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Top 10 Prolific Serial Killers

John Waller . . . Comments

A serial killer is an individual who has killed at least 3 people over a period of more than a month. This list ranks serial killers, not by their brutality, but by their death count. While some of the entries here have been mentioned on previous lists, a number are completely new to Listverse.


Javed Iqbal


Javed Iqbal Mughal (1956?-2001) was a serial killer from Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. He claimed he killed 100 boys during an 18 month period. He had been arrested in June 1998 for sexually abusing 2 boys for money. He went off on bail, and began murdering boys shortly afterward. Iqbal found boys on the street, charmed them into his confidence, and then drugged, raped and strangled them.

He then cut the body into pieces and put them in a vat filled with hydrochloric acid. Once all of the remains were liquefied, he dumped them. He first used the sewer, until neighbors complained of an acrid stench.

Get inside the heads of history’s most depraved humans with Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters at!


Gilles De Rais


Rais was a Breton who fought against the English, often serving alongside Joan of Arc. A year after Joan was burned at the stake, Rais retired from military service and returned to his family’s castle, at Machecoul. From there, Rais began a campaign of sadistic sex murders, killing between 60 and 200 children. He preferred boys between the ages of 6 and 18. His victims were generally blue-eyed and blond-haired, and were usually kidnapped from the village of Machecoul and the surrounding areas, or lured to his castle. His first victim was a 12-year-old messenger who was hanged by his neck on a metal hook, and raped before being put out of his misery.

More and more children started to disappear and suspicion arose. Unfortunately, the locals were too terrified to go up against one of the most powerful men in France. Rais had a specially built chamber where he would restrain his victims while he proceeded with his grotesque sexual acts. He would kill them with a variety of methods which included dismemberment, decapitation and disembowelment. He enjoyed watching them die, sometimes even laughing. After some difficulty, a case was finally brought up against him. Rais stated at his trial that he admired the heads and body parts of his more beautiful victims. He was arrested in September of 1440, and indicted on 34 counts of murder. He would eventually confess to the murders under the threat of torture. Rais was found guilty of murder, sodomy and heresy. He was hanged and then burned on October 16, 1440, along with two of his servants.


Miyuki Ishikawa

Ishikawa 1

Miyuki Ishikawa was an experienced midwife who murdered at least 103 newborn children during the 1940s. The parents of these newborns were poor and could not afford to raise a child. She could not raise the children, so to solve this problem she neglected them, and many of these children died because of the neglect. She attempted to garner payment from this disgusting practice. Her actions caused the Japanese Government to begin considering legalizing abortion.


Thug Behram


Thug Behram was the leader of the Thuggee cult, which was responsible for the murder of 931 people between 1790 and 1840. Behram himself committed about 125 murders, each with the ceremonial ruhmal (handkerchief). To join the cult, one’s father or mother must have been a member. In at least 65 murders committed by Behram, a Canova Medallion was dropped on their Adam’s apple (the medallion was very heavy) to increase pressure while Behram strangled the victim.


Darya Saltykova

Darya Saltykova

As if Serfdom wasn’t bad enough, this Russian noblewoman, during the 1700s, made it even worse. She tortured and killed at least 100 of her serfs, but was not arrested until 1762, because of her routes and her wealth. In 1762, Russian Empress Catherine II decided to try Saltykova publicly, after relatives of the murdered women brought a petition to Catherine.

Saltykova was found guilty of the murder of 38 female serfs. To punish Saltykova, Catherine had her chained on a platform for one hour in Moscow, with a sign around her neck that read “This woman has tortured and murdered”. Darya was than sentenced to life imprisonment. She died in 1801.


Harold Shipman

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Harold Shipman was born on January 14th, 1946, the second of four children to devout Methodist parents. In 1963, his mother died from cancer. In 1970, he graduated from medical school. He became a doctor and a respected member of his community. However, he injected his patients – most of them seniors – with poisons.

His last victim was the wealthy Kathleen Grundy, who was former mayor of Hyde, UK, where Shipman, known as “Doctor Death”, lived. Grundy’s daughter was alarmed when her mother’s will left nothing to her children, but left £386,000 to Shipman. Police used this as evidence and arrested Doctor Death. He committed suicide in prison, in 2004.


Amelia Dyer

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Amelia Dyer was the most prolific baby farm murderess in history. Baby farming was the caring of illegitimate children for a lump sum payment. Dyer let the infants die from neglect and abuse almost immediately after receipt of each child, than she would pocket most of, or all, the fee.

Her most infamous murder is possibly that of Doris Marmon. Evelina Marmon, a 26 year-old barmaid, gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, who she gave to Dyer. The baby, Doris, was brought to Dyer’s daughter’s house, where she killed Doris by tying Doris’s neck with edging tape. Dyer was hanged for only one murder. She killed about 200 children.


Elizabeth Bathory

Elizabeth-BathoryElizabeth Bathory was a 16th century countess in Hungary who was responsible for the murder of 200-300 young women, who were brought to her castle after being promised well-paid work as servants. They were tortured and killed. Atrocities include severe beatings; burning or mutilation of hands, faces and genitalia; freezing of victims; biting of flesh of faces and other body parts; surgery on victims; starving of victims; and rape and molestation of victims.

She was eventually sentenced to home arrest, where she died in 1614. She inspired many myths, the most widespread of which are that she bathed in the blood of victims to restore her youthful appearance. More can be read about this myth on Mythverse, Listverse’s sister site.

Discover more of the facts and myths surrounding this mysterious woman when you buy Infamous Lady: The True Story of Countess Erzsébet Báthory at!


Pedro Lopez

Pedro Lopez

By far one of the most prolific serial killers of all time, the “Monster of the Andes” butchered enough people to fill a small town. After killing around 100 tribal women in Peru in the 1970s, he was apprehended by tribal forces that were just about ready to execute him when they were convinced by an American missionary that was staying with them at the time to take him to the police force instead.

Unfortunately, the police then just let him go, after which Lopez travelled to Ecuador, where he proceeded to kill about 3-4 girls a week, claiming that girls in Ecuador were “more gentle and trusting, more innocent”. This carried on until he was caught, in 1980, but police were still unsure as to his guilt. A flash flood uncovered a mass grave that had hidden many of his victims, which then led to his arrest. However, the Ecuador government released him in 1998, deporting him to Columbia. Lopez allegedly said that he was being released for “good behavior”.


