The world has seen a hell of a lot of serial killers. With most comes an appropriate nickname, usually coined by the media, but sometimes used by the killer himself (or herself). A lot of these nicknames are boring. Every stupid nurse who murders a bunch of his or her patients is labeled The Angel of Death. There are plenty of those. It must be hard to stare at their blank faces and not snuff 'em. Still, how about a new nickname for one of these ghouls, like the Convalescent Killer or the Pillow Talk Slayer?
Then there's the simple practice of taking the area the murderer focused on and adding "killer" to it, such as "The Green River Killer" or "The Baton Rouge Serial Killer." Well, in that case, you'd best be hoping a second killer doesn't one day pop up in those places, because he'll be nothing but a sequel: The Green River Killer II. Electric Boogaloo.
Then there's the plain silly. William Heirens was labeled "The Lipstick Killer" because he wrote a message in lipstick at one of the crime scenes. Boy, I'll bet he regretted that once he heard what people were calling him. I'll bet he was made fun of back at the serial killer headquarters - "Hey, it's the Mascara Murderer!" "Watch out! Here comes the Rouge Ripper!"
What about Colin Ireland, the Gay Slayer? His name came from his choosing homosexuals as his victims, but it sure sounds a lot like he's the gay one. You also had Gerard John Schaefer, who snatched up the nickname "Florida Sex Beast" before Ted Bundy even had a chance. And Jerry Brudos, who had the awful, creepy nickname, "The Shoe-Fetish Slayer."
There was also Altemio Sanchez, "The Bike Path Rapist." Well, I don't care if the word rapist" follows it, "Bike Path" makes you sound like a nine-year-old. You were just skipping along, killing people while on your paper route.
There are also the many beasts, monsters, and vampires. But these are the nine greatest nicknames enjoyed by the world's serial killers.
9. Nannie Doss - The Giggling Granny/The Jolly Black Widow
You would think that Nannie Doss was a completely likeable woman. What's not to like about a grandmother who's always laughing and baking apple pies with five tablespoons of rat poison baked in?
Doss may have been a bit of a piker in only murdering family, including four husbands, her two children, her mother, two sisters, a grandson and a nephew. This puts her only a little above Andrea Yates, for Pete's sake. Anyone can kill family. Most of us think about it all the time. But she did have not one, but two great nicknames, and I don't mean the Fran Drescheresque name "Nannie." Between her "Giggling Granny" moniker and "The Jolly Black Widow," why has there never been a movie made about this silly woman? She was also given the name "Arsenic Annie, which would make one hell of a musical. Doss died in prison from leukemia in 1965. Wasn't so funny then, was it, Nannie?
8. The Zodiac Killer
Oh, sure, you might think of astrology as incredibly silly, what with the horoscopes, or horrible scopes, always appearing right below the latest Cathy cartoon, but was there ever as cool a thing as the puzzles the Zodiac left for police in San Francisco in the late 1960s? You might not think much of the zodiac. I mean, it does seem just a step above being The New York Times Crossword Killer or The Dear Abby Slayer, but this guy made it work.
And the fact that he was never captured only adds to the mystique. If the San Francisco media had just called him "The Murdering Ass with All the Stupid Symbols," he wouldn't be nearly as romanticized as he is today.
7. Dennis Rader - BTK
He of the very chantable, pro wrestling-type nickname. Just don't call him "the Bind, Torture and Kill Killer." This makes him the serial killer equivalent of ATM Machine and PIN Number.
Like Mr. Zodiac, BTK evaded police from his very first murder in 1974 all the way until 2005. He was also known for writing letters to police and the media. Had the Kansas man not written again in 2004, he might still be at large. But how cool is it to be a serial killer with a nickname consisting only of letters, especially when those letters stand for what they stand for? No wonder he wrote again after all those years and was arrested months later.
6. David Berkowitz - the Son of Sam
He's been glorified in song and film. They even named a serial killer law after him. He was one of the lucky murderers who nicknamed himself and had the name stick.
Berkowitz murdered at least six people in New York City in the mid-70s, leaving behind letters that referred to himself as "The Son of Sam," Sam being his neighbor Sam Carr, whose Labrador retriever Harvey, Berkowitz claimed, was possessed by a demon and had commanded that Berkowitz kill.
