It’s very common to bring a souvenir back home with us from a vacation as a nice reminder of the great trip we had. Serial killers often do something similar, only much creepier. Serial killers will often keep an item (or trophy) from their victim so each time they look at or touch the item, they are taken right back to the murder they committed and the sick pleasure they got from it. Psychologist Joel Norris explains that serial killers often experience something known as a “totem phase” after they commit a murder that results in a depression only cured by reliving the power they felt when they murdered someone. And the best way to relive that experience? By keeping mementos from the murder, and often from the victim’s body itself. Here are 10 of the creepiest trophies serial killers kept from their victims.
Ivan Milat And His Victim’s Camping Supplies
Ivan Milat is an Australian serial killer who was given the name “The Backpack Killer” due to the seven (and likely more) backpackers and hitchhikers he murdered in the 1990’s. Milat would stab (and sometimes also shoot) his victims to death, with a trademark wound to the spine that likely left them paralyzed, but still alive, as he continued to stab the rest of their bodies until their eventual death. Milat’s victims were often found with their pants undone, indicating likely sexual assault, but this was often difficult to determine because the bodies were usually very decomposed from the elements by the time they were found. When police narrowed in on Milat and eventually caught him at his mother’s house on May 22nd, 1994, they also found the sleeping bags, clothing, and other camping supplies from the victims that Milat kept. Milat kept those camping supplies as trophies so he could re-experience the pleasure he felt when he first killed them.
Jerome Brudos And His Victim’s Shoes
In 1969, Jerome Brudos, AKA the Lust Killer, was finally apprehended after killing four women. At the age of 5 Brudos found a pair of women’s shoes in a junkyard and kept them until his mother found and subsequently destroyed them. Brudos’ obsession with women’s shoes continued to escalate, and he would later stalk women and follow them home simply based on their shoes. Brudos would keep trophies from his victims that ranged from their shoes, to their breasts, and finally, to taking a victim’s foot with him so he could put it into other women’s shoes he had acquired. Brudos was found guilty of four murders and he even admitted to other assaults he had committed, although he said he was not guilty due to insanity, but mental health experts disagreed. Although he repeatedly tried (and failed) to appeal his conviction, Brudos eventually died of natural causes in an Oregon prison in 2006 . We’ve all heard of having a foot fetish, but Jerome Brudos took that to a whole new level.
John George Haigh And His Victim’s Dog
Born in England in 1909, John George Haigh’s life was different from the very start. His parents belonged to a fanatically religious sect known as the Plymouth Brethren and this left Haigh completely isolated from the outside world, as the only allowable form of entertainment in his life was bible stories. Unlike many serial killers who torture and murder animals, Haigh had a close connection with pets and formed a deep bond with them. Haigh grew up to become a serial killer who murdered 6 people and regularly consumed their blood before shooting or beating them to death and then dissolving their bodies in acid. Although Haigh would keep jewelry and clothing from his victims and sell their homes in his name to keep the funds, he kept an even more notable trophy from one of his victims. In February of 1948 Haigh murdered Dr. Archibald Henderson and his wife, Rosalie. The bond that Haigh was said to have shared with animals extended to the Henderson’s dog, as he would later tell police he kept their dog for himself after he murdered the Hendersons and dissolved their bodies in vats of sulfuric acid.
Alexander Pichuskin And Chessboard Squares
Between 1992-2006, Alexander Pichuskin murdered at least 49 people. Because Pichuskin committed many of his murders in Moscow’s Bitsa Park, Pichuskin was often referred to as “The Bitsa Park Maniac.” And a maniac he was, once telling an interviewer: “For me, a life without murder is like a life without food for you. I felt like the father of all these people, since it was I who opened the door for them to another world.” However, Pichuskin had another nickname based upon the trophy collection he created from his victims: The Chessboard Killer. After his capture, police found a chessboard in his home with all but 1 of the 64 squares filled in with a date. And the dates he put in each square were those of the murders he claims to have committed. Pichuskin is thought to have found great satisfaction in filling in each of these squares. Every time he was able to add a date onto his chessboard, his trophy collection increased, and Pichuskin became one of the most notorious serial killers in Russia’s history.
Anatoly Onoprienko And His Victim’s Underwear
When police in the Ukraine captured Anatoly Onoprienko in 1996, he admitted to killing 52 people, mostly by shooting them. Onoprienko would select an isolated house which he would terrorize before killing everyone who was inside, be it by gun, axe, or hammer, and then burning the house down, which resulted in the nickname “The Terminator.” Onoprienko was able to recount every disturbing detail of every murder he committed and by all accounts, he was incredibly proud of what he had done. As a way to commemorate his dastardly crimes and to relive what he had done, Onoprienko kept the underwear that each of his victims were wearing when he killed them, even giving some of them to his girlfriend to wear. After committing 43 murders in 6 months, he’d amassed quite the trophy collection of underwear.
