Most Ruthless Female Serial Killers In The History

Sep 7th, 2018
Curtito Team

You have heard numerous tales of the dead and the connection of a serial killer on the loose. Most of these killers have been attributed to strong masculine figures like Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy, the Zodiac Killer, and Luis Garavito to name a few. But it comes as a surprise that they were no match to the femme fatale brigade who have wrecked havoc, mayhem, and murders in the past and present to gain the title of being the most famous female serial killers.

These females with an insatiable taste for the massacre were so clever and manipulative that most of them were caught only after they claimed over a 100 victims. Some were sadists and loved to torment their victims before hacking them to death, some enjoyed watching helpless victims slowly give up their life, and some had the most twisted evil minds that were fit to be thrown into asylums forever. We have prepared a list of the most notorious female serial killers of all time.

1. Elizabeth Bathory

During the 17th century, a beautiful countess was born to the noble family of Bathory who ruled over Transylvania. The Hungarian family was known for its wealth, power, and landed gentry. Elizabeth enjoyed stellar education and was betrothed to another handsome man named Ferenc Nadasdy. But she secretly had a love child with one of her servants, when her fiancée found out he had the servant castrated and killed. The love child was never discovered as Elizabeth cleverly hid her from public view. Later she married Ferenc and had four children, her husband died early, leaving her a large estate to look after.

She developed a taste for human blood and started murdering young girls by biting them, stabbing, and finally drinking their blood for the belief of attaining her beauty. Over the period she killed over 600 girls mostly who were peasants. She was arrested and put to solitary confinement where she died at the age of 54. She was known as the Blood Countess and is compared to Count Dracula by historians.

2. Darya Saltykova

Russia witnessed a killer like never before during the 1700’s. Darya was born into a noble aristocratic family who had ties with the Musin-Pushkin's and the Tolstoy families. She was married early to Gleb Saltykov who left her widowed at the age of 26. She retired as a pious woman in a large estate with her two sons and was one of the richest widows in Moscow. Later she fell in love with Nikolay Tyutchev who was to be the grandfather of the famous Russian poet Fyodor Tyutchev. Nikolay had an affair with a younger woman, and they secretly married and fled Russia as Darya had become revengeful for being the jittled lover.

From then on she hated younger woman, especially the ones who worked on her estate. She would throw wooden beams at them and later turned sadists by throwing them beaten and naked in the snow, burning them, pouring boiling water on their bodies, and murdering them. She killed over a hundred young females some of them who were even pregnant. The authorities finally put her in monastic solitary confinement where she was left in a dark dungeon for 33 years. She died at the age of 71 mentally unstable.


3. Maria Swanenburg

She was born into a normal middle-class family in a Dutch neighborhood. After an early marriage and becoming a widow she was left with little money, so she devised a plot to kill people and make a living out of their insurance or inheritance. Her modus operandi was to kill them with poison while pretending to tend them for being ill. It started by murdering her parents and then relatives. She went on to kill several families over the years in the pretext of being a dutiful neighbor and nurse while cunningly pocketing their money. She was dubbed as the Saint in her locality until her evil actions were revealed. She was later caught and after a thorough trial sentenced to life imprisonment in a correctional facility.

4. Leonarda Cianciulli

Her life was riddled with misery, and she believed that she was under an evil spell that leads to the gruesome murders of three innocent young women. She had a fairly normal life and married to a clerk. On early 13 of her 17 children lost their life's due to miscarriage or illness which made her a paranoid. When her son informed her that he would be joining the Italian army, she panicked and sort fortune tellers for advice. After a while, her ill judgment made better of her, and she resorted to human sacrifice. She killed young women in the guise of playing a matchmaker. Later to dispose of their bodies, she melted their body parts and made them into soaps which she sold to her neighbors. She crushed their bones and added them into every food item and baked cakes out of them, which she served to her lady friends. After being arrested, she was confined in an asylum where she breathed her last due to an internal brain hemorrhage. She was notoriously known as the soap lady.


5. Amelia Dyer

Known as a baby farmer, she looked after illegitimate children who were abandoned by their parents or mothers. Her motive was mainly money she would put up decent ads in the paper about being a respected lady who would feed and provide shelter for these children. Sometimes parents would leave them under her care and return later when they were financially stable. But hidden in the guise of a gentle caretaker was a brutal murderer who poisoned over 400 babies to death. She would kill the babies with an opioid solution and later grief their deaths inconsolably. She fled the cities to escape capture and constantly changed addresses and names. Later she started to fear that the actions might be caught and disposed the bodies all over the city. One such occasion a little girls' remains were fished out of Thames wrapped in a present sheet with her name and address. This blunder leads to her arrest. She was executed on June 10, 1896. Some historians draw parallels with Jack the Ripper and doubt those murders were also by her as it occurred during the same timeline.

6. Madame Delphine LaLaurie

She owned a slave farm in the New Orleans during the peak time when black lives did not matter. Her patent was to hire black slaves, then torture them to death in the attic by beating, skin flaying, and biting the flesh of their face. Her methods were so brutal that once a slave started a fire in the kitchen to escape from being taken to the attic which eventually burnt the house. The authorities saw this gruesome act when they arrived at the scene to douse the fire. Madame Delphine succeeded in fleeing to Paris, where she lived for the rest of her life till death. Her case was televised into the famous American Horror Story as a special episode for season 3.


7. Belle Gunness

Notoriously known as the black widow Belle was a poor Norwegian girl who dreamt of the ideal American dream, and for that, she killed everyone who came in her way. She immigrated to America and found an easy source of income – Insurance fraud. She murdered many of her husbands, suitors, and even her children for the insurance money. Her properties would catch fire, and there were unexplained deaths all around her. In all, she killed over 40 men in her murder farm. She lured many men and pocketed their money. Their bodies were dismembered and fed to pigs or kept in the hog pen. Later, when an unknown fire broke out in the property police found all her three children dead along with a body of a headless woman believed to be her.

Years later her helper told the authorities that it wasn’t Belle who was killed in the fire, but another woman who was murdered to look like her. In 1931 a certain Esther Carlson died in prison awaiting a trial for poisoning. It is believed it was Belle Gunness as she possessed the picture of her children with her during her death. So indeed Belle had faked her death at the farm.

8. Miyuki Ishikawa

Her story comes in when Japan was experiencing a massive baby boom and a severe economic crunch. Parents wanted to get rid of their children as they no longer had the means to take of them. This was when Miyuki appeared on the scene she was a midwife by profession and lured parents to pay a hefty sum to kill their babies by starvation. Her husband would take the payments and the doctor at the hospital would make fake death certificates, they had a perfect business triad. This continued over a while until all of them were caught for their horrendous act. The bodies were found disposed of in a temple compound. Miyuki got away with only eight years in prison since she argued that the parents were desperate to get rid of the babies due to severe economic depression.


9. Dorotheo Puente

Her life was ridden with trips to jail for forging cheques, running private brothels, and poisoning people. She was a clever, manipulative woman who allowed elderly pensioners and lonely individuals into her house as tenants. After a few days they would end up dead and their deaths ruled as natural causes or suicides. Dorotheo would pocket their social security sums and live a comfortable life. After becoming suspicious of her lifestyle the authorities arrested and termed her to life sentence at the CCWF, California where she died at a ripe age. Only three of the victims were identified as murders in a total she had killed nine.

10. Rosemary West

A patent for raping and torturing victims mainly girls along with her husband started when she sadistically killed her stepdaughter out of rage. She would hide the bodies under the family porch and even torture her children. The couple’s house was known as the House of Horrors. The couple would mutilate the bodies and dispose of them often threatening their children of dire consequences while they were continuously raped. After being arrested, she was found guilty for the murder of 10 innocent victims and sentenced to life imprisonment to this day. Their house was demolished and now is a public footpath.


11. Mary Bell

She was born to a prostitute and had a history of being abused this, in turn, made her a psychopath along with her best friend, Norma Bell. They both murdered two boys, namely of 4 and 3 yrs. Their bodies had carvings with scissors and Mary’s initial M on the stomach. Clumps of hair were pulled out, and their genitals were severed. The police noted that the girls behaved oddly at their victim's funerals, they were happy and smiling also excited. Before long Norma Bell confessed to the murders, both stood trial and were sent to correctional facilities where Mary served for 13 years and was released on anonymity at the age of 23 yrs. She is said to be living with her daughter who was born in 1984.

12. Gwen Graham and Cathy Woods

Termed as the 'Lethal couple' for taking out the lives of their patients, these two are known for their deathly love game. They worked at Alpine Woods as nursing assistants, and while their stint at the old facility grew into an obsession, they developed elaborate mind games by murdering the patients who were suffering from terminal illnesses. Their actions were scott free until an investigation was done and both arrested. The lesbian lovers were sentenced to life term. The relatives of the Alpine Manor accused the management of hiring mentally unstable nurses, and the facility was shut down. Their story was later turned into a crime book by Lowell Cauffiel called Forever and Five Days. Also, it was featured on the American Horror Story as a special episode Roanoke where they were characterized as sisters.


13. Genene Jones

She was a licensed vocational nurse at a pediatric clinic in Texas. She felt that the ward was not adequately equipped to support neonatal care and hence to draw attention murdered up to 60 babies by serving them a lethal dose of Succinylcholine that would cause cardiac arrest in the babies. She was sentenced to 99 years in prison after found guilty. Her life was depicted in the movies Deadly Medicine and Mass Murder (2002). A documentary concerning her life was shown on Discovery Channel.

14. Juana Barraza

Notoriously known as the Little Old Lady Killer Juana killed as many as 40 elderly women on the pretext of signing them up for social welfare. Her motivation for those gruesome deaths was that they reminded her of her mother. Her father was an alcoholic, and mother was a prostitute. Her extreme poverty turned her into a con artist, she had several miscarriages and failed marriages that made her mentally unstable. The Mexican police arrested her and convicted to 100 years in prison.


15. Aileen Wuornos

A prostitute who killed her victims at point-blank range was dubbed as the most heinous serial killer of all time. Her father was a sex offender who later committed suicide by hanging himself, her mother was Finnish and abandoned her. She was left with her grandparents and was repeatedly raped by her grandfather who also beat her. She got pregnant with his baby, but was dumped by him and had to fend herself by giving her son up for adoption. She turned to prostitution and killed her clients for money. She was found guilty and was the 10th woman to be executed by the State of Florida in 2002. Her life was essayed in the movie Moster with Charlize Theron playing her role.

What do you think of these women who went insane of rage? Was there seething anger and loneliness or just the taste for murder? Anyhow, these women have left a bloody dent in history.


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