How Much Do You Know About the Most Infamous Serial Killers?

Bambi Turner

Image: A&E/FYI

About This Quiz

Do you know the real name of the Green River Killer, or the Angel of Death? Remember where Jack the Ripper or Charles Manson committed their heinous crimes? If so, you might have what it takes to ace this serial killers quiz.

The FBI estimates that there are between 25 and 50 active serial killers operating in the United States each year. Sounds terrifying, until you also consider that serial murders represent less than 1 percent of all murders annually. So while the bad guys are out there, your chances of running into one are relatively slim.

Of course, any discussion of serial killers has to address some of the myths around them. Contrary to what you may believe, there really is no single identifying characteristic shared by all serial murderers -- they can be any race, age or gender. Even more surprising is that most are not insane psychopaths living on the fringes of society. In fact, a shocking number of these murderers blend in perfectly with society -- they can be your co-worker, neighbor or someone at your church, and you'd probably never know.

So what drives a serial killer? That's another tough question, because contrary to what you've seen on TV, many of these criminals have multiple motives, and some have none at all. Sure, some kill for sexual gratification, but for others its the thrill of power, anger at the world, a specific ideology or even just some form of psychosis.

 Think you can name the most feared serial killers throughout history? Take our quiz to find out!

Which serial killer was nicknamed the Green River Killer?

Gary Ridgway murdered at least 49 women in Washington State in the '80s and '90s, making him one of the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history. He was nicknamed the Green River Killer, and caught in 2001.

What nickname was given to Donald Harvey?

Donald Harvey spent years working in hospitals as an orderly. During that time, he killed somewhere between 37 and 57 people, earning him the nickname "The Angel of Death."

John Wayne Gacy spent time dressing up as one of these.

John Wayne Gacy spent some time dressing up as a clown at children's birthday parties. He also killed more than 33 young men and boys, burying them in and around his home before he was put to death in 1994.

Where did Charles Manson commit his crimes?

Charles Manson and his cult of followers murdered nine people in California. He was convicted of first-degree murder in 1971, and sent to prison, where he died in 2017.

Where did Jack the Ripper commit his crimes?

Infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper murdered at least five prostitutes in London's Whitechapel district in 1888. The crimes were particularly brutal and gruesome, but remain unsolved.

What city lived in terror of Albert DeSalvo?

Thirteen women were killed in Boston between 1962 and 1964. The crimes were blamed on a killer nicknamed The Boston Strangler. Albert DeSalvo, who was jailed for rape in 1967, later confessed to the crimes, and was linked to one of the murders via DNA evidence in 2013.

Killer Rodney Alcala appeared on this TV series in the '70s.

Rodney Alcala is often called "The Dating Game Killer" because he appeared on -- and won -- an episode of "The Dating Game" in 1978. The next year, he was arrested and charged with murdering at least eight women, though some estimate his victim count at well over 100.

Which mass murderer was known as the Milwaukee Cannibal?

Jeffrey Dahmer earned the nickname "The Milwaukee Cannibal" for his 17-plus murders between 1978 and 1991. His victims were boys and young men, and Dahmer practiced both necrophilia and cannibalism. He was beaten to death in prison in 1994.

Author Ann Rule wrote a book about this killer -- and former co-worker.

Ann Rule once worked with Ted Bundy, and wrote the book "The Stranger Beside Me" about her experience. Bundy confessed to murdering at least 30 people, and died in the electric chair in 1989.

Which of these was killer Dean Corll nicknamed?

Dean Corll lured young boys using treats and gifts, earning him the nicknames "The Candy Man" and "The Pied Piper." He murdered at least 28 boys in Texas between 1970 and 1973 before he was shot by his young accomplice.

Where did H.H. Holmes construct his murder castle?

Herman Mudgett, who have himself the name H.H. Holmes, murdered at least nine people in the late 19th century. He crafted a large hotel, later dubbed the murder castle, to house potential victims as they visited the World's Exposition in Chicago in 1893.

Which serial killer's name featured on "Seinfeld" in an episode called "The Masseuse?"

Serial killer Joel Rifkin killed an estimated 17 women in New York City between 1989 and 1993. It's no surprise then, that Elaine was dismayed to learn that her new boyfriend shared a name with the infamous killer in the episode "The Masseuse."

The movie "Monster" was based on the life of this killer.

