10 Gruesome Crimes That Make You Squirm


A Brief History

On may 21, 1936, Sada Abe, a Japanese prostitute, strangled her lover and cut his genitals off, carrying them around in her purse for 3 days before she was caught. She explained to the police that she had tried to have sex with the severed organs but for some reason it just did not work.  Every so often a crime happens that catches the attention of the public because of the brutality or the gruesome nature of the deed.  Here we list 10 of those crimes that make you cringe and squirm. What misdeeds would you include?

Digging Deeper

10. Sada Abe, et al, 1936.

As described above, the slicing off of a man’s genitals generally makes most men squirm uncomfortably just hearing about it. Women and other men have been doing this to their hapless victims since time immemorial, and yet each new report causes a shudder to go through the public. Whether it is Lorena Bobbit emasculating her husband and tossing his severed member out of her fleeing truck, or the rape victim biting off an offending part of her attacker’s anatomy, or the Ohio man who amputated and microwaved his lover’s male member after an argument, this crime seems to strike a strident chord with the squeamish crowd.

9.  Lawrence Singleton, 1978.

This incredibly depraved rapist picked up a 15 year old girl who was hitchhiking in California. After raping her, he cut off her forearms with a hatchet and tossed her over a cliff and left her to die in the desert. The 30 foot fall did not kill the brave girl who then managed to climb up the cliff where a passing motorist took the naked and nearly dead girl to the hospital. Six months later Singleton was on trial for this crime and swore he would kill this victim.  In spite of his horrific crime and threat to kill the maimed girl, Singleton received only a 14 year sentence, the maximum permitted at that time. In a sickening display of poor judgment, Singleton was released from jail after serving only 8 years.  Attempts to have this depraved creep move into normal neighborhoods met with protests, forcing him to spend his 1 year of parole (!) on the grounds of San Quentin prison in a trailer. Singleton moved to Florida where in 1997 he was convicted of killing a prostitute who he stabbed in the face and chest. This time he was given a death sentence, but died on death row in 2001 at age 73.

8.  Armin Meiwes, 2001.

In this bizarre incident, Meiwes, a German computer tech, advertised on The Cannibal Café for a willing victim that wanted to be eaten by Meiwes. Sure enough, Bern Brandes from Berlin answered the ad and presented himself as the main course.  Others had answered the ad as well, but had left when Meiwes explained that he was quite serious.  Settling only for a completely willing subject, Meiwes had one in Brandes.  Brandes had wanted Meiwes to bite off Brandes’s penis, but despite heroic efforts Meiwes was unable to, so the tasty morsel had to be amputated with a knife.  Brandes then tried and failed to eat some of his own penis but found it too chewy.  Meiwes cooked the organ in a pan, fried with fat from Brandes, but burned the hapless sex organ and subsequently fed it to his dog.  Meiwes did kill the willing Brandes and consume a large quantity of his flesh, while making a video of the entire debacle!  No, you will not see it on the internet, the police authorities in Germany have not released the video.  While Brandes was weakened from blood loss, Meiwes gave him large quantities of alcohol and sedatives, finally finishing him off by stabbing him in the  throat.  Brandes was hung up on a meat hook and consumed over the next several months.  Meiwes was arrested when he advertised for new voluntary victims and was convicted of manslaughter, sentenced to 8 years in prison.  Germany is not the US, and when the prosecutors appealed, Meiwes was retried and convicted of murder, then sentenced to life in prison.  Would you want to be his cellmate?

7.  John F. Kennedy, 1963.

JFK makes this list because of who he was, the serving president of the US and the fact that he was shot while a bystander filmed the murder.  Millions of people have seen the film of the young and handsome JFK riding in the back of an open convertible limousine waving to an adoring crowd, when suddenly he grabs his throat and then his head explodes.  The grisly scene of the beautiful Jacqueline Kennedy crawling onto the trunk lid to retrieve parts of JFK’s skull and brains is creepy indeed.

6.  Nick Berg, et al, 2001-2013.

Although decapitation is not all that unusual over the years, Berg and 9 others have the distinction of horrifying the public by being decapitated by Islamic terrorists and having the video posted on the internet.  The horrible scene of a helpless and innocent American (or person seen by the terrorists as allied with Americans) is enough to make strong people squirm.

5.  Raul Barrera, 2011.

This unemployed publicist, age 35, beat his gorgeous blonde girlfriend to death when she tried to break up with him.  Raul beat Sarah Coit, age 23, to the floor and then stabbed her over 30 times, disemboweled her, slashed her throat and left her still breathing with a knife in her skull. During his horrific rampage he used a total of 5 different knives before he cleaned up and left the scene.  Horrified at what he had done, instead of calling 911 or other help for Sarah, Raul instead called his family and whined until his father talked Raul into giving up.  Given a sentence of 25 years to life, the prosecutor publicly stated the murderous creep should never be released.