Luis Garavito

Garavito 1

Luis Garavito is not as famous as some of his rivals here on this list, but he is the most prolific serial killer of all time. Born on January 25th, 1957, “La Bestia” is the oldest of seven brothers. His childhood was ruled by his father, subsequently described as both physically and emotionally abusive. Furthermore, during his trial, Garavito described being sexually abused when he was a young boy, but didn’t name the perpetrator.

Further details of his early life are sketchy at best, however, the details surrounding his maniacal killings is frightening. He lured children to trust and accompany him through offers of money for odd jobs, candy or drugs. All of the children were tied up, viciously tortured, raped and were eventually killed by having their throat slashed, and many were decapitated completely.

Garavito has accurately directed police investigators to the graves of more than 170 victims, encompassing large parts of Columbia. Investigators believe that Garavito is responsible for more than 400 deaths during the years prior to his capture.

Garavito was captured on 22 April, 1999. He confessed to murdering 140 children. However, he is still under investigation for the murder of 172 children in more than 59 counties in Colombia. He was found guilty in 138 of the 172 cases; the others are ongoing. The sentences for these 138 cases add to 1,853 years and 9 days. Because of Colombian law restrictions, however, he cannot be imprisoned for more than 30 years. In addition, because he helped the authorities in finding the bodies, his sentence has been decreased to 22 years. Garavito is considered the worst serial killer in history for having a higher death toll than any other.

  • Christ. This is horrible, ya know, but fascinating. Just what makes people do those things?

    • Joshua

      Narcotics. And, Gilles de Rais sold his soul to the devil.

      • fendabenda

        As did, allegedly, Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and Muddy Waters. Not sure about Lady Gaga, but I’m pretty sure she did as well.

        • Maggot

          If she did, she did it wrong. She only got fame, not talent, like those other guys. And of course, talentless fame is fleeting,…she will be long forgotten in 10-20 years.

          • sofkes

            Um….no she wont.

          • Maggot

            @sofkes: You know, you’re absolutely right. I think I would agree with pretty much anything you say…

          • fendabenda

            Maggot, you old pervert! :D

          • Who are you

            Sofkes is a stupid ass bitch

          • fendabenda

            Yes, “Who are you”, but Maggot immediately reversed his comment because of sofkes’ picture. It may not even be a real picture of her, so Maggot’s reaction is either: a) a joke or b) silly. Or c) Maggot is really desperately horny.

            BTW, despite my picture, I’m not really a squirrel. :)

          • Vpatrik

            have you ever seen a piano acoustic from her? i did. i didnt beleive it first,but she got the talent. seriously

        • The Claw

          Lady Gaga can’t sell her soul to the devil, she IS the devil! Or at least that is how I would picture him/her/it. My most haunting nightmares fall short.

          • nox

            Seriously the Claw? After reading about these people you think a singer is the devil?

            yeah….way to overlook the hundreds of people these serial killers brutally murdered…..

          • Samara

            Watch out, nox! A bit of sarcasm just went right over your head!

          • For your Information Lady Gaga did not sell her soul to the devil, also she is not the devil. Didn’t your parents ever tell you if you can’t say anything nice than don’t say anything at all.

    • DGMdragunov


      • Joshua

        Yes. Insanity also.

      • Anon

        That’s bullshit. Most serial killers aren’t insane. Try backing up your claims next time.

    • Anon

      Most of the time, it is for sexual pleasure.

  • Otter

    Awesome list!! I’ve heard of all of these psychos, mainly because I have read about serial killers a lot. For some odd reason they fascinate me. Much like megalomaniacs do, such as Hitler, Stalin, etc. Check out Mythverse for a good read on Elizabeth Bathory.

    • Otter

      Oops, I didn’t realize Mythverse was already quoted for #3. My apologies for the redundancy of my first comment.

    • Thanks for mentioning that actually – I didn’t notice the quote when I did the first edit so it wasn’t linked – just named. I have now linked it to the Mythverse article.

      • Otter

        Not a problem Mr. Frater. Anything to help out. :)

        • John Waller


          So Do I. I also study lots of history and politics.


          I have an idea for Mythverse. Do a misconception about Harry Houdini’s death.

      • You did a very good good job on the list , you made one small mistake. the mistake is that Prince Albert was named after his Father Who was also named Prince Albert. Also King Edward the 8th was king of England During World war two not during the late 1800’s

      • Life

        JFrater you’re so handsome!

  • :)


    • Joshua


  • Pjaney

    WHY did I read this before bed?!

    • bartz008

      Could be worse, like the eerie or incredible recordings lists. D:

      • Archie

        that was the worst sleep of my life :(

  • Planet Earth

    Well Columbia is Crazy #1 got 22 years for over 400 victims . WoW am for the death penalty is case ‘s like this.

    • Gulzar

      the country is called Colombia.

      • thredith

        “Colombia” is called Columbia in English, so it’s not a mistake to call “Colombia” Columbia. It’s the same as saying Italy instead of “Italia”, or Spain instead of “España”.

        • Ham

          No it’s not. Colombia is called Colombia in English. You are an idiot.

  • Nate

    Wow. I have always been interested in the Morbid and have read and watched a lot on serial killers. I am embarrassed to say I have not heard of a single one on this list. Terrible people but still interesting. Thanks, great list as usual.

    • whoareyou

      You haven’t heard even of dear Miss Bathory? Yeah, I don’t think you’ve read or watched anywhere near as much as you believe you have. Dumbass.

      • John Waller


        I am also interested in Serial Killers. That’s what inspired me to write this list.

  • chela

    sometimes, it’s impossible to think that a single person could kill as much as these serial killers. they’re almost like one-man-army.

  • nymphmeister

    that amelia dyer looks really frightening!x)

    • It would have been helpful to add when and where she was though.

      • fendabenda

        Amelia Dyer lived in Bristol, England (1838-1896).

  • itswinston

    Amelia Dyer looks like a male :/

    • fendabenda

      Dude looks like a lady.

