Friday, June 20, 2014



                    FOR SOME READERS

*  Special thanks to "", "Google Images", "Psychology Today"

by Felicity Blaze Noodleman
Los Angeles, CA

If you are of the opinion that guns kill and the answer to eliminating murder is to ban all guns, than think again.  Killing and murder is almost as old as human kind!  This week we explore some of the most gruesome serial murders of the Twentieth Century.  The Cannibals.  The Necrophiliacs.  The Sex Offenders.  The Child Molesters to walk the streets in many American cities.

In our research we found most serial killers were men but we did uncover a few women which we will label as "Black Widows".  When it comes to murder women are motivated by personal rage and in some cases by psychological disorders such as postpartum syndrome for example.  We did not find many examples but have included one unusual female killer who was one of the vicious out of all the examples we are including for this article.  We were able to find a wealth of information from the web site

We have collected a short list of serial killers and begin with the original dirty old man, Albert Fish.  He is one of the most disgusting, revolting and depraved killers we have ever read about! When it comes to the worst of the worst he is the Porto type for evil.  He was only convicted for three killings but his other attributes set him apart from all the others.

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) tracks the number of Homicides in the United States and reports the number of cases in 2010 to be 16,259 (deaths per 100,000:  5.3).  We have to wonder what triggers such prime evil behavior in some people while most of us are to keep our primitive instincts in check.  Could this be some outgrowth of civilization causing humans to strike back at the lack of freedom and living space in our worlds?

For a little professional advice in helping us understand this phenomenon in deviant human behavior we turned to "Psychology Today" and are posting two articles by Dr. Katherine Ramsland who writes a page entitled "Shadow Boxing"

Hamilton Howard "Albert" Fish

BornMay 19, 1870
Washington, D.C.
DiedJanuary 16, 1936 (aged 65)
Ossining, New York
Cause of death
Electrocuted, Sing Sing Correctional Facility
Other namesThe Gray Man, The Werewolf of Wysteria, The Brooklyn Vampire, The Moon Maniac, The Boogey Man
Weight130 pounds
Criminal penalty
  • Murder
  • Kidnapping
  • Grand larceny
  • Theft
Victims3 (known)
Span of killings
State(s)New York
Date apprehended
December 13, 1934
(May 19, 1870 – January 16, 1936) was an American serial killer. He was also known as the Gray Man, the Werewolf of Wysteria, the Brooklyn Vampire, the Moon Maniac and The Boogey Man. A child rapist and cannibal, he boasted that he "had children in every state", and at one time, stated the number was about 100. However, it is not known whether he was talking about rapes or cannibalization, less still whether he was telling the truth. He was a suspect in at least five murders during his lifetime. Fish confessed to three murders that police were able to trace to a known homicide, and he confessed to stabbing at least two other people. He was put on trial for the kidnapping and murder of Grace Budd, and was convicted and executed by electric chair.

Early life

He was born Hamilton Howard Fish in Washington, D.C., on May 19, 1870, to Randall (1795 – October 16, 1875) and Ellen (née Howell; 1838–?) Fish. His father was American, of English ancestry and his mother was Scots-Irish American He said that he was named after statesman and politician Hamilton Fish, a distant relative. His father was 43 years older than his mother and 75 years old at the time of his birth. Fish was the youngest child and had three living siblings: Walter, Annie, and Edwin Fish. He wished to be known as "Albert" after a dead sibling and to escape the nickname "Ham & Eggs" that he was given at an orphanage in which he spent much of his childhood.

His family had a history of mental illness. His uncle suffered from mania. A brother was confined in a state mental hospital. His sister was diagnosed with a "mental affliction". Three other relatives were diagnosed with mental illnesses and his mother had "aural and/or visual hallucinations". His father was a river boat captain and by 1870, was a fertilizer manufacturer.The elder Fish died in 1875 at the Sixth Street Station of the Pennsylvania Railroad in Washington, D.C. of a myocardial infarction. Fish's mother then put him into Saint John's Orphanage in Washington, where he was frequently treated sadistically. He began to enjoy the physical pain that the beatings brought. Of his time at the orphanage, Fish remarked, "I was there till I was nearly nine, and that's where I got started wrong. We were unmercifully whipped. I saw boys doing many things they should not have done."

By 1880, his mother had a government job and was able to remove Fish from the orphanage. In 1882, at age 12, he began a relationship with a telegraph boy. The youth introduced Fish to such practices as urolagnia (drinking urine) and coprophagia (eating feces). Fish began visiting public baths where he could watch other boys undress, and spent a great portion of his weekends on these visits. Throughout his life, he would write obscene letters to women whose names he acquired from classified advertising and matrimonial agencies.

