The Scariest Serial Killers in History

5 3 of 37
6,216 votes 1,078 voters 500,780 views 51 items tags f p @

The scariest serial killers, with info about their methods, victims, and more. Serial killers are among the most terrifying people imaginable, partially because of how unfathomable their crimes can be. Most serial killers kill randomly, looking for a specific type of victim in the dead of night, whether they’re tall, blonde women or short, elderly black men. Any type of person can be prey to a certain type of serial killer. Many of these heinous evildoers have been known to rape and torture their victims. Some have even made meals out of their victim’s dead bodies.


One of the things that make serial killers so scary is that anybody can be a victim, and anybody can be the culprit. Many of the worst serial killers were friendly neighbors or easy-going coworkers that one would never suspect of secretly having human heads in the fridge. The serial killers on this list are among the scariest villains in history due to their methods, their motives, and their personalities.


Who are the scariest serial killers in history? What did these serial killers do to make them so terrorizing? What were their motives, if they had any? And what became of the serial killers that haunt many people’s nightmares? Vote for the scariest famous real serial killers.

List Photo: user uploaded image
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 3 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
G Options B Comments & Embed 2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 319
    - 81

    Between 1974 and 1978, Ted Bundy kidnapped and killed 30 women, although the actual number of victims is likely much higher. He tortured and raped his victims, sometimes even keeping their dismembered heads as keepsakes. He was caught in 1979 and sentenced to death by electric chair.         

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 43 (1946-1989)
    • Birthplace: Vermont, USA, Burlington
    • Profession: Criminal
  2. 2
    + 284
    - 67

    When having a children's birthday party, you never imagine that the party clown could be anything more than an entertainer. But in John Wayne Gacy's case, he was a professional clown with a murderous streak. Gacy killed 33 young men and buried the bodies around his home, after torturing and raping his victims. He was discovered and executed in 1994. 

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 52 (1942-1994)
    • Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
    • Profession: Clown
  3. 3
    + 282
    - 84
    Jeffrey Dahmer
    Photo: Freebase

    Jeffrey Dahmer became one of the most famous serial killers in the U.S. when he was caught for the murders of 17 young men who he raped, dismembered, and ate. Dahmer had been attempting to create a mindless sex slave by drilling a hole in the heads of his live victims. He was caught in 1994 and beaten to death in prison. 

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 34 (1960-1994)
    • Birthplace: West Allis, Wisconsin, United States of America
    • Profession: Criminal
  4. 4
    + 241
    - 67

    In the 1900s, Albert Fish kidnapped, raped, killed, and cannibalized young children. While only three victims were ever proven, he claimed to have killed many, many more. Fish was often known as The Gray Man, along with a few other nicknames. He was caught in 1934 and sentenced to death by electrocution. 

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 66 (1870-1936)
    • Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States of America
  5. 5
    + 282
    - 91

    Jack the Ripper earned the title as the world's scariest and most notorious serial killer for his mysterious and unforgiving nature. During the 1800s, he killed many English prostitutes by slitting their throats and opening their abdomens. He sometimes took body parts, including the uterus, as trophies. Nobody knows his true identity or what became of him. 

  6. 6
    + 187
    - 45
    Pedro López
    Photo: Public Domain

    Pedro Lopez raped and killed more than 300 girls throughout South America, receiving the name the Monster of the Andes. He originally killed 100 tribal women in Peru, but the police let him go to continue his murderous steak. He was arrested and convicted in 1980 but let go in 1998. 

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 67
    • Birthplace: Santa Isabel, Colombia
  7. 7
    + 228
    - 70

    Ed Gein famously inspired a plethora of the most horrifying Hollywood serial killers of all time, including Norman Bates, Jame Gumb ("Buffalo Bill"), and Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Although Gein only allegedly killed his brother and two local women, he was also known to dig up the dead bodies of women similar to his mother and use their skin to make a suit. He also used the body parts to make masks, bowls, lamps, and more. He was caught in 1957 but died in a mental hospital of respiratory failure in 1984. 

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 78 (1906-1984)
    • Birthplace: Wisconsin, United States of America
  8. 8
    + 172
    - 35

    Leonard Lake and his partner Charles Ng killed between 11 and 25 people during 1983-1985. He brought his victims to his cabin's custom dungeon to torture, rape, and kill. He videotaped many of his victim's last torturous moments. After Lake was arrested on a firearms charge, he killed himself with a cyanide pill. That's when the police discovered his dungeon of horrors. 

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 40 (1945-1985)
    • Birthplace: California, United States of America
  9. 9
    + 198
    - 55
    Richard Ramirez
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Richard Ramirez, aka The Night Stalker, terrorized the people of Los Angeles when he went on a year-long crime spree in which he broke into people's homes to rape and murder. He killed 13 people and injured more. He was sentenced to death but died of cancer in June 2013. 

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 53 (1960-2013)
    • Birthplace: El Paso, Texas, United States of America
  10. 10
    + 126
    - 28

    Over the span of 12 years in Russia, Andrei Chikatilo killed at least 52 women and children by stabbing. He was often called the Rostov Ripper and had been suspected of the crimes over the decade of terror, but he wasn't apprehended until 1990. Chikatilo was executed via firing squad in 1994. 

