The Scales of Good and Evil: Part III

Cliff Pickover

Copyright 2000, 2001, 2002 by Cliff Pickover
If you liked this page, visit Cliff Pickover's main home page for more lists.
"The Scales of Good and Evil" is a trademarked term.

On the main web page on Good and Evil I presented a list of the Top Ten evil and good people of all time. The debate started on this page, continued in Part II, and continues below.

Please add your votes. Who would you like to see added to the list? What alterations would you make to the list or the ordering? Do the scales of good and evil balance?

From: Keith Warren

I can think of a few more evil people who might go on your list... I don't know who the instigator of the Rwanda genocide was, but he probably should be there. And I personally think that the Wanli Emperor deserves some consideration. He was one of the later emperors of the Ming dynasty; ruled from about 1580 to 1630. He wasn't actively evil, exactly. When he was about 20 years old, his mother refused to let him marry the woman he wanted. (Under the Confucian system, even the emperor was bound by filial piety.) He replied by going on strike, and for the rest of his reign he simply refused to do much of anything. Since the Confucian bureaucracy depended on imperial appointments, and since he had a very long reign, the government of the country slowly withered, and the Ming dynasty collapsed a few years after his death. Like I say, not actively evil, but there is something frightening about a man who is so self-absorbed that he is willing to wreck a country because he didn't get to marry his girlfriend.

We could also include any number of American frontiersmen, beginning with the Puritans, who led massacres of American Indian noncombatants.

As for good people, how about Mahavira, the founder of Jainism? One of my favorite choices would be George Fox, who comes across in his autobiography (which he called his Journal) as being pretty self-righteous and obnoxious, but who did found one of the largest Western pacifist religions, the Religious Society of Friends. The service arm, the Friends Service Committee, won the Nobel Peace Prize in the late 1940s. I've forgotten his name, but there was an Iroquois leader in the mid-1600s who committed suicide to protest the decision of the Five Nations to go to war against the Hurons. (The leaders of that war would, of course, be nominees for the evil list; the Hurons, along with the Eries, were completely annihilated.) There were a number of women in 19th century America who worked furiously at improving the lives of the poor, prisoners, and people with mental illness. Lucretia Mott and Jane Addams come immediately to mind--Addams, of course, did much of her work in the early 20th century--but there were plenty of others.

From: AL

Dear Dr Pickover I have read with interest the page hosted at

Your discussions with the people who responded to your info about Vlad were interesting. What interested me the most was your constant failure to provide evidence of the truth of the facts presented on your evil top 10 page ( You cite the following internet web site as the single source of information for your documentation: which relies, by it's own admission, on largely anecdotal evidence. What are your mysterious "other sources"? Anyone who has a university education should have learned the basics of citation and bibliography in documenting research. Provide us with some, please! In the name of science and history! In the name of academic rigour! May I refer you to the following academic library's internet research guide for info on documenting online research, as well as evaluating web site content

The emotive language on your web page is singular, but whatever gets you through the day; more power to the net for allowing freedom of speech (Article 19, Universal Declaration of Human Rights). I am uninterested in changing your opinion; I am only irritated by your lack of proof and/or documentation. I am also uninterested in debating the nature of good and evil with you, as this is subjective, complex beyond such easy division into opposites and I sense that our opinions differ.

Personally, I have no reliable knowledge of Vlad and I cannot comment on the historical accuracy of your account. I do have one question for you: Why have you ignored requests for proof/ documentation of the facts(?) you present online about Vlad?

I wonder - can it be a hoax, like your 'esp' experiment? (Someone in our office geussed that you used that old card trick of not displaying ANY of the cards shown in the previous page. Good one). So, is this whole thing a joke? Surely you can't be serious!

Living in hope Alka

From: "P-j"

Dear Cliff

btw, I also understand (I think) that your main purpose on the evil page is to engage with the concepts of good vs evil and what they mean to human beings. It's not that I don't get that, it's just that I prefer detailed documentation. I agree that Vlad doesn't *sound* like a wonderful neighbour, but I also wonder at our need to slot people into good and evil categories. I wonder why we do that? Maybe it feels safer; perhaps it's an attempt to hide from our own darker nature or uncouscious thoughts and desires which are not 'good'. One thing that struck me on the site was how people responded with a strong need to do this. Most of the respondents you quote don't seem comfortable accepting that 'evil' people can also be good. They seem uncomfortable with the complexity of our human nature and how that can manifest in behaviour which is both good and evil - from one person.

One last thing that I found interesting - there are no Americans on your evil list. Perhaps this is evidence of *your* conditioning? (You mentioned conditioning to Marius.)

Ah well, enough potted psychobabble from me today. Back to work. I appreciate your time, I'm sure you are very busy. Nice to meet you.

Warm regards Alka

Cliff says:

Here's a nice site, that the Encyclopedia Britannica says is one of the best on the web for Vlad:

From: Marcel

In order to clarify concepts, I propose those definitions for The Scales of Good and the Evil in

Good-1 is a person with high probability to go to heaven when dieing. Evil-1 is a person with high probability to go to hell when dieing.

Other definitions could be named Good-2, Good-3, ... Evil-2, Evil-3, ...


From: Phil Jackson

I think a great number could be added to this list - mostly unnamed and unknown - those Mullahs and "religious" teachers in Pakistan and similar countries that are training generations of young people to the ways of jihad and suicide attack. Surely this form of radical Islamisist thought is directly Satan-Inspired. Taking the helpless and totally ignorant and molding them into such is a Great Evil, especially when considering that they would be far too cowardly to risk themselves in ANY way. For those in the free world who would disagree - then go get yourself a little cultaral diversity experience in Somalia or some such deserve it. Phil

From Candi:

Read the e-mail from Martin L. re: Clinton vs. Vlad. Scary stuff -- his = remarks about Arabs -- especially after 9/11!

Love your lists and agree. I must be a non-intellectual, too!


From: brian

First off, understand that I am _horribly_ biased (for example, I would put Bill Clinton near the pile of "most evil"...he just drips evil. He hasn't killed masses, only duped them, though, so he does not go on the list).

Based on the "saving lives" argument you (and others have used) I would argue that Ronald Reagan potentially saved millions to hundreds of millions of lives. He saved lives on a scale of what Mao and Vlad saved (according to sympathizers) and did it without the associated "horrors" that Mao and Vlad needed to "prove" strength and leadership. Even his biggest political misstep, Iran-Contra, was an error whose ultimate goal was freedom of hostages. Compare that to Bill Clinton, whose scandals were for personal glory or profit (or pleasure).

From: Stefan Obenauer

hi there. i am missing elizabeth bathory on your page. look her up on google. she killed about 600 young women, torturing them for months on end, bathed in their blood to let her stay young. she was extremely nasty. for example she grabbed girls at the jaws and tore their head apart. after she was captured, it was forbidden to say her name...


From: Svein Olav Nyberg

I stumbled across your web page on a search for something quite different, and must say it's quite astounding. The only thing I wonder about is your time compression machine. For you obviously must have such a thing to be able to do all the things you do. So why not produce it on an industrial scale?

As for good and evil people: I wonder if Jesus might not score very high on both the good duys list and the evil guys list. And maybe there is no contradiction in this. For to my knowledge, Hell was invented - or at least introduced - by Jesus. It was his promise to the disbeliever. All this while at the same time living a life that has been an inspiration to pacifists worldwide. Moses falls into the same kind of category, and maybe Mohammed as well. What do you think of Milarepa? Would his "good" have existed without his "evil"? -- Svein Olav Nyberg

From: Svein Olav Nyberg

Milarepa is a "saint" of Tibetan Buddhism. He was an evil sorcerer who according to legend had thousands of lives on his conscience. But he started regarding the consequences of his actions; for the evil done in this life, he would have to pay with some very long cycles in the hell worlds. That was his karma. So he set out to do the only thing that could save him from the consequences of such karma: He set out to become a buddha in that very lifetime. He attained his goal, and from that blessed a hundredfold many people and even a few deities with liberation. If the story itself interests you, a very good account can be found at

In general, it seems a disproportinately large share of saints of both Buddhism and of Christianity have a background of evil, which acts as the motivation for their later sainthood. A prime Christian example is the apostle Paul, who hunted down Christians until his own conversion on the road to Damascus.

I think we can see the opposite, as well: Evil being motivated by good. The phrase "the road to Hell is pave with good intentions" is no emty saying. Not only in the sense that do-gooders often end up making more damage than good by their meddling, but also in the more profound sense that means become justified by ends. I have heard it said that mothers are the cruellest of warriors, for they have something to fight for, and they have only loss to achieve by moderating their methods. Was that "Apocalypse Now"? I would add fathers, too. Would you find yourself limiting your actions short of what is needed to save your child if such a situation ever came to pass?

But maybe worst of evils is when the Good Goal becomes abstract. How many have not been killed in the name of abstract Good? You listed Pol Pot and Stalin, whose regimes were Utopian hopes of the highest abstract Good, and Torquemada, who was doing similar things in the name of Christian Good. A Good Cause is able to bring about far more suffering than the most demented private killer; for Good Causes recruit and motivate people to do what ever their perceived Goodness needs done.

Hmm ... I got off on a rant about more than Milarepa, it seems. Anyway, back to Milarepa: I saw that you had written a book about abnormal mind and genius. You will find a lot of that in Tibetan Buddhism. Milarepa was seen as totally crazy by his own sister (sitting naked, green-skinned and starved in a cave ... wonder why) yet he was a religious genius. The Tibetans even have a name for it "crazy wisdom". But maybe that's all in your book already?

Svein Olav Nyberg

From Lou Novellino:

Mr. Pickover:

There were 12 million Indians living in America before the European invaders arrived. By the time they were through and this country was settled, there were 120,000 Indians left. The extermination, slaughter, and killing of indigenous wildlife (buffalo, cougars, wolves, etc.) proceeded pari passu with the settling of the continent. William James Sidis' works on Native American tribes are recommended and, in part, accessible on the Internet. True enough, without all of this, the modern industrial-technological system may never have evolved. Good? Evil? Apologetics? Theodicy? La Fontaine has a fable "La Besace", also highly recommended.

