We tend to think of homicidal maniacs as being in the murder business purely for the delight that comes with being an evil little shit goblin. But as we've mentioned before, there have been plenty of psychopathic killers throughout history for whom a lifetime of mayhem and mutilation was simply their way of paying the bills.
Back in the 1800s, a white man named John Murrell hatched an ingenious plan. He would partner up with a black slave, then "steal" the slave and sell him to another slave owner. Then he would "steal" the slave again, and the two of them would repeat this process, splitting the money between them until they'd earned enough to allow the slave to start a new life in the free North. That sounds pretty great, right? Sort of like a charming outlaw version of the Underground Railroad.
The thing is, when it came time for Murrell to split the proceeds with his African American "business partners," he would simply kill them, slice their bodies open, fill them with stones, and chuck them into a river before going off to find himself another unsuspecting black person longing for freedom. This is because John Murrell was one of the evilest tar-blooded motherfuckers who ever lived.
via The Harpeth River: A Biography
Congratulations, John Murrell. You managed to invent a fate worse than slavery.
Murrell continued to eviscerate his way through the South's slave population on a wagon of false hope until he was finally turned over to the authorities and punished for his crimes. Unfortunately, this being the antebellum South, his crimes amounted to nothing more than "property theft."
That's right; the powers-that-be were far more concerned with Murrell committing grand larceny than they were with how he had coldly murdered and disemboweled several human beings. As such, he was charged with "Negro stealing" (again, the 1800s) and sentenced to ten years in the slammer. Once he got out, he spent the rest of his days eking out a meager living as a blacksmith. Good to know he could put that little bump in the road behind him.
Sometimes, landlords can be the worst. Like how they're always hounding you for the rent, telling you to keep the noise down, or drugging you to death and burying your corpse in the yard. Admittedly, that last one may only apply to Dorothea Puente, a grandmotherly landlady who in the 1980s ran a boarding house in Sacramento for old folks, alcoholics, and the disabled -- all of whom she killed in order to get her hands on their cash.
Not your grandmother's grandmother.
Having long ago figured out that being a landlady wasn't bringing in those fat paychecks, Puente began fatally drugging her tenants and burying their remains around her property, leaving her free to rob them of their Social Security checks. Of course, she was too old to do all that corpse-burying herself, so she hired a local homeless man, affectionately known around the area as "Chief," to dig some holes for her around the property.
Chief, an overly trusting alcoholic, happily went about the task for her, not knowing those holes would soon contain the home's residents ... and himself, once Puente decided that Chief knew too much. Which we assume happened right after he finished digging all of those holes.
Hopefully, she at least drugged him with a plate of freshly-baked cookies or something.
Social workers eventually decided to look into the sudden, inexplicable disappearance of one of Puente's residents, and discovered that her boarding house was a hot spot of vanishing transients -- sort of like a landlocked Bermuda Triangle which only swallowed boats that were on some kind of probation. The police soon got involved, and after they found seven goddamned bodies buried around her property like dead hamsters, Puente was arrested and sentenced to life in prison. Her "Death House" went on to become a local tourist attraction.
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli via tucson.com
A super tasteful tourist attraction!
John Joel Glanton was a mercenary who bounced around various Texas militias in the years before the Civil War. He was a quick hire, thanks to his obvious talent for murdering people, but each group would ultimately kick him out thanks to his talent for murdering the wrong people. As in, innocent civilians and his fellow infantrymen.
He eventually landed in Mexico, where the government had been having trouble with some renegade Apaches raiding settlements, and was offering a standing bounty for Apache scalps. Glanton recognized this as the opportunity of a lifetime, and promptly set about the task of killing his fellow human beings and collecting their head flesh as trophies.
via Find A Grave
"You know what they say: Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life."
There was, however, one drawback to this little plan: Apache warriors were fucking hardcore. Rather than fight a bunch of pissed-off, dangerously formidable career soldiers, Glanton and his gang came up with Plan B, whereby they'd simply scalp peaceful members of local Indian tribes, as well as random Mexican civilians, and turn those over to receive the bounty. And since all bloody clumps of hair and skin look basically the same, the Mexican authorities fell for the grisly scheme, paying Glanton $200 per each fraudulent scalp.