  • Rossco

    Technically, most of these are not serial killers. Serial killers kill with the motive of sex, and would not fit into the true definition as coined by Robert Ressler and John Douglas of the FBI’s Behavioural Science Unit. Most are just mass/spree murderers with elongated periods of vitim killing, for motives of financial gain and abusing positions of power (eg Bathory). These facts are commonly ignored however, and they are commonly reffered to as ‘Serial Killers’. When in fact, they are nothing of the sort.

    • Rossco

      wow the word to describe fornication is censored. what the?

      • Darra

        This statement is incorrect, motivation was disregarded when defining a serial killer as they make the definition too complex.

        As taken from the FBI website:

        “The general definition of spree murder is two or more murders committed by an offender or offenders, without a cooling-off period”.

        “Generally, mass murder was described as a number of murders (four or more) occurring during the same incident, with no distinctive time period between the murders. These events typically involved a single location, where the killer murdered a number of victims in an ongoing incident”

        “Serial Murder: The unlawful killing of two or more victims by the same offender(s), in separate events.”

        Courtesy of

        • Rossco

          No, my statement is still correct, that website contains a very loose and generic description for coining what is a “serial killer”. Serial killers kill for se.xual motivation, not for financial gain or killing occuring from people in positions of power such as Bathory. That is the true definiton of serial killer. That’s why Jack the Ripper is considered the first serial killer, because there was se.xual motive behind the crimes itself and other factors. The Definition has been muddied by the media and poorly researched and published websites like the one you referenced.

          • Darra

            At least give a source for your statment of fact.

            The fact the media and other groups don’t require a se’xual componant to define someone as a serial killer where as 1 group of people, the BAU (who’re using educated guesses which is just as inaccurate as it is accurate ), doesn’t make their definition the technically correct one :]

          • Smaug

            I am inclined to have more faith in the FBI’s definition of a serial killer than in your’s, especially when you provide no source for your definition. The FBI, after all, has a lot more experience with this than you do.

          • You are wrong. Serial killings do not have to be se’xual in nature. None of these are mass murders. Mass murders have no cooling off period. If someone walks into a village and shoots 40 people, that’s mass murder. If he picks off one person a week for “fun” (no “real” motive) for forty weeks, it’s serial killing. One could argue that Amelia Dyer is not a serial killer because she did it for profit. However most of the entries on this list qualify. There is no evidence that Jack the Ripper was a se’xual killer. You need to get your facts straight!

          • SailorBill

            Your definition is wholly incorrect. Read virtually ANY book about serial murder and you’ll realize that.

            I recommend “Serial Murderers and Their Victims” by Eric Hickey.

          • joebecca

            Actually no, Jack the Ripper was considered the first serial killer because he killed more than 2 people on separate occasions in separate events. Now you’re saying the FBI is wrong? Whatever, know-it-all.

            If you know all the facts then maybe you could go and start your own website and quit trolling this one.

          • venusbloo

            You’re totally wrong, many sk’s kill for other reasons, Chase, Zodiac, Sutcliff & Berkowitz didn’t kill for s£x.

            Also, Jack wasn’t the 1st sk with a se£ual motive, read up about Gille De Rais who killed children in the 15th century.

          • Rossco

            Nope im still right, read any book by John Douglas and Robert Ressler. Se.x is a clear motivation of a serial killer, even if it does not take place at the scene.

            Chase, Zodiac, Sutcliff & Berkowitz did have se.xual motivations for their crimes. Please read up on their cases. Ressler I believe does cover the Chase case in his book.

            Your definitions are muddied by historic cases where people have been in positions of power and commited murders of depravity and crimes against humanity eg. Bathory. She still isn’t a true ‘serial killer’.

          • fudrick

            “The Definition has been muddied by the media and poorly researched and published websites like the one you referenced.”

            Poorly researched and published… you realize that is the official FBI website, right? Y’know, the organization you cited in your first post as where the guys who coined the “true” definition of “serial killer” worked.

        • fendabenda

          Right. So, Anders Behring Breivik, for instance, is not a serial killer by definition, he’s a mass murderer? Even though he killed more people in one spree than most serial killers do during their entire “career”.

          • venusbloo

            Yes he’s a mass murderer because he didn’t have a cooling off period between kills.

    • Ms.Marie

      I believe the definition of serial killer has been redefined recently , otherwise most women could not be considered serial killers . It is still considered an important “trait” of a serial killer in some cases however.

      • smokeyjoewood

        Motive must play some role in the definition. Bonnie and clyde baby face nelson etc. killed 2 or more people with a cooling off period.

    • go to…. “From the Desk of John Douglas”. He explains serial killers and spree killers exceptionally well.

      I have met John Douglas, spending several days with him, and the explanations on the website are exactly what he told me.

      It is very scary stuff!

      • fendabenda

        Thanks segues, that was interesting. :-D This John Douglas seems to be an expert.

        • Yes, he is, fenda…he was one of the original FBI “Mind Hunters” and has written a book by that name. It speaks about several high profile serial killers, as well professional definitions of serial killers, spree killers and mass murderers. He also offers clues to the mind set and behavior of all these types, and reasons why some celebrated killers of the past can *not* have been the alleged murderer .

          There are several other books by him, all of which are excellent.

    • kea718

      A serial killer, as typically defined, is an individual who has murdered three or more people[1][2] over a period of more than a month, with down time (a “cooling off period”) between the murders, and whose motivation for killing is typically based on psychological gratification.[3][4] Other sources define the term as “a series of two or more murders, committed as separate events, usually, but not always, by one offender acting alone” or, including the vital characteristics, a minimum of at least two murders.[4][5] Often, a sexual element is involved with the killings, but the FBI states that motives for serial murder include “anger, thrill, financial gain, and attention seeking.”[5] The murders may have been attempted or completed in a similar fashion and the victims may have had something in common; for example, occupation, race, appearance, sex, or age group.[6]

      That’s from Wikipedia…
      Notice where it says OFTEN, a sexual element is involved… Often does not mean all the time. Yes, many serial killers do get some sort of gratification from their crimes but not all of them.

  • L’Economa Domestica

    The portrait shown is not an Erzebet Bathory one; it’s a Bronzino painting.

