Saturday, November 22, 2014

Emma Heppermann, The Potato Soup Black Widow Serial Killer – Missouri, 1940

Emma Hepperman was suspected to have murdered up to six husbands, a mother-in-law, possibly a daughter, and to have poisoned a step-daughter, who survived due to diagnosis following her father’s death. Newspapers spell the name in two ways. The spelling with two n's is correct.


FULL TEXT: St. Charles, Mo., June 4 – Mrs. Emma Sarana Hepperman, who was married seven times, was charged in a warrant today with murder by poison of her last husband, Tony Hepperman, whom she met through an advertisement for a position as a housekeeper.

The warrant was issued by Justice of the Peace Gus Temme after a coroner’s jury had returned a verdict stating that Hepperman, 53-year-old farmer, had been poisoned. He died six weeks after his marriage.

In a deposition read at the inquest, Dr. J. L. Neubeiser, who treated Hepperman at a hospital here, said the farmer made “a ‘dying declaration’ that he believed his wife had poisoned him.”

A short, heavy-set woman with gray hair, Mrs. Hepperman, 46, has exhumed several days ago and the vital organs were examined in the laboratory of the state highway patrol at Jefferson City, Schneider, 56, a farmer living near St. Peter’s, Mo., died last September 19 after being ill two days.

[“7-Times Widow In Murder Net,” The Spokesman-Review (Wa.), Jun. 5, 1940, p. 3]


FULL TEXT: A Franklin County jury found Emma Heppermann of St. Charles County guilty of poisoner her punishment at life punishment. Judge Breuer gave the case to the jury Thursday evening shortly before six o’clock but no verdict was returned until 11:30 Friday morning. Mrs. Heppermann was found guilty on the first ballot taken by the jury, but it required nearly nine hours of balloting before her punishment was fixed, two jurors holding out for the death penalty.

Mts. Heppermann was married seven times; two husbands secured a divorce but the other five died under rather unusual circumstances. A son of her sixth husband told a representative of the Tribune that his father had the same “stomach trouble” as Tony Heppermann; that there was also a “robbery” and that all circumstances of his father’s life with the defendant had paralleled the incidents leading to Heppermann’s death.

Arguments for a new trial were presented before Judge Breuer Thursday afternoon at two o’clock.

[“Jury Brings in Life Sentence – Emma Heppermann Found Guilty of Poisoning Husband,” Franklin Couny Tribune (Union, Mo.), May 9, 1941, p. 1]



Jun. 20, 1883 – born Emma Sarana Stinnett, Steelville
Prior to Apr. 25, 1910 – marries first husband; Charles Schwack, 33.
Jul. 15, 1925 – Charles Schwack, 1st husband, died
May 12, 1931 – Frank Bessmer (b 5-1-1893), 2nd husband, died
Aug. 30, 1932 – Lola May Schwack, daughter (almost 14), died
Ca 1932-33 – Frank Lee, 2rd husband (no record found), divorced (reportedly)
Mar. 25, 1933 – Myra King, mother-in-law (Roberts), died
July 21, 1933 – Bert Roberts, 4th husband, died (housekeeper advertisement)
Oct. 19, 1935 – William A. Vaughn, 61, 5th husband; separ. after 6 mo.; divorced. Oct. 1937
1935 – Vaughan house burned
Sep. 19, 1939 – Aloys Schneider, 6th husband, 55, died
Early May 1940 – Ethel Hepperman, 12, step-daughter – poisoned, survived May 28, May 28, 1940 – Tony Hepperman, 53, 7th husband; St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Charles.; had been married 6 weeks (Emma was 46)
May 29, 1940 – Emma arrested


Notes based on the research of Marsha Corley:

OVERVIEW: Emma Hepperman, 46, was arrested the day after her 53-year-old seventh husband, Tony Hepperman, died in St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Charles, Missouri. They had been married only five months.

She was born in 1883 and claimed she was married to her first husband at the tender age of 14 and had twelve children from that marriage, yet no records have been found that would support her claim. Charles Schwack died in 1925 and Emma went hog-wild from then on in the marriage department, picking up six additional spouses, four others of whom died in her home, and, according to her, two who divorced her.

After arsenic had been found in the blood of the deceased Tony Hepperman it was discovered that 12-year-old step-daughter Ethel Hepperman who had been ill for weeks had also been poisoned. Investigation brought out the facts of her busy matrimonial career involving spousal suspicious as well as ordinary seeming (at the time) deaths, including a daughter from her first marriage and a mother-in-law.



EXCERPT 1: At the trial for the murder of Tony Hepperman Alphonse Schneider, brother of husband number six:  “She told me three times she wanted to kill me,” he testified. “One day, in the midst of a quarrel, she said she wanted to cook me some soup.” Schneider leaned close to the jury and said, “I sure am glad I didn’t eat any of that soup.”


EXCERPT 2: Mrs. Eagan [daughter of Tony Hepperman] said that on the Friday before her dad’s death he told her his wife had talked him into the notion of selling the farm and getting away as everyone was butting into their business.


