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The act of killing people can become an addiction for some. It is usually the psychological gratification that drives serial killers to murder people for no reason. Killing for pleasure is a part of the psychological disorder.The 19th century indeed saw some of the terrifying serial killers.
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Sweeney Todd spent his childhood with alcoholic parents and grew up spending his time in and out of the jail due to several theft charges. After getting out of the jail, Todd opened up a shop next to a church on Fleet street. Although his existence is still questioned, when anyone came to Todd for a clean shave, he used to murder people smoothly with his razor.
Anna Zwanziger was a housekeeper of Justice Glasser in 1808. Soon Glasser's wife died of gastrointestinal disease. Zwanziger moved to her next job where a similar event occurred and this even continued to her third job as a housekeeper. Finally, a family realized that they were being plagued with the illness by Anna. They soon got rid of her, but Anna was successful in poisoning their five-month-old child as a farewell gift. The cause of all the deaths by Anna was found to be arsenic.
Dr. William Palmer was found guilty and hanged till death after he got accused of the murder of his friend John Parsons Cook. He used the method of Strychnine poisoning to murder John after he lost a bet with him. Although it was believed by many that he killed a huge number of individuals, his patients also had a habit of dyeing. In 1846, a plumber was found dead after winning a bet with Dr. William. Following this, Palmer's mother-in-law was also found dead. Later, Palmer's all five children along with her wife were also found dead. Although it is believed that his wife died of Cholera, the suspicion still points towards him.
By the age of 18, Sarah Freeman was a mother of two children. She soon became a prostitute after being kicked out from her hometown. Sarah married her first victim Henry Freeman (officially proof of murder is still not there) and moved to London after killing him. Gradually, she started falling short of money. She moved to live with her family in Shapwick, following which her parents and brother died mysteriously. It is known that her brother was trying to get her out of the house for his wife to move in. She got exposed after all these deaths and eleven thousand people saw her being hanged in April, 1845. Apparently, she used the method of Arsenic poisoning to kill people.
Romasanta used to kill people and use their fat to sell as an ointment. When he was asked about that why he used to do it, all he said was that being a warewolf he could not help but kill people. Although, Romasanta was never executed for killing people, but it was found that he was raised for some time as a girl. After further research, it was concluded that Romasanta was suffering from female pseudohermaphroditism or intersex. In the year 1863, Romasanta died of stomach cancer in prison.
In 1846, towards the end of the Mexican-American War, a number of families were found suffering the pain of losing their families. Epsinosa along with his brother Jose were not able to keep their promises of saving their family lands after the war. After losing their family lands, Epsinosa started robbing people to support his life. While robbing a freight train, Espinosa was shot dead by an Army corporal. It was later found that he had killed seven people. Along with his brother, Felipe Espinosa and Jose Vincente were tagged as America's first ever serial killers.
Guerrero was a shoemaker and was charged with the murder and rape of various women. As a child, Guerrero had seen a murder at the age of seven. Adding to this, his first job was in slaughter house where flowing blood was one of the most common thing he saw. Finally in 1890, he was ordered to be hanged to death in charge of rape, assaults and murder of two women. He escaped that penalty but was again on trial in 1908 for a murder of old woman.
Rulloff was a skilled man. He knew 28 different languages and also had a good knowledge of a physician, lawyer, artist and carpenter. After his marriage, grudge between him and his brother-in law (William) increased. William still asked for some help when his wife and daughter were ill. After a few weeks, Will's wife and daughter died, following which Rulloff vanished with his own family. After he returned, he told everyone that his wife and daughter were doing good and living near Cayuga Lake. Rulloff was a very abusive husband and due to this fact, neighbors and friends were suspicious about this. He soon got arrested and was put on trial when his sister-in-law's body was found with copper traces. He was also sentenced to be hanged till death after he killed a store clerk named Fredrick Merrick in Binghampton, New York. There were many of them who doubted the fact that Rulloff was guilty of the murders due to his friendly appearance and his scholarly contributions. His brain was the second largest (as of 1970) and is saved in psychology department of Cornell University.
Jefferies broke out from the prison of Macquarie Harbor with other inmates. After escaping, their only source of survival were the animals they hunted. Soon the troop started facing food scarcity and decided to kill one of them and eat. Jefferies soon killed about four individuals. Later in 1826, Jefferies along with his troop were caught and charged with the death penalty.
Bichel, a famous fortune teller in Bavaria had spread this news in the region that he is looking for a servant girl to employ. Looking for an employment, girls would come to her and he would tell the girls about their fortune too. Girls were then blindfolded and their hands were tied in an impression that this would ease up the process of reading their fortunes. He would then stab the girls. It was also known that Bichel had a fetish for women's clothes.
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