During a period of several years in the early 1900’s, New Orleans teetered on the brink of panic after a string of murders that were as gruesome as they were terrifying. Reminiscent of an American version of Jack the Ripper, the ax-wielding serial killer known as “Axeman”, broke into homes across New Orleans in the middle of the night and savagely hacked his sleeping victims to death with an axe before quietly slipping away into the darkness. By the time the attacks mysteriously ended in October 1919, over a dozen people had been attacked with at least six people hacked to death in bloody fashion. The Axeman was never caught.
Madame Marie Delphine LaLaurie – New Orleans socialite caged, tortured, and maimed her slaves for fun
Those who watched season 3 of American Horror Story may be surprised to learn that Kathy Bate’s character, Madame Delphine LaLaurie, is based on a real-life New Orleans tale of horror. In true-life, Mad Madame Marie Delphine LaLaurie, a prominent New Orleans socialite, was discovered to have caged and savagely tortured her slaves in a small room at the top of her Royal Street mansion. The LaLaurie Mansion is now considered one of the most haunted places in New Orleans.
Serial killer Israel Keyes is the type of serial killer the public – and police fear: one that is so wily and meticulous, a complete story of his murders may never be known. Keyes is believed to have embarked on a decades-long murder spree which may have included more than a dozen murder victims. The FBI has linked Keyes to at least 11 killings and feel that they may never know the true body count.
The Boston Strangler – serial killer terrorizes Boston killing 13 woman in unsolved crime wave (1962)
Between June 14, 1962 and January 4, 1964, 13 single women in the Boston area were victims of either a single serial killer or possibly several killers. While the police did not see all of these murders as the work of a single individual, the public did. All of these women were murdered in their apartments, had been sexually molested, and were strangled with articles of clothing. With no signs of forced entry, the women apparently knew their assailant or, at least, believing them to be an apartment maintenance man, delivery man, or some other service man, voluntarily let him in their homes. The victims were respectable women who for the most part led quiet, modest lives. Despite enormous media publicity that would presumably have discouraged women from admitting strangers into their homes after the first few murders, the attacks continued unabated.
The name of this case is derived from the Green River, a river that begins in Washington State and empties into the Puget Sound in Seattle. Near the river is the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, built in 1942. It was in this area that the Green River Killer, later identified as Gary Leon Ridgway, killed and disposed of nearly 50 victims, most of them destitute prostitutes.
On June 24, 1969, Coral delivered the daily paper of Joan Gave to her door. He knocked on the door and when Joan answered, he quietly handed the paper to her and stood on the step peering past her into the living room. His gaze returned to her and their eyes locked. For no apparent reason, Coral struck her in the face.
The Son of Sam saga began on July 29, 1976. Donna Lauria (18) and Jody Valenti (19) were sitting innocently in their car outside Lauria’s Bronx apartment when Donna noticed a man peering into the window. David Berkowitz pulled his .44 caliber Charter Arms Bulldog pistol out of a paper bag and fired five times into the car. Donna died instantly.
The murder spree initiated by a man known only as The Zodiac, has to be one of the most intriguing criminal mysteries the United State has ever experienced. No one is sure exactly when it began nor do we know when it will end. All we do know is that for over 22 years, someone has managed to outwit the California authorities all the while taunting, goading, and ridiculing the police while he maintained his cycle of viscous killings, often within sight of the authorities that sought him.
Belle Gunness, a homely Norwegian immigrant from Chicago, desired to be married. She also desired money. In an attempt to satisfy at least one of those wishes, Belle ran an advertisement in 1906 editions of area Chicago newspapers. And indeed the gentlemen arrived – in droves. To Andrew Hegelein, a farmer from South Dakota, she closed her letter to him with “My heart beats in wild rapture for you, My Andrew, I love you. Come prepared to stay forever.” And stay forever he did – dead, buried underneath her barn.
They have his DNA. They have his fingerprints. Ballistics tests match the .25 caliber gun used in the crimes. They have a description from a survivor. But the elusive Grim Sleeper serial killer is still on the loose and has been claiming victims in Los Angeles for over a quarter of a century. The Grim Sleeper is believed to be responsible for 11 murders and one attempted murder in Los Angeles since 1985. He kills by gunshot or strangulation and in some cases, both, usually after some sort of sexual contact with the victim. Ten of his victims were black women – several were prostitutes, their bodies typically found in alley ways, and most near Western Avenue in South Los Angeles. Six of the victims were found with the killer’s DNA on them but searches of DNA databases comes up blank.
John Wayne Gacy, Jr. (March 17, 1942 – May 10, 1994) was an American serial killer. Between the years 1972 and 1978, when he was arrested, convicted, and later executed, Gacy raped and murdered thirty three young boys. He buried 29 of them in the crawl space underneath the basement of his home. When the crawlspace filled with bodies, he began dumping his vicitims in the Des Plaines River. He became known as “Killer Clown” because of the popular block parties he would throw for his friends and neighbors, entertaining children in a clown suit and makeup under the alias “Pogo the Clown”.
Armin Meiwes, a computer technician living in the German town of Rotenburg, was born December 1, 1961. He was described by neighbors as being “very childlike”, friendly, and a sensitive person. He was also called The Master Butcher and the Rotenburg Cannibal after he achieved international notoriety for killing and eating a voluntary victim whom he had found via an Internet forum dedicated to people who fantasized about cannibalism.
The Long Island Serial Killer (also known as the Gilgo Killer or the Long Island Ripper) is a serial killer who is believed to have murdered at least ten people in the Long Island area. He targets prostitutes, who were often contacted from the online bulletin board Craigslist, and has been in operation for at least fifteen years. The Long Island Serial Killer dumps the bodies of his victims along Ocean Parkway, a fifteen mile highway that traverses Jones Beach Island on Long Island, New York. The killer dumps his victims, unburied in thick brush, often only a few feet from the roadway. Some victims’ bodies lay undiscovered for over a decade.