The Most Prolific Serial Killer in American History – THE ANGEL OF DEATH

The Most Prolific Serial Killer in American History – THE ANGEL OF DEATH

The focus of today’s show takes his place
in the serial killer hall of infamy mostly for one reason: His death count. This man
murdered many, make no mistake about it, though if we counted nasty dictators such as Adolf
Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot or the champion of body counts, Mao Zedong, his number doesn’t
look too high. But they didn’t cause the deaths of millions with their own hands. Then
you’ve got professional executioners such as the Russian-born Vasily Mikhailovich Blokhin,
who executed tens of thousands in the early 20th century, and that was with his own hands.
Still, we don’t often class executioners as serial killers. Today we’ll focus on
one of the most prolific killers in the hands-on department and certainly the busiest serial
killer of all time in the USA, in this episode of the Infographics Show, Charles Edmund Cullen:
The Angel of Death. Before we get into the who, what, where, when,
and how of this serial killer, let’s have a quick look at the people that own the spots
on the world’s most prolific serial killer in history list. We should add the disclaimer
that the exact number of deaths is not always certain.
Often put in the top five is a former British doctor named Harold Shipman, aka, Doctor Death.
It’s thought that between 1975 and 1998 he killed somewhere between 200 and 250 people
with injections of diamorphine (which is the same as heroin). Then you’ve got a triumvirate of Colombians.
There’s Daniel Camargo, who in the 70s and 80s raped and killed around 180 women and
children. He took the mantle from Pedro López, aka, “The Monster of the Andes”, who in
the 60s and 70s is said to have murdered more than 350 young girls. It’s thought he’s
wandering around Colombia or Peru today after being released from prison in 1998. Then you
have the child-killer, torturer and rapist, Luis Garavito (aka The Beast), who killed
just as many people in Colombia and nearby nations in the 90s. After these guys there
are many serial killers around the world with a 50-100 person body count. We will also give a special mention to Elizabeth
Bathory, a Hungarian woman who it’s said killed around 650 people in the 16th century.
According to reports she brutally tortured and killed mainly children in her Transylvanian
castle and sometimes bathed in their blood, hence her nickname the Blood Countess. This
is no myth, although the story could have been slightly exaggerated over time. Over
300 people testified about her wicked deeds and a large number of skeletons and body parts
were found around her castle during the investigation. So, what about our man Mr. Cullen? Well, while
there might be only around 30 confirmed murders, many people familiar with the case say that
Cullen possibly killed over 400 people, which would put him ahead of the others we just
mentioned. You could say, though, that he wasn’t as brutal as someone who swiped soon-to-be-tortured-and-killed
kids from the street, but we’ll leave that for you to decide. We say this, because like
Doctor Death, he killed his victims by administering already sick hospitalized patients with an
overdose of drugs. He could do this because he worked as a nurse. Now let’s have a look
at what may have caused this killer to act so violently. He was born on February 22, 1960 and was the
youngest of 8 children. He grew up in West Orange, New Jersey, where he has said he had
a terrible childhood filled with unhappiness. He has stated that even as a 9 year old kid,
he tried to kill himself by making a dangerous drink from chemicals in his chemistry set.
In a statement after his arrest, he talked about this suicide attempt. “You know, maybe
if I was nine years old and would have had to die that day, all these lives, including
my family, wouldn’t be affected in this way.” Why did he do this? Well, some sources tell
us Cullen was raped as a young kid by his father, but that seems unlikely as his dad
died when he was just 7 months old. This is probably not reliable information. The more
reliable New York Times said in 2003 that details of Cullen’s background are sketchy,
but it’s certain that he did try and commit suicide at various points in his life. There
were up to 20 attempts some media tell us, due to his depression and lack of self-worth.
In interviews after his arrest, neighbors said he was socially awkward and strange.
Bios tell us he had few friends, and being skinny and awkward, he was bullied. He spent
a lot of time alone, but had a good enough brain to understand the books of Fyodor Dostoevsky,
which he was reportedly fascinated by. We might remember that the protagonist in the
novel “Crime and Punishment” kills, and at times tries to justify it. Other blogs
– not as reliable as big news media – told us two of Cullen’s siblings died during
childhood. All in all, you have a poor family and a lot of tragedy. We know that the family lived in poverty with
just their mom, who relied on welfare payments. Like many serial killers, Cullen’s family
was hyper-religious. They were Catholic, so perhaps Cullen was full of what’s sometimes
called Catholic guilt. We know from his sister that the mother died in a car accident while
Cullen was in high school, and this is said to be a reason why he didn’t complete school.
We also know that he joined the U.S. Navy and served between 1978 and 1984, where he
worked on the ballistic missile submarine called the USS Woodrow Wilson. This is where
we have the first signs of him being not a regular guy. Like in school, he was considered
a misfit by the other officers. “Cullen was the target of relentless bullying during
his time on the nuclear submarine and did not last long on his first assignment,”
said one news report. Not only was he deemed strange, but he was found one time to have
stolen a hospital gown, gloves and mask from the medical area, and then was seen wearing
them while sitting at the missile control panel on the submarine. He was reassigned,
but during the next few years in the navy, he would try and commit suicide on more than
one occasion. This led to him being discharged. The young man straight out of the navy went
to study nursing at the Mountainside School of Nursing in New Jersey. He landed his first
nursing job at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey, in 1987. He also
got married that year with a woman he would have two daughters with. Was life getting
better for Cullen? It seems not, as he never lasted that long at any one hospital. Over
his 16-year career, he worked in 10 hospitals. His marriage lasted not much longer than one
year, and he lived in a small apartment by himself. He was also cruel to his pet dog,
leaving it tied up outside all day, even in the winter. The dog was rescued eventually
by an animal protection agency. He never had much money, either, and the police were once
called after it was discovered Cullen had been burning things inside his house to heat
the place up. No wife, no money, no happiness, Cullen, it seems, then began taking his sadness
out on others. We should also add that he was arrested at one point for stalking a female
colleague at the hospital. On one occasion he broke into her house while she was sleeping.
After this arrest he tried to commit suicide yet again and had to take two months off work. It’s said at the many hospitals where he worked
he would try and choose the graveyard shifts in the intensive care units. Here he was left
alone and many of the patients in his care were in a very bad way; not only would it
be plausible if they died but they couldn’t communicate with him or call for help. He
often had the run of the ward and he also had a number of prescription drugs that he
could administer to his victims. Patients were dying, and it was unusual, but the hospitals
couldn’t figure out what was going on. It seems Cullen was under suspicion though, but
it seems more for being careless than actually intentionally killing people. He lost jobs
for giving patients drugs at the wrong times and another time for stealing drugs. But no
one ever put two and two together and linked him to the mysteriously dying patients. Even
though he lost a lot of jobs it’s thought he was not banned from the profession of nursing
partly because at the time there was a huge shortage of nurses. There would be more suicide attempts and even
some love interest in his life, but he kept on killing. While he worked at Somerset Medical
Center in New Jersey in 2003, he killed at least eight people, until it was found that
this strange nurse had been accessing patient data of people he wasn’t assigned to. He
was also taking drugs from the pharmacy that his patients hadn’t been prescribed, and
visiting rooms that contained patients not assigned to him. Before he was arrested and
just before his final victim that he overdosed on insulin, Cullen killed at least 5 more
patients. Authorities finally did add two and two together and Cullen was put under
surveillance. He was arrested on December 12, 2003 and charged
with murder. He soon told the cops he’d been killing for years at several hospitals,
but it’s thought he never gave the correct number regarding his victims. He told police
he had killed them so they wouldn’t suffer any more. While many of the patients he killed
were in great pain and were terminal cases, many others were on the mend. He also told
police that during the murders he was in a kind of blackout and so he couldn’t recall
all the people he had murdered. In 2006, he got 127 years in prison, which
was eighteen consecutive life sentences. He is currently serving that at New Jersey State
Prison. So, what do you think about this? Should the
authorities have caught this guy earlier? Do you think most serial killers exhibit signs
of their murderousness? Perhaps you know someone who is a budding serial killer in making?
Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video called Worst
Punishments In The History of Mankind! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t forget
to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!


