16 Every Day People Share Their Experiences Meeting Real-Life Serial Killers
In retrospect, a lot of serial killers appear to have lived normal life outside of their heinous crimes and it begs the question: what were they like? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to come face to face with the world's most famous serial killers? Some people obsess over this concept, some even go so far as to romanticize serial killers.
Victims cannot tell their stories anymore but plenty of ordinary, everyday people have come face to face with the serial killers of our real-life nightmares and thanks to Ask Reddit, we get to read with our own two eyes as people recall their interactions with the monsters of our time.
1. Gary Ridgway AKA 'The Green River Killer'via:King County Police Department
My coworker used to chat with Gary Ridgway (Green River Killer) up in Washington. He was waiting for his then girlfriend to get off work at a truck stop and Ridgeway was a regular there. He said Ridgeway was very polite and friendly and would even walk the girls to their car at night because they were worried about the killer on the loose.
2. Albert Desalvo AKA 'The Boston Strangler'via:Boston Police Department
My grandparents knew the Boston Strangler. He was a gentleman and often gave my grandmother a ride home because my grandfather asked him to. To this day, she claims he was innocent, but my grandfather insists he was guilty
3. Charles Mansonvia:California Department of Corrections
My mother ran with Charles Manson for a little bit. She’s kind of crazy so she got taken up in his charming personality and his passionate words. He was young and energetic. The hippie movement was in full swing and that was really appealing with people like my mother. I honestly don’t know why she ended up splitting from the group. I’d like to think it was that she caught a vibe of what was to come but more likely than not she just couldn’t afford the bus ticket to get back to the group after a trip home.
4. Jeffrey Dahmervia:Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department)
My co-worker was working with Jeffrey Dahmer at the Ambrosia factory when he was arrested. (Third shift, by the way.)
He likes to tell the story about the news report. There was a dude at the plant who freaked everyone out. He didn’t talk and nobody talked to him. Let’s call him Matt. One day, news breaks that someone from the plant was arrested as a suspect in the serial killer case. When the employees arrive that night, they’re all waiting for everyone to get there, so they can talk about it. To their surprise, Matt comes walking in the door. None of them expected it to be Jeff.
5. Robert Berdellavia:Kansas City Police Department
I didn’t know him well, but in high school I shopped at a store called Bob’s Bazaar Bizarre that was owned by Bob Berdella. I bought a bangle bracelet there. I only met him once. He seemed like a creep and a misogynist. Just an impression I got. He did support the local Pagan community though, and funded a magazine in which I published a couple of poems. I was shocked a few years later when the news came out that he had men’s bodies buried in his back yard. I threw that bangle bracelet away. (In fact, I buried it—kind of ironic.)
6. Dennis Rader AKA 'The BTK Killer'via:El Dorado Correctional Facility
BTK (Mr. Rader as I knew him) went to my nana’s church. My whole mom’s side knew/met him. He once gave me a cookie and complimented my dress at a bake sale. My mom would go to his house when she was younger to do church stuff, my uncles knew him from their scouts group. He’d drive everyone home before their 6pm curfew they had because BTK was still out there.
Everyone flipped their shit when he got caught.
I was still living with my mom when he was caught. She got a call from my Oma frantically telling her to put on the news. The rest of the night was spent listening to my mom playing phone tag with everyone. No one could believe it, my mom was the most freaked out because as the only girl out of 5 kids and she had gotten lots of rides from him alone… He easily could have done something, you know?
I didn’t know Mr Rader well, just saw him every couple years when we would pack up and stay with family in Kansas for school breaks. He seemed like a quiet old dude from Nanas church, just like every other old dude there.
7. Tex Watson (Manson Family)via:California Department of Corrections
My mom dated Tex Watson from the Manson family. They went to the same university (North Texas State in Denton, TX). She announced it in passing as if it were common knowledge while we were watching some documentary and Roman Polanski’s name came up, to which she nonchalantly said something along the lines of ‘my ex-boyfriend murdered his wife,’ causing me to inquire further after picking my jaw up off the floor. Apparently their relationship was pretty short-lived and he was ‘good looking and fairly normal.’
8. Amy Herrera AKA 'The Albuquerque Black Widow'via:Albuquerque Police Department
The woman known as the Albuquerque Black Widow.