Lou Novellino Middletown, N.J. dary--

From: JimWebb66

hello - just wanted to add - Albert Fish - very evil - if you don't know his story - here is a link to get you started - Yahoo! Society and Culture > Crime > Types of Crime > Homicide > Serial Killers > Individuals > Fish, Albert - interesting site though - I've had alot of fun reading through some of it - i don't always agree with you though - vlad tepes in my opinion should not be so high on the list - i actually don't think he should be on the list at all (a list of 10 that is) - he did do some "not so nice" things - but there are many others who inflict/ed far more pain and suffereing on people then he did

From: "Dan Conine"

Hi Dr. Cliff, I'm sure you have treated the subjects thoroughly in your books (haven't read them yet..), but I would like to nominate a concept and a business method as the biggest evil around us.

The concept is the idea that we are not responsible for our actions. Originally, when polytheism dominated the world, if someone performed unacceptable acts, they were supposedly 'possessed' by a particular god or entity which made them act that way. "The DEVIL made me do it!" With the proliferation of monotheism, a single, all-powerful prescient being predetermined our actions, and our 'evil' tendencies came from an 'original' sin that we had no control over. Some savior comes along and can now allow us back into heaven (and as such, back into a particular church to pay a tithe). Which leads us to the MOST evil idea: The business method of marketing. Through marketing, we have been sold things we don't need, and didn't know we would ever need, for more than we should ever have to pay. More people have died through the machinations of trickery and deceit which are labeled 'salesmanship' or 'spin doctoring' or whatever you want to call it (but it is usually a trumped-up way of saying "LIES"), than have ever been killed by particular individuals. After all, what made Hitler hate Jews so much? The perceptions he had came from years of religious marketing from all sides. Whole cultures and countries and societies have been created, destroyed, and employed in the name of leadership or fear-mongering. When they don't know they are being manipulated by other people, groups of people will do anything. The real sorry evil is ignorance of influence.

We think that 'scientific' marketing has only just begun in the 20th century or so. When we think of crooked, lying sales tricks, we think of snake-oil salesmen, but how many among us think of churches. The same techniques that are employed to coerce children to McDonalds have been used for thousands of years to mold people into non-thinking followers of cults. Fear of being different, promise of rewards, repetitive rituals, shiny noisy crap, Surrealistic Leaders, and fake comraderie have been revised and refined to the point that we don't even look for these tricks anymore.

Pokemon toys ---Stained glass windows

Monopoly Prizes---Eternal life

Playing in tunnels---Praying in Pews

Constant Commercials---Hail Marys or Prayer 5 times a day

"Something for Everyone"---Excommunication if you don't.......

Ronald McDonald---The Pope


From: sorin

Hi there,

Is there a medal for the no1?

What-s the poit of this page? I don't think Hitler is sad beeing listed in yuou top, I don't think anyone is happy seeing Hitler there...

Please go to a library and read!!!

How many people died because of Columb or should I ask how many millions or how many cultures was destroyed....

Only God can say what is good and what is wrong.I don't think you are God.

please do not answer this mail I have better things to do.I's sad because i lost my time reading your page. By

From: "martins"

Osama Bin Laden, if you wanna e-mail me back use this address. =

From: noah279

Please put Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein on the list of the list of the top 100 evil people

From: "A. Malik"

1. Osama Bin Laden shouldnt be on any of the lists (so keep it that way). HE wasnt the one who flew the planes into the towers...! After all, he promoted the attack as a retaliation for the attacks on the Palestinians from the Jews (Israel) and the support from the USA - yet they are not on the list.

2. The Prophet Mohammed should be at #1. You are probably guessing that I am a Muslim...well, you're wrong! Muslims believe in the oneness of humanity, and also devote themselves to the abolition of racial prejudice, class prejudice, and other injustices of all kinds. Islam, in its true form, has no priesthood: the muslim can communicate directly with God at any time and in any way. No priestly intercession is ever necessary. Muslim men and women are equal in the sight of God and Islamic society. Without Islam, the Baha'i faith would have never developed. The teachings of Muhammad had a profound and immediate beneficial effect on society and the advent of mathematics, astronomy, and science in general, whereas Baha'u'llah has not had such an effect on our society. Therefore, the prophet should be above Baha'u'llah.

"The Prophet Mohammed should be placed on the evil list...[a lot of bull]...The pyramids and cathedrals, while beautiful if viewed in isolation from their origins, were created by the death, slavery and misery of the masses who lived and died to build them. I cannot help but see a blood covered gravestone when I look at a Cathedral. The flowering of Arab culture in the middle ages was purchased with the blood of peoples conquered in the previous centuries." Get your facts straight (whoever wrote this)!! I am not a Muslim and have read the Qur'an too. And I'll tell you this for nothing, the goodness in the book (which are the words of God) are not of any violence and The Prophet Mohammed did not believe in Revenge (or Karma, like Buddah). It is true that distorted representations of Islam today give it a bad name, but the Prophet could not live forever in order to keep it bound. I could go on and on and on but you get the jist....!

In addition (in reply to the quote above) the Pyramids were built thousands of years before Islam even came about! And cathedrals have nothing to do with Islam! so what the hell are you talking about!

3. FRED WEST (someone touched on this before)...but I just wanted to agree! Murdering his daughter, over 15 women, rape, abuse, torture and his wife as an accomplice! Research this and turst me, you'll add him to the evil list!

I am really not that interested in the EVIL list. But those who are the = epitomy of goodness and promoted goodness should be recognised!

1. The Prophet Mohammed

2. Jesus Christ

3. Buddah

4. Baha'u'llah

5. Muhandas Ghandi

From: Susan Woehrle

To Cliff Pickover, or Whom it May Concern:

Ok, did anyone else notice that, although there are two Americans on the good people list, there aren't any on the evil list? I understand that, as an American, Cliff, you have been subjected to the same nationalistic propaganda that we all have, but if you're going to try to make a list of good and evil people, could you at least try to look at it from an objective standpoint? I know, I know, the whole point is to stimulate discussion, so here is my discussion!

Ok, yeah, Vlad the Impaler is a good choice, but you obviously didn't know what you were getting into when you started that argument with that Romanian guy, Marius. Trust me, you do not want to enter into a discussion with an Eastern European concerning morals in politics. Based on the discussions I've had with my Yugoslavian and other Eastern European friends, these people are extremely fatalistic, and consider tact to be the refraining from punching you in the face during the argument. Obviously, in the writing of a letter, causing physical harm is not a concern, therefore tact is not a consideration. Also, semantics are obsessed over, with winning the argument valued above furthering understanding (although that may be the case with people in other parts of the world as well).

Do you ever stop to wonder why people in countries such as, say, Yugoslavia don't like America (well, obviously you did)? Duh! Because of the bombing of Serbia (and several other un-deserving countries)! I mean, of course Serbia's enemies were pleased, but that's not what I'm talking about. Indeed, most of Eastern Europe, not to mention the rest of Europe, considers America to be the most meddlesome, self-righteous, and hypocritical country in the entire world (and don't get me started on the Kyoto treaty!). Of course there would be animosity towards Clinton; as he is looked upon as the bomber of Serbia, he would be hated just as any military foe would be hated while looking at the smoking rubble left behind.

Do I think that Bill Clinton is evil? Not really. I think that bombing a country is evil, and I think that it was unwise, but in Clinton's case, as in the cases of most political leaders, I tend to separate the act from the person. In some cases. There have always been human beings (yes, they were human, despite what some say), who, as a result of something rotten inside them, committed atrocity after atrocity, with evil being a part of their very souls. However, I do not harbor hatred towards them, I pity them, and wish that I could understand, and so prevent them from coming back in other individuals.

In fact, I think that President Truman was a good guy, but he dropped the bomb, so to speak, and so he allowed a very evil thing to happen. Would I have done differently in his place? I'm not so sure, as I have never been in a position even remotely similar to that. Hell, I wasn't even class president! I guess my point is, everyone is doing the best they can, and if the best they think they can is causing evil to happen, others need to take notice and have it stopped. If they don't then it is not the individual, but the system that is evil.

You wanna know who I think was evil? Henry VIII. I mean, it's one thing to have thousands of strangers killed, but it's another to get married to a woman, have her executed, get married again, have her executed, etc, etc. In some ways, I find that more disgusting, because it's so personal, and because he didn't even benefit from it, in the least, and he didn't think he was doing the right thing. He knew it was wrong, the church told him it was wrong (not as wrong as divorce, but hey!) but he did it anyway, because he didn't give a damn about right and wrong. Isn't that what evil is all about? Disregarding morals?

As for good people, I've always been a big fan of Elenor Roosevelt. I mean, God, what a great person! Here she was, married to a relative after a miserable childhood filled with being told she was ugly, realizing she was a lesbian, having your husband cheat on you--my God, all of the cards were stacked against her. Except one; her husband was willing to share the power with her. She did so much with that bit of power, so much good for black people, women, children, the list goes on. She was the eyes and ears of her husband confined to a wheelchair, but she was also the heart.

Ok, I think that religious figures should be off-limits, both for the good and the evil people. Sure, you'll have to completely re-write your lists, but hey, at least they'll be more objective. Also, Abraham Lincoln? Come ON! Give me a break! To disregard so many people for good ole Honest Abe? I never use this expression, but that was a very pussy decision. There, I used an extremely misogynistic expression to make my point, are you happy now? Yeah, I'm sure there are plenty of people that never made it past the fourth grade and who don't watch educational tv, surf the internet, or read books that would agree that he was one hell of a model American, but you're supposed to be to educated to present such nonsense.

