Jack the Ripper claimed his first victim in 1888 - a prostitute in London’s East End know as ‘Polly’, though her real name was Mary Nichols. Her throat had been cut and there were various stab wounds to her stomach and genitals. About a month later, prostitute Annie Chapman was found disembowelled, her entrails laid across one shoulder. In a patter that was to prove horribly familiar, parts of the body, in this case the bladder, vagina, womb, and ovaries, were missing. The murders continued, each one more gruesome than the last; in the case of victim Catherine Eddowes, a kidney was removed and then half of it sent to the police with a letter bragging that the killer had eaten the other half. Finally, with the murder of Mary Kelly, the Ripper reached new depths of violence and madness: her dead body was disembowelled and her hand had been inserted into her stomach. In addition, her liver had been placed on her thigh, while her breast had been cut off and laid out beside her severed heart, kidneys, and nose. Strips of flesh were hung from nails around the room in which she was murdered. A post-mortem discovered that Kelly had been three months pregnant, but the Ripper had taken her womb and fetus with him. Jack the Ripper was never found, and speculation about him (or, according to one theory, her) continued to abound, casting a long shadow over the inhabitants of London for many years. Every time a fresh murder was committed, people would fear the hand of the Ripper; murders that had happened before the Ripper’s reign of terror were also re-examined. Currently, the case is still open, and the lists of suspects contribute to grow as the evidence is repeatedly sifted, in the hopes of one day solving the mystery.
In the words of a doctor who treated Albert Fish, “There was no known perversion which he did not practice and practice frequently”. Indeed, Fish could be described as everything evil, compacted and rolled into a bundle.
Fish was born in Washington, D.C. in 1870. By the age of five he was abandoned after the death of his father, and spent the majority of the rest of his childhood in an orphanage. Managing to carve out a life that seemed somwhat normal, Fish married in 1898 and fathered six children. His eccentric and perverted behavior evidently lay beneath the surface of a normal family man until his wife left him for another man in 1917. Alone and faced with the responsibility of caring for his children alone, his true self began to emerge. Reportedly, he occasionally would screm into the sky “I am Christ!” and forced his own children to paddle him until he bled. Later on, living with his grown son Albert Jr., he admitted that he used the nail-studded paddles his boy found in his father’s room on himself, citing the need to torture himself. He also collected literature on cannabilism and other bizarre subjects.
Fish took to answering ads placed in the newspapers by single women, though definitely not in the fashion they desired. He wrote the ladies back with obscene proposals, which included having them paddle him. Just this sort of behavior landed Fish in minor trouble with the law, but he was largely regarded as just a nuisance. Nobody imagined that he was a sadistic killer until 1928.
On June 3 of that year Fish took 12-year-old Grace Budd to his isolated cottage in White Plains, New York from her home in New York City. Once there he strangled the helpless girl, decapitated her and used a saw to cut her in half. He ate bits of her flesh in a stew later and drank some of the girl’s blood. The Budd’s, who allowed their daughter to go to a fictitious birthday party with the killer they knew as Frank Howard, never heard anything about their daughter until Fish inexplicably sent them a letter telling them he had killed their daughter, adding that he “didn’t fuck with her” and that she died a virgin. An address that Fish had not erased well enough on the back of the letter’s envelope led police to the old man and the child killer was immediately arrested.
Because of the passage of time and lack of follow up that is customary nowadays, it is uncertain exactly what killings Fish actually confessed to while in custody. He evidently laid some claim to a few killings including the 1910 killing of a man in Delaware, the torture and mutilation death of a retarded boy in 1919,and the killing of a twelve-year-old boy in 1917. He alluded to many others but his confessions were never truly verified and he himself admitted his memory had deteriorated in his last few years. He reportedly admitted to the molestation of approximately 400 children, and incredibly horrifying number if true.
Charged with murder in the Budd killing, Fish’s lawyers predictably pursued an insanity defense in his 1935 trial. Just as predictably, it did not succeed and the child killer was sentenced to die in the electric chair at Sing Sing. The aging sadist looked forward to the chair, saying it was the untimate thrill and the only one he hadn’t tried. On January 16, 1936, Fish got his wish, but not without some added drama. One of his many perversions was to shove needles into the flesh between his testicles and anus. Quite often the needles went too far in and became lodged. Hundreds of tiny needles remained stuck in the man’s body at the time of his electrocution and they short-circuited the first electrocution attempt leaving Fish charred, but alive. It took a second massive current to send this monster to his grave.
