For some reason, popular culture has really latched onto Jack the Ripper as the poster child of serial killing. Sure, the guy had an interesting hook with his signature choice of victims, but he was by no means the first killer with a disturbing pattern.
Here are some of the world”s first serial killers, whose murderous thunder was stolen when they were outshone by a guy with a catchy pseudonym.
Gilles de Rais
Said to be the father of serial killing, this 15th century knight was technically a noble, but his habits were anything but. His hobbies, for example, included luring children to his castle with candy to torture them for his own sexual pleasure. After all that, he sat on them to feel them die. He”s said to have done this around 600 times.
Vlad the Impaler
The infamous fifteenth-century inspiration for Bram Stoker”s Dracula, old Vladdy here roasted babies and fed them to their mothers, and then cut off the mothers” breasts to feed those to the husbands. He”d then ease into the evening hours by impaling anyone he could find with a huge spear. It”s said that his victim count fell somewhere between 40,000 and 100,000. He would openly keep the impaled corpses lying around his castle. You know, just for fun.
In the mid-1500s, notorious German bandit Peter Niers is said to have killed 544 people, including 24 fetuses cut out of 24 unlucky pregnant women. They say he ate his victims and sacrificed the babies in the name of black magic.
In 16th century Bavaria (a region of modern Germany), a man named Niklaus Stuller was nicknamed “Der Schwartz Kraeker,” meaning “The Black Banger,” for a mini murdering spree that started when he killed a member of the King”s calvary. It all ended after he was caught stabbing three pregnant women.
Iceland”s most infamous serial killer lived in a small cottage in the 16th century. As travelers passed by his lands, he would kill them, take their money, and hide the bodies in mysterious sheds…or just plop them into the nearby pond. Either one.
Legend has it that Christman Genipperteinga, another German Bandit, stored the bodies of 964 victims in the complex cave system he called home. Between 1568 and 1581, he caught his numerous victims off guard as they walked the wooded roads nearby. They say even parties of 4-5 weren”t safe from his wrath. He was eventually caught and executed by way of the gruesome Breaking Wheel.
Catalina de los Rios y Lisperguer
Definitely a murderer who could”ve benefited from a catchy nickname, this 17th century Chilean aristocrat killed 40 of her servants between1630 and1660. And you thought your boss was a terror…
Seriously, what”s all the hub-bub with Jack the Ripper? Only five of his victims are considered “canonical,” anyway. In my opinion, that”s a far cry from the 100,000 Vlad the Impaler killed so casually back in the day. Why should we ignore these true bringers of doom to celebrate someone who”s, dare I say, a hack?