ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Notorious or Famous Female Woman Serial Killers, Nannie Doss

Updated on June 28, 2017

Famous Female Serial Killers, Nannie Doss

With an annual average of 12 serial killers at large in the USA at any one time, it may be a scary place to be. But a minimum of at least one of these serial killers, will be a female. Women who kill are becoming more common as modern society begins to breed resentment and cultural differences escalate.

For women serial killers, or murderesses, the motive for murder is usually financial gain or towards a cheating partner. Few say that a mightier being has forced them to do their bidding, whilst some do it for plain sexual gratification. Whatever the reason for female serial killers to murder multiple people, it is becoming a deadly and unforgiving world.

People in general will trust a naïve or innocent appearing women, more than they would trust a man, but his could leave to their downfall and untimely death. Many innocent victims of such macabre females lay in graves across the globe, many of these impromptu grave sites will never be discovered.

Nannie Doss
Nannie Doss

Nannie Doss

Nannie Doss was born in Blue Mountain, Alabama, November 4th 1905, and was originally named as Nancy Hazle. Nancy was destined to become a cold hearted female serial killer with no remorse. Her own family were the victims of many deaths as no one was spared from Nannie Doss's poisoning rampage.

Women serial killers like Nannie Doss who ravaged her family tree killing four husbands, sisters, nephews, her mother and even her own sisters, show no discrimination in the age or sex of their victims. The innocent lady in the photograph on the right, hides a sinister and macabre, yet twisted and possibly demented person underneath.

The Life of Nannie Doss

Nannie Doss had a strict upbringing with a controlling father whose phyiscal and emotional torture towards his wife and children was extensive. Nannie worked on the family farm at all hours so her educational standards were very poor, she could barely read or write. Whilst visiting relatives, the train she was travelling on slammed on its brakes causing Nannie to hit her head severely. This caused headaches and blackouts for several years and was the main instance that she later blamed for her mental instability.

Her childhood was miserable and her father forbade her older sisters from wearing make up and attending social events to prevent them from being sexual active, which had already happened on several occasions.


Doss married for the first time at the age of 16 after dating the man for only a few months. They met at a linen factory where Doss worked with her fathers permission.

This is what Doss wrote about her marriage:

I married, as my father wished, in 1921 to a boy I only knowed about four or five months who had no family, only a mother who was unwed and who had taken over my life completely when we were married. She never seen anything wrong with what he done, but she would take spells. She would not let my own mother stay all night...

This marriage produced four daughters over four years, and Doss's addiction to alcohol had become heavy.

They both cheated on each other and in 1927 they lost two daughters to suspected food poisoning. Her mother in-law also died soon afterwards and suspecting that Doss had killed them all, her husband took the eldest daughter and fled, leaving Doss with one child.

Nannie Doss moved to Anniston, where she met 23 year old Robert Harrelson from Jacksonville through a lonely hearts advertisement. Despite Harrelson being an alcoholic, they moved in together with her two daughters ( the eldest had returned to her ) and the marriage lasted sixteen years.

Doss's eldest daughter Melvina, gave birth to a girl which died only several hours after birth. Melvina later claimed that she saw her mother stick a hat pin into the babies head. Melvina began to date a soldier who had a young boy.

But whilst away, she left the boy called Robert in the care of her mother, Nannie Doss. The boy died of asphyxiation of unknown causes within days. Two months later, Doss collected the $500 life insurance she had secretly taken out on the boy.

Whiskey Poisoning

Frank came home after celebrating the end of world war two and allegedly raped his wife Nannie Doss. The next day she found his corm whiskey jar and added rat poison to the contents. Frank died very slowly and painfully that very same evening.

Doss met and married her third husband Arlie Lanning in Lexinton, North Carolina. They married after only three days of knowing each other through another lonely hearts advert. Arlie died of a suspected heart failure several months later and their house mysteriously burned to the ground. It had been left to Arlies sister in his will, but the insurance money went to Nannie Doss, which she quickly banked. Arlies Lanning's elderly mother suspiciously died in her sleep about the same time.

Nannie Doss ended up living with her bedridden sister for a short while, who died in her sleep soon after Doss's arrival.

After marrying her fourth husband, she poisoned her own mother in 1953 after she had come to live with Doss and her new husband. Her husband died three months later. The serial killers method of poisoning was becoming her trademark.

Nannie Doss's Downfall

Her fifth husband was to be her last serial killing. He was Samuel Doss of Tulsa Oklahoma. He was admitted to hospital with flue like symptoms and was treated for a tract infection. He was released on October 5th and died that same night. Doss had overdosed him in a hurry to collect the two life insurance polices she had taken out on him.

His sudden death alerted his doctor and he ordered an autopsy which showed a high dosage of arsenic in his blood system. Nannie Doss was arrested immediately.


Nannie Doss confessed to killing four husbands, her mother, her sister and a mother-in-law as well as her grandson. She denied any other murders, although she had the motive of the insurance payouts and was at hand every time someone died in her family. Maybe she was just unlucky.

Nannie Doss pleaeded guilty on17th May 1955, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. She died of leukemia in the State Penitentiary in 1965.

Female serial killers allegedly find their first killing traumatic, but apparently, it gets easier the more killings they do.

Other Female Serial Killers

Eileen Wuornos

Sexual predator and prostitute

Amelia Dyers

Known as the baby butcher for killing over 400 children

Dorothea Puente

Poisonous killer of residents at her boarding house

Jane Toppan

Nurse who murdered many to fulfill her depraved sexual gratification


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Georgie Lowery profile image

      GH Price 

      6 years ago from North Florida

      I've been reading your Hubs about serial killers all afternoon. It's almost frightening how "normal" some of these women appeared to be. Thank you for the interesting, yet chilling, information.

    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 

      6 years ago from Mason City

      Very interesting hub. Serial killers are so strange and different, and its interesting to read about them.

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 

      7 years ago from Lagos

      Well articulated and useful. I am reading more. See you. Thanks

    • jacqui2011 profile image


      7 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      Fascinating hub. So well written and very informative. Well done, what an interesting article.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)