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10 Deadliest Female Serial Killers

From the femme fatale’s with countless victims to the bohemian body counts that rival any Ted Bundy, we count down the top 10 deadliest female serial killers.



10. Delphine LaLaurie

Deadliest Female Serial Killers, Delphine LaLaurie

Perhaps the real inspiration for American Horror Story season three, Delphine LaLaurie inspired her slaves to commit suicide. The reason? They were trying to get away from her lucid torture schemes. LaLaurie would keep droves of slaves on the brink of death and starvation, seemingly for her own enjoyment. Sadly, LaLaurie was never arrested, and although rumors of her atrocities run rampant throughout New Orleans, she never suffered the same way she treated those around her.

9. Belle Sorensen Gunness

Deadliest Female Serial Killers, Belle Sorensen Gunness

No, it’s probably not because gun is in her name, or the fact that her children look terrified in every family photo. In what can only be described as ‘gold digging pioneering’, Belle would murder family members for money. After murdering her husband and two of her very own children and cashing in on their life insurance, she moved to Indiana. There, she dropped a meat grinder on her next husband’s head—and then advertised in the paper that she was looking for yet another husband. In gold digging irony, suitors rushed to the ever increasingly wealthy Belle, who murdered them all. Eventually, her whole estate burned to the ground, killing her children and revealing dozens of corpses for police to find. The weird part was, her teeth were found in the ashes—but her body wasn’t.

8. Amy Archer’s Murder House

Deadliest Female Serial Killers, Amy Archer’s Murder House

Amy Archer-Gilligan murdered the elderly for fun. It’s horrible to hear out loud, but listen to this: in the early 1900’s Archer’s Connecticut home for the Elderly and Infirm saw 60 deaths, not including the deaths of several husbands. Eventually, family and friends of the deceased elderly caught on that Archer was feeding poison to her patients and was sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder. She died in 1962 in an insane asylum. Asylum sounds too nice for someone like that.

7. Lavinia Fisher

Deadliest Female Serial Killers, Lavinia Fisher

Notoriously famed as the first American serial killer, and perhaps the inspiration for American Horror Story season five, Lavinia Fisher and her husband ran a hotel that—can you guess?—made fun out of murdering guests. What started as murder and robbery turned into an all-out killing spree. It took local police years to nail Lavinia and her husband for their crimes, and the two were eventually sentenced to death in 1820.

6. Jane Toppan

Deadliest Female Serial Killers, Jane Toppan

The further we get down this list, the more we see several things. First, women seem to have bored of serial killing as time has gone on, and second, if a woman is a nurse or part of a medical environment, buyer beware! Jane Toppan was no exception. She is famous for casually experiment on her own patients for her own enjoyment. Now, take that sentence seriously, because this next statement might gross you out. She later told authorities that she felt sexual pleasure in watching her victims die. After killing close friends, her landlord, and her sister, time finally caught up with Toppan and she was sent to Taunton Insane Hospital, where she likely Taunted the world for being foolish enough to send her to a place that would give her another 30 years of life.



5. Bertha Gifford

Deadliest Female Serial Killers, Bertha Gifford

The ‘Textbook’ Case - Falling in line with the majority of serial killers both male and female—Gifford fits the typical profile of, ‘Oh, she was nice and gentle’. Her murderous rampage is a complete surprise’. Gifford was a quiet and unassuming person who apparently was feeding arsenic to patients. No wonder American folklore is drenched in the blood of terrifying hospitals, insane asylums and medical wards. It seems like one in three had a vicious murderer traipsing around in it. Gifford’s body count made it to almost 20 before she was caught.

4. Dorothea Puente

Deadliest Female Serial Killers, Dorothea Puente

And the modern era of female serial killers. If you’re in the shipping industry, it’s usually a bit taboo to open packages. Well, in 1985, a handyman failed to open a box given to him by Dorothea Puente to dump—and it was a good thing he didn’t open it, as it contained a decomposing human body. Luckily, fisherman found the body days later and reported it to police. After searches began to plague her premises, Puente suffered a devastating blow when police found seven dead bodies buried under her boarding house—where she had been doing most of her killing. She died in 2011.

3. Nannie Doss

Deadliest Female Serial Killers, Nannie Doss

Wait a minute. There’s a female serial killer with eleven bodies to her name and her first name is the word we use to describe a profession that takes care of children? Wow. Who okay’d that one? Nannie Doss married at sixteen, and then murdered two of that marriages four children. Unlike virtually every other husband on this list, that guy ran, but the Doss wasn’t done. Doss used this marriage to murder her grandchildren for insurance money. As if she were pissed about the first one getting away, husbands two, three, four, and five were all murdered. Husband five seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, because the police finally nabbed her. Could you imagine husband number one—living his life in fear hearing about all these other guys dying. Who was husband five, by the way? What insane kind of deathwish did he have?

2. Dynamic Duo of Death

Deadliest Female Serial Killers, Dynamic Duo of Death

Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Wood, two serial killers with 80’s skin-flick names, murdered elderly patients for sexual pleasure in the 1980’s. You can’t make that up if you want to. Others thought they were however, when Gwen and Cathy bragged about how awesome they were at killing and no one believed them. In 1989, after Cathy’s ex-husband demanded that the police follow up on them, Cathy threw Gwen under the bus and struck a plea deal, resulting in Gwen serving five life sentences while Cathy only got slapped with 20-40 years. The scariest part—she may be released some day.

1. Aileen Wuornos

Deadliest Female Serial Killers, Aileen Wuornos

Some People Just Want to Watch The World Burn. Aileen Wuornos lands at number one. Unlike most of the women on this list, she didn’t use poison. Unlike most of the women on this list, she wasn’t after money. No—Aileen Wuornos wore her heart on her sleeve and her trigger finger itched. What’s insane about Aileen is that her motive, although completely different thab most of the people on this list, is almost all the more insane. For all seven of her victims that she shot in cold blood, she claimed self-defense—because, as she put it—they were trying to rape her. Wuornos claimed self-defense in the face of rape for years—all while she openly plead guilty to the actual murders. With seven counts under her belt, she was sentenced to death in 2002 by lethal injection.

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