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The Most Famous Serial Killers in History

A serial killer is defined as a person who kills more than three people over a period of longer than thirty days. These murders are usually committed in the same fashion or there is something in common between the victims. The majority of the time, serial killing is used to grant psychological satisfaction rather than personal gain, but there are exceptions. Both horrifying and interesting, serial killers are often the subject of many books and movies. Some of these books and movies are even inspired by real-life serial killers. Here are some of the more famous, or should I say infamous, serial killers:

1. Gilles de Rais

Perhaps the most earliest serial killer in history, Gilles de Rais, also called Bluebeard, committed these horrifying crimes in the Middle Ages. Rais started out all right and even had a somewhat prestigious military career, however, it appears it all went downhill when he met a man who promised him that he could gain an immense amount of wealth if he sacrificed children to a demon named Barron.

Rais kidnapped many children during his time and treated them all the same way. He pampered them and dressed them like princes and princesses and ate and drank hearty at first. Then he would tell the children what he actually intended to do with them and took a perverse pleasure in their shock. An accomplice of his crimes, Poitou, testified that the children “sometimes by decapitating them, sometimes by cutting their throats, sometimes by dismembering them, sometimes by breaking their necks with a stick, and that there was a weapon specifically for their execution, known as a braquemard.”

2. Countess Elizabeth Báthory

Probably the most prolific female serial killer in history, the Hungarian countess, also sometimes called the “Blood countess,” killed around 650 young girls. Over 300 witness accounts were collected during her trial. She killed these girls by torturing them in various ways, including burning, beating, mutilations, freezing, unnecessary surgery, starving her victims, and sometimes sexually abusing them. The fictional character Count Dracula is said to be partially based on her.

3. Jack the Ripper

The most shocking thing about this serial killer is that he was never identified. The murders were committed in London. The name came from a letter that was sent to a news agency by someone who claiming to be the serial killer. His victims were women who were prostitutes. It appears that he would first strangle his victims and would remove their organs. Jack has become somewhat an iconic symbol for serial killers in popular culture.

4. Zodiac

Like Jack the Ripper, the Zodiac’s identity remains largely unknown, though there have been several well-developed theories. He coined his name himself when he sent letters to the press. His trademark in the letters were cryptograms, and three of them were so complex they still have not been solved. The Zodiac claims to have murdered over 37 people in letters he sent to the newspaper. Today the case still remains open and there are several organizations who still hope to solve the mystery identity of the Zodiac.

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