Whenever you see a serial killer on the tube or see them in a movie, it is always some sick, crazy dude with a big knife or machete. Rarely do you hear or see any high body counts attributed to women. It is not fair, because… they are out there--lurking in our kitchens, driving our children to soccer practice, attending our PTA meetings. They like the fact that we have overlooked them because that means that we are not quick to suspect them when they do their dastardly deeds. They wait, they plot, and then they kill. Sometimes they just kill one. Sometimes they kill forty. Sometimes, they do not even need a weapon to wipe out an entire family. They are women, but you will not hear them roar. Read this list. It might prepare you for the woman that you bumped into at the post office, the one that you cut in front of at the supermarket or yelled at in traffic. She might even be outside your window right now, in the dark, waiting for you to turn out the light. If you know of a good one not listed her, give us a shout out.
This psycho from Blue Mountain, Alabama put a huge dent in the number of family reunion invitations that would need to be written, that is… if there are enough people left in Nannie Doss' family to attend a family reunion.
Her mother, one of her grandsons, both of her sisters, a nephew, and all four husbands fell victim to her murderous ways. The first to die that anyone knows of was her grandchild. She helped her daughter deliver the child at home in 1943. Her daughter, groggy with ether and the labor of birth thought she saw her mother stick a hatpin into the newborns head but she did not believe her eyes at the time. The child died.
In 1945, after her husband raped her, (she later confessed) she found his moonshine jug and mixed rat poison in it. He died rather painfully, later that same day. Her second husband died in a mysterious house fire and her next husband was poisoned, along with her mother who evidently ate something meant for him. After several more people died around her, she finally messed up by poisoning her last husband with arsenic after he had just been released from the emergency room complaining of stomach pains. The ER doctor became suspicious and found the arsenic after an autopsy. The Giggling Granny giggled no more.
Nannie Doss confessed in 1955 and they found her mentally fit for trial. She received a life sentence and died in prison of leukemia ten years later.
Aileen Wuornos is a true American monster and the inspiration for the hit movie "Monster." Charlize Theron, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Aileen, witnessed her own father's death at the hands of her mother when she was a child in a weird ironic twist. Aileen Wournos was a created monster at the hands of her grandfather who allegedly raped her as a child, and forced her to have sex with multiple men, including her own brother.
At age 20, Wuornos began getting in trouble for assault against various men and turned to prostitution for her means of support. She would hitchhike to pick up her johns, asking them to drive to a secluded place but instead of selling them sex, she would rob them at gunpoint. She murdered nine men before she was finally caught and sentenced to the death penalty.
This sweet looking old woman is a stone cold lunatic. When she was finally caught and successfully prosecuted in 1992, this killer ran a boarding house for elderly, addictive, and disabled patients. Social services considered her a saint for taking the tough cases and giving them a home, however, she was actually extorting most of their disability or pension checks while only giving them a small stipend each month. Of all the tenants she had, nine were not even that lucky. Using an alcoholic as a puppet, she had him bury the dead under the floor in her basement and under a slab in the back yard where an old shed used to stand. Her so-called handyman then "disappeared."
The Police gave her a scare when neighbors called them (the police) about the handyman's unusual activities in the back yard just before he fell victim to her mindless murdering ways. While investigating the disappearance of a mental patient, the police again showed up at her door. She was not an immediate suspect. Under the pretense of going to the store for coffee, she fled Sacramento California for Los Angeles and put her hooks into another lonely elderly man. She would probably have killed him as well, if he had not seen her picture on a news report and called the police. Poison was her weapon and money was her gain except she used the money on frivolous things like dresses and other comfort items, which makes these senseless murders even more tragic.
Dorothea Puente was shown mercy by a jury when they deadlocked. According to law, she received the maximum sentence under a deadlocked jury of life without parole. Would you believe that at last report in September 2010, she still maintains her innocence, claiming that all the victims that died under her care died of natural causes? She has been reported to be on her deathbed with an undisclosed illness. We can only hope that it is a painful one.
Known as La Quintrala, She was a beautiful red-headed temptress with a taste for money, sex, and murder. Named after the beautiful, red flowered mistletoe Quintral, she was not only fined for the frequent deaths of her slaves, she was accused of 15 murders. She was suspected in hundreds.