By 1890, Fish arrived in New York City, and he said that at that point he became a prostitute and he also began raping young boys. In 1898, his mother arranged a marriage for him with a woman nine years younger than himself. They had six children: Albert, Anna, Gertrude, Eugene, John, and Henry

Police Search Area Of Murder Scene

12/14/35-New York, NY: Medical examiner Amos Squires directs policemen who are digging for bones at

the spot in Westchester County where parts of the body of slain Grace Budd were found. One
policeman has something and is showing it to a physician. Albert Fish aged recluse confessed
to the horrible killing of the ten year old girl whose disapearence seix years ago started a
nation wide search which has at last been successful.
March 14, 1935 © Bettmann/CORBIS

"Going to the electric chair will be the supreme thrill of my life."

Belle Sorenson Gunness
Belle Gunness with her children Lucy and Myrtle Sorenson, and Phillip Gunness, c. 1908
BornNovember 11, 1859
Selbu, Norway
DiedApril 28, 1908 (aged 48) (unverified)
La Porte, Indiana
Cause of death
Other namesHell's Belle
MotiveLife insurance money
Span of killings
July 30, 1900–1908
State(s)Illinois, Indiana,
Date apprehended
never caught
(born as Brynhild Paulsdatter Størseth; November 11, 1859 – April 28, 1908) was a Norwegian-American serial killer.

Standing six feet tall (183 cm) and weighing over 200 pounds (91 kg), she was a physically strong woman. She killed most of her suitors and boyfriends, and her two daughters, Myrtle and Lucy. She may also have killed both of her husbands and all of her children, on different occasions. Her apparent motives involved collecting life insurance, cash and other valuables, and eliminating witnesses. Reports estimate that she killed between 25 and 40 people over several decades.

First victim
In 1884, Gunness married Mads Ditlev Anton Sorenson in Chicago, Illinois, where, two years later, they opened a confectionery store. The business was not successful; within a year the shop mysteriously burned down. They collected insurance, which paid for another home.
Though some researchers assert that the Sorenson union produced no offspring, other investigators report that the couple had four children: Caroline, Axel, Myrtle, and Lucy. Caroline and Axel died in infancy, allegedly of acute colitis. The symptoms of acute colitis — nausea, fever, diarrhea, and lower abdominal pain and cramping — are also symptoms of many forms of poisoning. Both Caroline's and Axel's lives were reportedly insured, and the insurance company paid out. A May 7, 1908 article in The New York Times states that two children belonging to Gunness and her husband Mads Sorensen were interred in her plot in Forest Home cemetery. On June 13, 1900, Gunness and her family were counted on the United States Census in Chicago. The census recorded her as the mother of four children, of whom only two were living: Myrtle A., 3, and Lucy B., 1. An adopted 10-year-old girl, identified possibly as Morgan Couch but apparently later known as Jennie Olsen, also was counted in the household.
Sorenson died on July 30, 1900, reportedly the only day on which two life insurance policies on him overlapped. The first doctor to see him thought he was suffering from strychninepoisoning. However, the Sorensons' family doctor had been treating him for an enlarged heart, and he concluded that death had been caused by heart failure. An autopsy was considered unnecessary because the death was not thought suspicious. Gunness told the doctor that she had given her late husband medicinal "powders" to help him feel better.
She applied for the insurance money the day after her husband's funeral. Sorenson's relatives claimed that Gunness had poisoned her husband to collect on the insurance. Surviving records suggest that an inquest was ordered. It is unclear, however, whether that investigation actually occurred or Sorenson's body was ever exhumed to check for arsenic, as his relatives demanded. The insurance companies awarded her $8,500 (about $240,000 in 2012 dollars), with which she bought a farm on the outskirts of La Porte, Indiana.

Remains of Andrew Helgelien found on Gunness Hog Farm.

The head of one of Belle Gunness' victims

James Warren "Jim" Jones
BornJames Warren Jones
May 13, 1931
Lynn, Indiana, U.S.
DiedNovember 18, 1978 (aged 47)
Jonestown, Guyana
Cause of death
Gunshot wound
EducationRichmond High School
Alma materIndiana University Bloomington
Butler University
OccupationReligious leader, community organizer
ReligionDisciples of Christ
Spouse(s)Marceline Baldwin Jones (m.1949–78)
(May 13, 1931 – November 18, 1978) was an American religious leader, and community organizer. Jones was the founder and the leader of the Peoples Temple, best known for the mass suicide in November 1978 of 909 of its members in Jonestown, Guyana, and the murder of five individuals at a nearby airstrip, including Congressman Leo Ryan. Over 300 children were murdered at Jonestown, almost all of them by cyanide poisoning. Jones died from a gunshot wound to the head; to this day it is unknown whether his death was a suicide. One possibility is that his nurse shot him before shooting herself.

Jones was born in Indiana and started the Temple there in the 1950s. He later moved the Temple to California in the mid-1960s, and gained notoriety with the move of the Temple's headquarters to San Francisco in the early 1970s.