Library of Congress
And leading to history's saddest combover.
After a while, people began to notice that, though Glanton had delivered enough scalps to make a Chewbacca costume, no dent had been made in the ranks of Apache warriors attacking their villages. A bounty was put on Glanton's head, which nobody ever managed to collect, because soon after that he was killed and scalped by Karma disguised as a bunch of angry Yuma Indians.
The Tonton Macoute was a brutal paramilitary force in Haiti serving under the country's ruler, Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, a dictator with perhaps the most professional wrestling kind of nickname in history. The Tontons, who kept the population in line through a campaign of murder, rape, and assorted nastiness, were led by Luckner Cambronne, otherwise known as "The Vampire of the Caribbean." It is our duty to assume that he committed all of his atrocities while wearing a swashbuckling feathered hat.
It's also a safe bet he was hiding an eye patch under those sunglasses.
Unlike less enterprising death squad leaders, Cambronne realized that dumping the bodies of his victims in some mass grave was throwing good money away. As such, he began selling the remains of the people he killed as medical cadavers to overseas schools, including some in the United States. Apparently, the demand for fresh corpses back then was so high that Cambronne literally couldn't make enough of them, so he also resorted to stealing bodies from funeral homes, with mourners often turning up to find their deceased loved ones suspiciously absent.
But Luckner found a market for more than dead bodies. Blood was also in high demand in Western blood banks, and Cambronne was more than happy to raid his own country's supply, or to go out and find a "volunteer" to make a "donation" under "threat of painful death." Unsurprisingly, Cambronne didn't pay much attention to health and safety procedures associated with blood transfers, and it's now believed that his hematological hijinks significantly contributed to the AIDS epidemic.
"Bullshit! We made them wear two condoms while 'donating.'"
Cambronne's days of blood-snatching were numbered, however. Once his boss Duvalier kicked the bucket, he was forced to flee the country. He eventually ended up in Florida, where he died peacefully of natural causes in 2006, because the world is rarely a just and fair-minded place.
In 1964, three women went to the authorities in the Mexican town of Leon with a harrowing tale. They'd just escaped from a brothel where they'd been kept prisoner and forced into prostitution by a pair of sisters named Maria and Delfina de Jesus Gonzalez. When the cops went to check out their story, they were shocked to find that kidnapping and sexual abuse were the least horrific things going on in that brothel.
Here's a picture of a bunny. Trust us, you're gonna need it.
The women the Gonzalez sisters had in their employ had all been abducted, and were kept in line with severe beatings, as well as regular doses of drug cocktails to make them easier to control. Whenever a girl lost her looks (which is bound to happen after years of chemical dependency and torture), she was murdered and buried somewhere on the property. Girls who had the audacity to get sick were also killed off, because medicine is expensive and kidnapping new victims is totally free.
"Can't pay for smokes with shit like 'humanity.'"
But the working girls weren't the only victims of the Sinister Sisters. Any babies unfortunate enough to be conceived in this dungeon were quickly disposed of by way of immobilizing the mother and viciously beating her until she miscarried. Go ahead and take a minute to look back up at that bunny.
As the investigation progressed, police uncovered the remains of over 90 people (men, women, and infants) buried around the property, which earned the sisters 40 years in prison (the maximum that Mexican law allowed). But although Delfina died whilst serving time, her sister went on to complete her sentence, and was eventually released. Which means that, at this moment, she could be anywhere. Even right outside your window.
You can tweet to your heart's content with B.T. Doran here. He'll figure out how to use it eventually.
But hey, at least these people were making a living. Nikolai Dzhumagaliev ate people for free, and is actually walking around a free man today. See what other serial killers you might bump into in 5 Horrific Serial Killers (Who Are Free Right Now). Or check out 6 Real Serial Killers More Terrifying Than Any Horror Movie, and don't ever trust anyone's cooking but your own ever again.
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