Who Was Ahmad Suradji?

Although we’re often taught to believe that the U.S. is the best at everything, it might surprise you to know that other countries breed their fair share of bat-crap crazy serial killers with equally bizarre rituals. Ahmad Suradji grew up in Medan, the capital of Indonesia, and would eventually confess to the slaughter of 42 women over the span of about a decade. He wasn’t picky about age, and killed an eclectic bunch ranging from about 17 to 40. And you thought all the crazy serial killers lived in New York

He was also known for breeding cattle.

Suradji lived on a sugarcane plantation and buried the majority of his victims there, where they were eventually discovered just prior to his arrest on April 30, 1997. He was absolutely sure that the heads of his victims were pointing toward his home, because he thought it would give him a power-up.

It gets weirder. He had three wives–sisters–who sometimes assisted him. Like most hobbies, killing is apparently more fun when the activity can be shared with those you love the most.

We’ll skip how he was caught, and focus instead on why he committed so many murders in the first place. He had a dream. In it, he was told by the ghost of his dead father that in order to attain status as a mystic healer (and we’re guessing an immortal legacy), all he had to do was drink the saliva of a measly 70 women. Oh, but they couldn’t be alive at the time. It had to be dead girl saliva, or it didn’t count.

He got lazy. He decided that he didn’t want to wait for chance encounters with 70 dead women, and so opted for the more reasonable approach to making his long-term goals a reality: he would just kill them all himself. No big deal. Mystic healing powers are nothing when compared with a few months or years of work. Did the steps for fulfilling the prophecy have to be followed to the letter? Questions for later.

Because Suradji was considered a sorcerer by the locals, women were already fond of making frequent visits. How do you most easily make the jump from offering spiritual advice to premeditated murder? Well, you make sure the women who come to you know that they need to be buried up to the waist, or else the real magic just can’t work like it should. The women were buried, and instead of working magic Saradji worked his hands around their necks rather tightly without offering the promised spiritual advice, after which he took his wet reward from their still-warm bodies.

Someone eventually saw a corpse with its head sticking out of the dirt at the plantation, he was caught red-handed, and the rest as they say is history.

Firing squads were a lot more common in Indonesia than in the U.S. at the time–another fascinating benefit of living abroad. Suradji was convicted of the murders and then killed by this means on July, 10, 2008 at the age of 59. We’re sure his wives, who all faced lesser charges and shorter sentences, will miss him always.

What Did Ted Bundy Like To Do In His Free Time, And Who Was His Daddy?

The man, the myth, the crazy guy with the unibrow you can’t look away from: Ted Bundy. Who was he, and why was he such a national sensation? You already know the answer, even if you don’t know the details. He was a serial killer operating in the U.S. with a penchant for kidnapping, rape and necrophilia–you know, the usual subject of American fascination. He liked them oh-so-young and eventually confessed to upwards of 30 murders while in police custody. But how did this tragic, and tragically enticing, story come to be?

His story is an interesting one. Because we live in a society that treats its bastards like unicorn turds, dear young Ted was raised by his grandparents instead of his not-quite-as-young-but-still-pretty-young mother, who subsequently posed as his sister. He eventually saw through the elaborate ruse (after being called a bastard), and seethed with rage toward his deceptive mommy. Although the real story isn’t clear from later interviews with Ted, it seems like his real father whom he never met and his actual grandparents were an abusive lot who liked the drink. By high school, Ted was stealing equipment to pursue his only normal hobby of skiing. Darker hobbies came a little later.

So he didn’t have the best childhood. Noted.

Ted had a fairly normal college experience before beginning to skip class. That’s how it happens, really: a young, upstanding citizen starts skipping class and before you know it young girls are starting to vanish from the face of the Pacific Northwest.

Or perhaps it began much earlier–a couple of homicide detectives strongly believe that Bundy began his serial killing stint in his teens. Either way, in 1974 women were popping out of existence on average of once a month. At first detectives didn’t know what to make of it, except that there was nothing obvious to connect the young women to one another, and an aggravating lack of evidence pointing to foul play. Eventually, remains were discovered near a site where Bundy often hiked and more at a state park. Things were starting to come together, but Bundy still wasn’t located.

