Like most people, I've gone through periods reading all sorts of morbid stuff, including about serial killers. A few months back I watched Joe Berlinger's The Ted Bundy Tapes. While that docuseries didn't actually tell me anything new, it was fairly well constructed in its retelling of Bundy's career of heinous murders and other crimes. Afterward, I watched his dramatization (Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile) and felt similarly sick to my stomach. Next up on my (re)reading list: I'll Be Gone in the Dark, about the Night Stalker, otherwise known as the Golden State Killer (who was recently sentenced to life in prison).
After Redditor NickyEye asked the online community, "Which real life serial killer frightened/disturbed you the most?" people weighed in with their opinions.
Warning: Sensitive content ahead.
The Railway Killer
The Railway Killer in the late 90s. He rode trains throughout North America and many of his victims were in Texas, where I lived as a teenager. We had railroad tracks just behind our backyard and we frequently saw people riding in open/empty cars. When it became apparent a serial killer was riding on trains in Texas, my parents got the house alarm fixed and then monitored, and my dad slept with a gun near his bed.
Robert Hansen. Champion hunter in Alaska who would kidnap sex workers, fly them into the wilderness, and then hunt them for sport.
Fred and Rose West
I just read about Fred and Rose West, a married couple in the UK who collectively were among the most prolific serial killers in modern UK history. It is a grim tale of incest and prostitution and brutal murders and dismemberment of family members and random strangers, some of whom they buried in the garden behind their house. It's a fascinating yet horrific story.
The Toolbox Killers
Toolbox Killers. The transcript of the tape of Shirley Ledford's torture was one of the most terrifying things I've read. Some sick f****.
The Freeway Killer
William Bonin aka The Freeway Killer killed my childhood friend in 1980. He was 16. I was 15 at the time and that is too young an age to wrap your head around having a friend be the victim of a serial killer. It changed me.
Israel Keyes, serial killer, necrophiliac. He was raised in a militant Fundamentalist Christian household, joined the military, then came back to the US and killed at least 11 people all over the country. He went to extraordinary lengths to not be caught by choosing victims at random, killing far from his home. He would hide "kill kits" and return years later when he was ready to kill someone in that area.
Mr Cruel (Unsolved). He is an Australian serial assaulter who abducted and assaulted three girls and is the prime suspect of the abduction and murder of another young girl. After assaulting his victims he bathed them carefully to get rid of evidence, one victim described it as "like a mother washing a baby." In one case, he took a second set of clothes from the girl's home to dress her before he let her go. This case makes me feel so uneasy.
Dean Corll. I almost puked when reading about the methods of torture he used on little boys. He was such an a*shole that his teenage accomplice was the one that killed him, which revealed his 28+ murders to the public. There is a haunting photo of an unidentified victim that was found in his accomplices property years after they got busted. Nobody has any clue who the kid is but the image of distress on his face and the toolbox full of torture tools next to him have forever been burned into my mind.
Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo
I'd say Karla Holmoka and Paul Bernardo just because they were killing people in my hometown. I live like 2 minutes away from Karla's childhood home.
There's recently been a series in the UK on serial killer Dennis (Des) Nilsen. A Scottish killer who lived in London, and prowled bars and streets for young men to entice back to his flat. He killed many people, and was caught after a plumber found human bones and a mass of flesh in the drains. Turned out Des was dismembering his victims, and trying to flush the remains. In his previous flat he would burn and bury the remains, but his second flat was top floor of a 3 story building, so resorted to flushing.
The police found the remains of 3 men in bin bags in a wardrobe, as well as under a drawer in the bathroom, and a head in a large cooking pot on the stove.
One killing which stood out for me was a young guy Des found outside his property one day who was unwell. He helped the guy get to the hospital for treatment. Days later, the young man went back to thank Des for saving his life, stayed for a drink, and Des drugged, strangled, and dismembered him. This reminded me of Jeffrey Dahmer and the lad who escaped his flat to the police, who then delivered him back to Damher's flat.
People in the world astound me. There will never be peace whilst people like this exist.
He kidnapped very young children, took them to an abandon house, exposed himself to them, and finally would eat them. And to make it all worse, he would write the parents of the children, in detail, how he cooked them and how they tasted. You can find his exact notes to the parents online as well.
David and Catherine Birnie
I came across David and Catherine Birnie of my own accord, and while the crimes were terrible and made me sick, it really disturbed me when I realised that they lived right down the street from my dad and his family.
