10 TERRIFYING FEMALE SERIAL KILLERS YOU NEVER KNEW EXISTED

When you think of serial killers, you most likely think of men. However, it might surprise you to learn that some of the worst have been female. Here are 10 terrifying female serial killers you never knew existed.



10. Leonarda Cianciulli
Often referred to as the Soap-Maker of Correggio, Leonarda Cianciulli was born in Montella Avellino, Italy, on November 14, 1893. After suffering three miscarriages and losing 10 of her own children in their youth, Cianciulli became understandably overprotective of her four surviving offspring. She began a killing spree in 1939 with the belief that if she scarified enough souls, her son would remain safe while away at war.

After gaining the trust of three separate victims, she drugged them and killed them brutally with an ax. The first two women she killed, Cianciulli dissolved and dumped the remains, but used the coagulated blood as an ingredient for tea cakes, which she served to guests and consumed herself. She turned the third victim's body into soap. Cianciulli was arrested and tried for murder in 1946. She eventually died on October 15, 1970, before she could make anyone else her victims.

9. Karla Homolka
The wife of Paul Bernardo, potentially the most infamous killer in Canadian history, Karla Homolka was born on May 4, 1970 in Port Credit, Ontario, Canada. Between December 24, 1990 and April 19, 1992, she along with Bernardo were responsible for the sexual assault and murder of three minors, two of whom were abducted teenagers. Her first victim was her own sister Tammy, who Homolka drugged and presented to her new husband as a wedding gift on Christmas Eve.

Unfortunately, Tammy vomited while unconscious from the drugs and asphyxiated. Homolka initially claimed the she was forced to perform these incredibly heinous acts by her abusive husband, and even managed to secure a plea deal with the Crown Attorney prosecuting Bernardo's case. However, it was later revealed via video evidence that Homolka not only participated in the disgusting actions, but initiated many of them.

8. Anna Maria Zwanziger
On August 7, 1760, Anna Maria Zwanziger was born in Bavaria, Germany, where she grew up into the life of servanthood as a housekeeper. At 41, she became the housekeeper for a judge, whom she poisoned with arsenic only to nurse him back to health. She would later confess that she did this in order to gain his trust, and proceeded to go through the process at least two more times with other judges she began caring for.

In total, Zwanziger killed four people through the use of poison, one of them being a baby that was in her care. She was finally arrested on October 16, 1809. For her crimes, Anna Maria Zwanziger was beheaded with the swipe of a sword in Nuremberg, Germany on September 17, 1811. But just prior to the execution being carried out, she was quoted as saying it was a good thing she was being killed, as she didn't she herself could stop killing others. Talk about twisted.

7. Maria Swanenburg
Born in Leiden, Netherlands on September 9, 1839, Maria Catherina Swanenburg began her murderous career at 41 years old, her first victim being her own mother, who she poisoned with arsenic. Soon after that, she took the life of her father in a similar manner. Swanenburg went on to poison at least 100 more people, all while under the guise of a helpful individual who would care for the sick, elderly, and even children.

It's said the main reason she took so many lives was for insurance and inheritance money, though she seemed to also get a sick pleasure out of it. Suspected of killing more than 90 people, only 27 victims were ever proven to have lost their lives by her hand. Of those, 16 were Maria's own family members. She was caught in December of 1883 and sentenced to spend the rest of her life in a correctional facility, where she died at the age of 75 on April 11, 1915.

6. Jane Toppan
Also known as her serial killer identities The Angel of Death and Jolly Jane, Honora Kelley was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1857 to Irish immigrants. When Honora was still a child, her mother died and her father went insane, so she was taken in by the Toppan family, who changed her name to Jane Toppan. After becoming a nurse in the late 1880s, Jane began selecting elderly victims whom she would dose with morphine or atropine before climbing into their bed and holding them while they died.

