Rarely Seen Photos Depict The Most Inexplicable Human Acts In History
By Sarah Norman | September 14, 2023
Sharon Tate poses for one of her final photos
We like to think that the world is safe… that everything is going to be okay. Unfortunately there are people out there who commit the kind of vile acts that are horrific enough to make you completely lose faith in humanity.
From atrocities committed against an entire race of people to the crimes of a loan person acting on their darkest desires, the following stories and pictures that accompany them will chill you to the bone. If there’s a silver lining to be had in their hair raising stories it’s that most of the people involved in these despicable moments in history were caught and put to justice. Still, you’ll want to make sure you read these stories of the horrors that man can commit with the lights on.
One of the most startling crimes of the 1960s revolved around the brutal slaying of a very pregnant Sharon Tate and her friends while they were staying at 10050 Cielo Drive, the former home of producer Terry Melcher. At the time Tate had no idea that Melcher accidentally made an enemy of the psychotic cult leader and wannabe singer-songwriter Charles Manson after denying him a recording contract. This photo is one of the last few taken of Tate before her death and it shows just how gorgeous and vulnerable she was. When Manson’s followers broke into the house of Cielo Drive and did away with the people staying there they not only snuffed out the young life of Tate, but her unborn child.
Joyce McKinney, happy to be arrested in the United States
One of the strangest crimes of the ‘70s was known as the “Manacled Mormon case,” it occurred in Ewell, Surrey on September 14, 1977 when Joyce McKinney, a former Miss Wyoming World, picked up Mormon missionary Kirk Anderson on the steps of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mckinney chloroformed the young man before chaining him to a bed in a cottage before sexually assaulting him. After McKinney was arrested on September 19, 1977, she skipped out on bail and hopped a plane for the states. When she landed back on US soil McKinney was arrested by the FBI. England didn’t carry out extradition proceedings against McKinney, and she served one year in prison in the US, and she remains a fugitive in the UK.
Georgia Tann got rich off of stealing children
Pianist, social worker, child abductor, Georgia Tann lead a life of unspeakable crimes that the south to the bone. While working as the Executive Secretary of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society Tann started a lucrative business where she secured expensive out of state adoptions and skimmed money from the thousands adoptions that she secured while shredding the evidence. You might be asking yourself, “where was she getting all these babies?” Initially she convinced poor families to give them up for adoption, which is already bad, but when she got greedy she started outright stealing children, placing in the TCHS where they were neglected before they were sold off to families who wanted a baby. It’s believed that Tann trafficked more than 5,000 children through 48 states, making around $1 million in the process. Unfortunately before charges could be pressed against her or the TCHS she passed away from uterine cancer.
At least four people were locked in this Philadelphia basement
Few crimes are as stomach churning as this house of horrors that was used to hold mentally disabled adults who were Locked up like “zoo animals.” Linda Ann Weston Locked up these door, defenseless people and in at least two cases she caused the deaths of two elderly people in order to take their Social Security benefits. The investigation exploded when a landlord found four malnourished people locked in the basement of a Philadelphia apartment. CBS reports that one woman was chained to the boiler, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said:
Shocking does not begin to describe the criminal allegations in this case, where victims were tied up and confined like zoo animals and treated like property akin to slaves.
Orville Lynn Majors, Indiana's very own "Angel of Death"
The people in the medical field are expected to be here for us, to care about their patients be they the feeble or the young, but in some dastardly cases there are nurses and doctors who do the opposite of what they’ve sworn their lives too. Orville Lynn Majors was a Clinton, Indiana nurse who lost so many patients that the people he worked with often joked that he was an “Angel of Death.” Most of the victims who passed away under the care of Majors were elderly, but their circumstances didn’t match their ends. They either passed away from maladies that they didn’t have when they checked in or they suddenly became ill after being in fairly good health. Following a 33 month investigation, Majors was arrested on December 29, 1997 and charged with six counts of murder. He was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to 360 years in prison.
The final photo of Martin Luther King Jr, taken moments before his assassination in 1965
Martin Luther King Jr. Was no stranger to death threats. Since beginning his campaign of non-violent protests in the 1960s in oder to integrate white and black America while securing voting rights and a place for children in every school King found himself on the receiving end of terrible acts of racism and violence that saw crosses burned in his yard and bullets fired his way, but while standing outside his hotel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968, he found himself in harm’s way for the last time. Even though King passed away, he made it clear in his speeches that he didn’t consider this to be real death, just the end of his time on Earth. While speaking in Selma in 1965 he said:
A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.
Fred and Rosemary West take a break from their crime spree to take a family portrait
Out of all the sickos who’ve existed across the broad spectrum of time, Fred and Rosemary West are up there with the worst of them. Throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s this couple from Gloucester, England turned their home into a trap for young women. The couple enticed young women into their homes through a variety of means and once they had them inside the girls never left. They were bound, tortured, and done away with before they were unceremoniously buried. In some instances Fred kept the remains of his victims as trophies.
British authorities believe that Fred was committing horrific acts from the time that he had any autonomy, and while it’s hard to put an actual date on the crimes, it’s believed that the couple’s spree officially started in 1973 when they brought a seamstress home for the evening and she never made it home. Over the course of the next two decades the couple kidnapped, tortured, and did away with at least 13 women, some of them were their own children.
Following their arrests Rosemary received life in prison and Fred offed himself before serving any of his term.
The Ghetto Swingers performing in a Nazi propaganda film
Throughout World War II the Nazis pushed the Jewish people into a series of increasingly horrific and heartbreaking situations. They were put in camps and put to work, and even those people who seemed to have plum jobs were under the gun at all times of the day. A disjointed group of Jewish jazz musicians known as the “Ghetto Swingers” were hired to play music for Nazi officers at various functions, and that after they appeared in a propaganda film showing off how “great” the ghettos were they were all sent to Auschwitz. Many of the men were sent to the gas chamber immediately after they arrived.