I asked my dad about it and apparently he had actually met them. My two aunts who also lived there were within the age range of the women they killed as well, so it's crazy to think they could have possibly been targeted if they were unlucky.
Ian Brady and Myra Hindley
Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. Normal seeming young couple from Greater Manchester in the 1960s.
They abducted children, raped and tortured them, before burying them on the desolate moors nearby.
Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett and Lesley-Anne Downey were buried on those moors. Keith was never found.
Their final victim, Edward Evans, was killed in their home and the body was still there when the police caught them.
This case still affects people in the area today. I'm from Greater Manchester, and everyone knows what happened to those children. Everyone knows Myra's infamous mugshot with her dead eyes, and Ian's smug refusal to reveal any information even on his deathbed. Kids in the 70s were told to behave or Myra Hindley would come and take them away.
My nan grew up in Greater Manchester at the time, and she described how her mother was reading about children disappearing and was scared to let her out of the house on her own. My extremely peaceful pacifist grandad reckons they should have released the murderers in Manchester, and let the people at them.
Keith Bennett's mother died never knowing where her son was, and never having put him to rest, no grave to lay flowers at. She was buried with his glasses.
Luis Alfredo Garavito
Luis Alfredo Garavito from Colombia. In the interviews he comes off as the nice guy of your neighborhood, if it wasn't because he killed and raped 200+ kids, I'd think he's a good person.
There is no death penalty in Colombia, and he has so much charisma that he managed to convince a group of religious people that he was possesed when he did those things, now they visit him every now and then and he's allowed to go out of his jail to participate in the religious ritual. He also convinced the prison guards to allow him to have a cat.
Well... At least it's not like in Norway that the worst serial killer in the country has a TV and a Playstation 4. (In Norway criminals literally live like a normal person, just isolated, and get released in less than 20 years no matter the crime).
Jeffrey Dahmer because at one time he worked at a blood bank and I used to donate blood there. He also lived not too far away from the campus at Marquette University.
Robert Pickton. I lived in the area he took his victims and murdered them while he was actively doing so. I'm not saying I'm his type but that's not comforting. We had driven close to his farm on a few occasions.
John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy Jr. He used to dress up as a clown to attract children and then kill them. I despite the thought of being with a clown, let alone being killed by one.
Without a doubt, the "Family" murders in Australia. I'm incredibly sanguine and desensitized to most horror, but something about the grotesqueness of that case makes my skin crawl.
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People typically think of cannabis legalization as one of those cut and dry things.
If you don't use marijuana, you probably don't want to legalize it.
If you do use marijuana, you are probably pro-legalization.
... except it's not that simple.
Reddit user SaifurCloudstrife asked:
"Redditors opposed to marijuana legalization and decriminalization: Why?"
Normally when these types of questions are asked, you get a bunch of people who are pro-the-thing chiming in and that absolutely happened here.
Interestingly, that opened up discourse that got people actually talking—probably more than they normally would have. The constant back and forth helped people get down to the core of their beliefs and reasons.
I can't say minds or hearts were changed, or even that people had particularly good reasons (and there were some not-great counter arguments, let's be real) when it came right down to it, but conversations were certainly had...
"It's a drug."
"I have two examples in my close family that clearly show how devastating pot can be. This attitude to marijuana reminds me of the attitude towards cocaine in the mid to late seventies when everyone thought it was harmless 'nose candy.' "
"I'm against sentences for drug possession but many people would benefit from dealers serving 3-5 for selling pot."
"Honestly, I think everyone against it should come to Canada for a visit. It's been legal here for 4 years and absolutely NONE of the spooky stories have come true."
"The only real differences is that people buy their weed in nice, clean stores with clear labels and not on street corners and our tax dollars don't go towards harassing people for a weekend indulgence."Giphy
"It stinks and makes people lazy."
"And often the weed smokers don't care if they are a pain in the butt to others and that kind of apathy is a huge no for me."Giphy
"I live in WA, where rec weed is legal."
"I rarely ever smell pot smoke. And I have the nose of a bloodhound."
"Yes, more often than as a teen when it was still illegal, but far less than any amount to be pro-prohibition about it."
"Plus, I mean, there's lots of smells I f*cking hate but wouldn't enact harmful laws over- Axe body spray being one."