Ahmad Suradji And His Victim’s Saliva
Although he is not as well known as some other serial killers, Ahmad Suradji was just as prolific. Suradji, born in Indonesia, killed 42 women between 1986-1997. Suradji murdered not so much for pleasure like many other serial killers, as he did to gain powers. He believed burying his victim’s dead bodies a certain way around his home would increase his magical powers. However, this wasn’t the only way he thought he gained power from them. After burying them up to their waists and then strangling them with a cable, Suradji would drain and drink their saliva. While many Indonesians believe in witchcraft, Suradji resorted to violent ways of acquiring supernatural power. Suradji dreamed that his father instructed him to murder 70 women and then drink the saliva of his victims if he wanted to increase his sorcery, so he set out to do just that. Although many serial killers keep body parts from their victims, saliva is a relatively unusual trophy. Suradji was executed by firing squad in 2008.
Elizabeth Bathory And Her Victim’s Blood
Elizabeth Bathory was a Slovakian Countess who committed several bloody murders in the 16th and 17th centuries. Because her crimes took place so long ago, Bathory is generally regarded as a legendary figure rather than once a living human being. The names of more than 650 victims were found in her home as well as many torturous devices she used on her victims. Bathory’s victims were generally young female peasants and she would torture them by sticking needles under their nails, freezing them to death, draining their blood and several other cruel methods. It is thought that Bathory drained and kept her young victim’s blood as a trophy she could use then consume it to enhance her beauty and youth. Once Bathory murdered a noblewoman in 1609 she was put on trial and her punishment for her hundreds of crimes was living in solitary confinement in her own home until she died three years later.
Ted Bundy And His Victim’s Heads
Ted Bundy is one of a few serial killers who come to mind when we think of prolific murderers. Bundy even described himself as the “most cold-blooded son of a b*tch you’ll ever meet.” Bundy has been connected to at least 36 murders. Bundy is said to have grown up in a relatively normal family, however, he became fascinated with knives at the age of three and struggled to fit in with his peers. While Bundy was getting his psychology degree, he had his heart broken by his college girlfriend and many of his later victims, who he raped before killing, resembled the women who broke his heart. Furthering the sexual nature of his crimes, Bundy would often keep his victim’s heads as trophies. He would take the heads back to his home and use them as masturbatory aids. Authorities captured Bundy in 1978, and after years of attempted appeals, he was finally put to death in 1989.
Jeffrey Dahmer And His Victim’s Genitals
Another very well known serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, murdered (and often molested) 17 men. Born to loving parents, Dahmer had all the makings for a happy and successful life but around the age of six he began to change drastically. These changes grew into Dahmer becoming not only a serial killer, but a necrophiliac as well. During his killing spree that spanned from 1978 to 1991, Dahmer would drug, rape, sodomize, beat, murder, and dismember his many victims. Dahmer did not stop after dismembering. He would often keep many of his victim’s body parts as trophies: most notably, their genitals. Dahmer would store his male victim’s genitals in a lobster pot. Dahmer was eventually captured in 1991 and was bludgeoned to death by a fellow inmate in a Wisconsin prison in 1994 at the age of 34, which is one year older than any of his victims lived to be.
Ed Gein And His Victim’s Faces
Ed Gein is usually known as the most infamous of collectors of human trophies. Many murderous film characters we know of today like Norman Bates from “Psycho or Leatherface” from “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” were based on the Wisconsin-born serial killer. Gein was born in 1906 and, until her death in 1945, was by all accounts obsessed with his incredibly religious mother. Gein began his criminal career by robbing graves and cutting body parts off of corpses. When grave robbing was no longer enough for him, Gein began to murder. Although Gein is known to have killed 2 people, which is a much lower number than many other serial killers, it’s what he did with his victim’s bodies (as well as the corpses from the graves he robbed) that have resulted in his infamy. When Gein was captured, his farmhouse was found filled with several objects crafted solely out of body parts. He had made a belt out of nipples, bowls out of skulls, seats made of flesh, gloves made from the skin of human hands, and even the faces from his victims. These body parts, and most notably the human-flesh masks, will go down in history as some of the most macabre trophies a serial killer has ever collected.