Jane later admitted that she got a sexual thrill from watching helpless people die, and she claimed that she wanted to kill more helpless people than any other man or woman who ever lived. Even though she took more than 31 lives and was caught on October 29, 1901, Jane was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was sent to Taunton Insane Hospital, where she stayed until her death in 1938.



5. Helene Jegado
Born in 1803 on a small farm in Plouhinec, a commune in Brittany, France, Helene Jegado became a domestic servant after her mother died in 1810. After 23 years of being a servant to priests, Jegado took an interest in poisoning people's food, killing seven people in the homes she served in, including her own sister. By the time she was 32 years old, she had taken the lives of at least 17 people, though her ability to convince people that she was mourning kept her out of suspicion.

Jegado was not arrested until July 1, 1851, when she prematurely announced her innocence to investigators who hadn't accused her yet. Though she committed at least 36 murders that authorities could prove, French law allowed them to only prosecute three of them. Still, Jegado was found guilty of three counts of murder, which was enough for her to be sentenced to death. Helene Jegado was executed by guillotine on February 28, 1852, a fitting end for a horrific monster.

4. Darya Saltykova
Born on November 3, 1730 in Moscow, Russia, Darya Saltykova inherited her husband's estate when he died in 1755, an estate which included a number of serfs who worked there. It wasn't long after she took over the residence that complaints of cruelty and disappearances began circulating, most of the victims being young female serfs. Sadly, those complaints were ignored by authorities, some of who punished the person giving them.

Between 1755 and 1762, Darya tortured, mutilated, and killed a large number of her staff, only to be caught when a petition finally got the attention of Empress Catherine II, who had Darya arrested. Saltykova was imprisoned until she died on December 27, 1801, at the age of 71. Though it's known that she definitely took the lives of 38 people, it's been reported that the number could be as high as 147.

3. Juana Barraza
Possibly the most brutal and intimidating female murderer in the history of Mexico, Juana Barraza was born on December 27, 1959, and is known for two things. The first is being a wrestler under the ring name The Silent Lady, and the other being a serial killer called the Old Lady Killer. Barraza would target women who were over the age of 60, usually ones who lived alone.

She would pose as a government official or other visitor in order to gain the trust of her victims and gain access to their house or apartment. It was there that she would strangle and beat them to death before stealing anything valuable that she could find. The Old Lady Killer operated from 1998 until 2006, mostly due to the mishandling of the case by police. Barraza was found to have committed between 42 and 48 murders. And on March 31, 2008, she was sentenced to almost 800 years in prison.

2. Miyuki Ishikawa
Also known as the Demon Midwife, Miyuki Ishikawa was born in Kunitomi, Japan in 1897, and was responsible for the deaths of numerous infants and newborns. Beginning in April 1944, Miyuki used her role as the director of a maternity hospital to help parents who couldn't financially support their babies by letting the infant pass on due to neglect.

Then, a doctor would give out falsified death certificates while her husband tried to get what little money the parents had as payment. At the time, abortion was illegal in Japan, yet the local authorities refused to look into the actions, or lack thereof, that the midwife was taking. Then on January 12, 1948, two officers accidentally stumbled upon the remains of five infants and Miyuki was arrested. In under four years, the Demon Midwife had already claimed over 103 lives. But despite that, incredibly Miyuki only served four years in prison for the murders.

1. Elizabeth Bathory
Elizabeth Bathory is not only considered the worst female serial killer of all time, but even tops the most notable male killers on the list of most devastating murderers of all time. And that's really not surprising when you learn that she was responsible for 650 deaths. Born to a noble family in Hungary on August 7, 1560, Bathory married at only 15 years old and took over her husband's castle as he went off to war. She began her murderous ways in 1584, luring young peasant women to her castle, promising to pay them for work but ultimately torturing, killing, and in some cases eating them.

It's been documented that Bathory believed that she could absorb life from her victims' blood, and is considered to be the world's first vampire. Her noble status kept her from being tried until 1610, when she was finally caught. And on August 21, 1614, Bathory died in a windowless room, never to drink the blood of innocents again. But that's all for this episode.

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