Even when dealing with the gruesome subject of serial killers, there are famous names that pop into your head. Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer are common individuals thrown around when the topic of murder arises and whilst there is no doubt about how terrible their crimes were, there are also countless other killers equally awful.

In this short post, we are going to introduce you to a few of the lesser known serial killers that have committed their own depraved crimes. Note that this list is not meant to focus on the serial killers with the most victims, but those who you may not have heard of instead.

Furthermore, be warned that whilst we won’t go into detail, these murderers still committed gruesome atrocities which will be mentioned and discussed.

Leonarda Cianciulli

Leonarda Cianciulli was a resident of Correggio, Italy. In early life, she struggled through disapproving parents and supposedly tried to take her own life on multiple occasions. Her parent’s disapproval of her culminated in a marriage to a registry office clerk whom they disapproved of and supposedly, her mother cursed her to a life of misery in response to the marriage.

This curse, combined with the destruction of her home via earthquake and her imprisonment due to fraud made Cianculli believe in the cures wholeheartedly, only made worse by the fact that she lost 13 of her 17 children before they reached 10 years of age. Eventually, she sought out a Romani fortune teller who claimed that she would either go to prison or a criminal asylum. This only made Cianciulli’s superstitiousness worse and her zealous care for her believing that the only way to protect them was through human sacrifice.

She ended up killing three women in the community before boiling their remains and turning them into tea cakes and, for her final victim, soap which she shared with the neighbours. Eventually, she was caught and spend 30 years in prison and 3 in a criminal asylum, just as the fortune teller predicted.

Fred and Rosemary West

Fred and Rosemary West were a serial killer couple during the middle-late 20th century. Fred was from Herefordshire, England and displayed signs of crime and violence towards women from an early age. He met his eventual second wife, Rosemary Letts, when she was 15 years old and within a year, she was pregnant with his first child to the dismay of her parents.

Whilst there are suggestions that Fred had already killed by this time, it’s unknown exactly when Rosemary began to kill too but the couple married in late 1971 and eventually had eight children. In 1994 they were both arrested, and it’s suspected that they had committed multiple murders in the 23 years since their marriage, including their own eldest daughter. Ultimately, Fred committed in prison soon after his arrest whilst Rosemary was convicted to a life sentence which she is still serving.

Fritz Haarmann

Fritz Haarmann was a citizen of Hannover, Germany and during the post-war years of 1919-1924, he committed over 20 confirmed murders with the potential for many more. Haarmann was a quiet child with few friends and, after a stint in a military academy, he displayed his first sign of criminal misconduct when he took up work in a cigar factory and was ultimately arrested for molesting children.

Due to his psychological state, he did not undergo trial and was sent to a mental institution instead which he eventually escaped, travelling to Switzerland for two years before returning to Germany. From here, he began to engage in petty thievery and crime, coming in and out of prison, being caught for multiple sexual offences with teenage boys and culminating in dozens of suspected murder victims. Eventually, he was caught and admitted to killing between 50 and 70 young men, but police records could only trace a suspected 27. Regardless, he was ultimately sentenced to death via guillotine and died in 1925.

These serial killers are only a handful of the less commonly known names in the history of crime. If you are interested in this type of subject there are countless resources online as well as tours, guided walks and discussions around the areas where these killers lived. 

Published by Addie Davison