  • Rossco

    BTW Pedro Lopez and Luis Garavito are full of crap and their victim counts are highly likely to be exagerrated and nowhere near the hundreds. There has never been a full and comprehensive victim count of these two men and no solid evidence confirming their victim counts has ever been presented. Just like the so called victim count of Henry Lee Lucas being in the hundreds, he was almost full of crap as the two above gentlemen, but somewhow missed your list.

    • Gertrude

      I agree. Also, Gilles de Rais and Darya Saltykova were probably not prolific serial killers too. Many scholars allege that the terrible charges were fabricated against them by the respective monarchies, as a political means to get rid of some noblemen.

      • PatchworkZombie

        But didn’t Gilles de Rais confess to admiring the heads of his victims? Plus servants confessed also and told stories of how he”weltered in the victim’s blood”

        • Triploblast

          You gotta remember that torture was used as a means of extracting confessions back then. Under pain of torture, most people will make up whatever their torturers want them to say, just so the pain will stop. It’s a less-than-reliable means of getting accurate information.

          That said, I have no opinion on whether or not they were guilty or innocent; I don’t know enough about it. I’ll let the scholars argue that one out.

          • fendabenda

            I think they were possibly guilty of at least one or two murders (maybe more), but their evil deeds were probably greatly exaggerated by the accusers. Confessions under torture, ’nuff said.

    • If you’ve looked into the storie of Pédro Alonso López, you would know that him killing approximately 320 victims is very likely. Around 53 victims of Pedro Lopez were discovered by the police and another 100 people were allegedly killed in the tribal villages. This is a man who in an early age was raped on multiple occasions, which resulted in him swearing to carry out vengeance on the people (oddly enough it meant him killing girls in the age of 6-13 years).

      He was released in 1994 despite the fact that he swore to continue killing, which means that the numbers meant have risen since then if he hasn’t been killed by vengeful Colombians or bounty hunters.

  • Heitham

    I know all of these due to how interested I am in the topic of killers.

    Again good list.

    Listverse you are on a hot streak.
    Keep going.

  • Risch

    Sad that all these mass serial killers’ victims were children. In my opinion, I can’t think that you can have a soul if you are capable of killing a child, let alone on such a continuous basis…

  • Kate

    Unless you mean a city in South Carolina, it’s spelled Colombia.

    • casey

      Beat me to it.

  • Amrendra

    Now this is a very nice list on serial killers from all over the world rather than on the previous lists mostly mentioning serial killers from the western world. Some other very notorious serial killers from India are the infamous Nithari Serial killer Surinder Koli and other one so called the Kanpatipar (Head’s temple smasher). Once again very well written list. Also good to see Jamie becoming active once again on our beloved Listverse.

  • Ms.Marie

    I think the list is good , granted your intro is a bit misleading. There are a number of serial killers with much higher body counts , granted few of them are from recent times. I do like that you included serial killers from more places though. Good list !

  • Mr. Ree

    Well, it’s good to see that not all of them are 35 year old white males which is the stereotype of serial killers.

    • timmar68

      I know! It drives me crazy that it’s un-PC to profile people but as soon as there’s a killer on the loose that’s the first thing they say.

      Remember the D.C sniper? Before they were found it was all over the news to look for a middle aged white man. WRONG!

      • Ah ha! But the greatest behavioral odds are that it will be a white male who has problems with social interactions (most often with women), and who lives with his mother, or *did* live with her until her death. Read John Douglas’ books. They really explain the reasons for the 35 year-old white male profile!

        • fendabenda

          Hmmm… you’re talking about so called “nerds”, right? Of course it’s bad at the time if you’re not the most popular guy or girl at school… but look what nerds like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates did while the “cool guys” were drinking beer and picking up chicks… ooops! They just happened to become the wealthiest men on the planet!

          • Who are you

            Did they live with their moms as adults? Weren’t they too busy being billionaires? Idiot.

          • fendabenda

            You should visit Italy sometimes. It’s not at all shameful over there if you live with your family (or with your Mom) as an adult. Or in Spain, either. To be called a “Momma’s boy” is a compliment in Italy.

          • FlatEric

            Since you were too polite to say it to “Who are you”, fenda, I’ll say it: IDIOT!!! :-D

          • fendabenda

            Who are you: nostrae farinaes es. :)

  • Cathal

    I’ve learned that evil

  • Armadillotron

    Dr Shipman was MY old Doctor. He killed someone I knew from when I was a kid, someone 3 houses away from my Aunties house, 5 people on the same street a few streets away from my house and someone around the corner from where I live. I hope the guy rots in Hell.

    • fendabenda

      Really? He was your doctor? Well, you’re lucky to be alive then, methinks.

    • Wow, how terrifying, does it ever haunt you?

  • Hercules321

    In excess of 1500 people murdered by these 10 people on the list! Wow!

    Serial killers fascinate me. I hope that’s not a bad thing.. Excellent list.

    • It’s normal human behaviour mate.

      • Inb4, n0t killing, but being fascinated..

  • Plod

    Man this is just vile why in the blue hell would you do that to Kids.

  • webo

    What’s with the picture on number 5. It looks kinda photoshopped.

  • lindawn

    Wow – great list!! Love, LOVE serial killers. Am just fascinated by them. Thank you so much. Great list. Really enjoyed it.

    • Jack tar

      Wow, I really think you need to speak to someone. By the sound of it this time next year you could be on a list like this. LOVE serial killers? Freak

      • You seem quite ignorant… many people are fascinated by serial killers even though they might not admit it, it’s common human behaviour to be fascinated of what we can’t understand. I don’t think he loves serial killers, although he might love HEARING about them.

  • PatchworkZombie

    Wow that Garavito guy should recieve a LOT more than 22 years. Some armed robbers get longer than that. Also, as a suggestion for another entry to this list, what about Richard “Iceman” Kuklinski? He killed over 200 people look him up on Wikipedia.

  • Interesting list, havn’t heard of most of them, it’s pretty shocking some of the numbers that were reached.

    I could be wrong but I thought that Pedro Lopez went to the police himself in 1980 and that they didn’t believe him and sent him away again. Or that he admitted it but the police didn’t believe him and they only took him seriously after the uncovering of the grave site. As I said I could be wrong, not entirely sure where I read that.

