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The World's Most Terrifying Psychopaths

Author: Alex Pined

The World's Most Terrifying Psychopaths

Book Series: True Crime


Psychopaths are probably the most terrifying of people out there, with less than 1% of the population being deemed to be a psychopath. The frightening thing about a psychopath is that they appear, to all intents and purposes, perfectly normal. Your next-door neighbor could be a psychopath; that person looking at you from the other side of the bus may be a psychopath; the person standing behind you in a queue could be a psychopath.

Psychopaths are experts at blending in, lying and manipulating to a degree where people have very little idea of their tendencies. When many psychopaths are unearthed you will hear their neighbors and friends say how lovely they were and that they had no idea.

Perhaps one of the best examples of psychopaths is from the TV show “Dexter” in which Michael C. Hall plays Dexter Morgan. Dexter works as a forensics expert for the police department and uses his position to find people who have escaped justice. He investigates, discovers their guilt and then kills them, yet to his friends and even his sister, he appears perfectly normal and they have no idea of his lethal hobby.

Psychopaths are rarely female, as you will discover later on in this book with men being seven times more likely to have this condition.

Before we launch in to tales of the world’s most terrifying psychopaths, let’s look at what makes a psychopath, how they are different from sociopaths and how you can spot one.

Who knows the next time you will find yourself sitting next to a quiet, unassuming person who is a psychopath? Enjoy reading about the most terrifying psychopaths the world has ever seen!

What Makes A Psychopath?

Psychopaths have a fascination for popular culture being popularized in television and film with stars such as Hannibal Lector, Dexter Morgan and Norman Bates showing how terrifying a psychopath can be. One of the draws about psychopaths is that they can, to all intents and purposes, appear perfectly normal and could be living next door to you and you would never suspect anything!

The most terrifying psychopaths turn their hand to murder and some of the most sickening crimes committed are by psychopaths such as Ted Bundy, Charles Manson and more. However, not all psychopaths choose to murder and some take their frustrations out in other ways.

The word psychopath has entered popular culture and is often used when describing someone, often without a true understanding of what it means and what it implies.

According to the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders psychopathy appears in a definition of Antisocial (Dissocial) Personality Disorder (ASPD):

“The essential feature of antisocial personality disorder is a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood. This pattern has also been referred to as psychopathy, sociopathy, or dyssocial personality disorder."

This is a bit of a vague description full of jargon, but ultimately no one really knows what causes a psychopath though it is thought it, at least in part, comes from nature, i.e. physical causes, and part comes from nurture, i.e. upbringing.

Psychopaths are often confused with sociopaths or malignant narcissists, though you will be surprised how many people can display psychopathic tendencies without them realizing it.

There is a test used to diagnose psychopathy called the “Psychopathy Check List – Revised” (PCL-R). This was created by Dr Robert D Hare and lists 21 possible traits of a psychopath including:

These are some of the main traits that a psychopath shows. If you display one or two traits from the complete list you are not considered to be a psychopath as most people will have at least one of these traits. When you display the majority of these traits then you are considered to be a psychopath.

However, psychopaths are extremely good at concealing themselves and hiding their true nature and so it can be hard to use this checklist in a clinical setting to root out a psychopath.

Whilst sociopathy and psychopathy are very similar and easily confused a sociopath tends to develop due to environmental factors whereas a psychopath will be more down to genetics.

Psychopaths have a much higher tendency to violence than a sociopath who will often resort to passive aggressive outlets for their rage, e.g. slashing someone’s tires, damaging neighbor’s property and so on. Conversely, a sociopath tends to be much more impulsive than a psychopath. This means the psychopath is likely to be a far deadlier killer and much harder to find due to their careful, calculating nature.

Sociopaths lean towards much more erratic behavior than a psychopath which leads the sociopath to leave more clues to their crimes, particularly as they are far more impulsive.

When it comes to committing a crime, the psychopath is rather a lot more calculating than the sociopath and will consider the risks and how to minimize the evidence they leave behind. A sociopath is more likely to take risks, often thriving on the thrill of the risk which means they are much more likely to be caught.

A psychopath though cannot sustain a “normal” relationship and is quite capable of hurting their friends and family without the slightest twinge of guilt. They will typically value relationships that benefit them rather than giving to others in a relationship. Sociopaths though will sustain a superficial relationship and are often social predators, e.g. the Black Widow type of woman. Sociopaths tend to feel guilty if they hurt people who are close to them.

There are some fundamental differences between a psychopath and a sociopath, and in this book we are going to focus on some of the worst psychopaths the world has ever seen. However before we start to look at these terrifying psychopaths you need to understand why there are so few female psychopaths.

Can A Woman Be A Psychopath?

Women are rarely diagnosed as psychopaths. Around 1% of the population is believed to fit the psyche profile of a psychopath and men are seven times more likely to be a psychopath than a woman.

Women are more likely to be sociopaths because their urge to kill or hurt typically comes from environmental factors in their lives. Men seem to have some sort of gene that when switched on causes them to be a psychopath.

One commonly found group of female sociopaths is the serial killer, and there have been plenty of them, often being much worse than their male counterparts.

With male serial killers there is usually a sexual element behind their killings, though with women this is rarely present. Female sociopaths typically kill for power or money and are usually known to their victims; they rarely kill strangers. One particularly chilling group of female sociopaths find their way into careers such as nursing where they can kill almost with impunity, and there have been plenty of cases of female nurses killing their patients.

In the UK Beverley Allitt killed four children and attacked a further nine whereas in Texas a nurse called Genene Jones killed somewhere between eleven and forty six! There are stories all over the world of nurses that kill and often you will hear people saying “They seemed like such a nice person”.

Another commonly found example of the female sociopath is those who will kill their husbands for inheritance or life insurance, often marrying multiple times and killing their husband each time.

Female sociopaths will typically have had problems as a child, whether they suffered sexual abuse or exhibited anti-social behavior. When they grow older they can often spend time in prison for drug or alcohol abuse. They also often use sex to attract their victims, luring them to their death with the promise of sexual favors.

Some sociopaths can integrate themselves in to society and either live as a “normal” person while living off the proceeds of their crimes or can even bring their husband into their criminal activities. Some even settle down, get married and have children, though this may not stop them from committing their crimes.

Male and female psychopaths have very high levels of testosterone in their systems, which can result in a higher sex drive. This makes them more attractive to the opposite sex and in women, is often fatal to those that are attracted to them. Female sociopaths are known to have children and can often leave them unattended or leave them completely without remorse.

Women are perceived as being nurturing, empathic and loving, and seeing psychopathic or sociopathic tendencies displayed in them is truly shocking. Often the crimes of a female psychopath seem much more shocking that those of a male because it is a woman committing the crime. Women killers can be much more manipulative, devious, vindictive, destructive and frightening than a male.

This book focuses mainly on male psychopaths, as there are few women who can be classified properly as psychopaths. Many of the worst female killers are in fact sociopaths, rather than the psychopaths you are about to read about.

Robert Hansen

Robert Hansen was born in 1939 and lived in Alaska. Between 1971 and 1983 he abducted, raped and murdered between seventeen and twenty-one women in the Anchorage, Alaska area. In 1983 his crimes were discovered and he was arrested, tried and convicted where he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. He was known for releasing his victims in wild areas of Alaska and then hunting them like animals before killing them.

Of his many victims, he was only formally charged with the murder of four of them; Joanna Messina, Eklutna Annie (real name never discovered), Andrea Altiery and Sherry Morrow. He was also charged for raping and kidnapping Cindy Paulson, his final victim.

On June 13, 1983 Cindy Paulson, aged 17, had been kidnapped by Hansen and escaped whilst he was trying to get her in to his airplane, a Piper Super Cub. He had offered her money for oral sex and when she had got in to his car, Hansen had pulled a gun and drove her to Muldoon, where he lived. She had been chained by her neck to a post in his basement where he tortured and raped her.

He was taking Paulson to his cabin, which was a shack in the Knik River part of Matanuska Valley, only accessible by boat or light plane. Hanson had taken her to Merrill Field airport and no doubt when she had reached their destination he was going to hunt and kill her.

Paulson was in the back seat of Hansen’s car with her wrists cuffed together in front of her and she made a run for it whilst he was preparing the cockpit of the plane for their journey. She ran to the nearby 6th Avenue where she flagged down a truck driver, who picked her up and took her to the Mush Inn. He continued on to work where he phoned the police whilst Paulson called her boyfriend at the Big Timber Motel. Hansen attempted to pursue her but she had escaped his clutches.

The police followed Paulson to the Big Timber Motel where they found her alone and still handcuffed. The police questioned her and Hansen was also taken in for questioning. Despite previous run-ins with the police he was let go after claiming that Paulson was trying to extort money out of him. His friend, John Henning, provided him with an alibi and the case went cold with no other serious suspects.

Previously, the police had started to find bodies around the Anchorage, Seward and Matanuska-Susitna Valley areas, with the first being found by construction workers at Eklutna Road. The body was never identified and was referred to as Eklutna Annie. The same year Joanna Messina’s body was found in a gravel pit and in 1982 the body of Sherry Morrow was found by the Knik River.

The head investigator, Detective Glenn Flothe, had three bodies and what he believed was a single killer. FBI agent Roy Hazelwood was called in to build a psychological profile on the killer. He determined the killer was an experienced hunter who had low self-esteem and had frequently been rejected by women. The perp would keep souvenirs of his kills and possibly had a stutter. Using the profile, Flothe eventually turned to Hansen who fitted the profile perfectly.

On October 27, 1983 the police gained a warrant to search Hansen’s cars, plane and home at which point they found guns and jewellery belonging to the missing women. Behind Hansen’s headboard they found an aviation map, which had little X’s on it.

Hansen denied everything at first and then tried to blame the women for his crimes. Eventually though, he confessed to his attacks and that they dated back to 1971.

Arrested and tried for his crimes the jury did not take long to find him guilty. As a state without the death penalty, Hansen was jailed for life with no chance of parole.

Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka

This is a very interesting case where not only do you have Bernardo, a psychopath, but he is in the company of Homolka who if not a psychopath herself was definitely a sociopath. The combination proved deadly.

Bernardo committed numerous rapes and sexual assaults between the years of 1987 and 1990. He mostly followed young women who had got off a bus and the assaults happened in the Scarborough area of Ontario, Canada giving him the name “The Scarborough Rapist”. These attacks stopped after his engagement and marriage to Homolka though they soon started up again as the pair worked together to bring terror to the city.

In 1990 the police tested the DNA of over 130 possible suspects and they received two very strong leads that Paul Bernardo was the Scarborough Rapist. However, after interviewing Bernardo the detectives concluded that such a well-educated, pleasant and well-adjusted young man could not possibly be capable of such vicious crimes. As you know, psychopaths are excellent chameleons and he hid his tendencies well enough to fool the police.

By 1990 Bernardo was spending a lot of his time with the family of his fiancé, Homolka. He was flirting with their youngest daughter and smuggling cigarettes across the US/Canada border after losing his job in accountancy. Tammy Homolka, the youngest daughter, became the object of his obsession and he regularly crept into her room whilst she was asleep to masturbate. Her sister helped him by breaking the blinds in Tammy’s room so he could get inside more easily.

