When we hear the term “serial killer”, the image of an evil genius is the first thing that comes into our minds. Well, actually, it isn’t very accurate image.
The shocking truth is that serial killers are invisible in the crowd. They are walking among us and it’s incredibly hard to spot them. For example, Ted Bundy blended into the society so well that he became the last person you would think of as a killer.
Some serial killers, such as the infamous Jack the Ripper or the Zodiac Killer had taunted the authorities, making a fools of them for not being able to capture them.
Many serial killers enjoyed communicating with the media, victims’ families, and their own fans, also known as serial killer groupies, discussing their crimes or even denying their guilt.
Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper is one of the most widely known serial killers in the world. In 1888, the unidentified serial killer killed at least 5 prostitutes around the Whitechapel district of London. The nickname “Jack the Ripper” was coined after a letter written by someone claiming to be the infamous killer was disseminated in the media. Actually, there are at least three more letters attributed to the Jack the Ripper, but they all are widely believed to be hoaxes and may have been written by journalists in an attempt to increase the interest in the deadly story.
The most disturbing and noteworthy letter, known by the name “From Hell”, also believed to be a hoax, but there’s a small twist in its story.
In October 16, 1888, George Lusk, head of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, received a small box, accompanied by half of a human kidney. In the box, Lusk found a letter, postmarked October 15, which read:
I send you half the
Kidne I took from one women
prasarved it for you tother pirce
I fried and ate it was very nise I
may send you the bloody knif that
took it out if you only wate a whil
Catch me when
The most interesting twist in this story is that the letter arrived after 4th victim of Jack the Ripper, Catherine Eddowes, was killed and had her kidney removed by the killer. Further examination revealed that the kidney in the box was preserved in alcohol and confirmed to be that of a human female’s.
George Lusk, along with other member of the medical field, believed it to be a practical joke played by medical students who had obtained the kidney from a cadaver.
Whether the letter was real of fake, it’s hard to imagine the deadly atmosphere in London’s Whitechapel through the 1888.
The Zodiac Killer
The Zodiac Killer is still one of the most famous subjects for debates and speculations of profilers, psychologists, detectives and criminology enthusiasts. Despite his efforts on communicating with the police and local newspapers, the unknown assailant is still on the loose.
The killer coined his name in a series of taunting letters he sent to the local newspapers until 1974. In most of them, the Zodiac Killer revealed a horrifying details about the murders that only the killer and victims could know. Zodiac’s letters also included four cryptograms or ciphers, three of which is still unsolved.
On October 27th 1970, the Zodiac Killer mailed a creepy Halloween card to the San Francisco Chronicle crime reporter Paul Avery. The card depicted two skeletons, using the incorrect spelling of “PARADICE”, circled by five words: by knife, by gun, by rope, by fire and crossed with the word “SLAVES”. It was speculated that the number 14 written on the skeleton’s hand, implied the reporter was to become Zodiac’s 14th victim.
After the Halloween card, Zodiac sent a few more letters after disappearing for decades. In one of them, what is believed to be the last letter attributed to him, the Zodiac claimed to be responsible for 37 killings, although only 5 were assigned to him.
“The BTK Killer” Dennis Rader
On April 28, 1978, Dennis Rader, known as the “BTK” killer, broke into the home of Anna Williams. Fortunately, she wasn’t home. After waiting impatiently, Rader left before she arrived, taking some items as proof he’d been there. A few months later, Williams received a letter from “BTK”, containing a poem, a sketch and some of the items he had stolen that night. Rader wrote the dark poem special for Anna:
“Oh, Anna Why Didn’t You Appear
T’ was perfect plan of deviant pleasure so bold on that Spring nite
My inner felling hot with propension of the new awakening season
Warn, wet with inner fear and rapture, my pleasure of entanglement, like new vines at night
Oh, Anna, Why Didn’t You Appear
Drop of fear fresh Spring rain would roll down from your nakedness to scent to lofty fever that burns within,
In that small world of longing, fear, rapture, and desparation,the game we play, fall on devil ears
Fantasy spring forth, mounts, to storm fury, then winter clam at the end.
