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10 of the Most Notorious Serial Killers of Our Time

Most of us could never imagine taking the life of another human being. But what about those who kill repeatedly? What makes them tick? Are they really crazy, or just thirsty for blood? Below are 10 of the most notorious killers of our time.

Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy was born Theodore Robert Cowell on November 24, 1946 in Vermont. Before he was executed by electric chair in 1989 he had confessed to killing 30 people, but there could be as many as 3-4 more.

David Koresh

David Koresh was born Vernon Wayne Howell on Aug 17 1959. His mother was 14. In 1983 David began claiming that he had the gift of prophecy and was leader of The Branch Davidians just outside of Waco Texas. On April 19 1993, the self proclaimed Lamb of God ended a 51 day standoff with authorities, resulting in a fire that claimed the lives of 80 Branch Davidians.. Twenty-five of them were children.

The Reverend Jim Jones

James Warren Jones was born on April 13, 1931. He later became founder of The Peoples Temple and preached what he called apostolic socialism to his many followers. On November 18 1978 Jones ordered his followers at Jonestown Guyana to take part in what is now looked at as the largest mass suicide in history. Over 900 people died from cyanide poisoning and gunshot wounds.

Richard Ramirez

Known to the world as The Night Stalker, Ricardo Nunoz Ramirez was born on February 29 1960 in El Paso Texas. By the age of 18 Ramirez was addicted to candy, drugs and heavily into Satanism. None were safe from the psychopath. He killed men and women of ages but he took particular pleasure in the rape, sodomy and mutilation of the women, prior to killing them.

On September, 20, 1989, The Night Stalker was found guilty on 43 counts in Los Angeles County, including 13 murders, and charges including burglary, sodomy, and rape. He was sentenced to death for each of the murders.

Gary Leon Ridgway

Gary Ridgway, known as the Green River Killer, was born on February 18 1949 in Salt Lake City Utah. Most of Ridgway`s victims were prostitutes and teenage runaways. In November 2003 Ridgway pleaded guilty to 48 counts of aggravated murder although he says he has killed 71.

Henry Lee Lucas

Born on August 23, 1936, Henry Lee Lucas was once listed as America`s most prolific serial killers. After his apprehension in June 1983, Lucas admitted in participating in the murders of 600 people. Lucas was convicted on several charges and given the death penalty, but the conviction was later commuted by then Governor George W. Bush. Lucas died of heart failure in prison in March 2001.

John Wayne Gacy

John Wayne Gacy was born on March 17, 1942 in Chicago Illinois. The world became a better place when Gacy was executed in May 1994 for the rape and murder of 33 teenage boys. Twenty-seven of the boys were found buried in the crawl space of Gacy`s home.

David Berkowitz

David Richard Berkowitz was born June 1, 1953 in Brooklyn N.Y. and became known as The Son of Sam. In 1977 Berkowitz confessed to killing 6 people and was sentenced to six life sentences (365 years)

Jeffrey Dahmer

Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer was born on May 21, 1960 in Wisconsin. Dahmer was known to dissect small animals as a child and by the time he was a teenager he was an alcoholic loner who was charged with public nudity . In 1988 he was found guilty of fondling a 13 year old boy and forced to register as a sex offender. Dahmer was convicted of 15 counts of murder as well as many other charges including rape and cannibalism and sentenced to life . On November 28, 1994 Dahmer was beaten to death by a fellow inmate.

Charles Manson

Charles Milles Manson was born on November 12, 1934. Charles spent most of his early life behind bars for petty offences. By the late 1960`s Manson was head of The Manson Family, a quasi-commune in California. Although Manson did not participate in any murders, he was convicted in 1969 for 7 murders including actress Sharon Tate who was pregnant at the time. Although he was originally sentenced to death, his sentence was later reduced to life imprisonment after the death penalty was abolished in California in 1972. Manson has publicly called himself The Devil and still claims to have ne remorse for his actions.

