French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau once said that all men are born inherently good. Those who become corrupt do so due to malicious upbringings under influences of prejudice and authority. If this is true, one has to wonder what makes even the most innocent of babes turn out to be cruel, evil human beings. Looking at these childhood pictures, you would never have guessed that the following children would later inflict fear and horror in every heart and soul in the world.
As a child, he wanted to be a priest
In 1939, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize
He was a vegetarian and created laws against animal cruelty
His first love was a Jewish girl, but was too scared to talk to her
A fair, rosy-cheeked child, Adolf Hitler was what some may even call an adorable child. Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 in a small town in Austria-Hungary. As the fourth of six children, Hitler overtook the role of "big brother" as all three of his older siblings had died in infancy. In 1900, Hitler's younger brother Edmund passed away from measles, changing him from a confident, outgoing and conscientious child to a morose, detached and sullen boy. Eventually, he developed German nationalist and adopted antisemitic ideals.
After World War I, Hitler entered into politics. The Great Depression provided a political opportunity for Hitler and he began his rise to power. Fueled by antisemitism, Hitler began the mass genocide of Jewish people in 1941. Looking at this picture, no one could've predicted that this cute little baby would one day cause the massacre of 11 million people.
His father was actually his grandfather
During the early 1970s, he worked for a suicide hotline in Seattle
In 1970, he also saved a 3-year-old boy from drowning after the child fell into Seattle's Green Lake
He helped take down another man on this list
What looks like a typical yearbook picture is actually one of the last snapshots of innocence of Theordore "Ted" Bundy. Born November 24, 1946, Ted Bundy was the son of Eleanor Louise Cowell. Though his birth certificate assigns paternity to Air Force veteran Lloyd Marshall, his mother later claimed that he was the love child of a sailor named Jack Worthington. Family members later revealed during investigations that Bundy's father may have been his violent, abusive grandfather Samuel Cowell.
Bundy was regarded as handsome and charismatic growing up, and was even described the same way by his victims. There is no telling when or where Bundy began killing women as he told different stories to different people and refused to divulge the details of his earliest crimes. Bundy kidnapped and murdered over 35 women and decapitated at least 12 of his victims. He went as far as keeping their severed heads in his apartment for mementos. He became a self-described "most cold-hearted son of a bitch you'll ever meet."
He was a huge film buff and added a private movie theater to each of his houses
His favorite films were John Wayne westerns and he fancied himself a cowboy
At full-grown, he stood at only 5'4"
He was a major wino; his favorite wine was Khvanchkara, a Georgian wine with raspberry notes
Though his facial expression doesn't exactly read "innocence", it's still hard to believe that this is the image of a young Joseph Stalin. Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili (Joseph Stalin) was born December 18, 1878 to a cobbler and a housemaid in the Russian Empire (present-day Georgia). As a child, Stalin struggled with numerous health issues. In addition, Stalin's father was an alcoholic who was abusive to his family. Eventually, he was banished from their town for assaulting a police chief and abandoned his family.
After being expelled from school in 1899, Stalin discovered the writings of Vladimir Lenin and joined the Marxist group known as the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. Once Stalin rose to power, he entered into a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany. Before the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, an estimate of 3 to 60 million were killed under Stalin's regime.
At 17, he married his cousin; he would go on to marry five more times
He had a green thumb and even grew his own marijuana
He loved Whitney Houston and planned to spend vast amounts of money to meet her
At 6'4", he was a talented volleyball player
The picture on the right depicting a innocent, obedient looking child is actually an early picture of Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden. Osama bin Laden was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on March 10, 1957 to a billionaire construction magnate with close ties to the Saudi royal family.
In 1988, bin Laden formed al-Qaeda with mujaheddin forces by funding firearms and fighters from the Arab world into Afghanistan. In 1992, he was banished from Saudi Arabia; in 1996 he was forced to leave Sudan under pressure from the United States. After establishing a base in Afghanistan, he declared war against the U.S., initiating a series of bombings and related attacks. As it turns out, bin Laden was just a spoiled, misguided rich boy.
After taking 150 hours of a Scientology course, he deemed it was "too crazy" for him
He learned how to manipulate people by reading Dale Cargnegie's "How To Win Friends And Influence People"
He wrote songs for the Beach Boys, Guns & Roses, Marilyn Manson and more
He received over 60,000 letters a year while he was in prison
While young Manson might have looked innocent, he was quite the opposite. He committed strings of burglaries at convenience and grocery stores beginning age 13. Eventually Manson built what became known as the Manson Family, a quasi-commune that believed in "Helter Skelter", an impending apocalyptic race war. Manson was convicted of several murders on his own, as well as murders carried out by his followers through the joint-responsibility rule.