Six months before they got married in 1991 Karla stole an anaesthetic, Halothane, from the animal clinic she worked at. Karla wanted to “give” Tammy’s virginity to Bernardo as a Christmas present!

Karla administered the drug to her sister and the pair of them raped her in the basement and videotaped the whole thing whilst her parents slept upstairs. . When Tammy began to vomit and choke they hid the evidence, dressed her and moved her back in to her bedroom and called 911, trying to revive her. She died a few hours later in hospital.

Even though Karla and Bernardo had been doing laundry in the middle of the night as well as vacuuming, the fact that there was a large chemical burn on the side of Tammy’s face, the police accepted Bernardo’s story that her death was accidental after choking on vomit from drinking alcohol.

Two weeks before their wedding, Karla presented Bernardo with a wedding present, fourteen year old Leslie Mahaffy. Together they raped and killed her. In 1992 they did the same to fifteen-year-old Kristen French. In the intervening time they were responsible for a number of other rapes and sexual assaults, all of which were videotaped.

When the police started to close in on the pair, Homolka was much smarter than Bernardo and prepared her defence, perhaps showing psychopathic tendencies here. She made a plea bargain with the prosecutors for a reduced sentence in return for giving up the evidence on Bernardo. Homolka claimed she was a bullied and beaten accomplice and forced into it.

After a catalog of errors in the investigation the police jumped on the offer and Bernardo was tried and imprisoned. Homolka received a much shorter sentence and was released after just a couple of years. When the videotape evidence came to light, after her plea bargain had been made, it was obvious that she was far from an accomplice and was actively involved if not directing the action. Her sentence was never increased and she left prison, changed her name, moved abroad and remarried. Bernardo was left to rot in prison for his crimes whilst Homolka literally got away with murder.

Gary Michael Heidnik

Gary Michael Heidnik’s case is a disturbing one that illustrates some of the classic signs of a psychopath. His story influenced movies such as Silence Of The Lambs, amongst others, and shocked America. He kidnapped, raped and tortured six women, holding them prisoner in the basement of his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Heidnik had a high IQ, 130, and did well academically at school. He struggled socially and refused to make eye contact or even socialize with other children, reportedly yelling at one girl who had simply asked him if he had finished his homework. He left school and joined the army but was honorably discharged when he fell ill and was diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder.

Heidnik struggled when he left the army, dropping out of his job at the University of Pennsylvania after one semester and also being fired from his job as a psychiatric nurse at the Veterans Administration hospital for poor attendance and rude behavior.

Between 1962 and 1987 he was in and out of psychiatric hospitals and had attempted to commit suicide on more than thirteen occasions. His mother killed herself after being diagnosed with bone cancer while his brother also spent time in numerous mental institutions and attempted suicide more than once.

In 1971 Heidnik started a church with just five followers called “The United Church of the Ministers of God”. In 1975 he opened an account for the church with $1,500 and eventually had over half a million dollars in the account. By 1986 the church was not only popular but also wealthy.

Heidnik struggled socially, as we knew from his childhood and used a matrimonial service to meet Betty Disto, a Filipino, whom he wrote to for two years before proposing marriage. The marriage was certainly not one made in heaven with his wife finding him in bed with three other women, forcing her to watch whilst he had sex with them and he also raped and assaulted her.

He had two children with two different women, one of whom (Anjeanette Davidson) was mentally disabled. Both children were placed into foster care. Shortly after the birth of Maxine in 1978, his daughter with Davidson, he was arrested for kidnapping and raping her sister, Alberta who had been living in an institution for mentally disabled people.

It wasn’t until 1986 that he really turned nasty and in November that year he kidnapped Josefina Rivera. By January of the following year he had five women held captive in his home. Together with his friend, Cyril “Tony” Brown they would lure women home by driving expensive cars and showing off their wealth. Brown was black, slight and mildly retarded, like his victims. When brown was arrested he was released on bail on the condition he testified against Heidnik. The captives were beaten, tortured and raped during their imprisonment.

Sandra Lindsay, one of the victims, died from torture, starvation and a fever. Her body was dismembered and her arms and legs put in a freezer and labelled “Dog food”. Her ribs were cooked in the oven and her head boiled in a pot. Neighbors complained of a bad sell and police visited his home, leaving when he explained he fell asleep and burnt his roast.

Apparently he ground up Lindsay’s flesh, mixed it with dog food and fed it to his prisoners. This rumor cannot be substantiated and one theory is it was started support his plea of insanity.

Heidnik’s torture was particularly sadistic, with electric shock being one of his favorites. He would force the women into a pit, fill it with water and then force his other prisoners to apply an electric current to their chains. Deborah Dudley was killed by electrocution and disposed of in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.

In 1987 on March 23 he abducted Agnes Adams but Rivera convinced Heidnik to release her the next day to visit her family. She quickly called 911 and the police, surprisingly, at first did not believe her story though when she repeated it and the attending officers saw chaffing on her legs from chains, they went to the gas station where Heidnik was waiting for Adams, and arrested him.

After his arrest, Heidnik attempted to hang himself whilst in jail.

In his defense he claimed that the women were already in his house when he moved in and his defense attorney attempted to prove Heidnik’s insanity. Unfortunately for Heidnik the fact he was shrewd with money and had over $550,000 in various bank accounts was solid proof of his sanity. His financial advisor was brought in to testify and told the court that Heidnik was “an astute investor who knew exactly what he was doing”.

On July 1, 1988 Heidnik was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. In January 1989 he yet again attempted suicide, this time through an overdose of prescribed thorazin.

On July 6, 1999 he was executed by lethal injection at the State Correctional Institution Rockview in Centre County, Pennsylvania. His remains were cremated.

