From French cult leaders to a Prince, we countdown the Top 10 Most Deadly Serial Killers in Ancient History by their kill count.

10. Maria Swanenburg
Known for murdering her victim’s to claim their insurance and inheritance, Maria killed at least 27 people, and up to 90. The numbers differ so much because she killed using arsenic, a type of poison. So there were many cases she couldn’t be accounted for, but was suspected of doing.

9. Liu Pengli
Years into being Prince of Jidong, Liu turned arrogant and cruel to his subjects. He began going on expeditions with slaves or young men, murdering his subjects and taking their belongings. He was known across the land for these cruel acts, where he saw it as a sport. It has been confirmed that his kill count is over 100, and once the emperor heard of it, he was banished, his land taken and his title stripped.

8. Thug Behram
Known as the king of thugs, Buhram Jemedar was a part of a thug-like cult. The murder-robbers of India preyed upon innocent travellers, and after gaining their trust, would strangle them using a ceremonial handkerchief. He died of hanging.

7. Gilles de Rais
Once, he had served in the army and fought in the 100 year war. Granted the position of Marshal of France, he fought alongside Joan of Arc, and later retired. All his wealth he had invested in re-enactments of himself, and in 1432 he was accused of participating with occultists, killing children. Over 140 children were murdered, and after a violent incident with a clergyman his murders had come to light. His neighbours, the parents of the children he had killed, testified against him. He was hanged in 1940. There is much speculation about the matter as many believe the judges who tried him were pro-english, whilst he was French.

6. Alexe Popova
Women who were unhappy would come to Popova for help, and she did. In 30 years she poisoned the husbands of unhappy women, killing 300 men. She was executed by the firing squad.

5. John Johnston
Starting in 1843, after his wife was killed by Crow warriors he started a personal vendetta against them. He murdered, scalped and ate the livers of 300 crow warriors, but some historians think this number to be inflated.

4. Peter Niers
A part of the Holy Roman Empire, bandit leader Niers had tortured and killed 544 people. Along with the murder of 24 women and the use of their babies in black magic. Ewww.

3. Elizabeth Báthory
Between 1585 and 1610, Bathorny was convicted of torturing and killing servant girls, giving her the name “Blood countess”. She was imprisoned and her accomplices executed until her own undoing in 1614.

2. Giulia Tofana
Over a 50 year period she admitted to poisoning and killing 600 men. Thought to have invented the Aqua Tofanaa, an undetectable poison, she had said on the day of her execution she helped unhappy women in marriages get rid of their husbands, in some cases, free of charge. Yikes.

1. Catherine Monvoisin
Cult leader, poisoner, and alleged sorceress, Monvoisin confessed to the mass killing of over a thousand infants. Not only that, she also tried to poison Louis the 14th but was caught, convicted and burned at the stake in 1680.


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