but the true identity of this infamous serial killer remains a mystery. Regardless, it is said that Jack the Ripper was undeniably deranged.

In 1888, Jack the Ripper terrorized the Whitechapel neighborhood of London by slitting the throats and abdomens of at least five prostitutes, leaving their bodies for dead. In some cases, he even removed their uteruses as grotesque trophies.

The true identity of Jack the Ripper may never be officially uncovered, but the study and analysis of the murders, known as "ripperology," have inspired numerous novels and films speculating on the killer's true identity.

Joachim Kroll (1933-1991)

German serial killer Joachim Kroll murdered at least 14 people, including young children, between 1955 and 1976. Kroll would strangle his victims with his bare hands, engage in necrophilia, and dismember their bodies for consumption.

Interestingly enough, Kroll's reign of terror came to an end after a neighbor reported a plumbing issue caused by clogged pipes. The pipes were found to be clogged with human remains.

When Kroll was finally apprehended, he was in the process of simmering body parts taken from one of his recent victims, 4-year-old Marion Ketter.

Joseph James DeAngelo (1945-)

Although his crimes took place decades ago, between 1974 and 1986, Joseph James DeAngelo was only identified as the Golden State Killer in 2018. DNA evidence from one of the crimes led to the identification and arrest of DeAngelo after a match was found with a close relative.

Over the course of three distinct crime sprees, DeAngelo committed at least 13 murders, raped over 50 people, and committed well over 100 burglaries.

One of the reasons DeAngelo managed to evade identification and capture for so long was due to his previous profession as a police officer. His training likely aided him in planning and executing his crimes while minimizing the amount of physical evidence left behind.

Furthermore, DeAngelo would sometimes call his victims months before the attacks to learn about their routines and plan his crimes more effectively. In some instances, he even broke into their homes to prepare for his return, leaving behind tools and restraints.

One particularly chilling aspect of DeAngelo's crimes was his habit of taunting his victims. He would spend hours inside their homes, ransacking them, consuming their food, and threatening to harm their families. In some cases, DeAngelo targeted couples, separating and restraining them, often placing plates on the male victim's back to detect movement before commencing sexual assaults on the female victim.

He would also hide inside the victims' homes, waiting for an opportune moment to attack, deliberately deceiving them into believing he had left before startling them from the shadows. DeAngelo would often take souvenirs from each crime scene as reminders of his horrific acts.

In the dark annals of history, there are individuals whose names evoke fear and disgust. Their heinous acts have forever scarred the collective consciousness. From Harold Shipman, the sinister "Doctor Death," to the enigmatic Jack the Ripper, these serial killers have left a chilling legacy of terror. Whether motivated by sadistic pleasure or driven by twisted desires, they remind us of the depths to which humanity can sink. As we strive to understand the darkest corners of the human psyche, we must confront our own capacity for evil. Only then can we hope to nurture a world where compassion triumphs over cruelty, and where the echoes of these monstrous figures fade into the shadows of history.