Born Bad: Three of History’s Youngest Killer Kids

Einstein Shrugged
9 min readJul 29, 2021

How are killers made? While the environment plays a role some killers are arguably just born bad.

Childhood experiences, illness and trauma can all play a part in crafting a serial killer. A grown adult of 20 or 30 has had plenty of life experience that could have played a role in shaping them into a monster.

But what about killers who seem to come into the world angry and ready to fight? People who are able to torture and kill others before they hit junior high? These three killers prove that while environment and experience play a role in shaping killers, others are arguably born bad.

Jesse Pomeroy (The Boy Torturer)

Jesse Pomeroy was born in 1859 to Thomas J. Pomeroy and Ruth Ann Snowman. Born with a defect in his right eye, Jesse was singled out and bullied throughout his childhood. He was small and looked strange — the perfect target for kids who were older, bigger, and stronger.

It wasn’t just the kids who made fun of Jesse either. His own father was known to be “horrified and revolted” by the milky while film and lazy drift of his son’s right eye. This meant that Jesse was singled out and excluded not only at school, but also at home. He soon became painfully introverted, preferring to avoid social interaction in favor of dime novels that were popular at the time.

In the fall of 1871, local boys started turning up horribly beaten and mutilated. Victims gave reports of an assailant around their own age who lured them into the woods offering treats and promises of fun. Once they were isolated in the woods, the torture would begin.

Details from the stories were so horrific that locals began referring to the mysterious older boy as ‘The Boy Torturer’ and ‘The Red Devil’. Shortly after accounts of the attacks began circulating along with descriptions of the assailant, Ruth quickly picked up and relocated her family to South Boston.

By the summer of 1872, the same stories began to surface in South Boston. That August a young boy was found tortured on the beach. In September…



Einstein Shrugged

Writer. Bibliophile. Optimistic Pragmatist. Co-Author of Killer Word Games on Amazon / Lulu