He was an interesting and relatively moral president, but he definitely does not belong on a top 10 "Good" list. Top 100 Good People in American History, maybe. In fact, because your list seems to be based, in part, on the relative suffering caused or averted by each individual, Lincoln being a part of the Civil War would get him a spot on the Evil list, considering the suffering that resulted from that war. I think that averting the Civil War, while more difficult, would warrant anyone a spot on the Good list.

Do I think Good and Evil Balance out? Yes and no. Yes, because at any given time, I believe that there are equal parts good and evil in the world. No, because the powers ebb and flow, so that at any one time, in any one situation, one could have power, while the other does not. I would compare it to global weather patterns; while you could say that the world has an average temperature, in some places it is hot, and in some places it is cold. As the season's change, the position of the Earth, as well as the Moon change, altering our climate in dramatic ways. Can humans destroy this balance? Global warming seems to be an indication that we can.

I guess since good and evil are a bit more abstract than the weather (although not much more so), it is hard to say whether or not humans could ever disrupt the balance. Could good be overthrown entirely? How about evil? Would one simply replace the other, causing the concepts to simply trade places in our minds? Maybe. I will now leave you to ponder these questions while you draft a new list.

Keep on presenting those ideas!


P.S.- Never read your books, but I love your internet stuff. I first stumbled onto your sight when I was researching African Masks. I was quite taken with your, shall-we-say, eclectic interests. Also, I am addicted to Alien Tiles.

From: "cq"

Dear Sir,

I saw your web site listing top 10 people having performed mainly evil and good deeds on this planet:

I certainly wish to add president Bush to the evil list. No day passes or he does another effort to sicken and eventually destroy the planet and everythin on it. His very bad influence (and of the part of his surrounding that is on the same wavelength) on an, unfortunately, global scale on political, military (dangerous!), environmental, social and other issues (and the most important issues like health care, eduction and environment being neglected in favor of very destructive counter-productive military and nationalistic separative short term selfish materialistic purposes, who badly influence not only the whole world and increase its problems, including the Israel problem who now too easily abuse the absurd arbitrary war against terrorism without any structural remedies against its causes, on the contrary even, as a justification but also the US itself, among other by wasting the funds saved for the future by the efforts of the Clinton Administration) has almost never been seen before under any American president, as I remember from history.

The only good is that there may be a very strong and decided reaction world-wide against this, if it's not too late by then.

Best regards,

Stefaan Van Nuffel.

From: "s. lukos"

Geesh, Doc,

I just scanned the letters following your list of good and evil people, and my reaction is that you might consider editing a bit more. Call it discrimination, censorship, whatever- it's you're sight. You can do what you wish. And you will.

I wish you wouldn't be so democratic. Some of these letters are embarrassing: "you must be a Jew...." I know there are imbeciles masquerading as normal people out there; to see such psycho-babble is disturbing. I try to ignore things that incite me want to rip someone's guts out with a rusty meat hook, then step in the goo. It's not healthy, I tell ya. It makes my eye twitch.=20

I'm going to take my meds now. And my antacid pills. Damn this twitch! Am I evil?

Stravo Lukos

From: Richard Winter

how about saint Dominic...who flayed Hypatia alive ..the last light of the library of alexandria... and sheik omar..who decreed to burn the books of the library ....bringing us into the dark ages...


From: "Ed Gesumaria"

Add Ed Gesumaria, trust me. He's called the Neo-Christ.

From: Susan Woehrle


Ok, just did some research, and that one guy Holmes on your list is from America. Geez, what a psychopath! Well, I reckon you knew that, which was the reason you put him on there. Still, though, couldn't you have found someone who couldn't have used insanity as an excuse? Someone like the guy who orchestrated the Trail of Tears, or something like that? Please add this to my first letter, because I don't want to sound like an idiot for saying you didn't have any Americans on your bad guy list.

-Susan W

P.S.- I can see you've been quite busy since I last looked, getting those letters on that Good and Evil Page. Good for you.

From: fred murray

What about Walt Disney for your good list? He sure should make it into the top 100. his uplifting imagination & animation inventions brought joy & a measure of peace to friend & foe alike. come to think of it Jim Henson might be viewed in the same light. other than an eye for a well-turned female leg at least until the unveiling of the first Disneyland Walt never meant anybody any harm & as far as i can see never did any. i'm sure it could be argued that Disney became a huge financial empire but not during Walt's lifetime. what he actually did through his dreams was lay the groundwork for good to be rewarded in like kind. both Disney & Henson entertained & enlightened as well as educating the world over in their own way.

the problem with this good-evil exercise is that it is difficult to apply anything other than recent history since so much history is lost misunderstood inaccurate or simply legend. even recent history is suspect as we can see from debates over fdr truman & churchill just to name a few. we still don't know who killed jfk so how can we presume to correctly interpret history? isn't that why we are doomed to repeat it over again?

for some other good-list candidates i prefer malcolm x to martin luther king. they were actually both non-violent but i don't think the civil rights movement would have ever gained full strength had not good people begun adhering to the black muslim faith. as a white northern christian i can remember thinking of king as a troublemaker for black & white alike. i thought of malcolm x as a CRAZY troublemaker. well i was obviously wrong but the threat arising from the misperception kept many black persecutors at bay. it took awhile--about 5 years--but white people as well as many black or african-american grew to respect this group of people who simply led their lives in quiet dignity without fanfare or sclc rhetoric. it of course didn't hurt to have some high-profile athletes as representatives or spokespeople for the black muslims but in general these people turned into very good role models for everyone. 2 important deviations of the black muslims from the rev. king philosophies stood out. first why would a society enslaved by another society want to be identified with the offending society's religion particularly when the offended society often had had its own organized religion--islam--before being kidnapped. second why run around constantly making empty-sounding statements about being just as good as white people & being entitled to live among them? the black muslims simply said "why on earth would we ever say we are as good as our captors when we are obviously better than them?" why should we live among them when they lie, cheat, steal, put down, persecute, burn and murder. why do we want to go to their schools when they don't educate? they scared us but they never hurt us. to me the black muslims reclaimed for the african society whatever dignity & progressiveness it might have stripped by the white man. it didn't hurt that we white teenagers had agendas not unlike black muslims at that time of the vietnam travesty. ironically it was the christians who went to war and those scary muslims who chose not to kill.

anyway i wish i knew a few other good people besides americans but it's difficult trying to imagine living in someone else's society. How about simon bolivar. Sorry, though, i forgot exactly what he did. Probably just as well since who knows how many people he killed, right?

i believe albert einstein was more than well-meaning and should probably be on the top 10 of the good list. he never meant to be political but knew what the nazi germans were developing. i don't think his advocacy for atomic weapons was initially for offensive purposes but rather as a deterrent. the information & beliefs he advanced to fdr may well have actually saved the world.

how about edison for the good list? or bell? did they ever hurt anybody? didn't they really help a lot of people somewhat selflessly? hey, you know who i like? da vinci! what was the matter with him? we still don't even know the full impact he has had on mankind a half milennium later. how about mark twain? tchaikovsky? or anton chekhov? how about the crown prince of the good-evil clash alfred nobel?

did any entertainers have a world-wide impact for good? how about jackie gleason, red skelton, bill cosby, emmett kelly or bip the clown? i won't even go into sports from pele to babe ruth to sadaharu oh.

i talked so long i almost forgot my bad guy nominations. actually the only possible new one i can think of is rasputin. he seemed to be able to practice mind-control and sowed the wrong type of revolutionary seed against tsarism in pre-bolshevik russia. he certainly seemed to have authored a tremendous amount of intrigue. in short, what i'm saying is if there were no rasputin there might not have been a lenin or a stalin.

that's about all i have for now. one suggestion might be to leave jesus, buddha and the like off the list because they are the ones defining the list. many of us feel that one or the other weren't even men anyway but were actually divine. others don't even believe they existed. might as well put in robin hood or king arthur. if you put jesus in the good list one viable argument would be to put satan on top of the evil list and so on and on. maybe you could substitute socrates or aristotle. maybe even plato although he might have been a little too strange.

anyway interesting concept. thanks for the ear. keep up the good work. by the way most of the responders have some excellent points one way or the other.

fred murray

From: (Dale Lehman)


This is Dale, from Planet Baha'i. I enjoyed looking over your good & evil lists. I thought you might like to know that although most of the available literature on Gilles de Rais paints him as a monster, there are many who seriously doubt that he was actually guilty of the crimes for which he was convicted and executed. Indeed, his case was reopened not too long ago in France (where there are apparently no time limits on such actions), and a French court reached a not guilty verdict!

My wife Kathleen has had a keen interest in Gilles since she was in high school, and over the years has done an impressive amount of research on him. She had written up her findings and posted them on our personal Web site, but after awhile she decided she didn't have the time or inclination to handle the email that was coming in about it. Basically, she concluded that the available evidence points to political intrigue between France and Brittany as the real culprit in the case. Gilles was caught in the middle and eventually saddled with an outrageous (but fairly standard for the time) battery of false charges in order to get him out of the way and give control of his extensive and strategically-placed properties to Brittany's Duke Jean V.

