Over the years, there have been many cases of highly intelligent individuals becoming infatuated with convicted serial killers to the point of obsession. Some have even married them behind bars.
Sheila Isenberg, the author of “Women Who Love Men Who Kill”, explains in her book that there are numerous reasons behind this phenomenon. Some of these individuals might have been abused by a partner or parent themselves, some simply enjoyed the thrill of knowing where their “boyfriend” was at all times and others were simply involved for the fame and attention.
These following cases all describe cases of “fans” who came across as very creepy to the public as they stopped at nothing – sometimes even turning to murder themselves – in order to get up close to the serial killer.
10 Richard Ramirez
In the mid-1980s, Richard “The Night Stalker” Ramirez was arrested for a string of burglaries, rapes, and murders that left the city of Los Angeles terrified. Despite all the gruesome evidence heard in the courtroom; juror Cindy Haden had fallen madly in love with the twisted serial killer. On Valentine’s Day, in the middle of the trial, Haden even gifted Ramirez a cupcake with “I love you” iced on top.
However, when it came to sentencing; Haden had voted Ramirez guilty on all counts. Yet this was not the end of her creepy obsession and she wanted to get even closer to The Night Stalker. Haden applied for a detective’s license so that she could attend private visits with Ramirez’s defense attorney in prison. Eventually, her plan worked, and when the attorney left the private room to look for a bathroom; Haden kissed and groped with Ramirez.
True crime biographer Philip Carlo asked Haden if she was frightened considering she had been left alone in a room with a serial killer she had personally sent to death row. Haden said, “No, absolutely not. He’d never hurt me.”
9 Ed Gein
Ed Gein turned his isolated farmhouse in Plainfield, Wisconsin, into a private playground of horror and gore. At the time of his arrest in 1957, police recovered a wastebasket made of human skin, skulls on his bedposts, leggings made from human leg skin, masks made from the skin of female heads, and much more.
The motive behind these grisly creations was that he wanted to make a replica of his deceased mother who had always been a domineering presence in his life. Gein was sent to Central State Hospital for the Criminally Insane and later transferred to Mendota State Hospital.
Then in 1979, 86-year-old Helen Lows was found bludgeoned to death in her bedroom in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her eyes had been gouged out and her face had been cut like someone had tried to peel her skin off. When former mental patient Pervis Smith was arrested for the grisly murder; he claimed that he had learned everything about mutilation, murder, and human face masks from his friend at Central State Hospital whom he admired greatly. That friend was Ed Gein.
8 The Zodiac Killer
Heriberto “Eddie” Seda became a copycat killer after his obsession with The Zodiac Killer went too far. Seda kept scrapbooks of The Zodiac Killer’s crimes detailing how the unidentified serial killer murdered at least five known victims in northern California and sent a series of taunting letters to the media in the late 1960s to the early 1970s.
At age 16, Seda dropped out of school when he was caught in possession of a firearm. In 1989, Seda sent a letter to the New York City Police warning people would be killed—he then signed the letter using the same signature as The Zodiac Killer.
His goal was to kill twelve people—one for each sign of the zodiac—and he murdered three before he was arrested. One victim was even stabbed 100 times after she tried to fight back. Seda’s blitz attacks were so similar to the Zodiac killing spree that police even believed at one point the original killer had returned.
7 Ted Bundy
Ted Bundy was a serial killer and necrophile who murdered at least thirty women in the 1970s. Yet still many women flocked to the courtroom so they could admire him from afar. The media interviewed the Bundy fangirls outside the courtroom and one woman told them, “He just doesn’t look like the type to kill somebody.”
One woman named Janet took her obsession with the serial killer so far that it even creeped Bundy out. Janet was known to stare at Bundy across the courtroom with such intensity he told his defense attorneys that he believed she wanted to wear his skin.
Bundy said, “There she sits contemplating me with her mad eyes like a deranged seagull studying a clam. I can feel her spreading hot sauce on me already.”
The serial killer had previously responded to one of Janet’s letters and she was overcome with emotion. She wrote back, “I kissed (the letter) all over and held it to me. I don’t mind telling you I am crying. I just don’t see how I can stand it anymore. I love you so very much, Ted.”
6 Angelo Buono
Angelo Buono was one half of the serial killing duo known as “The Hillside Strangler” as police originally believed there was only one person behind the murders of ten young women in 1977 and 1978. Buono and his adoptive cousin Kenneth Bianchi kidnapped, raped, tortured, and killed the victims who were aged from 12 to 28 and then dumped the bodies on the hillsides around Los Angeles.
These crimes were so disturbing and horrifying that Buono was seen as a monster and sentenced to life in prison. But this did not stop mother-of-three Christine Kizuka from falling for Buono. The future newlyweds first met as Kizuka’s husband was in a cell next to Buono at Folsom Prison. Following her divorce, Kizuka then kept the relationship with the heinous serial killer a secret from her family until they tied the knot in 1987.
