One of the most prolific serial killers in American history, Albert Fish claimed to have killed as many as a hundred people, mostly children. He was also a rapist and a cannibal, which makes his claim to have ‘had a child in every state’ both more horrific and more ambiguous. It is still unclear how many crimes Fish actually committed, and how much was just boasting on his part – a mystery further clouded by his refusal to confess to some crimes he was suspected of.
At his trial, he plead not guilty by reason of insanity, a claim backed by expert witness Fredric Wertham (a noted child psychologist at that time). Although the jury agreed that he was insane, Fish was convicted of three homicides based on evidence, and confessed to two others. He was sentenced to death, and killed via electrocution in Sing Sing prison. His last words were reportedly, “I don’t even know why I’m here.”
Fishtales — Macabre
Instruments of Hell — Exhumed
Needleshark — Unusual Suspects
The Gray Man (Albert Fish) — Church of Misery
Albert Was Worse Than Any Fish In The Sea — Macabre
Document.Gracebudd — The Number Twelve Looks Like You
Mr. Albert Fish (Was Children Your Favourite Dish?) — Macabre
Also known as ‘The Kindly Killer’ and ‘The Muswell Hill Murderer’, Dennis Nilsen was 33 years old when he made his first killing, that of Stephen Holmes. Holmes, like most of Nilsen’s victims, was a teenaged male. Nilsen strangled and drowned him, then indulged his necrophiliac tastes by masturbating twice over the body. Unlike his later victims (and while Nilsen was convicted of six murders, his own confession to police lists 15), Holmes was not dissected after his death.
Nilsen would finally be caught in 1983, and sentenced to life imprisonment. It is known that he killed at least 12 people (although he claimed more) and attempted at least seven more murders. At the time of this writing, he remains in HMP Full Sutton, a maximum security prison in Yorkshire.
Killing for Company — Swans
You’re Dying To Be With Me — Macabre
Cranley Gardens (Dennis Nilsen) — Church of Misery
Dennis Rader was an American serial killer who abducted, tortured and killed ten people between 1974 and 1991, sending boastful letters the the police which he signed “BTK” (“Bind Torture Kill”). He ceased sending the letters for a time after his last murder, only to resume correspondence in 2004 – leading to his arrest and conviction in 2005.
His first victims were members of Otero family of Wichita, Kansas: parents Joseph and Julie, their son Joseph jnr, and daughter Josephine. Rader suffocated the males with plastic bags, strangling Julie with rope and hanging Josephine. His first letter, which he ‘mailed’ by concealing it inside an engineering book at the Wichita Public Library in October 1974, described the murder of the Oteros in gruesome detail.
As of this writing, Rader remains in the El Dorado Correctional Facility, where he is serving ten consecutive life sentences (175 years) without parole.
B.T.K. — Church of Misery
Bind Torture Kill — Suffocation
Bind, Torture and Kill — Suicide Commando
Adolfo Constanzo first began gathering his cult in the 1980s. In 1986, he demanded that the Calzadas family cartel accept him and his followers into its ranks. When they rejected him, members of the family began to go missing – Constanzo and his followers were kidnapping them then killing them in gruesome magical rituals.
Constanzo enjoyed some success as a criminal, largely due to the fact that he scared the living crap out of people, but the abduction and murder of American student Mark J. Kilroy in May 1989 was the beginning of the end for his group. Diplomatic pressure from the US led to a crackdown by Mexican police, and several of Constanzo’s people were arrested. Constanzo and a few others escaped, only to be cornered by police in July. Constanzo committed suicide rather than go to prison.
Andrei Chikatlio, variously known as the Rostov Ripper, the Red Ripper and the Butcher of Rostov, was a Russian-born serial killer who confessed to 56 murders, and was convicted of 52 of them. His first murder was in 1979, a 9 year old girl whom he also raped. Another man was convicted and ultimately executed for the crime.
Chikatlio was finally caught in 1990, after a manhunt that stretched over several months, and was cooperative with police, leading them to the places where he had buried various of his victims. His execution took place only after a lengthy trial and psychiatric evaluation. He was shot behind the ear with a single pistol round, killing him instantly.
Rostov Ripper — Impious
Citizen X (Erotophonophilia) — Divine Pustulence
Red Ripper Blues (Andrei Chikatilo) — Church of Misery
Between October 13, 1972 and Feburary 13, 1973, Herbet Mullin killed a total of 13 people. The last of these, Fred Perez, was an elderly hispanic gentleman who was unfortunate enough to be working on his garden when Mullin drove by. For no readily apparent reason, Mullins, did a u-turn, came back, shot the man, then drove off.
All of this took place in broad daylight, and there were several witnesses, one of whom called the police and gave them the license plate number of Mullin’s car. He was arrested within minutes of this phone call, and readily confessed to all his murders. Herbert Mullin is currently serving life imprisonment for the crimes, after trying and failing to use the insanity defence.
On January 21, 1958, 19 year old Charles Starkweather went to the house of his girlfriend, 14 year old Caril Ann Fugate. She wasn’t home, but her parents and sister were. Starkweather killed the three, and when Caril arrived home, she helped him to hide their bodies. Six days later, they took to the road to evade the police.
By the time the couple were arrested on January 29, they had killed another seven people – although exactly which of the pair killed some of them was disputed (they each accused the other). Starkweather was tried and convicted for the murders. He was executed on June 25, 1950, while Fugate served 17 years in prison for her part (as a minor, she was considered to have diminished responsibility).
