Over the years we’ve seen a wild array of people that share similar traits, one of which is the pleasure they find in the act of killing people. We all indulge in our sadistic sides with movies like Saw, Scream, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the likes.
Though the causes of psychopathy remains a mystery, most serial killers show general tendencies associated anti-social behaviour. They are reclusive and prefer being by themselves, they don’t know what emotions like sympathy, empathy, guilt, etc. feel like. They don’t cringe at the sight of blood; in fact, if it’s on their hands they love it even more. The study of the Minnesota Twins Reared Apart has indicated that psychopathic tendencies are sixty percent heritable. Thus, if psychopathy is genetically determined then there should be some deterrence in the brain functions of the psychopaths which was revealed in a study by the University of Wisconsin. The brain scans revealed that psychopathy was related to decreased connectivity between the amygdala and the ventromedial frontal cortex. When the connectivity between these two regions is low it doesn’t show an extreme increase in negative emotions, however, unlike normal people who feel emotional hurt, they do not. Seeing other people suffer does not make them feel bad, and they are not embarrassed when caught doing something unpleasant. Though to a much less degree, social factors also play a role in the development of psychopathic tendencies. Early childhood abuse or neglect, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, etc. are all contributing factors.
You’d think that most serial killers would look like scrappy, worn, dirty looking men with a crazy eye but that really isn’t the case. Most serial killers even have families that they take care of. They have successfully figured out how to fit into society so that their personality and disorders aren’t found out. They look like normal, sophisticated people going about their daily work and one can hardly understand that they are plotting murder in their heads.
Here is a list of the top 10 most brutal serial killers of all time:
1. Ted Bundy
This American rapist, serial killer, kidnapper and necrophile I one of the most well-known psychopaths around who assaulted multiple women and girls during the 1970’s. He confessed to 30 homicides in seven states but the true number remains unknown. He was regarded as handsome and charismatic and exploited these traits into winning his victims trust. He sometimes revisited his secondary crime scenes and performed sexual acts for several hours at a time till further decomposition made it impossible.
2. Albert Fish
This man is known by many names, Gray Man, Wolf of Wysteria, the Brooklyn Vampire, the Moon Maniac, and The Boogey Man is a child rapist and cannibal who boasted that he had “children in every state”. At one point it was stated that the number was over 100. He was a suspect in at least five murders during his life time and confessed to three. He was finally imprisoned and executed by electric chair.
3. Richard Ramirez
Richard Ramirez was a serial killer, rapist and burglar, infamously known as the Night Stalker by news media. He was an avowed Satanist who never expressed any guilt for his crimes. He became well known for his post-modern mutilation of women. He carved a T into one woman’s breast and gouged out her eyes. He would later mark his victims and houses with a drawing of a pentagram with lipstick.
4. Fred West
Was a serial killer in England and looks as normal and plain as any old person. Fred alone, and then later with his second wife tortured and raped numerous young women and girls, murdering at least 11 of them including their families. The pair were apprehended and charged in 1994. Rose had murdered Fred’s stepdaughter from his first wife when Fred was in prison for theft. In ’95 West hung himself in prison where his wife still remains.
5. The Zodiac Killer
This man has never been caught and is a serial killer that operated during the 1970’s. He originated the name ‘Zodiac’ in a series of taunting letters sent to the local Bay Area press which included four cryptograms of which only one has been solved. There are a few suspects like Ted Kaczynski but none have been confirmed. His story almost seems straight out of a movie but it is very real. There have been quite a few victims linked to the Zodiac killings.
6. David Berkowitz
Popularly known as the Son of Sam or .44 Calibre believed that demons possessed dogs and his neighbours dog told him what to do. He was convicted for a series of shootings in 1976 that left six victims dead and seven wounded. He was a member of a murderous Satanic cult that orchestrated incidents as ritual murder. The intense investigation of his case gave him a sort of celebrity status and the Son of Sam laws were passed that didn’t allow criminals to benefit from the popularity they received.
7. Charles Manson
Another American criminal and musician, he was found guilty of conspiring to kill actress Sharon Tate and others. He led what was called the Manson Family, a quasi-commune that arose in California. He believed in what he called “Helter Skelter”, an impending apocalyptic race war and believed in his own description of the Beatles song that his murders would help precipitate this war. Tate was pregnant at the time of her death and many had fallen victim to the Manson family killing spree. Cryptic clues were scribbled in the blood of the victim and Manson was finally linked to all the crimes and imprisoned.
8. John Wayne Gacy
He was an American serial killer and rapist more popularly known as the Killer Clown. He was convicted of sexual assault and murder of at least thirty-three teenage boys and young men in Chicago. All but one of his victims were killed by strangulation or asphyxiation with a tourniquet. His first victim was stabbed to death. He became known as the Killer Clown because he would dress up as pogo the clown for fundraising events and children’s parties and lure his victims. He spent 14 years on death row and was then executed by lethal injection.
9. Jeffrey Dahmer
He is popularly known as the Milwaukee Cannibal and was an American serial killer and sex offender and is known to have committed rape, murder and dismemberment of 17 boys and men between 1978 and 1991. Many of his murders involve necrophilia and cannibalism. He would find his victims at homosexual nightclubs and lure them back to his apartment with the promise of sex and drugs. He would drug and kill them and sometimes preserve their body parts and sometimes eat them. In the end he was beaten to death in prison, a death wish he had often expressed at the time of his incarceration.
10. Gilles de Rais
Probably born around September 1405, he was a Breton knight, a leader in the French army and a companion-in-arms of Joan of Arc. He is best known as a serial killer of children. In his confession he said that his first assaults on children occurred between 1432 and 1433. Although no accounts of these murders are maintained, in his confession, he killed or had been ordered to kill a large and uncertain number of children after he sodomized them. Forty bodies were discovered in Machecoul in 1437. Gilles body servant known as Poitou, was an accomplice to many of the crimes. He said that his master hung his victims with ropes from a hook to keep them from crying and then masturbated on their belly or thighs. Gilles then either killed the child himself or had someone else do it and they were killed by decapitation, dismemberment, or breaking their necks with a stick. They bodies and clothes were later burned in the fire place in Gilles’ room.