"Laws can be made regarding where you can smoke."
"In Australia you can't smoke inside or within a certain distance to entryways. The only space you smell smoke is at an outdoor pub, designated smoking areas and occasionally when walking."
"It took years, but people become accustomed to new rules. Knowing Americans though, you guys will be on the brink of civil war if they brought in similar restrictions."
It's TOO Good
"I've read that the potency in pot these days is a hell of a lot stronger compared to say 20 or 30 yrs ago."
"The huge increase in THC levels should be a huge concern for people. The pot being legalized today is not the same I smoked when I was much younger."
"This argument has been rolled out again and again since I was in elementary school (~30 years ago) and I never understood it."
"THC is remarkably non-toxic, it's so much less toxic than many common substances people ingest on a regular basis (aspirin, and plenty of other OTC meds, as examples), to the point where actual THC toxicity is caused by physical rather than chemical/metabolic actions."
"Smoked cannabis is also much easier to titrate (dose appropriately), since the effects are nearly instantaneous - take a couple hits and you'll know if you've had enough within seconds."Giphy
"As opposed to an accidental edible overdose where you might not know for a couple hours that you've taken a heroic dose."
"So a higher % of THC by weight in cannabis flower shouldn't be an issue, especially considering that back in D.A.R.E. they used to tell us that smoking cannabis was SO MUCH WORSE than smoking tobacco."
"Cannabis was supposedly so much 'harsher,' one joint contains 'toxins' equivalent to an entire pack of cigs, etc...which is total bull, but even if that were true...wouldn't that mean that stronger cannabis is less harmful, since you don't have to smoke so much to achieve the desired effect?"
"Can't have it both ways."
It is high potency because it is illegal. It's easier to transport a half pound of skunk than 10 pounds of trash weed."
"Look at states that have legalized. There are low thc strains available and easily accessible."
"Because dipsh*ts will start smoking it in public places where others can not really avoid it, like is the case with cigarettes currently."
"Also yes: F*ck cigarettes."
"Yep my problem is drugs in public."
"I do not care if you do drugs as long as your doing them in a private place. I don't want to breathe in your smoke and get lung cancer."
"I don't especially care what folks get up to on their own, it's when they make everyone around them a participant that it aggravates me."
"Plus, depending on the setting, it's really inconsiderate."
"I have a friend whose job does random drug testing and he left a bar because a bunch of folks were smoking inside and he was worried about work."Giphy
Go Away, Government!
"I'm for legalization but as someone that worked for corporate cannabis, I'd loathe seeing those scums run the market."
"My state Governor tried writing a recreational cannabis bill on their own terms since we are surrounded by recreational territories."
"They stated they didn't want it to lead to a ballot measure because that's worst case scenario (didnt think voters were educated) than proceeded to write the most comically bad legalization bill that existed - before completely dropping it because they couldn't write a competent law."
"I am about as anti pot as they come, but if they are going to legalize it, why wouldn't they make it legal to grow your own? (Rhetorical- I know the answer… same reason "they" are legalizing it… tax money)"
"This is what I am screaming. For them it's only about money."
"They are waiting for the rich to install a profit making infrastructure before they let us peasants enjoy anything."Giphy
"If I had any good reason it's because idiots insist it's not addictive and it doesn't impede your senses. So they drive and do dangerous sh*t while high."
"My issue isn't the severity of the impediment. It's that people refuse to admit that it does alter the mind."
"I already have one person insist they smoke weed and drive because they know their body."
"Now imagine if someone openly said that about alcohol and how you'd react. It's a really dumb mentality to have."
"If anything I'd push for it to be illegalized ALONG WITH alcohol and cigarettes."
"But prohibition taught us that is not the way to go."Giphy
The Same Path As Alcohol
"I believe that if it was legalized, it would become a much bigger part in society, much like how alcohol is now."
"I do have a problem with public drinking and personally view alcohol as much worse compared to marijuana."
"However, since drinking is already so ingrained in our society, it's not like we can get rid of it. I'm just hoping that weed doesn't follow in the same path as alcohol."Giphy
"Im so sick of all these CBD oil pyramid schemes popping up!"
"The testimonials are all, 'I broke my spine in half and had to get it surgically fused together. Now all I have to do is rub a drop of CBD on it, and the pain is gone!' "
"And I'm not against it, I actually use high grade CBD at night to help me sleep. I fucking hate going through a rep though, they always try to hard sell me on topical CBD for my back pain that's like $80 for a little jar, or $30 bath bombs."
