They prey on the innocent with a malicious desire to inflict damage and harm. They hunt and stalk misfortunate victims in the dark, in broad daylight, in quiet neighborhoods, and in the local woods. Their bloodthirst isn't satisfied after their first kill. Or their second. Or third. Serial Killers: The Minds, Methods, and Mayhem of History's Most Notorious Murderers delves into the global phenomenon of serial and spree murderers.
This chilling book looks at the horrifying stories of forty malevolent killers and hundreds of innocent victims, including such notorious homicidal maniacs as John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, and Jeffery Dahmer, but it also looks at lesser-known and overlooked murderers like Herbert Baumeister, America’s I-70 Strangler; Japan’s “Anime Killer,” Tsutomu Miyazaki; Russia’s “Rostov Ripper,” Andrei Chikatilo; the “Giggling Granny,” Nannie Doss; and many more. It journeys to 16th-century Scotland to meet a clan of cannibals whose existence is still debated by historians today, and to the fog-shrouded alleys of Whitechapel, London, where Jack the Ripper earned his grisly namesake. Along the way, we’ll meet the Dating Game Killer, the Milwaukee Cannibal, the Acid Bath Murderer, and other monsters.
Serial Killers also asks the questions …
Caution is advised before entering the alarming world of twisted psychos and sociopaths! With more than 120 photos and graphics, this fright-filled tome is richly illustrated. Its helpful bibliography and extensive index add to its usefulness.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
THE NIGHT STALKER—RICHARD RAMIREZ
“Do you admit to being evil, Richard?” Reporter Mike Watkiss asks a simple question. His interviewee, a straggly haired man with dark, piercing eyes who is clad in a prison inmate’s boiler suit, smiles wolfishly for the camera.
“We are all evil, in one way or another, are we not?” The man has a point. He should know, after all, for he is none other than Richard Ramirez—serial murderer, rapist, and self-professed son of Satan. He is more commonly known as The Night Stalker. “Yes, I am evil. Not a hundred percent, but I am evil....”
The interview is taking place in the confines of a cell on California’s death row. Ramirez insists that much of what has been said about him in the media is not true, yet when the veteran journalist gives him the opportunity to clarify things, he blows it off.
“Who are you?” Watkiss asks bluntly.
Ramirez is silent for a while, either pondering the question or at least pretending to, before finally exhaling in a way that suggests it is much too complex for a simple answer.
“Just a guy.”
Yet for somebody who was such a loose cannon in the courtroom (Ramirez was famous for displays of contempt, disrupting the flow of events however he could contrive to) he suddenly becomes coy, bordering on the clinically detached, when asked whether he truly is guilty of thirteen murders.
“It would be improper for me to comment on my LA convictions, and my pending case here in San Francisco,” he replies with great care and deliberation, “because of my appeal.”
However, Ramirez being Ramirez, he cannot help rising to the bait when Watkiss compares him to Charles Manson.
“Serial killers do on a small scale what governments do on a large one,” Ramirez points out. “They are a product of the times, and these are bloodthirsty times. Even psychopaths have emotions if you dig deep enough, but then again, maybe they don’t....”
Watkiss sees an opportunity and takes it. “Do you have emotions, Richard?”
A smirk. I know something you don’t know, it seems to say. “No comment.”
There’s the definite sense that a game is being played, and that Ramirez is enjoying it a great deal more than his opponent, who seems to be having a hard time concealing his disgust at being in Ramirez’s company.
“Killing is killing, whether done for duty, profit, or fun,” Ramirez adds. “Men murder themselves into this democracy.”
This idea that a criminal such as himself is no different than a national government furthering its ends with violent means is a staple argument for Ramirez, something to be conveniently trotted out during an interview in the hope that it won’t be considered too carefully. I’m no different than the good old U.S. of A, the serial killer is basically saying, and while even the most casual study of history demonstrates that governments have indeed been responsible for murder and torture, they do not delight in carrying out such horrific acts in the way that Richard Ramirez plainly did.
