It’s no secret I’m no fan of Colombia. First, it stole one of my best friends, who now claims to be happily living in Bogota with the lovely Colombian love of his life. I of course believe he’s being forced to make these claims while kidnappers keep him trapped in a spider hole. He should have heeded my warnings about the place. Consider the fact that the three top serial killers in the history of forever all wrecked their bloody-ass havoc in Colombia in the 1970s—1990s. Take Luis Garavito, a murderer, torture killer and rapist known as The Beast, who confessed to killing 140 children in a five-year span during the nineties. That’s just what he confessed to. He’s actually suspected of killing over 400 victims. Then there’s Pedro Lopez, who was convicted of killing 110 girls under the age of 12, but he confessed to killing 300. Not-so-fun fact: he served only 15 years for his crimes and was released in 1998. Coming in at third is Daniel Camargo Barbosa, an intelligent psychopath with step-mommy issues, who tortured and killed over 150 young female victims. Not-so-fun-fact: Barbosa was arrested just minutes after killing an adolescent, with Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevski among his possessions.
Murderers from this region hold three of the top-ten world serial-killer awards. The most recent is Alexander Pichushkin, known as the Chessboard Killer, because his goal was to kill as many people as there are squares on a chessboard. (Those Russians and their chess!) Not-so-fun-fact: he lured his elderly male victims by getting them drunk on free vodka, then shoving the vodka bottle into their freshly bashed-in skulls. Coming up close on his heels is Andrei Chikatilo, the Rostov Ripper, who killed, mutilated and/or partially cannibalized 53 young victims. Right behind him is Anatoly Onoprienko, The Beast of Ukraine, who confessed to killing 52 people over just a six-year span. Not-so-fun-fact: he liked to wipe out entire families at once, starting with a family of 10 in 1989.
Killers from USA hold three of the top 20 spots reserved for worst murdering sickos in modern history. The first to pop up is Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer, who was convicted of killing 49 prostitutes 1980s—1990s and dumping their bodies throughout King Count. Not-so-fun fact: he often returned to the dumpsites to have sex with the corpses. Following him is the handsome Ted Bundy, who liked to lure his victims into his van by donning a fake arm cast and feigning helplessness in the face of loading large furniture. He was executed in 1989 after having been convicted of killing 35 women and children. Right behind him is John Wayne Gacy, the portly Chicago party clown who kept 26 out of 33 rotting corpses of his young male victims in the crawl space under his home. Not-so-fun fact: Gacy liked to trick his victims into handcuffing themselves by telling them the handcuffs were part of a magic act. So bear that in mind, young people, the next time a fat clown takes you to his smelly home to teach you some tricks.
Hollis Gillespie is Paste Travel’s The Ugly American columnist. She is a writing instructor, travel expert and author of We Will be Crashing Shortly, which is on bookstore shelves now. Follow her on Twitter.