  • Amelia Dyer just gave me the creepiest stare i had in years. Cool list tho. :)

    • Callum

      I swear she winked at me :-O

  • pat rice

    good list. i had never even heard of most of those.

  • undaunted warrior 1

    Good read for a Friday afternoon here where I am.
    I enjoy these type of lists, and the bizarre ones Jamie is so good at,
    Death, torture, graves and the sort I enjoy – makes me wonder what I was in my previos life.

    Thanks John.

  • oouchan

    Wow…..there were and are some sick monsters out there. The ones listed are why I’m all for the death penalty. If that sick f*ck hadn’t have been set free….he wouldn’t have gone out to do it again. If there was a 100% chance of them staying in prison to rot away for life, then I would change my mind, but since that is not the case and many can get out to do it again, I like the odds of them never having the chance to do it again….cause their dead. 100% effective.

    Good yet disturbing list.

  • flgh

    I rather that to be considered a prolific serial killer they be not caught or found out, at least after a long time. BTK,Zodiac, & Jack the Ripper are better suited for this list

  • poppypower

    Good list – some of the paragraphs were a bit too short an didn’t give enough information but on a very interesting topic, I hadn’t heard of a couple of these guys so I definitely learnt something!

    I’m with PatchworkZombie (25) 22 years for such appalling crimes is just pathetic -the Colombian legal system needs to take a long hard look at itself because that’s just sickening that he gives just a few months for each of the senseless, brutal murders he committed -how is that justice?!

    I’m generally against the death penalty but Oouchan (39) makes a good point – at least it makes sure the sick perverts aren’t let back out on the streets…

    Thanks John :)

  • moopersoup

    These are some very sick and deprived people.

  • moopersoup

    Its interesting that there are so many on this list from before the 1900s. Many examples on this list disprove the theories of those who say that our modern way of life is causing people to become serial killers.

  • John Paul II

    The VERY obviously photoshopped picture of Harold Shipman had me in stitches. It’s so bad!

    • Dr Frigmund Pseud


      Zoom in and check out the picture on the ID badge :)

    • ParusMajor

      The Pope! Goddamn, I thought you were dead, John Paul II!

  • RedMan

    This list was aright but it should’ve included much more info. It came accross as very generic and quickly written just like my comment. I think it should have been noted that Pedro Lopez’s whereabouts are unkown. Some believe he was killed by victims families while others believe he is still killing. I would like a list on serial killers still on the loose or suspected serial killers. I sadly do not have the time though.

  • Miyuki Ishikawa: So … because the government was horrified by this monster’s frequent murders of children they decided to make the murder of unborn children legal. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

    • Josh Fox

      You’re talking about abortion? A baby is alive until it’s been born, it can;t feel pain, it doesn’t know it’s alive, so what’s the difference? There’s no difference between an unborn baby and a single sperm cell.

      • fendabenda

        You mean “a baby isn’t alive”?

        • Josh Fox


          • Samuri

            Wow.. way to be ignorant. That’s completely untrue. Last time I checked, if it has a heartbeat, it’s alive. Obviously, you know nothing of the development of an unborn child…

            There are two cases in which abortion is okay, imo. When the mother is raped, or if there is incest. Although, I’ve known many women who have been raped, gotten pregnant, and kept their child. They don’t love them any less. Abortion IS murder.

          • fendabenda

            Abortion is abortion, murder is murder. Get your facts straight, Samuri. Many brain dead people also have a heartbeat, but they’re not really alive.

  • major harris

    there has been speculation that gille de rais was not guilty of the crimes he was accused. the reason for this was that the king of france had grown fearful of his wealth and power. gille was the most powerful nobleman after the king. the theory is that the king set him up and then gave him a choice. if he was found guilty, all of his lands and wealth would be stripped and his family would be destitute. if he confessed, the king would confiscate only half and his family would be able to keep the other half.

    good list!

    • fendabenda

      Gilles de Rais was probably guilty of some of the crimes that he was charged with, but not all. He became too rich and powerful, so the king wanted to get rid of him. Much like what happened with the Knights Templar sect (Pauperes Commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici) and Philip IV, the King of France, in 1307 AD.

  • I guess we can just copy+paste from other articles online without giving credit.

    • Tracypants

      I guess we can just claim a list had been copied and pasted without citing sources

      • fendabenda

        I want to copy and paste Shakira for my personal use.

  • OddJobb

    Is this list a repost?? I’m pretty sure I’ve read this before not too long ago.

    • YouRang?

      I recognize the Gilles de Rais as a cut-and-paste from an earlier list.

      • wasd

        10 people who sold their souls to the devil or some list like that.

  • edvado

    RE: Darya Saltykova

    “not arrested… because of her routes and her wealth. ”

    Was she traveling a lot, or did you mean ROOTS?

    • fendabenda

      *sings*: “Get your kicks, on Route 66” :-D

    • Name

      She was probably in control of a lot of merchant traveling routes or something

  • fendabenda

    Interesting list, although I knew about Bathory, Shipman, Gilles de Rais and Amelia Dyer already. Thank you, John Waller. One major omission, though, imho: Andrei Chikatilo.

    • Slappy

      Not even close, my friend. Chikatilo is believed to have killed 52, although the number could be a bit higher. But these people all claimed over 100 victims. Arguably.

      • fendabenda

        Yeah… but Chikatilo didn’t just kill his victims, he gouged out their eyes and castrated them… probably while they were still alive. And THEN abused them sexually. Forgive me if I think that’s pretty bad, worse than if he had just shot them, like Breivik did.

        • Slappy

          Agreed, it was worse. But we seem to be obsessed with mere numbers. Remember the Michael J. Fox movie, “The Frighteners,” where a serial killer returned from the grave to try to kill 53 because “the record should belong to an American?”

  • QueenWeiner

    Number 5 looks shopped. I can tell by the pixels and having seen quite a few shops in my time.

    Great list anyway :D.

    • SailorBill

      Definitely. Was gonna post a comment asking what was up with the horrible photoshop job.

  • SailorBill

    Aren’t a lot of the “facts” about Elizabeth Bathory disputed? I thought I remembered reading an article which explained that most of the enormities attributed to her came from the torture confessions of her servants and are therefore unreliable.

