People Who Have Interacted With Serial Killers Share What It Was Like

A gas station at night
Unsplash | Aron Yigin

Have you ever had a run-in with a serial killer?

The most chilling part of this question is that, for the most part, you're unlikely to know if the person you're chatting with is a serial killer or not. But if this r/AskReddit thread is any indication, crossing paths with a serial killer is a deeply unsettling experience.

Ed Gein

Headstone of serial killer Ed Gein
Wikipedia | Bryanwake

"Our family had stories of Ed Gein at the hardware store. Quiet, head down, busy hands. Uncle described him as 'weird like a no-ear dog' Dad mentioned Ed was difficult to understand, if speaking, but knew how to fix anything. Grandpa said he was a good worker."


Richard Speck

Serial killer Richard Speck
Wikipedia | Dallas Police Department

"Richard Speck broke into my great aunt’s home in Monmouth, Illinois while she was asleep.

Speck had moved back to Monmouth after fleeing some crimes he had committed in Texas. Almost immediately, he began a crime spree in Monmouth as well. Burglarized & raped a 65 year old woman, murdered a barmaid, and several home break ins.

One of those homes he had broken into happened to be my great aunt Lucille’s. She didn’t wake in the night thankfully, but Speck had stolen some men’s clothing she was holding onto."


The student

A classroom
Unsplash | Ivan Aleksic

"He was...completely normal.

I taught him grade 12 English and helped him graduate from high school. He was awaiting trial on three murders when I worked with him. I think the count is up to eleven now.

He laughed, spoke intelligently, worked hard at his academics. He did have a weird smile he would do, but it was always directed at the security officer, not me. He was nothing but polite to me."


The cellmate

A prison cell
Unsplash | camilo jimenez

"Well, I was cellmates in prison with a guy that had killed people.

He could have been in there for traffic violations the way he acted. He was very smart, cordial, took good care of himself and acted like a normal person. Worked his way out of max over the years and earned privileges."


The BTK killer

Serial killer Dennis Rader
Wikipedia | Kansas Department of Corrections

"I was trained by a nurse who grew up in the house behind Dennis Radar. He had not committed any of his terrible crimes then. She said on one occasion her brother was in Dennis’ yard and doing something stupid, you know kid stuff. Dennis grabbed her brother by the ear and brought him back to their house and told their mother to keep a better eye on him and to keep him out of his yard. Very unnerving."


Jeffrey Dahmer

Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer
Wikipedia | Immediate source

"I didn't, but my Written Communications teacher also did some form of police work, and told us she got to talk to Jeffrey Dahmer. Said he was a pretty chill guy if you gave him a cigar/cigarette? Would tell you anything you wanna know then."


The smiley guy

Happy face balloons
Unsplash | Tim Mossholder

"I've met a handful working for the state court. It depends. Weirdly, it doesn't feel much different than interacting with a regular person. I've met one in particular that was extremely pleasant. Liked to be the center of attention, was extremely funny, smiley, well dressed... never would've thought he had killed many people if I wasn't literally working in one of his trials."


Former musician

A recording studio
Unsplash | Caught In Joy

"Used to work at a criminal law firm. Met one who killed 4 before he was caught. He was absolutely mentally ill. Nice enough. Guy had a band that had a record back in the 1960s. Just had been badly abused and using pretty heavily and must have snapped and thought the world was giving him signs to kill people. He’d been in prison for a long time and had done a lot of inner work and of course was sober."


Israel Keyes

Serial killer Israel Keyes
Wikipedia | Federal Bureau of Investigation

"I served in the same army unit with Israel Keyes. I spent a significant amount with him between 1999-2000.

He was super quiet and reserved, and loved to fucking drink. He was super chill and hung out in his barracks room most of the time listening to Korn and ICP. I think the fact that he was around a hundred other soldiers he couldn't do anything but blend in, but in retrospect I can see the anti social tendencies. He really only had 3 or 4 friends from the mortars squad and a handful of others like me. He used to walk around the hall slowly, drunk. Now I know he was probably thinking about the people he had killed up to that point. According to wiki he had already murdered a couple people before he enlisted in the army."


Kenneth Bianchi

Serial killer Kenneth Bianchi
Wikipedia | Los Angeles Sheriff's Department

"Not me, but a former coworker liked to tell the story of how he used to mow Hillside Strangler Kenneth Bianchi's lawn as a high school student. He said Bianchi was a nice guy, seemed perfectly normal. Would sometimes give him a soda on a hot day."


Basketball coach

Pile of basketballs
Unsplash | Jason Leung

"My Boys & Girls Club basketball coach was a serial killer. He was a sweet guy, I really liked him, especially compared to the big and loud and hardcore coach that was always yelling, George seemed sweet and empathic and caring. He also worked at the Nintendo Store at the mall, and when my mom and sister and I would go, they would take me to the Nintendo store and ask for George and leave me with him while they went and shopped the mall. He would let me playtest games and set me up on a console in the store and I'd be there for hours."


