16 Astonishing Photos Of Evil People Taken When They Were Kids
Hindsight is 20/20. Looking backwards after someone's personality has developed, you can observe clear benchmarks that make their future seem obvious. But at the time, while the plot is still unveiling itself, there's no way to tell what the outcome of anyone's life story will be.
The children pictured here all grew up to be some of history's most evil individuals. Looking at their young faces, you'd never be able to guess their fates, or the fates of their victims.
16. A bored-looking kid
16. Alexander Pichushkin
Possible brain damage from a childhood swing accident, a life of bullying and persecution, and alcoholism may have all contributed to Pichushkin's murderous spiral. His spate of killings began in 1992 and did not stop until he was caught in 2006. In total, he murdered a minimum of 49 people, though the number was possibly as high as 60. He was sentenced to life in prison, with the first 15 years in solitary confinement.
15. A boy wearing an enigmatic expression
15. Joseph Stalin
Stalin was a Bolshevik revolutionary and theorist who became the leader of the Soviet Union after Lenin's death. Historians argue about just how many deaths his regime was responsible for, but estimates place the number somewhere between ten and twenty million, killed by assassination, Gulag, famine and forced resettlement.
14. A smiling cowboy
14. Ted Bundy
Bundy is the poster boy of serial killers. He confessed to thirty murders, but the number is likely higher. Little about his neutral manner suggested his true nature, as a killer, rapist and necrophiliac.
13. A boy and his dog
13. Jeffrey Dahmer
Dahmer is a serial killer who was judged to be legally sane during his trial. He was convicted of murdering seventeen men and boys. He was also a necrophiliac, a rapist, a cannibal and stored parts of his victims in his freezer. He was beaten to death in prison.
12. A serious child with large eyes
12. Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden was born into a wealthy and influential Saudi family, and was a major figure in the Mujahadeen's war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. He later founded al Qaeda and was responsible for orchestrating 9/11.
11. An unoffensive-looking teenager
11. Gary Ridgway
Gary Ridgway is the most prolific serial killer in American history. He murdered 49 women before being caught. He was also a necrophiliac. Ridgway was given life without parole.
10. A severe boy
10. Heinrich Himmler
Himmler was among the most powerful Nazi elites. A failed chicken farmer, he was one of Hitler's most trusted lackeys, charged with constructing and managing the concentration camps. He was also the head of the Gestapo and built the SS from a minor force into a great terror. He attempted to negotiate with the Allied powers at the end of the War, without Hilter's knowledge. When Hitler discovered his treachery, he ordered his arrest but the British captured him first. He killed himself soon afterwards.
9. A boy striking a strangely adult posture
9. Charles Manson
Charles Manson was the head of the "Manson Family," a cult that murdered seven people in the early 1970s. Manson was originally a singer-songwriter, and believed that the killings would help bring about a race war in America. His term for this war was "Helter Skelter," a misapplied Beatles lyric.
8. A furrow-browed kid
8. John Wayne Gacy
Gacy killed 33 young men, by luring or forcing them into his home and strangling them. His serial murders are made somehow even more terrifying by the fact that Gacy was a clown, "Pogo the Clown," on his free time. He was executed in 1994 after waiting on death row for 14 years.
7. A patriotic child
7. Emperor Sh?wa (Hirohito)
Hirohito ruled Japan from 1928 to 1989. During his reign in 1937, Japan occupied China's capital city, then called Nanjing (Anglicized into "Nanking") during the Second Sino-Japanese War. For six weeks, Japanese troops raped and murdered Chinese civilians. The incident came to be known as "The Nanking Massacre" and "The Rape of Nanking." Estimates place the death toll between 200,000 and 300,000. The massacre is still denied by many Japanese politicians, straining international relations.
6. A worried-looking boy
6. Saddam Hussein
Hussein was the president of Iraq between 1989 and 2003 when he was violently deposed by the United States and the "Coalition of the Willing." His regime is responsible for between one quarter and a full million of his own people, depending on who you ask.
5. A pensive baby
5. Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was the supreme architect of the Holocaust, responsible for the death, dismemberment and displacement of millions, and generally considered the most evil person in history. His legacy continues to influence the life of every individual on the planet.
4. A fashionable young man
4. Bashar al-Assad
Assad, the president of Syria, is considered a war criminal and mass murderer by most conscientious international observers. He was on his way to a career as a London ophthalmologist when his older brother died in a car wreck, leaving him as heir to the Assad political dynasty.
Assad's punitive response to Arab Spring protests in his country precipitated the outbreak of civil war that's still being fought. There is now photographic proof that Assad's regime operates dozens of extermination facilities in which dissidents are killed by the thousands.
3. A taciturn boy
3. Benito Mussolini
Mussolini, one of the original architects of Fascism, was responsible for heinous war crimes. Before WWII, during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, he ordered the bombing of Red Cross hospitals and used mustard gas against enemy troops. There were also a number of massacres and summary executions without trials. During WWII, he used similar measures to cow the population of occupied Yugoslavia.
2. A small child with a steady gaze
2. Kim Jong-Il
Kim Jong-Il refined the autocratic cult of personality that his father Kim Il-sung began. His poor handling of the economy led to mass starvation, and his regime was responsible for mass exterminations, rapes and other crimes against humanity. His son, Kim Jong-un, is no better.
1. An exasperated look from a flaxen-haired boy
1. Anders Behring Breivik
Breivik is a Norwegian terrorist who murdered 77 people, 69 of whom were children. He infiltrated an island summer camp for the Workers' Youth League, a group affiliated with the ruling Norwegian Labour Party. Breivik committed the mass killing to draw popular attention to a manifesto he wrote, a far-Right extremist screed against Muslims, Feminists and multiculturalism.