Evil is a strong word, but there have been certain people throughout history who are truly worthy of the description. Even today, although most of us personally try to avoid, or even eliminate evil and hatred from the world, we simply can’t avoid being told of atrocities every time we turn on our televisions. As much as we’d all like to live in a peaceful world, since the dawn of time there have always been evil people around, who take sadistic pleasure in the pain and suffering of others.
People have always been fascinated by evildoers. As humans, it’s our nature to question why people do the things they do, and these questions only grow more pertinent in the face of absolute evil. That’s why Adolf Hitler’s been the focus of countless psychological investigations since the end of World War Two. Was he born evil? Or did he become evil and why? If we can understand what motivates evil people, then maybe we can prevent their heinous crimes from happening again…
1. Edmund Kemper
Kemper was a serial killer, necrophile, rapist, and cannibal who killed his own grandparents at the age of fifteen. A famous quote from American Physco, wrongly attributed to Ed Gein, is actually something Kemper said: “When I see a pretty girl walking down the street, I think two things. One part of me wants to take her out, talk to her, be real nice and sweet and treat her right … [and the other part of me wonders] what her head would look like on a stick.”
2. Robert Hansen
Hansen abducted, raped and murdered between 17 and 30 women, in and around Anchorage, Alaska. He would hunt them down in the woods with guns and other weapons.
3. Leonarda Cianciulli
Cianciulli was an Italian serial killer who turned her three female victims into soap and teacakes between 1939 and 1940.
4. Tommy Lynn Sells
Sells murdered 22 people in the USA over two decades, after being molested as a child with his mother’s consent. He was diagnosed with a wide range of mental disorders including bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and psychosis. He killed his first victim when he was just 16 years old.
5. Andrej Chikatilo
A true madman, Chikatilo earned himself many nicknames, including the “Butcher of Rostov”, the “Red Ripper” and the “Rostov Ripper”. Stalking his victims in the former Soviet Union, Chikatilo was a serial killer who inflicted unthinkable acts to 52 men, women and children between 1978 and 1990. Chikatilo was found guilty and was subsequently disposed of by the state.
6. Jack The Ripper
Serial killer Jack the Ripper brutally murdered five prostitutes in cold blood. Pictured above is the man who the police at the time believed was the most likely suspect, Polish barber Aaron Kosminski. Working under the dead of night, and, despite having a number of close calls with the cops, Jack the Ripper managed to get away with his crimes, but what made them so strange was the fact that they seemingly had no motive. He never raped the women he killed, and they had no money. The only explanation was that he simply enjoyed killing.
7. Ian Brady and Myra Hindley
British serial killer Ian Brady raped and murdered five children with his partner Myra Hindley in the 1960s. He buried them all on an English moor, and, whilst four bodies were found, one belonging to a boy called Keith Bennett never was. Brady claimed that he knew exactly where it was, but even when Keith’s dying mother begged him to reveal the location, he refused to tell her, and eventually took the answer to his grave.
8. Ted Bundy
Ted Bundy is possibly one of America’s most notorious serial killers. During his reign of terror in the 1970s Bundy raped and kidnapped over 30 women. Bundy used his good looks to exploit young women who would fall into his trap. After killing his victims he would sometimes even return to the crimes scenes to perform sex acts on their decomposing bodies. Bundy was executed in 1989 for his crimes in a Florida State Prison.
9. Alexander Pichushkin
Russian serial killer Alexander Pichushkin, also known as ‘The Chessboard Killer’, is believed to have killed between 48 and 60 people between 1992 and 2006. His aim was to kill 64 people, one for every square on a chessboard, but he did later admit that if he hadn’t of been caught he would have kept on killing.
10. Charles Edmund Cullen
Charles Cullen, a former nurse from New Jersey, is thought to be the most prolific serial killer in American history. During his 16-year nursing career, he admitted to killing 40 patients. However, during further interviews, it became clear that the number was in fact much higher with experts putting the figure at more than 400.
