Women have always been regarded as gentle caregivers throughout history by pretty much all cultures and civilizations. It was the men who were expected to go to war or inflict pain upon one another, yet as we are about to find out, women can be pretty evil as well.

While most evil people throughout history have been men, there have been women who earned their right to be called monsters for the gruesome things they did. So if you bare with us for a few moments, we’ll soon try to find out who were the most evil women in history and what exactly they did to earn themselves such infamy.

Irma Grese (Germany, 1923 – 1945)

Some know her as “the Beast of Belsen”, or “The Beautiful Beast” for her infamous work as a killer. Having a position of authority in the Nazi concentration camps gave Irma the perfect opportunity to do appalling atrocities. She was a warden at Ravensbruck and Auschwitz, where she perpetuated the crimes that eventually earned her a death sentence when she was just 22. It is not just murder she found amusing, but torture as well.

Myra Hindley (English, 1942 – 2002)

Hindley, in conjunction with Ian Brady, were responsible for the rapes and murders of small children. She was given up by her 17-year-old brother-in-law and was found guilty of three murders. Her life sentence ended with her death in prison in 2002. Her legacy was the very notion that women serial killers can be just as horrific as their male counterparts. Still, Myra Hindley was far from being a methodical serial killer, yet a very emotional one.

Isabella of Castile (Spain, 1451 – 1504)

If you haven’t heard of Isabella of Castile, you have probably heard of the Spanish Inquisition: one of the darkest periods in history. The Spanish Inquisition was a tribunal established by Isabella and her husband. In addition to demanding that all Jews and Muslims to leave the country or convert, those who covertly stuck to their non-Catholic beliefs often lost their lives in the most disturbing of ways.

Katherine Knight (Australia, 1855 – Present)

Katherine Knight is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Her history of violence, culminating in the fatal stabbing followed by skinning, decapitation, and cooking of her partner, John Charles Thomas Price, makes her one of the most evil women in history. She even went as far as hanging his skin on the door frame and setting out the “meal” she had made of her partner for the children.

Beverly Allitt (England, 1968 – Present)

Within a period of 59 days in 1991, Beverly Gail killed four children, made attempts on the lives of three other children, and caused serious body harm to six other children. All this transpired in a children’s ward in Lincolnshire, where she was a nurse. When she was finally charged for her crimes, she was given 13 life sentences and is currently held at Rampton Secure Hospital in Nottinghamshire, where she is likely to spend the rest of her life.

Queen Mary I (England, 1516 – 1558)

Queen Mary I ruled over England and Ireland from 1553 until she died five years later. Her murderous trail earned her the title of “Blood Mary”. Her killings were based on religion, and through her violence, England was returned to Catholicism. Protestants were ruthlessly persecuted for their faith, and about 800 protestants had to flee the country to avoid death. Without a doubt, Queen Mary I is one of the most evil women in history by all standards.

Belle Gunness (United States, 1859 – 1908)

Belle Gunness was Norwegian-American. She is claimed to have taken the lives of about twenty to more than a hundred people over a period of several decades; the motive for her killing being financial gain. She even murdered her two daughters, Myrtle and Lucy in addition to suitors, husbands, and boyfriends . The killings resulted in life-insurance payments or other form of material gain for Belle. At 91 kgs and measuring six feet tall, Belle was also quite physically intimidating.

Ilse Koch (Germany, 1906 – 1967)

Clearly, Ilse Koch’s nickname as the “Witch of Buchenwald” among other notorious titles are a clear indication of the level of evil this woman could unleash into the world. She was a prominent Nazi who used her husband’s power to torture and kill her subjects. Ilse also had a well-known love for debauchery. She even had a collection of souvenirs from her inmate victims during the infamous Nazi regime. She hanged herself while locked up in prison in 1967.

Mary Ann Cotton (Britain, 1832 – 1873)

Her infamy made her Britain’s first serial killer. After being married and getting five children, four of the children ended up dead for “intestinal disorders”. A few years later, Mary and her husband had three more children, but three more children died of similar problems.

In the end, her husband, William Mowbray, also died of intestinal problems in 1865. Her second husband also suffered the same fate, as well as two more of her children. In the end, three husbands, her own mother, a lover, a friend, and a dozen children had died of stomach fever. Her choice killing method was arsenic poisoning. She died at the hangman’s noose in 1873 for her crimes.

Countess Elizabeth Bathory (Hungary, 1560 – 1614)

Although of noble pedigree, Elizabeth Bathory managed to be considered the greatest serial killer in history. She even earned the nickname, “Blood Countess” for her murderous exploits. Her high social standing helped her get away with her heinous acts, which did not just involve murder, but torture as well. She was known to severely beat peasant girls, burn them, mutilate them, and even chew off their faces. Rather than go through a trial, the “Blood Countess” was instead put under house arrest.