As a child, he was fixated with dead animals
When he was four years old, he underwent double hernia surgery, which is said to have changed his personality
He tried college for two terms before deciding to enlist in the Army
At 13, he realized that he was homosexual
This sweet innocent child holding a kitten is actually none other than Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer, also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal. Jeffrey Dahmer was born May 21, 1960. As a child, Dahmer was doted upon but as Dahmer entered first grade, his mother became addicted to Equanil pills and both of his parents began to neglect him. From an early age, Dahmer became interested in animals, particularly dead ones. In high school, Dahmer became addicted to drugs and alcohol and was generally regarded as a loner.
Eventually Dahmer became a serial killer and sex offender, committing rape, murder and dismemberment of 17 men and boys. His later murders also involved necrophilia and cannibalism. Psychiatrists diagnosed Dahmer with borderline personality disorder but during his trials, he was found legally sane. Who knew the adorable little boy in this picture would turn out to be such a psycho? Then again, was he holding the cat or choking it?
In 1959, he was part of a hit squad to assassinate Prime Minister Abdul Kassem
In 1980, he was given the key to Detroit
He admired Joseph Stalin and attempted to rule in the same manner
He had a copy of the Qur'an written in his own blood
He attended schools set up for nobility where he received instruction in military and religious matters, as well as math and physics
He was the first Japanese crown prince to go abroad
He married his cousin in 1924 and went on to have seven children together
A fan of marine biology, he published several scientific research papers on the subject
When Hirohito rose to throne, Japan was already one of the greatest powers in the world. Rather than using those powers for good, Hirohito used them for destruction. Hirohito oversaw the Rape of Nanjing, where the Japanese army committed rape, looting, arson and the execution of prisoners of war and civilians. The death toll is estimated to be around 300,000.
He studied agriculture at the Technical University in Munich
He struggled in athletic and his father had to pull strings to get him accepted as an officer candidate
He married in 1927, but began seeing his mistress/secretary in 1936; surprisingly, his wife knew of the mistress and tolerated their relationship for the sake of her daughter
He was deeply embarrassed by the fact that he never saw action in WWI
Born Heinrich Luitpold Himmler on October 7, 1900 to a middle-class Roman Catholic family, Himmler would eventually become the right-hand man to Adolf Hitler during the Holocaust. Growing up, Himmler was described as studious and awkward situations. This all changed though by the time he entered university.
Himmler was a growing antisemitist every day. In 1923, he joined the Nazi Party and eventually rose to commander of the SS Schutzstaffel and head of the concentration camps. It was actually Himmler who gassed inmates with toxic poison in chambers and systematically worked and starved them to death, creating the mass genocide.
He was the manager of KFC and insisted his staff referred to him as "The Colonel"
At one point, he also worked as a mortuary attendant after dropping out of high school
When he was 18, he became involved in politics and volunteered for a Democratic Party candidate in his neighborhood
A psych evaluation showed that was an antisocial personality who would not likely benefit from medical treatment
Ironically enough, this little boy who looks like he would be terrified of clowns eventually grew up to be known as Killer Clown. John Wayne Gacy, Jr. was born March 17, 1942 as the middle child of John Gacy and Marion Elaine Robinson. As a child, Gacy was overweight and unathletic therefore often taunted by his classmates. Gacy was close to his sisters and his mom but had a difficult time dealing with his alcoholic father, who was also abusive to the family.
Gacy eventually married and relocated to Iowa where he managed three Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants. Thus began his infidelity parties with young teenage (male) employees in the basement of their homes. Gacy also became hosting fundraiser events, parades and children's parties where he would dress as "Pogo the Clown". He was eventually sentenced to death for the sexual assault and murder of at least 33 teenage boys.
After high school, he joined the Navy and was sent to Vietnam
During his military service, he contracted Gonorrhea
Former wives and girlfriends reported that he was an exhibitionist who loved to have sex in the woods
He had a hatred for prostitutes and believed they were an infestation to society
While this may look like your average yearbook picture, it is actually a photo of young Gary Ridgway, also known as the Green River Killer. Gary Leon Ridgway was born in Salt Lake City in 1949. Ridgway grew up in a rough home. In addition, he did poorly in school and had an IQ of 82, signifying below average intelligence.
According to the women in his life Ridgway had an insatiable sexual appetite, demanding sex several times a day, often in public places. Ridgway later admitted to having a fixation with prostitutes as many of them later became his victims. He would strangle them after intercourse and keep their corpses for sex until they were no longer "fresh". The bodies were then dumped in the Green River, thus giving him his nickname. Ridgway admitted to have murdered as least 90 women and girls in Washington and California.