11. John George Haigh
Haigh, also known as the Acid Bath Killer, is one of the most notorious serial killers in British history. Between 1944 and 1949 it is thought that he killed between six and nine people, whom he battered to death before putting their bodies in a bath of sulphuric acid to destroy their corpses. He would then forge paperwork in order to collect his victims’ personal belongings and cash in.
12. Andrew Jackson
A man nicknamed “Sharp Knife” surely deserves a spot on a list of worst people in history – despite the fact he was also a U.S. President. Jackson built his reputation on the back of Native Indian removal. In 1830, Jackson proposed and signed the Indian Removal Act, which ethnic cleansing. The Native American people didn’t have modern day safety nets like we do today, as they didn’t even have a voice. Jackson’s troops committed unthinkable acts against men, women and children. All of which he encouraged!
13. Harry Truman
Talking of US presidents with a questionable taste for death, we bring you Harry S. Truman. To this day, people still question Truman’s decision to drop two atomic bombs on Japan. While it is agreed it shortened the war and saved lives in the long run, Truman still sanctioned the obliteration of around 200,000 people and nuclear contamination for decades. The necessity of the second bombing was wildly disputed. Additionally, the military’s purpose was contentious, because there was no military installations or viable industrial targets in the area. Only a civilian population dominated by women, children and elderly. The U.S. still remains the only country to ever use nuclear weapons.
14. Ed Gein
American serial killer Ed Gein’s crimes have become notorious in popular culture. The movies they inspired, however, have become more famous than the man himself. He was a loner who went on to brutally kill women, fashioning their remains into a variety of objects that included chairs, bowls, masks, and leggings.
15. Pol Pot
Prime Minister of Cambodia from 1976 to 1979, Pol Pot literally left mountains of human bones in his wake. He declared that the Buddhist religion, money, and personal possessions would all be banned. Which is pretty controlling, right? Well, what cemented his name on this list was his extermination of between one and three million Cambodians. That equated to 25-to-33 percent of the entire country’s population.
16. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
The religious leader of Iran from 1979 to 1989 was a man named Ayatollah. This was far from being a pleasant time in the country’s history. Leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution (which resulted in the loss of between 3,000 and 60,000 people), he would end the lives of innocent people in gruesome fashion. Under his rule, anyone who shared a kiss in public would be subject to no less than 100 lashes!
17. Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein was the disgraceful dictator of Iraq from 1979 to 2003. During that time, about two million people died as a result of his campaign of terror against the Kurds. He executed over 400,000 Iraqis, also having them filmed so he could watch them at his house. However, not even the greatest attorney at law could save him from his death sentence in 2006.
18. Adolf Hitler
A man who had the blood of millions of Jews on his hands, Adolf Hitler is easily one of the most disgustingly evil people to ever grace our planet. As a child, Hitler wanted to become a priest, but instead ended up becoming a political tyrant who was responsible for the attempted extermination of the Jewish race, using cutting-edge technology to murder literally millions.
19. Henrich Himmler
One of Hitler’s right-hand men, Himmler was head of the SS, making him the second most powerful Nazi in the government, and the architect of the Final Solution. A real nasty piece of work, Himmler was a man who was feared across the Third Reich. He was responsible for six to seven million deaths of Poles, Russians, communists, and other cultural/social groups whom the Nazis deemed unworthy to live, but predominantly Jews. This included people with physical and mental disabilities who couldn’t be put to work in concentration camps.
20. Rose West
British serial killer Rose West was convicted of the murder and sexual assault of 10 people in 1992. Just like Ian Brady, who died in May 2017, she has refused to disclose crucial information that would give her victim’s families closure from prison. The brother of one of Rose’s suspected victims said that she “hasn’t an ounce of compassion, humanity or goodness in her body.”
