If you’ve watched enough true crime documentaries in your time, then you’ll know that serial killers are often motivated by the thought that their terrible acts will make them famous. They love the thought of becoming the next Jack the Ripper, murdering their way into the history books with a stab and an evil cackle.
So you can bet that the following serial killers can’t escape a serious sense of failure, since although they’ve killed a bucket-load of people, no one even knows their name. Looks like they should have had a stab at fame through the normal route of sex tapes and raunchy Instagram selfies…
1. Dorothea Puente
In the 1980s, Puente rented out rooms in her house to elderly and mentally handicapped people in the Sacramento area. She would cash the social security checks that came for her lodgers, and if anyone complained, she would murder them. Simple. The newspapers dubbed her the Death House Landlady.
2. 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.”
3. 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.
4. Leonarda Cianciulli
Cianciulli was an Italian serial killer who turned her three female victims into soap and teacakes between 1939 and 1940.
5. Carl Panzram
Panzram murdered twenty-two people and raped thousands of young men before he was executed in Leavenworth in 1930.
6. Dagmar Overbye
Dagmar murdered between nine and 25 children, one of whom was her own, between 1913 to 1920. She would kill the children by strangling, burning or drowning them.
7. 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.
8. Serhiy Tkach
Serhiy Tkach is a former Ukranian police officer who claimed to have killed over 100 people. He suffocated girls aged between eight and 18-years-old, and performed sexual acts on their bodies after they died. He asked for the death penalty, but it was decided that he should have to live with the memory of his crimes. He’s still alive to this day.
9. Arthur Shawcross
Arthur Shawcross claimed most of his victims after being let out on early parole following a conviction for the manslaughter of two children. After relocating to several towns in New York with his girlfriend, Shawcross began killing again, this time, he murder 12 prostitutes over a two-year span.