We don’t even know the faces of these notorious, mysterious figures, let alone their real names.
Jack the Ripper
Let’s start with the most famous serial killer of all time, Jack the Ripper. This murderer operated in the Whitechapel area of London, England, in 1888 and is credited with at least five victims, though more (or even fewer) is possible. His main targets appeared to be prostitutes. It has never been fully confirmed, but several letters sent to London police were said to have been from Jack the Ripper, though the veracity of these letters has often been questioned. Similar murders, showing a penchant for mutilation and butchery, against prostitutes had happened in London before 1888 and continued on later, though none of those have been directly linked to this killer. Numerous suspects have been named as Jack the Ripper over the years, though the truth remains unknown more than a hundred years later.
The Zodiac Killer
Like the others listed here, the identity of this serial killer has never been known for sure, though there has been at least one strong suspect who died in 1992. The Zodiac Killer was active in California in the late 1960s through the mid-1970s. He killed at least five people, though in letters to police and the media, he claimed to have killed many more. Two of his victims survived, though none could ever tell police who the killer was, though there were some basic descriptions offered. During one attack, this killer was known to have worn a bag over his head, making identification difficult. He also played a cat-and-mouse game with law enforcement, mailing cryptic notes and coded letters to police, newspapers and television stations. Police at the time also thought it possible the Zodiac Killer took credit for disappearances and murders of which he was not truly connected. The final murder count will likely never be known.
Cleveland Torso Murderer
Between 1935 and 1938, 12 to 15 murder victims are suspected of having been killed by the Cleveland Torso Murderer, who received his name because he usually dismembered his victims. There has been some evidence and speculation that similar killings were going on as early as the 1920s and into the 1950s in the northern Ohio region (and some in Pennsylvania), but none of these others have definitively been tied to this one killer. Of those thought to have been slain by the Cleveland Torso Murderer, 12 are considered definite victims of this killer, while others are still somewhat questionable. Only two of the victims have ever to be identified. There have been two suspects tied to these murders. The first one was arrested by law enforcement officers and died in jail, police brutality being suspected. The second, and arguably stronger, suspect was a doctor who was institutionalized in 1938 and died in a hospital in 1965; this doctor was known to have been a member of a medical unit that performed amputations during World War I.