    • Auburn Tiger

      This gets discussed on basically every list she’s in. Anyway, yes. Based on the consensus from other lists’ comments, it looks like this is largely exaggeration.

  • Matt

    I think pleased is probably the wrong word, but I’m surprised to see how many women were on this list- hadn’t heard of a few of these-

  • BryanJ

    Nice list. However, I feel that the official murder count of a serial killer is hard to determine. Once captured, many lunatics claim to have murdered more people than they really did. Some serial killers are never officially charged with suspected crimes because of lack of evidence. I see the individuals you listed were the Top 10 on the Wikipedia page for murder count.

    Number 10 on the list Javed Iqbal Mughal was found guilty of the sexual abuse and murder of 100 children. However, this is disputed now because 26 of the children he claimed to have killed were found alive after his death. The case stands officially closed but allegedly not well investigated.

    There is significant controversy over his the guilt of Gilles de Rais. Some maintain he was framed for political reasons.

    The exact number of victims is of Miyuki Ishikawa is unknown, but it is estimated that she killed at least 103 babies. When apprehended she received a four-year sentence.

    I’m not sure if Darya Saltykova deserves a spot. The investigators counted as many as 138 suspicious deaths, but as you mentioned she was found guilty of killing only 38. On the other hand Gary Ridgway was convicted of 49 murders.

    The guilt of Elizabeth Báthory has been debated. She and four collaborators were accused of torturing and killing hundreds of girls, with one witness attributing to them over 650 victims, though the number for which they (the group) were later convicted was 80. Elizabeth herself was neither tried nor convicted. In 1610, however, she was imprisoned in the Csejte Castle, now in Slovakia.

    Amelia Dyer has only 6 confirmed victims.

  • BryanJ

    Some killers that could have been included are Richard Kuklinski (The Iceman). He was an American mobster and contract killer that claimed to have murdered over 250 men between 1948 and 1986. Kuklinski was convicted on five counts of murder. Henry Lee Lucas confessed to involvement in about 600 murders, but a more widely circulated total of about 350 murders committed by Lucas is based on confessions deemed “believable” by a Texas-based Lucas Task Force. He later recanted his confession and was accused 11 murders. Keith Hunter Jesperson confessed to 160 murders.

    Then you have Nazi war criminals like Klaus Barbie. It is estimated that Barbie was directly responsible for the deaths of up to 14,000 people. The most infamous case is the arrest and torture of Jean Moulin, one of the highest-ranking members of the French Resistance.

    One of the most infamous Russian hitman is Alexander Solonik. However, he died before being convicted of murder.

    • Slappy

      All good info, Bryan. In Shipman’s case, he is suspected of a possible 170 or so murders he was never charged with because no one is sure they were murders. So many of his patients were elderly that it’s impossible to know if they died of natural causes.

      In the Lucas case, there were hundreds of unsolved murders on the books. His confessions gave police the chance to close all these old cases, so they were happy to accept anything he said. In some cases he confessed to murders on the same day that were a thousand miles apart. There’s no way of knowing how often this has happened and how many confessions were utterly bogus but used by the police to make it look as if they had solved murders they hadn’t solved at all. Of course, every time they do this it lets a murderer off the hook.

      • BryanJ

        Ya I was aware that was the situation with Lucas. I am sure it is the same with other people in history who actually went down as murderers. Lucas was used like a patsy, who took blame for a large collection of unsolved crimes.

  • Sender

    Number 2 is still out there… for that alone I would have considered him as #1

  • Wilhelm Schwartz

    Man! really? Columbia?? Pedro lopez was deported to Columbia, South Carolina? or is it the REPUBLIC OF COLOMBIA? LOL ok ok honest mistake!

  • Justsaying

    Just wanted to say I find it interesting that they were outraged at her killing infants…so they made it legal to kill them a few months younger.

    Oversimplified, I know, but it is still odd if not ironic.

    • Jack tar

      You really gunna compare abortion to the brutal murder of hundreds of babies? Wow you really need to come and live in the real world. Jackass

      • Dave

        Google image search “abortion” and tell me those aren’t images of “hundreds of brutally murdered babies.”

        • Jack tar

          Why on earth would I want to google image search abortion? You do realise that this is the 21st century and women do have the right to choose yeah?

          • Dave

            Whether it’s the 21st century or ancient Egypt, no one has the “right” to kill an unwanted human being.

        • seth

          Oh Dave, if only you were aborted.

    • fendabenda

      Do you know the definition of the word “ironic”? Just asking…

      • Dave

        No one does these days. Not helped by the fact that “irony” is one of the hardest words to define without an example.

        • Slappy

          Which is sort of ironic, isn’t it?

          • fendabenda

            no, it’s just sad :(

    • Slappy

      I’m pro-choice, but I didn’t get the logic there either.

  • David

    Two more entries you could add:

    Executioners and abortion doctors.

    • fendabenda

      Not the same thing. Executioners and abortion doctors do their respective duties. A serial killer just kills random people, either for his/her own pleasure, or for no reason at all.

    • Maggot

      Using your logic, why not include police officers and military soldiers too, rather than just trolling out a couple of cherry picked controversial issues? The defining characteristic is unlawful killing (in a serial manner). The aforementioned people are performing their tasks legally, following established guidelines.

      • fendabenda

        I don’t remember if I have mentioned this before, but here goes again: Hannele Klemettilä: “Epitomes of Evil: Representations of Executioners in Northern France and the Low Countries in the Late Middle Ages.” (Brepols 2006) ISBN 2-503-52278-5

        READ THAT!!! :-D

  • Matt

    ColOmbia, not Columbia (that’s the District, named after Christopher).

    Copy. Editor.

    • fendabenda

      ¿You do know that his original name was Cristóbal Colón?

  • Dave

    #5 looks ‘shopped. I can tell by some of the pixels and having seen quite a few ‘shops in my time.

    • fendabenda

      True, his head has been taken from another picture and pasted to some dude with a doctor’s coat on. Everyone can see that. But so what? The picture wasn’t supposed to be the main thing about Harold Shipman, was it?

  • August

    It’s interesting that you included killers from many different cultures and time periods.

  • Seymour Butts

    It was a good list, though I was hoping for a more well researched list with factual numbers instead of speculative.