Bundy moved to Salt Lake City to go back to college, and shockingly women began to disappear yet again. Ted was known to have brutally beaten, rape, sodomize, strangle, shampoo hair, and apply makeup with his victims. Sadly, that was also the typical order of operations during a ritual that was at that point routine for him.

This model citizen was caught by authorities in Utah in 1975 for the minute charges of aggravated kidnapping and attempted criminal assault. It wasn’t long before the local judicial system figured out that those charges were mere child’s play for Bundy, who was eventually connected to a series of murders spanning a number of states. Like most crazy people, he chose to represent himself during a preliminary hearing in Aspen. Since judges are stupid, Bundy was freed from his cuffs and allowed access to the courthouse library. You know those courthouses you walk past on busy city roads? This wasn’t one of those. He jumped from the second story window and poof! He was gone.

Because there was a much longer list of incompetent people involved, or maybe because Bundy is just that good, he was incarcerated again, escaped a second time, murdered three more people, and was then finally captured–for good–in Florida by 1978.

He was executed at the age of 42 on January 24, 1989, and gave most everyone in the country a reason to be thankful for capital punishment. His legacy of terror persists even today. Will we ever get over our possibly unhealthy obsession with serial killers, rapists, mass murders, explosions, and dystopian TV dramas? Probably not.

Luis Garavito: The Ghoul Of Columbia

There is really almost nothing to say about a man who is sentenced to eight centuries in jail for his crimes. And when a man is known for raping and killing young boys, well …

Silence is golden. But writing no more words would be bad for blogging, so we’ll force ourselves to tell his story because it is a man most in North America will not know about otherwise, yet is someone who puts Charles Manson and Jeffery Dahmer combined to shame.

Luis Garavito is considered one of the world’s worst serial killers (right up there with H.H Holmes in the U.S. and Jack the Ripper in Europe), yet because he was in Latin America, not many people know about him. His exploits were almost legendary in scale in that he confessed to sexually assaulting and killing almost 200 young boys between the ages of 6 and 16 over a seven-year period in the 1990s (about five every two months over that time), and it wasn’t until he was arrested for suspicion of sexually assaulting a boy that was not killed did the police find out about his killing spree.

Garavito confessed to every murder, and in fact drew detailed maps to show authorities where all the bodies were located. It is believed that Garavito may have killed as many as 300 by the time all is said and done, considering the number of unreported crimes and unfound missing children around that time.

As Garavito confessed to murders in Colombia (they were scattered about 11 of the country’s 32 districts) and Ecuador, he has had prison sentences piled on each other in that he is serving what amounts to more than 830 years in prison.

How did he do so much killing without being caught sooner? Authorities said he often would drift around the country, preying on homeless or unattended boys while dressed as a priest or monk, inducing the boys with money or drink. Many of the boys would not be reported missing because there was a lack of adult supervision or guardianship over many of these children, which made it easier for Garavito to steal away his victims, sexually assault them, mutilate their bodies, kill them and bury them with no one being the wiser.

It may not be surprising to learn that Garavito grew up in a rough childhood, colored with abuse from his father and others. He had just five years of formal schooling and left home at 16, gathering odd jobs before eventually drifting around the country. His killing spree began sometime in 1992 when he was about 35 years old, and encompassed nearly 60 towns and cities around Colombia and Ecuador by the time he was finally jailed in April 1999.

Colombia does not have the death penalty, but as the country has not had a serial killer of such magnitude before, and considering the victims and the general outrage of Garavito’s story, according to a website, there has been a push to change the law to allow for an execution in these rare instances.

Why Is Amelia Dyer One Of The Most Notorious Serial Killers In History?

