6 Real Serial Killers More Terrifying Than Any Horror Movie
Movies and TV shows like Dexter are constantly trying to outdo themselves with over-the-top serial killers (a Hannibal episode featured a killer who turned his victims into musical instruments -- no, really). But real killers are just boring assholes with crippling mental illnesses and no scary gimmicks. Right?
Yeah, no. As we've mentioned a few times before, the real world occasionally gives rise to murderers so terrifyingly crazy that if we saw them in a horror film, we would instantly write them off as utterly ridiculous B-movie cheese. The following people and their bone-chilling exploits are totally real, and at least three-quarters of them are totally still alive.
Katherine Knight Cooked Her Husband and Tried to Feed Him to His Children
Katherine Knight had a well-documented history of clownfuck lunacy, beginning when she tried to strangle her first husband to death on their wedding night for daring to only have sex with her three times before falling asleep. When he finally left her, Knight took their infant daughter and dropped her on a stretch of nearby train tracks (the baby was rescued by a hobo), then rampaged through town threatening random strangers with an ax.
She later went on another rampage, slashing a woman's face and forcing her to drive to a service station, where Knight took a little boy hostage until the police arrived and beat her into submission with brooms, because law enforcement in Australia is apparently hilarious. None of this is the crazy part of her story. WARNING: READ AT YOUR DISCRETION -- HERE IS WHERE THIS ARTICLE TAKES A DETOUR STRAIGHT INTO HELL.
Knight eventually met a father of three named John Price and they moved in together, despite the fact that Price was well aware of her explosive fits of inexplicable slobbering Looney Tunes rage. Price wound up kicking her out and filed a restraining order against her, telling his co-workers that if he ever failed to show up for work, she had probably killed him. He then gallantly allowed Knight back into his house for sex and fell asleep beside her, which suggests that Price perhaps didn't completely understand how restraining orders are supposed to work. Knight underscored this error by stabbing Price 37 times. When Price didn't show up for work the next day, his co-workers called the police, who showed up at Price's house to discover his skinned, headless body lying on the living room floor.
Knight had draped his skin, completely intact in a single piece, over an S hook in a doorway like a vanity curtain in Leatherface's house. Price's head was boiling in a pot on the stove, and pieces of his butt had been pan-fried with vegetables and gravy and plated up on the table in two place settings with name tags indicating that they were meant for Price's adult children (although the kids weren't expected, so she probably should have covered the plates with tinfoil).
Knight pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole -- her file literally bears the words "NEVER TO BE RELEASED," like a fucking supervillain in a subterranean vault.
Russell Williams Burgled Women's Underwear and Videotaped His Murders
Russell Williams, a decorated colonel in the Canadian armed forces, liked to break into the homes of friends and neighbors with underage daughters and then photograph himself wearing the girls' underwear and masturbating all over their rooms like a laboratory monkey trying to get the most out of his jailbreak spree before all the PCP injections catch up to him and melt his brain.
He even creepily typed a message on one 12-year-old girl's computer, thanking her for the evening of boner-flogging her bedroom had provided for him.
All told, Williams committed over 80 underwear burglaries, frequently breaking in while the unaware owners were at home (he once sprinted naked into a woman's house to ransack her unmentionables drawer while she was in the shower), and he kept a meticulously organized library of thousands of photographs like these hidden in the basement of his house:
That was when Williams decided to open up the throttle on his crazy and graduate to full-blown kidnapping and murder. He broke into the houses of two different women, tying them up and forcing them to pose for more photographs for his collection. Then Williams broke into the house of a corporal he recognized from work, beat her into submission with a flashlight, and brutally murdered her, videotaping every horrific moment of his crime and taking enough photographs to fill an album. He also stole huge amounts of her clothing and underwear, because, as we've established, underwear was his maniac catnip.
Finally, Williams kidnapped a woman and took her out to a cottage he owned, where he terrorized her for an entire day before ultimately killing her with the same flashlight, because apparently he believed "flashlight" meant "bludgeon that occasionally helps you see in the dark." He recorded four hours of video of the crime and collected several more photographs and articles of stolen clothing, strengthening his bid for the title of "Scariest Canadian in History" (although he's facing stout competition in this very article).
Luckily, a witness had spotted Williams' Pathfinder outside of his last victim's house just before she disappeared, and police were able to arrest him after matching his tire and boot prints to those found at the scene of her abduction. He confessed to the murders and was sentenced to life in prison, where he recently tried to kill himself by swallowing a toilet paper roll. The Canadian Forces stripped Williams of his rank and ceremonially burned his uniform and every medal he'd earned over 23 years of service, because fuck that guy.
