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Seven Famous Female Serial Killers of Their Time

Female serial killers and the crimes they committed.

When you think of serial killers  you usually think of men.  I compiled a list of seven of  some of the worlds most famous female serial killers in their time. These women have committed some of the most heinous crimes imaginable.

Number one on our list is:

Mary Ann Cotton:  She was born in an English Village of  County Durham, what is now the city of Sounder land. She married at age 20, to William Mowbray in Newcastle. They had nine children; eight  of which died of gastric fever. William later died of intestinal disorder. She was later convicted of killing more than 20 people by arsenic poisoning; which included her children.  She collected on their insurance money and  was later sentenced and hanged on the 24th of March,1873 at Durham County Jail.    

 Number two on our list is:                                                                     

Marybeth Tinning: She was convicted for killing nine of her own children by strangulation. One by one should would bring her children into the hospital in an almost dead like state, claiming that they had just stopped breathing. Doctors believed the cause to be genetic until her adoptive son Michael was brought in by her in the same unconscious like state. Since Michael was adopted the theory of the Tinnings family deaths being the result of genetics was soon discarded. Suspicion mounted against Tinnings but there was no evidence. She then confessed to the authorities, which she contracted later. On the 17th of July, 1987, she was sentenced to life in prison. She is currently incarcerated at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Bedford New York.

Number three on our list is:

Nannie Doss:She was born in 1905, the 4th of Nov. Also known as”Giggling Granny” she was responsible for the killings of 11 people. between 1920 and 1954. Her victims included her two sisters, her mother and mother in law, her grandson, a nephew and four husbands. She was later sentenced to life and imprisoned in 1955. She died of leukemia in 1965 in Oklahoma State Pen. 

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  1. goodselfme

    On December 4, 2008 at 1:35 am


    Horrible acts, especially the ones with children. an enlightening post.

  2. S A JOHNSON

    On December 4, 2008 at 1:48 am


    The giggling granny really disturbed me because she looks soo pleasant.

  3. Inna Tysoe

    On December 4, 2008 at 2:13 am


    Disturbing–but you make a good point.

    Inna

  4. Christine Ramsay

    On December 4, 2008 at 4:27 am


    Wow! That is terrible Debra! I can’t believe women could do that to their own childre. Good article though.

    Your friend
    Christine

  5. BC Doan

    On December 4, 2008 at 6:41 am


    As a mother, I agree with all the comment above! What a terrible act! Great article, Debra!

  6. Reilley

    On December 4, 2008 at 8:06 am


    Great article about a difficult subject

  7. Morgana

    On December 4, 2008 at 9:00 am


    It is sad enough to kill people you don’t know——–but your own children? and already born -in my opinion abortion is killing but the women that do it don’t have to see the sad face crying but these women did -I don’t have enough words to express my disgust and sadness to learn of this————.

  8. joystick7

    On December 5, 2008 at 4:07 am


    This was an interesting post although the act is merciless!!

  9. Ruby Hawk

    On December 6, 2008 at 10:26 pm


    Can you imagine a woman that would kill her own children? It blows the mind. It is unthinkable. These women had no knowledge of right or worng or any love in their hearts. But what happened along the way to make them that way What kind of abuse did they suffer? That would be interesting to know.

  10. eddiego65

    On December 7, 2008 at 2:35 am


    How horrible! Imagine killing one’s own flesh and blood! Great article though!

  11. M J katz

    On December 7, 2008 at 5:14 am


    So disturbing! For a woman to kill her children is especially bad. No maternal feelings, no love, no remorse…nothing! I’ll bet there’s a background of abuse for most of them but there could be a endocrine imbalance, too. And, unfortunately, hormonal secretion levels can’t always be ‘fixed’.
    And then, again, maybe it’s just plain rottonness! I feel so bad for the victims and other family members.

  12. Poetic Enigma

    On December 7, 2008 at 9:54 pm


    Oh wow! I have not heard of these things….
    But this is a great article

  13. BoJack454@ Triond

    On December 8, 2008 at 12:41 pm


    Scary stuff.I only knew about two of these cases,Aileen,who the movie”Monster” was about and the one from Texas mentioned in the other article.This really hits home for me because my brothers and I suffered horrible abuse by my mother,who was a monster,at least we lived,but she almost killed me a few different times,once splitting my head open with a cast iron skillet.people like that shoul be locked up and tortured themselves.
    There is NEVER a reason to hurt your own children like that.