If she and others who have expressed serious doubts about Gilles' guilt are correct, he doesn't come anywhere near belonging on the evil list. So perhaps you might want to consider either removing him or at least annotating the entry to indicate that there are a lot of questions about what really happened. ;-)



Baha'm Faith:

From: "tarot"

We can only truly judge a persons evilness or goodness when the impetus of their actions has ceased. So long as peoples actions are still influenced by an individual he is still to be accurately judged. Jesus christ as an example may have been considered the most evil man that ever lived during the crusades, or during the attempted conversions of many people of different beliefs right up until the present day. However most people in this century believe the opposite. So is our opinion now valid with the benefits we have of modern technology to guide us. Or will it change in a hundred years time when we discover that jesus's preaching and words were all designed to have far reaching effects into the future for millenia. And how static is our view of evil, is Carl Djerassi a saint for saving so many people so much misery. Or is he a man with far reaching evil influence for his help in elevating our favourite sin to the status of a healthy hobby that provides hours of pleasure in decadent activity and no side effects whatsoever other than official lowerings of ages of consent, followed by personally prescribed unnofficial further lowering of levels of consent, the descent of television standards where each program must go a little further than the one before, and the propogation of the belief that we can sink ourself as far into pleasure as we please with no new side effects. The energy that people once spent on improving the world around them, developing the world we now live need be pushed in this direction no more, the world needs no more growth we now have the freedom to put our energy into dampening mattresses. Pushing the heights of our pleasure so far that pleasure begins to lose it's meaning, until we find that extra little spike for our neuro transmitters. How did we evolve to be what we now are? Triumph over adversity, living through centuries and millennia of hardship. How might we evolve into what we shall become following blindly our desires and removing the obstacles we perceive with constantly upgraded scientific discovery. Maybe we can come up with some fantastic creations, but how weak and feeble the human race. Who does us the most harm the one who strengthens us and tempers us like the blacksmith or the one who spoils us and panders to our every wish. At any one moment it is the one who ensured you feel good now, but everyones feelings are different. The only way to get a truly objective answer is to wait for a time when it is all over, however if it is all over was there ever any real difference between good and evil, they both reach the same end many deaths were caused by the finest men and many deaths were caused by the worst men. In conclusion I can only say that neither good nor evil exist except as fleeting moments in subjective opinion

From: Liggett Family

I think Jesus Christ should be number 1 good person

From: "Sellers David"

I'll have to offer a protest against mother Theresa. yes, her compassion reached hundreds of people and the stuff put into books even more; however, her misappropriation of funds left those hundreds back in poverty. she continually raked in millions of dollars that went undeclared. most went to catholic agencies funding administrative duties and into building funds for her cloister, which goes emptier each year instead of creatively providing a way for the poverty stricken people to achieve independence and freedom not just of mind but also community. therefore her stance basically lifted compassion with the opinion that these people should still be physically oppressed. in addition her continued support of dictators that committed atrocities themselves she is no better than the US, which continues to call terrorists only those that go against the businesses of the US. Wisdom for the day: For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.

From: "Quintessencesluglord"

Hello, Was reading over the site when I was reminded of when my friend mentioned documenting every atrocity in the world. I mentioned that she would never live long enough to see it through. Such is the nature of evil.

It does strike me that beyond "the people I would like/dislike to be in a room with", the criteria used for evil is murder and numbers. Good of a yardstick as any I suppose, although I've always felt betrayal to be among the worse things perpetrated (could cite Dante as a yardstick, but I don't really care).

Also the difficulties of history is written by the victors, and onward: known evil against unknown evil. And are they truly evil? And by what criteria? Leaves much room for doubt.

I wonder if it is really evil people or evil circumstances? And how many other names would have been included if Hirohito (strictly by the numbers) didn't exist or if Hitler got accepted into art school?

Too simplistic in either case.

As for good, non-violence seems to be the running theme. Does that make violence evil? Avoidance of violence good? I would probably be in the minority in thinking violence is a tool that can be used for either.

Good seems to be at a loss to evil just because of the sheer scope of evil (see above). I think of good as that which exalts the soul. Luckily there has been more good than evil in my life, although none of which would make your list (the lists for good and evil are highly personal, although I like the "Satan Set" idea).

And what about those people that are a highly refined mixture of both? Personally, I'd rather share a room with them than with Gandhi or Mother Theresa any day.


Reprint what you like.

From: amy

To Mr Pickover, I really like the ESP Experiment, as you already know and I also think that the effect of the rippling water in the caverns is really smart and attractive. It looks very real. I find that after listening to some of Enya's music, I can melt into a world of my own surrounded by calming colours and peaceful sounds. It really helps to relax me and bring out my inner self. A year ago in my Religious Education lessons at school, we had to do a similar exercise. I really enjoy everything we do in RE and would like to teach the subject when I am older.

I also enjoyed having a look at your art work. I think that the Circuit Swirl is my favourite. I like the way it fans out at the bottom. The Infinate Curl is another of my favourites, it is very effective.

I was very interested to read The Scales of Good and Evil. Some of the methods used to kill people were pretty gruesome! There really are some evil people in the world but I suppose, at least there is some element of good to balance up the scales.

In answer to the questions that you asked about the Good and Evil Scales, I think that it is easier to think of bad examples than good ones because people are very insecure and it is easier to pick faults than it is to praise people.

I think a good way to explain why I think this is true is an example of bullying during childhood.

Bullies tend to pick on other people to hide there own faults and make themselves look stronger and better people than they really are. They want to show the world that there are worse people out there than themselves.

When we have to think of people who have done good, we start to look at our own lives and the way we have acted in the past. We compare ourselves and possibly start to feel ashamed or guilty. I think people need to open up to themselves and become aware of who they are before they try to be something else.

(These are just my opinions, they probably aren't true but they are just my feelings and reactions when I have been in similar situations.)

I think it is easier to do something big and bad than big and good, on a short term scale. It is easy to press a button and wipe out a huge community of innocent people with a bomb than it is to convert your life to poverty and experience the appalling conditions that less fortunate people have to endure day by day, in order to help them.

However, I think that on a long term scale, whether you are religious or not, people have a conscience that catches up with them sooner or later. Guilt eats away at their mind and even if it has no phsical effect, the person could never live with themselves deep down. They possibly even do more evil things to cover up other evil things that they have done in the past.

Even if some good people like Mother Teresa have no possessions, money, health, clothes, hygiene etc, they still have love, honour and respect. They can feel true and pure to themselves and not afraid to find out who they are and sacrifice their lives for the happiness of others.

I think that the scales balance because although the evil people probably killed more people than the good people saved, everyone in the world remembers them for the evil acts they carried out. They are regarded as evil, sick and twisted people and have no respect or honour. However, people such as Mother Teresa, even after she passed away, people still remember her and hold her and her work in the highest standard of respect, admiration and love.

I think that a very good read that made me think about both sides of conflict is 'Black Hawk Down'. It made me have a slightly different way of looking at things. It tought me to look underneath the skin and think of possible explanations and points of view, other than your own. It also tought me that there are separate elements of good and evil on both sides and things aren't always what they seem.

Anyway, sorry to have droned on so much. I would be very interested to know what you think about The Scales of Good and Evil. Do you think it balances?

Thank you for reading this, Amy Sorensen.

From: Daria

I'm interested in your sources on the Vlad Tepes entry. I've read a few books on him which took a very different slant of his intentions - and didn't include some details that you mention. In fact, I've never heard him described as evil or sadistic - ruthless, yes. I'd say the same for Ghengis Khan. He wasn't more bloodthirsty than his environment called for... and in conquering most of the world he brought about more good than bad consequences. At least one of those should be replaced with Caligula.

I am also surprised at the inclusion of Abraham Lincoln in the 'good' section. Yes, Lincoln freed the slaves; but that was a political move, not a moral one. He was an admitted racist, who thought that black people shouldn't even live among whites in order to serve them.

I think there is room for women on the 'evil' list - Countess Elizabeth Bathory, for instance. However, evil does not have to be restricted to physical sadism. Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake" was an indication of evil in my estimation.

From: APirkl

mother theresa needs to be moved from the "good list" to the "evil list". why?

read christopher hitchens biography, _missionary position_.

From: "Chris Addison"

pretty good work on the bad list. the good list needs some more thought. People are good or bad not solely because of their actions, but their motivations. For instance, Abraham Lincoln did not free slaves (at all, really) because slavery is wrong, much to the chagrin of the white-washed-history buffs, but rather to cripple the southern states financially.

Mother Theresas statement about this is how we fight abortion in Africa says it all.

Chris Addison Wildlife Ecologist Cascadia Natural Resource Consultants

From: reception

Short and sweet. How about Jerry Falwell. He is quite evil for spreading = lies and misinformation about homosexuals worldwide, and is particularly = infamous for even blaming the recent terroist attacks on Gay Americans.=20


From: "aaron keeler"

i'd certainly remove mother teresa from the 'good' list, especially in light of your position on birth control: mother teresa's dogmatic insistence on the sinfulness of birth control has contributed to the spread of std's, overpopulation, & the subjugation of women throughout india & the region.

i'm not sure if you're measuring intent or result, but lincoln freed the slaves largely as a matter of political expediency: industrialism, not the agrarianism of the southern u.s., was the future. although i must admit, i'm no real expert on this subject, i don't think my position on lincoln is very unusual or contentious.

if you're including torquemada & vlad the impaler, people whose contributions to history include, but are not limited to the butchering of civilians, then henry kissinger & richard nixon should be on the list. the u.s. military decimation of hundreds of thousands -- at least -- of vietnamese, laoatian, & cambodian civilians is one of the high points, in terms of sheer numbers, of 20th century violence.

and finally, just so it's not all blood & guts in my email, i suggest as some of the 'goodest' people in history lao tzu, who may never have existed; lester b. pearson, who was instrumental in the creation of u.n. peacekeeping; & the author of silent spring, whose name i can't recall, but whose work virtually invented the concept of environmentalism. none of my 'good' nominees is perfect, but all are worth considering, i think.

From: MHP

4 I question your placing of Moses on the list of the most good people on two grounds. (1) It is not entirely certain that he ever actually existed. He may be no more than a purely legendary figure of a particular ancient people. (2) Assuming that he was a real person and the Old Testament contains an accurate record of his life and deeds, he is responsible for killing quite a few people, both among the Hebrews (for disagreeing with him, or rather, with God's will), and outsiders, whom he directed the Hebrews to mercilessly exterminate to the last individual, including women, children, the sick and elderly, and even their livestock. Definitely not actions worthy of someone generally regarded as "good." Oh, well, I guess it just shows that ideas about what constitutes good and evil do change with time. Vlad Tepes and Torquemada were looked upon favorably by many in their time. E-mail me and give me some feedback.

