Some serial killers swear vengeance on the people who put them in prison. It seems Jake Bird actually got it. A transient, Depression-era laborer, Bird moved across the country doing railroad work, and in addition to robbing to support himself, also killed everywhere he went. This included South Dakota -- among 10 other states -- where he murdered an estimated 44 women.
When he was finally convicted after killing a woman during a Tacoma, Washington break-in, he made a statement before sentencing: “I’m putting the Jake Bird hex on all of you who had anything to do with my being punished. Mark my words, you will die before I do." And within a year, six of the people involved in his trial did, in fact, perish, including the judge. Bird himself died at Walla Walla by hanging in 1949.
Micajah and Wiley Harpe
Since forensic science in the 1700s wasn't exactly what it is now, it’s hard to confirm these guys were actually America’s first serial killers -- but folklore gives them that nefarious claim. A pair of brothers who roamed Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois, they killed indiscriminately, often filling the bodies with rocks and dumping them in a river. Micajah, the elder or “Big” Harpe, was allegedly killed and his head was stuck on a post somewhere near Harpe's Head intersection in Webster County, Kentucky (that’s where the names comes from, see) while the younger was apprehended and executed.