Aileen Wuornos shot seven men to death between 1989 and 1990. Though she claimed self-defense, she was put to death in 2002. The next year, the movie "Monster" won Charlize Theron an Oscar for her portrayal of Wuornos.

What was David Berkowitz better known as?

David Berkowitz shot eight people, six of whom died, between 1976 and 1977. Nicknamed "Son of Sam," he was finally caught thanks to a parking ticket.

Which killer is known as "The Truck Stop Killer?"

Robert Ben Rhoades earned the nickname "The Truck Stop Killer" as he picked up female victims while working as a truck driver. He killed as many as 50 women between 1975 and 1990, and was finally convicted of murder in 1994.

Which of these killers is said to have inspired both "Psycho" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre?"

Ed Gein was nicknamed "The Butcher of Plainfield" for killing victims and turning body parts into household objects -- like lampshades. He was arrested in 1968 and confined to a mental institution. His horrific story inspired both "Psycho" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

This killer was known for hanging around with fellow killer Ottis Toole.

Henry Lee Lucas was known to spend time with Ottis Toole -- who confessed to killing John Walsh's son Adam. Lucas was convicted of killing at least 11 people, but confessed to thousands of murder before dying in prison in 2001.

Which of these killers was nicknamed "The Freeway Killer?"

Randy Steven Kraft was nicknamed both "The Freeway Killer" -- because so many of his victims were found near the freeway, and "The Scorecard Killer" -- because he kept elaborate notes about his victims. He killed an estimated 16 men between 1972 and the early '80s.

What was Richard Ramirez better known as?

Ramirez earned the nickname "The Night Stalker" after terrorizing people in Los Angeles and San Francisco in the mid-'80s. He was convicted of 13 murders and a wealth of other crimes, and died of cancer while on Death Row in 2013.

Which killer was called "The Gray Man?"

Albert Fish was known as "The Gray Man" after kidnapping a girl named Grace Budd. He murdered and cannibalized at least three victims before he was put to death in 1936.

What nickname was given to Paul John Knowles?

Knowles killed at least 20 victims in a four-month period in 1974. His crimes occurred nationwide and involved victims aged 11 to 65. The media dubbed him "The Casanova Killer," but little was known about this serial killer.

Which killer was nicknamed "BTK?"

The "BTK" nickname, for bind, torture, kill, was given to Dennis Rader, who killed between 1974 and 1991 in Kansas. He was caught after sending a floppy disk to police that contained personal information.

Why was Lonnie David Franklin, Jr. dubbed "The Grim Sleeper?"

Lonnie David Franklin Jr. was nicknamed "The Grim Sleeper" because while he killed as many as 25 victims, he didn't commit any murders between 1988 and 2002. All of his victims were killed before or after that period.

Who was the "Meanest Man in America?"

Killer Donald Henry Gaskins was dubbed "The Meanest man in America" for his crimes. He murdered at least nine victims, but claimed to have killed more than a hundred before he was executed in the '90s.

Where did the Genesee River Killer commit his crimes?

The Genesee River flows through New York and Pennsylvania. Arthur Shawcross, who killed 14 victims in the '70s and '80s in the Rochester, NY area, has since been nicknamed "The Genesee River Killer."

How did Bobby Joe Long find his victims?

Bobby Joe Long killed at least 10 people in Florida in the early '80s. He earned the nickname "The Classified Ad Rapist" because he found many of his victims when responding to ads placed in the newspaper.

Together, Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono were known as...

Bianchi and cousin Buono killed at least 12 people around the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles in the late '70s. The media dubbed the duo "The Hillside Strangler."

Where did Anthony Sowell commit most of his known crimes?

Known as "The Cleveland Strangler," Anthony Sowell killed 11 women and hid the remains in his house and yard. He was arrested in Cleveland, Ohio in 2009.

Which of these killers was known as "The Sunday Morning Slasher?"

Carl Eugene Watts picked up the nickname "The Sunday Morning Slasher" after killing between 22 and 100 people in the '70s and '80s. He was arrested in Houston in 1982.

This killer was known as "The Midtown Slasher" or "The .22-Caliber Killer."

Joseph Christopher killed at least a dozen people in 1980. Though he was caught the next year, his crimes were hard to track because he used both guns and knives on his victims. He died in prison of a rare form of breast cancer in 1993.

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