Her family owned real estate in the capital city of Santiago, Chile and she inherited a huge fortune by killing her father with poisoned chicken. Besides slashing and murdering (it is rumored) hundreds of serfs, she ordered the assassination of a priest, she also attacked her mother when she came to visit to try and convert her. She even had her lover chained in her basement where she tortured him to death. However, because of her vast wealth and high connections, she was never brought to justice. In fact, she became a hero as she diligently opposed Spanish rule of Chile and she left a large portion of her estate to the continuance of Cinco de Mayo (5th of May), a theme much revered by the Catholic Church there. She did this, however, under the condition that the Augustine's hold annual masses of at least 20,000 to her memory at the Church that borders her former home in Santiago. Maybe she feared for her soul after all, in the end.
She and her husband, Fred kidnapped, raped, tortured, and then murdered at least ten women. They used their home in which to do these heinous crimes. How they continued to get away with this in a city whose police force is legendary, Gloucester, England, is a mystery to me.
While Fred is known to have killed twelve times, Rose is only pegged with ten simply because she had not met her psychotic husband before then. I do not understand how they got together. The odds of two of the sickest people on the planet meeting, falling in love, and having this twisted sickness in common, has to be astronomical. Yet, there they were, carrying out the crimes together. Fred alluded to the possibility that they had done this to as many as 20 more women. He said this just before he hung himself in his cell. Despite being on a suicide watch, he managed to knot a bed sheet and hang himself. If that is not a shame, I do not know what is. I would have preferred him executed in front of the families of the victims who wanted to see him pay the ultimate price. What they took from the poor victims and their families was far more precious then both of their lives and they will never understand that because neither one of them had a conscience.
Belle Gunness was a serial killer of the worst kind. While most women serial killers poison their victims, Belle had no qualms with hacking a man to pieces and cutting off his heads. She would lure her victims under the guise of love or matrimony. She even put ads in the national papers seeking husbands to make happy. They would come from all over the U.S. bringing their life savings with them. It did not take long for them to disappear.
In 1908, after 49 people mysteriously disappeared, someone finally figured out that the people with whom she was involved were missing. Before she could be arrested, her house burned to the ground. They recovered many bodies, hacked into smaller pieces and those of her current husband and children as well. They also recovered a female body with no head, which they assumed to be her, even when a ranch hand told them that the scene had been staged to help her escape and that he had helped. She was never seen or heard from again.
While we are speaking about crazy people, let us not forget to mention another marble bag with a huge hole in it. Mary Ann Cotton was a real nut job. As soon as she realized what life insurance actually meant, she began to collect it. She brutally murdered at least 21 members of her immediate family with the intent of collecting. Of course, she did not collect on everyone but apparently enjoyed the act so much that she simply could not stop.
She seemed to be prone to arsenic poisoning because back in her day in the mid 1850's, it was a diagnosis that involved some pretty intense tests. Before she was caught, she had murdered four husbands, a secret lover, and a whole wagonload of children. She was also a pretty conniving killer as well. For instance, she moved around so the murders did not all take place in the same area. Another very important fact that she must have been aware of was the infant mortality rate of the time. It was not very uncommon for infants and children to die under such harsh living conditions. Often, the deaths certificates were filled in with a cause of death even though the doctors did not really know what it was. Gastric problems were so common that gastric fever was used quite often.
There is one part of the Cotton murderess story that provides some comfort to those of us who are really bothered when we read about a child killer. Mary Ann Cotton died hard. The executioners of the day had some control over how little… or how much the executed suffered. Cotton's executioner must have had children because he used the short rope technique that was reserved for men and even then for the most hardened of criminals. With the short rope, the hanged person does not drop far enough to snap the neck bringing the instant death or unconsciousness for which they pray. Instead, the hanged struggles, kicks, and suffers for several long minutes as their life is wrenched out of them by the rope. We can only hope she had time to think about each and every child. After her death, many people in the sizable crowd sang the popular song that had been going around since her trial began.
Mary Ann Cotton,
She's dead and she's rotten
She lies in her bed,
With her eyes wide open
Sing, sing, oh, what can I sing,
Mary Ann Cotton is tied up with string
Where, where? Up in the air
Sellin' black puddens a penny a pair.