Deaths in Jonestown
910 inhabitants of Jonestown, 303 of them children, died of apparent cyanide poisoning, mostly in and around a pavilion. This resulted in the greatest single loss of American civilian life in a deliberate act until the September 11, 2001 attacks. No video was taken during the mass suicide, though the FBI did recover a 45 minute audio recording of the suicide in progress.
On that tape, Jones tells Temple members that the Soviet Union, with whom the Temple had been negotiating a potential exodus for months, would not take them after the Temple had murdered Ryan and four others at a nearby airstrip. The reason given by Jones to commit suicide was consistent with his previously stated conspiracy theories of intelligence organizations allegedly conspiring against the Temple, that men would "parachute in here on us," "shoot some of our innocent babies" and "they'll torture our children, they'll torture some of our people here, they'll torture our seniors." Parroting Jones' prior statements that hostile forces would convert captured children to fascism, one temple member states "the ones that they take captured, they're gonna just let them grow up and be dummies."
Given that reasoning, Jones and several members argued that the group should commit "revolutionary suicide" by drinking cyanide-laced grape-flavored Flavor Aid. Later released videos made to show the best of Jonestown shows Jones opening a storage container full of Kool-Aid in large quantities. However, empty packets of grape Flavor Aid found on the scene show that this is what was used to mix the "potion" (as was referred to in several statements obtained by the FBI in the final tape recordings) along with a sedative. One member, Christine Miller, dissents toward the beginning of the tape. When members apparently cried, Jones counseled, "Stop this hysterics. This is not the way for people who are Socialists or Communists to die. No way for us to die. We must die with some dignity." Jones can be heard saying, "Don't be afraid to die," that death is "just stepping over into another plane" and that it's "a friend." At the end of the tape, Jones concludes: "We didn't commit suicide; we committed an act of revolutionary suicide protesting the conditions of an inhumane world." According to escaping Temple members, children were given the drink first and families were told to lie down together. Mass suicide had been previously discussed in simulated events called "White Nights" on a regular basis. During at least one such prior White Night, members drank liquid that Jones falsely told them was poison

Jones was found dead in a deck chair with a gunshot wound to his head that Guyanese coroner Cyrill Mootoo stated was consistent with a self-inflicted gun wound. However, Jones' son Stephan believes his father may have directed someone else to shoot him. An autopsy of Jones' body also showed levels of the barbiturate Pentobarbital which may have been lethal to humans who had not developed physiological tolerance. Jones' drug usage (including LSD and cannabis) was confirmed by his son, Stephan, and Jones' doctor in San Francisco.

909 Temple members died in Jonestown, all but two from apparent cyanide poisoning, in an event termed "revolutionary suicide" by Jones and some members on an audio tape of the event and in prior discussions.

FILE--Bodies are strewn around the Jonestown Commune in Jonestown, Guyana where more than 900 members of the People's Temple committed suicide in Nov. 1978. The Rev. Jim Jones urged his disciples to drink cyanide-laced grape punch. Jones, who was among those who died, led the Peoples Temple, which ran a free clinic and a drug rehabilitation program.(AP Photo/file)

Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer

Dahmer's mug shot, taken in 1982 by the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department
BornJeffrey Lionel Dahmer
May 21, 1960
West Allis, Wisconsin, U.S.
DiedNovember 28, 1994(aged 34)
Portage, Wisconsin, U.S.
Cause of death
Severe head trauma
Other namesThe Milwaukee Cannibal,
The Milwaukee Monster
Criminal penalty
Life imprisonment (16 life terms)
  • Child molestation
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Indecent exposure
  • Murder
  • Public intoxication
Span of killings
June 18, 1978–July 19, 1991
CountryUnited States
State(s)Ohio, Wisconsin
Date apprehended
July 22, 1991
Imprisoned atColumbia Correctional Institution
(May 21, 1960 – November 28, 1994), also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, was an American serial killer and sex offender, who committed the rape, murder and dismemberment of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991, with many of his later murders also involving necrophilia, cannibalism and the permanent preservation of body parts—typically all or part of the skeletal structure.

Diagnosed by psychologists and prison psychiatrists as suffering from a borderline personality disorder, Dahmer was found to be legally sane at his trial. Convicted of 15 of the 16 murders he had committed in Wisconsin, Dahmer was sentenced to 15 terms of life imprisonment on February 15, 1992. He was later sentenced to a 16th term of life imprisonment in relation to an additional homicide committed in the state of Ohio in 1978.

On November 28, 1994, Dahmer was beaten to death by Christopher Scarver, a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution, where he had been incarcerated.

Jeffrey Dahmer is known to have killed 17 young men between 1978 and 1991. Of these victims, 12 were killed in his North 25th Street apartment. Three further victims were murdered and dismembered at his grandmother's West Allis residence, with his first and second victims being murdered at his parents' home in Bath, Ohio and at the Ambassador Hotel in Wisconsin respectively. A total of 14 of Dahmer's victims were from various ethnic minority backgrounds, with nine victims being black, although Dahmer was adamant the race of his victims was incidental to him and that it was the body form of a potential victim which attracted his attention.

Most of Dahmer's victims were killed by strangulation after being drugged with sedatives, although his first victim was killed by a combination of bludgeoning and strangulation and his second victim was battered to death, with one further victim killed in 1990, Ernest Miller, dying of a combination of shock and blood loss due to his carotid artery being cut Many of Dahmer's victims killed in 1991 had holes bored into their skulls through which Dahmer injected muriatic acid or, later, boiling water, directly into the brain in an attempt to render a permanent, submissive, unresistant state. On at least three occasions, this proved fatal although on none of these occasions was this Dahmer's intention.

