Psychopaths have a lot of bizarre tastes, behaviors, and rituals. Books, TV, and film love to zoom in on these unusual, often rare acts. Here are six stories you probably never heard.
1. On the Night Before Christmas
The Iceman, Richard Kuklinski, murdered and tortured over 200 people. Most of them were mob hits. He lived with his wife and children while he was busy killing. The Iceman told his family that he worked in finance – and they believed him. One Christmas Eve, he left the house, whacked a victim, returned home to casually assemble the kids’ presents, and lay them, tenderly, beneath the tree – a Santa Claus of a very different breed.
2. In God We Trust
Jeffrey Dahmer was a serial killer and sex offender who raped and dismembered at least 17 men and boys. Many of his murders involved necrophilia (sex with corpses, cannibalism, and preservation of body parts). Dahmer was captured, found legally sane, and sentenced to 15 life imprisonments. In prison, Dahmer became a born-again Christian and was baptized by a local preacher.
3. Wedding Bells (sort of)
Ricardo Ramirez, The Night Stalker, was found guilty of at least 13-16 murders, 5 attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults, and 14 burglaries. His weapons of choice were handguns, knives, machetes, tire irons, and hammers. In 1996, while on Death Row at California’s San Quentin State Prison, Ramirez married self-proclaimed virgin Doreen Lioy, a freelance magazine editor. The wedding took place in the prison visiting room – a ceremony with the prison chaplain, a journalist, and a handful of very dangerous men.
4. It’s Party Time!
Tyler Hadley was a teenager attending Port St. Lucie High, Florida. He threw a big party on Saturday, July 16, 2011. He posted it on Facebook, saying his parents were out of town. The kids ransacked the home – playing beer pong on the dining room table, scrounging for food in the kitchen, and tossing empty beer cans on the lawn. They broke bottles on the floor, put out cigarettes on the rugs, and made a lot of noise. One drunk kid laughed and said, “I smell dead people.” He was right. That afternoon, Tyler had murdered his parents, Blake and Mary-Jo, with a claw hammer, and stashed their bodies in the master bedroom before the party began.
5. Clowning Around
John Wayne Gacy was active in the local Democratic Party, director of the Polish Constitution Day Parade, and a beloved fundraiser who dressed up as a clown for events. He was married and had two children. He once met, and was photographed with, First Lady Rosalynn Carter. No one knew that the clown was actually a serial killer and rapist until he was convicted of murdering over 33 teenage boys and young men in Chicago, Illinois. He stashed most of the bodies in the crawl space beneath his home. Known as The Killer Clown, Gacy joked that the only thing he was guilty of was “running a cemetery without a license.
6. I want some attention!
Dennis Rader, a.k.a. BTK Strangler murdered at least 10 people. “BTK” stood for “bind, torture, and kill”. He loved to boast by sending taunting letters to police and local news outlets describing lurid details. One infamous 1978 letter said, “How many do I have to Kill before I get a name in the paper or some national attention?” Rader finally got his attention when he sent a padded envelope with a floppy disk to a FOX affiliate, KSAS-TV in Wichita, Kansas. Unknown to Rader, the metadata of a deleted Microsoft Word document was embedded on the disk. Police used the data to trace it to someone named Dennis Rader at the Christ Lutheran Church. Convinced they had their man, police got a warrant for the records of Rader’s daughter from the medical clinic at the University of Kansas where she was a student. The pap smear was a near match to dear old dad – evidence that the father was the arrogant BTK Strangler. Rader confessed to everything in court and received 10 consecutive life sentences – a minimum of 175 years without parole. Kansas had no death penalty at the time.