Anatoly Moskvin mummified girls and kept them as dolls
There’s really not a problem with collecting dolls, sure they’re a little bit creepy, and they always feel like they’re watching you, but if you want to collect dolls you should go for it. Unless you’re going about your collection he way that Anatoly Moskvin did it. In 2011 Moskvin was arrested for various crimes related to the desecration of graves after it came to the authority’s attention that this college level teacher and journalist was digging up cemeteries in order to take corpses to the home he shared with his parents, mummify them and keep them as dolls. Diagnosed as a schizophrenic, Moskvin will likely receive treatment outside of prison. Natalia Chardymova, the mother of his first victim, thinks that Moskvin should stay in prison indefinitely:
This creature brought fear, terror and panic into my (life). I shudder to think that he will have freedom to go where he wants. Neither my family nor the families of the other victims will be able to sleep peacefully. He needs to be kept under surveillance. I insist on a life sentence. Only under medical supervision, without the right of free movement.
Princess Diana hides in the back of a limo moments before it crashes on the streets of Paris
This photo was taken moments before Princess Diana’s life was snuffed out in a completely avoidable car accident and it’s hard to look at. What we see is Diana cowering in the back of the car, hiding her face from the needy photographer’s sense while her driver and bodyguard curse the man riding in front of them through Paris traffic. Diana’s final moments were spent cowering in the back of a Mercedes limousine as she was hounded by the press that couldn’t stop taking from her until she had nothing left but her life to give. Moments after this photo was taken the car crashed and careened through a tunnel, leaving Diana without a life in a pile of twisted metal.
Rosalynn McGinnis before she was kidnapped by her stepfather
There’s nothing quite as disturbing as a crime committed against a child by someone who’s meant to take care of them. On January 31, 1997 McGinnis was kidnapped from her hometown in Oklahoma by her stepfather Henri Piette when she was around 11 or 12 years old. She was held captive for nearly 20 years and during that time she gave birth to nine of his children. The world became aware if Piette’s crimes after McGinnis escaped with eight of her children in Mexico. She said that after she was kidnapped by her stepfather she was “married” to him in a van and forced to alter her appearance and adopt various aliases while they traveled across the country.
Archduke Ferdinand, shortly before he was gunned down in the streets of Sarajevo
Shortly before he was assassinated on June 28, 1914, Archduke Ferdinand went through the streets of Sarajevo with Countess Sophie Chotek. Throughout the day he had to deal with multiple attempts on his life that began with a blank box that was thrown into his car by Nedjeliko Cabrinovitch. Ferdinand tossed the parcel out of the car before it exploded. As things were heating up Ferdinand asked the Countess to return to where she was staying, but she decided to stay by his side. Later that day 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip shot and killed the Archduke as he was leaving the Sarajevo town hall.
Josef Fritzl kept his daughter locked in his basement for most of her life
In the tidy Austrian town of Amstetten Josef Fritzl kept his daughter locked in a basement beneath his small home. While she was locked beneath his home, Ftitzl’s daughter bore seven children to her father, with at least three of them being kept in the basement with her mother. One of the children passed away, and the final three were kept by Fritzl after claiming that they were foundlings. One of Fritzl’s neighbors told the New York Times:
One cannot comprehend the dimension of this. Natascha Kampusch was bad, but this is of a totally different scale.
On March 19, 2009, Fritzl was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for 15 years.
Serial killer Robert Hansen poses with one of his early kills
It’s an understatement to say that Robert Hansen liked to hunt. After tiring of the sport that came with tracking and shooting deer and elk he moved onto the most dangerous game - man. Or more realistically woman. Between 1971 and 1983 Hansen abducted 17 women that he brought to Anchorage, Alaska before dropping them off in a remote location where he sexually assaulted them before hunting them down with a Ruger Mini-14 and a knife.
Throughout his killing spree Hansen was a meek baker who dent draw attention to himself. Even when women were able to escape his grasp the police didn’t believe that he was was targeting anyone. It wasn’t until FBI Special Agent Roy Hazelwood got involved that they were able to track him down using a psychological profile. When Hansen was hit with the evidence at his home in 1983 he denied everything until he suddenly caved and blamed the crimes on the women.
Charged with assault, kidnapping, multiple weapons offenses, and theft and insurance fraud Hansen was sentenced by jury to 461 years plus life in prison. He passed away in 2014 at the age of 75 from an undisclosed health condition.
Ian Curtis with his daughter, days before he hung himself in 1980
The death of Ian Curtis is one of those acts that shows that no matter how much personal success and wealth someone accrues that happiness is hard to find. While performing with his group Joy Division in the late ‘70s Curtis gave voice to the dark urges of millions of listeners with songs like “Disorder” and “She’s Lost Control,” but he couldn’t find peace for himself.
After finding success with Joy Division Curtis and his wife gave birth to their daughter Natalie, and while that should be the happiest moment for some people for Curtis Natalie was one more thing holding him to his marriage. Before the band left for their first American tour in 1980 Curtis hung himself in his family’s kitchen while listening to Iggy Pop’s “The Idiot.”