EXCERPT 3: Inquest Testimony: The oldest daughter said that after her father was brought to the hospital he told her that when he was in St. Louis the Sunday evening his wife brought him coffee with the poison in it and also water with the same stuff in it but he refused. “She sat at my bedside, waiting for me to die,” the victim told his daughter. Shortly after that the officers came and took the woman away. [“Startling Evidence At Inquest Into Death Of Hepperman Brother Was Suspicious Of Woman’s Actions - Prosecuting Atty. Dyer Announced First Degree Murder Charges Would Be Filed,” St. Charles Weekly Cosmos-Monitor (St. Charles, Mo,), Jun. 5, 1940; quoted in e-book]


EXCERPT 4: Inquest Testimony of Steve Hepperman, Tony’s brother: “When got back wheeled him on a chair to his bed, and he looked at me and he said: ‘My God who would have thought she would poison me,’ and he asked me, ‘do you think why would she want to poison me I was so good to her?’ He said ‘where is she?’ and I said ‘in jail.’ He said ‘then keep the dam old bitch there.’” [“Startling Evidence At Inquest Into Death Of Hepperman Brother Was Suspicious Of Woman’s Actions - Prosecuting Atty. Dyer Announced First Degree Murder Charges Would Be Filed,” St. Charles Weekly Cosmos-Monitor (St. Charles, Mo,), Jun. 5, 1940; quoted in e-book]


EXCERPT 5: Trial: Witnesses for the State yesterday included Steve Heppermann, brother of Tony and Mrs. Rosie Simpson, Negro laundress, who worked occasionally for the Heppermans. The brother testified that four days before his death his brother had known he was poisoned. Mrs. Simpson testified that Mrs. Hepperman told her shortly before Hepperman’s death, “Hep has $1,000 and I’m going to get it.”


EXCERPT 6: Mrs. Emma S. Hepperman, seven times married woman, was found guilty by a jury of twelve men in the circuit court of Union, shortly before noon today and was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment in the Missouri penitentiary. The verdict was returned after deliberation of nine hours. Three ballots were necessary before her punishment was fixed. Two of the jurors held out for the death penalty on the first vote while one voted for death the second time. The third ballot was unanimous for life.



Book: Marina Corley, Emma Hepermann, Sr. Charles Black Widow, 2014? (ebook)

Blog: Carpe Diem Dona [Marina Corley]

[Bill McClellan, “McClellan: Remembering Emma’s Deadly Potato Soup,” St. Louis Post (Mo.), Jun. 28, 2013; contains claims made by perpetrator, treated as factual,  that were apparently false.]







More: Champion Black Widow Serial Killers


For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.



Romania – Female Serial Killers & Husband Killing Syndicates

The sources used in this preliminary research are all English language. As such the reports contain many variants in transliteration of place names and personal names. During the period in question the locales were within the Austro-Hungarian empire and English newspapers typically listed the nation as “Hungary.” It should also be noted that since several different languages are used in these regions there are numerous different “correct” place names for each locale and that some of the names’ standard spelliung has chaned over time.


1895 – Pecia (Pecksa) – Marie Hevesy

1899 – Jebel, Timisoara (Timis county) (Szebely, Temesvar) – Marie Nikodem & Lisa Triku

1900 – Chisoda – Nikola Bettuz

1906 – Satchinez commune (Serbian: Kneez, Knez), Temesvar – Martha Petromany (Petrobany, etc.)

1933 – Villagos (Siria), Arad – Florica Duma & Ilona Kovacs


Also, posts on individual cases related to a “syndicate”:

1906 – Satchinez commune (Serbian: Kneez, Knez), Temesvar – Catherine Biber

1906 – Satchinez commune (Serbian: Kneez, Knez), Temesvar – “Knez Four-Time Black Widow” (name yet undetermined)

1907 – Satchinez commune (Serbian: Kneez, Knez), Temesvar – Frau Hazyok

Also, a female bandit serial murderess from Romania:

1902 – Jassy – Female Bandit (name presently undetermined)


For more than two dozen similar cases, dating from 1658 to 2011, see the summary list with links see: The Husband-Killing Syndicates


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Chisako Kakehi, Suspected Champion Black Widow Serial Killer – Japan, 2014

On November 19, 2014, a 69-year-old Chisako Kakehi widow and retired bank employee was arrested in Kyoto, Japan on suspicion of murdering her fourth husband. She is additionally suspected of murdering six others between 1994 to 2013: her first four husbands, a boyfriend and a fiance.

In March of this year, during the early part of the criminal investigation, the suspect told reporters: “If people suspect murder, I’d find it easier to bite my tongue off and die,” she told reporters in March. She added that she saw herself as “doomed by fate.”

Over the past two decades she has been the beneficiary of insurance money totaling 800 million yen (US$ 6.8 million) in addition to other property and money she inherited following the seven men’s deaths.

Police are investigating all seven deaths, stating that the older men may possibly have died of natural causes, yet all must still be regarded as possible murders.

~ Suspected murder #1 ~

Kakehi’s first husband died in 1994 at the age of 54.

~ Suspected murder #2 ~

In 2006 her second husband, whom she had met through a dating agency, died at the age of 69. The presumed cause was “stroke.”

~ Suspected murder #3 ~

Her third marriage ended in 2008 with the death of her 75-year-old spouse.

~ Suspected murder #4 ~

In 2012 her then-fiance met his fate after collapsing while riding a motorbike.

~ Suspected murder #5 ~

In 2013, a boyfriend, believed to have been suffering from some form of cancer, died.

~ Suspected murder #6 ~

In September 2013 a 75-year-old boyfriend fell suddenly ill after the couple ate together at a restaurant and soon was dead.

~ Suspected murder #7 ~

Husband number four Isao Kakehi fell sick suddenly at home and was confirmed dead at a hospital in December 2013, less than two months following the couple’s marriage. An autopsy showed the presence of  cyanide compounds.

[Based on: Miwa Suzuki, “‘Black widow’ with seven dead partners arrested in Japan,” AFP, Nov. 19, 2014]


“I killed my husband,” Ms Kakehi said from the witness stand on Monday. “I have no intention of hiding the guilt. I will laugh it off and die if I am sentenced to death tomorrow,” [“‘Black Widow’ confesses to killing fourth husband,” New York Times, Jul 12, 2017]



1994 – first husband, 54, died.
2006 – second husband, 69, died.
2008 – third husband, 75, died.
2012 – fiance died.
2013 – boyfriend died.
Sep. 2013 – boyfriend, 75, died.
Dec. 2013 – Isao Kakehi, fourth husband died.






MORE Female Serial Killers of Asia


More: Champion Black Widow Serial Killers


For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Dear Diary, I’m a female serial killer!

Female serial killers who kept diaries or other written records of their murders. Some discuss their murders and some merely discuss “relationships” and “feelings.”


1610 – Elizabeth BathoryCsejte, Kingdom of Hungary (today Čachtice, Slovakia) 

Castle servants claimed 100-200, but legend has it that Erzebet kept a diary that listed all 650 of her victims.

1676 – Marquise de Brinvilliers – Paris, France

The Marquise fled to London, where she remained three years. Then she returned to France and entered a convent. She was enticed from it and arrested. In her cell was found a diary. It showed that had not only poisoned her father and two brothers, and many hospital patients, but her own child and two servants as well.

1889 – Sophie von Mesko – Lipes, Hungary

Quite recently the police, in the course of a domiciliary visit, discovered the diary in which she had entered with the greatest minuteness a number of details concerning her relations with her many lovers, and the still more damaging revelation that she had killed four other children by different lovers.

1893 – “Kuttenberg Baby-Killers” Bohemia (Czech, Austrian Empire) 

“The discovery of this wholesale system of baby murdering was brought about by accident, or the women might have continued their prosperous business for for years to come. So safe did they feel themselves from detection that one of them kept regular ledgers, in which was inscribed the sums received, the person the money was received from, the age and description of the child, and the date it was disposed of. But the help of this horrible record of crimes the authorities anticipate not only convicting and effectually disposing of these two female friends, but they also anticipate being able to make a large number of arrests and bring numbers of others to the bar of justice.”

1912 – Louise Lindloff – Chicago, Illinois, USA

“A ledger found hidden behind a secret lock in the closet in Mrs. Lindloff’s home is said by the police to show a complete record of the deaths of members of the household, together with the amounts of insurance collected. This book, written in German, is regarded by the prosecution as circumstantial evidence to uphold the theory of murder carried on as a cold, commercial proposition. It is held by the prosecution that in this book Mrs. Lindloff kept careful account of her resources and that whenever she needed money she planned a death. Suspicion was diverted, it is believed, by her frequent changes of residence.”

1920 – Raya & Sekina Aly Hammam – Alexandria, Egypt

“[T]he sisters gave the names of the miserable cutthroats whom they employed, and Sekina capped the mountain of atrocities by producing a notebook in which she kept accurate entries of the amounts in cash and in gems realized from the corpses and the sums each had cost her in miserly fees to the executioners.”

1926 – Josefa Szanyi (Josephine Tsany) – Budapest, Hungary

She has preserved diaries in which she records with amazing details the facts of each case, describing the sufferings of the victims as each in turn lay writhing in her arms in his death throes.

1965 – Myra Hindley – Greater Manchester, England

Her diary was devoted primarily to her obsession with her serial rape/murder partner, Ian Brady:

“I hope he loves me, and will marry me some day.”

“He is cruel and selfish, and I love him.”

1968 – Mary Bell – Scottswood, England

MARY’S NOTEBOOK: On May 27, 1986, the day Mary and Norma ransacked the Day School nursery and left behind scrawled boasts of having murdered, “Mary Bell drew a picture in her notebook of a child in the same pose as that in which Martin Brown had been found, with a bottle near him with the word "TABLET.." There was a man walking toward the child. It read, ‘On saturday I was in the house, and my mam sent Me to ask Norma if she Would come up the top with me? we went up and we came down at Magrets Road and there were crowds of people beside an old house. I asked what was the matter. there had been a boy who Just lay down and Died.’ Mary's notebook entry did not strike the teacher as odd, although she was the only student who wrote on Martin's death.” [Shirley Lynn Scott, “Mary Bell: Portrait of a Killer as a Young Girl.” Crime Library,, undated]

1978 – Cecile Bombeek – Ghent, Belgium

Time magazine reported that the killer was caught through the efforts of fellow nuns working in the 38-bed geriatric ward, who kept a diary of mysterious deaths and other irregularities.

1996 – Lyudmila Spesivtseva – Novosibirsk, Siberia

Mother and son serial killer cannibal team: A diary was found that documented the murders of 19 girls. They were suspected in a total of at least 32 murders.

1998 – Sante Kimes – New York, Bahamas, California

2001 – Kathleen Megan Folbigg – Mayfield, NSW, Australia – murdered 3 of her own children.

– “With Sarah, all I wanted was her to shut up. And one day, she did.”

– “Even though I’m responsible, it’s alright. She accepts and is happy... She’s a fairly good-natured baby, thank goodness - it saved her from the fate of her siblings. I think she was warned. …another one like Sarah. She saved her life by being different.”

– “I feel like the worst mother on this earth, scared that she’ll leave me now like Sarah did. I knew I was short-tempered, and cruel, sometimes, to her, and she left - with a bit of help.”

– “…would like all my mistakes and terrible thinking be corrected and mean something, though. Obviously, I’m my father’s daughter.”

2004 – Sonya Caleffi – Como, Italy

An anorexic nurse who has admitted killing patients at a new Milan hospital to make herself feel powerful and important kept a diary noting details of their deaths.

2009 – Harsimrat “Simmi” Kahlon – Calgary, Canada

Three infanticides over a period of four years were discovered following the death of the serial killer mom.

Forensic psychologist Dr. Thomas Dalby worked with investigators to perform a kind of “psychological autopsy” to reconstruct the woman’s state of mind. In Kahlon’s diary, which she kept in Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi, she wrote often that she felt worthless but there were few references to the babies.”It was clear that she was significantly depressed at times, looked at herself as worthless, and had lost her will for life,” said Dalby. Through interviews with friends and family, investigators found that Kahlon often overreacted to situations and would be happy one day and totally depressed the next. Dalby said it was unusual for a mother to keep the bodies of infants in close proximity after killing them.

Bruna kept a diary. After her arrest a controversy arose resulting from her written claim that the mayor of of the municipality of Conde, Aluísio Régis, was connected through “The Cartel” to the cannibal sect.

2015 – Elena Lobacheva – Moscow, Russia

“When Elena Lobacheva’s apartment was searched, police found five knives and on her computer, a “step-by-step instruction to killing people and photos of all of her victims with their stomachs cut open and body parts cut off.” Folders titled “Tenderness” and “Need this” contained hundreds of pictures and videos of torture and executions. In a notebook Lobacheva had recorded the number of knife wounds on the gang’s victims’ bodies.” [Will Stewart, “‘Bride of Chucky’ serial killer felt ‘sexual pleasure’ while knifing victims,” The Sun, June 22, 2017]

2015 – Tamara Samsonova – St. Petersburg, Russia

Arrested at the age of 67 on suspicion of murder, Samsonova’s diary, written in Russian, German and English, detailing a reported ten murders. Initial accounts of the case imply that all of the suspected murders involved the dismemberment of victims' corpses and the distribution of body parts in plastic bags throughout St. Petersburg.





SEE MORE: Female Serial Killer Collections


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Female Serial Killers: Weapons, Poisons & Methods

This checklist is still in progress. The study of female aggression is still in its infancy. Criminologists largely overlooked violence by women as a serious subject of study until the 1950s. Yet the subject was quickly deemed “politically correct” and was deemed an “inappropriate” topic for scientific research.

Finally we are beginning to see the beginnings of an honest academic approach to this still largely taboo, subject emerging among the braver among the new young generation of criminologists, sociologists, and psychologists.

As of yet, women’s studies specialists have not expressed any interest in exploring the fact that female serial killers are far more common and far more diverse in ethnicity and in methods employed than is claimed by the experts.


From a review of the new academic book, Helen Gavin, Theresa Porter, Female Aggression, December 2014, Wiley-Blackwell: The authors “challenge our most cherished feminist beliefs about women as the more compassionate, cooperative, “maternal,” and non-violent of the genders.”


Asphixia variants

  • Asphyxia – Michele Kalina
  • Choke with Stone – Margaret Messenger (FSK girl)
  • Choke with potato – Jeanne Bonnaud
  • Choke with stone – Jeanne Bonnaud
  • Choke with Washcloth – Gwendolyn Graham
  • Hanging by noose – Viktoria Rieger
  • Smother – Mary Cowan, Gwendolyn Graham,Marie Doiselet (handkerchief, FSK girl, 2 v), “La Flèche Serial Killer Girl,” Sieske Hoekstra, Barbara Wilkinson
  • Smother with blanket – Christine Falling (“smotheration”)
  • Smother with pillow – Claudette Kibble, Marybeth Roe Tinning, Debra Sue Tuggle,
  • Stethoscope – Juana Barraza, strangle with stethoscope
  • Strangle – Juana Barraza, Martha Beck, Carol May Bundy, Amelia Dyer, Leontine Kasparek, Diane Lumbrera, Celine Lesage, Junko Ogata, Maria Reyes, Kathleen Riefer, Mary Runkle, “Shanghai Female Jack the Ripper,” Jeanne Weber, Rosemary West
  • Strangle with edging tape (millinery) – Amelia Dyer
  • Strangle with handkerchief – Ane Nielsdatter
  • Strangle with hands – Agnes Norman, Jeanne Weber
  • Strangle with ligature – Stella Williamson
  • Strangle with silk cord –Rachel Lynn
  • Strangle with silk scarf – Myra Hindley
  • Strangle with string – Myra Hindley
  • Strangle & drown in tank – “Kakoorgachi Serial Murderess”
  • Suffocate – Marie Bouriant, Dominique Cottrez, Anne Gaillard Delpech, Christine Falling, Waneta Hoyt, Elizabeth Kirkbride, Celine Lesage, Diane Lumbrera,  Marie Noe, Agnes Norman, Fru Olsen, Johannsen and Andrasen baby farmers; Mahin Qadiri, Debra Sue Toggle, Rosemary West, Stella Williamson, Gwendolyn Graham & Catherine May Wood, Martha Woods
  • Suffocate by stuffing mouth with toilet paper – Myriam Marlein


  • Boat (push into water) – Judias Buenoano
  • Drown – Henrietta Bamberger, Dagmar Overbye, Debra Sue Tuggle
  • Drown in Bathtub – Claudette Kibble
  • Drown in Ditch – Ane Cathrine Andersdatter
  • Drown in Icy Water – Ane Cathrine Andersdatter
  • Drown in pail of water – Anne Gaillard Delpech
  • Drown in Reservoir – “Black widow gang”
  • Drown in River – María Concepción Ladino Gutiérrez, K. D. Kempamma, Ane Nielsdatter
  • Drown in “sink” (open sewer) – Pamela Myers
  • Drown in Tank – “Kakoorgachi Serial Murderess” (strangle under water)
  • Drown in Well – Ane Cathrine Andersdatter, Jeanne Bonnaud (FSK girl), Margaret Messenger (FSK girl)


  •  Anafranil – Elfriede Blauensteiner
  • Antimony – Martha Grinder, Marie Jeanneret, Mary Meyer
  • Antifreeze (ethylene glycol) – Shirley Elizabeth Allen, Stacey Castor, Diane & Rachel Staudte, Julia Lynn Turner
  • Arsenic – (incomplete list ) Amy Archer-Gilligan, Mary Ann Armagost, Velma Barfield, Mary Bateman, Marie Besnard, Frances "Fanny" Billing & Catherine Frary, Edith Agnes Bingham, Giovanna Bonanno, Frau Buchmann, Mary Emily Cage, Clara Carl, Emily Stone Conyers, Mary Ann Cotton, Mary Cowan, Anna Cunningham, Persa Czirin, Alice Danbrough, Nannie Doss, Elizabeth Dalzey, Mary Demmer, Virginia Doyle, Roberta Elder, Ellen Etheridge, Nancy Ferrer, Sarah Freeman, Polly Frisch (Hoag), Marie Gagey, Nellie Mary Anne Geering, Janie Lou Gibbs, Bertha Gifford, Betty Jo Green, Anna Marie Hahn, Emma Heppermann, Bertha Gossett Hill, Marie Hilley, Susannah Holroyd, Margarete Jäger, Helene Jegado, Eliza Joyce, Monsieur Joye, Karoline Kieper, Tillie Klimek, Ida Leckwold, Anjette Donovan Lyles, Louise Mabre, Rhonda Belle Martin, Alice Mason, Daisy de Melker, Blanche Taylor Moore, Martha Needle, Katherine Nolan, Milka Pavlovich, Mary Pimlett, Madame Popova, Anujka de Poshtonja, Eliza Potegian, Anna Przygodda, Esther Sarac, Jane Scott, Della Sorenson, Caroline Sorgenfrie, Carrie Bodie Sparling, Harriet Ann Stevens, Anna Louise Sullivan, Maria Catherina Swanenburg, Rose Theyre, Anna Tomaskiewicz, Louise Vermilya, Annie Wagner (Rough on Rats), Mrs. Wahle, Nellie Webb, Phebe Westlake, Sarah Jane Whiteling, Hattie Whitten, Martha Wise, Eliza Wood, Annie Zachoegner
  • Arsenic (“mouse butter”; arsenic mixed with fat) – Gesche Gottfried
  • Arsenic in castor oil – Hattie Whitten
  • Arsenic pills – Elizabeth Dalzey
  • Atropine – Jane Toppan
  • Belladonna – Marie Jeanneret, Mari Azalai Jager
  • Bichloride of mercury – Mattie Shann
  • Black hellebore (hollebore niger) – Julia St. Joseph
  • Bleach (intravenous) – Kimberly Clark Saenz
  • Bromazepam Francesca Ballesteros
  • Carbon monoxide – Kanae Kijima; Rose Veres
  • Chlorodyne – Amelia Sach & Annie Walters
  • Chlororoform – Nellie Haven & Hattie Graham, Belle Gunness
  • Colchacine (colohioum, colchion) – Catherine Wilson
  • Colme (anti-alcoholism drug) – Francesca Ballesteros
  • Corrosive Sublimate (mercuric chloride) – Clothida Cravana
  • Creosote & Sulphuric acid – Elizabeth Berry
  • Cyanide – Chisako Kakehi, H. D. Kempamma, Bernardina Maria de las Mercedes Bolla Aponte “Yiya Murano,” Chen Kao Lien-yen, Galya Tannenbaum, Le Thanh Van
  • Digitalis – Marie Becker, Marie Jeannebraq (digitaline)
  • “Drug overdose” – Dorothea Puente
  • Dushuqiang rat poison (tetramethylene: TETS) – Wang Fang
  • E605 insecticide (parathion) – Christa Lehmann
  • Epinephrine – Kirsten Gilbert
  • Ether – Mrs. David Drake
  • Euglucon – Elfriede Blauensteiner
  • Feces as poison - Marie-Françoise Bougaran
  • Fly poison – Ida Leckwold
  • Furadan (carbofuran) –Yadira Narvaez Marin
  • Gramoxone (herbicide) – Noh
  • Horse tonic (containing arsenic) – LaVerne O’Bryan
  • Hostetter's Stomach Bitters – Lydia Sherman
  • Hydrochloric acid – Martha Rendell
  • Insulin – Beverly Allitt, Cecile Bombeek, Bobbie Sue Tyrell
  • Laudanum – Rosa Bronzo, Alice Danbrough, Minnie Dean, Eliza Joyce, Mrs. Reignolds, Mrs. Fred West (Clara West)
  • Liquid Fly Poison – Ida Leckwold
  • Liquor – Margaret Waldegrave
  • Luminol – Dr. Margarethe Heubsch, Dr. Marianne Tuerk
  • Lye – Ellen Etheridge
  • Matches (source for white phosphorous and arsenic) – Anne Dupin (“Lucifer matches” containing white phosphorous), Marguerite Léris Grieumard
  • Mercury – Lottie Lockman
  • Mivacuriam chloride (Mivacrom) – Vickie Dawn Jackson
  • Morphine – Annie Crawford, Caroline Finity, Dr. Margarethe Heubsch, Marie Jeanneret, Christine Malvere, Leticia Page, Jane Toppan, Dr. Marianne Tuerk, Jane Toppan, Waltrud Wagner (& 3 other nurses), Elisabeth Wiese
  • Nitric acid – Francois Trenque (nitric acid & arsenic)
  • Ointment, poisoned – Anna Allas & Mary Chalfa & Giselle Young 
  • Opiates – Margaret Waters
  • Opium – Nellie Campbell (“opium gum soaked in milk”), Belinda Laphame
  • “Pain Killers” (Lethal injections) – Timea Faludi
  • Paraffin oil – Jeanne Bonnaud
  • Paregoric – Anna Allas & Mary Chalfa & Giselle Young 
  • Parathion – Besse Reese
  • Paris green – Mattie Shann, Caroline Sorgenfrie, Anna Sullivan, Anna Snoots, Anna Tomaskiewicz
  • Phosphorous – Mary Elizabeth Wilson
  • Phosphorous paste – Brigitte Burckel
  • Porformaldehyde – Judias Buenoano
  • Potassium – Christine Malvere
  • Potassium chloride – Daniela Poggiali
  • Potassium cyanide – Mrs. H. D. Zarin
  • Pyralion and ether (mix containing acetate of lead used for killing weeds) – Antoinette Sierri
  • Rat Poison (very incomplete list) – Shirley Elizabeth Allen, Ella Holdridge
  • Rose Bay Leaves – Malvina Roester
  • Sleeping pills and morphine concoction – Irmgard Swinka
  • Spider poison – Anna Allas & Mary Chalfa & Giselle Young
  • Spirits of salt – Martha Rendell
  • Stannous chloride (tin salt) – Anna Allas & Mary Chalfa & Giselle Young
  • Strychnine – Amy Archer-Gilligan, Catherine Batchelor, Velma Barfield, Mary Ann Britland, Alice Danbrough, Belle Gunness, Mae Hamilton, Rae Anderman Krauss, Charlotte Lamb, Victoria Lefebre, Frau Manko, Mary McKnight, Nettie Hoxan, Isabella Newman, Kate Painter, Alice Platt, Hattie Stone, Birdie Strome, Sally Story, Margaret Waldegrave, Harriet Ann Stevens, Jane Toppan, Hattie Whitten
  • Strychnine in castor oil – Hattie Whitten
  • Succinylcholine (powerful muscle relaxant) – Genene Jones
  • Sulfuric acid – Catherine Wilson, Alsa Thompson
  • Tartar emetic – Elizabeth Wharton
  • Tetramethylene (TETS; Dushuqiang rat poison) – Wang Fang
  • Thallium – Caroline Grills (Thall-Rat), Tamara Ivanyutina (liquid Clerici, highly toxic thallium-based solution), Martha Marek
  • Tin chloride – Anna Allas & Mary Chalfa
  • “Tranquilizers” (Lethal injections) – Timea Faludi
  • Truxal – Marianne Nölle
  • Typhoid germs – Julia Shepherd
  • Valium Patricia Dagorn
  • Variety of poisons – Anna Marie Hahn (“each victim was administered a different poison,” Kelleher)
  • Veronal – Dr. Marianne Tuerk, Dr. Margarethe Heubsch
  • Vitriol and sugar – Madame Delpech (“pouring vitriol and sugar down its [baby’s] throat”)
  • White mercury – Elizabeth Ridgway
  • Zolpidem – Francesca Ballesteros

Poison Carriers (Poisoners’ Cookbook)

  • Almond milk – Gesche Gottfried (“Almond milk with arsenic”)
  • Apple pie and cheese – Elizabeth Berry
  • Baked Apple – Virginia Doyle
  • Bananas and Eggs – Roberta Elder
  • Barley soup – Sophie Johannesdatter
  • Beans – Victoria Lefebre
  • Beef tea – Amelia Winters
  • Beef steak – Edith Agnes Bingham
  • Beer – Shirley Elizabeth Allen, Mrs. Camfield, Daisy de Melker, Ellen Wharton, Anna Marie Zwanziger
  • Biscuits, buttered – Jessie Bigbee
  • Bread and Butter – Anna Cunningham 
  • Bread and milk – Charlotte Lamb
  • Blueberry Pudding – Maria Velten
  • Brandy – “Kisoda, Hungary Serial Killers,” Pètronillo Schimonska, Lydia Sherman, Amelia Winters
  • Broth – Marie de Brinvilliers, Elizabeth Ridgway
  • Buttermilk – Anjette Lyles
  • Cakes –  Mary Bateman, Brigitte Burckel, Gesche Gottfried (“funeral cake”), Kathi Lyukas
  • Candy – Bridget Carey, Christa Lehmann, Eliza Potegian
  • Castor oil – Hattie Whitten (with arsenic, strychnine)
  • Christening cakes – Makrena Stankovic
  • Cheese – Jeanne Gilbert
  • Cheese and eggs – Roberta Elder
  • Chicken meat – Jeanne Gilbert, Catalina de Los Rios y Lisperguer
  • Chicken sandwich – Blanche Taylor Moore
  • Chicken soup – Pauline Rogers
  • Chocolate – Marie de Brinvilliers
  • Chocolate pudding – Mary Creighton
  • Cigarettes poisoned – Irmgard Swinka
  • Clam Chowder – Lydia Sherman
  • Cocoa – Mary Frances Creighton, Ella Holdridge (FSK girl)
  • Coffee – Anna Carlson, Mrs. Elmer Conyers, Daisy de Melker, Ekaterini Dimetrea, Marie Gagey, Betty Jo Green, Agnes Orner, Thekla Popov, Anna Pryzgodda, Antoinette Scierri, Annora Yeoman
  • Cookies – Della Sorenson
  • Corn and Beans – Phebe Westlake
  • Cottage cheese (smear case) – Celia Rose
  • Cream – Dora Bullock Frost
  • Croton oil – Anna Marie Hahn
  • Dumplings – Fanny Billings & Mrs. Frary
  • Egg nog – Sarah Whiteling, Mary Creighton
  • Epsom salts – Daisy De Melker
  • Fried Potatoes – Nancy Farrer
  • Grape juice – Eliza Potegian
  • Gruel – Fanny Billings & Mrs. Frary, Virginia Doyle, Sussanah Holroyd, Anna Zwanziger
  • Ham and eggs – Louise Vermilya
  • Holy water – H. D. Kempamma
  • Ice Cream – Blanche Taylor Moore
  • Kebab – Shirin Gul
  • Lemonade – Amy Archer-Gilligan, Mattie Shann, Mrs. H. D. Zarin
  • Milk – Elfriede Blauensteiner, Nellie Campbell, Ellen Etheridge, Suzi Olah, Florence Peters, Maria Swanenburg  (Van Der Linden)
  • Milk of Magnesia – Roberta Elder
  • Mince pie – Sarah Chesham
  • Molasses syrup – Nancy Farrer
  • Okra stew – Eliza Potegian
  • Onion syrup – Nancy Farrer
  • Pastry (masa finas) –Yiya Murano
  • Peaches and Cream – Martha Grinder
  • Peach pie – Martha Grinder
  • Pepper – Louise Vermilya
  • Pie – Sarah Chesham
  • Pigeon Pie – Marie de Brinvilliers
  • Plum tart – Jeanne Gilbert
  • Pork – Caroline Sorgenfrie (“fresh pork”)
  • Porridge – Jane Scott
  • Potato soup – Emma Heppermann
  • Prasad – H. D. Kempamma
  • Prune Juice – Nannie Doss
  • Prunes – Sophie Ursinus
  • Pudding – Mary Frances Creighton, Virginia Doyle, Blanche Taylor Moore
  • Pumkin pie – Nancy Hufford
  • Rice – Sophie Ursinus
  • Rice with milk – Martha Grinder
  • Rice pudding – Mary Ann Milner
  • Sake – Ineigo Kaneiko
  • Salt – Anna Marie Zwanziger
  • Sandwich – Mary T. Hartman
  • Soup – Marie de Brinvilliers, Renette C. Bussey, Martha Grinder, Madame Mizard & Anne Dupin, Anna Louise Sullivan, Frau Zivacky
  • Spinach – Anna Marie Hahn
  • Strawberry Ice Cream – Pauline Rogers
  • Sweet Tea – Julia Lynn Turner (antifreeze)
  • Sweetcakes – Eliza Potegian
  • Tea – Marie Becker, Lizzie Brennan, Bridgett Carey, Caroline Grills, Shirin Gul, Sophie Johannesdatter, Charlotte Lamb, Mary May, Martha Needle, Florence Peters, Sarah Jane Robinson, Lydia Sherman, Birdie Strome
  • Toast – Phebe Westlake
  • Veal soup – Gesche Gottfried
  • Water – Mae Hamilton, Elsie Bible Malinsky, Sally Story, Martha Wise
  • Whiskey – Nellie Webb, Rhonda Bell Martin
  • Wine – Virginia Doyle, Ineigo Kaneiko, Eliza Potegian, Gaetana Stimoli ("Stomoli")
  • Yogurt – Christa Lehmann, Aino Nykopp-Koski
  • Zwiebak and meat soup – Gesche Gottfried (Zwieback is a type of crisp, sweetened bread, made with eggs and baked twice.)