At age four, he became sullen and aggressive after falling from the swings and injuring his head
Although he suffered from learning difficulties, he loved to play chess
He lived with his paternal grandfather, whose death sent him into a spiral of alcoholism
During his trial, he said he felt like the father of his victims since he opened the door for them to another world
Alexander Pichushkin also known as The Chessboard Killer and The Bitsa Park Maniac. Born on April 9, 1974, Pichushkin was remembered as an outgoing child. But this all changed when he fell off a swing and was struck in the forehead. The incident was said to have damaged the frontal cortex of his brain, producing poor impulse regulation and a tendency towards aggression.
Pichushkin committed his first known murder as a student in 1992. He’d fallen in love with a neighbor and pushed her boyfriend out of the window of his high-rise flat. His later victims were mostly elderly men who would join him in a game of chess. He is believed to have killed at least 61 people (although he was aiming for 64, the number of squares on a chess board) in southwest Moscow's Bitsa Park where many of the victim's bodies were found.
As a child, he liked to torture animals
He had enlisted in the Army twice and was discharged both times
His wife noted he had an insatiable appetite and they had intercourse over 30 times a week every week
After giving birth to a handicapped child, his wife tried to avoid sex for fear of having another handicapped child
Young Albert DeSalvo (picture left with his family) was no angel from the start. His father was a violent alcoholic and DeSalvo had a tendency to torture animals as a child. DeSalvo began shoplifting in early adolescence and was arrested for the first time when he was 12-years-old. After he got out of the Lyman School for Boys, DeSalvo joined the army but was later honorably discharged after his first tour.
In the 1960s, a string of women between 19 and 85 were murdered in Boston. The victims were sexually assaulted and then strangled with articles of clothing. DeSalvo eventually confessed to being the "Boston Strangler" and was sentenced to life in prison in 1967. DeSalvo was found stabbed to death in the prison infirmary - no one was ever convicted for his murder.
He was brought up "with a silver spoon in his mouth"
He graduated from medical school and moved to London to study ophthalmology in his twenties
After his older brother's death, he joined the military and was pushed through the ranks to become a colonel in just five years
To buff up his image in the media, he hired American-based PR firms and consultants
Born September 11, 1965 in Damascus, Bashar Hafez al-Assad is the president of Syria but to most, he is considered a war criminal and mass murderer. In 1988, Assad graduated from medical school and began working as an army doctor. Four years later, he moved to London for training in ophthalmology. During this time, his older brother, who was being groomed to be the next president, was killed in a car accident, causing him to be recalled to Syrian Army.
After Assad rose to power, protests in Syria began for political reforms and the re-instatement of civil rights. In his first major speech since the start of the Syrian Civil War, Assad said that the conflict in his country was due to "enemies" outside of Syria who would "go to Hell" and that they would "be taught a lesson". The FBI has said that at least 10 European citizens were tortured by the Assad regime while detained during the Syrian Civil War.
As a child, he was expelled from a religious boarding school stabbing a classmate in the hand
He was briefly a schoolteacher after obtaining his diploma
During his youth, he declared himself an atheist and railed against the Catholic Church
He had a self-confessed "thirst for military glory"
Born in 1883 in Dovia di Predappio, Forlì, Italy, Benito Mussolini was an ardent socialist who later became the creator of the Fascist Party. His father was a blacksmith and an impassioned socialist who spent much of his time on politics and much of his money on his mistress. His mother was a devout Catholic schoolteacher who provided the family with some stability and income. As a youth, Mussolini was intelligent but disobedient. He also had a penchant for bullying.
Mussolini was an impassioned socialist but was expelled by the party for his support of World War I. After forming the Fascist Party, he made himself dictator of Italy. During his reign, Hitler constantly supported Mussolini's plans to invade countries, thus convincing Mussolini to form an alliance. During World War II, Mussolini took active part in sending Jews to concentration camps.
He was born in a log cabin inside a secret base on Korea's most sacred mountain
He built a plant capable of mass hamburger production
He once kidnapped a prominent director to film a Godzilla ripoff for him
At one point, he was the world's biggest buyer of Hennessy
Born in 1941, Kim Jong-Il was the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from 1994 to 2011. Throughout his childhood, Kim Jong-Il was active in the Children's Union and the Democratic Youth League of North Korea, taking party in study groups of Marxist theory.
When his father Kim Il-Sung died in 1994, Kim Jong-Il rose to power over North Korea. During Kim's regime the country suffered from famine, partially due to economic mismanagement, and had a poor human rights record. Kim involved the country in state terrorism and strengthened the role of the military by using military-first politics. When Kim died of a heart attack in 2011, his son Kim Jobng-Un rose to power to continue his legacy.
As a child, his mother frequently told him that she wished that he were dead
In his youth, hewas a prolific graffiti artist and part of the hip hop community
He sent a 1,500-page manifesto with large sections copied from the Unabomber manifesto to 5,700 people titled 2083 - A European Declaration of Independence
He has been diagnosed with two cluster B personality disorders: antisocial and narcissistic