A Millionaire Pig Farmer Killed People and Fed Them to His Pigs
Robert Pickton, a millionaire pig farmer in British Columbia, murdered anywhere between six and 50 prostitutes from the Vancouver area, cut up their bodies, and fed them to his pigs ... and once again, that statement is actually the least insane part of his story.
Pickton would cruise around the seediest areas of Vancouver, luring hookers back to his sprawling pig farm (any invitation that includes the phrase "Come back to my pig farm, where I butcher pigs" should be immediately refused) with the promise of money and drugs, where he brutally murdered them and dismembered their bodies for creative disposal.
Pickton didn't just feed the bodies to his pigs, though. He kept the head, hands, and feet of some of his victims bundled up in refrigerators around the farm. He mulched some of his victims in a wood chipper. And investigators are almost 100 percent certain that he lumped human remains together with unusable pig parts (like intestines, blood, and bones) and took them all up to a rendering plant in Vancouver to be processed into things like lipstick, shampoo, and soap, which reveals two horrible truths about the cosmetics industry.
The point is, Pickton didn't believe in simply disposing of bodies -- he liked to spread his evil around like a murderous Johnny Appleseed.
Meanwhile, the Vancouver police department simply didn't give a shit about the disappearing women. They reasoned that all the women were drug addicts and had either wandered off to other cities or died anonymously of overdoses. They literally fired an investigator for having the gall to suggest that a serial killer might be responsible. One of Pickton's victims actually managed to escape the pig farm, bleeding from multiple stab wounds, and prosecutors dismissed the subsequent attempted murder charges against him because the most important descriptor of Robert Pickton at this time was "millionaire."
Pickton was eventually brought to justice when an employee came forward with damning testimony that led to a full-scale investigation, and he received a life sentence. Meanwhile, Canadian officials did their part to calm a community repulsed by both the killings and the notion that they might have consumed pork fattened on human remains by assuring them that pork is "typically well-cooked," thereby eliminating the chance of catching any diseases from the murdered prostitutes and confirming that authority figures in British Columbia are terrible at crisis counseling.
Magdalena Solis Cut People's Hearts Out for the Sake of an Elaborate Scam
Magdalena Solis was part of an elaborate scam involving two grifters, the Hernandez brothers, who were bilking the small farming village of Yerba Buena, Mexico. That sounds pretty tame compared to the other stuff on this list, but let's just say that at some point things got a bit ... out of hand.
In 1962, the brothers had shown up and claimed they were Incan priests who had a wealth of Incan gold the gods wished to share with the village, but the only way to appease the gods was to bring regular offerings of money and cleanse their bodies of demons. And the only way to cleanse their bodies of demons was to have sex with the Hernandez brothers. Like, all the time.
The villagers weren't terribly bright (for instance, the Incas were in Peru, not Mexico), but after a while they did grow tired of having sex with the Hernandez brothers with absolutely no sign of their promised bounty of gold. So the brothers recruited a prostitute named Magdalena to pose as a reincarnated Incan goddess inexplicably fluent in 20th century Spanish. They revealed Magdalena to the villagers in a puff of smoke during one of their cave rituals, and Magdalena immediately fell perfectly into character by demanding that everyone have sex with everyone else and drink from goblets of chicken blood garnished with marijuana leaves.
When the villagers inevitably got bored with Magdalena, still wondering where in the blue hell their gold was, she responded by ordering two of her "doubters" stoned to death in the ritual cave. And at this point, it went from a cheap "sex and money for promises of gold" scam to something else entirely.
The victims' blood was gathered in the ceremonial ganja goblets and consumed. And thus Solis and the Hernandez brothers had discovered a bulletproof way of perpetuating their scam -- kill a villager or two every so often as a blood sacrifice and the others will be too terrified to voice any doubts.
Who knows how long the scam might have continued had a random teenage boy not walked by the cave on his way to school and spotted Solis and her absurdly desperate followers bashing one woman's face in with rocks and chopping another man's heart out with machetes. The boy ran like hell to the nearest police station, and a patrolman followed him back to the village to check it out, because he apparently hadn't seen enough horror movies to know what happens to cops when they go investigate strange murder caves by themselves.
When the officer didn't return, the police decided to posse up and rolled into the village to discover his body hacked to pieces and his heart removed. The boy had also been killed in the same horrifying Temple of Doom fashion. They cornered Magdalena's cult in the ritual cave and arrested most of them, although the Hernandez brothers were killed in the ensuing shootout. Solis and her surviving followers were tossed in state prison for 30 years. The Incas remained in Peru, where they had been the entire time.
