From the biography of an underage serial killer to writing about your murders and claiming they’re fiction, we count ten weird books written by serial killers!
10 – Zekka,
- Sakakibara Seito is the alias of an underage Japanese serial killer who killed two kids and mutilated three others in 1997. He was fourteen when he was arrested for the murder of eleven-year-old Jun Hase, whose severed head he placed before the entrance of a school in Kobe. He also confessed to the murder of ten-year-old Ayaka Yamashita after his arrest.
- In 2015, Seito’s controversial autobiography Zekka was published. Seito reportedly sent copies of the book to his victims’ families with personalised apologies. The families, however, believed the book would only prolong suffering and tried in vain to have the bestseller removed from stores.
- In the book, Seito admits to being a sexual deviant and claimed he only progressed to murdering people because killing cats no longer thrilled him. He describes his crimes – including his love of dissecting humans – in considerable detail and leaves it unclear whether he feels any true remorse.
- Seito received royalties for sales of the book, which he claimed he would use to pay off the civil damages awarded to his victims’ families. He was released back into society in 2005, but his true identity remains unknown.
9 – The Strange Case of Dr. H.H. Holmes,
- Herman Mudgett, AKA Dr H.H. Holmes, was a trained doctor and one of the first serial killers in the US. He admitted to killing twenty-seven people, but many believe the body count could be as high as two hundred.
- Holmes bought and renovated an entire city block, turning it into a hotel built for murder. Opening just before 1893 World’s Fair, the hotel contained numerous booby traps, like windowless rooms that could be locked from the outside, built-in gas jets, fake walls and padded rooms to muffle sound, and a person-sized insulation chamber in the basement. Holmes constantly changed workers during the hotel’s construction so that he would be the only one who fully understood the building’s design.
- Of course, Holmes was eventually caught and was sentenced to be hanged in 1896. His three-volume book, The Strange Case of Dr. H.H. Holmes, was published shortly before his execution. The first volume, Holmes’ Own Story, is an autobiography and describes Holmes’ childhood and hardships – although I’m not sure you can really claim to have experienced hardships if you had enough money to buy a whole street and build an elaborate hotel.
8 – Final Truth,
- Written in collaboration with journalist Wilton Earle, Donald Gaskins’s Final Truth: the Autobiography of a Serial Killer presents the serial killer’s life history and describes his heinous crimes.
- Best known Pee Wee Gaskins, Donald Gaskins was a prolific American serial killer with a serious case of short man syndrome. He confessed to killing thirteen people by drowning, stabbing or shooting them and then concealing their corpses in backwoods graves near South Carolina.
- Gaskins was found guilty of eight murders, but in his autobiography he claims to have killed as many as 110. Among his many victims was also a toddler whom he raped before murdering. Disturbingly, he also wrote that he had ‘a special mind’ that gave him ‘permission to kill’.
7 – Killer,
- Killer: A Journal of Murder was written by Thomas E. Gaddis and James Long and contains mass murderer Carl Panzram’s personal journal and letters. The texts were written as far back as 1928, but it took another forty years for them to be published.
- While incarcerated for burglary at Washington Asylum, Carl Panzram met a prison guard named Henry Lesser who pitied him and advised him to write, resulting in a wealth of letters and manuscripts.
- In these letters, Carl Panzram gleefully recounted the details of his murders, his thousands of robberies and arsons, and the way he sodomised over a thousand men in thirty countries and out at sea.
- In another harrowing letter, Panzram writes about buying a yacht with stolen money and hiring sailors, whom he got drunk and sodomised once at sea. He then shot them in the head, tied rocks to their corpses and coldly dropped them overboard.
6 – The Gates of Janus,
- Ian Brady is half of the child-murdering duo that went down in history for the Moors Murders in Manchester in 1966. Together with Myra Hindley, he murdered and raped five children ranging in age from ten to seventeen years old.
- In The Gates of Janus is Ian Brady’s manifesto and has been described as a ‘disturbingly self-aware and provocative addition to the true crime canon’. In it, Brady takes the reader into the mind of a serial killer and explains its clockwork. He tries to convince readers that serial killers have great insight into themselves and presents a theory about the origin of the modern-day serial killer, including profiles of famous killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy.