Evil comes in all shapes and sizes. Men, women, and even children have all been known to be exceedingly evil. Today we’re here to talk about the “fairer sex.” Who are these women? From female serial killers and ruthless political dictators to feared drug queen-pins and sadistic Nazi commandants, here are the 25 Most Evil Women In History.
Also known as the Torture Mother, Gertrude Baniszewski was an Indiana divorcee who oversaw and facilitated a prolonged torture, mutilation, and eventual murder of a teenage girl, Sylvia Likens. It was later discovered that the death and majority of the torture was actually carried out under Baniszewski’s instruction by her teenage children and other kids from the neighborhood. When the woman was convicted of first degree murder in 1965, the case was called, “the single worst crime perpetuated against an individual in Indiana’s history.”
Aptly nicknamed the Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory was a Hungarian noblewoman, and she was probably the most prolific female serial killer of all time. At the end of the 16th century and beginning of the 17th century, Bathory tortured and killed up to 650 girls and young women at her castle in Cachtice, modern Slovakia. The macabre nickname came from her apparent tendency to bathe in the blood of her victims as she believed it would help her maintain her youthful-looking skin.
Known as the Witch of Buchenwald, Ilse Koch is considered one of the worst villains of the Holocaust. A wife of the commandant of the Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald, Karl-Otto Koch, Ilse Koch was a nymphomaniac who tortured prisoners in the concentration camp. She became known for her extremely evil and sadistic behavior. She enjoyed beating the prisoners, forcing them to perform sexual activities, and even skinning those who had distinctive tattoos. She would then use the tattooed skin to cover her books in it.
One of the most notorious female criminals in the US history, Ma Barker was the leader of the feared Barker Gang that consisted of her sons. Once the FBI’s Public Enemy Number One, Barker orchestrated a bunch of robberies, murders, and kidnappings throughout the American Midwest during the early 1930’s. In 1935, she was killed in her hideout in Florida in what was the longest shootout in FBI history. Back then, J. Edgar Hoover, FBI’s first director, described her as “the most vicious, dangerous and resourceful criminal brain of the last decade.”
Once branded “the most hated woman in Britain,” Myra Hindley and her twisted boyfriend, Ian Brady, shocked the world with terrifying crimes in the 1960’s. In the case known as “The Moors Murders,” the couple raped, tortured, and killed five children aged between 10 and 17 in and around Manchester, England. Hindley was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences. She died in jail in November 2002, aged 60, after suffering respiratory failure following a heart attack.
Nicknamed La Madrina, or The Black Widow, Griselda Blanco was one of the most ruthless and feared drug “queenpins” of all-time. Born in 1943, this notorious Colombian criminal was one of the key figures in the infamous Medellin Cartel and has even been credited with being a mentor to one of the most successful drug lords, Pablo Escobar, who eventually become her enemy. It has been estimated that Blanco was responsible for up to 200 murders while transporting cocaine from Colombia to the US.
The only child of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon to survive into adulthood, Mary Tudor was the very first queen of England (reigning from 1553 until her death in 1558); however, she is remembered as one of the most bloodthirsty, tyrannical, and evil women in English history. Known as Bloody Mary, she is best known for her brutal religious persecutions of Protestants and the executions of over 300 subjects. She also had her first cousin, Lady Jane Grey, who also wanted to claim the throne, beheaded.
Dagmar Overbye was a Danish serial killer who murdered up to 25 children – including one of her own – during a seven-year period from 1913 to 1920. Overbye was working as a professional child caretaker, caring for babies born outside of marriage. Out of the babies she killed, some were strangled, some drowned, and the rest burned to death in her masonry heater. In March 1921, Overbye was sentenced to death in one of the most-watched murder trials in Danish history. The sentence was later commuted to life in jail. Overbye died in prison in 1929, aged 42.
Known as the Chocolate Cream Killer, Christiana Edmunds was an English killer and mentally ill woman with a very weird hobby. She would buy chocolates from a shop, poison them with strychnine, and then return them to the shop. Other people would buy them and become ill. In 1871, a 4-year-old boy died from eating one of the chocolates she had poisoned. Edmunds was sentenced to death, but the sentence was later reduced to life imprisonment due to her mental state.
Known as the the Mad Monarch of Madagascar, Ranavalona l is considered one the cruelest female political leaders in history. Ranavalona l ruled the African island of Madagascar for 33 years that were filled with nothing but terror, fear, and violence. Thousands of her people died due to the extremely brutal discipline she introduced. It was the Christian minority who suffered the most under Ranavalona’s regime as they faced imprisonment, torture, and execution.
Nicknamed the Hyena of Auschwitz, Irma Grese was one the most notorious and brutal of the female Nazi war criminals. She was also one of only a few women concentration camp workers who was hanged for war crimes by the Allies. In 1943, Grese was in control of around 30,000 women prisoners, many of whom she tortured both physically and emotionally. She wore heavy boots, carried a whip and a gun, and enjoyed shooting prisoners in cold blood. Survivors reported that she seemed to derive great sexual pleasure from these acts of sadism.
Born in 1837 in Bristol, UK, Ameila Dyer is one of the most prolific serial-killers in history. During 30 years in Victorian Britain, Dyer killed about 300 (some sources say even over 400) infants that she was supposed to take care of. During that time, Britain was struggling with a pandemic problem of infanticide. Bodies of dead babies scattered on British streets were too common to be considered newsworthy, which is one of the reasons why Dyer was able to do her gruesome work for so long. She was arrested in April 1869 and hung two months later.
Also known as the Black Widow, Belle Gunness was one of America’s most degenerate and productive female serial killers. Standing 6 ft (1.83 m) tall and weighing in at over 200 lbs (91 kg), she was a very hefty and strong woman of Norwegian descent. It is believed that she killed both her husbands and all of her children at different times, but it is certain that she also murdered most of her suitors, boyfriends, and her two daughters, Myrtle and Lucy. The total number of Gunness’ victims is estimated to be between 25 and 40.
A member of a sinister religious cult, Klara Mauerova is a notorious Czech criminal known for torturing her two sons. With other members of the sadistic group, she even forced one of her sons to eat his own flesh. The two boys (aged 8 and 10) were brutally tortured and sexually abused for almost one year in 2007. The terrifying case of child abuse was accidentally discovered when a TV baby monitor installed in a neighboring apartment picked up the signal from Mauerova’s monitor, showing one of the victims beaten, naked, and chained in a cellar.
One of the worst female serial killers in Canadian history, Karla Homolka and her husband, Paul Bernardo, kidnapped, raped, and killed at least three girls in the early 1990’s. Their first victim was Karla’s youngest sister, 15-year-old Tammy Homolka. Karla was offered a plea deal for testifying against her now ex-husband and as such was released from prison in 2005. She changed her name to Leanne Bordelais and lives on the Guadeloupe Island in the Caribbean with her new husband and three children.
Mireya Moreno Carreon
One of the most brutal female drug dealers, Mireya Moreno Carreon was one of the first females to make a name for herself in the feared Mexican Los Zetas drug cartel. She was responsible for all of the drug-trafficking hot spots in Monterrey, Mexico. She actually began as a police officer before joining up with the drug lords and eventually became a boss of Los Zetas. She was arrested by authorities one year later while driving a stolen vehicle that held tons of drugs.
Tillie Klimek was a Polish-born American serial killer active in Chicago in the first half of the 20th century. Klimek claimed she was psychic; she allegedly believed she had precognitive dreams, accurately predicting the dates of death of her victims. Between 1912 and 1923, Klimek poisoned at least 20 people with arsenic. Some of the victims recovered and survived, but most of them, including all four of her husbands, died. In 1923, she was sentenced to life in prison where she died in 1936 at the age of 60.
Together with her husband and partner in crime Gerald Gallego, Charlene Gallego raped, tortured, and killed a total of ten victims in and around Nevada and northern California between 1978 and 1980. All but one of those who fell prey to the sadistic couple were teenage girls or young women. Charlene Gallego served 16 years and was released early in exchange for testimony against her husband. Gerald Gallego was sentenced to death by gas chamber, but he died of cancer in a prison medical center while awaiting the execution.
Catherine de Medici
One of the most powerful but also ruthless and violent female rulers of Medieval Europe, Catherine de Medici was an Italian noblewoman and the Queen of France from 1547 until 1559. Also known as the Black Widow, Catherine de Medici is often regarded as the mastermind behind the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, an organized violent Catholic mob directed against the Huguenots (French Calvinist Protestants) in August 1572. It’s estimated that up 30,000 Huguenots lost their lives in this bloody massacre.
Commonly known as Madame Blanque, Delphine LaLaurie was once a wealthy socialite known throughout New Orleans. She was later discovered to be an evil serial killer who tortured and murdered her black slaves. Her gruesome hobby was discovered accidentally when rescuers responded to a fire at her mansion. They found bound slaves in her attic who showed evidence of cruel, violent treatment over a long period. Lalaurie’s house was then sacked by an outraged mob of New Orleans citizens. However, the murderess managed to escape to France.
A notorious Russian female serial killer and noblewoman of the 18th century, Darya Saltykova is known for torturing and murdering up to 140 of her serfs. Because of her noble origin, unusual brutality, and sadistic lust for blood, Darya Saltykova is often compared to the Hungarian Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory, who committed similar crimes.
Between 1939 and 1940, Italian female serial killer Leonarda Cianciulli murdered three women (all middle-aged neighbors) and made teacakes and soap out of their remains. This terrifying act earned her the nickname of the Soap-Maker of Correggio. Cianciulli was an extremely superstitious woman, and she allegedly committed the grisly crimes to break a family curse that was inflicted on her by her parents for marrying a man they did not like.
Born in 1957 to an alcoholic mother, Juana Barraza is a former Mexican professional wrestler and one of the most prolific serial killers in Mexican history. Between 1998 and 2006, Barraza, a remarkably hefty and muscular woman, killed between 42 and 48 elderly women. This earned her the nickname the Old Lady Killer. It was long thought that the killer was a male. and it wasn’t until January 2006 when Barraza was arrested fleeing from the home of her latest victim. She was found guilty on 16 charges of murder and sentenced to 759 years in prison.
Aileen Wuornos was one of the most infamous American female serial killers. Sexually abused and thrown out of her home as a teen, she made a living as a sex worker on Florida’s highways, where she, in November 1989, killed her first victim, a man who had picked her up. Wuornos went on to kill at least five other men before she was eventually caught, convicted, and placed on death row. Though her sanity was questioned, Wuornos was executed by lethal injection in 2002.
Miyuki Ishikawa was a Japanese midwife and probably the most prolific serial killer in Japanese history. With the aid of several accomplices including her husband, Ishikawa killed between 85 and 169 babies (mostly through neglect) in the 1940’s. During the trial, Ishikawa argued that it was the parents who were responsible for their deaths as they had deserted the children. Surprisingly, her defense was partly successful as she was only sentenced to eight years of prison for her crimes. She even managed to half the sentence through an appeal.
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