David Ray Parker

David Parker Ray was born in 1939 and was a convicted killer and torturer of women in the USA. No bodies were ever found in his case but police suspect he killed as many as sixty people in the New Mexico and Arizona areas.

He soundproofed an old mobile home and filled it full of torture instruments, referring to it as his “toy box”. His mobile torture chamber cost him upwards of $100,000 to make and was full of clamps, saws, blades, whips, chains, pulleys and more. Unusually for a serial killer, he had multiple accomplices during his killing spree, many of whom ended up on the wrong end of his blades.

His torture trailer had sex toys, syringes and even diagrams, many created by Ray himself, showing how to inflict pain. He even made an electricity-generating machine, which he used as part of his torture. In the middle of the trailer was a table similar to those used by gynaecologists and a mirror was mounted on the roof above it so his victims could observe what he was doing. When his victims regained consciousness from their torture he would play an audiotape of himself to them to further terrorize them.

It wasn’t until March 22, 1999 that anyone became aware of Ray’s activities when Cynthia Vigil escaped after three days of torture. Ray had left for work and Vigil managed to somehow get the keys to unlock her chains whilst Cindy Hendy, Ray’s accomplice, was next door on the telephone.

Hendy noticed Vigil’s attempted escape and a fight ensued in which Vigil was hit in the head with a lamp. However, she managed to stab Hendy in the neck with an ice pick and escape naked except for chains and an iron slave collar.

She went to the police who promptly arrested both Hendy and Ray. After their arrest another surviving victim Angelica Montano came forward saying she had reported her kidnapping to the police and they had failed to follow up the crime.

The police uncovered two further accomplices to Ray’s killings; his daughter, Glenda Jean Ray and Dennis Yancy who admitted strangling Marie Parker after Ray kidnapped and tortured her. Yancy was convicted of conspiracy to commit first and second-degree murder and received two fifteen-year prison terms.

Ray also confessed, allegedly, to having another accomplice by the name of Billy Bowers, a former business partner who Ray killed when he became inconvenient. When this body surfaced in the lake where it had been dumped Ray was questioned by police but was smart enough to put them off the trail.

Over 100 FBI agents went to search Ray’s property and the surrounding area but they failed to turn up any identifiable human remains. Hendy told police that some victims were dismembered and thrown into Elephant Butte Lake whilst others were thrown into ravines around New Mexico. No bodies were ever found. Neighbours, when being interviewed, all said he seemed like a nice guy, which of course are classic symptoms of a psychopath.

Ray used drugs to create amnesia and confuse his victims and one woman believed her ordeal to be nightmares. It was only after her mother-in-law saw reports of Ray’s murders that she realised what had happened to her. She had come home after going missing for three days confused and dazed and had been thrown out of the house for being on drugs! Police tracked this victim down and during questioning was able to identify torture implements in the “toy box” and recount her experience.

Bizarrely in Ray’s case, it was decided he would face three separate trials rather than one for all of his crimes; partly due to the fact he had been clever in hiding evidence and misleading the authorities. He was to be prosecuted for his actions against Cynthia Vigil, Kelly Garrett and Angelica Montano.

The first trial was somewhat of a farce and after a mistrial caused by uncertainty over evidence, he was retried. Montano died before the second trial could be conducted so it never occurred. However, Ray decided, for reasons unknown to us, to plea-bargain and he received a total of two hundred and twenty four years in prison for his crimes. His daughter, Glenda Jean Ray received nine years in prison with five served on probation. Yancy, his accomplice, was convicted of the murder of Marie Parker and Hendy, his other accomplice, received a sentence of thirty-six years in jail.

Ray had been sent to the Lea County Correctional Facility in Hobbs, New Mexico on May 28, 2002 where state police were due to question him. Before they could question him he had a heart attack and died.

Yancy was paroled in 2010 after eleven years in prison but not actually released until the following year. Shortly after being released he was charged with violation of probation and went back to jail to serve the rest of his original sentence.

Ray showed many of the classic signs of a psychopath and appears to have been abused as a child, turning into a chillingly clever killer who was extremely good at hiding his tracks and misleading the authorities. He is an excellent example of just how difficult it can be to catch a psychopath, having been arrested numerous times as well as from the difficulty the police had in successfully prosecuting him.

Ted Bundy

No book on psychopaths would be complete without telling you about Ted Bundy. Born in 1946 in the USA his case shocked America by the sheer brutality and wantonness of his killings. He was a well-publicized and extremely clever serial killer, kidnapper, necrophile and rapist who in the 1970’s, assaulted and killed a lot of young women.

Bundy was a charismatic and handsome man who exploited these traits to win the trust of his young female victims. Typically he would approach the girl in a public place either feigning a disability or injury, or pretending to be an authority figure. Then he would overpower the victim, kidnap and assault them at a more secluded location. Disturbingly he would regularly revisit the scene of the crime and perform sexual acts with the corpses until they had decomposed too much to be of any use.

At least twelve of his victims were decapitated and the heads kept in his apartment as souvenirs and on a few occasions he just broke into homes and killed his victims whilst they were asleep.

In 1975 he was jailed in Utah for aggravated kidnapping and attempted criminal assault. As a result, he became a suspect in a list of unsolved murders in different states that just kept growing longer and longer. He escaped twice from prison, committed more murders and assaults and was then recaptured in Florida in 1978 where he received three death sentences in two different trials for his activities in that state.

On January 24, 1989, Bundy died in at Raiford Prison in Starke, Florida in the electric chair. Nobody knows when or even where he started killing as he told different stories to different people. It is thought he started killing sometime between 1969 and 1971 though where is unknown. Some psychologists believed he started killing even earlier as circumstantial evidence points to him abducting and killing eight year old Ann Marie Burr in Tacoma in 1961 when he was just 14 years old himself. This allegation though was denied by Bundy.

