From the “Butcher of Rostov” to the “Little Old Lady Killer,” these are nine of the most terrifying killers from around the world that Americans may never have heard of.
Editor’s note: A warning some of these accounts feature graphic depictions of violence, sexual abuse, and murder.
Andrei Chikatilo killed 52 people in the USSR.
Andrei Chikatilo, also known as “The Butcher of Rostov,” was convicted of killing 52 people while terrorizing the Soviet Union from 1978 to 1990. Andrei Tkachenko, a psychiatrist from Moscow’s Serbsky Institute, theorized to the Moscow Times that it was his impotence that lead him to kill.
The former teacher was found guilty of raping and murdering 21 boys aged 8 to 16, 14 girls aged 9 to 17, and 17 older women in Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
It wasn’t only the murders that were gruesome but how they were conducted. Police photographs showed that Chikatilo mutilated his victims and had their eyes gouged out.
He was arrested in 1990 and executed in 1994, according to the New York Times.
Luis Garavito was a serial killer in Colombia.
- Wikimedia Commons
Widely believed to be one of the worst killers in history, authorities said Luis Garavito aka “La Bestia” originally admitted to murdering around 140 children and teenagers in Colombia between 1992 and 1999, according to the BBC (the figure would later reach over 200). He consistently targeted boys between the ages of 8 to 16 years old.
Utilizing disguises varying from priest to drug dealer, Garavito was said to have lured the boys into trusting him before he struck. He frequently left their bodies in mass graves that were later discovered by investigators.
Since Colombia has no death penalty and Garavito helped the police find more victims’ bodies, his sentence of 1,853 years and nine days was reduced from the maximum under the Colombian law of 60 years to just 22 years, according to Caracol Radio.
Pedro Rodrigues Filho was an infamous Brazilian serial killer.
According to Rolling Stone, Pedro Rodrigues Filho, or “killer Petey,” was responsible for the deaths of at least 70 people and killed his first victim when he was 14.
Filho claimed to have killed over 100 people, including 47 people while in prison and even his own father. He was first arrested on May 24, 1973, but was released in 2007 after 34 years in prison. He was re-arrested (for unrelated crimes) in 2011 and according to recent reports, he’s still in prison.
Yang Xinhai was convicted of 67 murders in rural China.
- Wikimedia Commons
Yang Xinhai was arguably the most infamous serial killer in China. He was convicted of 67 murders and numerous rapes committed from 1999 to 2003.
Targeting mostly rural farming communities, Yang would break in and kill his victims utilizing farm tools. He confessed to killing one family using an iron hammer, reported China Daily.
Alexander Pichushkin, also known as “The Chessboard Killer,” killed in Russia.
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Nicknamed “The Chessboard Killer,” Pichushkin reportedly aimed to kill 64 people, one for each square on a chessboard.
“I would sometimes wake up with the desire to kill and would go to the woods that same day. I liked to watch the agony of the victims,” the killer told investigators.
Pichushkin was arrested and a jury found him guilty of 48 murders and three attempted murders.
Ahmad Suradji was convicted of killing women in Indonesia.
- Coy Arsenault/Youtube
From 1986 to 1997, Ahmad Suradji killed 42 women in Indonesia. He was arrested in 1998, and eventually found guilty and executed in 2008.
According to Suradji, the reason he began comitting crimes is because he had a dream where his father’s ghost told him to drink the saliva of 70 dead women in order to gain mystic healing powers.
Working as a shaman for the local town, Suradji would frequently encounter women looking for guidance. He would then bury them up to their waist claiming it was part of the cure, before strangling them.
Suradji’s three wives were also arrested in conjunction with the murders. One was sentenced to life in prison while Suradji was executed by firing squad, reported the Telegraph.
Karl Denke is thought to have been a cannibal in what is now modern-day Poland.
- Wikimedia Commons
Karl Denke is believed to have murdered people in Prussia, which is now modern-day Poland, from 1903 to 1924.
A failed farmer, Denke became a well-liked member of the community of Ziębice (then known as Müensterberg). But after a homeless man accused him of trying to murder him with an ax in 1924, police investigated Denke’s home where they found human remains, bones, and a diary that investigators say listed every one of his victims’ ages, weight, and the date he killed them.
Denke hung himself in his jail cell the night he was arrested, and was never convicted for the crimes. He’s estimated to have killed at least 42 people, and is thought to have eaten his victims.
Tamara Samsonova reportedly kept diaries of her crimes, and said she boiled the head of her final victim.
For two decades, Russia’s Tamara Samsonova is believed by authorities to have dismembered and disposed of people while keeping a diary that contained details of her grisly deeds.
One extract of her alleged diary, as reported by The Sun, read, “I killed my tenant Volodya, cut him to pieces in the bathroom with a knife, put the pieces of his body in plastic bags, and threw them away in the different parts of Frunzensky district.”
In 2015, Samsonova is reported to have said, “I am guilty and deserve a punishment” during her trial. She also is reported to have given detailed testimony about her crimes, even telling investigators that she boiled the final victim’s head in a pot, according to The Daily Mail.
Juana Barraza targeted elderly women in Mexico.
Juana Barraza was dubbed the “Mataviejitas,” or “Little Old Lady Killer” after 16 elderly women were found strangled to death in Mexico City in 2005, according to the New York Times.
According to The Guardian, forensic profilers believe Barraza’s killings were to release the rage she had toward her own alcoholic mother, who gave her away at age 12 to a man who abused her.
She used objects such as phone cables, tights, or her stethoscope to strangle her victims. She became one of Mexico’s most prolific serial killers and was eventually sentenced to 759 years in prison for 11 separate counts of murder. She is still in prison today.
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