Budd Dwyer moments before he ended his life on live television
It’s safe to say that politicians aren’t great at handling a scandal. In some cases they deny deny deny, in others, they take to social media, but when Budd Dwyer, the acting Pennsylvania State Treasurer, found himself mired in a kickback scandal in the late ‘80s he decided to take his own life. On January 22, 1987, he called a press conference where he gave a statement on the unnerving visual that people were about to see. During a speech before shooting himself in the head Dwyer said:
I am going to die in office in an effort to ‘…see if the shame[-ful] facts, spread out in all their shame, will not burn through our civic shamelessness and set fire to American pride.’ Please tell my story on every radio and television station and in every newspaper and magazine in the U.S. Please leave immediately if you have a weak stomach or mind since I don’t want to cause physical or mental distress. Joanne, Rob, DeeDee [sic] – I love you! Thank you for making my life so happy. Goodbye to you all on the count of 3. Please make sure that the sacrifice of my life is not in vain.
Monica Seles moments after she was stabbed on the court in 1993
In the early ‘90s Monica Seles was at the top of her game. She was one of the most intense and unforgiving tennis players in the world, but while she was playing a match in Hamburg, Germany all of that was taken away from her by one psychotic fan. Günter Parche, a Steffi Graf super fan, walked out of the stands with a boning knife in his hand and shoved it directly into Seles’ back in front of a huge crowd and television cameras.
Pache was arrested immediately and Seles was taken to the hospital for review. After serving six months of pre-trial detainment Pache was determined to be psychologically unfit for prison and given two years worth of probation. Seles, reacting as we all would, was reticent about returning to the country. She said:
You never say never. People have taken it that I'm against Germany, but I'm not. It's just a country where someone does something like that to me and they never put him in jail and I don't feel like going back.
Ian Brady and Myra Hindley pose during their crime spree in northern England
Northern England is a dour, depressing place, and the moors which dapple the countryside of Northern England are full of a moist marsh that no one would visit even on the best summer day. In the 1960s a series of grisly crimes took place around the moors, and each of them were perpetrated by two young people - 27-year-old Ian Brady, and 23-year-old Myra Hindley.
The twisted couple kidnapped five children before torturing, beating, sexually assaulting and burying their bodies on the moors. Only three bodies were found when the couple was arrested in 1965 but the couple was open about what they did. The case was horrific proof that even the most normal of places can be full of sadistic people.
Nathaniel Bar-Jonah shortly after his move to Montana
There are some crimes that have long lasting ramifications; that have victims beyond those who are initially effected. Nathanial Bar-Jonah not only hurt a young boy, but he disposed of his corpse by involving the people of Great Falls, Montana. In 1991 Bar-Jonah was released from prison after he was arrested for assaulting a child. Even after he admitted that he fantasized about feasting on small children he was let out of prison on the promise that he would move in with his Mother in Montana.
Shortly after being released Bar-Jonah started luring children up to his apartment (he didn’t move in with his mother and the Massachusetts parole board didn’t follow up with him) one of them being 10-year-old Zachary Ramsay. After Ramsay went missing the community searched for him everywhere, but they didn’t think anyone in their community could have had anything to do with it. At the same time, Bar-Jonah was serving mystery meat to his neighbors and claiming that it was deer.
After he was caught impersonating a police officer outside of an elementary school Bar-Jonah’s lie fell apart almost immediately. Police searched his apartment and found human remains along with a sick journal written in code. At the end of the day Bar-Jonah was sentenced to 130 years in prison for molestation charges.
A young Todd Kohlhepp and his mother. She was the only person who gave him the benefit of the doubt after he kidnapped multiple people
While working as a real estate broker in South Carolina, Todd Kohlhepp abducted multiple men and women, including Kala Brown and Charles Carver before doing away with Carver and locking Brown in a storage container over Labor Day in 2015. In order to throw people off of his tracks, Kohlhepp used Brown and Carver’s Facebook pages as a way to spread disinformation about what happened to them.
On November 3 of that year Brown was discovered chained up inside the storage facility, after she was recused by the authorities she told them that Kohlhepp shot Carver in front of her at point blank range. After he was brought in by the police Kohlhepp asked to speak to who else, his mother, so she could hear what had happened from the horses mouth.
He later admitted that there were three more bodies on his property and over a decade before locking Kala Brown in a storage container he committed a mass murder in South Carolina, although it’s unclear if he’s actually responsible for this crime.
Bobby Joe Long terrorized Florida throughout the mid '80s
Florida has long been a hot spot for serial killers, crazy crimes, and college kids on spring break. Those things all might have something to do with one another. After moving to Tampa Bay in 1983 Bobby Joe Long began a series of gruesome assaults that made a lasting impression with the citizens of the sunshine state. Long claims that he would meet up with women and convince them to some up to his apartment where bound them before sexually assaulting them and brutally snuffing them out. Only two of his victims survived, and Long was arrested on November 16, 1984. He was executed by lethal injection on May 23, 2019.
Timmothy Pitzen may never be seen again
When children go missing there’s always a horrible chill that comes along with the news, especially when one of their parents had something to do with it. On May 11, 2011, Pitzen’s father, James, dropped him off at his Aurora, Illinois school and that was the last time he saw the boy. Shortly after the drop off Timmothy’s mother, Amy, signed him out of school and took him to a series of water and amusement parks but she never brought him home. Amy’s body was found in a Rockford, Illinois motel room after she took her own life. She left a note saying that Timmothy was safe but that he’d never be found. Timmothy’s father believes that the child is still alive, and has not given up hope that he’ll find his son some day.
The Brooklyn "Thrill Killers" await their sentencing, 1954
In the summer of 1954 a group of four Jewish boys caused havoc in Brooklyn, New York when they drowned one man and beat another to death before torturing several other people that they came across. They horsewhipped multiple girls that they found in the park, and they tied a man’s limbs with gasoline soaked rags before setting him on fire. The boys claimed that comic books inspired their rampage, which played a major part at the Senate Subcommittee Hearings into Juvenile Delinquency. Two of the boys were sentenced to life in prison after one of the killers turned state’s evidence and another walked free.