He was very clever and dropped hints about his activities, telling conflicting stories to different investigators and interviewers. Often these were an attempt to manipulate and gain some benefit from them. His ability to manipulate and twist the truth was a classic sign of a psychopath. He was very clever in minimizing evidence and leaving little sign of his presence at a crime scene.

Whilst in jail in Florida Bundy decided he would talk about his crimes, speaking in the third person so he could avoid giving an actual confession.

Bundy took an almost mystical satisfaction from murder where killing the victim made them his property and he owned them. The locations where he killed his victims became sacred ground for him. Bundy states that his early killings were both impulsive and amateurish but later, around 1974 at the time of Lynda Healy’s murder, he was in his prime predator phase of killing.

Like many other psychopaths, Bundy was extremely organized to the point of it being unusual. He had extensive knowledge of the methods used by the police and used it to evade capture and even identification for many years. Killing people over a geographically dispersed area meant he had got away with at least twenty murders before investigators realized they were looking for a single man.

Bundy preferred assault and strangulation because they were silent and easily accomplished with everyday household items. He never used guns because they were too noisy and left ballistic evidence behind. He also spent a lot of time meticulously researching the areas where he would commit his crimes and places to dispose of the bodies, so he knew exactly where it was safe to snatch a victim. In addition, he left neither fingerprints at crime scenes nor any other evidence that linked him to the murders. This fact was exploited by Bundy in an attempt to prove his innocence.

One other advantage Bundy had was that he was a generic looking guy and was able to quickly and easily change his appearance. In almost every picture of him he looks different, making it very hard for witnesses to identify him. A change in expression or facial hair could make him look completely different! He did have a dark mole on his neck, which was one identifying feature and he often wore sweaters and turtleneck shirts to ensure it remained hidden. Even his car was non-descript, a VW Beetle that witnesses described as a tan, bronze, light or even dark brown color!

The total number of murders Bundy confessed to was thirty, though it is thought he may have killed as many as one hundred. He often made comments that encouraged speculation, such as for every publicized murder there “could be one what was not”. When the FBI proposed he had killed thirty-six people, Bundy said “Add one digit to that and you’ll have it”. Yet later he told an attorney, Polly Nelson, that thirty-five was an accurate figure. Many people suspected that he no longer knew how many people he had killed or even why he had killed them.

On the evening prior to his execution Bundy sat with Bill Hagmaier and reviewed his kills:

Many of these were never identified and police still think he killed more that were never found or tied directly to him.

Bundy was a very clever man and showed many of the traits of a psychopath. His ability to cover his tracks and mislead police, plus his knowledge of their methods made him a deadly killer who carefully planned his murders. The sheer difficulty the police had in arresting him and his skill at escaping and evading suspicion made him one of the deadliest killers in America. Certainly the high profile nature of his case scared the country and even today people remember his name and methods.

Jeffrey Dahmer

Jeffrey Dahmer was born in 1960 and was a serial killer and sex offender who became known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, after killing, raping and dismembering seventeen boys and men between 1978 and 1991. His later murders involved cannibalism, necrophilia and even attempting to permanently preserve parts of the skeleton.

Dahmer seemed to have a troubled childhood and in his freshman year was a social outcast with few friends. He had an alcohol problem by his freshman year, regularly drinking at school from the age of fourteen. Like many other psychopaths he was a polite kid and very intelligent, though his alcohol abuse led to poor performance at school at later in his career.

As a child, Dahmer was always interested in animals and had collected live animals and even road kill, dissecting and dismembering their corpses. He would keep parts of the animals in jars in the family shed, telling people he was interested in how the animals “work”. Dahmer asked his father, a chemist, how to preserve bones, which he was shown, his father being happy his son had an interest in something.

It wasn’t until the age of eighteen, in the summer of 1978, that Dahmer killed his first victim. He picked up an eighteen year old hitchhiker by the name of Steven Mark Hicks, luring him to his home with the promise of alcohol (due to his parents’ divorce he was living at home alone). After drinking for a few hours Hicks wanted to leave but Dahmer hit him twice with a dumbbell. When he became unconscious Dahmer strangled and then stripped Hicks before masturbating over the corpse.

Dahmer dissected Hicks’s body in the crawl space of the house, later burying the remains in the garden. Several weeks later he dug up the remains, removed the flesh from the bones and dissolved it in acid so he could flush it down the toilet. The bones were crushed using a sledgehammer and scattered in some woodland next to his house.

He then joined the army, staying for a year before being discharged (honorably) due to his alcohol problems, went to college, dropped out after a few months, returned home and then was sent to live with his grandmother; someone he seemed to have some affection for. Initially he did chores, attended church and was a good boy though his alcohol problems never went away.

He got a job but after a few months was made redundant and then arrested for indecent exposure. On August 7, 1982, he exposed himself to a group of women and children for which he was convicted and fined.

In January 1985 Dahmer was propositioned by another man while in a library. He did not respond to this proposition but it brought back fantasies of dominance and control he had whilst a teenager. It didn’t take longe before he started to familiarize himself with the gay bars and bathhouses in Milwaukee and he also stole a male mannequin, which he used for sexual stimulation before his grandmother made him dispose of it.

By June 1986 he was meeting men for sex at the bathhouses and was frustrated that they moved during sex, so he started to give them sleeping pills and then have sex with their unconscious bodies. After a dozen or so instances he was banned from the bathhouses and had to use hotel rooms for his activities. Not long after this he attempted to dig up a fresh corpse but gave up, as the soil was too hard.