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User Comments
  1. Darlene McFarlane

    On May 13, 2008 at 9:00 am

    Very interesting! I could only take time to watch one video now but I intend to return to view the rest. I am familiar with all of these men except Henry Lee Lucas.

  2. Josey

    On May 13, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Very fascinating. I had no idea the extend of the damage that some of these men did.

  3. lanne

    On May 13, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    I have removed a few comments left here because I thought that some readers may have found them offensive. The reason that I included David Koresh in this article is because I think that he is without a doubt responsible for the lives that were lost in Waco. True, the FBI may not have handled things as they should have, but that does not take the blame from Koresh. You do not build a compound and fill it with firearms if you do not expect a stand off at some point: no matter what is or isn`t going on inside. I think that the only real mistake on the part of the FBI, is that when they heard mumblings of abuse, incest, child abuse and sodomy…they waited too long to go in there.

  4. shaun ashcroft

    On May 13, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Thank you for your up lifting story! What is it the drives a woman to write wonderful; recipes and then a story on serial killers! Did you think they were cereal killers!! Seriously, I enjoyed it, if that is the correct word to use. On this side of the world, I was familiar with just over half of them but was not aware of their exact details. I think so much of the parents and loved ones of the victims.What a nightmare for them. It also amazes me that noone suspected these people as they grew up that maybe they had a few things going on!
    Thanks again Lanne. These things do fascinate us.

  5. Ruby Hawk

    On May 13, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    We will never know what makes these people tick. But usually they have been abused as children in such horrible ways we cannot even imagine. I think the abuse disrupts the developement of the brain and causes it to go terribly askew. We will likely never know how their brains became so corupted. As far as Koresh goes, He is a different story. I think he was a mental case, and of course they all were so we are right back where we started.

  6. Judy Sheldon

    On May 13, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Lanne, David Berkowitz, Son of Sam was a particularly frightening individual for me because I lived in NY at the time that he was on rampage. He targeted brown haired women and many of my coworkers would not go out after work. Some even cut or dyed their hair.

  7. R.B. Parsley

    On May 13, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Great article!!!I remember these guys. At the time, the horror they instilled in others through they\’re crimes, was beyond belief. I know the feeling Judy is talking about. In the 80\’s Coleman Altman and Debra Brown terrorized Cincinnati.Myslf, one of my cousins and some of our friends had gone to Cincy to see a Reds ballgame. On our return trip home, my cousins car broke down before we even got out of Cincinnati. A couple police officers saw us and stopped to see if we were alright. We told them our car had broke down. They told us that Altman and his girl friend had just murdered someone just a block from where we broke down just within minutes of our breakdown. The two officers called in another squad car and had us taken to the police station where we not only slept for the night, but were given anything we wanted to eat or drink. In the officers lounge they had a TV we could watch. As luck would have it, that night turned into a very educational night for all of us.We learned a lot about Altman by listening to the police officers talk. The next morning we were given breakfast and taken back to our car. They gave us the name of a mechanic and directions. We were back on the road by noon. The mechanic didn\’t charge us for the repairs. It took us a while to get over the shock of being that close to something so tragically horrifying. It definitely was a night none of us have forgotten. A little tidbit about Rev Jim Jones. He was born and raised and lived in Lynn Indiana, where he had at one time his own church. He supposedly left Lynn and started The Peoples Temple a short time later. Excellent article, Lanne.


  8. Francie

    On May 13, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Something so very wrong with these people, very scary, deliberate actions taken, Frightening is putting it mildly. I cannot begin to imagine.

  9. Lucy Lockett

    On May 13, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    Interesting article but I could not listen to them, they do not deserve to be heard. They are sick of mind and heart.

  10. Anne Lyken-Garner

    On May 14, 2008 at 8:48 am

    Well, as someone wise once said, ‘you snooze, you lose.’ I have been collecting data over the past few months to write an article about murders like these, (I’ve even got some of the same ones) I haven’t put it together, but have been working on other things instead. I suppose I’ll just have to save it and publish it later with another name:-)

    Great article, shame you beat me to it (smile)! These were indeed some of the world’s most cruel,inhuman ‘people’.

