The 10 Biggest Serial Killers in History

They’re usually cold-blooded psychopaths who have absolutely no problem taking another human’s life, oftentimes for no other reason than their own pleasure. Among these unfortunately many serial killers throughout history, some have managed to stand out. Either because they have never been caught (Jack the Ripper, The Zodiac Killer, etc.), because they were untypical killers (Ted Bundy, etc.) or due to their inhumane modus operandi (Ed Gein, Jeffrey Dahmer, etc.). But the following list ranks and concentrates on those serial killers that have killed the highest number of people.

Note: Only people who have directly killed people are counted here. Leaders of countries who have commanded the deaths of sometimes millions of people (Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, etc.) are therefore NOT included in the ranking. Serial killers who were doctors and medical professionals and have deliberately killed their patients (most notably Harold Shipman) are also NOT included in this list of serial killers.

The 10 Biggest Serial Killers in History (by number of victims):

Illustration of Jack the Ripper, perhaps the best known serial killer in history, but not among the 10 biggest when it comes to the number of victims

1. Elizabeth Bathory

biggest serial killers


2. Gilles de Rais

biggest male serial killer
Portrait of Gilles de Rais in his knight armor


3. Peter Niers

no. 3 of the biggest serial killers
Drawing of Peter Niers’ execution by the braking wheel in 1581


4. Amelia Dyer

Amelia Dyer after her arrest in 1896


5. Pedro Lopez

Pedro Lopez after his arrest in Ecuador in 1980



6. John Johnson

john johnson - american serial killers
Portrait of John Johnson a.k.a. Liver-Eating Johnson from the 19th Century


7. Herman Mudgett

Herman Mudgett a.k.a. “H.H. Holmes” in the 1890s


8. Daniel Camargo

Daniel Camargo (in front) after his arrest in Ecuador in 1986, leading Ecuadorian officers to the bodies of some of his victims


9. Luis Garavito

Luis Garavito after his arrest in 1999


10. Thug Behram

Thug Behram, leader of the Indian Thuggee cult



The 10 Biggest Serial Killers in History (at a glance)

The 10 Biggest Serial Killers in History:
1. ELIZABETH BATHORY
~ 650 murders
2. GILLES DE RAIS
~ 600 murders
3. PETER NIERS
544 murders
4. AMELIA DYER
~ 400 murders
5. PEDRO LOPEZ
~ 350 murders
6. JOHN JOHNSON
~ 300 murders
7. HERMAN MUDGETT
~ 200 murders
8. DANIEL CAMARGO
~ 150 murders
9. LUIS GARAVITO
~ 140 murders
10. THUG BEHRAM
125 murders

Want to get informed about new fresh rankings? Subscribe to the
All Top Everything Newsletter!