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6 Ruthless Female Serial Killers

Florida Department of Corrections, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

1. Lavinia Fisher

Everyone wants to be the first but sometimes it is not the claim to fame people think it is. Lavinia Fisher has the honor (if we could even call it that) to be considered the first female serial killer in the United States. Whether that is true or not we can not know, as there is a possibility for others to have existed beforehand, but she is the first one who fascinated the public so much that she has earned this title.

Born in 1792 and dying in 1820, no one knows how she spent her early years as the records do not exist or may have been lost. Surprisingly, she did not act alone. Together with her husband, they owned a hotel in South Carolina in the early 19th century, and it slowly started to gain notoriety. Yet, for all the wrong reasons, as it was because men started to disappear at the establishment.

Urban legends have taken the story out of context, making rumors about intricate killing devices and elaborate murderous traps, yet the most likely scenario was that she was poisoning her male guests, only for her husband to come later to finish them off and dispose of them. After, they would keep their possessions and cash.

It is unknown how many victims the two had, but they were eventually caught and hanged. Saying hanged is putting it lightly as the reports state she threw herself off the gallows in a makeshift suicide, not wanting to let the executioner kill her. Something was truly wrong with this woman.

2. Velma Barfield

Speaking of firsts, Velma Barfield’s claim to fame also comes from one. After capital punishment was reintroduced in 1977 in the United States, she was the first woman to be executed. And for good reason, we can assure you. The reason she was convicted was that she killed her then boyfriend Stuart Taylor, whose checking account she used, to forge checks and buy prescription pills.

How she managed that was fairly easy in theory: she poisoned his beer and then spent a few days playing nurse, so people would not suspect her of any wrongdoing. It was only due to the autopsy that they found traces of arsenic in his blood and suspected foul play. If not for that she would have walked free. After she was brought into custody, she admitted to killing her mother in the same way and to other murders, bringing her total to 5.

It may not seem like many people, but when you think that she would have never been caught if not for that autopsy, who knows how many more victims she could have had.

3. Nannie Doss

If anything, Nannie Doss could be considered one of the most lethal family members you could ever have: she murdered a total of four husbands and a ton of her relatives, not limited to her mother, two of her sisters, and even two of her kids. Some people struggle to find one husband but she killed four of them!

It is not known how she killed her first husband, but she poisoned her second one after he raped her (some would say it was warranted). It is unknown how her third husband died, but his house caught fire soon after and all the insurance money went to her. Likewise, it is unknown how she killed her other relatives, but it was the death of her fourth, and final husband, that lead to her being caught.

After killing her elderly mother, her then husband was hospitalized for digestive issues, and Doss decided to poison him soon after he was released from the hospital. The doctors suspected foul play as the man walked away healthy from the hospital and they looked into it, finding traces of arsenic in his blood.

The rest is history as the woman was finally caught. She eventually died in prison in 1965, at age 59.

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