Out of all the serial killers whose murderous adventures interest society the most, none transcend the notable women who make the list. Especially those whose murders took place over a century ago. One of the most infamous serial killers of all time, Amelia Dyer, etched her name into history books forever as a result of killing babies. That’s right. Babies. It doesn’t get any worse (unless you keep reading).

Born in Britain, Dyer was a nurse living in poverty after her husband died, and she desperately needed a way to support herself. Perhaps it was not long until she had an epiphany that would change her life (and the lives of many soon-to-be-murdered infants) forever. She would turn to baby farming. If you’re confused, don’t worry. You’re in good company. When people needed a little extra cash, they would turn to parents who could not or would not care for their own kids. In other words, baby farming was a genuine kids-for-cash get-rich-quick scheme. For Dyer, it didn’t work out so well.

The whole business of baby farming may have started out innocently enough, but time and circumstance would pave the way for tragedy. We don’t know if she murdered the first batch, but a few did not survive Dyer’s care all the same. In addition to the ones she had adopted, she was already caring for her own two. When her baby farm started to lose members, she was tried and convicted of negligence. For her alleged crime, she was forced to do six months of hard labor.

After that, it’s a lot more clear that she was murdering kids on purpose. Because she strangled them and dumped their bodies, it became a lot easier to decipher her intent. Eventually, one of the murdered kids was found in a bag floating down the Thames River. Whatever evidence was found with the body, it implicated her in the murder.

This time she wouldn’t get off the hook so easy. Or at all, really. She was convicted of murder and sentenced to hang, a punishment that was carried out on June 10, 1896. The date capped a life of pain and trauma that included the deaths of two younger sisters and the care of a deteriorating and raving mother dying of typhus, in addition to the cruelty and mental instability that had frequently landed her in the care of asylums that obviously did little to help work out her problems. Experts believe she tried to commit suicide at least once.

It is not known exactly how many children’s lives she was responsible for ending, but the number is thought to be more than four hundred. Only twelve were ever definitively confirmed.

Someone even proposed the theory that Dyer was responsible for the Jack the Ripper killings. Although it was probably a theory deemed unlikely, it could be somewhat plausible. Dyer probably had the expertise to perform abortions (although Jack the Ripper was responsible for killing prostitutes as the result of improperly performed abortions). Could the two serial killers in fact be one? We’ll probably never know if there was a real connection.

Like all terrible acts of cruelty, the case did lead to some positive change. Afterward, Britain made adoption a more strenuous affair in order to make “baby farming” more difficult for those seeking financial gain in exchange for kids who obviously did not stand to benefit from the arrangements of their elders.

H. H. Holmes: A New-Old Celebrity

Though we had a revolution to claim our independence from England, the United States has had a generally positive diplomatic and trade relationship with Great Britain over the last two centuries.

But could we have inadvertently exported one of the more horrific American products?

That theory surrounds the renewed fame of America’s first known serial murderer, H.H. Holmes.

Holmes, who lived in the last half of the 19th century, is featured in a History Channel series called “American Ripper,” which looks into the possibility that Holmes may well be infamous British serial killer Jack the Ripper, who lived at the same time as Holmes.

Holmes confessed to as many as 27 murders during the latter part of the 19th century, though actually only less than 10 could be reasonably corroborated. In fact, it was believed that he had claimed to murdering some people who were actually still alive. Nonetheless, he was finally caught after being on the run and was executed for the murders in 1896.

Holmes was an interesting case. He was known to be very bright, and had built an elaborate house that later was called the “murder castle,” as it would have a maze of rooms and trap doors that Holmes would supposedly lure his victims into and they would disappear, not to be heard from again. In fact, he assumed the name Dr. H.H. Holmes to be a pharmacist in Chicago, where he eventually worked for a shop owner and ended up taking over the business when the owner mysteriously disappeared.

Then the three-story Holmes house was built, which had living quarters upstairs and a maze of rooms where victims would be killed, many of them by gas that was pumped into the rooms. Then, Holmes could move bodies to the basement through a system of trap doors and chutes, and he supposedly could then burn the bodies in the basement kiln.

