Serial killers, for reasons better or worse, tend to gain all sorts of fame—from the fear to the hunt to the trial, we are fascinated with these real-life monsters who commit unspeakable acts. Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Aileen Wuornos are all household names.
However, some serial killers aren't quite as infamous as those listed above. Although no less brutal, these killers seem to live in relative obscurity compared to their counterparts. Here are 4 awful serial killers you've probably never heard of:
Born in Wisconsin but living in southern Florida, Gerard Schaefer obtained his police badge at 25 years old. Schaefer used his authority as a police officer to abduct hitchhikers—teenage girls and young women—and torture, rape, and murder them. After peculiar similarities between two murdered women and an aggravated assault case Schaefer had been convicted of, a search of his house turned up lurid stories depicting violence against “sluts” and “whores” as well as the personal effects (including teeth in one case) of at least eight missing women.
Though only convicted of two counts of murder, Schaefer was linked to about 30 missing women. While serving two life sentences, Schaefer was stabbed to death in prison by a fellow inmate in 1995.
Identifying himself as “rage personified,” Carl Panzram lived a life of violence and crime. Though not all of the crimes he claimed can be corroborated, if even a fraction of them are true, he is truly a monster. In autobiographical documents—now housed at San Diego State University in the Malcolm A. Love Library—Panzram claims:
In my lifetime I have murdered 21 human beings, I have committed thousands of burglaries, robberies, larcenies, arsons and, last but not least, I have committed sodomy on more than 1,000 male human beings. For all these things I am not in the least bit sorry.
After killing a prison foreman, he was sentenced to death and reveled in his fate. He was finally hanged on September 5, 1930.
SEE ALSO: 10 Surprising Facts About Serial Killers
Known as “The Bayou serial killer,” Ronald Dominique eventually confessed to raping and murdering at least 23 men over the course of a 10-year period, starting in 1997. A gay man, Dominique used to frequent the local gay bars in the Bayou Blue area of Houma in southeastern Louisiana and pick up men he thought would engage in sexual acts for money with him.
Almost apathetically, he claims to have murdered the men after raping them because he thought it would be easier than to have them go to the authorities after the assault. To avoid the death penalty, Dominique pleaded guilty to 8 counts of first-degree murder and is serving 8 consecutive life sentences.
In the late 19th century, arsenic was all the rage among avid poisoners—especially with Lydia Sherman, who became known as “The Derby Poisoner.” After insuring her husband for a modest sum, she poisoned him. A successful murder, she decided that her six children were also money signs, insuring and poisoning each of them as well.
How 7 family members died around her with no one suspecting a thing is beyond me, but she managed to marry and kill two more husbands—including the latter's two children—before being caught when the local doctor grew suspicious. She was sentenced to life in prison and died of cancer in 1878.