Nevada-Tan - On Tuesday, 1 June 2004, at Sasebo Elementary School, an 11-year-old girl killed her classmate, then returned to her homeroom in bloodied clothes. The classmate, Satomi Miratai, died later that day. The killer is now in juvie, apparently until 2013. The story, an unprecedented and grisly murder, was printed in newspapers around the world. However, nobody could have anticipated what happened next. On the Japanese side of the Internet, a class picture was discovered, and two of the girls stood out. On the far left, wearing glasses and a green sweatshirt, Satomi stood grinning, giving a victory sign to the camera. Right next to her, with an inexplicable expression on her face, stood the killer— Nevada.
For some reason, the specifics of the murder— a seemingly normal 11-year-old girl, with a box-cutter, in a Nevada sweatshirt— made a clear impression in communal consciousness of the Internet, all around the world. Stories were posted on Internet forums across Europe, the U.S., and Asia. In Japan, especially, she became a center of attention and was given the name “Nevada-tan”; “-tan” being the way a young child would pronounce the honorific “-chan”, i.e., “Widdle Nevada”. The investigation into her murder revealed a long story. Nevada was originally nearly a normal kid; she enjoyed Battle Royale, but of course that’s a very popular movie all over the world. Now, she was on her school’s basketball team, but her mother made her quit so that she could improve her grades. At this point Nevada became ill-willed and began to collect horror Flash movies on her website. She began to frequent violent websites, and wrote a Battle Royale fanfic and gruesome “recipes”. She focused her attention on the Internet, trying to gain fans with a LiveJournal-style diary. She rejoined the basketball team, but they excluded her from activities and she dropped out. On her diary, she wrote, “I don’t really like to play with my friends.”
Her good friend Satomi Miratai became an enemy after she slighted Nevada on her own, far more popular diary. Nevada demanded an apology, but Satomi was frank with her, calling her “pretentious”. Following this insult, Nevada focused in on Satomi as an object for her anger. She watched a horror series on television (“Monday Mystery Theater”) where many people were killed quickly and effectively with box cutters. Soon afterwards, she threatened a boy with a box cutter. Ten days later, she led Satomi into an empty classroom, covered her eyes, and slit her throat.
“I told Mrs. - Ms Vian that I had a problem with sexual fantasies, that I was going to tie her up, and that - and I might have to tie the kids up, and that she would cooperate with this - cooperate with me at the time. We went back. She was extremely nervous. Think she even smoked a cigarette. And we went back to the - one of the back - back areas of the porch, I explained to her that I had done this before, and, you know, I think she, at that point in time I think she was sick ‘cause she had a night robe on, and I think, if I remember right, she was - she had been sick. I think she came out of the bedroom when I went in the house. So anyway, we went back to her bedroom, and I proceeded to tie the kids up, and they started crying and got real upset. So I said oh, this isn’t gonna work, so we moved ‘em to the bathroom. She helped me. And then I tied the door shut. We put some toys and blankets and odds and ends in there for the kids, make them as comfortable as we could. Tied the - we tied one of the bathroom doors shut so they couldn’t open it, and we shoved - she went back and helped me shove the bed up against the other bathroom door, and then I proceeded to tie her up. She got sick, threw up. Got her a glass of water, comforted her a little bit, and then went ahead and tied her up and then put a bag over her head and strangled her.”
Mugshots of America’s most notorious serial killers.
Jeffrey Dahmer was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 21, 1960. The son of a chemist, Dahmer should have had a normal life. But his childhood in Bath, Ohio, where he and his family moved in 1968, was marked by a growing obsession with severe cruelty to animals, bizarre behavior, and alcoholism.
It was in Bath that Dahmer began to kill. Alone in the family home after his parents divorced in 1978, he picked up hitchhiker Steven Hicks, bludgeoned and strangled him, smashing his bones with a sledgehammer and scattering them in the woods behind his home. He apparently kept his murderous impulses under control until September 15, 1987. Living with his grandmother back in Milwaukee, Dahmer killed Steven Tuomi and set off what would become one of the world’s most gruesome serial murders. Dahmer eventually took the lives of seventeen men including the sad case of Konerak Synthasomphone, who escaped from the killer only to be mistakenly handed back by police who believed the two were homosexual lovers having a quarrel. Ironically, Konerak’s older brother also escaped form Dahmer three years earlier. The attack had jailed Dahmer for ten months in work release.
Dahmer was finally apprehended on July 22, 1991. Tracy Edwards escaped the murderer’s tiny Milwaukee apartment and flagged down a police car nearby. The officers went to Dahmer’s apartment where they were denied entry and after wrestling Dahmer down and cuffing him they took a look around. What they found was incredible. Human heads and skulls were stashed in the refrigerator and pictures of dismembered bodies littered the bedroom.
Dahmer was arrested and a media explosion hit Milwaukee. No one had even had a clue a serial killer was at work until his arrest. Dahmer confessed readily and went to trial pleading guilty but insane. The trial was stock full of gruesome details of cannabalism and necrophilia, with police and the defense attorney telling of how Dahmer drilled holes in some of his victims heads and poured acid into their skulls while they were still alive. He wanted zombies that could not resist and could not leave him.
