Ah, yes, it’s that time of year again: Halloween. The air is crisper, the sun is setting earlier and a clown is snooping around every corner. I don’t know about you, but I find myself to be absolutely obsessed with reading true crime stories; they simultaneously fascinate and terrify me. Therefore, here are some true crime stories that are sure to get you in the mood for the spookiest day of the year.
1. Gary Ridgway (aka The Green River Killer)
Having been convicted of 49 murders and later admitting to over 70, Ridgway is the most confessed serial killer of all time. The Green River Killer is known for killing young runaways and prostitutes along the Route 99 highway then throwing their bodies in the Green River, resulting in his nickname. An interesting fact about Mr. Ridgeway is that he was married many times and devoutly religious. Quite the walking contradiction, you could say.
2. Richard Ramirez
Ramirez is another serial killer with an infamous nickname — the Night Stalker. Ramirez created a flurry of media speculation during the mid-1980s in California, when he would continually break and enter into homes. He would then burglar, rape and kill his victims. Ramirez, a Satanist, is said to have had no remorse for his despicable crimes.
3. Kitty Genovese
Kitty Genovese was a young woman brutally stabbed to death by Winston Moseley in her apartment complex in Queens, New York, in 1964. It was reported that although she screamed for help, over 30 people in her complex refused to give her aid. The neglect that resulted in Kitty’s death is now referred to as the “bystander effect.” If you’re interested in seeing a reimagining of the Kitty Genovese story, watch HBO’s Girls season 5, episode 7.
4. The “Smiley Face Killer” Theory
This mystery has never been solved. The “Smiley Face Killer” Theory hits a little too close to home, as some of the victims were found dead in the Charles River. Of the 45 young men found washed up in various bodies of water, police argued that each victim individually drowned. Detectives Kevin Gannon and Anthony Duarte opposed this decision, arguing that these men were all murdered by the same serial killer. Their proof? At many of the death sites were graffiti smiley faces. This murder mystery is just that — a mystery. No one knows for sure the truth about these deaths, and it all could easily be a hoax.
5. Fred and Rose West
Fred and Rose West were husband and wife — and murderous accomplices. Fred was already a killer before the two met, but it didn’t stop the British couple from luring young girls back to their house and binding them in a cellar. They met when 27-year-old Fred was still married to his first wife. Rose was 15, and they moved in together after a year. The following year, they gave birth to their first daughter. In 1972, Rosemary gave birth to their second daughter. It all started that year when they hired 17-year-old Caroline Roberts to nanny their children. After holding her captive and torturing her, they got away with indecent assault. Over the course of the ‘60s and ‘80s, they sexually assaulted, tortured and killed over a dozen young women, which included some of their own daughters.