When it comes to some of the most evil figures in world history, usually people mention men like Ivan the Terrible, Jack the Ripper, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin or the maniac Stanislav Rogolev. However, the world has seen women whose cruelty may have surpassed that of men. Their ‘deeds’ had inspired fear in the hearts of men and women alike around the world.
FOX Life has compiled a list of the most evil women in world history:
Elizabeth Báthory (1560 – 1614)
Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Báthory or the ‘Bloody Countess’ is mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records as the bloodiest maniac in human history. According to historic records, she suffered from wild fits of rage from an early age. Throughout her childhood she often witnessed sights of unspeakable torture of servants and peasants at the hands of her father, brothers and other relatives. Throughout 1585 – 1610 she allegedly brutally murdered hundreds of farm girls by beating, disfiguring, burning and even chewing parts of their faces. Young women were invited to the castle under with promises of servant work; some were outright kidnapped.
Even though the Bloody Countess was accused of up to 650 murders, she never stood before the court, because of her title. Her bloody crimes were proven by testimony from 300 witnesses and victims, as well as evidence found in the castle – terribly disfigured remains of dead and dying women.
Mary Ann Cotton (1832 – 1873)
Marry is considered the first British serial killer. She first married at the age of 20. Soon after the wedding, the newly-weds moved to the city of Plymouth in Devonshire County. The couple gave birth to five children. Four of those children died from fever caused by gastritis. After returning to Durham County, it seemed like misfortune was following Mary and her husband no matter where they went. Mary gave birth to three more children, but all three of them soon died. Shortly after their death, Mary’s husband died as well. Allegedly, the cause of death was gastrointestinal problems.
Mary married a second time. Unfortunately, Mary’s second husband and one of their two children soon died. After this particular incident, local papers started following this woman’s life. Moving from one place to another in Northern England, Mary lost three husbands, a lover, a friend, her mother and twelve children – all of them died from abdominal fever. Shortly after the death of her last child, it was revealed that the cause of death was not abdominal virus, but rather arsenic poisoning. Mary had killed her loved ones to acquire life insurance money off her relatives, as well as their possessions. She was tried and sentenced to death by hanging on 24 March, 1873.
Belle Gunness (1859 – 1908)
Belle is one of the most infamous female serial killer in the history of USA – over the course of several decades she murdered two of her husbands, two daughters and a number of lovers and witnesses. According to records, she killed more than 40 people. Her main motive for murdering people was to get life insurance money and the victims’ possessions. Ray Lamphere was the one who told the police about Belle’s killings. He was originally hired by Belle to help her carry out her bloody plans. Belle’s death remains surrounded in mystery to this day. Her house burned down in February 1908. Police found a burned body of a woman in the charred remains of what used to be her house. What is peculiar is that the body was missing the head. The autopsy could not accurately confirm if the body found was actually Belle. Up to this day it remains unknown if that body belonged to Belle.
Irma Ida Grese (1923 – 1945)
During the rule of Nazis in Germany, Irma was an SS guard in the women’s bloc in Auschwitz and Ravensbruck concentration camps, as well as Chief of women’s bloc of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. In 1945 Irma was tried by the British military court for crimes against humanity. She was sentenced to death by hanging. Irma was 22 when she was executed for some of the most violent crimes against humanity, making her the youngest person to be sentenced to death in accordance with British laws in the 20th century.
According to witnesses, the ‘Auschwitz Hyena’ Irma found exceptional pleasure in torturing and killing prisoners. She was often seen using heavy boots, a whip and pistol to torture prisoners of concentration camps. Irma had whipped several female prisoners to death with her whip. Sometimes she used her dog to torture prisoners. She found pleasure in torturing her prisoners both physically and psychologically.
Myra Hindley (1945 – 2002)
Myra was a serial killer and rapist. Throughout 1963 – 1965 she and her friend Ian Brady, who was a known supporter of ideas of Nazism since an early age, kidnapped, raped, tortured and killed three children, who were under the age of 12, including two teenagers. Myra was arrested by the police after her 17-year-old brother in law told them about her crimes.
Although Myra claimed she had not killed anyone, evidence proved she was the one responsible to the killings of three children. Myra was sentenced to life in prison. All of her pleas to be released from prison were declined. In 1987 the woman confessed her involvement in the murder of all five children, claiming she was forced by her friend Ian. Myra Hindley died at the age of 60 in her prison cell on 15 November 2002. Ian continues to serve his life sentence to this day.
Katherine Knight (born 1955)
Katherine Knight is the first Australian woman to be sentenced to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. She had brutally beaten one of her husbands, killing him. She had also violently ripped the throat of her second husband’s eight-week old puppy right in front of his eyes.
The worst of her crimes took place after her last husband submitted a complaint about her violent behaviour. She repaid him for that by brutally stabbing the man 37 times with a butcher’s knife. After that, she skinned her husband and hanged the blood-soaked trophy above her living room’s door. She then cut off her husband’s head and put it in a soup pot. She also cooked his genitals and prepared a ‘meal’ out of them. She planned to serve this ‘dinner’ to her children. Fortunately, the police arrived before they did and arrested the criminal.
Beverly Allitt (born 1968)
Beverley Gail Allitt is an English serial killer. While working as a nurse in the children’s ward at Grantham and Kesteven Hospital, Lincolnshire, she killed four children, attempted to kill three more and caused serious injuries to six other children over the course of February – April 1991. She injected a large dose of insulin two at least two victims. The police found a large bubble in the body of another victim, but were unable to determine how it was carried out.
In May 1993, Nottingham Crown Court sentenced her to 13 life sentences. The now 47-year-old Beverley is currently serving her sentence in a secure psychiatric clinic in Nottinghamshire County. Her motives remain mostly unknown. According to one version, she suffers from a psychological disorder known as Münchausen syndrome – when the person comes up with or falsifies illnesses to attract attention.
Last year, Nurse Daiga Terauda was sentenced to life in prison in Latvia. According to the police, she had disfigured and killed her own children. Experts found Münchausen syndrome in this case as well.