Hate So Real — J Church
All I Want — Kenny Brown
Stark Weather — Icky Blossoms
Badlands — Bruce Springsteen
Nebraska — Bruce Springsteen
We Didn’t Start the Fire — Billy Joel
The Story Of Charles Starkweather — Tumblin’ Go Go’s
Badlands (Charles Starkweather & Caril Fugate) — Church of Misery
James Oliver Huberty was a survivalist living in San Ysidro, New Mexico. A man who never felt at home in America, and felt that it was in a state of moral decay, but shared that all-too-common delusion that murder is apparently not a moral failing.
On July 18, 1984, he strode into a McDonalds three blocks away from his residence, and opened fire. He wounded 19 people, and killed 21 more, before he was finally killed himself. The massacre lasted 77 minutes. In the aftermath, McDonalds demolished the restaurant, and donated the site to the city as a memorial to the victims.
McMassacre — Macabre
McMurder — Ethnic Cleansing
James Oliver Huberty — LoNNNIe
Shotgun Boogie (James Oliver Huberty) — Church of Misery
Graham Young was only 14 years old when he was arrested for murder – and the murder in question was that of his stepmother, Molly. He had also been trying to poison his father, sister and a friend of his from school.
Young was convicted on three counts of attempted murder (the murder of his stepmother could not be verified, as she had been cremated) and served nine years in a prison for the mentally unstable. After his release, he poisoned at least another seventy-two people, two of them fatally. He was once again arrested, and this time sentenced to life in prison. He eventually died in prison at the age of 42.
Poison — Macabre
Taste the Pain (Graham Young) — Church Of Misery
Gary Ridgway is one of the most prolific serial killers in American history. He was convicted of 48 separate counts of murder – but he has confessed to a total of 71, and some authorities believe that he may have murdered more than 90 people, almost all of them women. Favouring strangulation as his method of murder, Ridgway dumped the bodies in forested areas of King County, Washington state or in the Green River – it was the latter which led to him being dubbed the Green River Killer.
The murders took place over a span of about twenty years, beginning in 1982. Although no murders have been confirmed later than 1998, it is believed that Ridgway may have committed more murders between 19998 and his arrest in 2001. Ridgway’s arrest was as a result of DNA evidence gathered in 1987 – he had been a suspect for some of his killings since at least 1983.
Deep Red Bells — Neko Case
Green River — Church of Misery
Skeletons in the River — Divine Pustulence
The Green River Murderer (He’s Still Out There) — Macabre
Jim Jones was a weird kid, into death and religion, who would later become a Communist. Later still, he would found the People’s Temple, and move it – and most of the adherents of the religion – to a site in Guyana he named the People’s Temple Agricultural Project, but which is better known to history as Jonestown. Messianic fuckwits like Jones are a cowardly and superstitious lot, and Jones himself was about as well balanced as an up-turned egg.
In 1978, after the visit of Congressman Leo Ryan, Jones’ personal demons got the better of him. He ordered a mass suicide of his followers – although accounts vary as to just how voluntary this suicide was – and the shooting of the Congressman and his party. A total of 918 people died, including Jones and 908 of his followers. Almost all of them were Americans, and until the 9/11 attacks, it was the single greatest loss of American lives that ever took place in a single day.
Guyana Punch — The Judys
Jimmie Jones — The Vapors
Reverend — Church of Misery
The Riverflow — The Levellers
Jonestown — Concrete Blonde
Guyana (Cult of the Damned) — Manowar
Carnage in the Temple of the Damned -– Deicide
Ballad of Jim Jones — Brian Jonestown Massacre
Ed Gein only ever confessed to two murders, although the circumstantial evidence strongly suggests that there were more.
It all fell apart for him on November 16, 1957 when the disappearance of Bernice Worden from Plainfield, Wisconsin (their mutual hometown) was reported to the police. They then investigated Gein’s house – he being the last person to see her – and found Worden’s body there.
They also found body parts of at least ten other women, possibly more. Gein was eventually convicted of Worden’s murder only – it being judged prohibitively expensive to investigate all of them – and Gein claimed to have exhumed them, not murdered them. Gein was convicted of two murders – the ones he confessed to, and later died in prison.
Nipple Belt — Tad
Ed Gein — Macabre
Ed Gein — Killdozer
Young God — Swans
Skinned — Blind Melon
Dead Skin Mask — Slayer
Plainfield — Church of Misery
Nothing to Gein — Mudvayne
Edward Gein — The Fibonaccis
The Geins — Macabre Minstrels
Old Mean Ed Gein — The Fibonaccis
Ballad of Ed Gein — Swamp Zombies
Sex Is Bad Eddie — The Tenth Stage
John Wayne Gacy was a serial rapist and murderer who lived in Chicago, Illinois. He is known to have raped and murdered at least 33 young men – 26 of whom he buried under his house. Most infamously, he often dressed as a character of his own invention, Pogo the Clown, in order to lure children into his clutches.
Gacy was arrested for his murders on December 20, 1978, and confessed two days later – in fact, he confessed to more murders than there was evidence to confirm. He attempted to plead insanity, but failed to convince the court. On March 13, 1980, he was found guilty of 33 counts of murder and sentenced to death. His execution by lethal injection took place in 1994, after years of appeals failed to overturn his convictions.
Gacy’s Lot — Macabre
33 Something — Bathory
Suffer Age — Fear Factory
Pogo The Clown — Hubert Kah
John Wayne Gacy, Jr. — Sufjan Stevens
Pogo The Clown — Dog Fashion Disco
Master of Brutality (John Wayne Gacy) — Church of Misery
Three for Flinching (Revenge of the Porno Clowns) — The Dillinger Escape Plan