  1. If someone was to say that he showed signs every bullied poor child in the country would be on a watch list today. Lol.

  2. Isn't Josef Mengele also known as "The angel of death"? Its a bit confusing how you also call this person "The angel of death".

  3. I just came from watching a NCT video so when I saw 127 years I thought of NCT 127. But besides that it was a very entertaining video to watch!

  4. me:trying to stop watching serial killer videos
    infographicsshow:keep mentioning other ones at the beginning of the video

  5. Is it wrong that I get excited to learn about these particular stories? I mean the acts r absolutely horrid and despicable; but the back story and the way it was handled is really fascinating

  6. 2:10…now the name of the town in one of my favourite vampire book series of all time makes TOTAL SENSE! (Hint: the series ISN’T Twilight 🤢 🤮)

  7. Wow, lots of people commenting that know nothing about suicide or what it feels like to be suicidal. Empathy, people!

  8. 20 attempts at suicide = attention seeker. if someone really wanted to commit suicide, it wouldnt take that many "attempts."

  9. He killed many, but is nowhere in the name of the Angel of death as the Angel of death is an Angel not a human

  10. me: oooo serial killer video i have not seen
    me: he is also one of the most prolific killers ever cool
    infographics: he was often cruel to his pet dog

  11. Let’s stop talking about these guys as if there in competition with each other on who’s taken more lives. If you keep discussing it like a scorecard in game someone is going to try to beat these numbers in today’s time and gain infamy off the expense of innocent people .

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