4.  Josef Mengele, 1943-1945.

This poor excuse for a physician was a Nazi death camp “doctor” during World War II that performed horrible “experiments” on helpless prisoner.  Engaging in vivisection (cutting up people with no anesthesia while they are alive), injecting various drugs and chemicals in people to see what happened, testing how long it took prisoners to freeze to death under various circumstances, amputating limbs and various body parts to see how well the victim would do without them were some of his activities.  Bizarre stunts like amputating limbs and reattaching them on the opposite side of the body and sewing normal twins together to try to make Siamese (conjoined_ twins of them were also among his tricks.  He would inject various chemicals into the eyes of prisoners to see if he could change their eye color and intentionally injected healthy people with diseases, various chemicals, drugs and pathogens to observe the results.  This murderer escaped to South America after the war and eluded capture, finally dying from drowning while swimming and having a stroke in 1979.

3.  Cleveland Torso Murders, 1930’s.

A minimum of 12 murders from 1935 to 1938 by the same murderer where the victim would be decapitated and often dismembered. Male victims were also castrated.  Cleveland Safety Director Eliot Ness (yes, the one from the Untouchables) was dogged by pressure to catch the murderer but the murders have never been solved.  It has been speculated that another dozen or two murders in Pennsylvania and other places may be attributable to the same maniac.  Plenty of books and cultural references have been made to these gruesome killings of hoboes and poor people. The Cleveland Police Department Museum has a display about the crimes and you can find photos on the internet of some of the victims.

2.  The Black Dahlia, 1947.

The murder of Elizabeth Short, known as “The Black Dahlia,”  in Los Angeles has been portrayed in numerous books and motion pictures, several rock songs, a video game and a death metal band. This famous case has never been solved, adding to the public fascination with it. The body of Short was found by a woman with her 3 year old daughter in a vacant lot, naked and dismembered. She had been cut in half at the waist, with a large slice from each corner of her mouth creating a bizarre smile effect.  The body had been washed and posed on her back with hands over her head, her legs spread, and the two halves of her torso about a foot apart. About 5 dozen people have “confessed” to this crime, but each one has been ruled out by investigators. Numerous people had been suspected, including several celebrities, but never with anything near the evidence needed for a prosecution. The tremendous publicity and cultural references drive this case near the top. Graphic photos of her dead body at the crime scene and on the autopsy table are readily available on the internet and YouTube features videos about her case.

1.  Jeffrey Dahmer, 1978-1991.

This “man” is the undisputed champion of all weirdo’s! And to think, he was ruled to be sane enough to stand trial and be convicted of his crimes. (Psychiatrists said he had a “borderline personality disorder.”)  Those crimes include the rape and murder of 17 men and boys, many of which he had sex with after their death. Did we mention he also ate them? Is that not enough? He tried to make sex zombies out of some of them by drilling a hole in the victim’s head and pouring in various solutions. (Apparently, this did not work.)  Dahmer cut up many of his victims, cutting the flesh off the bones and smashing up the bones to make disposal easier. He kept some of the body parts in his refrigerator for sexual purposes at his leisure, and even used a boiled skull as a masturbation aid. Dahmer had murdered a man in Ohio years before the other murders in Milwaukee, but did not face trial until he was caught and the case became sensational.   He was also convicted during his killing spree of drugging and sexually fondling a 13 year old boy that he had lured into his apartment, and given only 5 years probation! (Not to preach, but seriously, people get jail time for selling their prescription drugs and Dahmer did not get jail for this?)  There are more details than we have space for. Serving life in prison for his crimes, Dahmer was beaten to death in prison in 1994, to the delight of most of the families of his victims.

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Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.

  • Karis R.

    After reading this crimes, I find them all to be extremely gruesome. I do not understand what drives people to commit such crimes. Aside from Jeffrey Dahmer, I was not familiar with any of these crimes. I would have to say the Raul Barrera was the most gruesome crime out of all of them in the article. Again, I just don’t understand what compels people to commit such heinous crimes. Breakups happen, but his reaction to the breakup was completely inhumane and insane.

  • Zach Z.

    I believe the crime Lawrence Singleton committed was the most gruesome. Lawrence dismembered a 15 year old girl and tossed her over a cliff, leaving her to die. Then after serving a short jail sentence he was convicted of stabbing another female. Although I think Lawrence was the most gruesome, I agree with Karis that all of these crimes are extremely gruesome.

