The Monster of the Andes, The Meanest Man in America, and 7 other Prolific Serial Killers

by Anna Shaw

1. Thug Behram

Estimated Body Count: 931
The Story: Between 1790 and 1830, Behram was the leader of India's infamous Thugee Cult. The death toll attributed to this cult varies from 50,000 to 2,000,000 people. They were an organization of thieves who would befriend travelers before robbing and killing them. Cult members believed that every person they killed prevented the coming of the goddess Kali for another millennium. As the leader of the gang, Thug Behram confessed his involvement in the 900+ murders, and admitted to personally strangling at least 125 people.
Capture: The British Government finally created policies against the Thugee Cult in the 1830s. The government recruited spies from the inside, who would eventually lead to the cult's downfall in the 1870s.
Punishment: Thug Behram was never tried for his action, as he became an informer for the government after his capture.

2. Elizabeth Bathory

elisabeth20bathory.jpgEstimated Body Count: 600+
The Story: Elizabeth Bathory was a Hungarian countess in the 16th century. Her husband was killed in the Long War, leaving her in charge of the family estate. During her reign, many young girls began to disappear. Bathory and her servants would keep them captive, torturing and eventually killing them.
Capture: Local parish priests began to complain about Bathory's action in court, leading to an investigation. Upon searching her castle, they found many bodies, as well as many dying girls.
Punishment: Because of her position, Elizabeth Bathory was never tried. But her servants were. Their method of execution was rather brutal itself: they were thrown into a fire. Bathory was confined to a single room in her castle. The door was cemented shut, leaving only a slit to allow food to be slipped in. She died four years later, in 1614.

Keep reading for a scarier version of Dr. Kevorkian, history's creepiest tea parties and more.

3. Giuseppe Greco

greco.jpgEstimated Body Count: 300
The Story: Giuseppe Greco was a hitman for the Sicilian Greco Mafia Family during the Second Mafia War during the 1980s. He would assassinate enemies of the Family, including family members of those considered threats. Giuseppe's tactics varied, but his favorite weapon was the AK-47. His talent for killing helped him quickly gain power with the Mafia, so when the war ended, he became a target of his own family.
Capture: It is believed that after the war ended, Giuseppe fled to the United States. However, the Mafia eventually caught up with him, killing him in his home sometime in September of 1985.
Punishment: Death was not the end for Greco. Even after he was killed, the Sicilian government charged him with 58 counts of murder. He was given a life sentence.

4. Pedro Lopez

pedrolopez.jpgEstimated Body Count: 300+
The Story: Pedro Lopez was also known as the "Monster of the Andes." He would attack young girls in Peru, Colombia and Ecuador. He would rape and kill them, burring their bodies throughout the countryside.
Capture: The main investigation began in 1980 when a flash flood uncovered the grave of one of his victims. Lopez was arrested after an attempted abduction went wrong, and the connection to the murders was later made. He then confessed his series of killings to the police, leading them to more bodies.
Punishment: Lopez's cooperation with police helped to reduce his sentence to a mere sixteen years. Good behavior moved his release date up two years. He was released from prison in 1998, and his current whereabouts are unknown.

5. Harold Shipman

shipman.jpgEstimated Body Count: 284
The Story: Shipman was an English doctor who would give his patients lethal doses of morphine or diamorphine. Unlike Jack Kevorkian who gave his patients lethal doses consentingly, Shipman would give healthy patients these drugs, and forge medical notes stating that they were in ill health. In most cases, there was no apparent benefit to this. In only one case did Shipman get money in someone's will.
Capture: Shipman was placed under investigation after his local coroner noticed the high fatality rate of his practice. This investigation was abandoned due to lack of evidence, but after more suspicious deaths, Shipman was arrested.
Punishment: Shipman was charged with, and found guilty of 15 sample cases of murder. He received 15 life sentences, but committed suicide in his cell on January 13, 2004.

6. H.H. Holmes

HHHolmes.gifEstimated Body Count: 230
The Story: Herman Webster Mudgett used the name H.H. Holmes or his illegal activities. He bought property in Chicago, eventually constructing a large hotel. But this was no ordinary hotel "“ its rooms were built to seal shut and fill with deadly gas. There were special chutes built to funnel bodies directly into the furnace or into pits of hydrochloric acid. He would fire employees after two weeks to avoid paying them. He opened this hotel during the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, so he easily filled his hotel with potential victims.
Capture: In 1895, one of his life insurance schemes fell through, leading to his arrest and a police investigation. The search of his hotel uncovered many dismembered bodies.
Punishment: There were only 27 confirmed murders, but using the missing persons list, the police identified some 230 murders that are attributed to Holmes. He was hanged on May 7, 1896.