First off, Dahmer had decomposing bodies in his apartment. He had three human heads and Human meat in the freezer. Hands from several of his victims and a penis were found in a closet. Two skulls that were painted grey were found in his closet. Male genetals were preserved in Formaldehyde. A bottle of Chloroform was found which investigators found out that it was used to drug the victims. They also found hundreds of photos of the victims before, during the murders, and after death. All of this evidence was eventually used in court.

Theodore Robert "Ted" Bundy

In custody, Florida, July 27, 1978
(State Archives of Florida)
BornTheodore Robert Cowell
November 24, 1946
Burlington, Vermont
DiedJanuary 24, 1989 (aged 42)
Florida State Prison, Bradford County, Florida
Cause of death
Homicide (execution by electrocution)
Other names
  • Chris Hagen
  • Kenneth Misner
  • Officer Roseland
  • Richard Burton
  • Rolf Miller
Criminal penalty
Spouse(s)Carole Ann Boone (m. 1979–1986)
Conviction(s)Aggravated kidnapping
Attempted murder
Span of killings
August 13, 1961, or February 1, 1974–February 9, 1978
CountryUnited States
State(s)Washington, Utah, Florida,Colorado, Oregon, Idaho,California
Date apprehended
August 16, 1975; escaped June 7, 1977; re-apprehended June 13, 1977; escaped December 30, 1977; re-apprehended February 15, 1978
(born Theodore Robert Cowell; November 24, 1946 – January 24, 1989) was an American serial killer, rapist, kidnapper, and necrophile who assaulted and murdered numerous young women and girls during the 1970s and possibly earlier. After more than a decade of denials, he confessed shortly before his execution to 30 homicides committed in seven states between 1974 and 1978; the true total remains unknown, and could be much higher.

Bundy was regarded as handsome and charismatic by his young female victims, traits he exploited to win their trust. He typically approached them in public places, feigning injury or disability, or impersonating an authority figure, before overpowering and assaulting them at more secluded locations. He sometimes revisited his secondary crime scenes for hours at a time, grooming and performing sexual acts with the decomposing corpses until putrefaction and destruction by wild animals made further interaction impossible. He decapitated at least 12 of his victims, and kept some of the severed heads in his apartment for a period of time as mementos. On a few occasions he simply broke into dwellings at night and bludgeoned his victims as they slept.

Initially incarcerated in Utah in 1975 for aggravated kidnapping and attempted criminal assault, Bundy became a suspect in a progressively longer list of unsolved homicides in multiple states. Facing murder charges in Colorado, he engineered two dramatic escapes and committed further assaults, including three murders, before his ultimate recapture in Florida in 1978. He received three death sentences in two separate trials for the Florida homicides.

Ted Bundy died in the electric chair at Raiford Prison in Starke, Florida, on January 24, 1989. Biographer Ann Rule described him as "a sadistic sociopath who took pleasure from another human's pain and the control he had over his victims, to the point of death, and even after." He once called himself "... the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you'll ever meet." Attorney Polly Nelson, a member of his last defense team, agreed. "Ted," she wrote, "was the very definition of heartless evil."

For his last meal he had steak, eggs, hash browns and coffee.

Richard Ramirez
2007 mugshot of Ramirez
BornFebruary 29, 1960
El Paso, Texas
DiedJune 7, 2013 (aged 53)
Greenbrae, California
Cause of death
B-cell lymphoma
Other namesThe Night Stalker
The Walk-In Killer
The Valley Intruder
Criminal penalty
Death penalty
Spouse(s)Doreen Lioy (m.1996div. 2013)
  • 13 counts of murder
  • 5 counts of attempted murder
  • 11 counts of sexual assault
  • 14 counts of burglary
Span of killings
April 10, 1984–August 24, 1985
CountryUnited States
Date apprehended
August 31, 1985

Ricardo Leyva "Richard" Muñoz Ramírez (February 29, 1960 – June 7, 2013) was an American serial killer, rapist, and burglar. His highly publicized home invasion crime spree terrorized the residents of the greater Los Angeles area, and later the residents of the San Francisco area, from June 1984 until August 1985. Prior to his capture, Ramirez was dubbed the "Night Stalker" by the news media. He used a wide variety of weapons, including handguns, knives, a machete, a tire iron, and a hammer. Ramirez, who was an avowed Satanist, never expressed any remorse for his crimes. The judge who upheld his thirteen death sentences remarked that Ramirez's deeds exhibited "cruelty, callousness, and viciousness beyond any human understanding". Ramirez died of complications from B-cell lymphoma while awaiting execution on California's death row.