    Good job anyways.

    • It’s VERY hard to determine the number of killings committed by these serial killers, especially when you consider the time and/or place the killings were committed.

  • freckledsmile99

    Great list – can I say great about a list of serial killers?!? Well, I guess I just did.

  • Wrake

    Fun Fact: The Thugee cult is the basis for the word Thug. Also the Cult has been fictionally portrayed in The Black Company series of books.

    • Wrake

      Also, The cult’s favorite way to kill was to have several members infiltrate a caravan, earn everyone’s trust, and then strangle everyone to death with the Rumel’s on a particular night. The color of the Rumel often told other members how many people that particular member has strangled, so the colors sort of dictated rank. More people you have killed, the more status you held in the cult.

  • risicompet

    Drugs? Really? How about entire childhoods filled with neglect, sexual abuse, psycho and physical torture usually by relatives. The drugs were used as a result of their experiences. You really think someone will go out and kill 100+ people because they have a coke or meth problem? These people are all sick and drugs or no drugs these killings were gonna happen regardless.

  • Lolaz

    I did visit the castle of Machecoul ( Gilles de Rais ), when I was 7 or 8. I think I am interested in morbid since then!

  • frank

    It’s ColOmbia, not Columbia.

    • bobby


  • nobz

    neglect =/= murder. that is all

  • MeDan

    Not to beat a dead horse (which I suspect some of these people will have done at one time or another), but… I read the intro and the various captions in just a few minutes and managed to be annoyed by several mistakes in case disagreement, spelling, and general grammar. Is there no one working at this site who can take a few minutes to remove the most egregious offenses? I’m talking about the easy stuff that most of us know and would easily catch if we took a few moments to proofread.

    On a more important note, the author states that these killers are included because of their high body count but doesn’t give the actual numbers in some cases.

    And, of course, he can only talk about the ones that got caught. I have a horrible fear that there are killers out there who aren’t even suspected that have killed an awful lot of people.

  • Bart

    Can’t nr 1 just be moved to another country and executed?

    • Slappy

      No, I don’t think the law works that way. If it did, a lot of American prisoners would have been shipped off a long time ago. Besides, it looks as if his killings were all in Colombia. No other country has any jurisdiction.

  • nothingnew

    Ugh, I hate reading about these kinds of people.

  • Iain

    Lady Gaga’s music sounds like hell, but it’s no satanic.

  • Joshua

    To give someone an idea of devils,

  • Andrea

    I’m pretty sure Jack Kevorkian was better known as “Dr. Death” rather than this Harold Shipman guy…

    Didn’t Dr. Kevorkian kill more people than Harold? I mean I know it was voluntary on the part of the victim and all but still, you wrote that it was the number of victims, not the brutality…

    also, the photo for this list was painted by Dr. Kevorkian…

    • Skippy the Impaler

      Funny thing about the Dr. Death title. Kervorkian forgot to register it as a trademark. So it’s up for grabs. If Stan Lee reads this, thee may soon be new Marvel Comics villain.

      Estimates of Shipman’s murders run to about 250 in most cases although many believe the number should be above 400. Kervorkian was involved in about 70 assisted suicides, so even if we count those as murders, he’s not even close to being on this list.

      • fendabenda

        I thought Josef Mengele was the original Dr.Death… but I may be wrong.

    • Dan

      I believe Harold Shipman actually killed more people than any other, i believe it was around 220 confirmed and up to 450. difficult to prove though as you can imagine

  • monie

    I’ve only heard of one on this list (Bathory). Intersting list but sad

  • Great article, considered adding Vlad III the Impaler to the list? I mean Bram Stoker’s Dracula is loosely based on him.

    • P.S. on the list of Most Evil Serial Killers you really missed 0ut on David Ray Parker, he tortured, raped and killed approximately 68 women for three days straight in a custom made “toybox” which he spent more than 100,000$ on, he had three separate chambers for different phases, all were littered with tools and contained books on anatomy. He was a truly evil, a sadist who lived for killing. It seems like something taken out of Saw, although your chances of survival were slim, a lot of the girls died from psychological trauma… they would get drugged and wake up naked on a mattress, from the recordings of a 30 min. tape, which would explain what was going to happen to them the next three days.

  • jon

    Mostly spics, women, and euros.

  • karl

    is it me or is number 5 photoshopped, the head seems to big and there are loads of straight cut lines. Bad editing?

  • Veronica

    Can’t believe people like Lopez are ever allowed to walk free again!

  • louis

    that’s creepy

  • fendabenda

    The only execution that I remember seeing live (from the TV, not that I actually was there in person) was Nicolae Ceau?escu’s execution in 1989. On the Christmas Day, no less. (He was the dictator of Romania, if someone doesn’t know.) I r emember that he fell into an awkward position on his legs after he was shot, and I had nightmares afterwards. Maybe he deserved it, I don’t know. Who knows?

    • GodAlmighty

      I know. Trust me, my friend, he deserved it. Don’t feel bad about it. He DID deserve what he got.

  • Freddie

    22 years? Wtf? I hope someone in prison drops the sick fool on # 1.

  • DanF

    Why has the picture of Harold Shipman got his head photoshopped onto someones body?

  • eduardo jaramillo

    Wow… a slightly depressing list. Kind of disgusting how many of these were child rapists. A well written list, albeit one that I would never think or want to write. My only complaint is the misspelling of Colombia, which I can’t really blame the author for, everyone else misspells it as well… It’s too bad that Colombia gets such a bad reputation from lists like this, it’s a great country actually.

  • jen

    gilles de rlis should be no 1!!!

    • YouRang?

      That we will never know. This list goes by numbers killed, and no one knows how many Gilly actually killed. His supporters say he only confessed under duress and may have killed none. But, I have seen his count listed at near 600. We, and the listmaker, can only guess.

  • Evan

    Some people make me feel as though there’s no hope for the species to continue. Thanks for the list.

  • vermilionskin

    I do not want to say ”nice list”, it’s a sad list (educational), humans can be very malicious and vile. To all the children who suffered, I hope you all are resting in peace wherever you are, and we are sorry that some people have failed to protect you.
    And to all you with silly comments, shame on you.

