10 Most Terrifying Serial Killers in History (PHOTOS)

10 Most Terrifying Serial Killers in History (PHOTOS)


Granted, it's not often that blood relatives team up for bloodshed, but it's definitely happened -- indeed, there are enough cases of murderous families throughout history to make your blood run cold.

Read on for some of the most horrifying stories of killer clans ever. 


Image via Tom Burke/Flickr

  • The Bloody Benders


    Image via Markus Wichmann/Flickr

    A "family" of Spiritualists who moved into the same Kansas area as the Ingalls (of Little House on the Prairie fame) around the same time, this clan couldn't have been more different than Laura and the gang. On the surface, the Benders seemed like just another German immigrant family running a store and inn for travelers (where they also held the occasional séance); behind the scenes, they were a foursome of loosely related killers who bashed in travelers' skulls with hammers and disposed of their bodies via a trapdoor. The Benders are thought to be responsible for 21 murders.

  • Sawney Bean Clan


    Image via Flickr

    No one's really sure whether or not this centuries-old Scottish legend is true, but it's pretty terrifying either way: An incestuous clan of cannibals led by Sawney Bean, this family fed on hundreds of travelers unfortunate enough to pass by their sea cave. According to lore, King James the IV was forced to deploy a small army of men (and bloodhounds) to finally take these crazy flesh-eaters down.

  • The Briley Brothers


    Image via Thomas Hawk/Flickr

    Three brothers who made Richmond, Virginia, an absolutely terrifying place to be in the late '70s, James, Linwood, and Anthony Briley went on a robbery, rape and killing spree that lasted seven months. Ten people were killed (including a pregnant woman and her 5-year-old son). James and Linwood got the electric chair for their crimes, but not before leading six fellow inmates in an escape from death row!

    More from The Stir: Serial Toe Sucker & 5 Other Criminals Arrested for Creepy Crimes (PHOTOS) 

  • The Tarverdiyeva Family


    Image via Avi/Flickr

    Dubbed a "family of monsters" by Russian press, dentist Roman Podkopaev, wife Inessa Tarverdiyeva, and her daughter Viktoria Tarverdiyeva (and occasionally another daughter, 13-year-old Anastasiya) killed at least 30 people over the course of six years, usually robbing their prey (despite their relative financial comfort). Children were among the victims, including two teenage girls whose eyes were gouged out. Podkopaev was killed by police in 2013; the rest of the family was apprehended.

  • The Vicious Harpes


    Image via Saskia Jansen/Flickr

    Considered to be America's first known serial killers, Micajah "Big" Harpe and Wiley "Little" Harpe were cousins, but they often pretended to be brothers. Mostly, though, they were post–Revolutionary War horse thieves who also committed multiple acts of arson, rape, and murder, famously ripping out the insides of one victim and stuffing his body with stones before throwing him into Tennessee's Holston River. We're guessing they didn't treat the horses they stole too well, either.

  • Delfina and María de Jesús González


    Image via Thaddeus Quintin/Flickr

    This pair of Mexican bordello-owning sisters were extremely prolific killers, responsible for the deaths of 91 people! Most of their victims were prostitutes who lost their looks or otherwise stopped pleasing customers; the sisters were also known for kidnapping young girls, then drugging them and forcing them to work in their brothel. Both sisters received 40-year sentences in 1964. 

    More from The Stir: 11 Dumbest Criminals of 2014 (PHOTOS)

  • The Krays


    Image via Danilo Bandeira/Flickr

    Known as "Britain's Godfathers," Ronnie and Reggie Kray were the hottest gangsters in London during the '50s and '60s (it didn't hurt that they were nightclub owners who hung out with the likes of Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland). After years of murders, arson, armed robbery, extortion, and pretty much everything else you can think of, they were arrested and sent to jail in 1968 for the murders of Jack "The Hat" McVitie and George Cornell.

  • The Bondurant Brothers


    Image via Tom Burke/Flickr

    When Pete and Pat Bondurant of Tennessee were convicted of second-degree murder in 1986, it was for just one victim (a 24-year-old woman they raped and tortured). But after they went to prison, police found human bone fragments in their parents' home which led to further murder convictions (Pete's girlfriend and Pat's coworker). Pete was charged with helping Pat to dismember his former colleague's body. Awww, brotherly love!

  • The Carrs


    Image via [AndreaS]/Flickr

    In one of the most horrific home invasion cases ever, Reginald and Jonathan Carr brutally raped and tortured a group of five young people after breaking into their house, then shot them all in the head. Miraculously, one girl survived and was able to lead police to her attackers (who, it turned out, had killed a couple of other people in armed robberies, too). The brothers are still on death row. 

    More from The Stir: 10 of the World's Most Evil Female Serial Killers

  • The Shankars


    Image via mayu/Flickr

    Another case of bloodthirsty brothel-owning siblings (this time brothers), Auto and Mohan Shankar, along with their brother-in-law Eldin, regularly kidnapped young women from the streets of South India and forced them to work in their prostitution dens. After nine girls went missing over a period of six months, authorities started paying attention to their dealings and discovered the Shankars were responsible for a combined total of six deaths. Both Auto and Mohan escaped from prison at different times; Auto was hanged and Mohan is still serving a life sentence.


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