Although only one percent of the population are sociopaths, their crimes are so chilling that they often stand out from the crowd and the news. Unfortunately, sociopaths seek that attention and hug. but, even the most famous sociopaths have mental health issues that they don’t really understand.
what is a sociopath?
There is no official definition of a sociopath, as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not use this term. instead, doctors use the phrase: antisocial personality disorder.
A sociopath is someone who cannot understand other people’s feelings. they often make impulsive decisions that could harm others without feeling guilt or remorse. the most famous sociopaths are manipulative and controlling, but also charismatic and charming.
For a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, someone must be over the age of 18 and display patterns of behavior for at least three months that include three of the following traits:
- disrespect for social norms or laws
- compulsive lying for personal gain
- inability to make long-term plans
- aggressive behavior or aggravated
- inability to feel guilt or remorse for their actions
psychopaths versus sociopaths
Although both terms pertain to antisocial personality disorder, there are some critical differences between the two. a sociopath usually does not cause serious harm or distress, while a psychopath is usually more physically violent or prone to putting others in danger. however, this is not to say that sociopaths cannot harm or engage in aggressive behavior.
Some of the most famous sociopaths in history were young men and women with charming personalities. To this day, many of his crimes remain the subject of study by behavioral health experts.
1. ted bundy
Perhaps one of the most prolific and famous sociopaths and psychopaths in modern history. Ted Bundy was a charming young man who was famous for charming women. however, he killed at least 30 people in the united states. After studying his case, many psychologists agreed that Bundy had antisocial personality disorder, psychopathy, narcissistic personality disorder, bipolar personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and addictive disorder.
2. jack henry abbot
A noted novelist and author, Jack Abbott, had some trouble with law enforcement when he was young, but never anything outstanding. A bank robbery landed him in prison, where he contacted famed author Norman Mailer and convinced Mailer to write a book. Through this pen pal relationship, Mailer even helped get Abbott off parole, who then stabbed to death a waiter who wouldn’t let him use the employee bathroom. Abbott returned to prison, where he committed suicide in 2002.
3. Juan Gacy
on the surface, nothing about john gacy made him seem like a sociopath. he even received the man of the year award from des plaines, illinois. There are even photos of him with the first lady at the time, Rosalynn Carter.
He was charming and a prominent figure to many who knew him. he even entertained children as a clown at birthday parties. however, years later, investigations led to the discovery that he was also a serial killer, later becoming known as the Clown Killer.
4. joey buttafuoco
joey buttafuoco was a long island auto mechanic who entered into a relationship with a minor, amy fisher, who later shot buttafuoco’s wife in the face. Both Fisher and his ex-wife described Buttafuoco as a charming man who had the power to pull snakes out of a tree.
5. low diane
Although female sociopaths are rare, few characters stand out throughout the story. diane downs was behind men who didn’t want children. however, she was unable to find it. she found a man with whom she had a family and then murdered her children. psychiatrists diagnosed him with narcissistic, histrionic, and antisocial personality disorders.
6. hunt deidre
deidre hunt had a difficult childhood, with her mother confessing to being abused early on. Unlike other famous sociopaths, Hunt’s love partner masterminded the shooting murder of two young men. her mom says there’s no question deidre had multiple personality disorders. this change in personalities and sociopathic tendencies is probably what led her to commit these crimes.
7. billy mcfarland
It is important to know that not all sociopaths are murderers. Remember, one of the hallmarks of a sociopath is that he feels no remorse for his actions, even after harming others. Billy McFarland was the creator and organizer of the infamous Fyre Festival. the festival promised luxury accommodation and access to VIP parties and celebrities.
However, it was all a scam that barely kept the promises made to its members. even after being accused of wire fraud and making plans, he never showed remorse for the fraud, even when he admitted that they were not prepared to organize such a festival. he still refuses to admit that he lied to investors, festival goers and others involved.
8. elizabeth holmes
On the surface, Elizabeth Holmes was a pioneer in her industry and worked to change the world at the young age of 19. Theranos was a $10 billion company at one point; the company was about to revolutionize the healthcare industry by finding a technology that could detect a long list of diseases with a single drop of blood.
In his heyday, he even has former secretaries of state on his company’s board of directors. she and her partner were charged with multiple counts of wire fraud. even after being indicted by a federal jury, she continued to talk to investors about starting a new business and denied any accusations against her.
9. the zodiac killer
many sociopaths seek the attention and fear of the masses. the zodiac killer was the epitome of that definition. For decades, he sent encrypted messages to various media outlets mocking his horrific deeds. he was active in the ’60s and ’70s but remained silent after 1974.
Although psychologists never had a chance to examine him, as no one knew who he was, his crimes showed a lack of empathy, a hint of psychopathy, and his outreach to the media was considered sociopathic bias. Unlike killers like Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy, the Zodiac didn’t seem to be obsessed with killing. he was obsessed with fame.
10. aileen wuornos
You’ve probably seen documentaries about the life of Wuornos, also known as one of America’s most notorious female assassins. she had an exotic figure, an outgoing personality and a charismatic way of being that made her irresistible to many. however, many believe that she was not a sociopath as she would sometimes admit her guilt but then deny it. after her conviction for her murder, psychiatrists diagnosed her with borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder.