Femme Fatale: Some of the World’s Most Notorious Female Killers

Hello, True Crime aficionadas! 

Let’s share something that always seems a little extra strange – some of history’s most horrifying female killers.

Here are some of the most notorious women that slashed and poisoned their way in true crime lore:

Aileen Wuornos

Considered to be the worst female killer of contemporary history, Aileen Wuornos killed seven men in just a span of a single year.

Showing no fear at all, Wuornos killed those men by shooting them at point-blank range.

The personification of a monster, Wuornos’ escapades have been a hot topic in different forms of media. Particularly the popular movie, Monster, where Charlize Theron played as the murderer herself.

(Links to Amazon.com)

The seedy life that Wuornos lived was something of the bizarre. For example, during her childhood years, she traded sex for cigarettes.

Her tragic and warped childhood (according to her), which was littered with various kinds of abuse, may well have set the stage for the violence that followed.

 

Juana Barraza

A fairly recent case, Juana Barraza’s crimes are the stuff that you may actually consider better left in the twilight zone.


(Links to Amazon.com)

A string of elderly women deaths baffled Mexican authorities last 2003. Who of sane mind would kill these elderly ( and often, physically helpless) women? Worse, why strangle them to death.

Originally, police went by the story that a sexually-confused male was out loose in the city. Little did anyone know that the culprit was someone more bizarre than that profile!

It was Barraza’s bad luck (and good, for everyone else in that city) that she was caught right after she strangled an old lady to death with a stethoscope. Barraza, who probably was the last person on earth to match the original male profile, was actually a popcorn vendor who would occasionally moonlight as a luchadora (dubbed as The Lady of Silence).

Ladies and gents, The Lady of Silence is also “The Little Old Lady Killer” of Mexico – the strangler of more than 40 elderly women!

Dorothea Puente

Get a glass of fine wine – you’ll need it when reading up on Dorothea Puente!

The Death House Landlady, no one would expect the kind old lady who ran a boarding house is actually a deranged killer.

She had everything that would make her look the part of a person you can trust. Taking on people considered to be in the wayward part of their lives, Puente offered shelter for “difficult” individuals – mentally ill people, drug addicts, and the elderly.

She took them all in under her roof because she wanted something that they all had – their social security claims. Using tranquilizers, Puente would shoot a lethal dose on many of her tenants.

Cha-ching. Bodies buried in the backyard, more cash for the “kind” landlady!

Amelia Dyer

A blood bath. That would be the best way to describe the carnage unleashed by the baby farmer, Amelia Dyer.

During the 1800s, single mothers would take the chance to “lend” their babies to be taken care of by more stable individuals or homes.

A payment would be settled between the two parties, with the mother often having the option to get her baby back once she has a better source of income.

Dyer found a great way to monetize this system. After getting the payment, she’d overdose that baby she was supposed to look after with poison. Next, she’d contact a coroner to clear her name with the death, claiming that the baby died just a few hours taking care of it.

And she did this to 400 (or more) babies.

As the Ogress of Reading, Dyer’s arrest resulted to a stricter law of adoption in Britain. 

Jane Toppan

Don’t let her joyful aura fool you. Jane Toppan will brew you a vile poison cocktail!

Known as Jolly Jane, this helpful nurse apparently was in for the joy of murder. Under her persona to care for the sick and the elderly, Toppan would win the trust of several patients over at the hospital she was employed, particularly by lending them opiates and painkillers with not so much of a question at all!

Leaving the hospital (she was let go because of her reckless abandon), she would then find an opportunity to experiment with her fascination on chemicals as a private nurse.

And this was when she started to kill. With more than 30 individuals falling victim to this angel of death’s concoctions, Toppan was sentenced to live in an asylum. Her eccentric behavior didn’t stop though – she would often try to talk to nurses about going on a killing spree with her!

Kristen Gilbert

To nurse and nurture someone. Then, all of a sudden, to kill. Such was the thrill that Kristen Gilbert got as nurse who murdered her patients.

There was something wrong with Gilbert’s history as a nurse. There seemed to be a rather high number of fatalities under her watch. But nothing really points out of her involvement.

This was because Gilbert orchestrated most of these emergency procedures. She’d inject a heart stimulant on most of her victims, which would then result to an operation. On most, if not all, procedures, Gilbert would be present to resuscitate the patient.

Why would a nurse do that? Convicted of 4 murders (and connected to more than 80 hospital deaths), Gilbert’s topsy-turvy life as a medical practitioner was placed on hold when hospital staff started to take notice of her bizarre practices.

She is now behind bars for life.

Rosemary West

A sexual deviant, Rosemary West and her husband, Fred, killed more than 12 British girls.

One of their victims was their own daughter.

Rosemary had anger issues. Marrying Fred, Rosemary had to also take care of his children from a previous marriage, Feeling no attachment to these children, Rosemary went berserk and killed one child. 

Life went on for the couple. Fred encouraged Rosemary to live the swingers lifestyle, often allowing his wife to engage in sexual activities with other men. This then resulted to Rosemary being a prostitute.

Because of that lifestyle, gave birth to several children (fathered by different men). Aside from the seedy lifestyle (Fred would often watch these acts), the couple would also engage in sexual acts with their children.

Imprisoned for life, Rosemary still claims to be innocent.

Judy Buenoano

The vile acts one can commit for money. Such was the driving force behind Judy Buenoano‘s gruesome murders.

First was her first husband, James Goodyear. Poisoning his husband with arsenic, the evil woman was able to bag a large sum of life insurance money.

She then legally changed her name to Buenoano, as a bastardized Spanish term for good year.

Next was her own son, Michael. Falling ill because of arsenic poisoning, Judy then took him to a canoe trip. Orchestrating the canoe to topple, Michael then drowned.

More money for Judy.

The last one was her boyfriend, John Gentry. Surviving a suspicious car explosion, authorities started investigating. Piecing the clues together, they found out Judy was the root cause of these bizarre circumstances.

She was sentenced to death last 1985.

Leonarda Cianciulli

Perhaps, after knowing about Leonarda Cianciulli, you’d think twice about soap.

Popularly known as the “Soap-Maker of Correggio”, Cianciulli’s fascination of the unknown resulted to her committing some of the most bizarre murders ever recorded in history.

Basing most of her life choices on fortune telling (and her utmost love for her children), Cianciulli believed that through human sacrifices, she would give her family a better life.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Often using an axe to murder her victims, she would then melt their bodies and bake the substance into soap.

Karla Homolka

Think nice Canadians would never commit gruesome crimes? …. think again.

Behind the pretty face lies a monster like no other. Living a life of bizarre sexual fetishes with her partner, Paul Bernard, Karla Homolka is the epitome of sick and murderous thrills.

Claimed to be part of Bernard’s rape runs, the sexual abuse that the couple ran rampant in Canada made an even more disastrous pair when they decided to tie the knot.

They both agreed to fixate their seedy fantasies on Homolka’s then-15-year-old sister Tammy. 

Spiking Tammy’s drink at a Christmas party, the sick duo then raped the minor multiple times. They even videotaped the ordeal.

Because of the chemicals used to subdue Tammy, the minor started to vomit. Karla and Paul rushed Tammy to the hospital. 

Tammy died in transit.

That didn’t stop the couple to try their newly-found thrill on others. With the duo finally caught, Homolka painted a picture that she was actually coerced by Bernard. She was released from prison last 2005 (to the massive outcry of the public, of course!).

Andrea Yates 

The city hides several monsters. And one such beast is Andrea Yates, a mother who drowned her children.

Of mental health and how the public sees it – this is what probably makes Yates’ case an interesting one. Ever since she was young, Yates’ has had several bouts of depressive episodes.

She was also diagnosed as a schizophrenic – but this was after her trial.

Motherhood may have reared something monstrous in her. With postpartum setting in (as a side note, postpartum depression should be discussed more – it can be considered as a silent killer if not addressed!), she soon ended up suicidal.

Through the many attempts of her husband, Rusty, Yates strived on to love for her children. A psychiatrist urged the couple not to have any more children (by then, Yates had 4 children already) to save the mother’s sanity.

A fifth child was born on the year 2000. A year later, Yates started to act irrational. She drowned all five of her children in a tub.

Initially convicted for capital murder, Yates’ charges were overturned in a retrial done last 2006. She is considered to be insane. She is now spending time in a state mental hospital.

These are more femme fatales out there. Stay safe, everyone.

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