Many serial killers become so enamored with their own crimes that they take “souvenirs” from their victims. Sometimes these are as simple as an item of clothing, other times it’s something much more gruesome. Occasionally, it’s something completely bizarre and disgusting.
The inclusions on this list have taken everything when they’ve taken lives. What’s perhaps most interesting is the fact they rarely take money. For serial killers, the point of killing is all in the minute details, not something as baseless as financial assets.
What are the weirdest serial killer trophies and serial killer souvenirs kept by some of the most prolific serial killers in history? This list includes many famous names and what they took from their victims. In many cases, these items were used as evidence when these horrible people were eventually put away. But if you asked them, they might just say it was all worth it.
Ed Gein Made Masks With His Victims’ Faces
In terms of trophies and sheer butchery, Ed Gein wins the prize. The notorious figure started as a grave robber and necrophiliac. He then moved on to slaying in the late ’50s, and by the time he was caught, had racked up an array of trophies that remains jarring to this day.
Among the horrors found at his house include a wastebasket and chairs made of skin, bowls created from skulls, masks created from human faces, numerous organs in a box, and more. Gein’s crimes would inspire the fictional characters from Psycho and Silence of the Lambs, among others.
Ivan Milat Kept His Victims’ Camping Equipment
Australian Ivan Milat took out at least seven people and buried them in a forest. When he was finally caught, authorities found a trove of stolen camping supplies, including sleeping bags, clothes, equipment, and tents.
This was all taken from the people he’d brutally terminated.
Alex Mengel Made A Scalp Wig
Alex Mengel was a suspect in the random slaying of a Westchester, NY, police officer. While being chased, he lost control of his car and crashed it into a wall. Once taken into custody, the car was found to belong to a woman who had gone missing a few years earlier.
What clinched Mengel as the criminal was the car contained weapons, but what police originally deemed to be a wig, but was actually her scalp – which Mengel wore as a wig when he took his next victim. Less than two months later, Mengel was terminated trying to escape during a prison transfer.
Ted Bundy Put His Victims’ Heads On Display
Ted Bundy was as creepy, psychotic, and determined as these figures get. Among the crimes perpetrated against his nearly three dozen victims included Bundy’s practice of taking off their heads and putting them on display in his apartment.
He’d also sleep next to their headless corpses as if the initial action wasn’t bad enough.
John George Haigh Kept His Victims’ Dog
English criminal John George Haigh wasn’t known as the “Acid Bath Killer” because he was a nice guy. But maybe the meanest thing Haigh did was after he took out Dr. Archibald Henderson and his wife, Rose, he melted their bodies, forged a letter saying he was a representative of their estate and sold all their possessions.
Charles Albright Kept His Victims’ Eyeballs
Charles Albright had an especially gruesome trophy he took from his victims – their eyeballs.
However, he wasn’t, he was just a psychopath. He was arrested in 1991, after which he was convicted and imprisoned.
Ahmad Suradji Drank His Victims’ Saliva
Indonesian criminal Ahmad Suradji believed he was a sorcerer, so he terminated 42 women in order to gain their powers. He took them out with a cable and then buried their bodies in a complicated ritual. The worst part of this (other than the incident) is that it included draining and drinking the saliva of the victim.
He was eventually apprehended and executed for his heinous crimes.
Jeffrey Dahmer Preserved His Victims’ Genitals
The infamous Jeffrey Dahmer had a side habit of keeping various parts of his victims in addition to the other components of his crimes. It started when he preserved the head and genitals of one of his victims in acetone.
By the time he was done, he had a freezer full of body parts. He also had a lobster pot full of body parts.
Robert Hansen Kept His Victims’ Jewelry
The scourge of Alaska, Robert Hansen spent several years abducting and flying women to remote areas of the frozen tundra and hunting them for sport. He took down at least 17 different people before he was caught.
When he was apprehended, he was found to have a large collection of trophies taken from the women, including numerous pieces of jewelry. He’d also funded much of his spree with insurance money from the fraudulent theft of actual, legitimate hunting trophies.
