The gritty world of homicide is a world unknown to most of us, the idea of one human taking the life of another is hardly one we can imagine. Sure, the soul has left earth and gone somewhere else, but the evidence of their existence and what happened to them always remains in the form of a body. We’ve all seen crime scenes, on the news with blurred out faces, however, it’s rare that we get a raw glimpse into the phenomena that is murder. On this list, we will travel from crime scene to crime scene, only stopping to see the most shocking photos of those who lost their lives. In addition, the stories of their passing is just as stomach turning.
14 Don't Drink the Kool-Aid
The Jonestown Massacre is the mass suicide of men, women and children alike propagated by the cult’s infamous leader Jim Jones. 918 people was the total death toll of the massacre in Guyana, on November 18th, 1978. Jim Jones started his cult like they all do, seemingly harmless at first the People’s Temple was a Bay Area church that gained a little popularity in the 70’s for advocating socialism. However, it was when the parish would move to Guyana for an agricultural project that the trouble would begin. Jones moved his parish to a compound he was building in Guyana, he called it Jonestown. Shortly after the arrival of the followers, strange stories had made their way back to the states that Jim Jones was the only man allowed to have sex with the women at the compound, he engaged in severe punishments of his followers, including children and he was not allowing anyone to leave the compound. It was the welfare check that congressman Leo Ryan made to the compound that would incite this notorious mass murder/suicide. After ordering the assassination of congressman Ryan, Jones ordered his followers to all drink from a massive vat of juice and cyanide.
13 9/11 Suicide Jumpers
The casualties of 9/11 reached a death toll of around 3,000 people, with an estimated 6,000 others wounded. Nevertheless, a less widely discussed aspect of the grim September morning is how many people committed suicide. An estimated 200 people jumped from the Twin Towers that day, by choice once coming face to face with the horror that was 9/11. Eye witness accounts reveal that some tried to make parachutes out of blankets, tablecloths and curtains in a tragic final attempt to save their lives. Other eye witness accounts recall a couple holding hands as they fell. The ten second drop to their grave must have been surreal for the 9/11 victims, with just enough time to say a final prayer. They are forever immortalized by the rugged stills of them choosing to fall to their death, however, they remain nameless, with no way to identify the jumpers.
12 The Most Beautiful Suicide
Even before 9/11 the Empire State Building had its share of suspicious, one in particular is the suicide of Evelyn McHale. Evelyn had lived a quiet life before she became the subject of headlines due to her now infamous suicide photo. She was a bookkeeper from New York, prior to her suicide she visited her fiancée Barry Rhodes’ home the day before. When later asked about Evelyn and her suicide, he contended that there were absolutely no signs that she was going to commit suicide. However, on May 1st, 1947 she climbed all the way to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building and jumped to her death. An excerpt of her cryptic suicide note read “My fiancée asked me to marry him in June. I don't think I would make a good wife for anybody. He is much better off without me. Tell my father, I have too many of my mother's tendencies.”
11 Bind, Torture, Kill
The polaroids that Dennis Rader would keep of his murders, and other memorabilia from his crimes would eventually lead to the discovery of the enigmatic killer with the self-given moniker B.T.K. The letters stood for Rader’s signature method: bind, torture, kill. The B.T.K. murders spanned over 20 years and reached a total of 10 victims in Wichita, Kansas. The victims had a wide range of age and physical description and included both males and females. The crimes might not have been connected had Rader not kept a cryptic communication with both the police force and the media. He claimed responsibility for the murder of the Otero family, Nancy Fox, Kathryn Bright and Shirley Vian in a poem he titled “Oh! Death to Nancy”. But it would be these salacious letters to police that would eventually lead to his capture when they traced a floppy disk back to a local church, of which he was a high standing member. He is now serving life in prison, where he is banned from watching any news coverage on his crimes.
10 The Hillside Stranglers
In 1975, at the age of 41 Angelo Buono makes contact with his cousin Kenneth Bianchi and persuades him to help him prostitute a few local women. Soon, their violence escalates in unison as they graduate from rapists to eventual murderers, murdering 10 women ranging from 12-28 years old in Los Angeles, California. The press deemed them “the hillside stranglers” after discarding the lifeless bodies of their various victims on the sides of road and hillsides. They had experimented with other methods of killing, but eventually reverted back to strangulation. During the yearlong span of the murders Kenneth Bianchi applied to be a police officer for the LAPD. He would later testify that he took several ride-alongs with police as they were searching for the hillside strangler, unaware that one of the culprits was sitting right next to them.