Robert Berdella

Serial killer Robert Berdella
Wikipedia | Bob Travaglione

"I still remember the day he was caught. I was over playing at a friend's house whose father was a police sergeant. There was a frantic knocking at the front door and like thirty seconds later my friends dad asked us to go play at my house for a while. One of Bob's would-be victims had escaped by shimmying out of a second floor window while Bob was at work. The man, basically naked, ran across the street and started pounding on doors and the first people that answered were next door to the house I was playing at. They immediately came next door, knowing a cop lived there."


Ian Brady and Myra Hindley

Serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley
Wikipedia | Wikipedia

"My Auntie was nearly a victim of the Moors Murderers. She was walking home from school one day, when a land rover pulled up next to her and rolled its window down. There was a lady driving, she told my Auntie to get in and she'd drive her home from school. My Auntie said she didn't get in cars with strangers. The woman said that she was a family friend and my Grandma had sent her to pick her up. My Auntie noticed that there was a motorbike parked just up the road and the rider was watching this go on. She had the good sense to run into a nearby shop and didn't come out til they left."


Railroad worker

Train tracks
Unsplash | Todd Trapani

"He was in our small town for 20 years, worked for the Railroad. Grew vegetables which he sold at the local farmers market. Frequented the local diner & liquor store. Known throughout the community as an odd guy, but no one expected what he had done. His step kids use to throw parties in high school. Just months ago DNA linked him to 3 murders, assaults & 2 attempted murders & assaults in the late 80's, & early 90s. Died of cancer ten years ago. Just a surreal crazy feeling for everyone to find out he did such horrible things. Was nice to neighbors & everyone in the community."


Ivan Milat

Serial killer Ivan Milat
Wikipedia | High Risk Management Unit, New South Wales, Australia

"My sister-in-law encountered Ivan Milat, one of the two men that inspired the Wolf Creek series. She was travelling the east coast of Australia for a few weeks with her brother. One night, her and her brother were having jerky and beer by a campfire when Milat sat down at their campfire. When she first saw him, she thought he was park ranger because of his style of dress. She thought he was going to tell them that they built their campfire in a prohibited area, but instead he commented on what a beautiful evening it was and pointed out some of the notable stars in the sky."


Axe murderer

An axe
Unsplash | Tyler Lastovich

"Not exactly the same thing but I knew someone who killed multiple people with an axe. He was my 'aunt's' boyfriend/husband and father of her youngest child. He was very sweet when we first met and he used to babysit me all the time. I remember him giving me a lot of hugs and he loved his step daughter, but things went very sour after a few years. He became very abusive to my “aunt” and everyone close to her, he eventually became a huge drug addict and that’s when he started killing people."


Unknown killer

Silhouette of a man
Unsplash | Elti Meshau

"I've interacted with one who was actively killing but had not been found out yet. He was a good family friend and I had known him since I was 10 years old. However my family drifted apart from him because we moved states when I was 19.

It turns out he had killed his wife, brother-in-law, mother, and sister I believe over a 15 year period.

My dad called me to tell me and I was pretty shocked. I only knew him and his wife, and the story I had in my head was they got divorced and she moved away, but sadly that was not the case when police found her and others buried on his property. He was like an uncle to me."


John Wayne Gacy

Serial killer John Wayne Gacy
Wikipedia | Police Department photographic records

"The story as my dad tells it. One day he was trying to get a ride home and resorted to hitchhiking, which he did pretty regularly in those days. He got picked up by a guy in a station wagon and immediately knew the vibes were off. He said there was an assortment of weird Knick knacks on the dashboard, which was the first warning sign. Then the driver started asking strange questions about sex and just generally weird questions (can’t recall any questions exactly). The guy asked him his name and my dad didn’t want to give his name, so he gave his brothers name. About 10 minutes into the car ride my dad knew he needed out so when they were at a stop light he booked it."


The Grim Sleeper

Serial killer Lonnie David Franklin
Wikipedia | Los Angeles Police Department

"I lived down the street from the 'Grim Sleeper' when I was a child to my early teens. (after his active years) Whenever I walked my dogs I used to walk past his house and talk to him whenever he was outside.

I never received serial killer vibes from the guy who murdered 25+ people, he was really nice and always spoke when he saw me."


Adam Strong

A gas station at night
Unsplash | Aron Yigin

"He used to work at the gas station right around the corner from my in laws’ house. I saw him there once. I was sitting in the car while my (then boyfriend) husband went inside to pay for gas, and Strong came over and stood right by my window, he was just hanging around the gas pumps. I just felt an overwhelming feeling of fear and disgust, I thought he was the grossest thing I’d ever seen, he didn’t even seem human."