On April 10, 1984, 9-year old Mei Leung was found murdered in a hotel basement where Ramirez was living in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. The girl had been raped, beaten and stabbed to death, and her body was found hanging from a pipe. This, his first known killing, was not initially identified as being connected to the crime spree. In 2009, Ramirez's DNA was matched to DNA obtained at the crime scene.
"Night Stalker" crimes
On June 28, 1984, 79-year-old Jennie Vincow was found brutally murdered in her apartment in Glassell Park. She had been stabbed repeatedly while asleep in her bed, and her throat was slashed so deeply that she was nearly decapitated.
On March 17, 1985, Ramirez attacked 22-year-old Maria Hernandez outside her home in Rosemead, shooting her in the face with a .22 caliber handgun after she pulled into her garage.Inside the house was her roommate Dayle Okazaki, age 34. She had heard the gunshot and ducked behind a counter to hide when she saw Ramirez enter the kitchen. He was waiting when she checked to see if he was gone, and he shot her once in the forehead, killing her. Hernandez survived her attack because the bullet fired at her ricocheted off the keys she held in her hands as she lifted them to protect herself.
Within an hour of the Rosemead home invasion, Ramirez struck again in Monterey Park. He attacked 30-year-old Tsai-Lian "Veronica" Yu and pulled her out of her car onto the road. He shot her twice with a .22 caliber handgun and fled. A police officer found her still breathing, but she was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. The two attacks occurring on the same day bolstered media attention, and in turn caused panic and fear among the public. The news media dubbed the attacker, who was described as having long curly hair, bulging eyes and wide-spaced rotting teeth, "The Walk-in Killer" and "The Valley Intruder".
On March 27, 1985, Ramirez entered a home that he had burglarized a year earlier in Whittier at approximately 2 a.m. and killed the sleeping Vincent Zazzara, age 64, with a gunshot to his head from a .22 caliber handgun. Zazzara's wife Maxine, age 44, was awakened by her husband's murder, and Ramirez beat her and bound her hands while demanding to know where her valuables were. While he ransacked the room, Zazzara escaped her bonds and retrieved a shotgun from under the bed, which was not loaded. An infuriated Ramirez shot her three times with the .22, then fetched a large carving knife from the kitchen. Her body was mutilated with multiple stab wounds, and her eyes were gouged out and placed in a jewelry box, which Ramirez left with. The autopsy determined that the mutilations were post-mortem. Ramirez left footprints from a pair of Avia sneakers in the flower beds, which the police photographed and cast. This was virtually the only evidence that the police had at the time. Bullets found at the scene were matched to those found at previous attacks, and the police realized a serial killer was at large. Vincent and Maxine's bodies were discovered by their son, Peter.
On May 14, 1985, Ramirez returned to Monterey Park in search of another random victim and entered the home of Bill Doi, 66, and his disabled wife Lillian, 56. Surprising Doi in his bedroom, he shot him in the face with a .22 semi-automatic pistol as Doi went for his own handgun. After beating the mortally wounded man into unconsciousness, Ramirez entered Lillian's bedroom, bound her with thumbcuffs, then raped her after he had ransacked the home for valuables. Bill Doi died of his injuries while in the hospital.
On the night of May 29, 1985, Ramirez drove a stolen Mercedes-Benz to Monrovia and stopped at the house of Mabel "Ma" Bell, 83, and her sister Florence "Nettie" Lang, 81. Finding a hammer in the kitchen, he bludgeoned and bound the invalid Lang in her bedroom, then bound and bludgeoned Bell before using an electrical cord to electrically shock the woman. After raping Lang, he used Mabel Bell's lipstick to draw a pentagram on her thigh, as well as one on the wall of both bedrooms. Discovered two days later, both women were found alive but comatose; Bell later died of her injuries.
The next day, he drove the same car to Burbank and sneaked into the home of Carol Kyle, 42. At gunpoint, he bound Kyle and her 11-year-old son with handcuffs and ransacked the house. He released Kyle to direct him to where the family's valuables were; he then sodomized her repeatedly. He repeatedly ordered her not to look at him, telling her at one point that he would "cut her eyes out". He fled the scene after retrieving the child from the closet and binding the two together again with the handcuffs.
On the night of July 2, 1985, he drove a stolen Toyota to Arcadia, randomly selecting the house of Mary Louise Cannon, 75. After quietly entering the widowed grandmother's home, he found her asleep in her bedroom. He bludgeoned her into unconsciousness with a lamp and then repeatedly stabbed her using a 10-inch butcher knife from her kitchen. She was found dead at the crime scene.
On July 5, 1985, Ramirez broke into a home in Sierra Madre and bludgeoned sixteen-year-old Whitney Bennett with a tire iron as she slept in her bedroom. After searching in vain for a knife in the kitchen, Ramirez attempted to strangle the girl with a telephone cord. He was startled to see sparks emanate from the cord, and when his victim began to breathe, he fled the house believing that Jesus Christ had intervened and saved her. She survived the savage beating, which required 478 stitches to close the lacerations to her scalp.
