History is replete with dark and chilling periods of serial killing. Some of the most commonly known killers include Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson and Jack the Ripper.
In the United States, Dahmer was convicted of killing 17 people over the course of 13 years. In half that time Gacy sexually assaulted and killed 33 young men. In the 1960’s Manson motivated a quasi-commune to commit nine murders without getting blood on his own hands. England’s Jack the Ripper is blamed for the deaths of at least 5 women although it is believed to be at least 10 despite having never captured a suspect.
These well-known murderer’s atrocities were printed in newspapers across the country and reported on television making them unholy household names.
Several lesser-known serial killers have taken countless lives despite remaining mostly hidden from mainstream media. They may be unfamiliar, but are equally sick and twisted.
Mary Ann Cotton-England’s First Serial Killer
Residing in Durham, England during the mid-1800’s, Mary Ann Cotton was driven to murder by an insatiable desire for wealth and jealousy of other women.
Mary poisoned 21 men and women, including 11 of her 13 children. Her other victims were namely her husbands, lovers and the women who mistakenly displayed interest in her suitors. She often collected generous life insurance payouts as their deaths were initially blamed on gastric fever.
After finally being discovered as a murderess, she was tried and hanged for her crimes. Perhaps an act of karma, the rope neglected to snap her neck which allowed an agonizing strangulation that eventually took her life.
John George Haigh -The Acid Bath Murderer
In England during the 1940’s, Haigh made a living as a professional conman. He would present himself as a successful, wealthy businessman and gain the trust of affluent men.
Haigh would lure his victims to a warehouse where he forged fake documents that presented him with his victims life savings and possessions.
He then shot the men before disposing of their bodies in a tub of sulfuric acid. Despite the acid bath, remains of his victims were found and led to his conviction of 6 murders. Haigh claimed there were 9.
He was sentenced to death and hanged in 1949.
Donald Henry Gaskins-The Hitchhiker Murderer
In 1969 Gaskins began picking up hitchhikers along the coastal highways in the southern United States. By 1975, he was arrested and later convicted of murdering 8 people.
Perhaps desiring notoriety, Gaskins insisted that he killed and mutilated between 80 and 90 men and women.
At the time he was sent to prison, Gaskins was officially guilty of 8 murders.
In another attempt at celebrity or to simply raise the count to 9, he killed a fellow inmate on death row. To date, he is the only man to do so.
Richard Ramirez-Satan’s Helper
A dedicated follower of Satanism, Ramirez murdered in the name of Lucifer.
A two year killing spree between 1984 and 1985 in Los Angeles, California resulted in the raping and torturing of 25 people with a loss of at least 13 lives.
Often breaking into his victim’s homes, he stabbed, shot and mutilated innocent people with many still in their beds.
An homage to his Dark Lord, Ramirez smeared bloody pentagrams on the walls. The mystic symbol became a sadistic backdrop to his horrific killings.
Ramirez was captured in 1985 and spent the next 23 years on death row. He died in his cell in 2013.
Peter William Sutcliffe-The Lesser-Known Ripper
In 1981, 13 prostitutes were found murdered in northern England. Sutcliffe was uncatchable until police pulled him over for a bad license plate. After being questioned he confessed to the killings.
After his confession, Sutcliffe pleaded not guilty and cited diminished responsibility. The court rejected his defense and he was sentenced to life in a maximum security mental hospital with no chance of parole.
Locally, he was referred to as The Yorkshire Ripper.
Dennis Nilsen-The Pipe Clogger
Also hailing from England is homosexual serial killer Dennis Nilsen. During a five year period between 1978 and 1983 Nilsen murdered 15 gay men.
His method of body disposal included burning and flushing body parts down the toilet. Ultimately, his plumbing became clogged and human remains were discovered in his sewage system.
Nilsen was convicted of just 6 murders and sentenced to a lifetime of imprisonment without any chance of release.
Gary Ridgway-The Green River Killer
Despite a high body count and a media-penned nickname, Gary Ridgway’s murders aren’t commonly known.
Ridgway went on a killing rampage during the 1980’s and 1990’s in Washington killing a confessed total of 70 women.
His complete cooperation helped lead the authorities to multiple bodies and helped him avoid the death penalty.
Ridgway was convicted of 49 murders and sentenced to life in jail without chance of parole.
The media noted that five of his victims were identified and retrieved from the Green River. Hence the designation.
Gare Allen is the author of the amazon best-selling The Dead: A True Paranormal Story and 7 Lessons-7 Short Stories of Reincarnation and Paranormal Experience