When he was younger, he purportedly performed surgery on animals and was implicated in the death of a childhood friend, though it couldn’t be proven.

And there was something to be said for Holmes, as it was rumored that he actually wasn’t executed, and instead escaped and went into hiding. How? He had admitted when he was arrested before his execution that he had defrauded several insurance companies in college by using cadavers to “stand in” for people who were alive, convincing the companies that the people were dead.

He was actually arrested for insurance fraud, but while in custody, he confessed to the murders. He wasn’t arrested for the murders initially. Sounds a little like getting Al Capone, who directed the murder of countless people in Chicago, being thrown in jail for tax evasion, not murder.

Could he have convinced people that he was dead, while he escaped to England like Speedy Gonzalez and then became “Jack the Ripper,” the most notorious serial murderer of the last 200 years? One documentary series will apparently try to confirm or dispel those rumors.

The Serial Killer Sergei Ryakhovsky

At least nineteen people died at the hands of a skilled serial killer in Moscow between 1988 and 1993. His name was Sergei Ryakhovsky, and he would eventually be caught, tried, and convicted for his crimes. He was slammed with a life sentence for the string of murders, and died of untreated tuberculosis at the age of 42 while he was serving his time. Some would say it wasn’t nearly enough of a punishment for what he did, and others would agree.

He was likely addicted to the adrenaline rush provided by sexual encounters, himself claiming “an irresistible desire for intimacy with a woman.” Age was apparently just a number for Ryakhovsky, as he repeatedly tried to rape elderly women before he was sent to prison for four years after a “hooliganism” conviction. It’s sort of a light charge for attempted rape, as hooliganism is more of a catch-all in Russia and other parts of the world for immoral behavior that most don’t approve of. While technically accurate, hooliganism is not a stiff charge.

Ryakhovsky discovered his love for killing in 1988, when he murdered a gay man on the outskirts of Moscow. He went on a quick killing spree that same year, killing three more gay men. When asked why, he suggested that he wanted to cleanse society of homosexual abominations and prostitutes.

It turned out that it wasn’t so important who they were.

He murdered men, elderly women, and teenagers before he was caught–and they’re just the ones we know about for certain. The murders became progressively more brutal as time went on. Most of his killing was done by stabbing, but he also liked to strangle victims to death with just his bare hands. Sometimes he used a bit of rope. He mutilated many of their bodies, sometimes performing sexual acts on the corpses to gratify himself. Mostly the mutilation involved the genitalia of the victims.

He started mutilating victims in other ways toward the end of his run. One elderly man was decapitated and had his leg cut off the next day. An elderly woman was eviscerated with some sort of firework or other pyrotechnic device. His second-to-last victim was only sixteen years old, but Ryakhovsky wasn’t any nicer to children. He hanged the young boy, then disemboweled and decapitated him.

When detectives were examining one of the crime scenes, they came upon a shack. Inside the shack was an unused noose. They decided that the killer must be readying another victim for hanging, and so they lay in wait. When Ryakhovsky stumbled into the shack, they arrested him. When asked why he did not resist, he suggested that he was afraid of their weapons. That’s the mind of a killer for you.

While he initially confessed to the murders and explained in grisly detail, he was eventually diagnosed with a biological malfunction that led to his necrophiliac impulses. Even so, he was deemed competent to stand trial, and went on to do so. He discovered his recent diagnosis at this time, and stopped cooperating with the legal system. He recanted his previous confessions, but at this point it didn’t matter.

He was to die by firing squad after being sentenced to death in 1995, but Russia began the process of ending the death penalty before it was carried out. Instead, this cold-blooded killer received life in prison.

Was Hitler a Serial Killer?

As far as prominent figures in history are concerned, very few are more compelling of a subject than Adolf Hitler. An extremely charismatic leader well known for restructuring the German government following World War I, there are many theories that still circulate and even new theories being developed today about Hitler: his motives, his secret life, and even his psychological evaluation. Some have even speculated that he is a serial killer of the most perverted kind. Literally.