  11. Jack65

    On May 22, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    Nice piece — with some kick-ass videos. Here’s another top 10 list of serial killers (this one featuring the more bizarre ones in history)

  12. Joe.

    On June 16, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    People tend to forget about the sniper that terriorized Montgomery County Maryland.

  13. emma

    On June 28, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    pretty scary stuff. I didn’t even get to watch most of the videos, due to them not playing. Oh well. About David Koresh, its really sad when so many people want to believe in something. they need to believe in something,and they go to a person like Koresh. And then they drag their children along because the parents believe in this thing. If they believe in free will, wouldnt you think their children have a mind too? I think they should make a movie on this David Koresh guy. I’d go see it. sure it would make big bucks!!!

  14. Lauren Axelrod

    On August 22, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Interesting and well researched article. What is interesting about Gary Ridgeway is that many of his characteristics were described by Ted Bundy when Ted spoke to the police about catching him. The polica had said they were shaking hands with the Devil himself.

  15. Shannon and Nicole :D

    On April 6, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Okay, these guys are completely insane. If you go around thinking about stuff like this all day, you know there’s something wrong. Their parents may HAVE beaten them, but that’s no excuse for them doing these horrible things. I know people who have been beaten, & they don’t walk around raping & killing & eating people. They are screwed up in the brain & need serious help. So, word of advice: if you have a child that dissects small animals, or looks at other children funny, or beats the dog, TAKE THEM TO A PSYCHOLOGIST.
    :] -Shannon

    I agree with Shannon. One I have been beaten by my dad and HELLO I haven’t killed or raped or done anything like that to anyone. I think that people spend to much time making up excuses for serial killers when there really isn’t a legitimate one. If you think there is then you’re just as messed up as the people who did all of these horrible things. AND if you think about rape, sodomy, and killing people, adult or child, you probably need to get help for that. True? Of course it’s true.

  16. Natasha H

    On April 10, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    It so crazy to think that these people looked like the average people walking around town, people who you say hello to, can actually be a serial killer. The main question is to a psychologist is what makes a smart every day looking and average living person go off the deep end and make homoside there hobby and to make matters worse make it so groomsome that its satisfiying to there feeble minds…

  17. Michael H

    On April 19, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    The most notorious serial killer in the WORLD, is actually Dr Harold Shipman.
    He was found guilty of 15 murders and given 15 life sentences. However…it was later PROVEN he definately murdered around 218 people, though this number (it is thought) is just the small amount of proved murders – compared to how many people think he really killed: MORE than 280.

    Why didn’t you include him ?

  18. lanne

    On April 19, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    Because as stated in the title, I was going for the most notorious, and I had never heard of Dr Shipman, and the rest of these guys are household names.

  19. the voice you need to hear

    On June 23, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    we are all responsible for the actions or inactions of every human being.our fascination with death,our fear of it,our hatred of things that cause it all speak to our fear of our own death.these humans that walk among us and kill indiscriminately are the realization of our collective fantasies of monsters and bogey men under the bed.we create stories,myths,all forms of media(entertainment)that speak to the phenomenon of the murderer and yet we blame that individual when our imaginary fears become reality.our society is obsessed with sex and death.why are we so shocked when these two elements combine and contribute to the majority of crimes,particularly serial murder?solong as we abdicate our responsibility to a system that is supposed to be made up of our citizens and just sit back and pass judgement on these other humans,at what point do we begin to become their conspirators?

  20. Name field is required

    On June 30, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Jeffrey Dahmer was probably the worst..

  21. acuarius09

    On July 7, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    to the person with the comment about we creating monsters and bogeyman that is not true we are not the one to blame for their actions we all make our bed and lay on it, these people deserve what they get you can not raise a grown person, if they call themselfs fearless then society should not feel sorry for these people we need to feel bad for the victims and their family noone deserves to die that way they heartlessa and uncaring so there for i don’t blame society for feeling the way they feel about these parasite that walk among us

  22. Candice

    On August 17, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Henry Lee Lucus did not kill 600 people. He may be the most fake serial killers but not one of the most deadly. I believe he only killed a few. He wanted to be the most notorious and was fed information to confess to other’s crimes. Its sad to think that 595 mothers bothers fathers and daughters will never now the true cercomstances of there loved one’s domize.