The final school photo Johnny Gosch taken before his kidnapping
Johnny Gosch was a paper boy from, a Des Moines, Iowa until the early hours of September 5, 1982 when he disappeared from his paper route. His parents didn’t even know he was missing until they began receiving calls from neighbors informing them that they hadn’t received their Sunday papers. Gosch’s parents went on a mad dash through the neighborhood but they couldn’t find any sign of him. It was as if he disappeared into the air. The Des Moines police department assumed that the boy just ran away, but after there was a sighting of the boy in Oklahoma they reclassified his disappearance as a kidnapping. A strange wrinkle to the case came in 1997 after his mother claimed that he came to visit her at her apartment and that they spoke for about an hour and a half before he left with a larger man. No one has been able to substantiate these claims, but the search for Gosch has never stopped.
Gerald and Charlene Gallego after they were arrested for kidnapping and murdering 10 people
Sacramento, California is famous for being California’s capitol city, but it has a history that’s as dark as anything that’s happened in its sister city to the south, Los Angeles. From 1978 to 1980 Gerald and Charlene Gallego kidnapped 10 people, nine of them women, and held them captive while brutally sexually assaulting them before bludgeoning them to death.
The Gallegos were caught at a Western Union office after a friend of a victim recognized the couple’s car. Charlene testified against Gerald for a plea deal that reduced her prison sentence from life to 16 years and eight months. In 1997 Charlene was released from prison, but Gallego passed away in 2002 from cancer while awaiting execution.
Graham Thorne before his abduction in 1960
The Sydney Opera House is a beautiful monument to art, but in order to construct such a lovely piece of architecture the city had to host a lottery to raise money. The first winners of the Sydney Opera House Lottery was the Thorne family, just some suburban folks who thought they were lucky to win $100,000 Australian. After reading about the Thorne’s good fortune, Stephen Bradley decided to kidnap one of the Thorne children. First he was going to kidnap the family’s youngest daughter, but when that proved too difficult he nabbed the next eldest, Graham, as he walked to school.
After grabbing the young boy Bradley shoved him into a blue blanket, taped up his mouth and tossed him into the trunk of his car. From there he went directly by the kidnapper’s playbook. He called the Thorne family and told them that he wanted a £25,000 ransom before returning the boy. However that wasn’t possible. At some point in transit Graham passed away. Bradley ditched the boy’s body in a field and tried to get money out of the family one more time, but when that didn’t work he fled the country.
All this time the local authorities were going into overdrive. They used whatever rudimentary forensic science they had available and began looking for the boy. They traced Bradley down to his home, but he was already gone. That’s okay because the authorities were able to chase Bradley to Colombo where he was arrested and brought back to Australia in order to stand trial.
The Oakland Child Killer fed one their victims his favorite meal
Oakland County, Michigan was the site of a rash of child slayings that occurred between 1976 and 1977. In the span of just over a year a mysterious killer did away with four children and the authorities have never been able to figure out who commttied the crimes. All of the victims were between the ages of 10 and 12 and it’s safe to say that whoever it was had a twisted sense of irony. Author Howard Burns said:
He or she was referred to as the Babysitter Killer. In the last case, the mother went on TV and read a letter on the news that was appealing to the killer. She said to just return her son and we will forget about it. (She said) ‘We’re going to feed you your favorite meal of Oreos, chocolate milk and Kentucky Fried Chicken,’ and after they found the victim and did the autopsy, he had his favorite meal in his stomach.
John List with the family he destroyed
John List was a hard working accountant living the normal American life in 1971, but when he lost his job and there were no prospects on the horizon he did the unthinkable. He shot and killed his wife, his three children and his mother one by one when he could find them alone. He even drove his son John home from a soccer game before shooting him in the chest.
Following the murders List removed himself from every photo in the house, called his children’s schools to let them know they’d be out of town for a few weeks, and left religious hymns playing in his home before disappearing. When the police finally investigated the home that always seemed to have its lights on and religious music playing they found the scene of a bloodbath with a note from List explaining his actions. His car was found at JFK airport but there was no sign of where he went and he disappeared for 18 years.
After nearly 20 years forensic scientists devised a bust of what List might look like in 1989 and showed it on America’s Most Wanted, low and behold they had a hit in Richmond, Virginia. List changed his name to Robert Clark and worked as an accountant. After a brief trial in 1990 List was sentenced to five life terms in prison. He passed away in 2008.
Christopher Hightower, a Sunday school teacher who killed a family for money
In 1991 the Brendels were a quiet, tight knit family who kept to themselves in their small town of Barrigton, Rhode Island. When the family’s Sunday school teacher Christopher Hightower asked the family’s patriarch for money and didn’t get it he killed him and shoved his body in the car. He went onto do away with the rest of the family and placed their bodies in a shallow grave. John Digits, executive director of the East Bay Mental Health Center, said:
People just don’t understand, one, how this could have happened. Mr. Hightower seemed like the pillar of the community. And how could someone have presented that image and then acted the complete opposite? Who do you trust, is what people want to know.
Bobby Dunbar, or is it?
Bobby Dunbar was just a wee boy went he went missing on August 23, 1912 during a family trip to Swayze Lake in Louisiana. One moment his family was splashing around the water and the next Bobby was gone. After eight months of nothing the police received a tip of a boy matching Bobby’s disappearance. When police found the boy the man holding him said that he was his uncle, but they arrested him anyway and brought the boy to the Dunbars.
There are debates about the “reunion” between the Dunbars and Bobby, but Bobby’s mother had trouble identifying the child in a line up. That wasn’t a huge deal for the police and they convicted the family who the new Bobby was found with. After Bobby Dunbar passed away his son, Bobby Dunbar Jr., underwent a DNA test and it was discovered that Bobby Dunbar was in no way related to the family.