"I have discs squeezing out of my spine, I'm pretty sure a dab of hemp oil is gonna do jack shit for that."
"And the cancer patient abuse!"
"Smoking or ingesting edibles with THC for pain management and appetite is super helpful for cancer patients, but cbd wont do anything. Not to mention getting an ounce of good weed wont set you back much, but getting a tiny vial of cbd can set you back a couple hundred bucks."
"With our healthcare system in the states, we know damn well cancer patients are already in a hole of debt. I'm worried legalizing will encourage these CBD lies."
"It's the new snake oil."
"My MIL is that person. She's was touting its Indica strains ability to outright cure cancer the last I saw her."
"Cancer patients get hit very hard with the cannabis oil scams. What kind of evil sh*t do you need to be to take advantage of desperate people?"
"I agree with you about people thinking its the grand cure all, but that's why I feel we SHOULD legalize."
"The main reason I want it legalize is so they can do more research on the things it does help. It's effect on tremors alone is fascinating."Giphy
So what have we really learned here? I'm not really certain.
Lots of people's reasons seemed under-informed, but just as many people had legitimate concerns.
Sure, those concerns could just as easily be applied to alcohol, but lots of Redditors admitted that and seemed to take LARGER issue with alcohol than cannabis. It was honestly difficult to find anyone (aside from the smell people) who was 100% against it.
And that, dear reader, is possibly the biggest takeaway from this. Attitudes are changing.
Sorry, D.A.R.E.—looks like we said yes to drugs. Well, cannabis at least.
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Chosen family is family. Sometimes they are the closest and most important family. Just because you share blood with someone, doesn't mean you have to form a bond.
That's why best friends are so important.
BFFs are forged in many ways. They're there for you in triumph and sorrow. They hold your hand. T
They know where the bodies are buried because they helped bury them. That's why it's so heartbreaking to lose them.
It's just a bitter pill to swallow when it's a relationship you thought was going to be endless.
Redditor FindingDale wanted to hear all the reasons why sometimes we just have to say goodbye to certain people in life, by asking:
How did you lose your best friend?
I've lost a few besties. Some through death. Some through personal growth and some just because it was time. That was an important lesson. Just like lovers, friends also outgrow one another.
I'm ExhaustedI Cant Modern Family GIF by HULUGiphy
"I got tired of it being all about her all of the time. I couldn't tell her anything in my life good or bad because she would make it about herself." ~ Wide-Fig-1063
"He was the passenger in a single-car accident. The driver was drunk, showing off, and drifting on an unfamiliar dirt road in California. They found the car at the bottom of a 70-foot cliff. Everyone in the car walked away except my friend, who died instantly."
"He was already passed out drunk himself so he likely didn't feel anything, but it was still such a terrible senseless way to go. That was 10 years ago last June. He was barely 21, the nicest guy you'd ever meet, and one hell of a bassist. Miss ya, Jake." ~ FormerLurker3
"Best friends since we were 12. Best Man at my wedding when we were 28. Day after the wedding he never spoke to me again. No explanation. Calls and texts went unanswered. He would avoid being at any social event I would be at, which was a few because we had the same circle of friends. Tried for two years to keep that friendship alive." ~ Tionek
"I had a weird dynamic to continue because of trauma. We had been friends for most of our lives (26 years) and every conversation was all about her. I was fine with that because she had a traumatic childhood and I knew she wasn't super socially with it. I'm happy to listen when my friends need it."
"Then she just unloaded on me saying I wasn't listening enough to her problems and how I had mistreated her by not asking enough pointed questions about abuse she had suffered as a kid. This was days after a three hour call where she did all the talking and it was mostly about her abuse."
"I was six months pregnant at the time and all I could think was "do I really have the bandwidth to take care of two babies?" I haven't spoken to her since." ~ keepinitcornmeal
It's WeirdFriends Tv GIFGiphy
"His wife tried to sleep with me. I didn't let it happen and I told him about it. They reconciled and had more kids, then it got weird whenever I was around so we drifted apart." ~ mycowild
Yeah, beware the partner of a loved one who is trying to trap you in a scandal. They are shady. Take that drama and run fast and far.