MHP, North Providence, RI

From: "Neal, Thad M"


Found your page from a link in a story on

I found your site very interesting. Not sure about the puzzle. Didn't really get a chance to look at it in detail.

The list of good and evil is thought provoking. Would have included some of the Roman Emperors. Also, McCarthy may not have killed anyone, but he sure as hell highlights the insidious nature in humans.

I'm not really a believer in aliens per se. I just haven't been shown anything tangible to go on.

I am very interested in your 4th dimension theory. I am a simple IT project manager, but I like to ponder such topics to take me out of the world of pushed implementation time frames and sky rocketing budgets.

Thanks for the effort.

Thad Neal

From: Leah Faerstein

I have an explanation for the Tepes debate. You see, in our history books he was presented as our treasure from the past (the way you would talk here about Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln). The main reason he was revered was, I think, his success in staving the Ottoman invasion - the major historical problem of that corner of Europe for centuries. The torture part was very cursory mentioned, and mostly, as someone wrote you as some socially redeeming action ("he did it to the rich only") These were history books in a communist regime. So, I was shocked myself in finding out the whole truth about Tepes - my first reaction was also: "This can't be right". But it is.

On "Clinton more evil than Hitler": Never underestimate the power of sexual frustration. Misery loves company and people who can't get any will not forgive those who do. $70 million was spent to find something sinister about this great president and all they could come up with was a blow job! Asked why do right wingers hate him so much, Clinton said: "Because I won"

The wingnuts thought they had the power divinely bestowed on them and the unwashed masses dared elect one of them! Evil! I noticed someone nominated Al Gore for "trying to steal the election". We know he won and the SCOTUS 5 handed it to W. I was considering nominating W - he has enough to his credit already. On second thought, given the magnitude of the historical figures you picked, he needs to work on it more. (If proof actually emerges that 9.11 was his team creation, he should definitely qualify)

From: Murtaza Akbar Rehmtulla

From: Don Young

Please add to the evil list any of our earlier presidents involved in the "Indian problem". Andrew Jackson might be a start. He set up many treaties and broke them, was involved in Indian Wars for land; land that he and his relatives became rich from through speculations and sales.

These leaders, directly or indirectly, are responsible for stealing land (most of the country in fact) from the only really true Americans. Killing many in wars for that land, killing many on death marches west (Trail of Tears). Yet when it happens to our side during WWII, we are horrified at the atrocity!

We set these people up on reservations set aside on completely worthless ground. We continued to conquer and try to annihilate their descendants through economic means, until they found a way to use the legal system and set up those god-awful gambling casinos throughout the country. The treatment of these people sounds like genocide to me, no different than the Jews in Germany or the Armenians.

I also remember reading somewhere of blankets being sent to Indian reservations, blankets infected with small pox. We were developing biological warfare way back then in the good old days.

When I think of how we came to be these 50 United States through a policy of Manifest Destiny (greed), it makes me sick. Couldn't this nation have been made great using moral and ethical means?

Then we top it off by putting our greatest leaders in stone on land considered sacred by the Sioux. We should be truly ashamed of past.


From: "Chris M"

I think you should add Lord De Soulis (Lion Of The North) to your list as he: Was a giant of a man he and quickly became loathed by his vassals on whom he inflicted all sorts of humiliating and oppressive acts. He enjoyed power and ruthlessly exploited his position at the expense of anyone who came his way. He took a delight in inflicting pain and misery on his people. He was said to be in league with the devil and indulged in all kinds of black magic and witchcraft. And on one day, in 1320, Lord de Soulis, took a fancy to a young lady, an Armstrong, who lived nearby. To satisfy his passions, he decided to seize her regardless of her wishes. Riding to her home he was confronted by her father who was determined to defend his daughter. Not being used to having his desires frustrated, de Soulis struck out at the man and killed him. The local people had witnessed the incident, and Soulis would have been slain by the infuriated mob and he was forced to abandon his prize and flee for his life. He would certainly have been killed but for the intervention of Alexander Armstrong, the Laird of Mangerton, who, arriving on the scene in the nick of time, restrained the crowd, and escorted de Soulis back to Hermitage De Soulis, safe at home, felt no gratitude to the man who had saved his life. Indeed, he was offended that a man whom he regarded as his social inferior could so control his people and save his life. Brooding over these thoughts, he sent an invitation to Alexander, inviting him to a banquet at Hermitage to demonstrate his appreciation and thank him for his help. But on arriving at the castle Alexander was attacked and murdered by De Soulis, stabbing Alexander in the back.

From Anon:

Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Just because they didn't entirely succeed, doesn't mean they shouldn't make the list.

From: "ThenWhen" Diane:

It makes my heart ache to read the comments from Marius.

During the Bosnia war my husband & I began to talk about the nature of evil. What was it, we wondered, that could make grandmothers wish to gouge the eyes out of the neighbor's children? Saying that they had lost their own children or grandchildren seemed no explanation at all. Why wouldn't suffering the unbearable loss of a child make them doggedly determined not to inflict the same horror on another mother? Slowly it began to dawn on me that that question itself carried at least a partial explanation for evil.

My theory is this. They didn't SUFFER the unbearable loss, they are trying to pass it on.

I have come to believe loss distills into compassion only when it has been fully experienced. This process dissembles a person at every level; there is often tremendous physical pain, dreams and hopes and goals are abandoned or restructured. One's faith, if it existed previously, frequently feels insufficient for the new suffering. For longer than the person can bear there is an emptiness, and then imperceptibly a new larger self appears. This new self weeps for neighbor children as well as one's own.

This transformation is difficult for all humans*. It requires tremendous courage, which is to say love. (Cour coming from the French for heart - courage being a fully funded heart.) When a loss occurs to a person who has not been sufficiently encouraged, or when it happens in a culture that frames extended grief or suffering as weakness, the wounded may turn to revenge. The impact of their loss has left them with sufficient energy to destroy a persona. Unable to apply it to themselves, it bounces around inside them like St. Elmo's fire. Thermodynamics speaks of the properties of energy, that it can be transferred from entity to entity, that it decays into heat. Interestingly, acts of revenge or destruction are often described in terms of fire or heat.

In the moment that the murderer is executed in Texas, or the stone hits the Israeli soldier's face, or the bomb shatters the toddlers jaw, there is a flash, a flush of heat in the one who is passing on a grief they cannot bear. Of course, the transfer is incomplete. Rarely does the act of revenge result in full relief. It is sometimes diminished, sometimes it just spreads until it reaches the body of someone who is either funded to feel it, or so unable to pass it on that in time it works its transformation on them against their will.

As a child I had heard the Jews called "the chosen people." With ghettos and genocide going back hundreds of years, I remember thinking "Chosen for WHAT, for suffering!?" Perhaps the answer to that question is yes. For centuries the Jewish people were the great wire where suffering went to ground. But that time seems to have passed - these days, Israeli soldiers shoot back at Arab boys. The chosen people have quit, the rest of us are going to have to learn to process our own grief or watch it transmute to contagious evil.

So, what is there to do. Well, for myself I take the following policy. When faced with loss, I grieve. Sometimes I grieve for losses that touch me only peripherally.

I answer statements of grief with a simple "yes". ("I miss him" "yes" "We were going to go to Holland" "yes")

I refrain from bright siding people ("Holland will still be there"; "You'll feel better soon")

I trust that children can survive gentle truth - "Grandma is gone from this world forever, you will probably miss her most at Christmas when the chair she used to sat on is empty, sometimes you will smell places that remind you of her house and it might make your throat and heart hurt a bit." "You loved Mittens very much. Mittens loved you. Remember how she would rub against your legs. Remember how soft she was. ...yes...yes...yes."

*There is a Zen tale of a master who lost his son. His disciples asked him, "why master are you weeping, when you teach that all is illusion?" He answers "to lose a child is the most painful of illusions"

Thank you for your site

Diane Buenger

From: "Sean Griffin"

G'day Cliff,

I received a link to your Top Ten Evil list via a UFO-related mailing = list recently.

I was astounded at the reaction from Marius to your description of Vlad. This debate really struck a chord with me, and I felt compelled to write to you about it.

It wasn't so much the content that gave me an uncontrollable desire to side with you on this topic. I was more so the tone (or undertones) of the discussion.

As a supporter of the UFO cause myself, I've had countless debates of a similar nature with friends and skeptics. The result is usually the same - utter bewilderment. I've always considered my thought processes to be much different from others. And found it frustrating to be unable, as you were, to reach a sensible conclusion on such matters. I realise now I'm not alone.

I can't but help to put myself in these situations time and time again. Thinking perhaps one day my point will make it across. If only I had been able to record the details of the conversation, I might have later discovered where the inconsistencies occurred. Then I would feel more comfortable with my cause (knowing I am justified in my thinking).

I thought you handled the barrage on incoherent rebuttal very well. Congratulations on keeping your composure! (I still can't believe people like Marius exist).

This information is so valuable to me. I'd like to ask for your permission to use it on my own web-site.

Regards, Griffo Jnr. (Bach.App.Sc.)

U f o l o g i s t

From: Eluthingol77@

1.- julius stricher.