7. Gilles de Rais

Gilles.jpgEstimated Body Count: 140+
The Story: Gilles de Rais was a French noble who fought alongside Joan of Arc against England. He had a habit of decapitating and torturing young boys from the local villages. Rais also had his servants kill young boys while he watched.
Capture: His downfall stemmed from a failed attempt to kidnap a clergyman. This led to an investigation.
Punishment: He was hanged on October 26, 1440.

8. Donald Henry "Pee Wee" Gaskins

peewee.jpg Estimated Body Count: 200
The Story: Unlike the others on this list, Gaskins found his victims by driving around the American south, picking up anyone he felt like. He would also kill people he knew, but only if he had a specific reason to do so. He was eventually dubbed the "Meanest Man in America."
Capture: On December 4, 1975, Gaskins led police to a mass grave. He was arrested on the spot.
Punishment: Gaskins was sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison when South Carolina outlawed the death penalty. However, after killing a fellow inmate, he was once again put on death row, and executed on September 6, 1991 "“ the fourth person to be executed after the ban on the death penalty was lifted.

9. Luis Garavito

luis.jpg Estimated Body Count: 140
The Story: Garavito, also known as "Le Bestia" or "The Beast" was a serial killer in Colombia between 1992 and 1998. He would convince poor peasant children to follow him into secluded fields, where he would kill them. He would then prop up the bodies and have "tea parties" with them, until he grew bored and found others to kill.
He was captured in April 1999 while attempting to kidnap a child. He then admitted to 140 murders, and led the police to several mass graves.
Punishment: Garavito received a 22-year sentence, which he is currently serving in Colombia.

Anna Shaw is an occasional contributor to

Roadside Bear Statue in Wales is So Lifelike That Safety Officials Want It Removed

Wooden bear statue.

There are no real bears in the British Isles for residents to worry about, but a statue of one in the small Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells has become a cause of concern. As The Telegraph reports, the statue is so convincing that it's scaring drivers, causing at least one motorist to crash her car. Now road safety officials are demanding it be removed.

The 10-foot wooden statue has been a fixture on the roadside for at least 15 years. It made headlines in May of 2018 when a woman driving her car saw the landmark and took it to be the real thing. She was so startled that she veered off the road and into a street sign.

After the incident, she complained about the bear to highways officials who agreed that it poses a safety threat and should be removed. But the small town isn't giving in to the Welsh government's demands so quickly.

The bear statue was originally erected on the site of a now-defunct wool mill. Even though the mill has since closed, locals still see the statue as an important landmark. Llanwrtyd Wells councilor Peter James called it an "iconic gateway of the town," according to The Telegraph.

Another town resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Telegraph that the woman who crashed her car had been a tourist from Canada where bears are common. Bear were hunted to extinction in Britain about 1000 years ago, so local drivers have no reason to look out for the real animals on the side of the road.

The statue remains in its old spot, but Welsh government officials plan to remove it themselves if the town doesn't cooperate. For now, temporary traffic lights have been set up around the site of the accident to prevent any similar incidents.

[h/t The Telegraph]

The Most Popular Infomercial Product in Each State

You don't have to pay $19.95 plus shipping and handling to discover the most popular infomercial product in each state: AT&T retailer All Home Connections is giving that information away for free via a handy map.

The map was compiled by cross-referencing the top-grossing infomercial products of all time with Google Trends search interest from the past calendar year. So, which crazy products do people order most from their TVs?

Folks in Arizona know that it's too hot there to wear layers; that's why they invest in the Cami Secret—a clip-on, mock top that gives them the look of a camisole without all the added fabric. No-nonsense New Yorkers are protecting themselves from identity theft with the RFID-blocking Aluma wallet. Delaware's priorities are all sorted out, because tons of its residents are still riding the Snuggie wave. Meanwhile, Vermont has figured out that Pajama Jeans are the way to go—because who needs real pants?

Unsurprisingly, the most popular product in many states has to do with fitness and weight loss, because when you're watching TV late enough to start seeing infomercials, you're probably also thinking to yourself: "I need to get my life together. I should get in shape." Seven states—Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Utah, and Wisconsin—have invested in the P90X home fitness system, while West Virginia and Arkansas prefer the gentler workout provided by the Shake Weight. The ThighMaster is still a thing in Illinois and Washington, while Total Gym and Bowflex were favored by South Dakota and Wyoming, respectively. 

Kitchen items are clearly another category ripe for impulse-buying: Alabama and North Dakota are all over the George Forman Grill; Alaska and Rhode Island are mixing things up with the Magic Bullet; and Floridians must be using their Slice-o-matics to chop up limes for their poolside margaritas.

Cleaning products like OxiClean (D.C. and Hawaii), Sani Sticks (North Carolina), and the infamous ShamWow (which claims the loyalty of Mainers) are also popular, but it's Proactiv that turned out to be the big winner. The beloved skin care system claimed the top spot in eight states—California, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas—making it the most popular item on the map.

Peep the full map above, or check out the full study from All Home Connections here.


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