Found sane by a jury Dahmer was sentenced to 15 life terms in the Colombia Correctional Institution. Originally ordered into solitary for his own protection, he talked his way into a unit for prisoners with emotional problems after just a year. On Novemeber 28th, 1993, Dahmer was killed by on the the unit’s other inmates.
The Charges against Jeffrey Dahmer
Count 1: First Degree Intentional Homicide
on or about March 26, 1989, at 2357 South 57th Street, City of West Allis, County of Milwaukee, did cause the death of another human being, Anthony Sears, with intent to kill that person contrary to Wisconsin Statutes section 940.01 (1).
Count 2: First Degree Intentional Homicide
during the Spring or early Summer of 1990, at 924 North 25th Street, City and County of Milwaukee, did cause the death of another human being, Raymond Smith a/k/a Ricky Beeks, with intent to kill that person contrary to Wisconsin Statutes section 940.01 (1).
Count 3: First Degree Intentional Homicide
on or about September 3, 1990, at 924 North 25th Street, City and County of Milwaukee, did cause the death of another human being, Ernest Miller, with intent to kill that person contrary to Wisconsin Statutes section 940.01 (1).
Count 4: First Degree Intentional Homicide
on or about September 24, 1990, at 924 North 25th Street, City and County of Milwaukee, did cause the death of another human being, David Thomas, with intent to kill that person contrary to Wisconsin Statutes section 940.01 (1).
Count 5: First Degree Intentional Homicide
on or about February 28, 1991, at 924 North 25th Street, City and County of Milwaukee, did cause the death of another human being, Curtis Straughter, with intent to kill that person contrary to Wisconsin Statutes section 940.01 (1).
Count 6: First Degree Intentional Homicide
on or about April 7, 1991, at 924 North 25th Street, City and County of Milwaukee, did cause the death of another human being, Errol Lindsey, with intent to kill that person contrary to Wisconsin Statutes section 940.01 (1).
Count 7: First Degree Intentional Homicide
on or about May 24, 1991, at 924 North 25th Street, City and County of Milwaukee, did cause the death of another human being, Tony Anthony Hughes, with intent to kill that person contrary to Wisconsin Statutes section 940.01 (1).
Count 8: First Degree Intentional Homicide
on or about May 27, 1991, at 924 North 25th Street, City and County of Milwaukee, did cause the death of another human being, Konerak Sinthasomphone, with intent to kill that person contrary to Wisconsin Statutes section 940.01 (1).
Count 9: First Degree Intentional Homicide
on or about June 30, 1991, at 924 North 25th Street, City and County of Milwaukee, did cause the death of another human being, Matt Turner a/k/a Donald Montrell, with intent to kill that person contrary to Wisconsin Statutes section 940.01 (1).
Count 10: First Degree Intentional Homicide
on or about July 7, 1991, at 924 North 25th Street, City and County of Milwaukee, did cause the death of another human being, Jeremiah Weinberger, with intent to kill that person contrary to Wisconsin Statutes section 940.01 (1).
Count 11: First Degree Intentional Homicide
on or about July 15, 1991, at 924 North 25th Street, City and County of Milwaukee, did cause the death of another human being, Oliver Lacy, with intent to kill that person contrary to Wisconsin Statutes section 940.01 (1).
Count 12: First Degree Intentional Homicide
on or about July 19, 1991, at 924 North 25th Street, City and County of Milwaukee, did cause the death of another human being, Joseph Bradehoft, with intent to kill that person contrary to Wisconsin Statutes section 940.01 (1).
He was born in 1936 into a small Ukrainian village and his head was misshapen from water on the brain. He had a sister seven years younger. His father was a POW in WWII and then was sent to a prison camp in Russia, so his mother raised him mostly on her own.
In the HBO documentary, “Cannibal” and in Moira Martingale’s book Cannibal Killers, some of Chikatilo’s background is described in a chilling context as a way to try to understand what drove him into such a bestial frenzy. In fact, Martingale sees a direct connection between those times and Chikatilo’s sexual fantasies. He was like a werewolf, changing into a ravaging animal when triggered in just the right way. Much of this information came from the confession, the assessments done later, and from investigative research.
During the early part of the 20th century, the former Soviet Union was often subjected to famines, especially in the Ukraine after Stalin crushed out private agriculture and sent many citizens to the Siberian Gulag. Some six million people died of starvation, according to Cullen, and desperate people might remove meat from corpses to survive. Sometimes they went to a cemetery, where corpses were stacked, and sometimes (legend has it) they grabbed someone on the street. Human flesh was bought and sold, or just hoarded.
