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Serial killer star signs: Which zodiac symbol has the most killers?

Zodiac signs inside of horoscope circle - astrology and horoscopes concept
Zodiac signs inside of horoscope circle | Shutterstock

Serial killers are typically mundane, pathetic and even pitiable figures, a far cry from the darkly charismatic villains depicted in films and TV shows. Even so, the almost unbelievably gruesome nature of their crimes has made them the real-world equivalent of fairy tale monsters. Fearfully speculated over and mythologised, they’re the Minotaurs and Medusas of contemporary culture.

So it’s no surprise that every last detail of their lives has taken on a mystical, superstitious significance for many true crime followers. For example, there’s a weirdly persistent myth that a disproportionate number of serial killers are born in November (sorry to burst this particular bubble, but they’re really not).

There have also been attempts to fathom these modern monsters by looking to the heavens, and seeing if the stars and planets can partly hold the answers. Whatever you might think of astrology, it’s quite interesting seeing what connections can be made.

According to a 2008 study by statistician Dr Jan Ruis, there’s a significant correlation between serial killers and mutable star signs. For the benefit of the uninitiated, the mutable signs are those that coincide with the end of the seasons: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. In the words of the study, 'it is found that serial killers are frequently born when celestial factors are in mutable signs', and that based on the datasets analysed, 'some of the claims of astrologers cannot be rejected'.

Even if you think it’s all gobbledygook, it’s fair to say many of the world’s most notorious serial killers do indeed have these particular star signs. Let’s start with Pisces, which ranges from 19 February to 20 March. This sign has the dubious honour of having John Wayne Gacy, Aileen Wuornos, Dennis Radar (aka, the BTK Killer) and Richard Ramirez (aka the 'Night Stalker') among its chief representatives in the world of brutal murderers.

This seems a bit counterintuitive when you consider that Pisceans are generally supposed to be empathetic, dreamy and deeply sensitive types. Then again, serial killers are known for being obsessive fantasists and chronic daydreamers, so perhaps there’s something to this. Richard Ramirez, for example, had an obsession with the Devil, making some victims 'swear upon Satan' and displaying a pentagram drawn on his hand during a court appearance.

As a boy, he’d also come under the influence of his cousin Miguel, who showed him photos of sexual and homicidal atrocities he committed while fighting in Vietnam. As a sensitive, empathetic Piscean, Ramirez may have been prone to soaking up this macabre influence. Dennis Radar, meanwhile, had a very active fantasy life, even enacting one-man roleplay situations where he’d wear a female mask to pretend to be his own victim.

The next mutable sign, Gemini, encompasses the period from 21 May to 20 June. Its awful alumni include the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, the American cannibal killer Jeffrey Dahmer, and David Berkowitz, the 'Son of Sam'. Geminis are known for being playful, quick-witted, fun to be around and lapping up attention. Take Dahmer, who was a flamboyant goofball at school, pretending to have seizures and pulling other pranks that became known as 'doing a Dahmer'. His friends even called themselves the Dahmer Fan Club.

As Gemini is symbolised by twins, there’s clearly an association with contradictory, dual personalities. Peter Sutcliffe is the quintessential example of the unlikely serial killer – a completely unremarkable married bloke who worked as a lorry driver while slaughtering women and casually spreading fear and panic across the north of England.

Virgo people are born between 23 August and 22 September, and are known as highly meticulous, practical, detail-focused, perfectionist types. It doesn’t take a forensic psychologist to deduce why such traits can come in handy when you’re planning on a string of killings.

One of the most infamous serial killer campaigns in US history was the Boston Strangler’s, which unfolded in the early 60s. The Strangler struck quickly and efficiently, gaining entry to people’s homes and seemingly vanishing into thin air. The man most widely suspected of being the Strangler was a Virgo, Albert DeSalvo (though it’s important to note that many believe others were involved).

Another Virgo killer was Ed Gein, the inspiration for Psycho and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, who fashioned spectacularly horrific ornaments, items of clothing and even furniture from pieces of human bodies. Which you could argue was Virgo meticulousness and industriousness taken to an outrageous extreme.

And then we come to Sagittarius, the star sign of those born between 22 November and 21 December. If you were wondering whether Ted Bundy was going to turn up among the mutable signs, here he is – alongside his peers in depravity Rose West and Dennis Nilsen.

Sagittarians are known for being energetic thrill-seekers and travellers who are impulsive, charismatic, with a penchant for edgy bluntness. Ted Bundy is in many respects a textbook example of a Sagittarian gone horribly wrong. His thrill-seeking lead him to kill opportunistically for sexual kicks time and time again right across the United States, while his wily, combative personality made him a gift for interviewers.

Rose West, meanwhile, is known for her acerbic and plain-speaking personality, and may be seen as an extreme embodiment of the sign’s tendency to self-centredness. Or, perhaps she’s just a murderous psychopath. Fortunately, deciding whether the destinies of serial killers are written in the stars isn’t a subject any jurors will have to tackle anytime soon.

The 12 signs of the zodiac

The twelve zodiac signs and some of the killers born under them.

