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The Most Infamous and Notorious People Throughout History

Updated on August 22, 2014

Genghis Khan - Portrait of a Psychotic Killer

Adolf Hitler's Nazi Regime

History recalls Hitler as the most evil and notorious man to have ever set foot on Earth. Trying to build an "Arian" race, Hitler lead the Nazi party in Germany to persecute the Jewish people.

He is responsible for starting the Holocaust, a mass persecution of Jewish people throughout Europe, where those who didn't fit Hitler's idea of a "perfect citizen" were subjected to torture and then persecuted.

Hitler's intense persecution of the Jewish people, as well as many others, combined with his childish obsession of world domination has earned him immeasurable recognition as one of the most evil men to ever walk this earth.

Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire

Ruler and founder of the Mongol Empire, Genghis Khan is known as one of histories most psychotic killers with an obsession for power.

Khan killed his brother in order in order to take over his poverty-strucken household, and after that, destroyed anything and anyone who got in his way.

Responsible for the Mongol invasions where he was known to use his most unskilled workers as human shields, Genghis Khan committed acts that are inconceivable to most people in order to obtain and uphold his status.

The history of his conquests is filled with tales of massacre, plunder and rapine.

Khan died in 1227.

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Jack the Ripper - The Serial Killer of London

Jack the Ripper is undoubtedly one of the most famous serial killers in history - but his identity remains unknown, and his cases remain unsolved. Although he is known to have killed only five women in total during his killing spree in the 1880s - all believed to be prostitutes, the mystery behind the case is what keeps him in the spotlight.

Jack the Ripper got his name from the way he mutilated the corpses of his victims, shredding their clothes and killing them all with a knife. Although Jack the Ripper was never identified, many suspects were named while the case was being investigated, including the famous barrister Montague John Druitt.

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Albert Fish - The Man Who Inspired the Movie Hannibal

Looks can be deceiving, and no one proves that more than Albert Fish - benevolent grandfather and cannibalistic monster.

Happily married to a loving wife and a model father of three, Fish had a secret his family knew nothing about - he was a child rapist and a serial killer.

Also known as the Boogey Man, the Moon Maniac and the Brooklyn Vampire, Fish hunted children, lured him to his house where he would rape them, kill them, and then make food for his family out of the bodies remains.

In 1935, Albert Fish was tried in White Plains, NY were he plead insanity on account of his sadism, masochism, voyeurism, pedophilia and more. Psychiatrists called him a "psychotic phenomonen" - vouching for his insanity, but ultimately his was deemed sane and sentenced to death.



The Curious Case of the Boston Strangler

Infamous and mysterious, the Boston Strangler reigned from 1962 to 1964. Killing and raping thirteen women, the Strangler reaked havoc throughout Boston during the early 60's.

Although a man by the name of Albert DeSalvo confessed to eleven out of thirteen of the killings committed by the strangler, and sentenced to prison in 1967, it is still unknown if he was the real murderer.

In fact, Boston PD suspect that the case of the Boston Strangler might have actually been committed by not one man, but two.

Herman Webster Mudgett - Doctor Henry Holmes

Herman Webster Mudgett, known by the name Doctor Henry Howard Holmes could possibly be one of the most prolific serial killers in history. Killing at least 27 people during the 19th century, Mudgett made a business out of murder.

First he would lure women to an eerie castle hidden away in Chicago, then he would torture and kill them - only after forcing the women to sign a document leaving Mudgett with the life savings of his victims after their death.

In 2003, author Erik Larson wrote a book detailing the life and murder spree of Mudgett in his book The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America.

The Zodiac Killer - Identity Still Unknown

The Zodiac Killer reigned terror on Northern California in the late 60s.

To this day, the identity of the Zodiac Killer is still unknown. First killing five people, the killer later revealed that he committed a total of 37 murders by sending cryptic messages to newspapers reporting about his killings.

Although suspects have been named by the county covering the case, the mysterious case of the Zodiac Killer was labeled "inactive" in 2004, only to be re-opened three years later.

