14 Facts about serial killers that will give you nightmares for the rest of your life

As dark and disturbing as the topic may be, many of us can't help but be intrigued by serial killers and their motives to commit such horrendous crimes. Don't try to deny that you're not at least a little bit curious - you are reading this, after all.

Over the years, there have been some truly horrific cases, and from those, we've learned some terrifying facts about serial killers and their behavior. Here are just 14 of the creepiest ones...

1. The USA accounts for 76 percent of all the serial killers in the world, followed by Europe, which is responsible for 17 percent. 

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2. In the 20th Century, California had the highest rate of serial murder cases (16 percent of the national total), and Maine didn't have any at all. 

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3. Dr. Harold Shipman is believed to be the most prolific serial killer in modern history, with more than 250 victims to his name. The British doctor sought out vulnerable targets in the hospital he worked in - his oldest being a 93-year-old woman.

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4. While the vast majority of homicides occur between a killer and victim who know one another, almost 15 percent of serial murder cases concern victims who were chosen at random.

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5. When Ted Bundy - the man who killed at least 30 women in the 1970s - was asked why he took Polaroids of his victims, he said, "when you work hard to do something, you don’t want to forget it."

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6. H.H. Holmes is recognized as America's first serial killer. He confessed to at least 27 murders, which he conducted in a specially-constructed murder hotel fitted with traps and windowless torture rooms.

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7. John E. Robinson has been named the first "Internet serial killer", as he lured women to his home via online chat rooms. 

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8. Elizabeth Bathory is widely regarded as the most prolific female serial killer in history and was accused of murdering up to 600 victims alongside four co-conspirators. Some believe she used to bathe in blood, and inspired many myths about vampires. 

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9. Dr. John Bodkin Adams was suspected of killing more than 160 of his patients over the course of a decade - 132 of whom left him money in their wills. He was never convicted of his crimes.

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10. The vast majority of self-confessed serial killers have admitted to torturing or killing animals before they moved on to human victims. 

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11. Marcel Petiot, who was suspected of murdering up to 6o people during his lifetime, covered up his secret life so well that he once served as the mayor of the town of Villeneuve.

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12. Kenneth Bianchi, known as the "Hillside Strangler" once went on several ride alongs with police officers... who were searching for the Hillside Strangler.

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13. According to the FBI's predictions, there may be as many as 35-50 active serial killers in the US at any given time.

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14. Javed Iqbal, a serial killer from Pakistan, killed over 100 teenage boys. He was sentenced to die using the same method he used on his victims: by being dismembered into 100 pieces, strangled, then burned in acid. 

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So, if you have a thirst for the macabre, hopefully, these facts have hit the spot.