21. Gilles de Rais
Gilles de Rais was a celebrated Breton knight who fought in the French army alongside none other than Joan of Arc. However, it is not de Rais’ prowess as a soldier for which he is best remembered. His life ended after he confessed to murdering at least 80 to 100 hundred peasant and servant children after countless children mysteriously went missing and a child was found murdered in his home. The actual number of his victims will never be known, but some scholars speculate that de Rais killed up to 600 children over a seven-year period.
22. Vladimir Lenin
Working, living and existing around this man was a personal liability. The notorious Soviet communist revolutionary, politician, and political theorist Lenin was the founder of a totalitarian dictatorship responsible for civil war and mass human rights abuses. Under his regime, an estimated four million people died due to mass killings, famine and poverty. However, the dictatorship which Lenin founded inspired a communist system in Russia which operated successfully for decades. That’s why some praise him, but it’s easy to see why his methods are despised.
23. Kim Il Sung
Kim Il Sung started the Korean War, which ultimately resulted in the death of three million people. After the war, he brainwashed the people of North Korea into idolizing him, even though he made the country a dictatorship, where famine was rife. To ensure his power continued, he would kill any and all who opposed him. Basically, he was a particularly nasty piece of work. It’ll come as no surprise then that his son, Kim Jong-il proved to be just as evil – bizarrely, as a result of his own height issues, those who were short were killed.
24. Idi Amin
Many people claim that Amin is the evilest man in African history. His rise to power was characterized by claims of making Uganda a peaceful and democratic place. The opposite happened. Another fearsome dictator, Idi Amin’s time as leader of Uganda was permeated by human rights abuses, ethnic persecution, political repression, massacres and the expulsion of 80,000 Asians from Uganda.
25. Isle Koch
Nazi guard Ilse Koch has been remembered by history because of the horrific crimes she committed whilst working in a concentration camp. Despite having a perfectly normal life until this point, she became known for her cruelty towards the prisoners in her care and is rumored to have taken skin from the dead who had tattoos as souvenirs. Yikes!
26. Joseph Mengele
Known as the “Angel of Death”, Mengele was a Nazi officer and doctor who became infamous for the personal injury he would inflict through extremely brutal experiments on the prisoners held in the concentration camps. He sent hundreds of thousands to their deaths in gas chambers, and killed many more during his diabolical experiments, which including sewing identical twins together.
27. Reinhard Heydrich
High-ranking SS member Heydrich forced 60,000 Jews to leave Germany and go into Poland, where they were sent to Ghettos. As he chaired the Wannsee Conference, he presented a plan of transportation and deportation of 11 million Jews from every country in Europe, either to be worked to death or killed. Can you imagine trying to get a health insurance quote back then?
28. Thug Behram
Thug Behram murdered 931 people in Avadh, India. The English word “thug” is derived from Behram’s name, and his gang itself was called “Thuggee”. Using a ceremonial cloth called a “Rumal” – similar to a handkerchief or a cumber bun – Behram would strangle his victims in a ritualistic killing style witnessed by many members of his cult.
29. Osama Bin Laden
If you’ve ever seen the World Trade Centre footage, you know just how harrowing the 9/11 terrorist attacks were, and the effect they’ve had on our modern culture. The U.S. was never the same again after that fateful day in 2001. The man who took credit for the attacks on America was Bin Laden. He became the most wanted man on the planet for over a decade. The brains and driving force behind some of the world’s worst terrorist attacks since 2001, Bin Laden is undoubtedly one of the evilest men to ever walk the Earth.
30. Elizabeth Báthory – The Blood Countess
Elizabeth was a Hungarian Noble with an influential husband. Don’t be fooled by the pretty dress, she would target peasant young girls, which allowed her to keep her crimes unpunished for a very long time. She was eventually brought to justice and accused of found guilty of ending the lives of around 550 girls through prolonged suffering. After a long trial that lasted several weeks, she was sentenced to death after the courts found her guilty of butchering only 80 of her victims. It’s no wonder that she was dubbed “Countess Dracula”!