In November 1987 Dahmer killed again, this time a young man called Steven Tuomi. Dahmer awoke to find Steven’s dead body underneath him with a crushed chest. Even in his last years, Dahmer could never remember what happened and how Tuomi died. Tuomi was dismembered, the flesh filleted from the bones, wrapped in plastic and the bones crushed. The body was disposed of in the trash whilst the head was kept and boiled in Soilex and bleach to preserve the skull, which he used for masturbation. Eventually the skull was too brittle and he disposed of that too.

After this he actively sought out victims to lure back to his grandmother’s home where they were drugged and strangled. He would offer his victims money to pose for nude pictures and then dispose of their bodies in the same way as he had of Tuomi’s. Then he started taking pictures of the corpses and the dismemberment process. Often he would keep the genitals or skull and paint them, keeping them as trophies. He even experimented with preserving the skin of his victims.

It was on May 26, 1991, that Dahmer met another victim, Konerak Sinthasomphone and was almost caught. After bringing him back to his apartment and drugging him, Dahmer left to drink and get more alcohol. On his return home in the early hours of the next morning he found his victim sat on a street corner with three women who were trying to help him. Sinthasomphone was in a terrible state and Dahmer tried to explain away the problem but the women had already called the police.

On arrival Dahmer tried to put the police off and initially succeeded despite the women arguing about the condition Sinthasomphone was in. The police walked Sinthasomphone to Dahmer’s apartment where he showed him the semi-nude pictures to explain they were lovers and Sinthasophone was merely drunk. The police did notice a strange smell and had a cursory glance into the bedroom and somehow didn’t notice the decaying corpse in there.

By the middle of 1991 Dahmer was killing about once a week and on July 22, 1991, met Tracy Edwards, luring him home with the promise of alcohol and taking nude photos. Dahmer was distracted and Edwards punched him in the face and ran, finding two police officers who tried to remove the handcuffs but did not have a key.

They took Edwards to Dahmer’s apartment to look for a key and Dahmer admitted to the police he had handcuffed Edwards. He tried to explain it as self-defence and told the police officers the key was in the bedside dresser. Dahmer tried to get past the police officer to get the key, but the officer insisted on getting it himself.

The police officer noted a large knife underneath the bed and when he opened the draw saw numerous photos showing human bodies being dismembered. Dahmer panicked and attempted to escape, fighting with the police officers but was overpowered and arrested.

When the apartment was searched they found seven skulls, some bleached and some painted, two human hearts, arm muscles, a torso, human organs, two skeletons, severed hands, two preserved penises and a body dissolving in acid!

After this arrest Dahmer confessed to killing a total of seventeen people and explaining how, and why he did it. He confessed to having eaten parts of his victims in the last year including hearts and livers and had been keeping the skulls and skeletons to construct an altar in his home, dedicated to himself and for meditation.

During his trial he was found guilty and sane, being sentenced to life in prison. He spent the first year in solitary confinement due to safety concerns and then transferred to a less secure area.

On November 28, 1994, Dahmer was murdered whilst conducting his work detail with two fellow inmates. Christopher Scarver had bludgeoned both Dahmer and the other prisoner to death.

Ed Gein

Edward Theodore Gein was born in 1906 and gained notoriety as a murderer and body snatcher in Wisconsin, USA. He dug up corpses from local graveyards and used their skin and bones to make trophies and keepsakes. He also killed two women, one in 1954 and one in 1957. At his trial he was sent to a mental health facility where he spent the rest of his life.

Gein’s actions influenced future writers who used his story as inspiration for their books including Norman Bates (Psycho), Leatherface (Texas Chain Saw Massacre), Jane Gumb (Silence of The Lambs), Bloody Face (American Horror Story), Carrie White (Carrie) and more.

Gein’s downfall came on November 16, 1957 when the owner of a hardware store, Bernice Worden, disappeared. His name was on the last receipt written by Worden so police attended his property and searched it. In a shed they found Worden’s body hanging upside down with a crossbar at her ankles and ropes at her wrists. She had been shot with a .22-caliber rifle, dressed like a deer and decapitated.

On searching the house the police found even more disturbing evidence, including human bones both whole and fragmented plus:

All of these artefacts were photographed before being destroyed.

On questioning Gein told police that between 1947 and 1952 he had visited local graveyards around forty times to exhume freshly buried bodies. He said he was in a “daze-like” state and that on around thirty of those visits he came out of the state whilst in the graveyard, left the grave in good order and went home empty handed. On the other occasions he removed bodies, typically of women who resembled his mother and were middle aged. Once at home he tanned their skins and used their remains to make his trophies.

At his arraignment on November 21, 1957 he pleaded not guilty due to insanity and was found mentally incompetent and so unfit for trial. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and sent to a maximum-security facility.

It wasn’t until 1968 that he was deemed sane enough to stand trial and after a week was found guilty and to be legally insane. He was sentenced to life in a mental hospital.

Gein died in hospital at the age of 77 in 1984 after a bout of lung cancer.

Gein’s case is truly disturbing even though he only killed twice. The fact he removed bodies from the graveyard and then made ornaments for his home from them is shocking. This case is one from a horror novel and it appears he started killing when he could no longer find fresh bodies to use for his crafts.

Albert Fish

Albert Fish was born in the USA in 1870 and became known by a number of different names including the “Grey Man”, “The Brooklyn Vampire” and “The Boogey Man”. He was a serial child rapist and cannibal boasting he had had “children in every state” claiming about one hundred victims. He was a suspect in five murders and confessed to three that the police were able to trace to known killings. Eventually he was caught and executed for his murder of Grace Budd.

Fish preyed on people who were either African-American or mentally handicapped; his rationale being that these people were unlikely to be missed when he killed them. He would torture, mutilate and murder young children using a butchers knife, small handsaw and meat cleaver; what he called his “implements of Hell”.

