Crime Tech

10 ‘Real’ Serial Killers Who Never Existed

10 'Real' Serial Killers Who Never Existed

Serial killers have lengthy been the main target of ghoulish fascination within the minds of the general public. True crime readers expertise the vicarious thrill of strolling within the minds of vicious murderers, and Listverse might have revealed a number of serial killer lists prior to now.

For many of us, that is as a innocent, if macabre, take a look at the darkish aspect of humanity. Some individuals, nevertheless, turn out to be obsessive about the thought of both discovering a serial killer or, extra disturbingly, of turning into one. Right here, we take a look at ten serial killers who turned out to be not fairly actual.

10 Lucian Staniak


Lucian Staniak was a Polish serial killer nicknamed the Purple Spider. He murdered a number of ladies between 1964 and 1967. After every homicide, he wrote letters in his personal blood, taunting the police for his or her incapability to catch him. Ultimately, he left a clear set fingerprints on a bottle on the scene of the rape and homicide of an 18-year-old scholar, which was remarkably accommodating of him.

Staniak was arrested and defined that he was pushed to homicide to avenge his mother and father and sister, killed in a automotive accident, as a result of their killers had by no means been delivered to justice. He pleaded responsible to the murders of 20 ladies and was sentenced to dying, although this was commuted to life in an insane asylum.[1]

All of which, it seems, is full garbage. Staniak didn’t exist, the murders didn’t occur, and nobody was ever prosecuted for them.

It’s thought that Mr. Staniak might have been a figment of the creativeness of true crime author Colin Wilson, who wrote the primary recognized “account” of the Pink Spider’s profession. This account was accepted as reality and circulated extensively till researchers engaged on a biopic of the Purple Spider and his crimes have been pressured to conclude that he had, the truth is, by no means existed.

9 Sweeney Todd

There has lengthy been controversy about whether or not or not Sweeney Todd was an actual individual. The Demon Barber of Fleet Road supposedly slit his clients’ throats with a razor and gave the our bodies to his lover, Mrs. Lovett, to be became pies. Todd was born in 1756 and discovered his commerce in Newgate Jail, the place he was jailed for petty theft

His first sufferer was a person with whom he had argued, and after the straightforward disposal of his physique, Todd is meant to have developed his “trick chair,” which he used on rich clients silly sufficient to attend his premises alone. When he kicked the lever, the chair would tip by way of a lure door to the cellar, whereupon Todd would slit their throats and strip the meat from their bones to make pie filling.

Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett have been arrested after the variety of lacking sailors in want of a shave within the space aroused suspicion. Mrs. Lovett confessed instantly earlier than committing suicide. Todd went on trial in 1801, accused of the homicide of a single sailor who had been on his method to ship a (very) giant string of 16,000 pearls to a pawnbroker. The sailor, it appears, determined to cease off at Sweeney Todd’s emporium for a haircut and a shave on the best way. When the premises have been searched, police discovered belongings from 160 different individuals, suggesting that Todd might have been probably the most prolific killer ever.

All of this sounds thrilling, however, sadly, none of it may be proved. Barbers at the moment have been typically additionally surgeons and grave robbers and did, subsequently, have a less-than-wholesome fame. They might additionally carry out tooth extractions, bloodletting, and, disturbingly, enemas.

Nevertheless, there isn’t any report of Sweeney Todd’s arrest, path, or hanging, which supposedly occurred in 1802. There isn’t a report of some other barber committing a number of murders. Nor are there any newspaper archives of concern for lacking sailors or strange-tasting pies.[2]

However it does make for a great musical.

eight The Phantom Of Heilbronn


In 2009, German authorities provided a €300,000 reward for the seize of “the lady and not using a face” who had left traces of her DNA at murders and main crime scenes for over 15 years, together with the homicide of a police officer in Heilbronn.

Investigators of the Heilbronn homicide have been shocked to find that DNA discovered on the scene matched genetic materials from different dozens of different instances. The unknown Phantom of Heilbronn, as she was was dubbed, had dedicated crimes all throughout Europe, starting from homicide to housebreaking and car theft. And her crime spree continued. Three corpses have been dragged from a river close to Frankfurt. Two males have been convicted of their homicide, however traces of the phantom’s DNA have been additionally discovered within the automotive. If the lads knew who she was, they weren’t telling.

The primary pattern from the serial killer was taken from the rim of a teacup belonging to a lady strangled with a bit of wire. The DNA was then traced to the bullet in a gun fired by another person. It was present in automobiles, on used syringes, and on homicide weapons galore.

