Special Report

The Most Depraved Serial Killers in History

All crimes are aspects of antisocial behavior, but no crimes are more shocking or depraved than the acts of serial killers. A serial killer is someone who murders three or more people, usually because of some abnormal psychological gratification. The crimes may take place over a period of time and include a significant lapse between them. (Whether or not serial killers are involved, these are states where the murder rate is soaring.)

The FBI classifies serial killers into three categories: the organized killer, the disorganized killer, and the medical killer. 

The organized killer is the most difficult to identify and capture because he (the overwhelming majority of serial killers are male) is usually highly intelligent and well organized. Every detail of the crime is planned, and the killer takes precautions to ensure that no incriminating evidence is left behind. The disorganized killer doesn’t try to cover up the crime, and usually doesn’t plan it in advance; his victims are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. (These are America’s most infamous murder homes.)

Medical killers – usually healthcare workers – are rare. They are usually highly intelligent and know how to conceal their murders, making it look as if their victims have died a natural death.

Serial killers typically display antisocial behavior patterns as young people, such as habitual lying, aggressiveness, lack of remorse or guilt, and in general failure to conform to societal norms. Among the concerning behaviors of serial killers is a fascination with setting fires. David Berkowitz, who killed six people in 1977, is said to have set 1,500 fires before his killing spree. Another indicator is the torturing and killing of small animals, something done by Jeffrey Dahmer, who killed 17 people. 

Click here to see the most depraved serial killers in history

To compile a list of 26 of the most depraved serial killers in history, 24/7 Tempo consulted sources including Britannica, Biography, Mysteries Unsolved, Serial Killers, and Capital Punishment in Context, as well as various news sites.  

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