It was at the age of twelve when he started a relationship with a telegraph boy who introduced him to practices such as urolagnia (drinking urine) and coprophagia (eating faeces). He also started to visit public baths, spending a lot of time there, to watch other boys undress.

In 1890 that Fish went to New York City where he became a male prostitute and started raping young boys. Eight years later his brother arranged for him to marry a younger woman. Together they had six children.

He was working as a house painter and kept up his molestations with his targets typically being boys under the age of six. According to Fish, a visit to the waxworks with a male lover caused him to be fascinated by the bisection of a penis, which left him with an obsession for sexual mutilation.

At the age of forty-one whilst in St. Louis that Fish attempted his first mutilation; a 19 year old disabled man called Kedden. After tying him up and seeing the agonized look on his face, Fish was frightened. He bound the wound he caused, left $10 and fled the city. Afterwards he engaged in sadomasochism in brothels and in 1903 was arrested for grand larceny and imprisoned in Sing Sing.

In 1917 his wife left him and Fish raised his children as a single parent though started having auditory hallucinations, including once wrapping himself in a carpet on the instructions of John the Apostle. He also started to self-harm at this time, embedding needles into his groin and abdomen, having twenty-nine needles in his pelvic region at the time of his arrest. Fish would hit himself with a nail-studded paddle and even inserted wool covered in lighter fluid into his anus and set it alight. He encouraged his children and friends to hit his buttocks with the nail-studded paddle, though is never thought to have abused his own children.

Fish started to develop an obsession with cannibalism, serving both himself and his children raw meat and in 1924 he felt God had commanded him to sexually mutilate and torture children. He would roast his victim’s behinds with strips of bacon on each cheek and make a stew out of their ears, noses and other body parts as. He had a particular affection for eating his victim’s penis.

He was caught after the murder of Grace Budd and was dubbed a “psychiatric phenomenon” due to the sheer number of sexual abnormalities he had. At his trial the jurors never doubted his insanity but, according to one juror, felt he should be executed, so he was found sane and guilty. On January 16, 1936 he was executed at Sing Sing in the electric chair.

Albert Fish’s case is deeply disturbing because of the victims he chose and what he did to them. Cannibalism is a dark taboo and eating his victim’s body parts for pleasure is truly horrifying. For whatever reason he was a tortured soul and he took that out on his many innocent victims.

Javed Iqbal Mughal

Javed Iqbal Mughal was born in 1956 in Lahore, Pakistan and was a serial killer who abused and killed around one hundred children. Throughout his career the police had no idea of his activities or that he was even tied to the murders. It was only when he sent a confession letter to a Lahore newspaper and the police in 1999 that they discovered his horrific crimes.

Iqbal confessed to strangling and dismembering one hundred boys aged between six and sixteen, mainly orphans and runaways who lived on the streets, and then destroying their bodies in hydrochloric acid. The remains were then dumped in the local river.

The police raided his house to find bloodstains on the floor and walls together as well as the chain with which he strangled his victims. There were also photographs of his victims in plastic bags, neatly labelled with handwritten notes. Iqbal had left a note saying that the bodies had been left for the authorities to find and the police found two vats of acid in which there were human remains.

In his confession letter, Iqbal said he was going to down himself in the Ravi River, but police dragged the river and didn’t find a body. They started the largest manhunt ever seen in Pakistan, searching for their murderer. The police did find four teenage boys who were his accomplices and they were taken into custody, though one died shortly after “jumping from a window”. Post mortem tests showed though, that he had died from force being used against him.

A month later on December 30, 1999, Iqbal turned himself in at the Daily Jang newspaper offices claiming if he had gone to the police first they would have killed him.

Bizarrely enough Iqbal claimed he was innocent even though the evidence was stacked against him. His claim was that the affair was a hoax to draw attention to the orphans and poor children living on the streets. Over a hundred people testified against him and both him and his accomplices were found guilty.

He was sentenced to be hanged with the judge saying, “You will be strangled to death in front of the parents whose children you killed, your body will then be cut into one hundred pieces and put in acid, the same way you killed the children." The hanging was never carried out though, because on the morning of October 8, 2001, Iqbal and Sajid Ahmad, his accomplice, hung themselves in jail.

The story of Iqbal is peculiar because he had killed so many children and for so long before deciding he was going to hand himself in. Exactly why he confessed is a mystery but his kills and methods were horrific.

Pedro Lopez

Pedro Lopez was born in Colombia in 1948 and raped and killed over 300 girls across South America. The frightening thing about Lopez is that he is still at large and may even still be killing!

He was arrested in 1980 and led police to the graves of fifty-three victims in Ecuador, all young girls between the ages of nine and twelve. In 1983 he was found guilty of murdering one hundred and ten young girls in Ecuador and another two hundred and forty murders in Peru and Columbia. As Ecuador does not have the death penalty he was released at the end of his sentence in 1998!

Lopez was troubled from his earliest days. His mother was a prostitute who had thirteen children and at the age of eight (in 1957) was thrown out of the family home for fondling his younger sister. He was picked up by a stranger, taken to a deserted house and sodomized repeatedly. When he was twelve an American family took him in and enrolled him at a school for orphans but he ran away as he was allegedly molested by one of the male teachers. At eighteen he was stealing cars for a living and eventually got caught and imprisoned where he claims to have been brutally gang raped. Lopez then hunted down his attackers and killed them all.

After his imprisonment he preyed on young girls in Peru and claims that by 1978 he had killed over one hundred girls. He had been caught though by a native tribe who were going to execute him when an American missionary stepped in and he was handed over to state police who didn’t believe his crimes and released him.