However, regardless of the rising proof, the police have been stumped. They launched an intensive manhunt to seek out the lady, who was clearly harmful. Late in 2009, nevertheless, they lastly apprehended their suspect, solely to seek out that the Phantom of Heilbronn was, in truth, a completely harmless lady working within the manufacturing unit that produced their DNA-testing kits.[3]

7 The Halifax Slasher


In 1938, two mill staff in Halifax, England, have been attacked by a knife-wielding madman who was quickly dubbed the Halifax Slasher. Over the next 9 days, increasingly ladies fell sufferer to the slasher. Vigilante teams started to patrol the streets to guard their ladies and beat up anybody who seemed suspicious.

Scotland Yard was referred to as in to catch the miscreant earlier than somebody was killed by the lynch mobs. As they interviewed “victims,” it quickly turned clear that almost all of their wounds had been self-inflicted. The occasions in Halifax have been, it appeared, a basic case of mass hysteria.

However what of the unique two victims? That they had given a transparent description of the slasher, right down to the brilliant buckles on his footwear. That they had blood streaming from wounds of their heads. Certainly, their accounts have been actual? No. Apparently, that they had made it up, too.[4]

6 The Mad Gasser Of Mattoon


The Mad Gasser of Mattoon had a peculiar approach of attacking his victims. Most serial killers commit their crimes over a lot of years; he attacked 34 individuals over two weeks in 1944. Most serial killers like to observe their victims die; he attacked from a protected distance. Most killers favor weapons, knives, or blunt objects. As his identify suggests, nevertheless, the Mad Gasser most popular the standard home oven.

A few of the victims in Mattoon, Illinois, turned unwell; others discovered that they have been paralyzed. Fortunately, nobody truly died. No hint of fuel was discovered within the homes, and there have been no clues. Regardless of this, the newspapers ran tales of mad gassers and described the victims’ signs in lurid element. Over the subsequent few days, increasingly more individuals, principally those that had learn the newspaper articles, fell sufferer to the gasser. Police continued to seek out no clues, nor any fuel anyplace aside from the place it ought to have been.

They did discover a lady who got here residence to discover a piece of fabric on her doorstep, which induced a burning sensation in her throat when, for causes unknown, she put it to her face and inhaled. She additionally discovered a skeleton key and a stick of lipstick. Satisfied that the gasser had been interrupted in the midst of the assault, investigators analyzed the material, however no hint of poisonous substances might be discovered. The important thing turned out to be an abnormal key, and the lipstick was simply lipstick.

There appeared to be no motive for the assaults. Nobody had been assaulted, and not one of the homes had been robbed. The police concluded that there by no means had been any assaults, and the crimes have been the results of mass hysteria introduced on by inflammatory reporting of the primary case. The police additionally instructed that the unique case of poisoning may, simply probably, have been brought on by chemical emissions from the manufacturing unit subsequent door.[5]

5 Thomas Fast


Thomas Fast was as soon as thought-about Sweden’s most infamous serial killer, having confessed to over 30 murders, although he was tried and convicted of solely eight. He claimed to have tortured, raped, killed, and even eaten a few of his victims, together with a nine-year-old woman. He was convicted on his confessions alone, with no supporting proof, regardless of some main discrepancies, akin to the truth that his semen didn’t match that discovered on certainly one of his sufferer’s our bodies.[6]

He obligingly helped police to clear up their chilly instances, confessing to every little thing put earlier than him. He was very often hazy on the small print, saying one sufferer was blonde, when she was dark-haired, and forgetting the place he had kidnapped her.

Fast confessed to killing a teenage boy in 1964, when he was aged solely 14, although witnesses positioned him 400 kilometers (250 mi) away taking his first communion on the time. There was no DNA proof, no homicide weapon, and no eyewitnesses to his crimes. Fast talked about 24 totally different locations the place he had dedicated murders, dismembered our bodies, or buried stays, however not a single hint of DNA was ever present in any of them.

All his confessions have been pure fabrication. It’s attainable the truth that he was drugged on benzodiazepines all through all of his police interviews affected his judgement. It was solely when Fast’s medical staff modified, and his medicine was lowered, that he stopped confessing to murders.

He was ultimately acquitted of all eight murders and launched. Fast, who modified his identify to Sture Bergwall, had all the time had a historical past of psychological issues and was already in an establishment when he confessed to his first crime. This, apparently, didn’t tip the police off.

four Joe Scafe


Joe Scafe isn’t a serial killer. In truth, Joe Scafe just isn’t even an individual. He’s the invention of Professor T. Mills Kelly and his college students at George Mason College, who created him to check the theories that they had discovered of their historical past course, which was referred to as Mendacity About The Previous and examined the unreliability of historic accounts.

Utilizing actual newspaper archives, college students recognized 4 ladies who had been murdered in New York between 1895 and 1897. They created Wikipedia pages for the victims utilizing factual info. Then they fabricated a narrative of the invention of a trunk which appeared to point out that an aged relative, one Joe Scafe, was the serial killer accountable.

The story of the “ugly discover” was posted on on-line media websites, and guests have been quickly linking the contents of the trunks to the Wikipedia pages. For some time, it appeared that the Web had caught a killer. It didn’t take lengthy, nevertheless, for the hoax to be found, as all of the Wikipedia pages had been created on the similar time.[7]

Good attempt.

three Henry Lee Lucas

Henry Lee Lucas very probably was a serial killer, and he nonetheless stands convicted of 11 murders. Nobody will ever know for positive how many individuals he killed, although, as a result of he confessed to having dedicated between 600 and three,000 murders, relying on which studies you consider, a few of which he couldn’t probably have achieved.

He was condemned to demise for the killing of an unidentified lady in Texas in 1979. There have been no witnesses to the crime and no bodily proof of any variety, however Lucas was stated to have confessed to her homicide, regardless that his work data and a cashed paycheck indicated that he was in Florida on the time of her dying. So flimsy was the proof towards him that even the governor of Texas was troubled. George W. Bush presided over the executions of 152 individuals throughout his phrases as governor, however he commuted Lucas’s sentence to life in jail. Lucas was the one individual whose sentence was commuted by Governor Bush.[8]

Regardless of this, Henry Lee Lucas was a violent man. He had already served 15 years in jail for beating his mom to dying. He attributed his many confessions to tranquilizers and to the great meals he was fed by police whereas he was confessing. He died of a coronary heart assault in jail in 2001.

2 Wearside Jack

Between 1975 and 1980, the Yorkshire Ripper brutally killed 13 ladies. The police investigation was concentrated in Yorkshire, scene of a lot of the assaults, and investigators tried desperately to determine a sample for the murders and a profile of the killer. In 1978, they acquired a letter from the killer, which they believed gave them an perception into the thoughts of the assassin.

Two extra letters adopted. And eventually, a tape recording of the Ripper himself, talking on to the lead investigator, George Oldfield. The tape taunted the officer together with his failure to seize him.

“I’ve the best respect for you George, however Lord! You’re no nearer catching me now than 4 years in the past once I began. I reckon your boys are letting you down, George.”

The police lastly had a strong clue to work on. The Yorkshire Ripper was not, in any case, from Yorkshire, however from Wearside, within the North East of England. Dialect specialists have been introduced in to research the accent and have been capable of slender the search space. The investigation staff modified the main target of their search, and hundreds of males from that space have been interviewed, with out success.

When the Ripper was lastly caught, nevertheless, Peter Sutcliffe turned out to have a Yorkshire accent, in any case. Wearside Jack was a hoaxer who had induced main disruption to the investigation. Most disturbingly, Peter Sutcliffe had been interviewed by police however had been launched as a result of his accent didn’t match that of the person on the tape, and he went on to kill once more.

The id of Wearside Jack was unknown till 2006, when John Humble, an unemployed alcoholic with no connection in any respect to the Yorkshire Ripper, admitted making the tape as a prank. He was sentenced to eight years in jail.[9]

1 Andrew Scott Haley


In 2009, Andrew Scott Haley posted a video on-line claiming he had killed 16 individuals and alluring viewers to unravel clues he had given them to the situation of the our bodies. He promised to disclose his true id if they might clear up the puzzle, which all looks like a innocent homicide thriller recreation, besides that Haley made the error of utilizing the small print, although not the names, of actual homicide victims, main police to consider that he was the precise killer.

Tons of of man-hours have been spent chasing “catchmekiller,” as he named himself on-line. When he was lastly caught, it turned evident that Haley was not a assassin in any respect however a person with a pc and a doubtful humorousness. He was charged with making false statements, even if he had by no means named any of the individuals he had claimed to have killed and had not made these statements to the police.

Haley was sentenced to 2 years on a piece launch program. His authorized staff appealed the conviction on the grounds of freedom of speech.[10]

Ward Hazell is a author who travels, and an occasional journey author.