Because the world is celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8… Wahaha, joke lang! It was supposed to be Top 10. I wanted to include Imelda Marcos but…. Nah. Not that evil, I think. And then Queen Isabella of Castille. And then my sister crossed my mind but I got too lazy so I just settled for nine. And oh, originally written for crunkish.com, a superduper fun website I used to write for.
They say that behind every great man is a great woman. Following this principle, we can also assume that behind every evil man is an evil woman. Yes, there have been cruel women in history that we fail to notice because we sometimes focus on male atrocity. However, some women have shown great inhumanity and have caused tragedy by their own, without any help from any men.
Whether they were the Bonnie to their respective Clyde or the independent, loner type, here are nine of the most utterly despicable women in history who interpreted “girl power” the wrong way. But first, a disclaimer: your ex is not on this list.
9. The Bloody Mary: QUEEN MARY I (1516-1558)
The first woman to be crowned ruler of England, Queen Mary I reigned through a brief period. Her marriage to Prince Philip of Spain caused Parliamentary dissent and rebellion. She forced England back to Roman Catholicism in a vile manner. She ordered the so-called Marian Persecutions, the execution of countless religious dissenters especially Protestant leaders; thus the epithet “Bloody Mary.”
8. Good Queen Bess: QUEEN ELIZABETH I (1533-1603)
Her nickname “Good Queen Bess” proves to be improper because of her bad behavior. Forget about Cate Blanchett’s excellent portrayal. Queen Elizabeth was as cruel as any ruler could get.
If Queen Mary brought England back to Roman Catholicism, Elizabeth suppressed it in the cruelest way possible. She had thousands of Catholics in Ireland and England murdered. She may have done good things as regards to parliament, it doesn’t take away the fact that she was an evil tyrant. She even ordered piracy and raiding of Spanish ships. She was also heavily involved in slave trading movement as she sponsored slavers to capture Africans. She also gave Queen Mary of Scots refuge but she kept her prisoner for 19 years before finally killing her.
7. The Angel of Death: BEVERLY GAIL ALLIT (1968-)
If you think all nurses are so adorable and admirable, you should meet Beverly Gail Allit. Also called “the Angel of Death,” she was a British pediatric nurse who was convicted of the murder of four kids at the children’s ward of Grantham and Kesteven Hospital in Lincolnshire in 1991.
As a nurse, she used a medical tool in her murders — the syringe. Yes, she would inject the child with potassium or insulin, leading to cardiac arrest. If she was unable to get the injections, she would suffocate the child. In total, she had assaulted 13 children. Only four were killed. You may be thinking that it’s a very small number for a serial killer to actually make it to this list but she did all these in a span of only 58 days. This made her earn a slot on the list of the most notorious serial killers in Britain.
6. The Mad Mama: MARYBETH TINNING (1942-)
If you keep on ranting about how your mother keeps on making your life miserable, stop it. There are far worse moms in the world. Meet Marybeth Tinning, a mother of eight children. She would’ve been your average loving mother except she murdered ALL of her children one by one. She even adopted one whom she killed as well.
The murders took place between 1972 and 1985. At first, no one suspected her of killing her children. Genetics was blamed even though the adopted child also died. The court found her guilty and sentenced her to 20 years in prison.
5. The Poison Mistress: MARY ANNE COTTON (1832-1873)
If killing your own children isn’t crazy enough for you, you should know another evil mother, Mary Ann Cotton. This English mom was said to have murdered up to 20 people by arsenic poisoning.
At the age of 20, Cotton married William Mowbray, moved to Plymouth and had five children. Soon afterwards, four of their children died. They said it was because of gastric fever. The couple changed address but another 3 of their children died. Eventually, the husband met his demise, too.
Entered the second husband, George Ward. Well, he died of intestinal problems, too. It just went on and on.
After yet another child perished, the local newspapers became interested with the case and discovered something horrible. Many of the people close to Cotton had passed away — three husbands, her mother, a lover, a friend and a dozen children — all of whom died of stomach or intestinal problems. She killed them all.
On March 24, 1873, she was hanged at Durham County Gaol.
4. The Socialite from Hell: DELPHINE LALAURIE (1775-1842)
Some of the richest women in the world may actually be the most gruesome kind. Delphine LaLaurie was a socialite in New Orleans. She was pretty popular among the higher social classes until April 10, 1834 when a fire broke out in her mansion’s kitchen during a party.
Firefighters entered the house through the courtyard and found two slaves chained to the stove. The slaves started the fire to get attention. They led the firefighters to the attic and and found over a dozen maimed and disfigured slaves.
Many of them were subjects of vicious medical experiments. Some of the slaves they found include a woman with limbs removed and flesh sliced off to look like a caterpillar, another woman with her limbs broken and reset to resemble a crab, and a man who appeared to have undergone a forced sex change. Some of them were still alive when found. Before LaLaurie could be brought to justice, she fled and was never caught.
3. The Bitch of Belsen: IRMA GRESE (1923-1945)
Irma Grese worked at the Nazi concentration camps in Auschwitz, Ravensbruck and Bergen-Belsen. One of the most notorious women during the Nazi period, she was also called “the Bitch of Belsen” by her camp inmates for her perverse and cruel behavior.
On April 17, 1945, after the war, she was captured by the British. The accusations against her ranged from simple maltreatment to heinous murder of prisoners at the camps. Survivors claimed that she would set dog at inmates, sadistically beat them with a whip and arbitrarily shoot them. They also provided details of her tortures and testified to her act of selecting prisoners for the gas chambers.
2. The Bloody Lady of Cachtice: ELIZABETH BATHORY (1560-1614)
Remembered as the Bloody Lady of Cachtice, Elizabeth Bathory was the most notorious serial killer in Slovak and Hungarian History. She was a Hungarian countess who were accused of torturing and murdering dozens of young girls.
While the idea that she bathed in her victims’ blood is folklore, the accounts of mutilation and impalement are true. In 1610, King Matthias sent men to her castle to investigate after hearing rumors of cruelty. The men found several women locked up, some were wounded and one dead. Bathory’s initial victims were peasant girls who were attracted to her offers of well-paid job as maidservants in the castle.
Bathory beat her victims to death; mutilated or burned their hands, faces and genitalia; bit flesh out of their faces and other body parts; and starved them to death. The total number of her victims is unknown but has always been thought to be in the hundreds.
1. The Dragon Lady: JIANG QING (1914-1991)
Wife of Mao Tse-tung, Jiang Qing was able to reach the highest position within the communist party. It is believed that she was the driving force that propelled the Cultural Revolution of China, of which she was the Deputy Director. It was during this 10-year period that important artworks and literary pieces were destroyed, intellectuals were sent to prison, and many had their human rights violated. Many Eastern and Western sources estimate the death toll to be around 500,000 from 1966-1969 alone.
Evil knows no gender. Men and women can be used by the Devil to cause tragedy to the world. Whether she’s a mass murderer, a serial killer or a corrupt leader, evil lived or lives inside of them. Women are naturally nurturing and caring. Although these nine vicious ladies proved to be disgraceful, we should not forget that there have been countless admirable women in history who have made or tried to make this world a better place to live in.
images courtesy of englishhistory.net, palvoice.com, murderuk.com, hauntedneworleanstour.com, bloodbath.host.sk, holocaustresearchproject.org, ibiblio.org, ugo.com, magyar.film.hu