Five books. Written by five serial killers. Some are fiction. Most are not. If you dare to turn these pages, beware of some of the most disturbing stories ever published.
A Question of Doubt
by John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy has one of the most notorious names among all serial killers. He raped and murdered as many as 33 boys and young men in the 1970s, burying the bodies on his property. He has also been dubbed the “Killer Clown” because he was known to dress up as a clown at children’s parties in his neighborhood. Under questioning by police, Gacy eventually admitted to his crimes. He was executed in Illinois in 1994 after spending 14 years in prison.
While in prison he wrote the book “A Question of Doubt,” which is his take on the events surrounding his trial and the murders of which he was accused. If you are not familiar with the history of Gacy’s crimes, this book will be only confusing to you. But if you are aware of the history, and you’re a serious student of crime, this book gives an excellent (though at times deranged) look into the mindset of a serial murderer.
The Gates of Janus
by Ian Brady
Ian Brady, along with accomplice Myra Hindley, was found guilty of the “Moor Murders,” the slayings (and in some cases sexual assaults) of five children in England in the early 1960s. Hindley died in prison in 2002. Brady is still imprisoned after being declared mentally insane in 1985.
Brady is the author of “The Gates of Janus,” a somewhat serious (though awkwardly disturbing) attempt at studying the mind of serial killers. Brady goes on to blame society for serial killers and creates a philosophy of sorts about relative morality and sort of serial killers as “supermen,” perhaps trying to justify his own crimes to himself. He also spends multiple chapters studying specific serial killers and their crimes. As can be expected, this is not a book for the meek.
While in prison, Hindley also wrote a book, an autobiography. It has yet to be published.
Holmes’ Own Story
by H.H. Holmes
His real name being Herman Webster Mudgett, H.H. Holmes is perhaps one of the most prolific serial killers few people seem to have heard of. He operated in America in the late 1800s and possibly killed hundreds in secret chambers of horrors he had built in a “castle” in Chicago. Holmes eventually admitted to 27 murders and was executed by hanging in 1896.
During his trial, Holmes wrote the book ” Holmes’ Own Story.” This book cannot be found on its own today (except perhaps in some rare collections), but it is still available as part of a larger work, “The Strange Case of Dr. H.H. Holmes,” a collection of three source books about Holmes and Holmes’ confession. “Own Story” is an autobiography, starting from Holmes’ childhood and eventually leading to his trial. Throughout the book Holmes insists he is innocent and he makes up plenty of nonsense in an attempt to prove his innocence. He fails miserably, in my opinion.
by G. J. Schaefer and Sondra London
A former police officer, Gerard John Schaefer was found guilty of the two murders of two teen girls in 1972 in Florida. When his home was searched, many items belonging to other missing women were discovered. Still, Schaefer was only convicted of the two murders. In letters from Schaefer over the years, he boasted of torturing and killing as many as 34 women. He even boasted of cannibalism. In 1995, Schaefer was stabbed to death by a fellow inmate.
Author Sondra London, at one time engaged to Schaefer, put together a collection of fictional horror stories written by Schaefer. Some of the stories were discovered in his home while others he wrote in prison. All the tales are disturbing, including the torture, abuse, degradation and eventual murders of women.
The Making of a Serial Killer
by Danny Rolling and Sondra London
After Schaefer, author Sondra London became engaged with Danny Rolling, who confessed to the mutilations and murders of five students in Florida in 1990. Rolling eventually also confessed to murdering a family in 1989. He was executed in Florida in 2006.
During his imprisonment, Rolling worked with London on this book, “The Making of a Serial Killer.” It is his version of the murders to which he confessed. And he does not shy away from the horrific details. Be wary of reading this book unless you have a strong constitution for the gory. This is perhaps the most disturbing of all the books listed here, being made up of murders told from a real killer’s point of view.
Rolling also wrote a horror novel, “Sicarius,” which has been published in a limited edition.