Humans have a strange fascination: serial killers and mass murders. Countless books have been published on them; television shows, movies, even disturbing Tumblr blogs are creepily dedicated to some of the most famous. Hell, Ted Bundy (among others) even got married AFTER he was convicted of his heinous crimes. However, Bundy, Dahmer, and Gacy aren’t the only ones who’ve tormented society. There are plenty who have gotten lost over the years. Here are just a few of the scariest killers you might not have heard about.
In 1840, Robert McConaghy concocted a plan to wipe out his wife’s family because of his searing resentment of his father in-law’s money. McConaghy was illiterate and an alcoholic and held strong resentment toward those he felt didn’t deserve more than him.
One day while his wife’s brother, John Brown, was away, he put his plan into effect. In order for him to inherit all of his father in-law’s wealth meant the family had to be wiped out. While Brown was away, McConaghy broke into the family farm and began his murder spree. He killed Brown’s son with a gunshot to the chest and crushed his wife’s head and slit her throat with an axe blade. McConaghy had fled by this point and Brown sought help from neighbors; he knew who the culprit was. The four youngest children weren’t discovered until the next day in various surrounding areas of the farm. The first found was George, who had been beaten to death with a blunt instrument and strangled; Betsy, eighteen, also had her skull crushed with stones, and David, the youngest, was strangled to death.
McConaghy was arrested two days after the murders with blood still caked underneath his fingernails. Though he refused to admit the crime, he was undoubtedly the killer and hung for his crimes.
One hundred years before Jeffery Dahmer stalked the streets of Minneapolis, Harry T. Hayward ran rampant as a serial arsonist and murderer during the Victorian Era. He acquired his nickname from his keen ability to manipulate people to his benefit.
His claim to murder fame is the contract killing of dressmaker Katherine Ging. Ging was a tenant in a building owned by Hayword’s family. He manipulated Ging into giving him large sums of money, of which he would gamble away. He paid her back in counterfeit bills and also persuaded her to take out a $10,000 life insurance policy. On December 3rd, 1894, she was found shot to death on a road outside of Lake Calhoun.
Hayward was betrayed by his brother and the man he hired to kill Ging, and then convicted of first-degree murder. During his trial, he gave interviews and admitted to illegal gambling, arson, and 3 other murders. One woman he murdered in Pasadena, California and buried her in the woods before running off with $7000 she had in her wallet. He also murdered a man in Long Beach, New Jersey, who he robbed of $2000 and threw his body into the Shrewsbury river. His final murder of the three was the most vicious. Hayward murdered a Chinese man after an altercation over a card game. He punched the man in the stomach and jabbed a leg of a chair into his eye before sitting on the chair and crushing his skull. He was executed on December 12th, 1895.
Robert Irwin fancied himself a fine artist, particularly in the world of sculpting. But on Easter weekend in 1937, he slaughtered 3 people in the New York City Turtle Bay area. As a child, he was brought up by evangelical parents in an old-fashioned tent camp in Portland, Oregon. He was prone to violent outbursts and after trying to emasculate himself with a razor, he willingly was institutionalized for a year.
He then moved into a building owned by Mary Gedeon, who had a daughter named Ethel that captured Irwin’s obsession. Ethel never felt the same way, but would eventually marry Joseph Kudner. Irwin then sculpted a likeness of Ethel with a boa constrictor around her throat. He decided to enroll in the Theological School of St. Lawrence University at Canton, New York, but was expelled March 18th, 1937 because of his unstable behavior.
Ten days later, after deciding not to drown himself, he walked to the Gedeon boarding house, where he strangled and stabbed Mary Gedeon, her daughter Veronica, and a deaf English waiter, Frank Byrnes. The police caught on to him when they discovered a bar of soap that had been sculpted. A nationwide manhunt started and eventually lead to his capture and trial. He pleaded insanity and spent the rest of his life in the Matteawan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.