Serial killers receive nicknames for lots of different reasons, and many have interesting stories behind how they got their monikers. Some murderers, like Bible John or the Alphabet Killer, have never been identified, so the press and law enforcement came with sobriquets to help them refer to these unknown offenders.
Other murderers, like the Lipstick Killer and the Red Spider, got their nicknames because of the messages they wrote about their crimes, while the Vampire of Sacramento and the Eyeball Killer received their monikers due to the depraved acts they committed against their victims after death.
In the case of the Chessboard Killer, he got his moniker based on the number of people he wanted to kill, while Aunt Thally was given her nickname by her fellow inmates as a dark nod to the murders she committed.
There are also interesting stories behind how the Black Magic Killer, the Brides in the Bath Murderer, the Scorecard Killer, and Metal Fang all got their nicknames, from the reasons behind their killings and their methods of murder to the records they kept and their personal appearances. In every case, their stories are even more horrifying than their names.
Nikolai Dzhumagaliev was convicted of murdering seven women in Kazakhstan, then the Soviet Union, from 1979 to 1980, raping his victims in a public place like a park and then using a knife or an axe to end their lives. He also dismembered the women’s corpses and took pieces of their bodies to his home where he cooked and ate their remains. Dzhumagaliev’s crimes were discovered when the people he invited to a dinner party found their host dismembering the body of another guest in a spare bedroom.
The cannibal, who was dubbed "Metal Fang" due to the metal front teeth doctors had used to replace teeth he’d lost in fight when he was younger, was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1981, and he was sent to a mental hospital to receive treatment for schizophrenia. In 1989, Dzhumagaliev escaped from custody while being moved to another facility, and he was on the lam for two years until he was recaptured.
Shortly before Christmas 2015, the killer known as Metal Fang allegedly escaped once again, and some people consider him a suspect in the disappearance of 22-year-old Saida Akzhanova, who went missing less than two weeks after 63-year-old Dzhumagaliev reportedly left the mental hospital.
From December 1977 to to January 1978, 27-year-old Richard Chase (who had spent time in mental institution after attempting to inject animal blood into his veins) terrorized the residents of Sacramento, California, when he murdered six people, including a pregnant woman and a 22-month-old boy. Prior to the killings, Chase had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and became increasingly unstable after he stopped taking the medication he had been prescribed to treat his serious mental health issues. Chase killed his victims by shooting them with a handgun or stabbing them with a knife, but he earned the nickname the "Vampire of Sacramento" for engaging in cannibalism and necrophilia. After murdering Teresa Griffin, he drained blood from her body into an empty yogurt container, then drank the contents of the cup.
Chase's reign of terror finally came to an end on January 27, 1978, when he was seen leaving the home of Evelyn Miroth, and he was tried and convicted of six counts of murder. Despite his history of mental illness, he was sentenced to death, but on December 26, 1980, Chase was found dead in his cell after taking an overdose of antidepressants.
From December 1990 to March 1991 in Dallas, Texas, three women were murdered. When the lifeless bodies of Mary Pratt, Susan Peterson, and Shirley Williams were discovered, the authorities found they had all died from gunshot wounds. However, upon further inspection, the medical examiner realized all three victims shared another disturbing commonality: their eyeballs had been surgically removed from the sockets, leading their unidentified murderer to be called the "Eyeball Killer."
A local man, Charles Frederick Albright, was arrested on March 22, 1991, and while he was charged with all three killings, he was only convicted of murdering Williams. Investigators learned that Albright's obsession with eyes began when his mother introduced him to taxidermy as a young boy, a hobby that taught him the skills he needed to remove his victims' eyes with precision. On December 19, 1991, Albright was sentenced to life in prison, so it's unlikely he'll ever get the chance to prey upon any additional women.
Alexander Pichushkin committed his first known in 1992 when he was only 18, and he went on to kill at least 48 more people before he was finally apprehended in 2006. Born in Moscow in 1974, Puchuskin was taught how to play chess by his grandfather when he was a boy and he excelled at the game. He regularly challenged adults to games in the city's Bitsa Park.
In 2001, Pichuskin started murdering people at an alarming rate, often by enticing homeless old men to follow him to secluded places in Bitsa Park with the offer of vodka. Then Pichuskin would bludgeon them to death with a hammer and force vodka bottles into the holes in their skulls. While many of his victims were elderly men, he also killed women, children, and younger male victims, all in an attempt to murder 64 people for each of the squares on a chessboard, a goal that earned him the nickname the "Chessboard Killer."
Thankfully, Pichuskin was finally apprehended when surveillance cameras captured him on a train platform with Marina Moskalyova shortly before she was murdered. 32-year-old Pichuskin was arrested on June 16, 2006, and he was tried and convicted of 49 counts of murder and 3 counts of attempted murder and sentenced to life in prison for his crimes.