We may never know what causes one to kill. We think that serial killers are all the same, but the truth is that every serial killer has a different reason for killing. Some are estranged loners who cower in the shadows of society, but others are seemingly upstanding citizens with families and positions in the community.
Read these quotes from famous serial killers to really get a sense of who these people truly were.
"I was born with the devil in me." -- H. H. Holmes
Holmes designed a complex murder house during the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 and used it to kill up to 200 people who stayed there as guests.
"I don't believe in man, God, or the Devil. I hate the whole damned human race, including myself." -- Gary Ridgway
The Green River Killer was convicted of killing 48 people in the '80s and '90s and dumping their bodies in the Green River in Utah. He has confessed to murdering twice this amount.
“May your wife and children get raped, right in the ass." -- Aileen Wuronos to the jurors.
Wuronos killed seven men between 1989 and 1990.
"The demons wanted my penis." -- David Berkowitz
The Son of Sam killed six in New York City between 1976 and 1977, and he said that a demon dog told him to do so.
“My consuming lust was to experience their bodies. I viewed them as objects, as strangers. It is hard for me to believe that a human being could have done what I’ve done” -- Jeffrey Dahmer
The Milwaukee Cannibal killed, raped, and consumed the body parts of 17 men between 1978 and 1991.
"I always had the desire to inflict pain on others and to have others inflict pain on me. I always seemed to enjoy everything that hurt." -- Albert Fish
Known as the Gray Man, the Werewolf of Wysteria, the Brooklyn Vampire, the Moon Maniac, and the Boogey Man, this guy claimed to have raped and eaten one child in every state, though he was a suspect in only five killings.
"We've all got the power in our hands to kill, but most people are afraid to use it. The ones who aren't afraid control life itself." -- Richard Ramirez
The Night Stalker snuck into Los Angeles homes, killing 13 people between 1984 and 1985.
“Let the torture and suffering in me end.” -- Ronald Gene Simmons
In just one week in 1967, this retired Air Force sergeant killed 16 people, mostly his own family, including his daughter, who he also sexually abused.
"I like killing people because it is so much fun. It is more fun than killing wild game in the forest, because man is the most dangerous animal of them all." -- Zodiac Killer
The Zodiac Killer was known to taunt police with letters given to the press. He is thought to have killed up to 37 people in California in the 1960s and '70s. He was never caught.
“The only thing they can get me for is running a funeral parlor without a license.” -- John Wayne Gacy
The Killer Clown raped and killed at least 33 young men between 1972 and 1978 in Chicago.
“I just wanted to see how it felt to shoot Grandma.” -- Edmund Kemper
Big Ed killed his grandparents when he was 15 years old. Later on in life, he killed six female hitchhikers before having sex with their corpses in the early 1970s.
"That is my ambition, to have killed more people -- more helpless people -- than any man or woman who has ever lived." -- Jane Toppan
Toppan killed 31 people in Massachusetts between 1895 and 1901.
"When this monster entered my brain, I do not know, but it is here to stay. How does one cure himself?" -- Dennis Rader
The BTK Killer blinded, tortured, and killed 10 victims in Kansas between 1974 and 1991. He had a loving wife and two children who knew nothing about his secret murderous life.
"I'm Jesus Christ. Whether you want to accept it or not, I don't care." - Charles Manson
Manson and the followers of his cult committed several murders in the late '60s and early '70s, including actress Sharon Tate.
"I believe the only way to reform people is to kill them."-- Carl Panzram
Panzram killed 21 people and raped over a thousand before he was executed in 1930.
Some of them were inarguably dumb, but others were technically geniuses. Any of these quotes could be mistaken for lines from a master work of horror, which is pretty horrifying to think about.