  • MLGV


  • Also just so every one knows King Edward the 8th was King of England during the second world war, not the late 1800’s

  • Skippy the Impaler

    Does no one read the comments? Or do people just jump to the end and post?

    • Yes. I did, not always, but occasionally to see if my opinion has been expressed. I noted your comment above after I posted mine. See it below ;)

  • Andrea

    Can you please edit your lists? The correct spelling is Colombia. It’s spelled two different ways numerously throughout

  • Snoop

    H. H. Holmes didn’t get a mention?? In contrast, despite Dr Shipman’s number of victim his methodology is much less elaborate than Holmes’. Also the possibility than Dr Shipman may have justified his murders as an act of Angel of Mercy makes him (arguably) less horrific than holmes

  • it

    whoever mad this list is retarded
    1 No one believes that Luis Garavito killed up to 400 children.
    2 26 of Javed Iqbal’s victims that he claimed to kill were found alive so he did not kill up to 100 children.
    3 It has been proven that Harold Shipmann killed up to 400 people.
    4 If you study Elizebeth Bathory, you will learn that she did kill up to 650 girls. If you don’t believe me, then go to.ébet-Báthory/dp/1449513441/ref=wl_it_dp_o_npd?ie=UTF8&coliid=I1FO8WI6GV8ZQN&colid=25AXT8MV8EHAX
    5 No real historian claims that Amelia Dyer killed up to 200 babies, only 6.
    6 There are some estimates that Gilles De Rais killed up to 800 children. Though it is doubtful that he killed that much, historians generally believe that he killed at least 200, so he should be ranked much higher.
    7 H.H. Holmes killed over 200 people, which has also been proven.

    Obviously little research was done in making this website.

  • SCBeauty1983

    On not one of these Serial Killer lists have I seen Donald “PeeWee” Gaskins listed. South Carolina, 1950s, ’60s, & ’70s. Escaped and re-arrested several times, suspected of even killing a US Senator’s 12-year-old daughter, managed to kill other inmates with explosive c-4 while incarcerated. He had “serious kills” (people he knew) and “coastal kills” (random hitchikers he picked up along Hwy 17 that spans the SC coast, whom he tortured, raped, experimented with, and killed for the fun of it). Says a 2-month old baby girl he raped while he made the mother watch was the “best piece of ass” he’d ever had (he subsequently killed both). Estimated numbers are 100+ (He raped/tortured/killed a new victim approx. every 6 weeks), but since he didn’t bother to ask the names of his “coastal kills” and most of them were weighted and bogged down in the swamps never to be found… makes pinning down an exact number impossible. His autobiography is one of the most chilling I’ve ever read. I know his great-nephew, and I’ll tell ya, that whole family is fucked in the head!!!

    • I’m totally curious why you read that autobiography. Hm, of course, probably for the same reason I just read this list…



  • Well, You missed out on Jeffery Dahlmer, John Wayne Gacy, Henry Lee Lucas, Ted Bundy, Aileen Wuornos, The Manson “family”, Albert DeSalvo (The Boston Strangler, Richard Speck, Jack “The Ripper”, David Berkowitz. There’s a Top Ten right there……

  • mrnobody

    harold shipman’s photo looks photoshopped

  • imewaster

    What a waste of time posting anythinghere….

  • Sheesh. I never realized the Son of Sam and the Zodiac Killer were such pikers.

  • Alan

    Pretty cool list but the head’s of numbers 4, 5, and 7 look like they’ve been Photoshopped =O

  • Micko

    So, Garavito could get out, age 67 in 2014.
    After killing 400 kids.

  • anonymous

    En 1997 una chica llamada Lauren despareció cerca de su casa. Estaba caminando por un bosque y después nadie la vio hasta enero de 2000, en que otra chica, llamada Mary, encontró su cuerpo degollado y con unas marcas en su pecho que decian: “no era lo suficiente hermosa”. La habían violado por todo lado antes de abrirle la garganta y sacarle los ojos. El video del crimen apareció poco después y fue visto por algunos sádicos que gozaron como puercos. Desde entonces Lauren busca venganza. Ahora que haz leido esto ella te buscará. Una noche que entres en tu casa a oscuras, ella aparecera en tu espejo y te mirará a los ojos, diciéndote que no eres lo suficientemente hermoso y te matará, abriéndote de arriba abajo, en canal, con un bisturí mellado. Por cierto, la chica llamada Mary murió poco después de este modo. Para calmar a Lauren, para poder salvarte, pega este aviso en otros cinco videos. ESTO ES CIERTO, NO LO DUDES

  • joshuawright1988

    I think Richard Kuklinski should be listed here, or, atleast mentioned. Very brutal hitman for many years that was eventually arrested and only charged for five (known) counts of murder up in New Jersey. He killed many victims with many methods. Never killed children or women. Only men, and primarily for money. But he’s been put on the record to have killed atleast over 100+ individuals. He’d freeze his victims to throw off authorities as well. Which birthed him the nickname of “The Iceman”. But he was pretty ruthless. Very cold. But he did have a family and he lived an ordinary life on the surface to most people around him. He strangled, blew up, posioned victms mostly with cyanide, and left the majority of them in drums in random locations.

    • Anon

      You said it yourself: he was a hitman, not a serial killer.

  • The thumbnail for this article is a painting by Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who isn’t even on this list! I was expecting to see him and be outraged, because I believe he’s a very very good man. Watch the movie “You Don’t Know Jack” before you disagree (he’s wonderfully played by Al Pacino if you need further incentive) . I also raise my eyebrows at the inclusion of Harold Shipman, and Miyuki Ishikawa, yet I’d never previously heard of them.

  • RicStaR

    What about vlad? And our souls are not ours to sell!!!

  • Kali

    Gilles de Rais was most likely innocent of the crimes he was accused of. The trial was a political one, the accusations launched by a bishop in league with a political and territorial rival who wanted to be rid of the charismatic but extremely volatile folk hero. Because Gilles de Rais was documented to have had at least one openly homosexual relationship and dabbled in the occult, the charges stuck immediately. Sadly, very few people take the time to research Gilles de Rais’ story, which has made it the stuff of legends. And while the legend is horrific indeed, it’s almost certainly not entirely true, if any of it is.

  • Loopyfounny