Children saw disfigured corpses and heard terrible tales of hardship. Chikatilo had grown up during several of these famines and one story that his mother told was how he once had had an older brother, Stepan, who had been killed. In a prison interview, he said, “Many people went crazy, attacked people, ate people. So they caught my brother, who was ten, and ate him.” He might simply have died and been consumed, if he even existed (which could not be corroborated in any records), but Chikatilo’s mother would warn him to stay in the yard or he might get eaten as well. It was a scary idea, but titillating.
He also saw the results of Nazi occupation and of German bombing, with bodies blown up in the streets. He said that they frightened and excited him.
Most of his childhood was spent alone, living in his fantasies. Other children mocked him for his awkwardness and sensitivity. He began to develop anger at this age, even rage. To entertain and empower himself, he devised images of torture, and these remained a fixed part of his killings later in life.
He had his first sexual experience as an adolescent when he struggled with a ten-year-old friend of his sister’s and ejaculated. That impressed itself on him, especially as he went along in life unable to get an erection but able to ejaculate. The struggle became as fixed in his mind as the images of torture.
He went into the army but when he came home and tried to have a girlfriend, he found he was still unable to perform the sexual act. The girl spread this around, humiliating him, and he dreamed about catching her and tearing her to pieces. His life, as far as he could see, was now a disaster.
He became a schoolteacher and did get married (which was arranged by his sister), but could only conceive children, according to the HBO documentary, by ejaculating outside his wife and pushing his semen inside by hand. Much like his mother, his wife was critical, which only made Chikatilo withdraw even further into his fantasy world. His mother died in 1973 when he was 37, and it wasn’t long before he found himself attracted to young girls and began to molest them. It made him feel powerful, and when incidents were reported, they were met with cover-up and denial instead of prosecution, allowing a pervert to become a killer.
For true satisfaction, he needed to get violent, and by 1978, he killed his first victim. Since he was on the road quite often as a parts supply liaison, it became easy to find vulnerable strangers, dominate them and murder them. He didn’t have to go looking for them, he said. They were always right there and they were usually willing to follow him. He had read the newspaper reports about the murders when the press was allowed to print them and had known it was only a matter of time before it would all end. Being arrested, he admitted, was a relief.
Chikatilo believed he suffered from an illness that provoked his uncontrollable transgressions. He wanted to see some specialists in sexual deviance, and said that he would answer all questions.
He was sent to Moscow’s Serbsky Institute for two months for psychiatric and neurological assessment, and it was determined that he had brain damage from birth. It had affected his ability to control his bladder and his seminal emissions. His mother criticized him for it repeatedly, and was often cruel. He had deviant fantasies. However, after all the reports, he was found to be sane. He knew what he was doing and he could have controlled it.
“Basically- when we reached the car, what happened was I knocked her unconscious with the crowbar. And there were some handcuffs there, along with the crowbar. And I handcuffed her and put her in the driver’s- er, I mean the passenger side of the car and drove away. She was unconscious, but she was very much alive. This is probably the hardest part. We were talking abstractly beore, but we’re getting into- we’re getting right down to it. I will talk about it but, it’s just- I hope you understand- it’s not something I find easy to talk about, and, after all this time. One of the things that makes it difficult is that, at this point, she was quite lucid, talking about things…Funny- it isn’t funny, but it’s odd- the things that people say under them circumstances. And she thought- she said that she thought that she had a Spanish test the next day- and she thought that I had taken her to help her get ready for her Spanish test. Odd. Things they say. Anyway…the long and short of it was that I again knocked her unconscious. And strangled her, and dragged her about ten yards into the small grove of trees that was here.”
-Ted Bundy describing the murder of Georgeann Hawkins.
“It had no smell or taste, and melted in my mouth like raw tuna,”
While taking classes at the famed Sorbonne, Issei Sagawa, the son of a wealthy Tokyo industrialist, invited fellow student Renee Hartevelt to his apartment to discuss literature. Once the unsuspecting “dinner guest” arrived, the slightly-built Sagawa shot her in the back of the neck, had sex with her corpse, and started nibbling on her nose and part of a breast. “It had no smell or taste, and melted in my mouth like raw tuna,” he wrote in In the Fog, his post-cannibal best-selling account of his dinner with Renee. “Finally I was eating a beautiful white woman, and thought nothing was so delicious!” In custody Sagawa was found incompetent to stand trial and placed in the Paul Guiraud asylum in Paris. Through family connections he was transferred to a hospital in Tokyo. And within fifteen months of hospitalization his influential father secured his release. By then, Sagawa had become a national celebrity, an accomplished author, and his “Parisian affair” was parodied in the song “Too Much Blood” by the Rolling Stones.