► Weapon: Blade

  • Axe – Raya Aly Hammam, Clementine Barnabet, Belle Gunness, Irina Gaidamachuk, La Gizzi, Lizzie Halliday, Estis Liberis, Maria Oliviero, Ekaterina Pishianova, Emma Stillwell, Lala Wanh
  • Blade (cutting throat) –Myra Hindley, Elizabeth Kirkbride
  • Box cutter – Elena Lobacheva
  • Hatchet – Ane Nielsdatter, Anastasia Permiakova (to neck)
  • Knife – Raya Aly Hammam (throat), Marie-Françoise Bougaran, Carol May Bundy, Johanna Dennehy, Jaroslava Fabianova, Mary Jane Jackson, Kimberly McCarthy, Doretta Kirksey, La Gizzi (or sword?), Elena Lobacheva, Sylvia Meraz (Knife?: Ritual sacrifice), “PK,” “Sao Paulo Girl,” “White-Necked Crow,” Dorothy Williams
  • Machete – Sara Maria Aldrete
  • Meat Cleaver – Jaroslava Fabianova
  • Scissors – Lizzie Halliday
► Weapon: Blunt

  • Drum Sticks – Sachiko Eto
  • Hammer – Martha Beck, Bender Family, Mademoiselle Bouhours, Jaroslava Fabianova, Irina Gaidamachuk
  • Hoe – Sarah Dockery (beat brains out with hoe)
  • Iron Bar – Mahin Qadiri
Weapon: Pins & Needles

  • Darning Needle – Pauline Middlestedt
  • Hatpin – Nannie Doss (in head of baby)
  • Hairpin – Ida Schnell (into brain)
  • Knitting Needle – Sophie Gautié Bouyou
  • Needle – Sarah Jane Makin (into heart)
  • Pin – Catherine Miller
► Weapon: Pistol, Rifle, Explosive

  • Bomb – Judias Buenoano (in car), Marjorie Diel-Armstrong
  • Grenade – Yoke Ying
  • Gas Gun – Mary Eleanor Smith
  • Musket – Maria Oliviero
  • Pistol – Sara Maria Aldrete, Putli Bai, Mary Lou Beets, Grete Beier, Anna Bergmann, Carol M. Bundy, Verónica Mireya Moreno Carreon, Suzan Carson, Faye Della Copeland, May Curtis, Charlene Gallego, Mary Ganole, Molly Foxwater, Mary T. Godau, Winnie Ola Freeman (Winola Green), Josephine Gray,  Angenette Haight, Shauntay Henderson, Maria Jiminez, Sharon Kinne, Michelle Knotek, Bertha Lankford, Frau (Ziesig) Manko, Leonarda Martinez, Alma McClavey (Theede), Carolyn Elizabeth McCrary, Euphemia Mondich, Kusuma Nain, Judith Neelley, Betty Neumar, Lillie Louise Peete, Caroline Peoples, Charmaine Phillips, Jane Taylor Quinn, Nancy Manriquez Quintanar, Amastaa Rubio de Pascadera, Diane Spencer, Minnie Wallace Walkup, Brookey Lee West, Blanche Wright, Angel Wright-Ford, Aileen Wuornos
  • Rifle – Inessa Tarvdiyeva
  • Shotgun – Inez Brennan