  • Gabrielle Corwin

    8. Armin Meiwes, 2001. Was the most gruesome to me. Cannibalism is absolutely gruesome and terrible. Especially when Meiwes says that he did this for “sexual pleasure” and that the victim “wanted it.” Although Zach and Karis are both justified in saying those crimes are gruesome, I just could not shake the story of Meiwes through reading the rest of this article.

  • Kirk Simmons

    You know people are seriously just messed up. I have heard of things like then happening even in my home town of Mayfield, OH and it is a shame and just makes you want to vomit. But the one I found most gruesome was, agreeing with Gabrielle on this, Number 8. Serioulsy who would try to cook up a penis for some dinner? But besides that one I knew all about Jeffery since I was a little boy as well as The Black Dahlia.
    Has anyone from the Cleveland area heard of the 2005 “Killer Clown”?

  • MO

    It is crazy to think that people on this list are from Ohio. I thought the one that was most interesting was Josef Mengele only because he seemed to be the only one who got away and did not face repercussions for his crimes. The other ones had serious issues but I think Mengele did the most damage on the largest number of people.

  • Maddie B

    All of these are extremely disturbing but I thought that the most gruesome one was the one of Raul Barrera butchering his ex. He stabbed her over 30 times and left a knife in her skull, all while she was still breathing. I felt sick after reading that, but then again they all made me feel pretty sick.

  • Aaron Lapaglia

    I just cannot get away from Jeffrey Dahmer on this one. Not only was he a killer, he also chopped up his victims to make it easier to get rid of them. He also kept different body parts of his victims. He also would rape his victims, while they were alive and after they were dead! His victims were also of all ages, he did this to kids as well. It just does not get any more messed up than that and that has to be the most gruesome of the ten.

  • Paul H.

    I find it difficult to distinguish which crime was the most gruesome, but the most bizarre crime to me was the Armin Meiwes case in 2001. For the man to put out an ad for a willing participant to be subject to cannibalism might be the most bizarre want ad in history. Next, people show up thinking it is a joke, find out it’s not, and refuse to get the police involved. Finally, a man actually answers the ad and allows Meiwes to fulfill every perverse thing he listed in the want ad. This crime took two psychopaths to complete, making it the most bizarre in my mind.


      That’s what I don’t understand 2001 and no one called the police when they found out he was serious….but the man was a very willing participant. WTF.

  • Lindsey F

    All of these crimes were extremely gruesome. I found myself cringing more than I thought I would. The most disturbing crime was the one about the rapist who cut off a young girl’s forearms before tossing her over a 30 foot cliff. I can’t imagine the pain she felt, especially because the fall did not end her life. What I found remarkable was the fact that she managed to walk up the cliff and was taken to the hospital.

    • Reita Anderson

      She later married and had a family, very lovely young women, haven’t heard about her in years and years now I’m curious as to her later in life, see what I can find about her. I lived in California at the time this happened, shocked to the core.

  • Anthony Ahlegian

    The crimes that I thought were most gruesome were those that were committed by
    Josef Mengele, the Nazi death camp “doctor” from 1943 to 1945. The experiments
    and torturous acts that he did to individuals are horrific, and completely
    inhumane. The description that I found most gruesome of the acts described was
    the experiments performed on people where Mengele would inject drugs and
    chemicals into people to see the reactions, which I am certain was extremely
    painful and mortifying.

  • Karishma S.

    I personally find all of these crimes to be extremely gruesome. however, I found Josef Mengele’s crimes to be the most gruesome. The experiments that he attempted on people were terrifying and I can’t imagine the pain the victims had to go through since they didn’t get any anesthesia. I personally believe that the most inhumane actions of Josef Mengele were the ones where he amputated and rearranged his victims’ body parts.

  • Kyle C

    I found all of these crimes to be very gruesome and disturbing but the one crime that I think is the most disturbing is the one committed by Jeffrey Dahmer, 1978-1991. I found it very disturbing to read about what Jeffrey Dahmer did with the bodies and how he cut some pieces off his victims to save and use when ever he wanted.

  • Smessi

    Read up on Westley Allan Dodd. Makes these lot seem like saints.

    • Kourtnee

      Are you kidding? I just read the entire wikipedia entry and this Westley guy is a child molestor and murderer but has nothing on the depravedness of Dahmer.

  • elrann

    Jeffrey Dahmer absolutely the most gruesome and disgusting. Cutting up the victims and abusing the bodies in the ways that he did is just horrifying.

  • diableriekindred

    Not only beaten to death, Dahmer also had a broken broom/mop stick shoved up his butt.

    • Reita Anderson


  • Markus Toivonen

    pretty lame compared to what muslims do

  • The crime I think most horrifying would be Junko’s 44 days of torture.