12 Cryptic And Chilling Messages Left At Murder Scenes

When serial killers leave cryptic messages at their crime scenes, the motives are rarely clear. Maybe the message is an attempt to spread panic or an escalation of their behavior after earning more attention. Many chilling messages at crime scenes come across as hastily written statements that imply a shaky grip on sanity, but others can open a gateway into the psyche of a mass-murderer in a way that no biography or 20/20 interview can.

Some of the notes that you’ll read about are obvious cries for help from mentally unstable people who believed they had no other way of acting out their aggression than to kill, but most of them are more of a step-by-step guide on how to taunt the police or victims' families. Beyond being creepy, there aren’t a lot of similarities between each of these notes. Some are lengthy diatribes while others are a few simple words, but they’re all windows into the minds of killers.

  • William Heirens

    William Heirens
    Photo: Illinois Department of Corrections / Wikipedia / Fair Use

    Message: "for heavens sake catch me before i kill more i cannot control myself"

    The story of the Lipstick Killer starts with the vicious murder of three people in Chicago in 1946 and ends with the arrest of William Heirens, who still maintains his innocence to this day, claiming he was the victim of an abusive and overzealous police force determined to pin the murders on someone. But whoever the Lipstick Killer is, he left this chilling note, scrawled in lipstick on one of the walls of victim Frances Brown’s apartment. 

  • The Zodiac Killer

    The Zodiac Killer
    Photo: San Francisco Police Department / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Message: "The police shall never catch me, because I have been too clever for them."

    The Zodiac Killer sent multiple messages to newspapers

    After repeatedly stabbing Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard, the Zodiac Killer even made some artwork on Hartnell's car door to let police know that the case was growing more out of control with each passing day.  

  • Hasib bin Golamrabbi

    Message: "Sorry, my first kill was clumsy"

    Hasib bin Golamrabbi shot his parents to death and left this cryptic note next to their bodies.

  • Message: "I Murder So That I May Come Back"

    In 1968, an 11-year-old girl murdered two young boys over the course of a few months. After the first murder, Bell ransacked a nearby nursery and left a series of notes where she promised to kill again. 

  • Prince Hepburn

    Message: "This is what cheaters get"

    In 2012, a machete with the message, "This is what cheaters get," scrawled across the blade was left alongside the body of Nellie Brown-Cox. The other side of the blade contained the message, "Your Next George Sawyer." The murderer, Prince Hepburn, was found sitting on the steps outside the house where Brown-Cox was discovered and was arrested immediately.  



  • The Manson Family

    The Manson Family
    Photo: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation / Wikipedia / Public Domain

    Message: "Helter Skelter"

    When Charles Manson convinced his cadre of followers that the Beatles were speaking to them about a coming race war through a song about a roller coaster, he probably didn't believe that his gang of ne'er-do-wells would ever get the chance to get his message out there. Well, after Tex Watson and his crew killed Sharon Tate, they not only let everyone know about their theory, but also wrote "Helter Skelter" in blood.