The Most Famous Serial Killer in Wisconsin: Ranking the Chilling Legacy

Choose the serial killer you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 22, 2024 08:20
Unveil the dark mysteries of America's Dairyland as you dive deep into the chilling tales of Wisconsin's most notorious serial killers! Here at StrawPoll, we've curated an eerie ranking of the most infamous killers that have haunted the state, and now it's time for you to cast your vote! Will the sinister Ed Gein's gruesome crimes top the list, or does the chilling legacy of Jeffrey Dahmer take the crown? With each click, you'll be immersed in the spine-tingling stories that have gripped the world, while also having the power to shape the rankings. And if you think we've missed someone who deserves to be on this sinister list, feel free to suggest and add your own spine-chilling option. So, step into the shadows and let your voice be heard as we unveil Wisconsin's most famous serial killers – if you dare!

Who Is the Most Famous Serial Killer in Wisconsin?

  1. 1

    Ed Gein

    Edward Theodore Gein
    Ed Gein is considered one of the most notorious serial killers in American history, Gein was a grave robber and murderer who inspired the character of Norman Bates in the film Psycho.
    Ed Gein was an infamous American serial killer who gained notoriety for his gruesome crimes and twisted behavior. He was born on August 27, 1906, in Plainfield, Wisconsin, and became one of America's most disturbing murderers. Gein's crimes inspired numerous books, movies, and characters in pop culture, making him a macabre legend in the true crime genre.
    • Birthdate: August 27, 1906
    • Birthplace: Plainfield, Wisconsin, United States
    • Occupation: Handyman, farmer
    • Murder Count: 2 confirmed, suspected in more cases
    • Modus Operandi: Grave robbing, murder, and mutilation
    Ed Gein in other rankings
  2. 2
    Jeffrey Dahmer
    Revere Senior High School · Public domain

    Jeffrey Dahmer

    Jeffrey Dahmer
    Jeffrey Dahmer - known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, Dahmer murdered 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991.
    Jeffrey Dahmer, also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal or the Milwaukee Monster, was an American serial killer and sex offender. He primarily targeted young men and boys, whom he would lure to his apartment with the promise of money or alcohol before sexually assaulting, killing, and dismembering them. Dahmer operated between 1978 and 1991, during which he committed 17 known murders. His infamous crimes included acts of necrophilia, cannibalism, and preservation of body parts as trophies.
    • Nationality: American
    • Alias: Milwaukee Cannibal, Milwaukee Monster
    • Operating Period: 1978-1991
    • Number of Known Victims: 17
    • Preferred Targets: Young men and boys
    Jeffrey Dahmer in other rankings
  3. 3
    Walter Ellis - also known as the Milwaukee North Side Strangler, Ellis was convicted of murdering seven women between 1986 and 2007.
    Walter Ellis in other rankings
  4. 4
    Joseph Metheny is a Maryland-based serial killer who claimed to have killed two women in Milwaukee in the early 1990s.
  5. 5
    Edward Wayne Edwards
    FBI · Public domain
    Edward Wayne Edwards is a serial killer and con artist who was convicted of five murders, including a couple in Wisconsin in 1980.
  6. 6
    David Spanbauer is a Wisconsin-based serial killer who killed five women between 1984 and 1987.
  7. 7
    Tommy Lynn Sells
    Texas Department of Criminal Justice · Public domain
    Tommy Lynn Sells is a Texas-based serial killer who claimed to have killed a man in Wisconsin in 1997.
  8. 8
    John Edward Robinson is a Kansas-based serial killer who was convicted of murdering five women, including one in Wisconsin in 1999.
  9. 9
    Herb Baumeister - an Indiana-based serial killer who is believed to have killed at least 11 men in the 1980s and 1990s, including one in Wisconsin.
    Herb Baumeister in other rankings
  10. 10
    Gary Ridgway
    King County Sheriff's Office. · Public domain

    Gary Ridgway

    Gary Ridgway (active)
    Gary Ridgway is also known as the Green River Killer, Ridgway was convicted of murdering 49 women in Washington state, but he also confessed to killing a woman in Wisconsin in 1990.
    Gary Ridgway, also known as the Green River Killer, is one of the most intriguing and notorious serial killers in American history. Active during the 1980s and 1990s, Ridgway would later be convicted of murdering at least 49 women, primarily sex workers and vulnerable young girls in the Seattle area. He is known for his ability to blend into society, leading a seemingly normal life while carrying out his heinous crimes.
    • Number of Victims: Confirmed 49, potentially more
    • Active Period: 1982-1998
    • Targeted Victims: Primarily sex workers and young girls
    • Modus Operandi: Strangulation, often leaving victims in wooded areas or the Green River
    • Capture Date: November 30, 2001
    Gary Ridgway in other rankings

Missing your favorite serial killer?


Ranking factors for famous serial killer

  1. Number of Victims
    The total number of confirmed victims attributed to the serial killer is an important criterion for ranking their notoriety.
  2. Infamy
    The level of media coverage and public attention the serial killer received during their crimes and subsequent investigations can determine their fame.
  3. Duration
    The length of time the serial killer was active can contribute to their notoriety, as longer periods tend to attract more public interest and media coverage.
  4. Methodology
    The specific methods used by the serial killer in carrying out their crimes, especially if they were particularly gruesome or unique, could impact their level of fame.
  5. Cultural Impact
    The broader impact the crimes had on society, such as influencing popular culture, inspiring books or movies, or causing significant fear or panic, can also contribute to a serial killer's fame.
  6. Historical Significance
    If the serial killer's case stands out as a turning point or has a historical significance in terms of investigations, law enforcement procedures, or public perception, it may contribute to their fame.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous serial killer in Wisconsin. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or serial killer is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 163 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each serial killer once every 24 hours. The rank of each serial killer is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous serial killer in wisconsin

In recent years, Wisconsin has gained notoriety for being the home of several infamous serial killers. One of the most well-known is Jeffrey Dahmer, who murdered 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. Another notorious killer from Wisconsin is Ed Gein, who inspired the characters of Norman Bates in "Psycho" and Leatherface in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" with his gruesome crimes. Other lesser-known but equally brutal serial killers from Wisconsin include Walter Ellis, who murdered at least seven women between 1986 and 2007, and David Spanbauer, who killed three people in the late 1970s. Despite the horrific nature of their crimes, these killers have become the subject of fascination for many true crime enthusiasts.

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