Evil is a strong word, but there have been certain people throughout history who are truly worthy of the description. Even today, although most of us personally try to avoid, or even eliminate evil and hatred from the world, we simply can’t avoid being told of atrocities every time we turn on our televisions. As much as we’d all like to live in a peaceful world, since the dawn of time there have always been evil people around, who take sadistic pleasure in the pain and suffering of others.

People have always been fascinated by evildoers. As humans, it’s our nature to question why people do the things they do, and these questions only grow more pertinent in the face of absolute evil. That’s why Adolf Hitler’s been the focus of countless psychological investigations since the end of World War Two. Was he born evil? Or did he become evil and why? If we can understand what motivates evil people, then maybe we can prevent their heinous crimes from happening again…

1. Edmund Kemper

Kemper was a serial killer, necrophile, rapist, and cannibal who killed his own grandparents at the age of fifteen. A famous quote from American Physco, wrongly attributed to Ed Gein, is actually something Kemper said: “When I see a pretty girl walking down the street, I think two things. One part of me wants to take her out, talk to her, be real nice and sweet and treat her right … [and the other part of me wonders] what her head would look like on a stick.”

2. Robert Hansen

Hansen abducted, raped and murdered between 17 and 30 women, in and around Anchorage, Alaska. He would hunt them down in the woods with guns and other weapons.

3. Leonarda Cianciulli

Cianciulli was an Italian serial killer who turned her three female victims into soap and teacakes between 1939 and 1940.

4. Tommy Lynn Sells

Sells murdered 22 people in the USA over two decades, after being molested as a child with his mother’s consent. He was diagnosed with a wide range of mental disorders including bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and psychosis. He killed his first victim when he was just 16 years old.

5. Andrej Chikatilo

A true madman, Chikatilo earned himself many nicknames, including the “Butcher of Rostov”, the “Red Ripper” and the “Rostov Ripper”. Stalking his victims in the former Soviet Union, Chikatilo was a serial killer who inflicted unthinkable acts to 52 men, women and children between 1978 and 1990. Chikatilo was found guilty and was subsequently disposed of by the state.