On July 7, 1985, Ramirez burglarized the home of Joyce Lucille Nelson, 61, again in Monterey Park. Finding her asleep on her living room couch, he beat her to death using his fists and kicking her head. A shoe print from an Avia sneaker was left imprinted on her face. After cruising two other neighborhoods, he returned to Monterey Park and chose the home of Sophie Dickman, 63. Ramirez assaulted and handcuffed Dickman at gunpoint, attempted to rape her, and stole her jewelry; when she swore to him that he had taken everything of value, he told her to "swear on Satan".
On July 20, 1985, Ramirez purchased a machete before driving a stolen Toyota to Glendale. He chose the home of Maxon Kneiding, 68, and his wife Lela, 66. He burst into the sleeping couple's bedroom and hacked them with the machete, then killed them with shots to the head from a .22 caliber handgun. He further mutilated their bodies with the machete before robbing the house of valuables.
After quickly fencing the stolen items from the Kneidling residence, he drove to Sun Valley. At approximately 4:15 am, he broke into the home of the Khovananth family. He murdered the household patriarch, Chainarong Khovananth, by shooting the sleeping man in the head with a .25 caliber handgun, killing him instantly. He then repeatedly raped the man's wife, Somkid Khovananth, beating and sodomizing her. He bound the couple's terrified eight-year-old son before dragging Somkid around the house to reveal the location of any valuable items, which he stole. During his assault he demanded that she "swear to Satan" that she was not hiding any money from him.
On August 6, 1985, Ramirez drove to Northridge and broke into the home of Chris Peterson, 38. Ramirez crept into the bedroom and startled Peterson's wife Virginia, 27; he shot her in the face with a .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun. He shot Chris Peterson in the temple and attempted to flee, but Peterson fought back and avoided being hit by two more shots during the struggle before Ramirez escaped. The couple survived their injuries.
On August 8, 1985, Ramirez drove a stolen car to Diamond Bar and chose the home of Elyas Abowath, 31, and his wife Sakina, 27. Sometime after 2:30 am he entered the house and went into the master bedroom. He instantly killed the sleeping Elyas with a shot to the head from a .25 caliber handgun. He handcuffed and beat Sakina while forcing her to reveal the locations of the family's jewelry, and then brutally raped and sodomized her. He repeatedly demanded that she "swore on Satan" that she wouldn't scream during his assaults. When the couple's three-year-old son entered the bedroom, Ramirez tied the child up and then continued to rape Sakina. After Ramirez left the home, Sakina untied her son and sent him to the neighbors for help.
Ramirez, who had been following the media coverage of his crimes, left the Los Angeles area and headed to the San Francisco Bay area. On August 18, 1985, Ramirez entered the home of Peter Pan, aged sixty-six, and killed the sleeping man with a gunshot to his temple from a .25 caliber handgun. Pan's wife, Barbara, 62, was beaten and sexually violated before being shot in the head and left for dead. At the crime scene Ramirez used lipstick to scrawl a pentagram and the phrase "Jack the Knife" on the bedroom wall.
When it was discovered that the ballistic and shoe print evidence from the Night Stalker crime scenes matched the Pan crime scene, then-mayor of San Francisco Dianne Feinstein divulged the information in a televised press conference. This leak infuriated the detectives in the case, as they knew that the killer would be following media coverage and have an opportunity to destroy crucial forensic evidence. Ramirez, who had indeed been watching the press, dropped his size 11 1/2 Avia sneakers over the side of the Golden Gate Bridge that night. He remained in the area for a few more days before heading back to the L.A. area.
On August 24, 1985, Ramirez traveled 76 miles south of Los Angeles in a stolen orange Toyota to Mission Viejo, and broke into the house of Bill Carns, 29, and his fiancée, Carole Smith, 27, through a back door. Ramirez entered the bedroom of the sleeping couple and awakened Carns when he cocked his .25 caliber handgun. He shot Carns three times in the head before turning his attention to Smith. Ramirez told the terrified woman that he was "The Night Stalker" and forced her to swear she loved Satan as he beat her with his fists and bound her with neckties from the closet. After stealing what he could find, he dragged Smith to another room to rape and sodomize her. He then demanded cash and more jewelry, making Smith "swear on Satan" there was no more. Before leaving the home Ramirez told Smith, "Tell them the Night Stalker was here." As he left in the Toyota, thirteen-year-old neighbor James Romero III noticed the same "weird-looking guy in black" that he had seen earlier in the night and thought suspicious, and he decided to write down as much of the license plate as he could. Carole Smith untied herself and went to a neighbor's house to get help for her severely injured fiancé. Surgeons were able to remove two of the bullets from his head, and he survived his injuries.