  • Abandonment – Sabine Hilschenz
  • Automobile (run over victim) – Betty Lou Beets, Henen Golay & Olga Ruttsrschmidt, Melissa Friedrich Weeks
  • Battery – Anjanapaia (sp?), Helen Geisen-Volk, Marie Bouriant, Barbara Wilkinson, Magdalena Solis, Miyoko Sumida
  • Beat to death with wine bottle – Lisa Karl
  • Bomb Judias Buenoano
  • Bludgeoning – Belle Gunness
  • Burning alive – Patty Cannon, Mme. Couturier, Julia Fortmyer, Kanae Kijma, Dagmar Overbye, Marianne Skoublinska, Lillian Thornman, Mrs. Fred West (Clara West), Henrietta Weibel, Martha Wiese
  • Bury alive – Elizabeth Ashmead
  • “Death Acceleration” (Nazi term) – Sister Liesel Bachor, Valentine Bilien, Margarethe Heubsch, Anna Katschenka,  Kathe Pisters, Matron Ella Schmidt, Marianne Tuerk
  • Dismember while alive – Felicitas Sanchez Aguillon
  • Drop child on head – Eunice Brillhart
  • Exposure to cold – Elizabeth Bathory, Helen Geisen-Volk (freeze to death)
  • Exposure to sun – Georgia Tann
  • Neglect – Miyuki Ishikawa, Coleen Thompson, Michele Kalina, Georgia Tann, Margaret McCloskey
  • Push out window – Rose Veres
  • Shake to death – Virginia Jaspers
  • Starvation – Ellen Batts, Guadalupe Martinez de Bejarano, Madge Clayton, Maude Dieden, Seema Mohan Gavit, Moulay Hassen, Linda Burfield Hazzard, Mme. Julien, Miriam Soulakiotis
  • Smash head against telephone pole – Seema Mohan Gavit
  • Starvation – Anna Allas & Mary Chalfa & Giselle Young, Mme. Barthian, Nellie Campbell, Linda Burfield Hazzard, Madame Julien, Margaret McClosky, Cynthia McDonald, Junko Ogata, Elizabeth Reed, Mrs. Tanaka
  • Stomp with heavy boots – Helene Braunsteiner
  • Torture – Elizabeth Bathory, Guadalupe Martinez de Bejarano, “Romanian Female Bandit,” Dianorah Galou, Moulay Hassen, Josepha Perez, Darya Saltykova, Mariam Soulakiotis, Georgia Tann
  • Twist neck – Wilhelmena Eckhardt
  • Whipping – Mariam Soulakiotis, Darya Saltykova
Miscellaneous (cause of death or following death)

  • Decaptiation – La Gizzi, “Druse Lebanese Serial Killer,” Esteis Liberis
  • Electrocution Junko Ogata
Special cases

Anna Allas & Gizella Young – “Gizella told the police that Mrs. Allas has pushed her husband, Mantyo, downstairs; that Andrew and Steven had been killed by slow starvation, paregoric, and poinson ointment; and that Richard Duyava had been starved, fed paregoric, and his body massaged with an ointment which congealed his blood and hampered its flow. Oh, yes, and he’d been given chopped spiders in his food!”

Elizabeth Bathory – The methods would include whipping, cutting with shears, burning with fire irons, beating with a cudgel, and sticking needles under their fingernails. When a girl would attempt to pull out the needle her fingers would be sliced off. Efforts were made by commoners to stop the crimes but to no avail. Eventually she would take into her household teenaged girls from noble families in decline. They were eventually treated the same as the peasant girls.

Marie-Françoise Bougaran – “When interrogated she confessed that she had killed all the children by forcing them to swallow excrements, and then cutting the veins of the neck with a knife, which she inserted in the mouth. The post-mortem examination of the poor children has fully proved this statement to be true.”

Raya & Sekina Aly Hammam – “They enumerated the methods by which various women were put to death, explaining that some were strangled, some stabbed, some attacked from behind with bludgeons and still others slain by choloroform or arsenic.”

Marie Jeanneret – “Bodies of her deceased clients were examined with several types of poison were found. Maried had used atropine (a derivative of belladonna), morphine, and antimony, a mineral.” [Robert Nash, Look for the Woman, 1981, p. 211]

Rachel Lynn – “Mrs. Rachel Lynn used fiendish cunning in killing the babes by strangling them to death with cords, by piercing their heads with sharp iron instruments and burning them alive in red hot stoves and grates.”

Rebecca Smith – “She confessed that she had poisoned eight of her children, by applying arsenic to her own breast when she suckled them.” [“School For Criminals.”  The Spectator (London, England), Aug. 25, 1849, p. 802]


Harold Schechter: – Partly, no doubt, because it was the favorite murder method of Victorian woman, most people tend to think of poisoning as a comparatively genteel way to commit serial homicide, not nearly as savage, say, slitting a victim’s throat and tearing out his entrails. And it is certainly true that mutilation-murder is far more sensationally grisly. Whether it is also crueler than poisoning is an open question. Though a significant number of male serial killers engage in hideous torture, many others – including some of the most notorious ones – have dispatched their victims in a fairly quick manner. This is true, for example, of most rippers. The atrocities perpetrated by Jack the Ripper seem nearly inhuman in their ferocity. But at least they were inflicted on his victims after death, which came with merciful swiftness.

By contrast, poisoners often subject the people closest to them – friends, family members, and coworkers – to excruciatingly slow and painful deaths, and derive pleasure from observing the torments of their victims.

[Harold Schechter, The Serial Killer Files: The Who, What, Where, How, and Why of the World's Most Terrifying Murderers, Ballantine, 2003, 306-7]


SEE MORE: Female Serial Killer Collections