2.- saddam hussein,


4.-ted bundy,

From: Dean Lett

Who are the most evil people to ever walk the face of the earth? I guess I have a slightly different view on evil than you do. All the people on your dark list are of course monsters, and have probably done more evil, and directly caused more pain and suffering than any number of creatures I can dredge out of recent headlines (people like Ted Bundy, and Jeffrey Dalmer), but when it comes to real evil all the creatures on your list are merely pawns compared to what I'm about to reveal. Before I reveal this let me ask you a question. What do you think is scarier the evil that waits for us in the dark alley ways of life, or the invisible evil that walks among us in the broad day light of human acceptance, wearing the mask of the most beautiful or handsome face, totally hiding the most hideous monster from our plain sight? the scariest evil is the kind you can't see coming. You can't hear a wicked laughter. You can't even hear the footsteps of this creature as it approaches you, because it's not coming to you--it's already there. Chances are you've been embracing it all your life without even knowing it. That's the way real evil is, it's a magician that walks with us in the broad day light, and we have no idea that we should be trembling in its presence. We have no idea we should be revolted. The magician artfully misdirects our eyes and even what we need to hear. It's voice is calm, soothing, always reasonable. And as we walk with it it in turn secretly drops the seeds of terror and agony that will insure that the most demented men imaginable will come into existence to be a terrible thorn in the side of all who are decent and peaceful. Real evil is like the ambient noise coming from the earth itself, its not that it doesn't make a sound, its that the sound is covered up by the rustle of the leaves, and a thousand other distracting noises that make up our daily experience. It takes an extremely quiet mind to hear the whispers of evil, and it is only such a mind who stands a chance in the real fight. I'll leave you to ponder these things before I reveal more.


From: "Justin"

Now, onto the other contents of ur site.... ...i found it to be a site worth adding to my list of fav's, especially after i read the section of 'evil people'. Im a bit of a history buff myself and enjoyed reading ur interpretation of our species' worst. I was thinking that perhaps the marquis de sade should be there. I know he didnt actually commit the offences that he describes in his "120 days of sodom" but its the sheer nature of his thinking thats evil enough to make it to the list. Also, i knew Genghis Khan wasnt a role model citizen, but i had no idea he was so evil. I read some of the history of Marco Polo and how he lived with Kublai Khan, and no mention was given of the violent nature of Kublais grandfather. Was Kublai the complete opposite of Genghis is terms of his method of ruling?

Keep up the great work, you have a new fan :)

Cordially, Justin C


Osma Bin laden

From: Matt Hill

I recently purchased The Alien IQ Test and found your website from it. The book has proven fun and challenging, but your website takes the cake as far as overall intellectual stimulation is concerned. I certainly plan on purchasing more of your books in the near future.

I was reading your top 10 good people list, and my immediate reaction was that Jesus should be higher on the list than Buddha. I was taken aback by your minimalist description of Jesus' contributions to the world ("preaching of love"). But after I saw that Buddha had a stronger influence on society with the pacifist movement, I understood where you were coming from. But I ask you; can a person's goodness be evaluated by the resolve of his or her followers?

If that is the case, then it seems Buddha would win. The majority of his followers subscribed to his teachings of pacifism and led relatively peaceful lives. Jesus' followers seem to have a zero-sum when it comes to goodness (consider the apostles versus the crusaders), but another problem with that logic lies in how a "follower of Jesus" is defined. For the most part, not many people during the Crusades are considered Christians, by the standards of a modern-day Christian. Jesus did preach love, as you said, but I think the phrase is ambiguous and does not do his ministry justice.

Buddha taught a disconnected regard for others. Jesus taught an active and self-denying regard for others. In theory, Jesus' teachings were much higher on the scale of "goodness", but his followers were unable to measure up. Buddha's followers needed only to turn the other cheek--a much easy standard to comply to.

I hope to hear from you about your criteria for your top 10 list. Thank you for your time.


Matt Hill

From: "Marc Yelverton"


I was impressed by your site, not so much by the list, but the dialoge it sparked. I must confess that I did not read every response, but i read enough to get the gist of the responses. I think the explanation you gave in consideration of whether Vlad was evil was an excellent one. if you remove the name of a person, and just list the crimes and any justifications they have for their actions could said person be considered evil? I think this is a fair and intelligent question to ask. The problem is first of all that most people have no real conception of what evil is. Secondly they do not apply this definition even if they have it because of mitigating factors and lastly, even considering the aforementioned, people tend to romantacize larger evils lessening their impact whil magnifiying petty evils.

I have a very simple definition of evil by which I judge an action. Are people evil? Yes, but I chose to define what is actually evil first. I will admit right now that I have certain biases, so I removed all concideration of the notion of religious and governmental authority on the definition of evil. My definition of evil is thus: Evil is the harming of(or intent to harm) others by an act of willful intention to cause that harm.

By my definition, nearly everyone at one time or another is guilty of some evil action. That is not say that humanity is evil, like I said, I leave that type of thinking to religions. As such things done by accident are not evil --which I hope most people would agree upon. Plotting to murder, rape or simply attack as well as acting upon those intentions are evil. Someone who does not wish to have these actions visited upon them is being harmed. I can't honestly say that the Clinto fiasco counts as evil. I don't know all the details, and we probably never will. Now America's bombings of foreign countries, and the actions of various leaders around the world are evil. No one accidently bombs another, you cannot accidently deny people their human rights, nor can you accidently force them accept your religious or political beliefs. I think that people's sex lives, jay walkers, speeders, pot smokers are not topics to be considered evil. Religion only becomes a topic of evil when a believer tries to force a non believer to behave different by force and coersion.

I think that is why some visitors to your site dispute whether or not a particular figure is evil. Evil acts do not make a person evil. However, some people are evil. If you repeatedly chose to perform evil actions, and in fact take delight in them, then I think it's a safe bet to say that you are evil.

From: "Tarot Atkinson"

I haven't spotted any mention whatsoever of Henry VIII of England a man = so obsessed that he must have a male heir that despite the english = monarchies position as defender of the catholic faith he created his own = protestant branch "the church of england" simply so that he would be = able to divorce his wife whom he believed was cursed by god to bear him = only daughters. He then went through a succession of wives, executing = or imprisoning them as the dissapointed him, The rift he created in the = christian church led to civil war and dispute throughout europe and = further afield. Illustrated most clearly to those growing up through = the twentieth century by the Northern island conflict which has raged = for hundreds of years between the catholics and protestants. A man who = twisted his children so much that his eldest daughter continued the = slaughter of those opposing the new belief long after his death and his = forced and doubtlessly bloody dissolution of the monasteries throughout = england plundering the wealth of the roman church.

Hi im going to give myself a different name so as im not critisized.

From Dren

Im American and i totally disagree with you and some of what martin said.

you really are quite ignorant and i suggest you do more research you do keep arguing with the same facts and that just proves how stupid and ignorant you are.

I disagree with martin in what i believe him to be saying all americans are evil i dont know if he means this directly thats just what i pulled from it. Not all americans are evil but a great deal are nationalistic dumbasses who couldnt tell their left from there right. I my self will probably move somewhere to in europe when im older and or move to canada. YOU however should rethink the way you look and research your issues.

From: Dean Lett

Let me give you a few more thoughts on pure evil, the evil so subtle that most people don't even know it when they see it. What follows should give you a pretty objective understanding of where the human race stands in regards to this evil, and from this we should gain an accurate perception of the relative strength of our collective sanity.

The bad news is that we are not as good as we would like to think we are. Pure evil has a greater foothold over us than we would like to imagine. It's not as bad as you think it is--it's even worse. The good news is I think the best wisdom is on its way, and the kind of wisdom being applied in every day situations can make all the difference in the world. Right now our wisdom in this area is very weak, and the worst part is that we don't even know it's weak, and could be made more powerful and effective with the right focus.

Why is this wisdom so weak? From what source does such immense evil come from? From my perspective the kind of evil that has thwarted human endeavor since the most ancient of times almost always has its birth in our predilection for choosing unbalanced philosophies by which to govern our lives. Why do we always choose unbalanced philosophies? Why does it always lead to evil or great danger?

First you must understand that the evil with which I speak was seared in the most ancient of times, and the problem is that since those days we (especially our philosophers) have never confronted the problem right where it lays. We have never said, "This is where the evil begins, let us not follow down this pathway." No we don't do that because the evil is usually to subtle to see, but I'm about to break it down for you. First of all what do you think it means to have an unbalanced philosophy??

From: Michele Boule

Hi - I just wanted to note the absence of any women on your most evil persons list.....interesting.....not too many on the good list either.... Thanks.

From: "Julian Knight"

Hello Cliff,

Great Site! One note though. While I more or less agree with your picks for Good and Evil, I notice that you seem to give special placement ( I'm assuming they are ranked in order?) to the Pacificists in History. While certainly they could not be accused of great evil, I would submit that those who actively fight evil are perhaps far more worthy of our praise than those who merely refuse to succumb to it. Gandhi is oft praised for pacifism, but in and of itself it is rarely successful. It only works when: 1. the rest of the world is united against the oppressive force, and 2. the oppressive force (usually civilized nations) cares what the rest of the world thinks. This was the case for Britain. It has done nothing for say, the Tibetan Monks.

As an example, if you were a Jew dying in Dachau, who would you consider the "better" person? The guy who just shot and bayoneted 20 Nazis to get to you and free you, or the Pacificists in Denmark who sits back and generally decries all war. Personally, I think the warriors who fight for the cause of freedom, democracy, and eliminate those who would bring evil to our world are far more worthy of praise than overweight philosophers who have the luxury of expounding on the virtues of peace when they are not being rounded up, gassed, or impaled.

I have long held it's easy to be a liberal. (Not accusing you). You just have to say the right words, and you are immediately given credit for being wise, compassionate, and caring. It's much tougher to take the conservative road and willingly confront evil and risk your life to defend the principles of goodness that others will only defend with words. That's why there alot more liberals/Pacificists/humanists in the world, especially in Europe. We have have taken on the responsibility of defending them from the world's evil and keeping them from each others throats so that they can have time and luxury to criticize us for being to arrogant/imperialist. Their defense of Vlad just goes to show you their warped sense of Good vs. Evil. It, like most liberalism, is based on class envy, and as long as bad things happen to a guy with a dollar more than you, it's OK.

