5 Terrifying Serial Killers From Around The World
All this obsession with the most famous serial killers—your Jeffrey Dahmers and your Ted Bundys—is unfair, for a very clear reason. It steals attention from all the other serial killers. The following murderers put in the work, devoting their lives to ending the lives of the innocent, and yet they’re denied immortality, simply because they weren’t born in America. Let’s rectify that injustice and shine the spotlight on them.
Spain’s Old Lady Killer Was Eventually Stabbed 113 Times
Many years ago, people did this weird thing. When someone rang their bell, they’d answer the door, even if they weren’t expecting anyone. Crazy, we know. Particularly at risk were the elderly, who were so happy for any kind of company that if someone showed up at their door claiming to be there to repair their TV or sell insurance, they’d let the guy right in. That was how Antonio Rodriguez Vega in the ’80s gained entrance to his many victims’ homes.
Vega was sentenced to 27 years in prison for raping numerous women. That’s not a summary of the story we’re telling you today; that’s the prologue. He was released in 1986, having served just eight years, and he next moved on to the second stage of his career, now based in Santander, Spain. He would go on raping women, yes, but this time he would also murder them all to prevent them from reporting him. And he would focus on older women, either because their deaths would attract less attention or because that’s the sort of woman he was into.
He operated between April 1987 and April 1988, and his victims ranged from 66 years old to 93. He raped them and then he strangled them, and some of these deaths were mistaken for natural, since that’s the expected cause when an old widow living alone is found dead. Finally, police listened to some of the victims’ families, who asked, “Yes, she was old, but that doesn’t explain why she had all those bruises or why we found her with her underwear off.”
Detectives now linked one crime to Vega because he’d done repair work for the victim and had a record. Then they entered his home and discovered his Red Room. He’d taken one memento from each victim, including one of the TVs he’d claimed to have been preparing. He displayed them all as trophies in his room, and police used them to link him to 16 different murders he'd committed that year.
A court sentenced Vega to 440 years in prison. When inmates attacked him, Spain transferred him to a different facility. Here, inmates immediately attacked him again, stabbing him 113 times and killing him. “Go away, this is our business,” said one knifeman to guards who offered to intervene.
Mother Rasputin Was A Nun Who Killed Dozens, Or Even Hundreds
Let’s shift now and tell you about someone kind, who devoted her life to charity. Mariam Soulakiotis became a nun in an offshoot of the Greek Orthodox Church, rising to the rank of abbess in her convent in Lavreotiki, Greece. Besides serving God, she also specifically dedicated her monastery to treating people with tuberculosis. What a noble person, a model for us all.
To build up her convent, she sent monks throughout the country to recruit lonely women. For salvation, she told them, they merely had to sign all their property over to her. Through this, she personally gained possession of 300 separate houses and farms, plus vast quantities of gold and jewels. When these women followed up their donations by actually joining the convent, this proved inconvenient, because the place only had so much room. So she eliminated them by denying them food till they starved to death. Some people came to the convent without first signing over their property. Mother Mariam tortured them until they changed their minds, according to one accuser who survived long enough to testify.
Authorities first investigated her in 1950 over an old report that a girl had died in her custody. This girl, it turned out, had not actually died. Mariam was merely holding her captive for 12 years. The police then freed dozens of children from the monastery and looked into the people who’d died there after relinquishing all their wealth.
If we tally up the people who died this way, her body count hovers at around 27 (though she was not convicted of them all and died awaiting further trials). If we count everyone who died at her monastery, however, the number rises a lot higher. Over a hundred people there died of tuberculosis. They came to receive treatment, but the abbess banned all doctors from providing any, only allowing doctors entry to sign the death certificates. We’d discovered antibiotics by this time; all of these people could have easily lived.
In Mother Mariam’s defense, she was cleared of certain other crimes. Police charged her with illegally exporting olive oil and illegally importing tires. She was acquitted on both counts, so she wasn’t all bad.
Marrakesh Executed A Killer By Sealing Him In A Wall
Hadj Mohammed Mesfewi made and sold shoes in Marrakesh, Morocco. Over the course of a few years, ending in 1906, he murdered 36 women. He lured them into his shop by offering them jobs, fed them drugged wine, then slit their throats. He buried 20 of their bodies in a pit below his shop itself, then when that pit ran out of room, he shifted to burying them in his garden.
Police extracted a confession from Mesfewi’s partner-in-crime, a 70-year-old woman named Annah, by torturing her, a torture session that eventually killed her. This was of course unethical on their part and also unnecessary, as they already had ample evidence in the form of dozens of bodies as well as small sums of money Mesfewi had stolen from his victims. With Mesfewi guilty of serial murder, the state sentenced him to death—death by crucifixion.