Mr. Cruel, Australia's boogeyman
Australia is home to some of the most upsetting and strange crimes in the world. So much of the country is in the middle of nowhere that it’s easy for people to get up to no good without ever being discovered - Mr. Cruel is one of those creeps. He preyed on children by breaking into their homes with a knife and gun while wearing a ski mask. His victims were blindfolded while he kidnapped sexually assaulted them. Cruel often took children from their homes and left them in the middle of a different neighborhood hours, and sometimes days after they were taken. The attacks ended in 1991 and the police were never able to close in on one specific suspect.
Dean Corll, the man with the candy
Houston in the late ‘60s was awash in financial strife. The middle class was moving out of the Houston Heights suburb west of the major Texas town and while he spent his time working in a candy factory he was also luring young boys to his home in order to “party” with them while drinking cheap beer and huffing spray paint.
After the boys were high enough he would pick his favorite one and tie them to his “torture board” where he would have his way with them until they expired. Afterwards he buried the boys in his storage facility under a collection of quicklime. Things went upside down when he tried to do away with one of the girlfriends of his teen friends. They flipped out and shot Corll dead in his home. After the boys were arrested they led the police to Corll’s storage facility where they found nearly 30 victims.
George Foos stands in his motel office in between spying on his guests
Do you ever feel like you’re being watched or that someone is spying on you?If you stayed at the Aurora, Colorado motel owned by George Foos then you have probably been watched - especially if you were having a romantic rendezvous. In order to watch people, Foos installed grills above the rooms and laid in an “observation platform” in the motels attic so he could watching people without their knowledge. He spent decades watching people without their knowledge, and he went onto be the subject of the documentary Voyeur about his clandestine peeping where he freely admits that the entire thing was a sexual predilection.
Albert Fish waits for his fate following his arrest
This skeletal old man is one of the worst serial killers to ever be thrust upon this world. Known as “the boogey man,” Fish allegedly took the life of a child from every state in the Union, although it’s unclear if he was telling the truth or jus trying to make himself sound like a more prolific killer than he really was.
Fish first became obsessed with the human anatomy after seeing a bi-sected human in a museum, this is what made him obsesses over mutilation. He began to hallucinate that the apostles were speaking to him, and he believed that God was commanding him to torture children. Strangely enough, even though he was married with six children he never touched his own, preferring to do his horrific deeds out of the house. After writing a letter about the death of Grace Budd he ended up convicted of murder and sentenced to execution in Ossining, New York in 1936.
Gary Stephen Krist spent a lifetime kidnapping people
Few people are as despicable as those who take advantage of the less fortunate. Gary Stephen Krist spent his adult life either kidnapping people, sitting in prison, or… kidnapping more people. In 1968 he kidnapped heiress Barbara Jane Mackie and buried her in a ventilated box until he received $500,000 in cash. Upon receiving the money he was arrested and promptly sentenced to life in prison. His story doesn’t end there. Krist was paroled 10 years later so he could attend medical school and rather than commit his life to the pursuit of taking care of people he started kidnapping illegal immigrants after they paid him to be transported across the border. He was arrested on March 6, 2006 with four illegal aliens and 14 kilograms of cocaine in his boat. He was put in prison until November 2010.
Princess Diana on a yacht in Portofino, Italy, one week before she passed in 1997
This lonely photo was taken of Diana a week before she passed away in a horrible car accident while being chased by the paparazzi. At the time she was vacationing with the Fayed family, going from city to city on private planes and yachts, insulating themselves from everyone that they thought wanted something from them. During her travels Diana was surrounded by security people and staff, but she was just as alone with them as she was in the royal family. What was Diana thinking about while she was alone on this yacht, did she feel the walls closing in or did was thinking of a way to break out.
The Lindbergh Baby celebrates his only birthday
There’s no story that’s quite held the public’s attention like the disappearance of the Lindbergh Baby. In 1932 America was a titter as news spread about the kidnapping of iconic aviator Charles Lindbergh’s child. The little Lindbergh was taken from its crib after being put to bed, and while there was a ransom note and stray clues to be found after months of investigation the police were nowhere nearer to the perpetrator of the crime than they were on day one. Unfortunately, once the boy’s body was found the case turned into a murder investigation with all sights set on Richard Hauptmann, a cad found with some of the ransom money in hand. Many historians believe that he wasn’t responsible but that the public needed a scapegoat. Whatever the case, this tragic story is enough to make anyone lose faith in humanity.
Kelly Anne Bates long before the torture she had to endure
Kelly Ann Bates was just a normal teenage girl in England who worked as a babysitter while living with her boyfriend James Smith, an unemployed divorcé from Manchester. The entire time that Bates lived with Smith she was subjected to brutal torture at the hands of the man she loved. She suffered from extensive injuries that go beyond the pale in terms of what a person should have to be put through.
However, it wasn’t her many vicious injuries that ended her life. Smith claims that she accidentally drowned in the bathtub. Although with 150 separate injuries it’s hard to believe that anything done to this poor young woman was accidental. Detective Sergeant Joseph Monaghan of Greater Manchester Police, who said:
I have been in the police force for 15 years and have never seen a case as horrific as this.
After Smith claimed in court that it was his girlfriend’s fault for “winding him up” It only took an hour for a jury to convict him of murder and sentence him to life in prison.
Lawrence Bittaker, one half of the Toolbox Killers, argues for his life on the stand
Lawrence Bittaker is a lifelong criminal, but its his partnership with Roy Norris that existed in 1979 that makes him one of the most despicable human beings on the planet. After meeting at the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo the two men forged a relationship based about sexual violence and misogyny. After they were released from the Colony the men met up in a groovy ‘70s van to pick up hitchhiking women as a “trial run” for their crimes.