Historical accounts have claimed that Hitler was so driven by the idea of killing that it had even aroused him sexually. One-time German actress Marianne Hoppe claimed in an interview to have witnessed him rubbing his knees together as he “got some kind of orgasm” during a viewing of “The Rebel” in Hitler’s Berlin palace. The film featured Austrian soldiers against French soldiers, the former killing the latter by throwing rocks down upon them. And while many might interpret this as sick and twisted in its own right, is it a fair assessment by itself to consider Hitler a serial killer?

First, to consider the definition of a serial killer – which, in itself, can be a difficult task. There are many elements that go into the definition of serial killing, these elements coming from different sources. The FBI, an agency that likely sees its fair share of serial killers, defines a serial killer as anyone who has committed at least three murders over a period greater than a month with an “emotional cooling off period in between.” Barring the interpretation of a cooling off period, it’s hard to imagine anyone might debate this stipulation. Whether Hitler was or was not directly involved in the countless lives lost during the Holocaust, it is almost impossible not to associate him with the deaths regardless, other it would be fraud. However, this is hardly the only definition provided to us that fills out what a serial killer is. The National Institute of Justice provides a bit more specific criteria before someone can be classified as such; they say that a person must commit at least two murders with a strong psychological motive and is generally associated with “sadistic sexual overtones.”

Of course, under the assumption that Hitler did hold a strong sexual urgency toward death to the point that it drove him to command others to kill, one could argue that he fulfilled this condition as well. However, others might make the argument that even this definition of serial killing is too specific and exclusive. Psychologists, for example, employ a concept called prototype theory in an attempt to classify people based on the most pertinent archetypes. In the case of serial killers, some of the more famed individuals that come to mind are Ted Bundy and the Zodiac Killer, who may or may not have killed under the pretense of sexual motivation. However, there was a very common thread that spooled through the victims of the previously mentioned figures. In the case of Hitler, the same could be argued in regard to the Nazi propaganda that called for the eradication of the Jewish people and the cultivation of the Aryan race. However, the proposition that Hitler may have also been motivated sexually throws an entirely new variable into the equation. So, now the question must be asked; is this the mark of a serial killer or just the general tendencies of a genocidal dictator?

Aileen Wuornos: The Monster

“The Monster” is quite the appropriate nickname for Aileen Wuomos. While she was indeed evil, and there was no excuse for her actions, there was a clear time in her life where her evil was created, much like many fictional monsters throughout history.

Wuornos’ background is just about as harrowing as one could possibly be. She never met her father (he was charged with sex crimes against children and hanged himself in prison), was abandoned by her mother, sold herself for food and drugs at the age of 11, got sexually assaulted by her grandfather, was pregnant by 14, dropped out of school at 15, and lived in the woods as a prostitute to support herself.

The mental makeup of any person would be extremely distorted after what happened to Wuornos. Unfortunately, however, she responded about as negatively as one could to that terrible situation. She was arrested for a DUI when she was 18 and escaped the authorities by moving to Florida, where she married a 69-year-old man. Her brother then passed away, and she burned her $10,000 inheritance in less than two months.

After being arrested for armed robbery, she was arrested for car theft, where police found extra ammunition and a loaded gun below the driver’s seat of her stolen car. This was not enough to lock her up for good, however, as she met her soulmate, Tyria Moore, at a gay bar a few months later.

After teaming up with Moore, Wuornos turned to prostitution to provide for them. This is where her murders started. Wuornos murdered seven people, all of whom she claimed were in the process of raping her after they hired her as a prostitute. The victims of criminal activity included a store owner, a rodeo worker, a sausage salesman, and a security guard.

Wuornos and Moore stole the car of Peter Siems, a victim of The Monster’s crimes. When they were in an accident, their likenesses were reported to the authorities, and they were arrested for his murder, along with the murder of several others. In exchange for immunity, Moore was able to persuade Wuornos to confess for her crimes.

Although Wuornos confessed, she stressed that she only murdered men who were attempting to rape her. She was found guilty for sixth death sentences, as Siems’ body was never found, so she was not found guilty of his death. Wuornos was the tenth woman executed in the United States since 1976.