"Black puddens" means black pudding, which is a kind of sausage sauce made with the blood of a pig. In our more modern times, children have changed the some of the lyrics to this:
Mary Ann Cotton,
She's dead and she's rotten
She lies in her bed,
With her fingers up her bottom.
Here is one woman who got away with murder. She got away with it at least 138 times, in fact. She also got away with torture and other terrible acts against her serfs, young women, and girls of the families that lived and worked as slaves at her estate.
She would move many of these women and girls onto her estate where she lived with her two young sons. She inherited the huge estate after her husband's death when she was 26 years old and began her tortuous ways. Because she married into a noble family and enjoyed a connection with powerful people in the Royal Court, the complaints about her were ignored and often, the families of the girls who complained were punished for doing so. Eventually, so many women were missing that the Empress, Catherine II had no choice but to see the petition of the people and launch an investigation. Because there were so many women and girls involved, dead, and missing, the investigation took six years, during which time Saltykova was arrested and held.
She was linked to most of the 138 discovered deaths, mostly due to torture. She was only proven guilty of 38 of them. Since the death penalty had already been abolished and because she was a noble, the Russian Empress had to come up with a unique form of punishment. Finally, it was decided and in 1768, she was chained to a dais for one hour in the public square with a sign hung around her neck proclaiming she was a murderess and torturer. She was sentenced for live in the basement of Moscow's Ivanovsky Convent where she remained for the rest of her life. She lived imprisoned for 33 years.
Delphine LaLaurie and her third husband Dr. Leonard Louis Nicolas LaLaurie. Built a three-story mansion at now famous 1140 Royal Street in New Orleans and enjoyed being counted among the social elite. The mansion had slave quarters attached.While rumors were circulating of her treatment of her slaves, few believed them as when in public, her treatment of them was one of concern. They had even emancipated two of their slaves. Still, reports of how frail and haggard her slaves always appeared seem to fuel the rumors.
An Attorney was sent to the mansion to investigate and remind the LaLaurie of their obligations to slaves and the laws governing their treatment. He reported finding no wrongdoing or evidence of wrongdoing. After his visit, a neighbor witnessed a young black female child fall to her death from the third story balcony to escape being whipped. It was investigated and nine slaves were taken from them and sold at auction. Unfortunately for those slaves, a family member of Delphine's purchased them and gave them back to her.
Several months later, a fire broke out in their mansion and that is when it was discovered. When firefighters arrived and wanted the keys to rescue the slaves from their quarters, the LaLauries refused. The Firemen broke down the doors and found slaves that were chained to walls, tortured and torn apart. There were several who had literally been torn limb from limb. The Fireman sent for a judge who acted as an official witness to everything. The slave who was the cook was chained to the stove where she lived. The stories started coming out of the terrible torture the slaves had endured including wearing collars with sharp spikes to hold their heads in awkward, stationary positions. Bodies were found buried in the yard and in an abandoned well on the property.
The slaved that were still alive were taken to the local jail where they were put on display so people could see how they had been treated. Mobs stormed the mansion and tore it apart but the LaLauries had disappeared. Delphine apparently made her way to France and died there some years later.
This one comes as a no brainer to the number 1 spot. No one really knows how many women the countess tortured in her castle but it is believed to be more than six hundred. This sick rich bitch lured the prettiest women from the villages with promises of high wages working at her castle. She lured them with the possibility of getting their families out of poverty by paying them well to work as maids and cooks. When families are hungry, they do not ask questions of the opportunities that offer a reversal of fortune.
What is known is that the story of Count Dracula may have been based in part on this real lifeblood sucker. In fact, writings of the time have linked her and Count Vladimir, the Impaler. Her biggest joy was to bath in the fresh blood of her victims because she believed it would keep her young. In Hungary in the 15th century, there was no law that could readily reach a countess. When the law needed to be enforced, it was usually accompanied by a royal edict. No such interference was coming for the poor women who were tortured and bled in the dungeons of The Countess Bathory. It is unclear of what crimes her final punishment was for but it may have been for her accumulated evil. She was beyond being tried. Four of her collaborators were convicted of torturing and killing 80 women. She was eventually taken to Cachtice Castle where she was bricked into the walls.