There have been many serial killers throughout the course of history. However, only some are able to make it into the top 10 most famous serial killers list. Many of these individuals have killed dozens of people, while others have made this list for simply how they killed their victims. Regardless though, all of these particular individuals are on this list for good reason.
10. Dennis Rader
Kill Count: At Least 10 people
Over the course of 17 years, Dennis Rader killed around 10 people throughout the state of Kansas. The count, as is the case for most other individuals on this list, is an estimate, as there might be others that simply have not been pinned to the serial killer or are even known about. However, 10 murders are known to be connected with Rader. Rader is what is known as a BTK killer. Short for bind, torte and kill, Dennis makes the list not necessarily for the fact he killed 10 people (many individuals over the years have killed far more than 10 people) but the sure joy he actually took out of the process. He would send letters to members of the media and the local police departments and describe how he killed his victims. He would bind his victims and then strangle them until they passed out from the lack of oxygen. He then would wake them up and do the same thing over again. The letters that Rader sent out eventually led to his arrest though, as the police proved able of locating deleted files on a disk he sent that contained information about a church he attended.
9. Andrei Chikatilo
Kill Count: At Least 52 women and children
Born in the Ukraine, he eventually took the nick name “The Rostov Ripper” and the “Butcher of Rostov.” Over a 12 year span, he killed at least 52 women and children, with his first kill being a nine year old girl. Like many of the other individuals on this list, he received sexual gratification from stabbing women and children to death. Eventually, Chikatilo was arrested and confessed to murdering 36 people, although he was convicted on 52 counts of murder.
8. Richard Trenton Chase
Kill Count: 6 people
Richard eventually was given the nickname “The Vampire of Sacrament.” That is because he would actually eat parts of his victim’s bodies and drink the blood as well. He started young, killing animals and eating them raw. While he did spend time in a mental institution, upon release he started his killings by murdering six individuals within the course of a month. After killing his victims, he would have sex with their bodies and then cut their bodies up and blend it with other beverages to make, what he called, a “milkshake.” While caught and sentenced to death, he killed himself before the execution.
7. Aileen Wuornos
Kill Count: 7 people.
Aileen is one of the few women to be classified as a serial killer. This uniqueness is one of the reasons why she is on the list of most famous serial killers of all time. At the age of 15 she became pregnant, upon which point she started having sex with her brother. Eventually, she started dating another woman and became a prostitute in order to provide for both of them. However, she started killing men after then had sex with her, and while she claimed they all tried to hurt her during sex, she was eventual convicted and killed through lethal injection.
6. Henry Lee Lucas
Kill Count: At least 350 people
Henry Lee Lucas makes it onto the list of most famous serial killers of all time sheerly for the number of individuals he killed. He actually is the most prolific killer in the United States by killing at least 350 people, although this number could be higher. Through confessions, the number of individuals he might have killed could be over 600, although not all of these murders were confirmed. After serving 10 years in prison for killing his own mother, he was released due to overcrowding jails. While driving throughout the country, he became friends with a man named Ottis Toole, who eventually helped him with 108 murders. He eventually died in prison due to natural causes. While he killed his victims in different ways, the fact that he killed this many people is the reason why he is one of the most famous serial killers in history.
5. Ed Gein
Kill Count: 2 people
While two people might not make someone one of the most feared serial killers, it is the way he did it that places him on the list of most famous serial killers. In fact, when the movie Psycho is made after an individual, it shows truly how insane the person is. When his mother and brother died, both for whom he lived with, he started to visit cemeteries and dig up bodies to women who looked like his mother. He eventually found two living women who resembled his mother, which he killed, and he started to toss their body parts all around town, all while he continued to dig up bodies. When the authorities searched his home, they found bowls made out of human skulls, chairs made from skin and a belt made from nipples.
4. Gary Ridgway
Kill Count: About 71 women
Throughout the course of about 10 years, Gary killed about 71 women through strangulation. The first five women he killed were all found by the Green River, so he received the name “Green River Killer.” He typically would pick up prostitutes and then kill then. Killing 71 different women is the reason he is on the list of most famous serial killers.
3. Ted Bundy
Kill Count: 30 women
Unlike the other individuals, most described Ted Bundy as a rather friendly individual that had a nice personality and was someone that people could spend time with (most of the other individuals were considered insane). However, over a four year span, Ted Bundy killed 30 women. Typically, he would pretend to be a police office or even a disabled individual. Other times though, he simply would break into a person’s house and murder them in their sleep by stabbing them to death. Typically, he would then rape and cut the women up after killing them, only to keep their heads as trophies afterwards. In 1989, he was put to death with the electric chair. The combination of his total kill count and the way he went about doing it serves why Ted Bundy is one of the most famous serial killers ever.
2. John Wayne Gacy
Kill Count: 33 men
While most of the other serial killers focused primarily on women, Gacy spend his time luring young men back home with him. He moonlighted as a clown for children’s parties and many knew him as an honest business professional in Illinois, although he became known as the Killer Clown where he would bring young men back home, strangle them, then kill them and burry the bodies under his house. Eventually, through a combination of police detective work and the fact that his house began to smell like decomposing flesh, authorities arrested him and he confessed to the murders of the young men.
1. Jeffrey Dahmer
Kill Count: 17 boys and men
Like Gacy, Dahmer spent most of his time going after boys and men. However, he took what Gacy did to a completely different level, which is exactly why he is in the top spot of the most famous serial killers of all times. With the 17 men and boys, he raped the boys and men while alive, killed them, then raped the bodies again. He would then cut the bodies apart and eat them. He started to eventually drill into the skulls of the individuals while they were still alive. The drilling of the head and the combined screams, blood and terror from his victims sexually aroused Dahmer, who would them proceed to have sex with the bodies and then eat pieces of the body. Eventually, he was arrested in 1994 although he never made it to death row, as another inmate inside of the prison killed him.
While there are hundreds, if not thousands of serial killers who have lived and continue to live around the world, this is the list of potentially the most famous serial killers of all time. Some of these individuals killed several hundred individuals, while others killed a dozen or two. Generally, the different individuals made it onto this list for either the sheer number of kills they committed, or the way they killed the individuals. Regardless, these individuals are always going to be considered some of the most dangerous and gruesome individuals to ever live. Of course, there are other serial killers who could be on this list as well, but some simply have never been caught, which is why the list is comprised only of individuals who are guilty.