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 58 (1936-1994)
    • Birthplace: Sumy Oblast, Ukraine
  11. 11
    + 152
    - 43

    Most famously known as the Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway strangled over 70 women throughout the 1980s and 90s and tossed many of the bodies in the Green River. Ridgway chose prostitutes and runaways as his victims, luring them away by showing a picture of his son. He was finally caught in 2001 after many years of terrorizing the women of Washington. He was sentenced to life in prison. 

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 66
    • Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America
  12. 12
    + 138
    - 40

    Over a period of 20 years, Henry Lee Lucas killed at least 350 people, although his number could be closer to 600. Among Lucas's victims was his own mother, a drifter, and an unidentified women. Once Lucas was caught, he confessed to hundreds of murders but recanted on most confessions. He ultimately was convicted of 11 murders in 1983 and sentenced to death. His death sentence was commuted to life, but he died of heart failure in 2001.

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 65 (1936-2001)
    • Birthplace: Blacksburg, Virginia, United States of America
  13. 13
    + 119
    - 33

    Joachim Kroll killed and ate his victims from 1955 to 1976. He killed a total of 14 people, including young children. He'd strangle his victims before having sex with their dead bodies. Then he'd take pieces home to eat later. Kroll was only caught when a neighbor complained about backed up plumbing. When the police investigated the pipes, Kroll admitted they were backed up with "guts." He was sentenced to life in prison but died of a heart attack in 1991. 

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 58 (1933-1991)
    • Birthplace: Zabrze, Poland
  14. 14
    + 101
    - 34

    Dennis Rader, aka the BTK Killer, bound, tortured, and killed ten people in Kansas in 1974-1991. He bragged about his crimes to the police through letters after each crime. His 2004 letter lead to his arrest, although his last known killing was in 1991. He was sentenced to life in prison. 

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 70
    • Birthplace: Pittsburg, Kansas, United States of America
    • Credits: Feast of the Assumption: BTK and the Otero Family Murders, NBC News Presents: BTK Confessions
  15. 15
    + 119
    - 49

    Robert Pickton killed anywhere between 6 and 49 victims. The Canadian serial killer lured prostitutes and drug-addled women to his pig farm to kill them. He'd then cut up their bodies and feed them to his pigs. He kept some of his victims' heads, hands, and feet in refrigerators, while bringing some human remains, mixed with pig intestines, to a rendering plant to be made into products like makeup and soap. He was caught in 2002 and sentenced to life in prison. 

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 66
    • Birthplace: Port Coquitlam, Canada
    • Profession: Farmer
  16. 16
    + 103
    - 38

    As the partner of Angelo Buono, Kenneth Bianchi earned the nickname The Hillside Strangler. Bianchi is also suspected of being the culprit in the Alphabet murders. He brutally raped and strangled his victims. He killed at least 11 women before being caught in 1979. He's currently serving life in prison. 

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 64
    • Birthplace: Rochester, New York, United States of America
  17. 17
    + 95
    - 35

    Richard Chase was often called the Vampire of Sacramento, because after he killed his victims, he'd drink their blood and eat their remains. Over the course of a month he killed six people. He was caught in 1978 and revealed to be schizophrenic. He was convicted and sentenced to death. However, he killed himself by an overdose of his antidepressant medication in 1980. 

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 30 (1950-1980)
    • Birthplace: California, United States of America
  18. 18
    + 83
    - 34

    Javed Iqbal killed more than a 100 boys in Pakistan after sexually abusing them. He would kidnap his victims by luring them off the streets and drugging them. Many of his victims were dissolved in acid, which is why the authorities were not aware there was a serial killer on the loose. He sent a letter to the police confessing to the crimes, leading to the biggest manhunt in Pakistan history. He was arrested in 1999 and sentenced to death, but he killed himself before he could be executed. 

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 45 (1956-2001)
    • Birthplace: Lahore, Pakistan
  19. 19
    + 72
    - 25
    Dean Corll
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    During the 1970s, Dean Corll went years raping and killing young boys without suspicion. Corll had at least 28 young victims that were never discovered until after Corll was shot and killed by one of his accomplices. Corll was also known as The Candy Man, because he had a history of handing out free candy to children in his Texan town. 

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 34 (1939-1973)
    • Birthplace: Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States of America
  20. 20
    + 79
    - 34

    Nannie Doss mystified investigators and people all over the United States when she admitted to killing 5 husbands, 2 children, two sisters, her mother, her nephew, and her grandson with a laugh. She poisoned her familial victims without a single stated motive. When her 5th husband ended up in the hospital for three weeks, investigators finally started to look into the mysterious deaths that lasted over 30 years. She was caught in 1954 and sentenced to life in prison. 

    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 60 (1905-1965)
    • Birthplace: Blue Mountain, Alabama, United States of America
52 +

Something missing? Add it!

L List Options 2 Rerank List B Comments & Embed z Share Next List >