“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” – Albert Einstein
But also, there are some pretty terrible people out there.
Throughout the centuries, human beings have endured the evil atrocities of madmen, mass murderers, warlords, and fanatics. No one quite knows what exactly causes the minds of some to act with such cruelty or depravity. Humans are capable of creating so much good in the world, but are equally equipped and proficient to carry out evil.
Here are some interesting facts about evil people throughout history.
26. Elizabeth Bathory
Elizabeth Bathory was a Hungarian noblewoman who is believed to be the most prolific female serial killer in history. It is believed that she tortured and murdered as many as 650 young girls. She was eventually imprisoned in December 1609 and held in solitary confinement in a windowless room until her death five years later.
25. Josef Mengele
Josef Mengele was a physician at the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp during the holocaust. He sent hundreds of thousands of people sent to their death via gas chambers, but Mengle most notoriously known for performing horrible experiments on prisoners with no regard for health and safety, or the suffering of the patients. He had a particular interest in twins, dwarves, and people with other “abnormalities”.
24. Madame LaLaurie
Madame Delphine LaLaurie was an influential French-Creole woman married to Dr. Louis LaLaurie. However, despite their grand home and lavish affairs, Madame LaLaurie had a sinister secret. She was extremely cruel to the slaves working within her house . She enjoyed murdering her slaves, and having the bodies buried in shallow graves around the house. It wasn’t until a terrible house fire in the LaLaurie mansion, that outsiders finally made the grisly discovery of tortured slaves hidden away in the attic, scattered human body parts, and other unspeakable conditions. This story was recently brought to life by actress Kathy Bates and who played LaLaurie in American Horror Story: Coven.
23. Maximilien Robespierre
Maximilien was a leader in the French Revolution, but has gone down in history for his leadership during a time now known as the Reign of Terror. Starting out as a bourgeoisie lawyer and a working class sympathizer, he became ruthless during the French Revolution, and had anyone he suspected of treason, and political rivals, sentenced to death by the guillotine.
22. Bloody Mary
Mary Tudor of England was born on February 18, 1516, in Greenwich, England. She was the only child of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon that survived childhood. She earned the title of ‘Bloody Mary,’ shortly after her unpopular marriage to Phillip II of Spain. Enacting a strict heresy law, over 300 Protestants were burned as heretics.
21. Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan was a fearsome leader of the Mongols, known for destroying everything in sight. Genghis ruled as the Emperor of the Mongol empire from 1206 until his death in 1227. Upward of 40 million people were killed under Khan’s rule, as his military campaigns often sought to completely eliminate entire civilian populations.
Caligula was notorious for his leadership of the Roman empire. He brought Rome the brink of revolution by wastefully spending and killing anyone who stood in his way. He even deemed himself God and had a statue of himself erected for people to worship.
Roman leader Nero enjoyed torturing Christians and even blamed the Great Fire of Rome, which some claim Nero started, on Christians. Nero murdered his own mother, his first wife, and his second wife. After numerous problems attempting to rebuild Rome, Nero committed suicide in 68 A.D.
18. Jeffery Dahmer
Amrican serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was given the moniker the Milwaukee Cannibal. Between 1978 and 1991, Dahmer was responsible for the murder, rape, and dismemberment of many boys and young men. Jeffrey murdered his first victim, a hitchhiker by the name of Steven Hicks in 1978. Dahmer had a strange fascination with zombies, and would preform lobotomies on many of his victims to try and create a zombie.
17. Emperor Hirohito
Emperor Hirohito, born April 29, 1901, was Japan’s longest reigning monarch. The 124th Emperor of Japan occupied the throne for 63 years, and was remembered for the Sino-Japanese War. During the Sino-Japanese war the Japanese troops massacred and raped thousands of civilians in Nanking in an act remembered as the ‘Rape of Nanking.’ Instead of being held responsible for war crimes, Emperor Hirohito became Japan’s first democrat after Japan’s defeat in WWII.
16. Attila the Hun
Attila the Hun was such a fearsome leader, that there were no survivor’s accounts of his appearance. Attila was so passionate about invading other countries, that on his way to gather his bride, Honoria, he made a quick stop in Rome to destroy it. Attila became known amongst the Romans as the ‘Scourge of God’ for attacking and looting the empire.
15. Tomas De Torquemada
Born in Spain in 1420, the Dominican priest known as Tomas De Torquemada became a notorious figure for his cruelty, while serving as the Inquisitor General during the Spanish Inquisition. After being appointed Inquisitor General by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel he had 2,000 people burned alive as heritics, and over 17,000 dissidents mutilated. Torquemada’s leadership became synonymous with barbaric torture and merciless cruelty.
14. Mao Zedong
Over 45 million people died under the leadership of Mao Zedong. The leader and founder of the People’s Republic of China sought to protect China from foreign influence, and grow China’s agricultural and industrial power through a program called the Giant Leap Forward. Unfortunately this initiative was a huge failure that caused widespread famine and economic collapse. Mao’s government tried to cover up the failure. Anyone who spoke out against the program was labelled a ‘right opportunist’ and would be arrested or killed.
13. Ivan the Terrible
Ivan the Terrible, also known more formally as Ivan IV Vasilyevich, was the first Tsar of Russia. He was made Grand Prince of Moscow in 1533, and reigned over all of Russia until 1584. After the death of his first wife, he became erratic and paranoid. Ivan suspected that the noblemen of the wealthy city of Novgorod caused the deaths of his mother and wife and had the city along with its people destroyed. Ivan even killed his own son after his son had expressed malcontent with his military failures. In a fit of rage, Ivan hit his son on the temple with his sceptre, killing him.
