Bible John left gruesomely specific crime scenes. This week, Greg and Vanessa scrutinize this killer’s disturbing methods for any semblance of meaning. Were the kills sadistic, predatory, or spurred by rage at encountering an “unclean” menstruating woman? And how, despite the fact that the Glasgow police interviewed over 20,000 people, did Bible John evade capture?
With Greg Polcyn & Vanessa Richardson
About Serial Killers
Every Monday, Serial Killers takes a psychological and entertaining approach to provide a rare glimpse into the mind, methods and madness of the most notorious serial killers with the hopes of better understanding their psychological profile. With the help of real recordings and voice actors, we delve deep into their lives and stories. Ad-free archives of episodes six months or older are now available through Stitcher Premium.
Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom was meant to be a place for people to dance and enjoy themselves. Instead, Bible John, one of Scotland’s most infamous serial killers, used the dance hall as a hunting ground. Vanessa and Greg investigate the motives of this mysterious murderer who may have used the Bible as justification to target menstruating woman.
Charles Cullen was one of the deadliest serial killers in American history. As a nurse, he went from hospital to hospital, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. Greg and Vanessa investigate how the New Jersey hospitals that employed the killer nurse ignored evidence of his murders. Yet despite the mounting deaths, the one person capable of bringing Cullen to justice was his only friend.
Nurses are trained to save lives. But this nurse killed. Charles Cullen overdosed his elderly patients on digoxin and insulin, passing off over 40 deaths as natural before authorities finally got involved. Greg and Vanessa examine how Cullen’s depression, feelings of victimhood and drug abuse led him to abuse drugs on others.
A fire rages at black widow Belle Gunness's murder farm, where her many victims lie buried below her hog pen. After deputies find a headless woman's body in the ashes, authorities believe that Belle was murdered by her jealous farmhand. But Greg and Vanessa think that’s exactly what Belle wanted them to believe. Why would a serial killer fake her own death? And what would drive her to do so? Greg and Vanessa investigate.
Norwegian immigrant Belle Gunness was one of America's deadliest black widows. Suitors answering her personal ads seeking romance found themselves at the wrong end of Belle's meat cleaver. Join Greg and Vanessa as they investigate the motives behind Belle's prolific murders. Was early-life trauma to blame? Or did simple greed drive Belle to kill?
What makes someone evil? And how evil is Gary Ridgway, serial killer and necrophiliac? Greg and Vanessa discuss Ridgway’s sex addiction, how he lured his victims, and the great lengths he went to in order to evade the police for nearly twenty years.
Struggling with a low IQ, Gary Ridgway always wanted to be the best at just one thing. That one thing turned out to be serial murder. The most prolific American serial killer, Ridgway claims to have killed almost eighty women. Greg and Vanessa discuss the formative events and possible Oedipal complex behind the Green River Killer.
Behind the cheerful demeanor of a sweet southern grandma, lurked a vicious killer. Nannie Doss poisoned her husbands, killed her children, and even went after her own mother. This week, Greg explores Nannie’s use of the lonely hearts columns to find victims, and Vanessa examines how social conformity and societal norms helped this killer fly under the radar for so long.
“The Giggling Granny”, Nannie Doss’ home cooked meals were served with a side of poison. Was she suffering from Munchausen-by-Proxy, or did she just feel trapped by mid-20th century society? Greg and Vanessa examine how a troubled childhood, brain damage, and an abusive husband led this killer to snap and go after everyone who was closest to her.
Lonnie Franklin Jr. offered rides to Los Angeles women, only to kill them, photograph them, and leave their bodies to be found like trash on the street. “The Grim Sleeper” had a deep-seated need to degrade women, ending at least ten lives before new breaks in forensic technology helped the police to catch him. Greg and Vanessa discuss Franklin’s change in MO, his police interrogation, and the remaining task of identifying the unknown women in his polaroid’s.
Join us after the episode for an exclusive interview with Hart Hanson, creator of the TV series BONES. We’ll talk about his new crime novel, The Driver.
He targeted and killed multiple women in the 1980’s; then mysteriously disappeared. Fourteen years later, he started killing again. Why would he stop? And why, after so long, would he come back? Greg and Vanessa examine what made “The Grim Sleeper” different from other serial killers operating in the area at the same time, as well as the psychology behind his “trophies.”
A lust killer who dreamed to be known as an outlaw, Paul John Knowles sought infamy. He was so desperate to be remembered; he recorded his own confession to multiple murders while still a free man, and shared the tapes with his lawyer. Knowles killed indiscriminately, occasionally allowing writers to live—so they could chronicle his story. This week, Greg and Vanessa follow Knowles’ cross-country murder spree to its shoot-out conclusion.
He had no pattern. No victim type. No consistent MO. And he killed across the country. Nicknamed the “Casanova Killer” for his good looks, Paul John Knowles confounded the police. Greg and Vanessa dig into Knowles troubled childhood and disrespect for authority, then try to unpack a confusing man who described himself as both Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Bonnie and Clyde.
“The Boogey Man”, AKA Albert Fish, attacked over 100 children, many of them unidentified. A traumatic childhood created a twisted old man, tormented by religious delusions and sick sexual fantasies. Greg and Vanessa explore the kidnapping and murder of Grace Budd, which led to Fish’s downfall, his shocking confessions, and his eventual execution.
Albert Fish preyed on young children in the early 1900s, molesting, murdering, and even cannibalizing them. He wasn’t caught until the 1930s, when three of his most horrifying crimes came to light. This week, Greg and Vanessa discuss Fish’s tumultuous childhood, his paraphilic disorders, and two of his most infamous victims.
These sadistic killers notoriously recorded the audio of their final murder; a recording so disturbing, half the courtroom broke down in tears. Prior to the recording, Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris plotted to kill a girl of every age from thirteen to nineteen, and got halfway through their plan. Greg and Vanessa discuss organized killers, and why this pair chose to leave their final victim in a place she was sure to be found.
INTRODUCING…Stick around after the show for a special interview with Edgar-Award Winning Author Meg Gardiner where we discuss how she writes about the psychology of serial killers and detectives in her new book, UNSUB. Moving forward, we will occasionally interview crime writers at the end of Serial Killer episodes, ensuring we do not ruin your experience but giving you the option to hang around and listen to more content!
Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris terrorized the streets Southern California during their five month killing-spree in 1979, taking the lives of at least five teenage girls. Greg and Vanessa dive into the psychology of this “gruesome twosome”, and the factors that can cause an inmate to leave prison ready to commit even more despicable crimes.
If there’s no body, there’s no murder. At least, that’s what John George Haigh thought the legal term “corpus delicti” meant. Haigh dissolved his victims in acid, earning the nickname “The Acid Bath Murderer”. This organized and “paranoiac” killer went after people he knew, aiming to steal their money. Greg and Vanessa follow Haigh’s pattern of murders, and the arrogance that helped the police to bring him in.
John George Haigh poured his victims’ bodies down the sewer. A narcissistic killer, Haigh had a severe lack of empathy which led him to kill people, rob them, and dissolve their bodies in acid. This week, Greg and Vanessa explore narcissistic personality disorder, the insanity defense, and the factors in Haigh’s early life that led to him murdering one of his few friends.