08 January 2018

Pseudonyms: Criminals

It seems that many major criminals either take on pseudonyms (aliases) or have them assigned to them.

The Unabomber (Ted Kaczynski) was assigned his pseudonym from the FBI acronym for UNiversities and Airline Bomber.

New York Police discovered in 1977 a handwritten letter near the bodies of two victims that was addressed to a NYPD Captain. In the letter, the killer referred to himself as "Son of Sam" for the first time. The press had previously dubbed the killer "the .44 Caliber Killer" because it was the weapon of choice for serial killer David Berkowitz.

Here are some of the better known criminal pseudonyms and their owners.

  • Al Capone was really Alphonse Gabriel Capone
  • Baby Face Nelson (Lester Joseph Gillis; also used the alias George Nelson)
  • Billy the Kid (William H. Bonney; born William Henry McCarty, Jr.)
  • Black Bart (Charles Earl Bowles)
  • Bugsy Siegel (Benjamin Siegelbaum)

  • Butch Cassidy (Robert LeRoy Parker) and The Sundance Kid (Harry Alonzo Longabaugh)
  • Carlos the Jackal (Ilich Ramírez Sánchez)
  • Dutch Schultz (Arthur Flegenheimer)
  • Green River Killer (Gary Leon Ridgway)
  • The Happy Face Killer (Keith Hunter Jesperson)
  • Hillside Strangler was the collective pseudonym used for for two serial killers, Angelo Buono and Kenneth Bianchi.
  • The Iceman (Richard Kuklinski)
  • The I-5 Killer (Randall Woodfield)
  • Legs Diamond (Jack Diamond)
  • Lucky Luciano (Salvatore Lucania)
  • Machine Gun Kelly (George Celino Barnes)
  • Murf the Surf (Jack Roland Murphy)
  • Ned Kelly (Edward Kelly)
  • The Night Stalker (Richard Ramirez)
  • Pretty Boy Floyd (Charles Arthur Floyd)
  • Sara Jane Olson (Kathleen Soliah)
  • The Yorkshire Ripper (Peter Sutcliffe)

We currently do not have real names to attach to some pseudonyms, including from the distant past:  the still unsolved Jack the Ripper murderer  - and the more modern Zodiac Killer.

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