  14. trishia

    On December 17, 2008 at 8:30 pm


    Great information,but quite a shock to think anyone would kill their own children.

  15. rutherfranc

    On January 31, 2009 at 12:46 pm


    this is a very fine piece of informative article, disturbing as it may be. Nobody can truly say the character of a person by just looking at them..

  16. brandi

    On April 18, 2009 at 10:19 am


    althouh killing is a bad thing to do…its not all her fault she finds some type of pleasure in it and like sex you find pleasure in it so yu keep doin it think of it like that great informational article!

  17. blackrose

    On May 8, 2009 at 1:22 am


    I am also sadden to have read about what these women did, but I wander if there was any warning signs and anyn mental disorders with these women and what kind of abuse did they suffer if there was any.

  18. carmen

    On May 13, 2009 at 8:17 pm


    I can’t believe Erzsébet Báthory isn’t included on this list. The countess who killed servant girls killed more than 600 of them. She is possibly the most prolific female serial killer in history and is remembered as the “Blood Countess”!

  19. xoxo

    On May 31, 2009 at 7:51 am


    So scary. These women are definitely sick :(

  20. Anne McNew

    On May 31, 2009 at 8:49 pm


    Huh that was really weird.
    but this is well written. thanks for sharing this great information.

  21. Ryan

    On July 18, 2009 at 6:38 am


    Hi There, good informative article. Just one small thing to note, Mary Cotton was in fact hanged in 1873 and not 1973!

  22. Debra Mann

    On July 18, 2009 at 4:51 pm


    Thank-you Ryan, for that small but very important correction. Don’t know how I missed that one.

  23. Mark

    On July 20, 2009 at 9:42 am


    As for mental disorders/mental illnesses I read an article on Waneta Hoyt, and she was thought to have pervasive developmental disorder, or Munchausen syndrome by proxy (the individual “creates” illness in someone in their care solely to gain attention to themselves, especially attention from people in the medical profession). When I looked back at the very start of the article, I learned that Waneta’s MOTHER had placed the notion in Waneta’s head in early childhood that Waneta’s purpose in life was to be a wife and mother, all the while assuming her daughter was mentally fit to be a wife and mother. If the mother hadn’t made Waneta believe she was meant to be a wife and mother, is it possible that Waneta would never have HAD children and therefore not been a killer in the first place?

  24. lookyloo

    On August 20, 2009 at 2:30 am


    i wonder how many of these women had a disorder associated with symptoms of postpartum mood disorders are not explicit and people are shocked when a mother kills her own child(ren). there must have been other unknown/undiagnosed problems of the time; manic depression, etc. Extreme manic episodes can sometimes lead to psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations. The disorder has been subdivided into bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymia, and other types, based on the nature and severity of mood episodes experienced; the range is often described as the bipolar spectrum.People with bipolar disorder exhibiting psychotic symptoms can sometimes be misdiagnosed as having schizophrenia, another serious mental illness.

  25. unknown

    On May 27, 2010 at 5:59 am


    crazy stuff

  26. Cheena

    On November 9, 2010 at 2:33 pm


    (schizophrenia) In my foster home there was a guy who killed my foster brother. With the foster homes gun. That could of been me, He actually tried to chlo·ro·form me, we were best friends so to speek in the foster home but I am not sure I think he was trying to knock me out to have sex with me. I told my foster mom but nothing was done about it, meaning he may of got yelled at but he was not removed from he foster home. Untill the kiling of my foster brother. Then the foster home was shut down due to my foster dad being charged with sexual asult go figure! C.A.S is the life I only knowen.. but killing children is something I don’t get. There is something wrong with theese people in the brain like a defect. I guess. Sometimes people kill because they just can’t seem to control there radge I also had a boyfriend that tried to kill me and I think he was taking drugs. Life is full of surprises. By the way I charged him and didn’t go back! The brain development is not equal to everone! That is my thought!

  27. billvbc

    On April 15, 2011 at 6:14 pm


    god if u kill adults its gotta be from rape if your gonna get away with for \”self defense\”!!!!

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