Lopez moved on to Columbia and then Ecuador claiming, “I like the girls in Ecuador, they are more gentle and trusting, more innocent”.

Lopez was caught when he attempted to abduct a young girl and failed, being trapped by market traders. He confessed to killing over three hundred young girls, yet the police refused to believe him until a flash flood uncovered a mass grave full of his victims.

At the end of 1998 he was released from prison for his murders but arrested again an hour later as an illegal immigrant and deported back to Columbia where he was taken in to police custody. The police there, who released him on $50 bail, declared him sane!

Interpol released an alert to re-arrest Lopez after a murder in 2002; though to date he has never been caught. It is currently unknown where Lopez is now but it is highly likely his psychopathic tendencies means he is still killing, wherever he is; he just hasn’t been caught again yet!

Nikolai Dzhumagaliev

Nikolai Dzhumagaliev was born in 1952 and lived in Kazakhstan and known as “Metal Fang” due to his white metal teeth. He was known to have killed seven women before his capture in 1980 though it is thought he killed more. He ate his victims and later in his career fed guests human flesh without them knowing.

His first murder was carefully planned and he killed a woman from the Seventh Day Adventist Church on the tracks near Uzunagach-Maibulak in January 1979. He said about his kill, “I cut the corpse breast with strips of fat, cut eggs, separated pelvis and hips. Then all these pieces folded into a backpack and brought it home. I melted the fat, pickled some and ate the fat." The ‘meat’ from this woman lasted him a month!

In 1979 he killed five more times, eating his victims every time. On August 21 that year he accidentally shot a work colleague and was arrested for it. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and released less than a year later where he returned to Uzunagach and killed three more times.

It was after his ninth murder that Dzhumagaliev was arrested. He had invited friends to his home and then killed one of his houseguests! He was discovered dismembering the body in another room and his guests, quite naturally, fled the house in terror. The police arrived to find Dzhumagaliev smeared with blood and on his knees and it shocked the attending officers enough that they let Dzhumagaliev escape and flee naked to the mountains holding only a hatchet.

The next day he was arrested in his cousin’s home and tried on December 3, 1981. He was found to be insane and sent to a closed clinic for treatment where he remained for eight years.In 1989 he escaped and then was recaptured in 1991. Whether he killed again during this time is unknown but whether he is still detained not known. Some say he is roaming free though others claim he is still in psychiatric care.

Wherever Dzhumagaliev is now, he can be recognized by his metal teeth, though whether or not he has ever been cured of his cannibalistic tendencies is unknown!

Luis Garavito

Luis Garavito was born in 1957 in Colombia and is a prolific rapist and killer, confessing to the rape and murder of one hundred and forty seven young boys and being believed to have killed over three hundred! Known as The Beast, he is probably one of the worst serial killers ever seen due to the sheer volume of corpses he has left behind him plus the torture and pain he inflicted on his victims. Whilst no psychiatric testing has been carried out on Garavito, his intelligence, methods and planning strongly indicate psychopathic tendencies.

Garavito was the oldest of seven children and claims to have been both physically and mentally abused by his father.

His victims were peasant children, often poor or living on the streets and typically aged between eight and sixteen. He would approach them in the morning, usually around 10am either on the street or in the countryside and offer gifts or an odd job, with the chance to earn money. Garavito knew that offering money itself would raise suspicion and that by approaching the children in the morning they were more likely to take up his offer of employment. He would often disguise himself as a street trader or other person who would need odd jobs done in return for money.

He would take the children for a walk and then strike when they became tired. He would torture the children, rape them and then cut their throats, often dismembering them afterwards.

Garavito divided suitable killing places into sectors and then killed one child in each sector. The children were often slowly tortured and would be tied, though still able to walk. A lot of the torture involved anal penetration though whether this was done before or after death is unknown.

He preferred to commit his crimes at the weekend when children were hanging around the marketplaces and he had perfected enticing them to go with him.

Whilst other serial killers of his ilk would keep physical trophies from the bodies, Garavito only kept cut out passport photos of his victims, often from their ID cards. These were kept in a box that he kept with one of his relatives.

After his arrest police also found a calendar with cryptic notes on which was a list of who he and killed and when. However, Garavito could precisely recall who he had killed, when he had killed them and where their bodies were buried. Exactly why he kept this list remains unknown.

On April 22, 1999 he was captured and confessed to killing one hundred and forty children, though was charged with the murder of one hundred and seventy two. Later confessions indicate the death toll was at least three hundred!

According to Colombia law, the sentences for each offence are added up and served consecutively, which would have meant he would be in prison for around two thousand six hundred years. The law also does not permit the death penalty and allows for a maximum of forty years total in jail, though as Garavito was cooperating he could well be released early! Since his case the law has been changed to allow a maximum of sixty years behind bars.

Garavito was an alcohol user, often leaving empty bottles of Schnapps next to his victims. He also claimed that he committed his crimes whilst drunk and taken over by what he described a “superior being”.

The psychopathic tendencies shown by Garavito in this case are truly shocking and quite how he managed to kill so many people and evade the law for so long is surprising. Hopefully he will spend life behind bars and not be released to kill again.


This book has shared with you some of the worst psychopaths the world has seen. Many of these killers have been caught and executed or imprisoned, but some are still at large or have never been caught.

Doctors are still investigating what creates a psychopath though it is believed to be genetic and mainly affect men.

The problem with a psychopath is that they are extremely intelligent and can look, to every intent and purpose, to be a normal person just like you and I. Sometimes the psychopathic tendencies are never awoken and remain dormant, yet on other occasions, something in their upbringing awakens this monster inside.

Psychopaths are thankfully rare, but when they are noticed they will certainly gain attention and make themselves known.