Jack the Ripper was anl unidentified serial killer who predominantly targeted female prostitutes living and working in the ghetto of the East End of London. Since the murders were never solved, Jack the Ripper became infamous folklore in England. The murders were so cleverly done that the authorities were not even able to ascertain the killer's gender.
Billy the Kid was a gunfighter of the American Old West whose notoriety grew when he escaped from jail after killing two sheriff's deputies. He remains one of the most notorious personalities of the American Old West, whose life has been often dramatized in popular culture. His story has inspired over 50 films, including Billy the Kid, and The Outlaw.
Albert Fish was an American cannibal, child rapist, and serial killer. Fish confessed to three murders out of the five murders for which he was suspected. However, he claimed to have victimized about 100 people and boasted of having children in every state. His crimes and the subsequent execution by electric chair were dramatized in the film The Gray Man.
The Robin Hood of Australia for many and villain for others, Ned Kelly become immortal not just for his murderous confrontation with the police, but also for his reported last words “such is life”. The bushranger and outlaw remains a cult figure in Australia even a century after his execution. His sympathizers considered his as a champion of the poor.
Train and bank robber Butch Cassidy was the leader of a gang of criminal outlaws known as the "Wild Bunch" in the Old West. The son of ranchers, he ran away from home as a teenager and became involved in a life of crime. He started with minor criminal offenses and eventually became a much-feared robber.
Born to working-class parents, Marguerite Alibert initially sang at local bars and worked as a prostitute. She later became Prince Edward’s (later King Edward VIII of the UK) courtesan. She shot her second husband, Ali Fahmy, to death at Savoy Hotel but got away by showcasing herself as a victim of brutality.
Arnold Rothstein, or the Brain, was a racketeer, gambler, and businessman who later became a leader of New York’s Jewish crime circuit. He had reportedly fixed the 1919 World Series. He inspired several fictional characters, including Meyer Wolfsheim in The Great Gatsby. He was murdered for declining a poker-related payment.
Mary Ann Cotton was an English serial killer who was convicted for the murder of her stepson. Cotton is believed to have killed 11 of her children and three of her husbands for their insurance policies. Mary Ann Cotton was sentenced to death and was executed by hanging.
Amelia Dyer was an English serial killer who killed infants over a 30-year period. She exercised the practice of baby farming and murdered children after taking them under her care. Amelia Dyer's killings inspired a murder ballad. Her case also led to stricter laws for child protection and adoption in the UK.
William M. Tweed was an American politician best known for serving as the boss of Tammany Hall, which had a major influence on the political scene of 19th-century New York State. He was later convicted for stealing millions of dollars from New York City taxpayers. His life and career inspired several films, such as Up in Central Park and Liberty.
Sundance Kid was the nickname of Harry Alonzo Longabaugh, an outlaw and member of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch in the American Old West. He first met Cassidy around 1896 and became part of his gang. As a Wild Bunch member, Sundance Kid participated in several train and bank robberies. He is believed to have been killed in 1908.
Frank James was an American Confederate soldier turned outlaw. He was a good student and once aspired to be a teacher. He served in the American Civil War and was later pushed into the world of crime. He became a part of the James-Younger Gang and participated in many robberies. He eventually quit crime to work other jobs.
French pirate Jean Lafitte, or The Terror of the Gulf, along with his brother Pierre, owned a blacksmith shop in New Orleans that served as a hub for smuggled goods. He helped the US army in defending New Orleans against the British forces during the War of 1812.
Zerelda Mimms was the wife of bank and train robber Jesse James. She was the daughter of a pastor. Her mother, Mary Elizabeth, and Jesse James' father, Robert S. James, were siblings, making Zerelda and Jesse first cousins. Zerelda married Jesse in 1874. The couple had four children, two of whom died in infancy.
Steelworker Leon Czołgosz was an anarchist who assassinated President William McKinley. He shot McKinley twice from point-blank range on September 6, 1901, and the president died of his wounds on September 14. Czołgosz was eventually convicted and executed for his crime. He was the main character in the musical Assassins.
Ching Shih went from being a prostitute who worked in a Canton brothel to a notorious pirate who controlled the Red Flag Fleet. Legend has it that pirate Zhèng Yi, or Cheng I, had married Ching Shih when he raided her brothel, and she had then taken over his fleet.
Black Bart was the nickname of Charles E. Boles, an outlaw who was one of the most notorious stagecoach robbers to operate in Northern California during the 1870s and early 1880s. He was considered a “gentleman bandit” with a love for sophistication. His final robbery took place in 1883, following which he was arrested. He was released in 1888.
Bill Doolin was an outlaw and bandit who founded the Wild Bunch, also known as the Doolin-Dalton Gang. This group of criminals committed a series of bank robberies and train robberies in Arkansas, Kansas, Indiana, and Oklahoma during the 1890s. His gang was extremely powerful. He was relentlessly pursued by lawmen and was shot to death in 1896.
Not many suspected physician John Bodkin Adams of being a serial killer till it was revealed that his name had appeared in the wills of at least 132 of his patients who had died, while 163 died in coma. Though never convicted of the killings, he faced punishment for forgery.
Sam Bass was a 19th-century train robber and outlaw. Having lost his parents as a child, he lived with an uncle for a few years before leaving home. He started doing odd jobs but was dissatisfied with the pay. So, he took to a life of crime and participated in numerous train robberies. He was killed by the lawmen.
Marie-Fortunée Lafarge, a beautiful and cultured French woman, gained notoriety for being tried and convicted of murdering her husband by arsenic-poisoning. Her trial generated much interest and curiosity and became a cause célèbre leading many to arrive from across Europe to witness it. The case had a great-impact on the French society with spectators divided into pro- and anti-Marie factions.