Darrin Klimek/Digital Vision/Getty Images
OK, so you watched the entire last season of “Dexter” in a weekend-long marathon, and now you just don’t know what to do with yourself. Not that you’d ever consider emulating that hunky Miami Metro knife wielder of doom, but your interest is definitely piqued. If Dexter can hold your attention, learning about real life serial killers has to be interesting, too. And it is.
5 Jack the Ripper
No one ever found out who this guy really was, and he was never caught after murdering five prostitutes in 1888 London. Though at the time, killing prostitutes was not seen as a big deal. People figured they had it coming. But what made London society folk take note of Jack’s offenses was the brutality, the savagery and the precision with which he killed. Most people were unaware of sociopaths back then, and this stuff was frightfully shocking.
4 Charles Manson
Though this guy is pretty much the poster child for serial killers–just look into his evil eyes for proof–and was linked with the song “Helter Skelter,” it’s questionable whether he did the actual killings himself. He was more the mastermind of the lunatic Beatles-worshiping cult who murdered more than 35 people during the 1960s. Manson followers, called “The Family,” worshiped him, believing he was Jesus who came to warn of an impending race war. Perhaps the most heinous of all of the group’s killings was the murder of actress Sharon Tate, who was pregnant at the time. A lunatic Manson disciple, Susan Atkins, stabbed Tate repeatedly in the stomach. The goal of this deranged “Family” was to create high-profile murders, which they succeeded in doing.
3 David Berkowitz
You did not want to be a woman or part of a couple sitting in a car or even walking the sidewalks of New York City in the 1970s for fear of being shot by David Berkowitz, the self-proclaimed “Son of Sam.” Though most serial killers pride themselves on being somewhat sophisticated, able to use their cunning to outsmart the law, this dude was found because of a parking ticket he received on the day of his last killing. When asked what was up with the shootings, Berkowitz said his neighbor’s dog told him to do it.
2 Ted Bundy
If you were an attractive female college student with long, dark hair during the 1970s, you might have worried about being raped and murdered by this nut case, who may have killed more than 100 women. Ted Bundy, a handsome college grad (psych major, what else) lured victims into his car saying he was injured and needed help. He needed help all right. Law enforcement tried to put the guy away, but he kept escaping. He jumped out the window of a courthouse library and was free for eight days. Then he escaped jail by climbing from a hole he made in the ceiling of his cell, even losing 30 pounds to fit through. He made the most of that escape, broke into a Florida State University sorority house and killed two students. He died in “Old Sparky,” an electric chair.
1 Jeffrey Dahmer
Jeff was into necrophilia, but hey, you can accomplish that without being a serial killer, although being one doesn’t hurt. For 13 years, mostly during the 1980s, this wacko would lure men he picked up in gay bars to his grandmother’s basement, where he would ply them with drug-laced alcoholic beverages and strangle them. He would then have sex with the corpses, cut up the bodies afterward and keep the genitals or skulls for souvenirs. Later, Dahmer began drilling into the skulls of his live victims in an attempt to create zombies. Most died instantly, but Dahmer claims one victim remained in a zombified state for several days. This evil dude was murdered in prison when an inmate crushed his skull.