The Giggling Granny Poisoned Her Entire Family
Nannie Doss had a thing for arsenic, and with it she poisoned the tittyshits out of virtually every member of her family before delivering an affable, chuckling confession to police, earning her the nickname "The Giggling Granny." By the time she was finally caught, she'd killed her mother, two sisters, two daughters, a nephew, a grandson, and four husbands, for motives best described as "no goddamned reason whatsoever."
And what is really chilling about this story is how long her murder spree continued before anybody caught on, although her first husband, Charley, did grow suspicious after their two middle daughters mysteriously died of "food poisoning," because it literally used to be that easy to murder people. Charley ran off, taking their eldest daughter with him but leaving the youngest behind with Doss, because apparently he didn't like that child.
Nannie Doss stayed married to her second husband, Frank, for 16 years, during which time she probably killed her newborn grandson by stabbing him through the skull with a hatpin and definitely killed her older grandson with a generous dose of poison. Frank, for his part, was an abusive drunk, and Doss eventually got sick of him and dumped rat poison into his whiskey, which is a recognized but generally frowned upon cure for assholes.
Doss got married three more times, and each husband wound up dying mysteriously. She even killed her third husband's mother, just after poisoning him and burning their house to the ground to keep it from going to his family. In between her fourth and fifth marriages, she moved in with her cancer-stricken sister and poisoned her, too, because why the hell not? "Might as well kill my own mother while I'm at it," she presumably thought, before doing exactly that. At this point, the authorities must have assumed that Nannie Doss was shrouded in some ancient mummy curse, because the only other explanation is that they were all terrible at their jobs.
Doss finally got caught when she poisoned her fifth husband badly enough to send him to the hospital for three weeks, but not enough to kill him. The day he was sent home, Doss filled him with enough arsenic to kill 20 freaking people. Finally, one of the doctors became suspicious of Doss and ordered an autopsy, which confirmed that her husband had been poisoned.
Police confronted Doss, and she immediately confessed, laughing throughout the entire interview while gleefully admitting to murdering 11 members of her family. Doss kept right on smiling as she boarded the bus to prison to serve out her life sentence, commenting to a reporter as she left that she didn't feel bad at all about the outcome. Life magazine even asked her permission to publish her life story, because they apparently forgot that she had murdered children in addition to her drunken asslord husbands.
Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo Murdered People for Black Magic
Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo was a former apprentice to a Haitian priest who blossomed into a master-level Crazy Mage armed with the legitimate belief that he had the power to see the future and cast powerful spells, provided he kept his black magic cauldron well-stocked with sacrificial human body parts. He had a cult of devoted followers to fulfill this task for him by kidnapping (mostly) random people and torturing them to death to appease Kadiempembe, a devil-like figure and the bestower of his magical gifts. We assume this same demon was responsible for granting him the handsomest Emilio Estevez mullet in recorded history.
Yeah, that's not how you were picturing him, was it?
Constanzo was a warlock for hire, selling his spells and clairvoyance abilities to drug dealers and law enforcement officials alike in Mexico. He stewed human brains, blood, bones, and guts in his cauldron alongside scorpions, spiders, and other witchcrafty totems to create spells to make his clients invisible to police detection and invulnerable to gunfire.
Even the drug dealers were afraid of Constanzo -- when one cartel refused to make him a full partner after they'd enjoyed so much success with his spells, seven of their members mysteriously disappeared, turning up several days later floating in a river with fingers, ears, hearts, brains, and freaking spines removed, like they'd been attacked by the goddamned Predator. Constanzo had a handful of other rival drug traffickers fed to his cauldron and even had a member of his own cult hacked into dark wizard porridge to set an example for the rest of the team (the example being "We should probably find other jobs").
The heat didn't really come down on Constanzo until his group kidnapped and mutilated an American college student, at which point the U.S. government put intense pressure on Mexican officials to solve the crime. Police followed a member of Constanzo's cult to his terrifying ritualistic murder ranch after the man blew through a checkpoint, and they found remains of 15 people buried along the property. The missing student's brain was discovered floating in a potion in Constanzo's cauldron, presumably waiting to be graded by Professor Snape.
Constanzo's gang was hunted down and arrested, and Constanzo himself was finally cornered in an apartment surrounded by 180 police officers, because magic probably isn't real, but we aren't taking any fucking chances. Rather than allow himself to be captured, Constanzo instructed one of his henchmen to shoot him. The police discovered the evil wizard's body riddled with bullets, because apparently that henchman wasn't taking any chances either.
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Related Reading: Some of the world's worst serial killers are still free today, including a real-life Hannibal Lector from Kazakhstan. For a look at some deranged murderers who just haven't been found yet, check out Soren Bowie's list of Etsy serial killers. Of course, the worst serial killers are animals- and that article will have you fearing them properly.
Speaking of killers...
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