After they discovered the ease at which they could pick up hitchhikers they started their crime spree on June 24, 1979 after picking up a 16-year-old girl from Redondo Beach and committing vile acts before throwing her from a canyon. Their final victim was murdered on October 31, 1979, and there would have been more had Roy Norris not told a friend about his exploits. His friend realized the gravity of the situation.
Bittaker and Norris were arrested on November 20, 1979, and while Norris copped to his crimes, Bittaker went to court to argue every piece of evidence down to the warrants used in his arrest. He was eventually found guilt and sentenced to death.
Junko Furuta was held for over a month in an apartment by four teenage boys
Shinji Minato and his three friends, Hiroshi Miyano, Jo Ogura, and Yasushi Watanabe were three awful young men who kidnapped Junko Furuta in 1988 and sexually assaulted her before taking her to the home that Minato shared with his parents and keeping her for 44 days. Furuta’s time in the Miyano house was a living hell. She was assaulted by the four boys and friends that they invited over and made to call home to tell her parents that she ran away. The entire time Miyano’s parents were in the house and did nothing to stop the torture happening under their roof.
While Furuta was being put through a horrific chamber of horrors she managed to call the police, but when the boys discovered what she’d done they set her legs on fire. After allegedly beating the boys at a game of mahjong the boys became so enraged that they beat her to death before encasing her body in concrete. The boys were arrested on a separate charge and accidentally copped to what they did to Furuta, but they only ended up with light sentences likely due to Yakuza involvement.
The Hi-Fi murders of Utah were carried out by three soldiers from the Hill Air Force Base
We often think of Utah as a place of wide open spaces and sparse beauty, but in 1974 Ogden, Utah became the site of one of the most inexplicable acts in human history. on April 22, 1974, two men entered the Hi-Fi Stereo Shop with an intent to rob the place, but ended up taking everyone inside hostage. Before stealing $24,000 worth of stereo equipment the robbers forced their captives to drink drain cleaner, burning their internal organs and faces before shooting each person in the store in the back of the head. Only one victim survived, Orren Walker, and he helped put the three suspects (all soldiers from the nearby Air Force base) in prison. One reporter wrote of Walker testimony on the stand:
He recounted how he and the other victims had endured the horrors heaped on them by the unmerciful suspects. His tears flowed as he told of seeing his son shot in the head. When the suspects ran out of bullets they pushed a pencil in his ear and pushed and pushed hoping they had silenced him by attempting to strangle him at the same time.
H. H. Holmes, a respectable man about town who happened to own a hotel of horrors
Is there any monster in American history that’s as truly despicable as H.H. Holmes? This man driven by greed’s most inexplicable act coincided with the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893. Holmes constructed a hotel made up of twisted hallways, doors to nowhere, and basements meant for getting rid of people in strangely creative ways.
Holmes initially got his start as a snake oil salesman, but he quickly moved to conning visitors to Chicago out of their money after taking them into his hotel of horrors and doing away with them. Holmes started slow by doing away with his lovers and taking their money, but after a while he just started dropping his guests by gassing them in their rooms.
After selling the skeletons of his victims and murdering one of his associates Holmes was brought down by a warrant for horse theft in Texas. He didn’t want to go back to Texas so he finally gave up the ghost, and after he was given the death sentence he asked to be encased in concrete - a wish that was granted.
The Brobergs were ripped apart by a madman who kidnapped one of their daughters and seduced their mother and father
When Jan Brogerg, an Idaho teenager, was abducted by her neighbor Robert Berchtold in the 1970s and had her mind warped into believing that she was fated to marry Berchtold this was only one of the despicable acts that the family had to endure. Not only did Berchtold commit unspeakable acts to Jan, but he involved her parents in a web of seduction and shame that convinced them to drop charges against Berchtold until he abducted the girl a second time. A director who worked on a documentary about the case wasn’t sure if she believed the family’s story until another victim came forward with a matching story. She explained:
Then, while we were working on the film, one of Berchtold’s other alleged victims reached out to us and told us a story about him using this alien psychology and saying, ‘You’re a princess from a different planet.’ He used this whole alien story on her, and that was the moment for me when I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s real. He did it.’
Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker, two 15 year old girls who killed Parker's mother so they could stay together
In 1954 15-year-old best friends living in New Zealand Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker spent so much time together that when Parker’s mother said she was going to move the family away for the country the girls hatched a plan to kill her mother. The girls bludgeoned Parker’s mother to death and attempted to pass off her death as an accident. The ruse fell through and the girls each received just over five years in prison. After prison Juliet Hulme moved to the UK and became successful crime writer, Anne Perry. After a film of their story called Heavenly Creatures was released Perry said that her life took a turn for the worse:
When the film came out, that was indescribably awful. But I choose to look forward rather than to look back and to make the best of it. Not the film. I don’t want anything to do with it. Because that was a work of fiction.I would rather have kept my privacy, I think… In a sense I have nothing to hide any more. The worst has happened, so to speak. You don’t think, ‘I’m going to get to know this person and they’re going to like me and then they are going to find out this and it’s all going to fall into bits.’
A Houston detective searches the ice box for the remains of Fred and Edwina Rogers
Some of the most inexplicable crimes are those that happen without reason or follow up, and the ice box murders of 1965 are two of the strangest deaths to occur in the decade. Fred and Edwina Rogers lived in a quiet neighborhood in Houston and mostly kept to themselves. They were so private that their neighbors didn’t even know that the couple lived with their son, Charles.