A spokesperson for the State Department of Corrections said, “I want to emphasize that Buono has never had a conjugal visit. He is not recommended to ever have a conjugal visit… due to the nature of his crimes against women.”
5 Jeffrey Dahmer
Jeffrey Dahmer was a convicted serial killer and gay man yet this did not stop female admirers swamping him with love letters. Dahmer was sent gifts, teddy bears, and money from women all around the world. He even received marriage proposals.
Professor of forensic psychology Katherine Ramsland revealed that sometimes women fall for a serial killer as they see the little boy that the killer once was and seek to nurture him. She also explained that others probably believe they can change a man as cruel and powerful as a serial killer.
On July 22nd, 1991, police who searched Dahmer’s Milwaukee apartment discovered a polaroid collection of naked, posed, and dismembered bodies—these were some of his 11 victims. They also found human flesh dissolving in a vat of acid and a human head in the fridge.
Vice magazine interviewed young women attracted to serial killers, they questioned if the fans were not disturbed by these gory images of the crime scenes. One replied, “It does desensitize people. The gory images get easier and easier to look at.”
4 Henry Lee Lucas
Henry Lee Lucas claimed to have murdered 600 women although it is believed he falsely confessed to a lot of these murders and the real number is more likely three victims. Lucas and his lover, Otis Toole, drifted between Michigan and Texas to carry out the string of murders.
At the age of 10, Lucas was left permanently blinded in one eye after a fight with his brother. He was also missing several of his teeth. This did not however deter one woman who had become obsessed with the serial killer after he was sentenced to life in prison. Creepily, the woman came up with a plot to free the serial killer from prison by posing as a former girlfriend he had murdered.
Lucas was first involved with Becky Powell when she was still a minor. In 1982, he drove Powell to a field in Texas where he killed her and scattered her remains. Disturbingly, his female admirer had intended to pose as Becky and clear Lucas of her murder. A sinister plot that never worked out.
3 Oscar Ray Bolin Jr.
Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. was convicted of raping and murdering three women in Florida in the late 1980s. Rosalie Martinez was a public defender and mitigation specialist who had worked to keep him off death row. Martinez said her first meeting with Bolin Jr. left her “breathless”. She then divorced her husband—who was a prominent lawyer and also the father of her three daughters—so she could remarry to the serial killer.
Martinez believed that Bolin Jr. was innocent and she campaigned for his release. She told reporters, “I wanted to break out. I wanted to be loved like I’ve never been loved before, passion, someone to put me on an emotional pedestal, not with material things.” In 1996, they both wed at Florida State Prison in front of a TV audience of 12 million.
On January 7th, 2016, Martinez made a final plea for U.S. Supreme Court to save Bolin Jr. from execution. Those efforts were unsuccessful and he was executed by lethal injection hours later at the age of 53.
2 John Wayne Gacy
Jason Moss graduated law school as an honors student and later became an attorney who specialized in criminal defense. During his college years, he began a research project and believed the best way to get the serial killers to write to him was by posing as the perfect victim.
John Wayne Gacy was a serial killer who killed at least 33 young men and boys in Cook County, Illinois. Moss had read about Gacy’s twisted crimes and he explained, “In a burst of inspiration, I considered what I might learn if I approached someone like Gacy in the guise of one of his victims.” Moss then wrote to Gacy and introduced himself as a young, gay man despite being heterosexual himself. Gacy took the bait and the pair became pen pals before they eventually met at Stateville Correctional Center.
The letters were later published in the book “The Last Victim: A True-Life Journey into the Mind of the Serial Killer” in 1999. Tragically in 2006, his mental health hit a downward spiral, and he took his own life at the age of 31.
1 Charles Manson
In 2017, former cult leader Charles Manson died of natural causes at the age of 83. He had been behind bars at Corcoran State Prison in California since 1971 and previously denied parole 12 times.
Manson’s body was then cremated and his ashes were handed over to his grandson, Jason Freeman. The ashes eventually found their way into the hands of a tattoo artist named Ryan Gillikin via his close friend named Tony Miller who was a friend of Freeman. Gillikin told Vice Magazine, “Long story short, Miller grabbed a handful of cremains at the spreading of the ashes… (Tony) Miller and (Jason) Freeman then had a falling out over Miller selling funeral pamphlets without giving Jason his cut.”
It gets crazier—Gillikin then met Manson obsessive Patrick Boos who asked for the words “Helter Skelter” to be tattooed above his right eye and an “X” on his forehead the same as Manson had carved into his own forehead during the infamous trial. Boos requested the tattoo ink to be mixed with Manson’s cremated remains and this request was granted.
Boos stated, “It’s weird that Charles is a part of me now. Kinda creepy, I guess. And I don’t think it will affect me in any way.”