Oh, and the idea that Clinton ranks among the most evil in history is ludicrous. I couldn't stand him as President as he continualy flaunted and broke the law, the cornersone of a true democracy, but he did not reek the carnage/suffering that other's did in History. History will judge him as one of the most ethically bankrupt Presidents ever, but then the American people get what they deserve. I think now people are beginning to realize it takes more than Populist policy positions and an inhereted good economy to go down in History as a great man. Character really does count in the end, if you want to be remebered as a great man.To politicains like him, the worst punishment of all is a failed legacy, and that's where history will thankfully put him.

J.K. USMC (Full-time Warrior, Part-time philosopher)- Tampa, FL

From Jim:


What a plethora of opinions! I found it quite interesting reading virtually all the write-ins as to additions or subtractions to your list. I tried to look at each of them with no contempt prior to investigation. For the most part I was able to do that but had a few thoughts of contempt prop up in hearing some of the defenses put forth defending what some of those on your evil list did, (Vlad, etc.)

I really only propose to list just "one" for the good side as I found it indeed interesting that you used the scale analogy of what good would it take to counterweight a given evil. Using this analogy, and taking it a bit farther.....

I propose that you add Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert H. Smith, (Dr. Bob), cofounders of Alcoholics Anonymous to your good list with this reasoning. These two men started a movement which today has helped millions to have recovered from alcoholism. Their same 12 Step program has been beneficially copied to help millions of others recover from various other dysfunctional conditions, narcotics, gamblers, overeaters, etc., to name a few.

What makes them qualified for this list is that unlike a pill or vaccine discovered, what these men did was give their program away freely, in fact, to fully recover from your ailment, you must unselfishly give away (help another who ask your help), what was so freely given you. Thus it grows exponentially! One man/woman helps another, who might go on to help 3 more, who might go on to help 3 more, and on and on.... When you think of the productivity and positive affect put back into the world instead of the other way around, what these two men did is indeed truly remarkable. No one makes money doing this, they just better society by becoming functional, responsible members of society. I don't think you'll have to search far for any information on these two men and I would bet a dime to a dollar that you work around one of these "Friends of Bill W" and possibly don't even know it. Bill Wilson was nominated for numerous awards and honorary degrees, but in the interest of anonymity, would never accept them for himself. Dr. Bob died in 1950 of cancer with 15 years of sobriety, while Bill Wilson died in 1970 with over 35 years of sobriety. These men gained definitely not monetarily, nor did they gain fame in mainstream society, (except among those within the program).

Just a thought that might get you thinking of how the scales might be affected on the good side as it grows just as a good cell might split and split again. Your request for comments might be over, but I had not seen these names mentioned so I though I'd throw my two cents worth in. If needed, you may publish, or list this response.

Jim S. Cincinnati, Ohio

From: "Red"

I have tried not to re-read any of the messages, so as to keep my first gut feelings fresh...

One point I feel sticks out is that it seems to make a difference as to the why's ads wherefores of the actions.

Deb's comments about Clinton revolve around not only why he does what he does - but also does he know the consequences of his actions? Furthermore is it reasonable for us to expect better decisions resulting in 'less' suffering. If the answers to these questions are yes - then Clinton would indeed be evil. If the answer in Vlad's case was no - then he would not be evil.

I have to agree with your point about his almost pathological enjoyment of watching agony - but are those statements editorialisations of the staight facts? It would be easy to editorialise Clinton as a sex slave puppet of his wife Hilary (who looks most of the time to be in psychic contact with the Prince of darkness) - but that is what the tabloid sensationalist papers would do - surely not historians?

It is a deep question - and I would love to see a page inserted before your evil people page discussing these factors. For example could we with modern techniques discern that he was in fact mentally ill, needed help, and in fact was allowed to come to power by truly evil people? Don't forget the story of the boiling frog - Us in the democratised west have spent too long assuming that democracy works, and that our leaders are in some way more enlightened that those in the past. This is obviously not true - and watching the current Middle east problems one has to wonder if Bush will one day be called 'evil' for his failure to act consistently against those who wish to opress others - to condemn some terrorists, and not others is qualatatively equal to endorsing some terrorists.

Red Reid-Pitcher, Hong Kong

P.S. Love the web site - it has inspired me to make my own - coming soon = is, or possibly - haven't paid yet! Thanks again.

From: jwbb2

Not in order:

1.Countess Elizabeth Bathory of Hungary who, in order to maintain her youthfull look, commissioned a Swiss click mechanic to construct a device with which she encased young maidens having them crushed to death and their blood showered down upon her, with the assistance of her handmaidens. Finally, she was walled up in her room by the Bathory family and fed through a hole in the door. Her family was the royal family of Hungary. Estimated body count: 2000.

2. Queen Victoria. Under her reign was the Irish Potato Famine in which the Irish were forbidden to hunt, fish or forage and confined to their plots for potatoes which were rotted by a fungus. Estimated starved to death: Up to 100,000. Campaigns in South Africa against the Zulu, Tutu and Dutch Boers. Estimated dead: >1 million. The Khyber and Pushta invasions of Northern India and Pakistan. Cannot estimate native dead. British invasion of China resulting in the starvation and addiction to opium of millions all over the world and the eventual Boxer Rebellion in 1910. Estimated Chinese casualties in starvation alone: >3 million. Rule Brittania! (Hey. I love the British. I'm a Royalist. Rule Prince Michael Stewart!)

3. Antonin Beria, head of the KGB during the reign of Stalin. Went around in a specially built armored locomotive (You can see it in the James Bond movie "Goldeneye") arresting, torturing, maiming thousands upon thousands and raping as many as an estimated (by his count) over 10,000 girls under 10yrs. old. Beria was finally executed by Kruschev.

4.Countess Lucretia Borgia who would marry men then have them poisoned to death. She is reported to also have three of her own children assassinated.

5.Too big to enumerate: Please read "The Bad Popes" by Walter Nigg and the book "The Vicars of Christ". Some of these Popes were among the worst.

6.Edgar "Pop" Buell, purported missionary for a Heartland American evangelistic organization, actually a CIA employee, aided the Kuominh Tang of the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia in the 1960s-1970s, buying opium from them and paying in gold, cattle, chickens and grain. He used the CIA airlines Air America and Continental Air for the transport with home base a Udorn AFB in thailand. How many he was involved in addicting? Unknown.

7.James Jesus Angleton, CIA Chief of Counterintelligence from 1954 to 1973. Paranoid and secretive, drug and alcohol addict, performing 'uncoverage' missions without official sanction, in order to fine a "Soviet Mole" in the Company. Had many good agents and analysts fired and ruined, illegally imprisoned and had tortured for three years the Soviet defector Yuri Nosenko. After the exposure of this action, Nosenko was released, paid several million dollars a year for the rest of his life, given a position as a consultant in the CIA and because he defected as a Field Grade Soviet officer, was afforded all the privileges of a retired US General, and POW status. In the three years, Nosenko lost his teeth, all muscle tone, suffered kidney and liver disease, ricketts and survived extreme depression, a series of phobias, and several nutritional diseases as weel as continual sleep deprivation. It took him over five years to supposedly fully recover. In 1972 Angleton drank himself to death. There are no indications of awards available to public by the FBI and all references to him have been sealed.

8. The Marques deSade: Copriphilic, Pederast, rapist, pornographer, Sado-masochist, thief, conman, pathological liar, syphilitic, he spent his life in the pursuit of the forbidden. Though no one knows of deaths, there may be estimates somewhere of lives and minds he ruined.

9. President Botha of Union South Africa. He ruled South Africa and actually had a mission to eliminate the natives calling them "virtually useless subhumans good only for our purposes." He had Stephen Biko killed and Mandela imprisoned. No estimate is available for his imprisonments, torutures and killings. He was an all-round bad guy.

10.Simon deMonfort, British ex-patriot, murderer, thief, papal sycophant, brigand and all round bad guy. This is the man who was commissioned by Pope Innocent III to eliminate the Albigensian Cathars, a Manichaean Christian Dualist sect of the South of France. It was he who, when asked by a commander how he would know who was and who was not a Cathar so he could kill them, ordered: "Kill them all. God will know His own". Estimated casualties in the Crusade alone: 2 million. His involvement in the seige on Constantinople adds another 100,000. He died in battle in 1218, supposedly by one of his own lieutenants.

11. Lt. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman whose "March to the Sea" from Chattanooga in a "Scorched Earth" campaign laid waste a 20mile wide swath of destruction and decimation to Savannah. Unknown innocents killed. Millions of acres destroyed. He went about his men joking and making racist comments and epithets. He had little opposition because after the battle of Chiccamauga the Rebel armies were concentrated in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. After the Civil War he was assigned the task of rounding up native americans and either putting them into desolate reservations, or outright annhilations. His comment on them: "It is indeed too bad we may not eliminate them all. They are too primative and inhuman to be allowed such rich environs. If at all possible, we should seek any opportunity, for the logisitic and economic sake, to eliminate as many of these soulless and Godless bastards as we can." No estimate to the casualties in all.

Others later: Pope John XIII, Edward Teller, Eduard Pinochet, Antonio Samosa, the Nicaraguan 14 Families, Juan Peron, Pappa Doc Duvaille, Nilolai Chowchescku, Karenski, Otto von Bismark, Pope Pius VI, The Gang of Four, Rabbi Maier Kahane, Ayn Rand, Roy Masters, Jim Jones, John Wayne Gacey, Richard Speck, Richard Nixon, Martha Stuart, Ayatollah Khomenei, Nikita Kruschev, Antonyi Kryklenko, the Serbian Seven, Attaturk, the Sassins, the Tugs, the Quominh Tang, the Tong, the Russian Mafia, the Menudo, the Bulgarian Gypsies, the Ick,. (and there are lost more.)

What differentiates Good from Evil? Ans: Evil cannot sustain itself. It seems always to cannibalize itself to extinction.

Good seeks intentionally to sustain itself with healthy action. It lasts.

