Throughout history, some of the world’s most notorious criminals have instilled fear and terror into the hearts and minds of people across the globe.
From Jack the Ripper in 19th century London, to the Zodiac Killer in the US during the 1960s, to the 9/11 attacks in 2001, some of the world’s most horrifying crimes have resulted in strong and lasting legacies.
In this article, we undertake a deep dive into the history of some of the world’s most notorious crimes, from Jack the Ripper to the 9/11 attacks. You’ll learn who was responsible, the impact of their actions, and the measures that were taken to combat them.
We even examine the importance of taking a measured and effective approach to justice in order to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future.
Jack the Ripper
Is arguably one of the most notorious criminals in history. He is known for his widespread fear and for still remaining an unsolved mystery. He has been known by many names throughout the years, including Whitechapel Murderer and Leather Apron.
Jack the Ripper’s crimes occurred in London’s East End during the Autumn of 1888. He was responsible for a series of murders that terrified the local population. His victims were mostly female prostitutes, and the approach used to kill them was gruesome and violent. He would often mutilate their corpses and even remove organs or body parts.
The identity of Jack the Ripper still remains a mystery to this day. Many theories have been put forward over the years as to who the murderer could be, ranging from a doctor, to a local businessman. Despite this, the true identity of Jack the Ripper is still unknown.
What makes Jack the Ripper’s crimes so notorious is not just the level of violence involved, but the fact that the perpetrator was never caught. This led to a great deal of fear among Londoners and the police.
This fear was further fueled by the fact that some of his victims were believed to be members of high society, suggesting that the killer would not be punished.
Jack the Ripper’s notoriety is firmly entrenched in the annals of history, and despite the passing of over a century, interest in his crimes and identity remains strong. With the advancements in modern technology, it may be possible to finally solve this mystery and bring Jack the Ripper to justice.
The Zodiac Killer
Is one of the most notorious criminals in the history of the world. The unidentified killer who operated in Northern California from the late 1960s to the early 1970s is estimated to have killed five or more people and is known for his mysterious and taunting letters to the press and police, which he signed with the zodiac symbol.
The Zodiac Killer’s first known murder was that of David Arthur Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen who were shot and killed on December 20, 1968 on Lake Herman Road, near Vallejo, California. The following year, on July 4th, Darlene Ferrin and Michael Mageau were shot and severely wounded in the parking lot of a restaurant in Vallejo; Ferrin later died of her injuries.
The killer contacted the Vallejo Times Herald newspaper and took responsibility for the murders, sending a 407-symbol cipher and a letter in which he described the murder and threatened to murder again.
The Zodiac Killer’s next known victims were college students Cecelia Ann Shepard and Bryan Calvin Hartnell, who were stabbed on September 27, 1969 at Lake Berryessa. Both were initially wounded but Hartnell survived.
The killer left a message on Hartnell’s car referring to the Black Dahlia Case and again sent a letter to the press calling himself the Zodiac and enclosing a 340-symbol cipher. Later that same year, cab driver Paul Lee Stine was shot and killed in San Francisco.
Though the killer never officially identified himself, he sent a series of taunting letters to the press and police, claiming credit for the murders and demanding that his letters be printed in newspapers. In one of the letters, he claimed to have killed 37 people, though there is no evidence to support this. The Zodiac Killer was never caught or identified and even after 50 years, the case remains unsolved.
The Zodiac Killer’s string of murders and taunting letters have made him one of the most notorious criminals in the world, and his case continues to fascinate true crime aficionados and amateur sleuths alike.
The Murders of the Boston Strangler
The name ‘Boston Strangler’ is notorious in the world of crime and criminal history. It evokes images of a serial killer, prowling the streets of Boston, Massachusetts and picking off victims with impunity. In the early 1960s, that’s exactly what was happening.
Between June 1962 and January 1964, a string of 13 murders were committed, with the victims all being female, most of whom were elderly or middle-aged.