Oh, Anna Why Didn’t You Appear
Alone, now in another time span I lay with sweet enrapture garments across most private thought
Bed of Spring moist grass, clean before the sun, enslaved with control, warm wind scenting the air, sun light sparkle tears in eyes so deep and clear.
Alone again I trod in pass memory of mirrors, and ponder why for number eight was not.
Oh, Anna Why Didn’t You Appear
Fortunately, the “BTK” haven’t got back for Anna.
On the afternoon of July 27, 1981, 6-year-old boy Adam Walsh was abducted from a Sears department store at the Hollywood Mall in Hollywood, Florida, after joining his mother on a trip for shopping. By the end of the same week, Walsh’s abduction earned national publicity.
Little more than two weeks after a boy went missing, his severed head was found in a drainage canal more than 120 miles away from home.
Without any solid leads, investigators were going nowhere, when the convicted serial killer Ottis Toole broke his silence by confessing to the murder of Adam Walsh. Actually, he made 24 documented confessions to killing him.
A while later, Toole had courage to write a letter to the Walsh family, demanding $50,000 in exchange for a location of the remains of Adam Walsh:
I’m the person who snatched, raped and murdered and cut up the little prick teaser, Adam Walsh, and dumped his smelly ass into the canal. You know the story but you don’t know where his bones are, I do.
Now you are a rich fucker, money you made from the dead body of that little kid….I want to make a deal with you. Here’s my deal. You pay me money and I’ll tell you where the bones are so you can get them buried all decent and Christian.
I know you’ll find a way to make sure I get the electric chair but at least I’ll have money to spend before I burn. If you want the bones….you send a private lawyer with money for me. No cops, no State Attorneys. No FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement). Just a private lawyer with a written contract. I get $5,000 as “good faith” money. Then when I show you some bones I get $45,000. You get a lawyer to make up a paper like that.
If you send the police after me before we make a deal then you don’t get no bones and what’s left….can rot….Now you want his tones or not? Tell the cops and you don’t get shit.
Ottis E. Toole“
Adam’s father John Walsh refused to swallow Toole’s hook. Toole continued to recant his confessions about being the killer and died in prison of liver failure on September 15, 1996.
John Wayne Gacy
For his honors thesis at the University of Nevada, Jason Moss, an 18-year-old college freshman became pen pal with five of the most infamous murderers – Jeffrey Dahmer, Richard Ramirez, Henry Lee Lucas, Charles Manson, and most notably, John Wayne Gacy.
Seeking for a career in law enforcement, especially the FBI, Moss posed as disciple, admirer, surrogate, and potential victim respectively. ‘The Killer Clown’ John Wayne Gacy, responsible for the deaths of at least 33 teenage boys and young men, was the one who swallowed Moss’s bait.
As their relationship grew, Moss wrote to Gacy posing as a young, naive, insecure gay man who could be easily manipulated – a perfect victim for Gacy’s sexual and deadly desires. The killer sent him letters, containing Gacy’s disturbing sexual fantasies Moss was to commit for his pleasure. Over the course of several months, Moss received more than 100 letters from Gacy. This was the point when they began to talk on the phone every Sunday morning, discussing Gacy’s sexual fantasies.
It was enough for John Wayne Gacy to ask Moss to come visit him in prison, where he was awaiting execution. Just before visiting Gacy, Jason Moss believed that he was successful in manipulating the killer, but this wasn’t the case.
Without any clues of what’s waiting for him inside, Jason Moss stepped into the room and saw John Wayne Gacy. Instead of being supervised by the prison guards, their meeting took place in the locked room with the security camera turned to face the wall.
From this point, Moss knew that this isn’t going to end well for him. Alone in the room, the killer began to psychologically torture Moss. Within two days of this meeting, Gacy made it clear that he was the one who was in control. In hopes of having sex with the visitor, Gacy became even more unstable and, fortunately, a guard knocked at the door and Moss was able to escape his clutches of madness.
A few months after Moss’s visit, Gacy was executed by lethal injection. After his face-to-face encounter with the killer, Moss cut off contact with all of his pen pals and published a best-selling book ‘The Last Victim’, explaining though he had not been physically harmed, he was Gacy’s last victim.
Probably shocked by his experiences, Jason Moss committed suicide on June 6, 2006.
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