John Christie Kept Bodies in His Kitchen
John Christie was an English serial slayer with at least six terminations to his name. In fact, because of his crimes, he gained the nickname “The Rillington Place Strangler” after both his method and the street where he did it.
When Christie moved out of his flat on 10 Rillington Place, he subleased it to several renters, who soon found three corpses in a wall behind his kitchen alcove. Christie was arrested soon after.
Joel Rifkin Kept All Kinds Of Trophies
Long Island criminal Joel Rifkin murdered 17 sex workers over three years in the early ’90s. After being pulled over for driving without a license plate, Rifkin confessed to his crimes and led police to his house.
In his bedroom was a massive haul of trophies from his victim, including panties and bras, driver’s licenses, jewelry, and a library card.
Stanley Dean Baker Kept His Victims’ Finger Bones
When so-called “Yellowstone Killer” Stanley Dean Baker was arrested along with his co-conspirator, Harry Stroup, after a traffic accident, he shocked police by saying “I have a problem. I am a cannibal.” As if to prove it, he turned out his pockets and showed them several small, white objects. They were finger bones, hacked off a victim in case Baker got hungry.
Baker was sentenced to life in prison.
Jerry Brudos Stole His Victims’ Shoes
Jerome Brudos had several nicknames, including “The Lust Killer” and “The Shoe Fetish Slayer.” It’s the second moniker that became his gruesome claim to fame. Brudos had been obsessed with women’s shoes from an early age, and when he started committing crimes, he’d often steal the shoes of the women he attacked. His crimes escalated in the late ’60s, and one of his victims had her foot removed so Brudos could put shoes on it.
When he was caught, Brudos had various female body parts scattered around his garage – and he continued to read shoe catalogues while he was in prison.
Anatoly Onoprienko Kept His Victims’ Underwear
Ukrainian criminal Anatoly Onoprienko claimed to have taken down 52 people, including multiple young children, in a reign that led local media to call him “The Terminator.” When he was arrested, Ukrainian security personnel found he had a massive stash of weapons.
He also had the underwear of most of his victims.
Dennis Nilsen Kept His Victims’ Body Parts
Known as the “Kindly Killer,” Dennis Nilsen was Britain’s version of Jeffrey Dahmer, and was just prolific and grisly. He exterminated young men he’d lured to his house, then would bathe and dress their bodies before violating them. When Nilsen was arrested, it was because a neighbor had had her sink clogged by what turned out to be human flesh and bones he’d tried to flush down the toilet.
Investigators also found multiple plastic bags in his closet, which contained various body parts and organs.
Edmund Kemper Kept His Mother’s Head
Called the “Co-Ed Killer,” Ed Kemper killed six women. After cutting a swath of terror through California, he finished his spree by terminating his mother, taking her head and violating it – a move he pulled with several of his other victims.
As a final indignity, he used the head of his mother as a dartboard.
Alexander Pichushkin Kept Track Of His Victims On A Chessboard
Russian criminal Alexander Pichushkin took out at least 49 people, and maybe as many as 60. His goal was to take down 64 in total, the same as the number of squares on a chessboard. After he was finally arrested, police found a chessboard in his home, and all but one of the squares had a date scrawled into.
The dates in each square corresponded to those of the slayings he committed.
Harvey Glatman Photographed His Victims
Known as the “Lonely Hearts Killer,” Harvey Glatman was active in the late ’40s and 50s, and would break into women’s apartments, assault them, and take photographs. After a burglary arrest, he moved to Los Angeles, where he continued trolling for victims in newspapers’ lonely hearts sections. He also kept taking pictures of his victims.
When Glatman was arrested, he admitted to what he had done and showed police a toolbox full of his pictures.
Dennis Rader Kept Copies Of His Victims’ Driver’s Licenses
The infamous “Bind, Torture, Kill” murderer, Dennis Rader took the driver’s licenses of several of his victims as souvenirs.