The FBI believes that there are between 25 and 50 active serial killers in the United States at any given moment. The global number of serial killers are undoubtedly far greater. The preponderance of these real-life monsters operate solely in the shadows, but over the decades, a few have chosen to walk into the spotlight by contacting the police and the media.
Frequently, these outreach initiatives take the form of letters. In other instances, these individuals may continue at large indefinitely. Despite their propensity to harass authorities and communities with letters, which could lead to their identification. Below we have listed some of the most disturbing letters ever delivered by the most notorious unidentified serial killers:
Zodiac Killer Cipher
The Zodiac Killer killed at least five people in Northern California between 1968 and 1969. The first three strikes targeted couples, and the two victims were high schoolers on a first date. In two additional instances, he killed the ladies but spared the men. The last known victim was a San Francisco cab driver. The Zodiac Killer addressed letters to media outlets during the killing spree. The letters provided crime scene evidence to establish the claims’ validity.
After killing three of five known victims in August 1969, the Zodiac Killer mailed three letters to Bay Area newspapers. Each letter carried one-third of a 408-symbol cryptogram revealing the suspect’s name. The killer threatened to kill again if the letters weren’t published.
A California couple deciphered the cypher a week after the letters were dispatched. The Zodiac Killer said he was collecting slaves for the hereafter and that revealing his identity would interfere with his intentions. After murdering the last two known victims in November 1969, the Zodiac Killer wrote a letter to the San Francisco Chronicle containing a new mystery. The cryptogram was referred to as the Z-340, or simply 340, due to the fact that it comprised 340 characters.
The author threatened an all-night killing spree if his coded message was not published on the front page. Everyone complied, and a week later, a teacher deciphered the message.
I HOPE YOU ARE HAVING LOTS OF FUN IN TRYING TO CATCH ME THAT WASN’T ME ON THE TV SHOW WHICH BRINGS UP A POINT ABOUT ME I AM NOT AFRAID OF THE GAS CHAMBER BECAUSE IT WILL SEND ME TO PARADICE ALL THE SOONER BECAUSE I NOW HAVE ENOUGH SLAVES TO WORK FOR ME WHERE EVERYONE ELSE HAS NOTHING WHEN THEY REACH PARADICE SO THEY ARE AFRAID OF DEATH I AM NOT AFRAID BECAUSE I KNOW THAT MY NEW LIFE WILL BE AN EASY ONE IN PARADICE DEATH.
I LIKE KILLING PEOPLE BECAUSE IT IS SO MUCH FUN IT IS MORE FUN THAN KILLING WILD GAME IN THE FORREST BECAUSE MAN IS THE MOST DANGEROUE ANAMAL OF ALL TO KILL SOMETHING GIVES ME THE MOST THRILLING EXPERENCE IT IS EVEN BETTER THAN GETTING YOUR ROCKS OFF WITH A GIRL THE BEST PART OF IT IS THAE WHEN I DIE I WILL BE REBORN IN PARADICE AND ALL THEI HAVE KILLED WILL BECOME MY SLAVES I WILL NOT GIVE YOU MY NAME BECAUSE YOU WILL TRY TO SLOI DOWN OR ATOP MY COLLECTIOG OF SLAVES FOR MY AFTERLIFE. EBEORIETEMETHHPITI
On October 13, 1969, it was determined that the letters sent by the self-proclaimed Zodiac Killer were written by the actual murderer and not by an unrelated lunatic. The night before, a taxi driver had been fatally shot in San Francisco, and the latest letter included a piece of the victim’s bloodied shirt.
In this letter, the Zodiac infamously threatened to attack a school bus, stating that he would shoot out the front tire and pick off the kids as they came tumbling out. The massacre never happened, but it was shown in the 1971 movie Dirty Harry, in which a rogue SFPD detective hunts down a Zodiac-like psychopath who calls himself Scorpio.
