Criminal logo

Famous American Serial Killers

Known for their sinister and heinous crimes, famous American serial killers are not forgotten, no matter how long ago their crimes were committed.

By Jacqueline HanikehPublished 6 years ago 6 min read

Throughout American history, there have been numerous cases of serial killers. All over the states, there are human beings acting out their evil urges to kill other humans and some of their stories are extremely disturbing. Murders that involved innocent men, women, and even children, all brutally murdered in bizarre ways. Either shot to death, stabbed, or strangled, many of these serial killers have ways of hiding the bodies and avoiding detection. And, yes, there are killers who even eat pieces of their victims — I'll get into that later.

But on a more interesting note, the majority of these serial killers are actually intelligent. But if they're so smart, why go around killing innocent people? Don't they know that killing is wrong? Like... really bad? Well, they may be geniuses, but no brain is perfect — in many cases, they also acquire mental illnesses that causes these "killing" urges to occur.

A lot of these famous American serial killers don't look like killers. In fact, most of them were extremely nice and looked like average people — possibly even good looking. The fact that some of them were good looking made it easier for them to get their prey through persuasion and a good smile. Nobody suspects someone who's really nice and good looking to be a killer, right? That's what most of the victims thought, until it really hit them that they were so wrong. Check out this list of famous American serial killers and see what you think.

Theodore Robert Bundy

Let's start off with Ted Bundy. His name is literally written all over books of famous American serial killers. This notorious killer and rapist, one of the biggest during the late 20th Century, was from Burlington, Vermont. He had a difficult childhood filled with bullying and abuse. He was super smart, charming, and was socially skillful in college, which lead him to have multiple relationships with women. Even though he was somewhat "stable," he confessed to 28 murders out of the 100 he was thought to be responsible for. He was sentenced to death at 43 for raping and murdering a 12-year-old girl — leading him to the electric chair in Florida in 1989.

Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer

When we hear the name Jeffrey Dahmer, some of us immediately think of the serial cannibal who feasted on body parts. Yes, Dahmer is certainly one of the most famous American serial killers there ever was and it would be tough to forget about him. Dahmer was from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was a good looking man who had gotten intimate with multiple men during his time. His victims were men, and with his handsome face, he was able to grab hold of almost all the men he approached. Throughout his killing spree, Dahmer, brutally murdered 17 men, including drilling holes into their heads and pouring acid to make them brain-dead "zombies" to follow his every command. Yet, it never worked, causing them to all to die in the process. Also, Dahmer consumed pieces of body parts out of curiosity. Curiosity killed the cat? Dahmer died at 34 in prison, when another cellmate beat him to death in 1994.

John Wayne Gacy

Ah, yes, "The Killer Clown." One of the most iconic, famous American serial killers that ever lived came from Chicago, Illinois. Actually, he was once a cheerful and friendly man who loved entertaining children while dressed as Pogo the Clown. Just a few years after being released from prison for having sexual intercourse with two young boys, he raped and murdered 33 people — 29 of them were found in crawl spaces underneath Gacy’s house. In 1994, Gacy was sentenced to death by lethal injection—he was 52.

Richard Kuklinski

If you've seen the 2012 film, The Iceman, then you definitely know who Richard Kuklinski is. As diabolical and evil as Kuklinski was, he was a family man. He adored his wife and three children. Born in Jersey City, Kuklinski was disguised as a hit man for a year and a half, boasting about how after he murdered someone he froze their body to mask the time of death — earning him the nickname "The Iceman." He was arrested and charged for five murders in 1986 — yet, he took credit for over 200 murders. Then, in 2006, Kuklinski died from unknown causes.

H. H. Holmes

Born in Gilmanton, New Hampshire, Holmes designed, built, and ran a three-story hotel that was known as the "Castle." He hired and fired several construction workers so no one would know that he was actually designing a "Murder Castle" that consisted of giant furnaces, lime and acid pits, large vaults, and other torture devices to brutally murder, strangle, and torture his victims before disposing of them. Once the Castle was finished, he offered jobs to just young women, while presenting himself as a single wealthy man looking for a wife. In 1894, he confessed to 27 murders out of the 200 that he is believed to be responsible for. Holmes was hanged in Philadelphia in 1896, at the age of 35.

Dennis Rader

Known as the "BTK Killer," (bind, torture, kill), Rader was born in Wichita, Kansas, and is one of the most famous American serial killers. In high school, Rader used to have fantasies of tying up girls and having complete dominance over them — but nothing sexual. He also admitted to killing cats and dogs by hanging them — his own mother caught him doing it. But she shrugged it off, thinking it was something young boys sometimes do. Smart move, mom. Rader was charged for ten murders, including four from the same family around the area that he stalked. In 2005, at the age of 72, he was given 10 life sentences in prison.

Edmund Kemper

"The Co-Ed Killer" is one of the most famous American serial killers. Kemper was born in Burbank, California, and at the age of 15, he killed both of his grandparents just to "see what it felt like." Guess it took two to understand, huh? When he was released from prison at 21, he began picking up female hitchhikers. He then stopped letting them go and killed six young women. Then in 1973, he killed his mother and her friend before he turned himself in at 68 — serving a life sentence.

Aileen Wuornos

Aileen Wuornos is seen as one of the most famous American serial killers of all time. She was born in Rochester, Michigan, and was sexually abused and kicked out of her own home as a teenager. For a while, she made a living as a prostitute, before brutally murdering a man who picked her up in 1989. She continued to kill up to five men and was caught, convicted, and placed on death row. In 2002, Wuornos died by lethal injection at 46.

David Parker Ray

Known as the "Toy Box Killer," Ray was born in Belen, New Mexico. Ray sexually tortured and killed women in his trailer that was filled with S&M equipment. He would also videotape himself torturing the women before killing them on camera. While Ray was sentenced to 224 years in prison, he had a heartattack shortly after, only serving three years before dying 2002, at age 63.

Gary Ridgway

Known as "The Green River Killer," Ridgway was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and was seen as one of the most famous American serial killers of his time. He ran a job painting trucks for 30 years, and was married three times. In 1982, he began murdering women and was caught in 2001, when he was matched during a DNA test. Ridgway confessed to brutally killing up to 80 women. He was then sent to prison for multiple life sentences at 68.


About the Creator

Jacqueline Hanikeh

Reading good literature plays a huge role in my life — and so does online shopping and wine.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.