Why?Peering Looking GIF by MOODMANGiphy
"No idea. He slowly stopped answering calls, texts, emails... his wife, even more so. I'd occasionally stop by to see them and everything appeared to be OK. They never stopped to see us, even though his mother lived just a few miles away. I just quit trying." ~ NagromTrebloc
"It was October 16, 2015. I was working from home that day when I saw a call from him at around 9:15am. I had to ignore the call because I was in an online meeting. At 2pm my Dad calls my phone, which is unusual since he knows I'm working. I answer it."
"He is speaking quietly and very calmly. He says, "Son, I love you very much. I have some terrible news. Jared passed away this morning." Jared's wife was calling me from his phone to say she found him dead. I couldn't process what he was saying."
"I said, "That's not funny. Jared, his wife and me and my wife were supposed to meet up next weekend for dinner." Jared had sleep apnea surgery that same week. He had taken a painkiller and Benadryl together. It stopped his heart. He died 2 days before his 40th birthday. We were friends since grade school."
"We did everything together, he was my brother. He was the best man at my wedding earlier that year. I had just shared my son's heartbeat with him via a text message 2 days before. Jared was so excited to be his crazy uncle. I miss him every single day." ~ SnooCapers1425
"Codependency. I became basically obsessed with her and it just became too toxic. I had to cut it off because it was eating me up inside and she didn't deserve how I was treating her." ~ SuccessfulEggplant82
"Good on you for recognizing the problem you were having. It takes a lot (and I mean a crap ton) for an individual to come to this realization. Most people like to live in denial or fight it. I did the same thing and by the time I realized it, it was to late. I hope your able to get through it." ~ Nakanon85
"I noticed that he never came to my place to catch up. I stopped going over to his place to see how long until he noticed.... It's been 5 years now 🤷♂️." ~ Mr_Nonesuch
"Over the years I have observed in number of friendships that its always me that makes the call. They always are delighted to hear from me. If I organise something they come. They just don't make the effort. I have been best man five times so I don't think that its because the friendships are not valued. I don't know, am I missing something?" ~ Yarray2
"My ex wife. Even after we split we stayed close, co-parenting, helping each other out. She died 3.5 years ago. I could have made peace I think but after her death and our daughter was living with me full time I found out about how abusive my ex had been to her when I was around and it felt like losing her all over."
"Like I thought I knew who she was in the 13 years we'd had both together and separated, but it turns out I knew nothing. Now I'm just angry about it, like how dare you get to do this crap and then leave me to clean up your mess."
"How dare you have peace when my daughter has nothing but struggles and therapy. I felt like we were robbed of the good person, the good mother I thought she was." ~ Scarecrowqueen
Far Far Away...Jake Gyllenhaal Reaction GIF by MOODMANGiphy
"Friend moved to the other side of the planet, with their spouse, to be nearer to both their families. I never understood what real friendship was before friend was in my life; and now they're alive, but not here." ~ ClutchCrgo
One of the natural parts of life... saying goodbye. Or in some cases getting ghosted and forgotten. Either way, chin up.
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Humans have had an undeniably significant impact on our environment and the other species that inhabit the planet with us.
What might happen if humans weren't here to exert that influence, though?
What if we never had?
Reddit user Mompkey asked:
"Which species do you think would be dominant if humans didn't exist?"
"Wolves. They can, and have, successfully adapted to most of the various biomes on the planet."
"There's a reason we domesticated them and took them everywhere with us."Giphy
- Everything is garbage
- Garbage is delicious"
"I would agree, but now I'm wondering if our presence is the reason cockroaches have thrived as well as they have."Giphy
"Sharks, they are the dominant species on 3/4 of the Earth's surface already, they have survived mass extinctions and would thrive even more without humans mucking up their habitat."Giphy
"Humans are the only species that seek to dominate others. Other animals just want to live in the balance of nature. They're just trying to survive, they don't have time to take over the world."
"Pinky and The Brain theme song played in my head."Giphy
"We've killed off so many throughout history but of the ones that remains intelligence and versatility would be the key factors. Their food supply and habitat would greatly increase in our absence so with this being said.........primates."
"We are simply the superior primate therefore we are the dominant species. That opposable thumb is a mf when you have a large brain."
"Wouldn't it be just another off shoot of humans like the Neanderthal or heidelbergensis?"Giphy
While we'll probably never know definitively which species would truly thrive without us around, it's still fun to speculate.
Do you have thoughts?
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