  23. Sergio

    On November 19, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    And were the hell is Andrei Chikatilo???

    On the other hand, Manson never killed anybody

  24. John

    On January 8, 2010 at 10:20 am

    One can debate as to whether Jim Jones and David Koresh can be defined as “serial Killers”. For a “Top 10″ list of serial killers Jones and Koresh should almost certainly be replaced with Otis Toole and Dan Conahan.

  25. John

    On January 8, 2010 at 10:30 am

    ….. Also, Coral Watts should be included in this list.

  26. Gage

    On February 19, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Of all those creeps Charles Manson is the best worst and ugliest of them all !

  27. Sammi

    On February 22, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    I thought that it was a good article, But I dont understand are these killers in order of more horrifying to less or just random because Ted Bundy compared to Reverend Jim Jones is nothing he practically murdered 900 people where as Ted had like 30…

    All in all enjoyed reading but I thought these were world serial killers?? They seem to all be in America….

  28. carly

    On February 28, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    hi everyone, i have just completed a novel on serial killers, if u would be so kind to let me use ur replys in my book at quotes it would be greatly appreciated.

    i have included all of the above criminals and many more with all the information i could get about them from very reliable resources.

    once it is published ill return to this site n let u know when its on sale, discounts for quotes i use of course haha.

    Lanne, great article!!!!!

  29. Big Pimpin

    On April 29, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Gay. Killin people is not kool.

  30. shake, milkshake

    On May 6, 2010 at 6:16 am

    rest in peace all those who have suffered from these miserably terrible creepy murderers who would think to take someones life.

    we all have struggles and tough times during our life, but we dont put it out on people by slaughtering them

  31. dfgdfgad

    On June 23, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    All these guys are burning in helll right now

  32. FaceOff

    On September 1, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    No doubt that they are the Worst Serial killers Ever in history

  33. Nory

    On September 7, 2010 at 12:25 am

    John Allen Mohammed should be on this list.

  34. dildo

    On December 8, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    bush should be on top of the list, he killed over 2,000 people on sep. 11. 2001

  35. lanne

    On December 9, 2010 at 12:14 am

    If we put Bush there, we have to put every world leader on the list. I am talking about sick individuals, not world leaders.

  36. toosty

    On January 16, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    these are only American killer, top record comes from Pakistan, suspect Javed Iqbal Mughal, covicted of murder of 119 children mostly young boys between ages 6 to 17 were Sodomized, Cannbalized, and their genitals were kept as trophies

  37. btk

    On April 13, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    btk was the man, he is the most sadistic and cunning

  38. The Killer

    On August 23, 2012 at 1:36 am

    you have some of my favorites up there #1 the king Ted Bundy,the Green River Killer, and of course manson. But why didn’t you include The Hillside Strangler- Kenneth Bianchi

  39. The Killer

    On August 23, 2012 at 1:37 am

    you have some of my favorites up there #1 the king Ted Bundy,the Green River Killer, and of course manson. But why didn’t you include The Hillside Strangler- Kenneth Bianchi

  40. The Killer

    On August 23, 2012 at 1:37 am

    you have some of my favorites up there #1 the king Ted Bundy,the Green River Killer, and of course manson. But why didn’t you include The Hillside Strangler- Kenneth Bianchi

  41. The Killer

    On August 23, 2012 at 1:37 am

    you have some of my favorites up there #1 the king Ted Bundy,the Green River Killer, and of course manson. But why didn’t you include The Hillside Strangler- Kenneth Bianchi

  42. The Killer

    On August 23, 2012 at 1:37 am

    you have some of my favorites up there #1 the king Ted Bundy,the Green River Killer, and of course manson. But why didn’t you include The Hillside Strangler- Kenneth Bianchi

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