5 Real-Life Murderers More Terrifying Than Any Horror Movie
Serial killers in movies are all constrained by the same limitation: The imagination of a screenwriter, who is presumably not a murderous psychopath. No matter how disgusting or outright evil the fictional killer, there's somebody out there topping them in real life. The only words of comfort we can offer right now is that none of these shitheads are still on the streets.
WARNING: If you're sensitive to reading about this subject at all, turn back now.
Fred West Drove An Ice Cream Truck To Abduct Girls, Joined Forces With Another Psychopath
The running theme of today's article is going to be "Why in the fuck did it take so long to catch this monster?" Look, we get that nobody wants to rat out their neighbors or unfairly judge people based on, say, having an incredibly creepy hobby. But it's hard to come away from any serial killer account without thinking that maybe, just maybe, society isn't paranoid enough. Let's start with Fred West.
West had his first brush with the law in 1961, when police arrested him for having sex with minors ... a case which collapsed when he successfully argued that his actions were due to head injuries he sustained during his teenage years. (We imagine he left the courtroom saying, "Wow, that worked?") Not long after, he married Rena Costello and they moved to Coatbridge, Scotland, where, sigh, Fred got a job as a freaking ice cream truck driver. You know, the guy who had previously told a court of law that he had a brain injury that made him molest children?
It was around this time that West became a father. When his marriage started falling apart, he gave up his ice cream gig and moved to England, taking a job at a slaughterhouse, because real life is a bad B-movie written by a hack over a weekend. He met a girl named Rose, and not long after, his first wife Rena and his stepdaughter Charmaine disappeared. (No prizes for guessing what happened to them.) Fred and Rose started their own family (raising two daughters and a son) undisturbed, because cops just were not paying attention. Did we mention that Rose was also a psychopath?
Got me looking so crazy right now. Your love's got me looking so crazy right now.
Yeah, their house on 25 Cromwell Street in Gloucester is known today as the House of Horrors. West and his new wife (and sometimes other "clients") would rape and kill young women there. They would lure girls into their home with a promise of a nanny job, or Fred would abduct them off the street. Then they would drag them into the basement, Fred would rape them while Rose held them down, and they'd dismember and bury the bodies under the cellar.
When one of Fred's own daughters, Heather, told a friend about the things her parents were doing to her and her siblings, Fred and Rose killed her and buried her in the garden. Still, after all of that, only Fred's big dumb mouth is what got him caught. Police finally caught wind of a joke the Wests would tell, that "Heather was buried under the patio." Well, that's less of a joke and more of a casual confession. Either way, police got a search warrant and found a whole bunch of bodies -- the couple was responsible for at least a dozen murders.
Rose West is currently serving a life sentence with no chance of parole. Fred, on the other hand, never made it to trial. He committed suicide in his prison cell -- an act which hopefully caused him an incredible amount of pain.
A Female Professional Wrestler Was An Old Lady Strangler
Starting in 2003, little old grandmas who lived alone in Mexico started dying. That wouldn't be so weird -- dying is what grandmas eventually do -- but these women were all strangled to death. The police believed the killer to be a man disguised as a woman, because an eyewitness saw someone rather muscular in a dress fleeing one of the homes. They assumed the killer had a "confused sexual identity," and started bringing in known crossdressers for questioning.
But when police finally caught the killer leaving the house of a victim, they discovered she was Juana Barraza, a professional masked wrestler who went by the name the Silent Lady.
Again, foreshadowing that would get you a failing grade in a fiction writing class
It turned out Barraza was dressing up as a nurse and strolling into random old women's houses, offering them help with chores, as real nurses totally do. (The last victim had been strangled with a stethoscope. Again, we're all extras in a direct-to-video slasher movie.) She'd then steal things from the victims as trophies, presumably to offer at the altar to Santa Muerte she'd set up in her home. She said that her fixation with killing old ladies was a means of getting revenge against her mother, who gave her away to a man who raped her, though at that point it feels like she's trying to pile on too many gimmicks.
Juana was convicted of killing 17 women, but police believed she was guilty of twice that many. A judge sentenced her to 759 years in prison, but under Mexican law, she will likely only spend a maximum of 50 years there.
Ervil Lebaron Led A Mormon Death Squad From Beyond The Grave
Another big difference between slasher movie villains and real-life pieces of shit is that the latter don't get sequels. No cult ritual is going to bring Ted Bundy back to life. Yet Ervil LeBaron kept his body count climbing even after he died, using a method that is arguably even creepier.
When the Mormon church decided they weren't cool with polygamy anymore, the LeBaron family decided to head for greener pastures in Mexico. Two patriarchs of the family were Joel LeBaron and Ervil LeBaron, the latter of whom you've noticed has a name that would be considered too on-the-nose for a cartoon villain. Ervil LeBaron (thunder crash) had 13 wives and 50 children, and as expected from any good cult leader, he claimed he was the sole representative of God on Earth. This guy's entire life was red flags.
The face of a man with enough love to spread around to 13 women.
When his older brother Joel kicked Ervil out of his sect for being a dick, Ervil started his own branch of Mormonism, the Church of the Lamb of God. Ervil brought back a long-forgotten rule of Mormonism: the "blood atonement," which allowed him to murder sinners in order to cleanse their spirits and send them to heaven. The fact that his victims were people who challenged his authority was probably a coincidence. Ervil's first victim was, unsurprisingly, his brother Joel.
Granted, Ervil wasn't big on getting his own hands dirty. He had his large family and gang of followers act as his hitmen, killing dissident family members and carrying out raids on Mormon towns that didn't accept him as their leader. In 1974, the LeBaron gang firebombed the town of Los Molinos, and then shot at anyone brave enough to try to put out the fires. They gunned down 16-year-old Morone Mendez while he was on the roof of his burning house. Another man, Edmundo Aguilar, woke up to find a bomb had set his bed on fire. When he tried to escape, he got a bullet in the head.
Ervil was finally arrested by the FBI (after previously getting arrested for Joel's murder and escaping on a technicality). In jail, Ervil wrote the final book of his Bible, called The Book of the New Covenants, which was in reality a hit list of people he hadn't got around to killing yet. Ervil died in prison, but that fucking book is the reason death only made him more powerful. Everyone in that book lived in fear for decades after, and for good reason.
On June 27, 1988, at 4:00 p.m., the remaining LeBarons simultaneously killed four different dissident members in three different locations, hundreds of miles apart. Kind of like the prison killing scene from Breaking Bad, but with Mormons instead of Neo-Nazis. Oh, and one of the victims was an eight-year-old girl.
The media dubbed it the 4 O'Clock Murders, and it was so coordinated and well-planned that they didn't catch the final killer until 2010. All told, authorities credit around 25 murders to Ervil's cult, though we'll never know for sure. There are cases like Ervil's pregnant 17-year-old daughter, Rebecca, who is thought to still be buried out in the desert somewhere after Ervil had her strangled to death.
The remaining family still lives in Mexico, and still practices Mormonism. But they've calmed down quite a bit from their heyday. Now they're merely at war with a cartel.
A Nurse Intentionally Caused Dozens Of Heart Failures To Play Hero
Niels Hogel was a nurse at several intensive care units in Germany from the late 1990s to the early 2000s, and he was the shit at resuscitating patients. He enjoyed saving lives so much that if there was nobody in need of saving, he'd help them along a little so he could have his time to shine.
Since Hogel had easy access to cardiovascular drugs, he'd quietly inject patients' IVs with a little something extra to stop their hearts. Then he would save them. Or not. Sometimes they would die. Look, you can't save everyone! A co-worker noted later that when he failed to revive them, he would always appear distraught. "What kind of cruel god would let this happen?!?"
Hogel did this many, many times. He bounced around from hospital to hospital, wasting medicine and lives wherever he went. At a hospital in Oldenburg, suspicions arose about the increasing number of deaths in his unit. They tried moving him to another (thinking maybe he was just bad luck, or something?), but eventually they pressured him to quit because he acted really weird whenever anyone needed resuscitation, always muscling in to do it himself. All the same, they gave him a nice recommendation which would lead to his job in Delmenhorst. Sure, the guy's a bit of a glory hog, but damn if he doesn't save a lot of lives!
Note: This guy may have killed over a hundred people.
It was at Delmenhorst that Hogel was finally caught in the act. An employee saw him injecting a patient with a drug which soon killed the man, and thought that seemed a little out of the ordinary. The witness told their boss, and they immediately confronted Hogel. And by "immediately" we mean two days later. You know how it is, there's a flash sale at IKEA and that pretty much takes up your whole day, then Tuesday seems like a weird day to deal with serial murder.
During that two-day wait, Hogel did in fact kill another patient, causing a judge to later charge some of the staff with manslaughter for their negligence. After police arrested Hogel and charged him with the two murders, he confessed to 88 more -- though it's believed that his actual kill count could be double that.
Moses Sithole Killed A Bunch Of Women, Jerked Off During His Confession
Moses Sithole (seriously, these names) was sometimes described as the Ted Bundy of South Africa, though he could also have been described as the turd in the punch bowl of society. Police arrested him in 1989 for raping a woman, and released him in 1993 on good behavior. The lesson Sithole seemed to learn from this is that society is oddly forgiving of people like him. It was time to escalate.
His modus operandi was nightmarish on several levels, the first being that he would rape women, then kill them by strangling them with their own underwear. Specifically, this fucker would hogtie his victims in such a way that if they tried to relax their muscles, their underwear around their neck would strangle them, basically making them fight themselves for their own lives. He would masturbate while they died.
What a Sithole.
The breakthrough in the investigation came in 1995, when police discovered mass graves at the Van Dyk Mine. Forensic experts were able to recover ten bodies. It was so horrific that President Mandela had to console the traumatized public. Police caught their first real lead when they discovered that most of the victims died on the day they were to meet Sithole about a job opportunity.
Yeah, the second part of Sithole's method puts him above and beyond even his fellow monsters. He had created an organization called Youth Against Human Abuse to exploit both the job scarcity in Gauteng and the good natures of various young women. He claimed the organization helped the many homeless children in South Africa and worked toward the eradication of child abuse. It's like he made it his mission to only torture the best, most selfless women. When he was finally caught, Sithole had already raped and killed 38 of them.
Oh, and during interrogations, he refused to talk to male detectives. He would only talk about his crimes with female detectives, masturbating while he confessed. The court sentenced Sithole to 2,410 years in prison, with no possible parole for at least 930 years. Once again, he got off easy.
Laura H uses her Cracked money to feed her reading habit. Follow her on Twitter. Abraham lives in Mexico, but he likes eating tacos de suadero a lot more than murders. You can say hi to him on Twitter here , or you can laugh at his deviant art here. Michael Battaglino is a new contributor to Cracked.com. Be sure to check out some of his other work if you enjoyed this article. Zanandi follows some questionable people on Twitter.
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