9 The Calico Kidnapping
On June 15th, 1989 a mysterious polaroid would make headlines, 28 years later more questions than answers have come of the photo. In the photo we see a harrowing photo of a boy and a girl, duct tape over their mouths, in a dimly lit space fashioned with mismatched sheets and pillow cases. If you look at their hands, the positioning is consistent with their hands being bound behind their back. So who were the 2 children in the photo, and what happened to them? At first the little boy was said to be missing boy Michael Henly, however, later Henley’s remains were found and it was concluded that he had actually gotten lost in a nearby mountain range and died of exposure. The most controversial part of the photo however, is the female on the left, said to be Tara Calico. The police were skeptical that it was the missing girl, their reasoning was because the polaroid was found 1,600 miles away from where she was last seen and her face was too gaunt. Eerily enough, the book next to the girl is My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews, which was one of Calico’s favorite authors.
8 The Glamour Girl Slayer
The string of murders committed by Harvey Glatman infamously earned him the name the “glamour girl slayer” in the media. Harvey Glatman moved to his eventual hunting ground of Los Angeles, California in 1957. He had been finding new and creative ways to get in touch with model types, he eventually found 3 women that complied. Glatman would pose as someone of importance offering them print work in a Pulp Fiction publication, as soon as they would return to the apartment with him he would tie them up, rape them and then murder them. Judith Dull, pictured above, was one of his 3 victims. The made-for-television movie Dragnet was the fictional adaptation of these murders. In the movie Glatman says “the reason I killed those girls was ‘cause they asked me to; they did, all of them” to which the detective responds “they asked you to?” Glatman chillingly replies “Sure. They said they’d rather be dead than be with me.” This dialogue is said to come right from the recordings of police interrogations with the real Harvey Glatman.
7 No Flash Photography Please
The trial and subsequent conviction of Jodi Ann Arias for the murder of her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander, would turn out to be the biggest trial since the O.J. Simpson case almost a decade prior. On June 4th, Arias was reportedly tired of being ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander’s dirty little secret, she stabbed him, nearly decapitated him and shot him. Following a turbulent breakup with the emotionally unstable femme fatale, it’s reported that Alexander continued a sexual relationship with Arias while being vocal about being involved with other women. By all accounts, Travis Alexander’s friends and family were disapproving of Arias knowing there was something off about the young photographer from the beginning. Arias was an immediate suspect for the murder, however, Arias would say she hadn’t seen Travis. When the police confronted Jodi with evidence that placed her at the scene, she first told them they were attacked by 2 random assailants. When that didn’t pan out, she claimed self-defense. However, the nail in Jodi’s coffin would be the camera she thought she destroyed with pictures of Travis in the shower moments before the murder, and even photos of the act itself all taken by none other than Jodi Arias.
6 This is the Zodiac Speaking
Perhaps one of the most notorious unsolved murders of all time, was the spree killings that haunted the Bay Area throughout the 60’s and 70’s. Much like Dennis Rader previously on the list, zodiac took pleasure in communicating with law enforcement and the media. Zodiac targeted seemingly random people, ranging in ages from 16 to 29, some were double homicides of couples. The zodiac began communicating with the media in 1969 by sending a few newspapers, but most notably The San Francisco Examiner, a 408 letter comprised completely of symbols. That’s right, the communication from the zodiac was not in plain English, but a cipher to be decoded. When the code of the zodiac was finally broken about a week later by a local elderly couple, the words staring back were shocking. The letter started off “I like killing people because it is so much fun” and in a chilling reference to the motive for these senseless crimes, zodiac goes on to say that he is collecting slaves for the afterlife through the killings
5 We Have Your Daughter
On the morning of December 26th, 1996 Patsy Ramsey, mother of 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, woke up to a ransom note laid neatly on the family’s mansion stairs. The ransom note detailed that the writer had the Ramsey’s daughter and demanded $118,000 in exchange for their daughter’s safety. However, after Boulder, Colorado detectives arrived on scene they found the body of 6-year-old JonBenet under a white sheet in the basement. She was unrecognizable, with duct tape on her mouth and her hands bound. What seemed to be a burn from a taser was found on her face and back. JonBenet suffered blunt force trauma to the back of the head that seemed to match a flashlight found in the home, and was also strangled with a makeshift garrote made out of a paintbrush also found in the house. The scene was immediately contaminated due to Boulder’s lack of experience with murders, and therefore any and all forensic evidence could not be relied upon. The parents John and Patsy Ramsey were suspected by police and the media for years, however, they have since been exonerated and the little girl’s murder has never been solved.