Aries (March 21st – April 19th)

Keith Jesperson, the Happy Face Killer, was born on 6th April 1955. A truck driver, his first victim was Taunja Bennett, whom he killed in January 1990. After someone else confessed to the murder, Jesperson went on to kill at least eight other women, before he was arrested in 1995.

Donald Harvey, also known as the Angel of Death, was born on 5th April 1952. Harvey worked as a hospital orderly and murdered cardiac patients there. Between 1970 and his arrest in 1987, he killed somewhere between 37 and 57 people.

Taurus (April 20th – May 20th)

Steve Wright, who committed the Ipswich serial murders between 30th October and 10th December 2006, was born in Norfolk on 24th April 1958. His targets were the sex workers he had visited throughout his life. In total, he murdered five women. He was arrested and charged in December 2006.

Born on 4th May 1970, Canadian serial killer Karla Homolka participated in the rapes and murders of at least three girls with her husband, Paul Bernardo, between 1990 and 1992. This included her younger sister, Tammy. The couple drugged, raped, and murdered teenage girls, filming the assaults. Homolka later signed a plea deal that meant she was only convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 12 years.

Gemini (May 21st – June 20th)

The Hillside Strangler, Kenneth Alessio Bianchi, was born on 22nd May 1951 to a teenage mother, who put him up for adoption. Bianchi was diagnosed with a personality disorder at age 10. By the 1970s, he was working as a pimp with his cousin, Angelo Buono, in Los Angeles, but this graduated to homicide and the Hillside Strangler murders.

Cancer (June 21st – July 22nd)

Named Britain’s most dangerous killer, Robert Maudsley was born in Liverpool on 26th June 1953. He spent his early years in an orphanage, before returning to his abusive father. He worked as a sex worker as a teenager, in London, and was arrested in 1974 after he murdered John Farrell, who’d solicited him for sex. Maudsley was sent to Broadmoor. It was while imprisoned he committed his next three murders of fellow patients and inmates. He was deemed too dangerous for a normal cell and had a unit built for him, where he remains in solitary confinement.

Leo (July 23rd – August 22nd)

Moors Murderer Myra Hindley was born on 23rd July 1942. With her lover Ian Brady, Hindley murdered and sexually assaulted five children, between 1963 and 1965, Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey, and Edward Evans, burying their remains on Saddleworth Moor.

Virgo (August 23rd – September 22nd)

The exact number of people Henry Lee Lucas, born on 23rd August 1936, murdered is unknown. After he was arrested in 1983, he confessed to thousands of killings, many of which were carried out with his partner, Ottis Toole. He was ultimately convicted of 11, including that of his mother.

The other half of the Ken and Barbie killers, Paul Bernardo, Karla Homolka’s husband, was born on 27th August 1964.

Libra (September 23rd – October 22nd)

Infamous serial killer Fred West was born on 29th September 1941. He committed at least 12 murders between 1967 and 1987, including those of his children, burying them on his property. West claimed his crimes stemmed from childhood abuse, saying he was raped by his mother, his father raped his sisters and that he engaged in bestiality as a teen, but his youngest brother refuted this.

Angelo Buono, Kenneth Bianchi’s partner in crime was born on 5th October 1934.

Scorpio (October 23rd – November 21st)

The criminal who spent most of his life in and out of prison, before he masterminded a cult and the infamous ‘Family’ murders that followed, Charles Manson was born on 12th November 1934. Not technically a serial killer (he wasn’t at the Tate murders and didn’t participate in the violence of the LaBianca killings), he was still convicted for seven murders.

The infamous Golden State Killer, who committed a minimum of 13 murders, 51 rapes and 120 burglaries was identified as Joseph James DeAngelo, born on 8th November 1945. He was finally arrested for his crimes in 2018, decades after they abruptly ended, in 1986.

Sagittarius (November 22nd – December 21st)

Nicknamed the Co-ed Killer, necrophiliac and serial murderer Edmund Kemper was born on 18th December 1948. Like many serial killers, he was abusing animals from childhood, including a pet cat he decapitated—foreshadowing his later crimes. His first murders, carried out at the age of 15, were of his grandparents, whom he shot. He went on to murder eight people, most of whom were female university students, as well as his mother.

Capricorn (December 22nd – January 19th)

Dr Death, the nickname given to Harold Shipman, was born on 14th January 1946. One of the UK’s most prolific serial killers, over his decades-long career as a GP, he is estimated to have murdered 250 people, most of whom were elderly patients of his, through lethal injections. It is thought both his motives and methods could be linked to the death of his mother, who died of lung cancer. Police investigated Shipman in 1998, but they didn’t find enough evidence, allowing him to murder three more victims.

The other infamous Moors murderer, Ian Brady, was born on 2nd January 1938.

Aquarius (January 20th – February 18th)

Born on 18th February 1949, Gary Ridgway came to be known as the Green River Killer, for the 48 separate murders he carried out between the 1980s and 1990s. His first five victims were found dumped in the Green River in Washington, earning him his nickname. Ridgway targeted sex workers, strangling them, often after returning to their bodies for intercourse.

Pisces (February 19th – March 20th)

Ottis Toole, who committed murders with his partner Henry Lee Lucas, was born on 5th March 1947. Despite confessing to numerous crimes, he later recanted and it’s hard to know how many murders he was involved in.