The killer was never identified, but police concluded that he was likely responsible for all of the murders due to the similarities in the victims and modus operandi. The victims were strangled with articles of their own clothing and then sexually assaulted. The killer sometimes propped the bodies up in a seated position, and then left them lying in their beds.
The police investigation was a massive affair, with hundreds of suspects arrested and questioned, including several people who confessed to the crimes, but none of these confessions led to any convictions. The case drew a massive amount of public attention, both in Boston and nationwide, and sparked a media frenzy.
The Boston Strangler case remains unsolved, and the identity of the killer remains a mystery to this day. Though it’s not one of the more famous cases in criminal history, it stands out as one of the most notorious unsolved crimes of the twentieth century. And while the mystery of the Boston Strangler may never be solved, there is no shortage of theories as to who he may have been.
Charles Manson and the Manson Family
When it comes to notorious crimes, few are as infamous as those committed by the Manson Family. Led by the notorious Charles Manson, a cult leader and convicted criminal, the Manson Family terrorized southern California from 1967-1969. Manson claimed to be a prophet, and he and his followers committed nine murders.
Manson had become a cult leader in the 1960s in San Francisco, California. He had gained a number of followers, largely young adults, and began to preach a philosophy that was focused on communal living and the end of the world. Eventually, Manson and his followers moved to an abandoned movie ranch in the southern California desert.
In August 1969, the Manson Family’s notorious crimes began when they killed Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of renowned director Roman Polanski. Tate’s friends Wojciech Frykowski, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, and Steven Parent were also killed. The following night, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca were also killed. All of the victims had been stabbed multiple times.
The police quickly realized that the murders were linked and began to investigate the Manson Family. It was later found that Manson and four of his followers had been responsible for the heinous crimes. It was also revealed that Manson had planned the murders in order to start a race war.
In 1971, Manson and other members of the Manson Family were found guilty of seven counts of first-degree murder. Manson was sentenced to death, but that sentence was later commuted to life in prison. Manson died in prison in 2017 at the age of 83.
The Manson Family’s notorious crimes remain some of the most notorious in history. The victims of the Manson Family’s violent acts were innocent people and their deaths were tragic. The legacy of Charles Manson and the Manson Family will continue to haunt us for years to come.
The Unabomber is one of the world’s most notorious criminals. Theodore Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber, terrorized the United States and other countries from 1978 to 1995. During this time, he sent 16 bombs to universities and airlines, killing three people and injuring 23.
He was eventually identified as the Unabomber in 1996 and sentenced to life in prison without parole for his crimes.
Kaczynski was born in Chicago in 1942 and studied mathematics at Harvard University. He later taught at the University of California, Berkeley, but left in 1969 and moved to a remote cabin in Montana, where he lived for 25 years.
Kaczynski wrote an anonymous manifesto called ‘Industrial Society and Its Future’ that was published in 1995. In it, he detailed his anti-technology views, which he believed were threatening the environment and human freedom. He claimed that he was sending bombs to draw attention to his manifesto.
His bombing spree was eventually brought to an end thanks to the efforts of a task force led by the FBI. After his identity was revealed and he was arrested, he was charged with 16 counts of mail and airline bombings, as well as possession of illegal firearms. He was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.
Kaczynski is a notorious criminal and his case is a reminder of how dangerous criminals can be. He was able to carry out his plan for over a decade, and the effects of his crimes are still felt today.
The Assassination of John F. Kennedy
Remains one of the world’s most notorious crimes. On November 22nd, 1963, the 35th President of the United States was assassinated while riding in a motorcade through Dallas, Texas. His death was felt around the globe and changed the course of history.
The assassin was Lee Harvey Oswald, a former U.S. Marine who had become a self-proclaimed Marxist in 1961. On the day of the shooting, he fired three shots from a bolt-action rifle at Kennedy’s motorcade. The first two shots missed, but the third struck Kennedy in the head and fatally wounded him.
Oswald was quickly arrested by Dallas police and charged with Kennedy’s murder. He was brought to trial but never stood trial, as he was murdered in police custody by nightclub owner Jack Ruby two days after the assassination. To this day, there is no clear consensus on why Oswald chose to kill the president.
A variety of investigations and conspiracy theories have been proposed since the assassination, with some suggesting that Kennedy was killed as the result of a larger plot. However, no conclusive proof has been found to support these theories and Kennedy’s death remains shrouded in mystery.
Despite the lack of clarity surrounding his death, Kennedy’s assassination has left an indelible mark on global history. His death shocked the world and left a lasting impact on political discourse and public opinion.
In the decades since his assassination, John F. Kennedy has been remembered as a beloved president who was taken too soon and his death will remain one of the world’s most notorious crimes.
The Columbine High School Massacre
Of 1999 is one of the most notorious and tragic tragedies in American history and one of the world’s most notorious crimes. On April 20th 1999, two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, walked into their high school in Littleton, Colorado and opened fire killing 12 students, one teacher and wounding 24 others, before turning their guns on themselves.
The motive behind the attack was never definitively established, but Harris and Klebold had both exhibited a fascination with guns and violence in previous years. It is speculated that both students had experienced severe bullying, and the massacre was a reaction to that.
In addition, there have been numerous theories positing that they had adopted neo-Nazi ideologies or were planning a similar attack to the Oklahoma City bombing.
In the aftermath of the attack, the community was left to grieve and the country was shocked. School security was brough to the forefront of the national discourse as politicians and citizens alike called for better safety measures in public schools. The survivors and families of the victims organized support and charity events.
The Columbine High School Massacre has become a symbol for the violent gun culture that has become an epidemic in the United States. It stands as a reminder of the tragedy of such violent acts and the need for a safer learning environment for students in the country.
The Oklahoma City Bombing
Is certainly one of the most notorious crimes in recent history. On April 19, 1995, a truck loaded with a bomb exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people and injuring more than 680. The attack was carried out by Timothy McVeigh, a former soldier, and Terry Nichols, and was a response to the federal government’s handling of the Waco siege in 1993 and the Ruby Ridge standoff in 1992.
The attack was quickly labeled as domestic terrorism, and it was the deadliest terror attack to be carried out on US soil until the attacks of September 11, 2001. McVeigh was arrested two days after the bombing, and was found guilty of 11 federal offenses and was executed by lethal injection in 2001. Nichols was also convicted of several federal offenses and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The Oklahoma City bombing revealed that terrorism in the United States could come from within, and it left an indelible mark on the history of the country. While the government has taken steps to prevent attacks of this magnitude from occurring again, it remains one of the most notorious crimes of the modern age.
The 9/11 Attacks
One of the most notorious crimes in world history, occurred on September 11th, 2001. On that fateful day, four commercial passenger planes were hijacked by members of al-Qaeda, an Islamist militant group. Two of the planes were crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City, one into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and one into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
In the wake of the attacks, the United States launched a War on Terror and invaded Afghanistan, hunting down Osama Bin Laden and his associates for their involvement in the 9/11 attacks. As a result of the attacks, almost 3,000 people were killed and nearly 10,000 were injured.
The attacks on 9/11 triggered mass paranoia and fear across the United States and the world, with the effects lasting to this day. The incident popularized a significant shift in the way security is handled and airports are run in the United States, with an increased focus on air travel safety. The 9/11 attacks are considered to be one of the most notorious crimes in world history.
It’s truly incredible to think about the amount of human suffering that can be done by one person, or even one small group of individuals.
The history of the most notorious crimes are a testament to the worst of what humanity can do. Thankfully, as our society moves forward, steps are taken to prevent such atrocities from happening in the future.
We don’t have to look far to see the good in the world and all the positive contributions that far outweigh the evils that have been committed. It’s our job to remember what these past criminals have done, to not repeat their mistakes, and to ensure that justice is served.