Much was made of Ramirez’s supposed connection to Satanism, both during the murder spree itself, when occult symbols were found daubed on the walls at some of his crime scenes, and also during the trial, when Ramirez flashed a palm with a pentagram symbol on it toward the TV cameras. Trying out a new avenue of questioning, Mike Watkiss asks him whether he is a Satanist. Ramirez admits to having studied Satanism but refuses to comment on whether he is a “worshipper of the Devil.”
Satanism, in Ramirez’s words, is “undefiled wisdom instead of hypocritical self-deceit” and “power without charity.” He notes that there has always been evil, which would never come to pass in a perfect world, and he predicts that “it is going to get worse.” Few of us who keep up with current events in the twenty-first century, some thirty years after the serial killer first made this observation, would disagree with him on that score.
Ramirez’s crimes were utterly heinous, yet he developed quite the following of admirers (most of them female) during his incarceration. In a particularly surreal twist, the phalanx of Ramirez groupies included a woman who had been part of the jury that sent him to death row for the crime of murder. He would ultimately go on to get married while awaiting execution and never lacked for letters from his female fans, many of which contained heavy sexual overtones. With long, dark hair framing a Saturnine face, Richard Ramirez could no doubt present a certain attractive appeal to many women ... until, that is, one looked into his eyes.
Of Mexican descent, Ramirez was born on February 29, 1960, in the city of El Paso, Texas. His parents were both immigrants and had four other children prior to him. As a boy, he was diagnosed with epilepsy, and although his seizures gradually diminished in frequency and intensity before finally stopping, author Philip Carlo observes that such a condition can be linked to hyper-aggressiveness in later life.
Carlo also related an account of Ramirez’s cousin, Miguel (known as Mike), who had served in Vietnam as a member of the U.S. Special Forces. The 12-year-old Richard had listened, spellbound, to the older man’s tales of intense firefights against the Viet Cong, and his forcible “conquests” of Vietnamese women afterward. Cousin Mike had saved the best for last, however: he kept a box full of photographs, some of which showed those women performing oral sex on him. The gun Mike held to their heads kept the women both motivated and scared, a lesson in power that the young Richard never forgot. Nor did he forget the image of his cousin holding one of those same women’s decapitated heads in his hand while posing for the camera.
Special Forces soldiers are particularly adept at moving stealthily, using the shadows and darkness as a natural form of cover. These are skills that Richard’s cousin was able to teach him. He found the boy to be a surprisingly quick and enthusiastic learner.
Table of ContentsAbout the Author
1. The Cromwell Street House of Horrors—Fred and Rosemary West
2. Clowns Can Get Away with Murder—John Wayne Gacy
3. The I-70 Strangler—Herbert Baumeister
4. The Moors Murderers—Ian Brady & Myra Hindley
5. The Charming Psychopath—Theodore “Ted” Bundy
6. The Lonely Murderer—Dennis Nilsen
7. The Night Stalker—Richard Ramirez
8. Doctor Death—Harold Shipman
9. The Unrepentant Maniac—Carl Panzram
10. Hollywood Monster—Aileen Wuornos
11. Mindhunted—Edmund Kemper
12. The Yorkshire Ripper—Peter Sutcliffe
13. The Anime Killer—Tsutomu Miyazaki
14. The Milwaukee Cannibal—Jeffrey Dahmer
15. Killer at Large—The Zodiac
16. The Dating Game Killer—Rodney Alcala
17. The Giggling Granny—Nannie Doss
18. The Rostov Ripper—Andrei Chikatilo
19. Keeping It in the Family—The Sawney Bean Cannibal Clan
20. The Resurrection Men—Burke and Hare
21. The Grim Sleeper—Lonnie Franklin
22. King of the Murder Castle—H. H. Holmes
23. Busted by the Internet—Maury Travis
24. Say Your Prayers—Anthony Sowell
25. Bind, Torture, Kill—Dennis Rader
26. The Tip of the Iceberg—Samuel Little
27. The Boston Strangler...?—Albert Desalvo
28. The Acid Bath Murderer—John George Haigh
29. The Killer at 10 Rillington Place—John Christie
30. Saucy Jack the Ripper
31. The Houston Mass Murders—Dean Corll
32. Rampage and Spree Killers
33. The Texas Tower Sniper—Charles Whitman
34. The Century 16 Mass Shooting—James Holmes