Charles was so reclusive that no one noticed when he left the family’s home and never came back. After several days without hearing from Fred or Edwina the Houston police stopped by for a welfare check and found an empty house save for some food left on the dining room table. When authorities opened the fridge they saw the decapitated heads of Fred and Edwina in the vegetable crisper. From there the police slowly removed packages that contained dismembered body parts of the couple. Charles was the prime suspect in the case but he was never seen again.
The Chicago Tylenol murders put the country on edge in 1982
We don’t think twice about popping open a container of Tylenol and sticking a couple of pills in our mouths. Today their containers are relatively safe thanks to protective packaging, but in 1982 a rash of deaths in Chicago were linked to packages of extra strength Tylenol. After multiple people who’d taken the drug dropped and never got up again the bottles were recalled by Johnson & Johnson and an investigation was underway.
It was discovered that many of the pills were laced with potassium cyanide and the company did their best to warn people against purchasing or taking the pain reliever while creating a triple-sealed package to prevent tampering. In the midst of the country’s terror James William Lewis contacted Johnson & Johnson claiming that he was responsible for the crime and that it would take $1 million for him to stop. He was immediately arrested and imprisoned for extortion, and even though the FBI believed that he and his wife tampered with the product they couldn’t find enough evidence to prove it.
The Corpsewood Mansion, the site of a orgiastic bloodbath
LSD, sex, and satanism, what can go wrong? It turns out that a lot can go belly up when you combine those three things. 50 year old Dr. Charles Scudder moved to the Georgia woods from Chicago in 1976 with his lover Joe Odom and built a home by band. After two years the couple was living in an “elegant mini-castle” that they named Corpsewood Manor after the trees that dotted their land.
Scudder got deep into satanism and LSD after moving to Georgia (he brought along 12,000 doses for the move) and decorated his home with all manner of gothic paraphernalia while outfitting the home with gargoyles and his dogs Beelzebub and Arsinath. Aside from getting weird with the religious practices, Scudder and Odom got wild with parties In the “pink room,” a pleasure chamber where the duo hosted wild get togethers that featured whips, chains, pornography, and even a book where guests wrote down their sexual predilections.
On the night of Dec. 12, 1982, two of Scudder’s guests, Kenneth Avery Brock and Samuel Tony West, had their own plans. After drinking and getting high Brock shot Odom and the two dogs and forced Scudder to show him where his money was. Unfortunately, Scudder spent his money in the move and didn’t have anything to give the young men. They shot Scudder five times in the head, took what little valuables were lying around, and took off for Mississippi. After killing an innocent bystander on their trip the two men turned themselves in. West was found guilty of two counts of murder and sentenced to death. Brock pleaded guilty and received three consecutive life terms.
Ronald Clark O'Bryan poisoned his son's candy on Halloween '74
We’ve all heard stories of razor blades in candy apples and poisoned candy being handed out on Halloween, but the amount of kids who actually had to deal with that are minor and they were actually poisoned by their parents. The most famous case occurred in 1974 when Ronald Clark O'Bryan poisoned a package of Pixie Stix and passed them out in his small neighborhood in Pasadena, Texas.
Back at home, O’Bryan allowed his kids to have one piece of candy and his son Timothy went straight forward the poisoned Pixie Stick. After noting that it tasted bitter Timothy’s father had him wash it down with Kool-aid, but even a little bit of cyanide did the boy in. O'Bryan told the Associated Press:
It seems like it wasn't long before he was up and complaining his stomach hurt and he didn't feel good. He was bent over vomiting, and I was holding him when he just went limp. We thought we were so careful. We had even wondered if we should go out trick-or-treating this year. There isn't going to be any more trick-or-treating for us.
O’Bryan was arrested for Timothy’s murder on November 5, 1974. He was indicted on one count of capital murder and four counts of attempted murder, and he plead not guilty on them all. It took a jury 71 minutes to sentence him to death on June 3, 1975.
David Koresh with one of his wives and children at the Branch Davidian
After Koresh was banned from his evangelical church he broke out on his own and started his own church he moved to Waco in the 1980s and joined up with the Davidians before he rose through the ranks of his new church so he could take it over as its leader. Koresh squeezed out everyone who didn’t follow him while preaching that the end times were near. He formed an “Army of God” within the church and they began to build their own arsenal.
When the ATF attempted to serve arrest Koresh and serve him with a warrant for the possession of illegal firearms on February 1993 beginning a standoff that lasted for 51 deadly days. More than 80 men, women, and children stayed inside as ATF and FBI negotiators tried to work out a deal with the Davidians, unfortunately the whole thing escalated until the ATF was lobbing tear gas into the premises and the Davidians were returning fire.
Eventually the compound on Mount Carmel caught fire and collapsed, leaving 76 people dead. Koresh was later found dead from a gunshot to the head.
Gertrude Baniszewski only served 20 years in prison for killing a young girl
On October 26, 1965, police discovered the corpse of Sylvia Likens and that would lead to what authorities called “the most terrible crime ever committed in the state of Indiana." The girl’s emaciated body was found on the floor of Gertrude Baniszewski. During the trial in 1966 the prosecutors found that after Sylvia’s carnival-worker parents boarded her and her sister Jenny with Baniszewski that the woman beat the girl whenever she was frustrated with them. As the week went on the beatings grew worse, with Baniszewski’s children joining in. Attorney Natty Bumppo, a former Indianapolis Star reporter who covered the case, explained:
A lot of people have compared this to Lord of the Flies. But that was just a bunch of uncontrolled children. In this case, they had an adult supervising what they were doing. It wasn’t children going wild. It was children doing what they were told.
Baniszewski was initially found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, but she only served 20 years of that sentence and was paroled in 1985. After moving to Iowa she changed her name to Nadine Van Fossan, and died of lung cancer on June 16, 1990.
