Unspeakable Times

The Scariest Serial Killers In History 

Ranker Crime
Originally by
Updated April 29, 2020 91.4k votes 12.9k voters 1.1M views 61 items

Serial killers are among the most terrifying people imaginable, partially because of how unfathomable their crimes can be. Many serial killers look for a specific type of victim, while other serial killers will prey on any type of person. 

One thing (of many) that makes serial killers so scary is that anyone can fall victim to them - and that the culprits are typically elusive and unknown. Many of the worst serial killers appeared to be friendly neighbors or easy-going coworkers that one would never suspect of killing numerous human beings. Many would consider the serial killers on this list to be some of the scariest due to their methods, motives, and personalities.

Once you've read the list, vote for those that you consider to be the most chilling.

Pedro López is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Scariest Serial Killers In History
Photo: Armenio Dominguez/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Pedro Alonso López (born 8 October 1948) is a Colombian serial killer, who was sentenced for killing 110 girls, but who claims to have raped and killed more than 300 girls across Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. Aside from uncited local accounts, López's crimes first received international attention from an interview conducted by Ron Laytner, a longtime freelance photojournalist who reported interviewing López in his Ambato prison cell in 1980. Laytner's interviews were widely published, first in the Chicago Tribune on Sunday, 13 July 1980, then in the Toronto Sun and The Sacramento Bee on 21 July 1980, and over the years in many other North American papers and foreign publications, including ...more on Wikipedia

Age: 71

Birthplace: Santa Isabel, Colombia

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#1 of 16 Prolific, Horrifying Foreign Serial Killers You've Probably Never Heard Of #1 of 10 10 Serial Killers Who Are On The Loose #21 of 40 40 Famous Serial Killers of Children

IanHarvey added
Edmund Kemper is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Scariest Serial Killers In History
Photo:  Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office/Wikipedia/CC BY 3.0

Edmund Emil Kemper III (born December 18, 1948) is an American serial killer and necrophile who murdered ten people, including his paternal grandparents and mother. He is noted for his large size, at 6 feet 9 inches (2.06 m), and for his high IQ, at 145. Kemper was nicknamed the "Co-ed Killer" as most of his victims were students at co-educational institutions. Born in California, Kemper had a disturbed childhood. He moved to Montana with his abusive mother at a young age before returning to California, where he murdered his paternal grandparents when he was 15. He was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic by court psychiatrists and sentenced to the Atascadero State Hospital as a criminally ...more on Wikipedia

Age: 71

Birthplace: Burbank, California, United States of America

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#7 of 10 10 Interviews With Serial Killers That Will Appall You #9 of 20 Creepy Serial Killer Quotes About Their Motivationslisted on Famous American Serial Killers

John Wayne Gacy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Scariest Serial Killers In History
Photo:  Executive Office of the President of the United States/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

John Wayne Gacy (March 17, 1942 – May 10, 1994) was an American serial killer who raped, tortured and murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 in Cook County, Illinois (a part of metropolitan Chicago). All of Gacy's known murders were committed inside his Norwood Park ranch house. His victims were typically induced to his address by force or deception, and all except one of his victims were murdered by either asphyxiation or strangulation with a makeshift garrote, as his first victim was stabbed to death. Gacy buried 26 of his victims in the crawl space of his home. Three other victims were buried elsewhere on his property, while the bodies of his last four known ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 52 (1942-1994)

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of Ameria

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#20 of 26 The Most Elaborate Final Meals In Death Row History #5 of 15 We Asked, You Answered: Which Serial Killer Would You Most Like To See A New Biographical Movie Madelisted on Famous American Serial Killers

Ted Bundy is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Scariest Serial Killers In History
Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Theodore Robert Bundy (born Theodore Robert Cowell; November 24, 1946 – January 24, 1989) was an American serial killer and necrophile who kidnapped, raped, and murdered numerous young women and girls during the 1970s and possibly earlier. After more than a decade of denials, before his execution in 1989 he confessed to 30 homicides that he committed in seven states between 1974 and 1978. The true number of victims is unknown and possibly higher. Many of Bundy's young female victims regarded him as handsome and charismatic, traits that he exploited to win their trust. He would typically approach them in public places, feigning injury or disability, or impersonating an authority figure, ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 42 (1946-1989)

Birthplace: Burlington, Vermont, United States of America

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Hypnosis Played A Key Role In Ted Bundy's Conviction And Overturned Appeals #1 of 11 We Asked, You Answered: Which Serial Killer (Living Or Dead) Would You Want To Be Pen Pals With?listed on Famous American Serial Killers