14 Horrifying Stories Of Real-Life Axe Murderers

Unfortunately for mankind, history has seen a lot of psychotic ax murderers in its time. You have probably heard of some of these ruthless slayers, like the infamous Lizzie Borden, but others on this list might be new to you.

Read on for a list of some of history's bloodiest killers.

  • The Axeman Of New Orleans
    Photo: Joseph John Devilla / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    This mysterious killer was never properly identified, but his grip on New Orleans remains one of the city's most infamous tales. Between 1918 and 1919, 12 people were brutally attacked by the Axeman, seven of whom perished from their injuries. People were terrified of this brutal slayer, but nobody knew who he was.

    Then one day, an ominous letter was delivered to the local newspapers, supposedly from the Axeman. In the letter, he claimed to be a demon from "the hottest hell" and warned the city that the following Tuesday night, he was going to slay again. However, he wrote, he would spare anyone who was playing jazz music.

    The following Tuesday night was one of the loudest in New Orleans's history, as jazz was playing in every home. Apparently it worked, as no one was harmed that night. Of course, there was no way to know if the letter writer was the Axeman, and the criminal was never caught.

  • The Servant Girl Annihilator

    In 1885, a horrific ax murderer terrorized Austin, Texas. Eight murders occurred, all in a similar fashion. The targets were all attacked in their beds with a swift blow to the head with an ax. They were then dragged outside, where they were raped and mutilated. The slayer often left the ax behind, but despite that evidence, the police could not catch the person responsible.

    However, the law finally caught an extremely lucky break when the perpetrator apparently fell right into their laps. In Masontown, a man in a drunken rage attacked a young girl in a saloon. He grabbed the girl and started dragging her out of the saloon and into a nearby house, where her screams attracted the cops. When they arrived, the man attacked the cops with a knife, and even though they tried to subdue him, nothing worked. The cops eventually had to shoot him. A cop's bullet lodged into the man's spine and paralyzed the him, and he perished the following day.

    It was only then that the cops noticed the man had only nine toes, just like the Servant Girl Annihilator, whose bloody footprints had been left at several crime scenes. Was this the mysterious slayer? Despite this clue, the identity of the Servant Girl Annihilator has never been conclusively determined.

  • Frances Stewart Silver

    In 1833, Frances "Frankie" Stewart Silver was hanged for the murder of her husband, Charles Silver, with an ax. "Death by ax" isn't exactly a peaceful way to go, but Charles Silver's demise was even worse than most. His dismembered remains were scattered around their farm in North Carolina.

    Unlike the other slayers on this list, there's an air of doubt regarding Frances's guilt. There was weak evidence at the trial, but the jury still convicted her. Later, she had help escaping prison, but her escape plan was foiled, and she was still sent to the gallows.

  • Eva Dugan
    Photo: Pima County Sheriff’s Department / Wikipedia / Fair use

    Eva Dugan

    While working for her boss, Dugan was fired for unknown reasons. Shortly thereafter, the boss disappeared and Dugan fled her home state of Arizona. She was arrested later for auto theft, but while she was behind bars, the remains of her axed-up boss were found in the wilderness. It was then discovered that Dugan had five other husbands who had also disappeared.

    She was quickly tried and convicted of murder, and in her final statement in court, she said, "Well, I’ll die with my boots on, an’ in full health. An’ that’s more’n most of you old coots’ll be able to boast on."

    Dugan ended up being the only woman and the last person to be executed by hanging in the Grand Canyon State, thanks to a horrible accident. At her hanging, the executioner miscalculated, causing Dugan's decapitation instead of a simple hanging. After that debacle, Arizona pushed for the gas chamber instead of the gallows. 

  • Joseph Ntshongwana
    Video: YouTube

    Joseph Ntshongwana

    A former rugby player, Joseph Ntshongwana was tried and convicted of four murders and a rape in 2014. All four were slain with an ax, with two of them being beheaded. 

    Ntshongwana's family was upset that Ntshongwana had to be tried as a sane person when they felt he clearly suffered from a mental illness, but the judge saw it differently. He insisted that Ntshongwana had control of his actions and that's why his sentencing was so harsh. 

  • The Villisca Ax Murderer
    Photo: The day book / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    The Villisca Ax Murderer

    In June 1912, the small town of Villisca, Iowa, was rocked by the discovery of eight bodies at the Moore residence. All six members of the Moore family, plus two house guests, were found bludgeoned to death and with severe head wounds from an ax.

    There was a lengthy investigation that turned up two suspects for the horrific act, but there was never a conviction. The case remains unsolved to this day.