Jane Toppan, born Honora Kelly in 1857, was history's most prolific female serial killer. She had inherited evil from her father who went insane, as well as her sister, and so it was inevitable that she would experience some sort of breakdown in her life. In 1863, her father turned her and her sister over to a Boston orphanage where at age five she were adopted by the Toppans.
Unlike most serial killers, Jane Toppan was a very bright and cheerful child who learned quickly. Oddly, however, she grew to resent both her foster mother who was abusive and her foster sister Elizabeth.
However, the last straw was when she was left at the altar at age 19, which left her even more resentful and bitter.
She decided she needed different surroundings so she left home for nursing school in 1885. While in school she excelled in all of her classes, however her professors were concerned with her fascination with human autopsies.
In 1887, she passed her nursing exam and she paraded herself as an angel of mercy(affectionate nick-name for a nurse), while at the same time committing murders throughout the ward under the radar.
For extra spending money she worked in middle to upper class homes as a private nurse. To her clients and co-workers she was known as "Jolly Jane"; however, when she drank at the local bars at night she denounced everyone around her.
Jane Toppan would walk the halls of the hospital, using a method of silent killing. She would inject patients with morphine and atropine, which simultaneously offset the symptoms of each other.
On one occasion, she climbed into bed with one of her female victims and "watched in delight as she gasped her life out".
In 1901, Toppan was brought to trial, however she was convicted not guilty by reason of insanity, so she spent the rest of her days in an insane asylum.
She continued to taunt the hospital staff, tempting nurses and aids to walk the ward with a vile of morphine. "We will have a lot of fun watching them die", she would say.
Jane Toppan died in 1938.
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