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.

The Story Of The Grim Sleeper

During the summer of 1985 until 1988, a killing spree began in Southern Los Angeles. It all started when a woman reported that she was raped and shot, describing her killer as African American, aged mid-20s, a little under six feet, about 160lbs, well mannered, educated, pockmarked face and well kept. People were on the look out for the “Southside Slayer.”

As it turns out, the woman was explaining none other than Lonnie David Franklin Jr. After being arrested in 2010 for a crime he committed in 2002, he earned a new nickname: The Grim Sleeper. He earned this nickname because of the length between the crimes in 1988 and 2002.

Most of the victims were African American women (all but one). There is a suspicion that he did murder one African American male but not confirmed. Most of his victims were also sex workers and his victims were murdered by being shot with a .25 caliber gun.

He was finally arrested in 2010 due to new forensic evidence (DNA analysis). Although his DNA was not in the system, his son was convicted of a federal weapons charge and therefore was. They used this DNA to help find Franklin through familiar DNA matching.

The trial took a long time to get under way because the police were still trying to identify all of his victims and secure evidence from over 30 years ago leading to a very long pre-trial length.

His trial began in February 2016 and on May 5th, he was convicted of killing nine women and one teenage girl and one count of attempted murder.  On August 10th 2016 he was sentenced to death 10 times for each person he murder.

We still do not know what caused Franklin to start committing murders again after a 14-year hiatus. Nor are we sure that there were no murders done by him between 1988 and 2002.

You can watch a documentary to learn more about The Tales of The Grim Sleeper here:

Who Is The Serial Killer Larry Eyler?

Larry Eyler might not be roaming the streets any longer, but when he was young men and boys were in danger. Known as the Highway Killer and the Interstate Killer, his murderous spree crossed several state lines before he was finally apprehended.

Born in 1952, Eyler worked as a house painter and was active in the gay community. Some described him as being hot headed and violent. However, it is unlikely that most men saw the depth of his rage. When he died in 1994, it was due to AIDS rather than the penal system.

Larry Eyler told his attorney about the murders of more than a dozen men (which is why you need an estate plan), though she could not release the list until after his death. He had penned it in hopes of negotiating a plea deal.

It is believed that he was ashamed of his homosexuality as much as he enjoyed it. Unfortunately, he turned his rage and shame onto others, sometimes with force. While not convicted of rape itself, the murderer was found guilty of aggravated kidnapping in relation to some of his victims.

His murderous spree was much shorter than many others that you might have heard of. The almost two dozen murders committed by Eyler took place in 1982-1984. While he might have thought that traveling to new states would keep the heat off of him, that didn’t occur. Although Indianapolis authorities charged him with the death of Steven Agan in 1982, he was back on the streets thanks to a plea bargain.

Additional victims continued to be found by police in Kentucky and Indiana. In total, he murdered young men in five different states before being caught. He was a person of interest in some investigations, but authorities were having trouble actually tying him to any of the murders.

Although he attempted to sue the sheriff’s office for harassment and using psychological warfare to drive him crazy, the case was dismissed. Evidence they had collected during a vehicle search was not allowed in a case filed against him and detectives thought they were going to lose the case.

However, a skittish dog led to remains of one of his victims and his subsequent arrest and incarceration. While he identified an accomplice for at least four of his murders, the man was acquitted on all charges due to lack of evidence. Eyler died in 1994 having confessed more than 20 murders to his attorney.

Who Is The Serial Killer John Robinson?

When it comes to serial killers, John Robinson makes the list as one of the earliest to use the internet to lure his victims. Born in the early 1940s to a stern mother and an alcoholic father, he struggled to find his place in the world but failed to do so through academics.

However, that didn’t stop the con man from using falsified credentials to secure a decent job. He was arrested for embezzling money from the practice rather than a failure to do his duties properly. Although he attempted to act and interact with the community as an average citizen, that was simply not the case.

Though his first victim has not been found, investigators believe his employee Paula Godfrey fell prey to him in 1984. It appears that he found his next victim the following year while using an assumed name. A young mother in a shelter for abused women, she thought he was going to help her and her daughter. Instead, he forged paperwork and sold her daughter to his own brother, taking money from him for the effort. Lisa Stasi, the mother, was never seen nor heard from again. A third potential victim vanished after being hired by Robinson, but her case is still open.

Incarcerated from 1987 to 1993 for various fraud and related convictions, John Robinson stepped up his game by the time that he got out. In addition to luring the prison librarian to leave Missouri and return with him to Kansas, where she was never heard from again, he also began to cruise the web under the name of Slavemaster in search of new victims.

While the name might seem twisted, he used the dominant cover in the early BDSM chat rooms. After luring several victims to his farm, he began to make mistakes and eventually authorities were able to search his property due to allegations of theft.

What they found was a grisly discovery: two dead women. Missouri authorities then had probable cause to search a storage facility rented by Robinson where they found five additional bodies, bringing the total number of dead women to at least seven.

Considered by some to be the first internet killer, John Robinson sits on death row in Kansas. He is the first sentence upheld since the 1994 reinstatement of capital punishment in Kansas. It is feared by police that there are additional victims which have yet to be found, leaving this harrowing tale with potentially more to come.