Serial Killers: Carl Panzram

When people think about stereotypical criminals in the early 1900s, young Carl Panzram fits the bill perfectly. He had a bit of an alcohol problem, was always getting into trouble with the police, and ran away from home when he was only 14 years old.

In order to try and escape his troubled past, Panzram enlisted in the US Army, where he was promptly charged with larceny and ordered to serve a two year prison sentence by future president William Howard Taft. Panzram claimed that any shred of good left in him was destroyed in this time.

He was not reformed whatsoever in his time in prison, as after his release he continued his thieving ways. After being caught and imprisoned several times under several aliases throughout the country, Panzram emerged truly evil. His time in prison was full of beatings, as he routinely attacked guards and neglected their orders.

Panzram’s lack of remorse and huge physical frame helped create the monster he decided to become after his time in prison. He described himself as “rape personified” as his lack of remorse and physical strength made him nearly impossible to fend off, even though all of his victims were male. The only time in his life where he didn’t actively engage in crime was during his time as a strikebreaker, until he was dismissed for showing up to work intoxicated.

On June 1, 1995, after burglarizing a house in Oregon, Panzram was arrested while trying to sell stolen items. Panzam was sentenced to seven years in a penitentiary where the warden believed in harsh treatment of prisoners. Panzram was involved in the murder of the warden when he helped a fellow inmate escape. Like the true outlaw he was, Panzram was able to escape himself by sawing through his jail cell and escaping east via freight train.

After his escape, he raided William Howard Taft’s home, stole a gun, and began a murder spree. He would lure sailors outside of bars, get them drunk, and kill them before disposing of their bodies in a body of water. Panzram continued his spree after catching a boat to Africa, as he admitted to killing children and men while he was there.

All in all, Panzram confessed to over 20 murders and thousands of rapes and other personal injury. When he was sentenced to the death penalty, he refused any appeals, and asked his executioner to hurry up. Panzram wrote about his horrifying crimes in detail while on death row, and his story has been made into several movies and documentaries. He is the embodiment of evil.

Tsutomu Miyazaki: The Human Dracula

Tsutomu Miyazaki was the textbook definition of a creepy guy. Even when compared to other serial killers, the things he did to his victims was nothing short of horrifying, from engaging in vampirism to preserving body parts.

Miyazaki murdered four young girls from August 1988 to June 1989 and faced trial for those crimes once he was caught. In his trial, it was revealed that his crimes might be a result of his father’s incestuous relationship with Miyazaki’s sister. On top of this, it was discovered that Miyazaki had hands so deformed that he needed to move his whole forearm just to rotate his hand.

Before he committed his crimes, Miyazaki moved into his parents’ house but did not want to work at his father’s newspaper. He apparently only wanted to be heard by his family, but they were far more concerned with production than emotion.

When his grandmother died in May of 1988, Miyazaki truly entered his most evil state for the first time. This deepened his already pretty damn deep depression, and in an attempt to keep her in this world, ate her ashes. After this, his sister caught him spying on her in the shower, which caused him to attack her.

While nothing will ever absolve him of his enormous crimes, not even CMZ, at least we were able to get some insight as to how someone so terrible could be created.

As for the murders, Miyazaki murdered four young girls between the age of four and seven and consequently violated their corpses. He drank the blood of one and ate the hand of another. Miyazaki then sent letters to the families of the girls he killed. He would send their burnt remains along with cryptic messages, which might have been the evilest part of all.

Miyazaki was caught in a park trying to take inappropriate photos of a schoolgirl and was eventually tracked down by the police after he escaped on foot. The police found thousands of videotapes in his house, which contained many pictures of his victims.

Miyazaki was executed on June 17, 2008, after being sentenced to death on April 14, 1997, which is an incredibly prompt timeframe in the Japanese court system. Many believe that Miyazaki inspired two copycat killers, which was a big reason for the swiftness of his execution.