This lead to many questions at the time, such as how this made him Sam Carr's son, and why did they never question this evil dog? I mean he was at least as culpable as Manson was in the Tate-LaBianca murders. Didn't anyone ever think that this Sam guy named the dog Harvey after the six-foot white rabbit who commanded Elwood P. Dowd to kill? Dowd never bought Harvey's story, but Berkowitz was just too gullible.
The weird thing was that the two actual sons of Sam Carr were each dead by 1980, one from an apparent suicide, the other in a car accident. Berkowitz is still in prison, where he has found Jesus, God bless him.
5. Peter Stumpp - Werewolf of Bedburg
You may never have heard of Stumpp, who supposedly committed his crimes in Germany circa the 1580s. Apparently he was a wealthy farmer with a couple of children, and he may have had an incestuous relationship or two somewhere along the way, with both a distant relative and his own daughter. But that last part is easily forgivable since Stumpp was a practitioner of black magic. He even had a magic belt given to him by Satan himself, that, when worn, turned him into a mighty, vicious wolf, Hence his name, "the Werewolf of Bedburg."
From there the legend gets a little crazy. Stumpp was an insatiable bloodsucker of everything from humans to goats and sheep. He confessed (albeit under threat of torture) to killing and devouring 14 children, one being his own son, plus two pregnant women and their fetuses. Oh, and he had sex with a succubus, the lucky bastard. For his crimes Stumpp was brutally executed. All of this may seem a bit harsh, but what else was there to do in Germany in 1580?
Centuries later there was Albert Fish, the Werewolf of Wysteria, but that just sounds like he was a character on Desperate Housewives, killing people is a very silly fashion.
4. Nikolai Dzhumagaliev - Metal Fang
Okay, so you have a Russian serial killer. Already pretty cool, right? But this one has white metal false teeth. It's already the stuff of graphic novels! But wait, theres more! He's a cannibal, see, and he murders women with an axe, then serves them as dinner to all of his friends! And his name? Metal Fang!
It was Kazakhstan in the early 1980s, and Dzhumagaliev was having a great ole time with all the hacking and cannibalizing until his snitchy, buttinsky friends found a human head and some intestines in his refrigerator and ratted him out to the cops. Like many slashers, the grand total of kills for ole Nikolai ranges from the confirmed seven to perhaps as many as 100. Needless to say, Dzhumagaliev was found to be completely insane and was placed in a psychiatric hospital. He escaped in 1989 and eluded capture until 1991. Then they released him in 1994! To this day he's a free man and living in Eastern Europe with relatives who check their fridge and freezer regularly.
3. The Cleveland Torso Murderer
This is a tricky one because it sounds like he traveled to various circuses killing men billed as "The Human Torso," like Prince Randian on the cult film Freaks.
Also known as "The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run," the CTM was also never caught. In fact, most of his victims were Jane and John Does. The official body count is 12, all during the mid 1930s, which includes the lead detective in the case. But he could have murdered as many as 40 during a 30-year span, for all anybody truly knows. Per the nickname, most of the victims were beheaded, and their torsos were often cut in half.
The inability of famous detective Eliot Ness to capture CTM cut Ness's career short.
2. Sergei Ryakhovsky - The Hippopotamus
The Russian-born Ryakhovsky murdered at least 19 people between 1988 and 1993, but did the press give him the nickname "the Moscow Butcher?" Nope. "The Monster of Moscow?" Don't be silly. Due to his thick neck and pasty skin, and just his overall despicable bulk, he became "The Hippopotamus." There were some who called him "The Balashikha Ripper," but once the hippo moniker started going around, this commie might as well have been trying the eat marbles with his mouth controlled by little children.
King Hippo, who was also a necrophiliac, was supposed to face a firing squad in 1995, but apparently he was too easy a target. He's still serving life in a maximum-security prison.
1. Cayetano Santos Godino - The Big Eared Midget
If U.S. cities were more like Buenos Aires and Moscow and gave serial killers awful names, rather than cool ones, we might just see less and less of them.
This little fella was born in 1896 in the capital city of Argentina. At just 16 years of age he began setting buildings on fire and murdering children. Did the people of the city start calling him "The Buenos Aires Killer?" Heck, no. Due to his small stature and large ears, he was called "petiso ore judo," or "big eared midget." He died in prison in 1944. But don't cry for him. He's number one on this silly list.