Read on to learn about ten of the scariest serial killers ever captured!
1John Wayne Gacy
Once he was released from jail, Gacy briefly remarried (they divorced when she discovered that he was secretly gay) and became a popular and jovial member of society. He enjoyed dressing up as "Pogo the Clown" and volunteering at children's parties, parades, and other community gatherings. He was a respected businessman and well-liked by his neighbors.
During the six years between the time he got out of jail and when he was finally arrested again for suspicion of kidnapping, Gacy murdered an astounding 33 young men. He buried most of the bodies in the crawl space of his house, in his yard, and later (when he started to run out of space), he dumped them in a nearby river. He would lure hitchhikers, male prostitutes, and other young men and boys into his car or his home, then torture, rape, and murder them.
After he was arrested and the police found the bones in his basement, Gacy issued a full confession and was executed in 1994.
Dahmer was eventually brought to justice, and on November 28, 1994 he was beaten to death by a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution, where he had been incarcerated.
To lure in his victims, Bundy would often pretend to be disabled or would pose as an authority figure. Other times, he would simply break into his victim's homes and bludgeon them to death as they slept. After killing them, he would rape, torture, and dismember them, often keeping souvenirs (like their heads) in his apartments for months at a time.
After a thrilling police chase, Bundy was finally arrested and brought to justice in 1979 and was killed in the electric chair in January 1989, in Starke, Florida.
Ridgway would pick up prostitutes and runaways, earn their trust by showing them a photo of his son, and then strangle them either with his bare hands or with ligatures. He would often return to the bodies to have sex with them or arrange them in various poses. Despite having an IQ of only 82, Ridgway managed to avoid being caught for over a decade until he was finally caught in November of 2001.
Ridgway is still alive and serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole in Washington state.
Ed Gein lived in Wisconsin with his mother and brother. He was suspected of murdering his brother, but police could not prove it. After his mother died, Gein began visiting the local cemeteries, digging up bodies of middle aged women who he thought resembled his mother, and assembling a "woman suit" out of their skin. He eventually killed two local women, and when police came to his home to investigate they found body parts everywhere.
Police discovered human noses, vulvae, skulls made into bowls, skin masks, human heads in sacks, lamps and chairs upholstered in human flesh, organs in the refrigerator, and a belt made of human nipples.
Gein was arrested in 1957 and spent the rest of his life in a mental hospital after being ruled criminally insane. He died of heart failure and cancer in 1984 at the age of 77.
6Henry Lee Lucas
After murdering his own mother, Lucas spent 10 years in jail but was eventually released due to overcrowding. Once he got out, he became a drifter in the southern states of the U.S., making friends with Ottis Toole, a man who would become his accomplice in over 108 murders and other crimes.
In 2001, Lucas died in prison of natural causes at the age of 66.
Wuornos lived a life of abuse and neglect, having a baby at age 15 (who was put up for adoption) and engaging in an incestuous relationship with her brother. She was briefly married and spent time in jail for petty robberies and assault. Eventually she fell in love with a woman and supported them both by turning tricks as a prostitute. During her years of prostitution Wuornos shot and killed seven men who she claimed were trying to harm her during their sex sessions.
Wuornos was arrested in 1991 and confessed to the murders three days later. She was killed by lethal injection in 2002.
8Richard Trenton Chase
Chase murdered six people, including two children, and engaged in sex with their bodies after he murdered them. He would also drink and bathe in their blood and eat their internal organs. Chase was finally caught in 1979 after murdering an entire family. His defense tried to get him a lesser charge due to his history of insanity, but a jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to death by the gas chamber. Chase then killed himself in jail in 1980 by saving up his prescription antidepressent medicine and taking a lethal overdose in his cell.
Chikatilo first killed a 9 year old girl in 1979, and during the experience he discovered that he could only achieve sexual satisfaction by stabbing and slashing women and children to death.
Chikatilo was in and out of jail and suspected of crimes for many years, but there was never enough evidence to put him away for good. Finally, in a well-orchestrated police snare, Chikatilo was caught in 1990 and eventually confessed to killing 36 people. He was charged with killing 53 women and children between 1978 and 1990 and was convicted of 52 murders in 1992. In 1994 he was executed by a single gun shot wound behind the right ear.
After Rader kidnapped his victims he would bind them and strangle them until they passed out. Then he'd let them wake up and do it again, repeating the near-death experience and getting sexual gratification from it. He would eventually strangle the victim to death and masturbate into an article of their clothing.
Rader was caught because police were able to extract a deleted file from a floppy disk the killer had sent them. On the disk was information about Rader's church, an organization of which he was an active member. It was DNA evidence that eventually busted Rader, and he later confessed to the crimes. He was convicted of 10 counts of murder in 2005. He is still in jail serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.