The Zodiac Killer is highly clever, and only one of the four cryptic messages he sent has ever been deciphered.

Jeffrey Dahmer - the Milwaukee Cannibal

Jeffrey Dahmer was a twisted sociopath who committed 17 murders in Wisconsin between 1978 and 1991. Choosing young boys as his victims, Dahmer would rape his victims, murder them, and then dismember their bodies.

Although diagnosed as insane by numerous psychiatrists, Dahmer was found to be legally sane during his trial in 1992, and sentenced to 15 life sentences to be served behind bars. While in jail, Dahmer was sentenced to his 16th life sentence.

In 1994, Dahmer was beaten to death in jail by another inmate - Christopher Scarver.

Dennis Rader - Notorious BTK Killer

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The BTK Killer - Dennis Rader

Dennis Rader, known by the name BTK killer reaked havoc throughout Wichita for three decades. BTK, standing for bind, torture, kill, baffled Wichita police for years.

With an MO of cutting the phone lines of his victims, breaking into their homes, then binding them up, torturing them and killing them, one day, Rader just stopped, making Witchita police believe that he had died or had gotten incarcerated somewhere.

In 2004 however, the BTK killer sent a letter to a Witchita newspaper taking credit for the death of one of his victims. With the letter, Rader included three photographs of the victim's body as evidence.

That started a cat and mouse chase between Rader and the Witchita police department, as Rader leaked more and more information. BTK sent messages to radio stations, television networks and more, trying to entice the police.

Eventually Rader was caught and is currently serving 10 life sentences behind bars, to be served back to back.

© 2014 Kathleen Odenthal Romano

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    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image
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      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 3 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      I just read an interesting article in Forbes Magazine asking if Putin could wind up becoming the next Hitler. It was a very interesting piece that left much to think about it.

    • profile image

      Thomas M Taylor 3 years ago

      Both were probably as evil as the other. One was blinded by hate the other paranoia. Hitler gets a larger profile due to the Holocaust, was the enemy to the world, and the publicity he made about the hatred. Stalin became very paranoid and started making his own people disappear. The numbers rivaled and beat Hitler in some papers I've seen. Stalin was also an ally, and became known as "Uncle Joe" to many in the Gov. at the time. Who was the bigger evil? I'd side with Hitler still due to the facts of he wanted to globalize what he was doing, and how close he came to do so.

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image
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      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 3 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      I don't agree that Stalin ranks higher than Hitler as a notorious and dangerous person in history. I think Hitler is THE most notorious and dangerous person in history.

    • swordsbane profile image

      William Grant 3 years ago from Wisconsin

      My point was that Stalin rates arguably higher than Hitler is many areas, mostly due to his non-discriminatory terror tactics. Hitler was psychotic. Stalin was crazy and a bit more unpredictable. That made him more dangerous. If his country hadn't been severely screwed by the end of the war, WW 2 might have segued in very nicely to WW 3.

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image
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      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 3 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      Stalin was definitely notorious and dangerous, and if I was doing a longer piece I would definitely have included him, but I tried my best to get people from all parts of history, and people with different MOs to keep the article engaging and cohesive.

      By choosing to not include Stalin I am certainly not saying that he is not a notorious figure from history, but I couldn't include all of the evil that has walked the earth or I would be writing for ages!

    • swordsbane profile image

      William Grant 3 years ago from Wisconsin

      Really?? Stalin doesn't make the list? Is it because Hitler's Holocaust? Hitler had temper tantrums when his trusted aides disagreed with him. He didn't arrest them, torture them and kill them, and sometimes their families. He didn't have practically his entire top military officer corps arrested because hey... better safe than sorry.

      Hitler was a little crazy and he REALLY hated the Jews. Stalin was worse. He just did things in less public ways, and he didn't seem to have it in for any particular group.... unless "People that don't agree with me" can be considered a "group"

    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore

      Nice post. The list of such men is vast and perforce a selection has to be made