BG: She killed her second husband (my uncle, a med student and medic in Vietnam), after a nasty separation. He had borrowed a truck from a friend to take her belongings to her new house. Story has it they argued, resulting in her shooting him multiple times. She claimed that he showed up drunk and beat her, but the coroner’s toxicity report found no trace of drugs or alcohol. Also, after he had been shot, she beat his face with a pistol so badly it broke the pistol butt. Her uncle, a prominent local attorney, was the first on scene and helped craft the self-defense narrative with the police. She was never charged with a crime.
Twenty years later, she killed her 3rd husband, a local politician when she discovered that he had been having an affair with another woman and was planning to leave her. She hid in the basement of their shared home (ironically, the same house inherited from my uncle), and shot him when he came home. She claimed self-defense, that she thought it was a burglar. The police didn’t buy it and she was charged with a crime, although once again her high-powered attorney made mincemeat of the prosecution.
To my knowledge, no one ever found out what happened to her first husband.
What she was like: She was a large woman with a very intense presence. When she was around the family, she made an effort to be saccharin-sweet, but her intensity put everyone on edge. She was constantly telling small lies and obsessing over defending/justifying them. She absolutely had to control the narrative and her image. One of the most shamelessly manipulative people I’ve ever met. I distinctly remember her vibe – as soon as she walked into the room you knew there was something not right with this person.
In private, she would wait at home for my uncle to return from school or work and ambush him with any kind of grievance she had. They lived close by, so it was easy to hear them arguing. One day, a nurse from the hospital called and tried to leave a message. When my uncle returned, she accused him of having an affair and flew into a rage which ended with her locking herself in a bathroom with a pistol, threatening to kill herself. The local sheriff was called (she actually fired the gun a few times in the bathroom) but did nothing until my uncle broke down the door and talked her down. But after that, things changed. My uncle had legally adopted her daughter from her first marriage and was hesitant to leave them, but it became apparent that it was the only course of action. And then she killed him. But yeah, the warning signs were everywhere.
Last I heard, she was working in a hospice somewhere in British Columbia. The thought of that creature around patients sends shivers through the spine.
9. Arthur Gary Bishopvia:Salt Lake City Police Department
My dad actually knew…Arthur Gary Bishop. My dad was Mormon, went on his mission to the Philippines and Arthur Gary Bishop was his mission companion for a while. Said he was kind of a strange guy, socially inept, but didn’t suspect he’d turn out to be a child molesting murderous sack of shit.
10. Charles Cullenvia:West Orange Police Department
In the spring and summer of 2003 (I think? timeline is foggy), my dad had a series of heart attacks and was admitted to Somerset Medical Center in our hometown. While he was there, one of the nurses that cared for him was this guy.
Apparently, he is thought to be the most prolific serial killer in US History, killing over 400 people. My father interacted with him on a few occasions, though I’d have to ask him exactly how many and what his experiences were like. What I do know is that after the news broke, my dad freaked out and became somewhat obsessed with him. He had all the newspaper clippings and I know of at least one book he has read cover to cover on numerous occasions.
11. Wayne Nance
According to Wikipedia, Nance was killed by a gun shot to his head in 1986. He had never been tried or convicted of any murder but is a suspected serial killer.via:Wikimedia
A friend of mine was babysat on multiple occasions by Wayne Nance, who worked with my buddy’s mother at a local furniture store. He said he was actually a good babysitter.
12. Fred Westvia:Wikimedia
My dad knew Fred West. He says that he acted like a kind man who would always offer his help. He was put off by how he would talk to children, especially his own. He also thought it was weird how many men would enter Fred's house, little did he know they were having sex with Rose. It still haunts him that he did not live far away from a man that would torture his own children and is thankful that nothing ever happened to my sisters.
My grandfather also worked with Fred. He would say about how he would always buy him coffee, in an attempt to build a friendship, which led my grandfather to think of him as just friendly, but lonely; but there was obviously a much darker side to him.
13. John Edward Robinsonvia:Cierco Police Department
John Edward Robinson lived across the street from me. I used to play with his kids.