During this period, Morocco was under the influence of several European countries, particularly France, and foreign officials in Marrakesh spoke out against the sentence. Crucifixion had a bad reputation in certain circles, thanks to an incident outside Jerusalem some two millennia previously. Authorities in Marrakesh relented and instead treated Mesfewi to daily flogging, with plans to later behead him. Flogging also had a bad reputation, thanks to that same 1,867-year-old incident, but it beats crucifixion.
The people of Marrakesh had plans, however, to actually not behead the man but instead to kill him in a manner even more drawn out than crucifixion. On June 13, 1906, they brought him into the bazaar, where a mason had erected some new walls, with just enough space between them to fit a man. The led him into the space, then the mason laid down further bricks, fully sealing him away. This is the execution method known as immurement.
For two days, he screamed in his prison, to the delight of passing shoppers. Then he went silent, a bit sooner than people had expected.
This sounds like some legend from the Middle Ages, but it happened in the era of semi-modern media. International newspapers reported on it, on the same front page that reported Russia slaughtering a town’s Jews and mudane local electoral politics.
An Argentinian Serial Killer, Jailed For Masturbating As A Child
If your child hurts animals, you should address that. This may foretell doom. John Wayne Gacy, the Boston Strangler, Tom Riddle, Gary Ridgeway ... all of them had a history as children of unnatural activity with animals. If a child delights in animal cruelty, they are statistically more likely to be a serial killer, or a CEO.
When Cayetano Santos Godino was a boy, he killed cats and birds. He also liked setting fires (this, unlike his other hobbies, actually just indicates healthy curiosity), and when he was seven, he beat up a toddler and left him in a ditch. Police picked him up for this but released him to his parents’ custody. They couldn’t jail a child, right?
Apparently you can, if the parents want you to. When Godino was 10, his parents took him to the police station in Buenos Aires and asked them to hold him for them. The police did so for two months. They didn’t do this because of the kid he beat at seven, the other kid a cop caught him beating at eight, or the child he murdered at nine (they did not know about the murder at the time). They did it because he just kept masturbating so much, and his parents hoped a little incarceration would cure him of that habit.
History does not record whether young Cayetano dialed back the self-pleasure after this. But we do know that by the time he was 16, he’d murdered four children. He tried to kill some others too, via arson, so guess we were wrong about pyromania being a wholesome personality trait.
The public dubbed Godino “The Big-Eared Midget.” That nickname might roll off the tongue better in the original Spanish. Authorities sent him to juvie in 1913, then moved him to prison when he became an adult. He continued trying to kill people while incarcerated, and he succeeded in killing at least two additional cats—which, we should say again, is really a red flag, so we hope they kept an eye on him after that.
Lam Kor-Wan Got Caught Because He Sent Photo Evidence To A Commercial Lab
Serial killer nicknames may fail to capture what the killer really did. Lam Kor-wan, who killed four women in Hong Kong at the start of the ’80s, was known as the Hong Kong Butcher and the Rainy Night Killer. Neither of those names succeed in getting across that—and this is your last chance to turn away—he dismembered his victims, had sex with their separated parts, and stored their sexual organs in Tupperware.
We don’t know how long it would have taken for Hong Klong police to connect these women’s disappearances to Lam Kor-wan, a taxi driver who’d picked up each of them and strangled them in his cab. No traditional investigation turned out to be necessary. See, Lam liked taking photos of his victims. He photographed himself having sex with their body parts post-mortem, and he photographed the organs he preserved in his Tupperware. To develop these photos, he took the negatives to a photo lab. Meaning, to a Kodak store, staffed by employees who’d view the images.
When he can back to collect the finished photos, these employees had some pointed questions. Lam has some rehearsed answers: These were medical photos. Lam said he was employed as a technician, and these was part of his university research. This worked. The photo place let him go on his way and didn’t report him.
The next time he dropped his stuff off at a photo place, things didn’t go as well. His subjects were less clinical this time, and more sexual, and definitely deceased, so the employees contacted the cops. When they showed up at Lam’s place, the evidence was abundant, and horrifying, and organized.
Unlike all the other killers on this list, Lam is till alive, serving out a life sentence. Today, he must be marveling at the progress of technology, with digital cameras that preserve necrophiliac memories without anyone else needing to see the images. He might have got away with it if he had one of those. Or, you know, if he just used a Polaroid camera, since those very much existed in the ’80s.
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