Perhaps most terrifying of all, the letter brags about the killer’s ability to evade police while they looked for him following the murder of the cab driver (he claims they were fooling around rather than searching for the shooter):
“The S.F. Police could have caught me last night if they had searched the park properly instead of holding road races with their motorcycles seeing who could make the most noise. The car drivers should have just parked their cars and sat there quietly waiting for me to come out of cover.”
Axe man of New Orleans
From May 1918 through October 1919, New Orleans and the neighboring neighborhoods were terrorized by a violent serial killer who became known as the Axe Man. As one might expect, the term is taken from the killer’s favoured murder weapon.
In the middle of the night, the Axe Man of New Orleans would break into homes by kicking in the back door or destroying a window. Upon admission, he would find an axe (or a razor if none was available) and cut or stab his sleeping victims to death.
On March 13, 1919, a letter was reportedly written by the Axe Man threatening an impending attack was published in many New Orleans newspapers. The author claimed that jazz band performance venues will not be targeted. There were no attacks that night, but the letter made it plain that the Axe Man lacked remorse and was poised for more bloodshed.
“Undoubtedly, you Orleanians think of me as a most horrible murderer, which I am, but I could be much worse if I wanted to. If I wished, I could pay a visit to your city every night. At will I could slay thousands of your best citizens, for I am in close relationship with the Angel of Death.”
The Golden State Killer
The late Michelle McNamara coined the moniker “The Golden State Killer” for the mysterious assailant also known as the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker. The multiple names are a result of the perpetrator’s life choice to relocate across California and start changing his modus operandi during the middle of his violent career, which spanned from 1976 to 1986 – changes so drastic that police were unaware the crimes were committed by the same person until DNA testing in the early 2000s.
Perhaps the most renowned aspect of the Golden State Killer is the extent to which he would conduct surveillance on his targets and plot his attacks. Frequently, in the weeks and days preceding his attacks, the GSK would enter homes to conceal rope and other instruments that he would later use to further his evil and fatal goals.
“Excitement’s Crave” was allegedly written by the GSK, formerly known as the East Area Rapist, and sent to the Sacramento Bee in 1977.
In it, the author seems to imply that a film adaptation of his crimes will lead to his retirement while stressing the point that he is not intimidated by tough-looking males (he targeted couples) and actively sought them out as potential victims:
To make a movie of my life
That will pay for my planned exile.
Just now I’d like to add the wife
Of a Mafia lord to my file.
Jack-The Ripper: Among The Most Threatening Serial Killers
In the impoverished Whitechapel District of East London between late August and early November of 1888, at least five prostitutes are thought to have been murdered and disfigured by an unidentified man known as “Jack the Ripper.”
The term Jack the Ripper derives from a letter purportedly written by the murderer; however, most police of the time and modern criminologists consider it to be a forgery – possibly the product of a journalist seeking to embellish the narrative.
Except for one, every letter reportedly sent by Jack the Ripper has been and continues to be attributed to lunatics and trolls rather than the actual killer. Although it has not been fully confirmed that the so-called “From Hell” letter is from the killer, many experts believe it has the strongest evidence for authenticity.
The letter, with a postmark of October 15, 1888, was sent to George Lusk, the leader of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. The author of the letter claimed that the kidney was stolen from the body of a victim of Jack the Ripper.
Indeed, the fourth woman alleged to have been murdered by Jack the Ripper had her kidneys removed. At the time, a medical investigation revealed that the kidney provided with the letter was human. The author continued by claiming he consumed the remaining portion.
I send you half the
Kidne I took from one women
prarsarved it for you tother pirce
I fried and ate it was very nise I
may send you the bloody knif that
took it out if you only wate a whil
Catch me when
In a world with so many inhabitants, serial killers are an unfortunate but unavoidable reality. Some choose to agitate the public and law enforcement with letters of taunt, whereas the majority of them stick to killing. Sometimes, these exceptionally audacious psychopaths are able to evade capture forever.
The messages they sent will likely be the sole clues to their identities. Alternatively, these serial murders would remain to be real-world bogeymen forever.
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