12. Idi Amin
Idi Amin became the president of Uganda, following a military coup in 1971. He lived lavishly while his country’s economy collapsed and people starved. Idi Amin was responsible for the brutal deaths of 300,000 to 500,000 countrymen in Uganda. Often deaths were broadcast on television to instill rule and subjugation by fear. He fled to Libya, and later Saudi Arabia after being overthrown in 1979.
11. Dr. Eugen Haagan
Dr. Eugen Haagen was a world-renowned genius who won a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation in New York City, and helped created the first vaccine for yellow fever. However, Dr. Haagen was also guilty of experimenting on unwilling live human victims, in gruesome experiments for the Third Reich. Dr. Haagen was a virologist and a high-ranking Nazi, who specialized in the weaponization of deadly viruses. There were many fatalities on his human test subjects, often labeled ‘human-pigs.’
10. Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler is one of the most notorious and renown evil men in human history. Once a young man seeking to become an artist, he later ended up being a dictator and the face of Germany’s Nazi party in the 1930s and during WWII. Hitler was responsible for the infamous “Final Solution,” which led to the creation of death camps where millions were murdered.
9. Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin was born in 1878, and served as dictator of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics from 1929 until 1953. Under his rule, millions of citizens were forced into labor camps and were brutally executed. Stalin’s forced collectivization of farms, led to millions of farmers being shot or exiled, and a widespread famine which lead to many deaths.
8. Vlad the Impaler
The real life Dracula, Vlad III, known as Vlad Tempes (the Impaler) ruled Wallachia from 1456 to 1462. Vlad lived during a time when there was constant war. He suffered imprisonment, his father was murdered, and his older brother Mircea was blinded with red-hot iron stakes before being buried alive. Vlad was known for his inhuman cruelty with his victims, and of course his favorite form of execution, impalement.
7. Dr. Shiro Ishii
Dr. Shiro Ishii was a medical officer and director of Unit 731. This unit was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Japanese army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. He performed brutal experiments on over 10,000 human test subjects, many ended in fatality. Dr. Ishii rounded up not only Chinese prisoners of war, but also people deemed conducting ‘suspicious activities’ for his experiments. Men, women, pregnant women, elderly persons, children, and infants were all subjected to inhumanely cruel experimentation. Victims were put in freezers, dehydrated, shot, injected with viruses, and had amputations without anesthesia.
6. Hamilton Howard ‘Albert’ Fish
American serial killer Hamilton Howard “Albert” Fish was also known as The Gray Man, The Brooklyn Vampire, and The Boogey Man. Even though he married and conceived six children, Fish had a dark side to him. He developed a fondness for cannibalism and sadistic behavior. It was believed that ‘The Boogey Man’ had up to nine victims, most being young children. He was executed via the electric chair in 1936 at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York.
5. Charles Manson
The notorious cult leader, Charles Manson, had a troubled and difficult youth. Once he was forced to wear a dress in kindergarten, when family discovered he cried in class. He committed his first crime, stealing money from a grocery store at 12. Manson was strongly influenced by Scientology and the book How to Win Friends and Influence People, which helped him shape his cult and lure followers. Charles Manson and ‘The Manson Family’ were known for the gruesome murder of actress Sharon Tate and other Hollywood denizens. Manson was found guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of seven people.
4. Miyuki Ishikawa
Miyuki Ishikawa lived a pretty normal life, until she received the nickname of Oni-Sanba or ‘Demon-midwife.’ Miyuki was born in 1897 in Kunitomi, Japan and later worked as a hospital director and midwife. In the 1940s, she began murdering infants from poor disadvantaged families via neglect, citing that she was doing the children and their struggling families a service. The Demon-midwife was accused of 103 deaths, and sentenced to 8 years in prison for her crimes, but it is believed that over 200 children died under her direction.
3. Ted Bundy
Born Theodore Robert Bundy on November 24, 1946, Bundy was a notorious American serial killer. He confessed to committing 30 homicides in seven different states between 1974 and 1978, but the true victim count remains unknown. He committed acts of kidnapping, sexual assault, and was a necrophile. 12 of his victims had been decapitated, and some of the remains were kept as trophies. Ted Bundy was executed by the electric chair in Raiford Prison in Starke, Florida, January 24, 1989.
2. Pol Pot
The Cambodian head of state and dictator, Pol Pot was the leader of the Khmer Rouge reigme. More than one million people were killed, thanks to exhaustion from over work, starvation, or execution between 1975 and 1979. Pol Pot was notorious for directing executioners to not waste bullets, so battery acid, bludgeoning with objects, and other tactics were used to execute prisoners and dissidents. The mass graves his people were commanded to dig, were known as ‘the killing fields.’ Pol Pot was arrested for his crimes in 1997, and died while under house arrest on April 15, 1998.
1. Leopold II of Belgium
The second king of the Belgians and the founder and sole owner of the Congo Free State, Leopold II was known as a heartless and cruel tyrant. He was responsible for the massacre of over 10 million Africans in the Congo. He was remembered in Vachel Lindsay’s poem, ‘The Congo,’ for cutting off the limbs of slaves and young children.