Some serial killers have stuck in our psyche like murderous pieces of gum: names like Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy and Son of Sam. There are plenty of other serial killers, whose crimes were just as heinous, but they weren't as memorable. Here are a few serial killers that are not household names.
1. Richard Trenton Chase
Chase was known as “The Vampire Killer of Sacramento” because he drank the blood of his victims. He, like the more infamous Jeffrey Dahmer, practiced cannibalism with victims' body parts. At age 21 he spent his free time capturing and killing animals. Then, he would eat them, sometimes raw and sometimes “blended up.” In 1976, he was hospitalized for blood poisoning after he injected himself with blood from a rabbit he murdered. He also allegedly bit off the heads of birds so he could suck out their blood. In 1977, Chase was found in a Nevada field naked and covered in cow’s blood. Not long after, Chase escalated from killing animals to murdering human beings. He killed one person in a drive-by shooting. His next victim was a 22-year-old pregnant woman that he he disemboweled. He drained out her blood into a yogurt cup to later drink it. Chase murdered at least 6 people. He was charged for the killings and committed suicide in 1979.
2. Jack Unterweger
Unterweger was an Austrian serial killer who murdered at least ten women. He killed an 18-year-old sex worker and was sentenced to jail in 1976 for the murder. During his stint in prison, he started writing and became a journalist—and was respected by many Austrian intellectuals. His prison autobiography Fegefeuer oder die Reise ins Zuchthaus (Purgatory or the Trip to Jail - Report of a Guilty Man) turned into a best-seller in 1984. He was thought of as reformed, and was released on parole in 1990. After his release, he went on to kill nine more sex workers in Europe and in California. He was convicted of the murders and committed suicide in 1994.
3. John George Haigh
Haigh was a serial killer from England, commonly known as the "Acid Bath Murderer." He was convicted for the murder of six but he claimed to have killed nine. Some of his victims were battered and some were shot. Haigh used concentrated sulphuric acid to destroy his victims’ corpses. After the dead bodies were disintegrated, this killer would forge his victims’ paperwork so he could sell their possessions and collect their money. Strangely, investigators learned that Haigh was using the acid to destroy bodies because he misunderstood the meaning of the term corpus delicti. Apparently he thought that if the bodies could not be found, a murder conviction was out of the question. Despite the lack of corpses, there was enough scientific evidence to convict Haigh for the murders. He was executed for his crimes. Although his name doesn’t seem to be a household one, history hasn’t totally forgotten him. He’s been referenced in various pop culture ways: a fictionalized version of Haigh appears as a boss character in the video game, Clock Tower 3 and he was referenced in an episode of the television series Bones.
4. Peter Stumpf
Stumpf was a serial killer from the 1500s that was accused of being a cannibal, witch and a werewolf. In 1589, he had what was called “one of the most lurid and famous werewolf trials of history.” He was stretched out on a rack and tortured until he confessed that the Devil had given him a magical girdle that allowed him to metamorphose into a werewolf. No such girdle was ever found after his arrest. But, another confession of his seemed more likely: that over the course of two decades he murdered 18 people, and ate some of them. He claimed he killed and ate 14 children and two pregnant women (whose fetuses he ripped from their wombs). One of the kids he ate was his own son and he reportedly ate his brain. In addition to all that, he was accused of having an incestuous relationship with his daughter.
5. Dorothea Helen Puente
[Central California Women's Facility]
This female serial killer is believed to have murdered between nine and 15 people. In the 1980s, Puente ran a boarding house in Sacramento, California. Elderly people would check in and never check out. That’s because Puente would murder them and bury them in her backyard. After killing her guests, she would take over their social security checks. Newspapers had dubbed her the "Death House Landlady." Even though her murders were public record, most people did not believe that female serial killers even existed until the 1990s. That includes some in the FBI! In 1998, a member of the FBI stated outright at a conference that there are no female serial killers.