😈 New Jersey has been home to a long list of serial killers

😱 Their real-life stories are more terrifying than Hollywood monsters

☠ Read on...if you dare

This is the month for scaring as we approach All Hallows’ Eve on Oct. 31.

Many will binge their favorite classic horror movies, dress up as ghosts, goblins and other creatures for a good scare, tour haunted houses and corn mazes or tell ghost stories around a roaring fire.

However, the real stuff of nightmares can be found in the darkest recesses of New Jersey’s murderous history.

The Garden State has had more than its’ share of actual monsters in the form of notorious serial killers.

These demons terrorized parts of New Jersey for decades

😨 One killed to save their victims’ souls.

😨 One killed just for the thrill of it.

😨 An Angel of Death may have killed hundreds while wearing a nurse's uniform.

One of the most terrifying serial killers in the nation may have gotten his taste of blood at the Jersey shore.

Some of these beasts are still alive, others are long dead.

Keep scrolling to learn more about these real-life terrors of the Garden State.

Cue the music, please...

The Yacht Rock Killer — Khalil Wheeler Weaver

Khalil Wheeler-Weaver

Dubbed the Yacht Rock Killer after one of his on-line dating names (LilYachtRock), Khalil Wheeler-Weaver lured women through a dating app.

He mostly strangled his victims, but set 19 year old Robin Daphne Michele West on fire after he killed her.

One of his victims survived after waking up during the attack.

He is currently serving a 160 year prison sentence.

Townsquare Media illustration
Townsquare Media illustration

Last call — For Murder

The Last Call Killer — Richard Rogers

Richard Rogers

Unassuming and affable, Richard Rogers was the kind of neighbor everyone would want to have.
A nurse, Rogers lived on Staten Island. But he had a dark side.
Dismembered bodies started showing up along highways in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Most were gay men who had the unfortune of meeting Rogers at clubs and bars, and agreeing to go home with him.
Dubbed the “Last Call Killer,” Rogers cut up his victims and stuffed the body parts in trash bags. One victim had his penis severed and placed in his mouth.
Rogers was arrested, tried, and convicted of multiple murders in 2005.
He is serving multiple life sentences at Trenton State Prison.

Townsquare Media illustration
Townsquare Media illustration

Does this guy remind you of Dexter?

The Iceman Killer — Richard Kuklinski

Richard Kuklinski

Outwardly, Kuklinski was a loving family man who lived with his wife and 5 children in a modest home in Dumont.
Prosecutors say he was a hired killer, responsible for the murder of at least five men.
He claimed to have killed more than 100 people.
He was dubbed the “Iceman” because he froze one of his victims in a freezer, then dumped the body 15 months later still frozen solid.
After spending more than 18 years in prison, Kuklinski died at the age of 70 in 2006.

Townsquare Media illustration
Townsquare Media illustration

No head.  No hands.  No problems.

The Torso Killer — Richard Cottingham

Richard Cottingham

Cottingham killed his first victim at the age of 21 in 1967 while working as a computer programmer.
She was a 29-year-old mother of two.
Her naked body was found in the passenger seat of her car three days after disappearing in Ridgefield Park.
Over the next 13 years, Cottingham would kill more than a dozen young women and girls.
He earned his nickname “The Torso Killer” after he chopped off the heads and hands of two women he had murdered at a motel near Times Square.The body parts were never found.
Now 75, Cottingham is currently serving a life sentence on conviction of five murders.

Townsquare Media illustration
Townsquare Media illustration

This guy doesn't need a nickname.  He is terrifying enough.

Robert Zarinski

Robert Zarinski

For 16 years, Robert Zarinski stalked young women and girls in New Jersey.
After selecting his target, he would abduct his victims and subject them to brutal rape.
He would then beat or strangle his victims to death. His victims ranged in age from 13 to 19.
When police began finding the victims in fields and other rural areas of New Jersey, they eventually zeroed in on Zarinsky.
When he was arrested in 1974, he boasted of killing more than 10 women and girls, hoping he could use that information to reduce his sentence. He never got the chance.
Zarinski died in South Woods State Prison in 2008 of pulmonary fibrosis.

Townsquare Media illustration
Townsquare Media illustration

The real life boogeyman.

The Boogeyman of Westfield — John List

John List

Dubbed the ‘Boogeyman of Westfield,” The reclusive John list did all his killing in one day.
After meticulous planning, on Nov. 9, 1971, List executed his mother, wife and two daughters. He then went to watch his 15-year-old son play soccer at Westfield high school like nothing had happened.
After the game, he drove his son home, then shot him inside the house.
He left a letter for his pastor saying he killed them to save their souls.
List died in 2008 from pneumonia while serving a life sentence.

Townsquare Media illustration
Townsquare Media illustration

For the thrill of the kill.

The Thrill Killer — Richard Bigenwald

Richard Bigenwald

Showing violent tendencies since he was a child, Biegenwald was dubbed the ‘Thrill Killer,’ because he did it for the thrill.
Preying on victims in Monmouth County for decades, among his victims was 18-year-old Anna Olesiewicz.
He spotted her on the Asbury Park Boardwalk in 1983 and lured her into his vehicle.
He died in 2008 while serving a life sentence at Trenton State Prison.

Townsquare Media illustration
Townsquare Media illustration

One of the most prolific killers in history is from New Jersey

The Angel of Death — Charles Cullen

Charles Cullen

Alcoholic and suicidal, it is believed nurse Charles Cullen killed to try and slay his own demons, although he claimed it was to end or prevent their suffering.
Between 1988 and 2003 Cullen may have killed as many as 400 patients in at least eight New Jersey and Pennsylvania hospitals and nursing facilities.
In 2003 officials at Somerset Medical Center noticed irregularities with Cullen’s patients. After the hospital alerted the State Police, Cullen was arrested. A plea deal spared him the death penalty, but revealed the depth of his crimes.
Cullen is currently serving 18 consecutive life sentences at Trenton State Prison. He is 62.

Angel of Death

An infamous serial killer may have gotten his taste for blood at the Jersey Shore.

Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy is not a New Jersey serial killer, per se, but there is strong evidence his first kills were in Ocean City in 1969.

Bundy was in the Philadelphia area when two 19-year-old college students went missing over Memorial Day Weekend in Ocean City.
Their stabbed and beaten bodies were found a few days later.

The following year, Bundy began a rampage of rape and murder across America.
Bundy was executed at the Florida State Prison in 1989 after confessing to murdered 30 women, but he never confirmed whether the two young women from New Jersey were among his victims.

Townsquare Media illustration
Townsquare Media illustration

Spirit Halloween is back! Here's every NJ location for 2023

Most locations are open by the end of September but check ahead before heading out. Click/tap on the links for each location for more info.

Gallery Credit: Mike Brant

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Gallery Credit: Jeff Deminski

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