7 of the most prolific serial killers of all time
The most famous serial killers in the world have appeared here at Mega Curious. But just because these people became internationally known does not mean that they committed the highest number of murders ever reported.
If killing a person is already cold and cruel enough, what about someone who is capable of killing dozens, or rather hundreds of people? It's almost unbelievable, but together the seven serial killers that appear on this list have been able to take the lives of over 2, 500 children and adults.
Below is a look at the story of the most prolific serial killers on record, the type of victim they chose and how they took so many lives and died.
1) Luis Garavito
Estimated killings: 140 victims
Luis Garavito is a Colombian serial killer who acted between 1992 and 1998 and became better known in the country as “Le Bestia”. He acted by persuading poor country children to accompany him to isolated fields where he killed them. Then the killer supported the bodies and interacted with them until he was bored and found new victims.
Garavito was captured in April 1999 while trying to kidnap a child. He admitted committing 140 murders and led police to several mass graves where the bodies were. The criminal was sentenced to 22 years in prison, which he is still serving in Colombia.
2) Donald Henry Gaskins
Estimated killings: 200 victims
Donald Gaskins picked his victims at random while driving along roads in the southern United States. He also chose a few acquaintances, but only when he had a specific reason to take the lives of those closest to him. This kind of behavior earned him the title of “Meanest Man in America”.
On December 4, 1975, the serial killer took police to one of the places where he buried his victims and was arrested immediately. Gaskins was sentenced to death, but his sentence was changed to life in prison when the state of South Carolina abolished the death penalty. However, after killing a cellmate, the killer was placed on death row and was executed on September 6, 1991.
3) HH Holmes
Estimated killings: 230 victims
Herman Webster Mudgett chose the code name HH Holmes to put his illegal activities into practice. With that name, he bought a property in Chicago and built a hotel. But it wasn't just any hotel! The rooms were built to be hermetically sealed while being filled with lethal gas. There were gutters specially made to spawn bodies directly in a furnace or in hydrochloric acid wells. Still, the "businessman" fired his employees after two weeks so that they didn't have to pay them.
This whole scenario of terror worked during the Chicago World Fair in 1893 and attracted many visitors and potential victims. In 1895, one of Holmes's illegal schemes was discovered, resulting in his arrest and a police investigation. Upon checking the hotel, the authorities found dismembered bodies. It was possible to confirm only 27 deaths, but through the registration of missing persons, police attributed 230 murders to Holmes, who was hanged on 7 May 1896.
4) Harold Shipman
Estimated killings: 284 victims
Harold Shipman was an English doctor who administered lethal doses of morphine or heroin to his patients. Without consent, the professional gave drugs to healthy patients and forged reports that said the person was ill. In most cases, the doctor had no benefit from drugging his patients. There was only one case where Shipman received money on behalf of someone.
Because his medical practice led to many deaths, the local coroner distrusted the professional and began an investigation. That investigation was dropped for lack of evidence, but after a few more suspicious deaths, Shipman was eventually arrested. The doctor was tried and had to face 15 homicide cases. After being found guilty, Shipman received 15 life sentences but committed suicide in his cell on January 13, 2004.
5) Pedro Lopez
Estimated murders: over 300 victims
Pedro Lopez became known as the “Andes Monster” for attacking girls in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. The criminal raped, murdered his victims and buried the bodies throughout the countryside. A flood revealed the body of one of the victims in 1980, and it was then that investigations began. Lopez was arrested after a kidnapping attempt went wrong and his link to the murders was made shortly thereafter.
The "Andes Monster" confessed to the series of murders he had committed, and the police discovered even more bodies. Having cooperated with the investigation, Lopez had his sentence reduced to just 16 years and his good behavior in prison still earned him a two-year discount. The criminal was released in 1998 and his whereabouts are unknown.
6) Elizabeth Bathory
Estimated murders: over 600 victims
Elizabeth Bathory was a Hungarian countess who lived in the 16th century. Her husband was murdered in the Thirteen Years War, leaving his wife in charge of family possessions. During her reign many young women began to disappear. The answer to this mystery was that Bathory and his maids kept the girls imprisoned, torturing and eventually killing the girls.
Parish priests in the region began to complain about the countess's attitudes at court, which led to an investigation. Upon entering their castle, the authorities located many bodies and girls who were about to die. As a royal, Bathory was never tried, but her maids did not escape justice and died at the stake. The countess, for her part, was confined to one of the rooms of her castle, with the door closed with cement and only an opening to pass food. Bathory died four years later, in 1614.
7) Thug Behram
Estimated killings: 931 victims
In the history of India, more specifically between the years 1790 and 1830, there was a secret fraternity known as Thugs (or Thuggee Cult ). Behram was the leader of the movement, which is estimated to have been responsible for the deaths of 50, 000 to 2 million people. They were an organization of thieves who made friends with travelers before looting and murdering them. Gang members believed that every person they killed prevented the coming of the goddess Kali for another millennium.
As group leader, Thug Behram has assumed his involvement in more than 900 murders and admitted to strangling at least 125 people. In the 1830s, the British government devised measures to prevent thug action, which resulted in the end of the movement in the 1870s. After being captured, Behram was not tried and became a government informant.
* Originally posted on 24/05/2014.