Synopsis of this piece of shit: JER started his criminal career as a fraudster. He ran scams, and was good at it. He operated under the guise of a successful entrepreneur and businessman. He started killing younger women and cleaning out their bank accounts. His slimiest tactic, IMHO, was killing a woman, abducting her child and then “arranging” the adoption of the child to his brother.
Yes, that’s right. Her mother’s murderer became her uncle.
Eventually, Robinson got caught for fraud and spent some time in prison. When he got out, he started killing again. That’s when he got nailed for murder.
14. Michael Swango AKA 'Mr Death'via:Tacoma Police Department
My aunt worked closely with Michael Swango, aka Dr. Death at the OSU Medical Center. She was the unit secretary of the neurosurgery ward he worked as a surgeon. She said he was really charming almost to a superficial point. She also said his bedside manor was awful and he was obsessed with death, she didn’t initially think much of it since that’s surprisingly common among doctors. The thing that got her suspicion was how whenever he brought in food for his coworkers, everyone in the ward seemed to get sick. He was extremely handsome and women loved him, so he got around with many of the nurses and even asked out my aunt. (She politely declined since she was dating the man who would later become my uncle) but one night when one of his dates was snooping around his kitchen, she found recipes for different poisons taped on the inside of the cabinet doors. She came back and told my aunt and a few others what she saw and they reported it. Right around this time a large amount of patients started dying (keep in mind neurosurgery in the early 90s was far from what it is today and had a much higher mortality rate) but before they could catch him he killed a bunch of patients and fled the state. He eventually ended up in Zimbabwe and killed tons of people there. US officials somehow tricked him into coming back to the US and he was arrested and given life without parole.
15. Ronald Dominique AKA 'The Bayou Strangler'via:Jefferson Parish Sherrif's Department
My cousin is the Bayou Strangler, Ronald Dominique.
He killed over 23 people but the world didn’t really care because they were poor, gay men. Especially in the deep rural south we still have a lot of homophobic people out here so it just wasn’t cared about that much.
There’s so much to the story it’s hard to explain everything but just know he was in a vicious cycle of abuse. He grew up destined to be fucked up basically. Doesn’t excuse what he did though and my heart goes out to the families of the victims.
Lord have mercy that’s a long story and really I don’t want to “out” too much of the family history. But my dad who grew up next door to him growing up (very common for family members to buy houses next to each other down here) said he witnessed a lot of abuse and starvation and simply WEIRD practices going on in their house. Things like the parents eating steak for supper and the kids getting one half of a hotdog weenie each. The kids would ask people for food often.
Then the mom was caught sleeping with her own brother. The dad found out about this and told all the kids that their mom was sleeping wth her brother etc… I haven’t heard this story in a long time and these details might be somewhat wrong but they had a camper in the middle of the woods? Or somewhere remote? And the dad found out that’s where his wife was meeting her brother for sex and he took the kids out there one night to “catch her in the act” cause a big scene etc…
The kids are all fucked up like none of them are normal. It was his own sister who helped to turn him in though. I think that sister is the most normal. One of the brothers was a petty criminal for a while but according to his daughter he has turned his life around ever since Ronald got caught.
Oh the other brother is a rapist who raped a girl like every year at the local fair. Literally he raped a girl at the fair, went to jail. Got out two years later. Went to the fair that year, raped another girl. Got out in 6 years. The year he got out he went back to the fair and raped another girl. Went back to jail. I think he’s still there now. It’s a long running family ‘joke’ that after they let him out they need to just put him in a jail cell the week of the fair cause he never raped anyone that we know of any other time.
16. Ivan Milatvia:Guildford Police Department
My mum worked with one of the brothers and sister inlaws of Ivan Milat (Australian serial killer who killed and buried many female hitch-hiking backpackers in the forest) and she said the brother was very, friendly, polite and normal to work with.
They had no idea that he was responsible for the murders and as shocked as everyone else when they found out. She was also told a story about Ivan hiding knifes in the walls of a house that they were working on (between the frame and the plasterboard)…
The forest is actually less than 30mins away from our house so my young sisters and I had actually camped in the backyard with other young children of a another family that lived there. We also cut down a Christmas tree from the forest before all of the bodies were discovered!
It's absolutely bone-chilling to think that the next serial killer could be our friendly neighbor or a family friend. If you enjoyed this article, you have to check out these insane stories of people who almost got murdered and lived to tell the tale.