Body Snatching once helped bolster the medical science industry
If you wanted to learn how to do operate on a body in the 19th century then you either had to hope against hope that you were able to observe a real life operation, or you had to work on a corpse. While plenty of current medical students work on a variety of crises that have been donated to science, to do so in the 19th century you had to buy one from a grave robber.
To get a cadaver someone had to pay for robbers to grab a body from the slave, free black, and impoverished graveyards, often within hours of their burial. On April 1788 the people of New York were so fed up with this behavior that they stormed Columbia College to drag doctors into the street, beating them mercilessly, and destroy any stolen corpses they found inside. One year later New York passed the 1789 Anatomy act, one of the first American laws to outlaw grave robbing.
Gordon Stewart carried out the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders, some of the sickest crimes known to man
For some reason there’s a never ending supply of creeps who are obsessed with stealing children and doing away with them in increasingly awful ways. In the 1920s more than 20 young men went missing in California thanks to Gordon Stewart Northcott. In August a 9-year-old boy was picked up by the police, and he told them that he was Walter Collins. After being taken to Christine Collins she said that he wasn’t her son but the police made her keep him anyway.
The boy wasn’t Collins, in reality Walter Collins had been taken by Gordon Stewart, a young man who brought children to his ranch to abuse them in his chicken incubator before burying them under a pile of quicklime to get rid of the evidence.
A boy who lost his right arm on the job in a machine accident
At the onset of the 20th century there were barely any regulations on factory work of any kind. If you got hurt on the job you either found a way to keep working or that was it for you. In 1900 nearly one million people were hurt while working in factories, and many of them were children. While we’d like to think that children were kept out of harm’s way, about 50 percent of child labor was seriously dangerous work. They suffered broken fingers, mangled arms, and some of them even passed away after falling asleep while working near fast moving equipment. The worst case scenario for many of these children occurred for those who had to work in the coal mines. If a cave in occurred they were often trapped under the rocks and never saw daylight again.
Glenn Sue Sharpe, a woman whose vacation inspired "The Strangers"
In November of 1980, Glenna “Sue” Sharp was renting a cabin in Keddie, California, an isolated area in the woods of northern part of the state. She and her five children were on the road, running from her abusive husband when they stopped at this little slice of Heaven, or so they thought. While her kids stayed in cabin #28 she stayed next door with some friends in cabin #27 April 12, 1981. When she went home the next day she discovered three bodies lying on the floor next to a bloody knife. The authorities put 4,000 hours into the investigation put they never found anything, they weren’t even clear if the killing was random or not. Since the investigation went cold the cabin has been leveled and no one has learned the truth about the horrific crime.
An 11-year-old girl had a chance run in with a serial killer
When Andrew Cunanan shot Giani Versaci in the back of the head outside his home in Miami Beach no knew that he was behind four other murders at the time. In 1997 the journalist Jamilah King had a run in with the killer when she was only 11-years-old while playing in San Francisco’s Panhandle park. He watched her as she played in the park and approached her while she played basketball. Cunanan stopped her to say that she was “really good” before offering her a dollar. King ran towards Cunanan, snatched the dollar from his hand and ran away as quickly as possuble. A few months later the man’s mugshot was plastered all over the television.
Susan Smith pretended that someone drowned her children, but it was her all along
We always think that a mother will do anything to save her children, and while that might the case in most instances. On October 25, 1994, Susan Smith was distraught over her breakup with Tom Findlay, a married man she’d been dating while married to her husband David, after all of that fell apart she was so distraught that she strapped her two children into her car and drove to John D. Long Lake before letting the car ease down the ramp and into the water. She watched as her sleeping children plunged into the water and sank.
Smith claimed that a black man had stolen her car and kidnapped the children. Her friends and family rallied around her and David returned to her, but after nine days the authorities realized that something was wrong. After two polygraphs the authorities told Susan that they didn’t believe her and the truth of what happened fell out of her. She said that she wanted to kill herself and her children, but at the last minute she got out of the car and let her kids drown.
After going to trial the jury only took two-and-a-half hours to return a verdict of guilty of two counts of murder, but they spared her the death penalty and gave her 30 years to life.
The great gorilla Harambe was killed after a boy fell into his enclosure
For the most part, animals in the zoo are safe to be around - as long as people don’t get close to them. In 2016 a 3-year-old boy fell into Harambe’s enclosure and spent 10 to 15 minutes being dragged around the gorilla exhibit by the frustrated primate. Harambe was put down in full view of the public, something that angered many animal rights activists and lovers of the animal kingdom. Zoo Director Thane Maynard says that their only choice in the situation was to put the gorilla down because of the “life-threatening situation.” The boy’s family released a statement in an attempt to soothe the wounds of anyone who was grieving the loss of Harambe:
We extend our heartfelt thanks for the quick action by the Cincinnati Zoo staff. We know that this was a very difficult decision for them, and that they are grieving the loss of their gorilla.
Ed Gein's crimes were so horrific that he spawned multiple films
Grave robber, amateur furniture maker, schizophrenic, Ed Gein was a lot of things and none of them were normal. The people of Plainfield, Wisconsin knew that Gein was off, but they didn’t know what he was capable of. After his mother passed away in 1945 Gein boarded up her room and started living in the spaces of their home where she wasn’t known to stay for long. He also took to digging up the local cemeteries for fresh bodies that he could use to create lampshades, gloves, and even an entire skin suit.
After killing a woman who ran the town’s hardware store on November 16, 1957, Gein was tracked down almost immediately by the local authorities who were absolutely shocked by the house of horror that they discovered. Gein was clearly disturbed and he spent the rest of his life in various mental health facilities. His ghoulish crimes inspired films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho, and The Silence of the Lambs.