When news of the attack broke, Romero told his parents about the strange man in the orange Toyota, and they immediately contacted the police and provided the partial license plate number. Carole Smith was able to give a detailed description of the assailant to investigators. The stolen car was found on August 28 in Wilshire, and police were able to obtain a singlefingerprint from the rear view mirror despite Ramirez's careful efforts to wipe the car clean of his prints. The print was positively identified as belonging to Richard Muñoz Ramirez, who was described as a 25-year-old drifter from Texas with a long rap sheet that included many arrests for traffic and illegal drug violations. Law enforcement officials decided to release a mug shot of Ramirez from a December 12, 1984 arrest (photo, below right) for car theft to the media, and "The Night Stalker" finally had a face. At the police press conference it was announced: "We know who you are now, and soon everyone else will. There will be no place you can hide."

1st victim

Maxine Zazar, Victim of Richard Ramirez. Mr. Zazar was shot in the head and Mrs. Zazar's body was Mutilated Several stab wounds and with a T-carving on her left breast, and her eyes gouged out.

The FBI's Sessions with Serial Killers

Early efforts to understand serial murder involved face-to-face interviews.
Published on June 14, 2014 by Katherine Ramsland, Ph.D. in Shadow Boxing

One of the pioneers of FBI behavioral profiling, Robert Ressler, passed away last year. I was inspired by someone’s commemorative post to look at an interview I had done with him. Ressler initiated the FBI’s prison interview program, which assisted with data collection, and it’s worth seeing the origins of that effort.

While on the road with John Douglas teaching local jurisdictions about the Behavioral Science Unit’s approach, Ressler thought it would be a good idea to use their spare time to visit prisons they were near to gain access to dangerous criminals. Douglas agreed. They wanted to interview known offenders to learn more about their criminal experiences. If the BSU could devise a protocol of questions to ask and get detailed responses, Ressler believed, the unit could start a database of information about traits and behaviors that these men shared in common.

“In 1978,” Ressler recalled, “I had come up with the idea of improving our instructional capabilities by conducting in-depth research into violent criminal personalities. I suggested we go into the prisons and interview violent offenders to get a better handle on them and formulate a foundation for criminal profiling. Initially, it was me and my partner who did this while we were on road trips for teaching purposes. If I was in California, I would contact the agent who was our training coordinator and have him set up interviews with people like Charles Manson or Sirhan Sirhan.”
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They spoke with different types of offenders, from mass murderers to assassins (even failed ones) to serial killers. They did not want to ask questions that psychiatrists might have used during prison assessments. They were interested in practical angles for law enforcement.

To devise a protocol, data were collected on 118 victims, including some who’d survived an attempted murder. This helped to develop a questionnaire that covered the most significant aspects of the offenses. The goal was to gather information about how the murders were planned and committed, what the killers did and thought about afterward, what kinds of fantasies they had, and what they did before the next incident (where relevant). 

Among the interviewees was William Heirens, who in 1945 and 1946 had committed three murders in an area that Ressler had known growing up, and who was famous for writing in lipstick a plaintiff request to be caught before he killed again. 

“My father worked for the Chicago Tribune,” Ressler said, “and he would bring home the newspaper. I had heard that there was a killer loose in Chicago who was killing woman and leaving writings on the wall. It was a classic case and I started following it.”

Heirens was incarcerated in the Vienna Men’s Correctional Facility in southern Illinois, and one day Ressler came into the area. “It was weird, because kids have sports heroes and that sort of thing, and here I wanted to meet this serial killer. I told him I'd followed his case. He was about nine years older than me and he was kind of taken aback that he had a fan, in a sense. So I asked him to participate in our research.”

Other criminals who were willing to talk included Edward Kemper, the Coed Killer of San Jose who’d murdered eight girls, his mother, and her friend; Jerry Brudos, who’d killed and mutilated several women in Oregon; Richard Speck, who’d slaughtered eight nurses in their shared residence; and John Wayne Gacy, who’d killed 33 young men, burying most of them in the crawlspace beneath his home. Other offenders who were not killers were interviewed as well, such as Gary Trapnell, who had hijacked airplanes and committed armed robbery. 

However, the database was primarily for gathering information about serial murder.
As they went along, the agents kept refining their methods. Sometimes they had to be creative to get the information they sought. They soon learned about the issues with self-report interviews, when some offenders lied, played mind games, exaggerated their crimes, and bragged about brutal deeds. A few were mentally ill and somewhat inarticulate.

To get as much information as possible, the agents did extensive research on a target subject before talking with him. This was a way to show respect that the killer might enjoy, as well as to spot when his narrative deviated from the facts. Despite the brutality of many of the crimes, the agents realized that it was important to be nonjudgmental. Otherwise, the subject would not cooperate. 

The initial study, meant to include 100 convicted offenders, compiled data from only 36, and some were not serial killers. However, it still proved to be helpful. Afterward, the interviews continued at a slower pace and other agents got involved.

From this initial sample of subjects, the researchers gained information that was useful for developing profiles in the late 1980s. The sample was too small to make broad generalizations, and it was far from random, but the protocol offered important groundwork for future members of this unit. Ressler's idea was a good one.

Documentary offers complex examination of murderabilia artists and collectors.
Published on March 8, 2014 by Katherine Ramsland, Ph.D. in Shadow Boxing

Serial Killer Culture, Revisited

I just returned from Whitechapel, in London, where Jack the Ripper launched the "autumn of terror" in 1888. Here and there, you can find T-shirts, notebooks, bookmarks, etc. with JtR logos, along with plenty of tours. This is all part of what has been dubbed “serial killer culture.”

