Top 10 Shocking Confessions In History



Top 10 Shocking Confessions In History

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Johnson
These infamous confessions were equal parts shocking and disturbing. For this list, we're taking a look at the most shocking confessions in history. Our countdown includes Ted Bundy, Robert Durst, Lance Armstrog, Bill Clinton, and more!
Script Written by Caitlin Johnson

Top 10 Shocking Confessions in History

Some things are better left unsaid. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 shocking confessions in history.

For this list, we’re choosing our rankings based on the notoriety of the crime or lie and how shocking it was; and are excluding OJ Simpson, who only confessed hypothetically.

#10: Ted Bundy

One of the world’s most evil serial killers, upon his arrest in the mid-1970s he denied every count of assault, murder and kidnapping brought against him. It was only until immediately before his execution on January 24th, 1989 that he finally admitted to his crimes. In the weeks and months preceding the execution he finally confessed to the crimes he was accused of in great detail, describing what he did with his victims’ bodies – including incinerating the missing head of one woman – as well as revealing more victims the police didn’t know about. Despite this, Bundy’s actual death toll could be much higher than we think.

#9: Julian Altman

Some of the most valuable and revered musical instruments in the world are Stradivarius violins; antiques built in Italy hundreds of years ago. One in particular from 1713, currently known as the Gibson ex-Huberman Stradivarius, was stolen from a virtuoso called Bronisław Huberman (brony-suave hoo-bare-MAHN) in 1936 by struggling musician Julian Altman. For half a century it remained lost, until on his deathbed Altman confessed to his wife that he was in possession of the violin, telling her where to find it. His information proved true and she received a $263,000 finder’s fee. It was last sold to violinist Joshua Bell for almost $4 million.

#8: Margaret Gibson

In 1922, Hollywood director William Desmond Taylor was shot dead in his Los Angeles bungalow, a crime which went unsolved until 1964, when retired actress Margaret Gibson confessed to murder. Following a heart attack, Gibson knew she was about to die and told one of her neighbors that she had been the one to kill Taylor all those years ago. Police can neither prove nor disprove this admission, and while it doesn’t conflict with the information they know about Taylor’s murder, all of the police files relating to it had mysteriously vanished by the 1940s – though Gibson did once become hysterical after seeing a piece about Taylor’s unsolved murder on TV.

#7: Naaman Diller’s Widow (nay-min)

In 1983, one of the most successful art heists in history was pulled off. At the time, police had few-to-no leads about who stole a collection of antique timepieces from the L.A. Mayer (mayor ish) Institute for Islamic Art in Jerusalem, one of which was owned by Marie Antoinette, the last Queen of France, and which were worth a few million dollars. But then in 2008 the widow of notorious Israeli art thief Naaman Diller, who fled the country soon after the crime. He confessed to her four years earlier on his deathbed, and after charging the police $40,000 for her ‘anonymous tip’ she returned most of the stolen items.

#6: Andre Agassi

Back in the ’90s he was a big tennis star, famous not just for winning Wimbledon and multiple Grand Slams, but for his impressive mullet hairstyle. However, Agassi admitted in his autobiography “Open”, published in 2010, that this crazy hair was actually a wig he wore to hide the fact he was bald. Even worse, he said that he was so distracted thinking about what would happen if it fell off that he suffered an embarrassing defeat during his first ever Grand Slam final. Good thing he finally ditched it and came clean.

#5: James Brewer

Upon suffering a severe stroke, he found himself convinced he was going to die, so much so that he decided to help the police solve a 30-year-old murder case. Unfortunately for him, he was the murderer, and had shot to death Jimmy Carroll whom he thought was trying to steal his wife, Dorothy, away from him. Even more unfortunately Brewer didn’t die, and is now on trial for murder in Tennessee and could be facing the death penalty. He had initially been arrested for Carroll’s murder decades but escaped on bail and was never pursued by the authorities.

#4: Robert Durst

In 2015, HBO were making a six-part documentary series called “The Jinx” about the murders Durst was accused of. The series ended with an apparent confession as he talks to himself while in the bathroom, unaware that his body mic was still switched on. It recorded a confession where he literally says he “killed them all”, but there’s some debate over whether or not this is admissible in court. On the one hand, he was aware of the microphone, while on the other it was a spontaneous admission. To make matters even more complicated, he was also allegedly taking crystal meth at the time of the interview.

#3: Lance Armstrong

He’s now one of the most famous dope fiends in sporting history, but there was a time when his confession to using performance enhancing drugs shook the world. Armstrong winning the Tour de France seven times consecutively aroused suspicions, and he finally admitted to what he was being accused of – that he had taken various cocktails of drugs to improve his cycling – in a televised interview with Oprah. He was completely unapologetic and even blamed the drug abuse on the cancer he had survived, saying after becoming so ill and then making a miraculously comeback he just “got carried away.”

#2: Bill Clinton

On the 26th of January 1998, the President famously declared that he “did not have sexual relations with that woman”, Monica Lewinsky, who was working as an intern at the White House before being relocated when she spent too much time with him. He went on to repeatedly deny the allegations for seven months, even perjuring himself in court, before finally admitting that he did have “a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky that was not appropriate.” The sex scandal was so huge there were even attempts to have Clinton impeached, but he was ultimately acquitted of all charges and remained in office for two more years.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few Dishonorable Mentions:

Elizabeth Wettlaufer

Christian Spurling

Tiger Woods

#1: Jeffrey Dahmer

The Milwaukee Cannibal’s reign of terror finally came to an end when he was arrested on July 23rd, 1991, when his latest victim escaped and led the police to his apartment, wherein they found pictures of dismembered bodies, a severed head, and other decomposing organs and limbs. Over 60 hours of police interviews, Dahmer willingly confessed to the rape, murder and dismemberment of more than 17 men and boys over 13 years, even detailing his necrophilia and cannibalism and his habit of preserving the entire skeletons of his victims. His confession was nearly 250 pages long and in 1994 a fellow prison inmate beat him to death.