4 Helter Skelter
The night after the Manson family committed the notorious murder of Sharon Tate and her house guests, they drove up Los Angeles once more under the command of their leader, Charles Manson. It’s said that the henchmen drove around for hours before they settled on the house of Leno and Rosemary Labianca on August 10th, 1969. Manson went up to the window and pointed out a sleeping Leno Labianca and instructed the group to go inside and complete their mission. Tex Watson and Leslie Van Haughten were said to have bound the Labianca’s hands with things they found around the house after covering their heads with pillow cases. The group stabbed the Labiancas to death with a chrome plated bayonet and a knife found in the victim’s own kitchen. Before leaving, Patricia Krenwinkel, who had also been a part of the Tate murders the previous night, carved the word “war” into Leno Labianca’s exposed stomach.
3 The Night Stalker
The crime spree committed by Richard Ramirez from June 1984 to August 1985, terrorized the greater Los Angeles area. The press had knighted the mystery assailant “the night stalker”. Ramirez earned this name from the lack of pattern and preference to his crimes. He committed home invasions, carjackings, rapes and of course murders. The name was to allude to the fact that he must have watched his victims and made a selection based on the opportunity that presented itself. Though most of the time he committed the murders with a .22 semi-automatic, he had also been credited for slitting people’s throats, bludgeoning them to death and even most famously strangling prostitutes to death at the Cecil Hotel. His victim’s ranged in age, physical description and gender. When he was finally apprehended on August 31st, 1985 after being the face of a public man hunt, he made his first court appearance. On his hand he drew a pentagram and yelled “hail Satan!”
2 Handsome Devil
Finally, at the top of the list is America’s most famous serial killer: Ted Bundy. Ted Bundy was by all accounts relatively normal, he was also handsome, successful and charming. He had become a chameleon in society, able to operate at extremely high functioning levels of interaction, no one ever knowing that Bundy was actually a serial killer. By the 70’s Bundy had killed over 30 times and some say those are only the ones we know about. Bundy would select his victim and then come up with a ploy to speak to them, most notably he would sometimes pretend to be a police officer. Finally, when he got the victims to a secluded area he would rape and murder them. Bundy would later go on to say in court that he didn’t know why he had these dark urges, he didn’t have the abusive childhood most criminals have and he was never disadvantaged in any way. Bundy claims the urge was insatiable, only leaving him for a short time after he committed a murder, only to return. Bundy would often revisit his crimes before the bodies were found, he was known to have sex with their corpses.
1 The Milwaukee Cannibal
The notorious serial killer named Jeffrey Dahmer was deemed the Milwaukee Cannibal after a nearly 20 year reign of terror. From 1978 to 1991 Jeffrey Dahmer killed 17 men and boys, as well as experimented with their bodies, in some cases eating them. The subsequent arrest of Jeffrey Dahmer occurred after an incident with a man named Tracy Edwards. Earlier that night Dahmer offered Edwards $100 in exchange for Edwards to accompany him to his apartment and take nude photos of him. Edwards reported a foul odor coming from the apartment, as the Exorcist 3 played on Dahmer’s nearby television. Dahmer quickly turned violent, pressing a knife against Edwards’ heart, he told him he intended to eat his heart. Edwards managed to escape after punching Dahmer in the face and flagged down to officers. When the officers returned to Apartment 213 what they found was horrifying. They found polaroids of bodies in various stages of decomposition and dismemberment. They found bodies in large cylindrical drums. But most disturbing of all, in the fridge lay human heads and other body parts.