About a year ago, I interviewed John Borowski about his film on the controversial subject of murderabilia and murder art, which will soon be released. I got to watch it last night. As usual, Borowski does quality work.
I was pleased to see my colleague, Stephen Giannangelo, author of Real Life Monsters, as the expert who frames the “collector” psychology. The rest of the cast of characters were musicians, artists, hobbyists, entrepreneurs, and even Borowski himself. Since I had asked John about this movie a year ago , let me provide background:
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This is his fourth film. In the past, he has focused on a single case: Carl Panzram, Albert Fish, and H. H. Holmes. His interest in serial killers derives from watching horror films and developing a curiosity about the macabre. As he mentions in Serial Killer Culture, he hopes to understand the acts of men and woman who repeatedly kill, as well as to educate future generations.

“They are human beings just like all the rest of us,” he says, “and I feel it is society's responsibility to attempt to understand them and not just execute them so they are out of sight, out of mind. There must be a reason for their existence and I’m attempting to figure that out.”

For this film, Borowski “wanted to connect the dots of all the people whom I had read about or came in contact with while studying serial killers and their impact on pop culture, including artists who are inspired to create art based on serial killers. The intention is to shed light on why artists, collectors and the public are fascinated by serial killers, murder, crime, and death. The film also highlights the historical importance of archiving true crime artifacts and literature so that future generations may learn about true crime history.”

The dozen or so interviewees include artist Joe Coleman, “murder metal” band Macabre, collector Matthew Aaron and his Last Dime Museum, Joe Hiles from Serial Killer Central, Andrea Morden with her Dahmer Tours, and true-crime musicians The World-famous Crawlspace Brothers.  

I must admit that my favorite segment featured Rick Staton, a mortician-turned-collector who initiated the serial killer art shows that featured John Wayne Gacy’s work. He’d been featured in an earlier documentary,Collectors, and this time around we get his perspective as a burnout. He still has plenty of stuff, which Borowski shows, but after many years, he’s had his fill. He’s quite articulate about his experience.

Staton makes it clear that without Life Magazine and the rest of the mainstream media producing gruesome images and riveting crime narratives, there wouldn’t be a serial killer culture. (Personally, I’d take this further back to 19th-century crime museum founders who had hoped to “educate” the public and had quickly learned how lucrative such displays – and souvenirs – can be.) You get the point: why are murder musicians and artists so reviled while mainstream media photos and tales that cover the same subjects so fully supported?

“There has never before been a film like Serial Killer Culture,” Borowski says. “Instead of focusing only on collectors, which plays a small part in my film, I chose to focus on the reasons artists are inspired to create works based on serial killers, as well as the public's fascination with serial killing and true crime. The film is more of a study of the pop culture influence that serial killers have had on America and the reasons why serial killers have become celebrities.”

There is definitely something eerie about looking at items that killers themselves have touched, i.e., Charles Manson’s black-and-red tarantula creation. Apparently, he used guitar strings for the legs and wool from his socks, dyed with Kool-Aid, for the head and bulbous body. He spent a lot of time on it and you can almost feel those eyes on his creation as he wound the yarn into a ball.

I certainly experienced something like this as I stood in Mitre Square, where the Ripper supposedly gutted Catherine Eddowes. It’s a quiet place on a narrow street. It's creepy. But I also felt it when I looked at the maps and drawings from that case, under glass, in the quite respectable London Hospital Museum. Within a half mile of each other, high-mindededucation and voyeuristic frisson merged.
I understand why some people are offended by gory murder art or a Jeffrey Dahmer Murder Tour (especially victims' families), but there issomething magnetic about these over-the-top crimes. I write a “crime-trotting” column for Destinations Travel Magazine that has become a popular feature. I get educated, I educate, and I also provide what Ramirez calls “safe danger.”

It's difficult to separate these aspects into "this is OK" and "this is not." I think they're intricately linked. I don’t want to own Dorothy Puente’s fingerprint card or Arthur Shawcross’s toenail, but I’d love to get my hands on a limited-edition Ripperopoly game or tour Joe Coleman’s Odditorium.

I don’t know any other documentary producer who can deliver these elements the way Borowski does. I used to show Collectors in my course on serial murder. I will now switch to Serial Killer Culture.
To learn more about this film, or other Waterfront productions,

Katherine Ramsland is a professor of forensic psychology at DeSales University in Pennsylvania, where she also teaches criminal justice. She holds a master's in forensic psychology from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a master's in clinical psychology from Duquesne University, a master's in criminal justice from DeSales University, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Rutgers. She has been a therapist and a consultant. Dr. Ramsland has published over 1,000 articles and 46 books, including:

This concludes the third week of death articles.  We did not intend for these three to be a series but "Death", "Mass Murders" and "Serial Killers" has given us a broad outlook upon our mortality.  If anything we walk away with a greater respect for life and hopefuly more self control of our own selves in dealing with others.  This has been Felicity for "The Noodleman Group".
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