Good guide books:

Children of the Lie by M. Scott Peck, MD

Whatever Became of Sin? Konrad Lorenz

Anything by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Anything by Lanza delVasto

The Book of Ammon by Ammon Hennacy

Guide for the Perplexed by Moses ben Miamon (Miamonides)

The Way of Aikido

Anything by Walker Percy

Essays for the Green Revolution by Peter Maurin. (Also known as "Easy Essays")

The Analects of Confucious

Anything by Simon Weil, especially "Human Obligations"

Anything by Nikolai Berdyaev

Anything by Victor Hugo

Ba ha'u allah and the New Era. (B'hai text)

Anything by Jacques Mauritain

Anything by Emmanuel Mounier

The Kingdom of God is Within You by Leo Tolstoy (Letters to Adin Ballou)

Anything by Byzantine Catholic Archbishop Joseph Raya

Little By Little by Dorothy Day

(Why not the K'uran, the Holy Bible, The Book of Mormon, the Bagavad Gita or the Sri Upanishads or Damapada? I don't think they are good books about peace. The Upanishads and the Damapada tell you more about how to escape the emotions of life rather than rejoice in them. Buddah may have been a good guy, but I don't go fo his "detachment" theories.) Hope this helps.

From: craig fontaine

From an American Indian perspective Christopher Columbus has to rank as one of the most evil people to ever walk the earth.I also object to Abraham Lincolns position on the list as the top ten good people for the very reason he ordered the largest public execution in the history of the United States of Dakota Sioux in Mankato,Minnesota.Megwetch,Craig K. Fontaine

From: Arthur62008

It is interesting to see that there re a number of myths regarding the evil people suggested. For instance regarding Genghis Khan, it is accepted that steppe peoples were more tolerant than their urbanized neighbours to conquered peoples. It is unfair to have singled out Genghis Khan for having said "Man's greatest good fortune is to chase and defeat his enemy, seize his total possessions, leave his married women weeping and wailing, ride his gelding, use his women as a nightshirt and support, gazing upon and kissing their rosy breasts, sucking their lips which are as sweet as the berries of their breasts." because it is a myth that the Mongols were unique in this regard. European knights at the time were doing the same thing. Steppe peoples have traditionally been demonized by their neighbours. Atilla would be another example. Pre-literate societies have always been represented only through the eyes of other peoples who often were their enemies. Giles de Rais, it is nowadays accepted, was the victim of political propaganda. Similarly, the criticism of Ceaucescu is unfair that he decreed that all women must bear five children. In fact he did no such thing, he actually encouraged a high birth rate but did not try to enforce this (how could he?) and actually tolerated abortion where family size was too large. Both anti- communists and pro-choicers have attempted in the past to use this myth as propaganda because it is blamed for a mass incease in population that led to famine. In fact there was no mass increase that resulted from the policies if one looks at the demographics of Romania. In any case, the laws were copied from Stalin, who is never acused of having this effect. Historically it is hard to evaluate the crimes of individuals or nations from their enemies who use it for political gain. Particularly in Roman history this is true of several unpopular emperors like Nero. Even with Adolf Hiler, recent to us in time, the existence of the holocaust is used for political advantage by those supporting the state of Israel and representing a minority of Jewish people who have interests other than remembering the holocaust (see The Holocaust Industry by Norman Finckelstein). I'm not sure about the addition to the good list of the invention of the birth control pill. Besides the extremely subjective nature of the right to life or otherwise of the zygote, contraception has been around for centuries.Also note that abortion is the termination of the physical condition of pregnancy, it does not refer to ending the life of a zygote before the onset of pregnancy. To a large extent perception of good and evil is altered culturally. The founding fathers of the USA killed more people than Hitler, yet Americans treat them as role models. To some killing nonhuman animals is equal to killing humans but not to others. Only objective observation can sort right from wrong and it challenes preconceptions.

Arthur King

You can quote this.

From: twest

Your evil list is pretty impressive although it is not quite in the right order. Your good list however has a ridiculous flaw. In case you were never informed Lincoln owned many slaves and the only reason he paved the way for their emancipation was only to gain political support. It just does not seem right that he is on the same list as the most influential and incredible people of all time.

From: Jim Mckelvey

May 3, 2002

To whom this may concern,

Hello, this is Rachael and Julie and we are in eight grade. We read your information on the scale of good and evil. We want to know why you think that Jesus Christ should be number four on the scale of good people, we believe that He should be number one. We have different beliefs on this certain subject. Jesus Christ was not only the giver of love but he saved us all, he gave us eternal life and he was our Lord. Christ also died on the cross for us and he always will forgive us for our wrong doings. Jesus was also the son of God who might I add God was the one who created Adam and Eve who then gave birth to the exsiting world today. Another thing that we would like to add it that without Christian music what would be left? The war had a major part of belief in Jesus. They believed that he would protect them against some of the evil people we know. Adolph Hitler was one of the ones who was on the bad side might I add. If you could give us some feed back on your reasoning and your thoughts we would be truly grateful. Thank you for reading and consdering our small concern. Thanks again.


Rachael Bowden

Julie Jenkins

Jim McKelvey

From: "Michael Jacobs"

Cliff Great site... But I really don't get out enough to be a good judge.. The good ,evil thing,,, It is hard to have one without the other. Both sides are full needed in the discussion. Such a discussion quickly becomes a discussion about contrast and paradox. It simply depends on perceptive. I enjoyed reading the various inputs. I'm by far not a historian, but I do know that history is very often written by the winners. Perhaps that is why we hear more bad then good. ( if it bleeds it leads) I am also amazed at how peoples emotions flow with things that happen so long ago. It is as if people worry more about 2000 years ago then something they can do today. There is one very real thing to me ,, and that is time.. and the sun is shinning so I will go an enjoy. best regards


From: Rob Moser

The Pope. Actually, any pope since the invention of birth control, and specifically whichever pope first spoke out against it (sorry, my ecclesiastical history is fairly nonexistent). Given your blurb on why Carl Djerassi is a good guy I don't think I even have to explain why, but I will comment that some of the people on your top ten evil list are penuts compared to this crew. Killed 200 people? Killed 2000? Hah! Compared to the pain and suffering directly and indirectly caused by overpopulation and unwanted children these guys are strictly amateur.

(BTW, I'm only picking on the Catholic church because they have a lot of influence over a lot of people, and that makes them an easy target. I feel the same about anybody - certain conservative American politicians spring to mind - who has used their influence to discourage or deny population control.)

- rob.

From: Camilla Burke

Very interesting website you have here. I would add both Sadam Hussein and Bin Laden to the evil list in present times. I believe Sadam to be behind most of the middle east conflicts during the last 12 years.

From: M.A.

First off, I think that Moses should be recognized as the liberator of the Hebrew people before the creator of the Sabbath day. Removing a people from slavery ranks somewhat above a practice that I believe would have come about anyway, there was no way that if it wasn't for Moses we wouldn't have a weekend by now.

My main dispute with the good list, however, is Abraham Lincoln. I admit that his actions had a direct effect of the freedom of the slaves, but this was not his motivation. The only reason that the civil war became centered on slavery is because Lincoln wanted to be sure that no European country would come to the aid of the south. And the best way to do this was to tell Europe that the south was going to war to perpetuate a practice that they had not long before then abolished.

Also, suggestions to be added to the list: the discoverers/creators of penicillin and the smallpox vaccine. these two medical developments have saved countless lives since their inception.

Well, that's it for now, hope to keep talking to you in the future.

From: "Conley, Regina"

mr. sharon and mr. arafat sould e added to the list due to the pain and suffering they both have caused people in their nation and afar based on the idiotic notion that this is somehow what God would want them to do. Speaking of God and Holy war issues, we certainly add to the list mr bin laude, and any other person that likes to call themselves a born again christian, yet behaes in way that are totally against any teachings of any religious order.It always amazes me that people can be so cruel, kill maim and injure innocent people all in the name of God, and sleep good at night waking to start all over again another day. Regina C.

From: "Jean"

That's indeed QUITE the touchy subject you found there? I read it all, but I still believe good and evil are purely situational, although I'm northern america. Most cultures have their own set of values about what is "evil" and what is "good". Most *individuals* do too, even if they won't say so.

I can think about thousand corrupt officials who extort for their own benefits the efforts of the populations that elected them with their agendas so far from their claims I'd call them evil without a second thought. Corruption for the purpose of completing a personal agenda for me, is inexcusable.

I can also see a thriumphant Nazi Germany rigorously exterminating every nation on the face of earth to replace them with a growing "purified" german nation with a methodology and a perfection that I believe no other country could achieve, ultimately creating a perfectly hirarchized, efficient beyond belief society which could thrive more than any other nation could possibly achieve. With no qualms about excessively using genetics, or using the "lesser men" for tests of science, humanity as a whole, or at least the aryans who would have composed all of humany a few centuries after, could have been stronger and more organized than any council of 210 nations. It was Hitler's dream, an abomination for the free thinking western society, but was it a dream with an ultimately evil intent? The *means* were evil, and I agree that the end should not always justifies the means. Yet, would Hitler be not on the top of the "Good" list, with you honestly thinking he deserves the spot, should you be one of the 400,000,000 odd germans that Germania would have bred by now? Can we concieve people wanting Hitler on the Good list, with other motivations than a blind hatred? I think so.

I've put myself in the worse devil advocate position, I'm certain the case of Ghengis Khan, arguably an honorable warlord for his time and civilization, wishing peace for his people the only way he knew how to obtain it, an alliance against others, would have been much easier to argue. As long as we base ourselves on the fact that killing humans is BAD, no matter the end purpose, yes they are all evil, Stalin and Hitler both near the top.

I can't help but think of the end purpose though. And then my own vision of what would be a good society kicks in, and I can find myself almost sympathizing with Hitler, and hating Stalin just as much. I can like a vision, but not to the point of being ready to sacrifice millions. Yet, I'm not too quick to judge someone who is, as long as the vision pleases me.

Should I be on the list? :) Maybe? As I type this, I realize I'm partly lying to myself. I loathe some methods. I loathe systems filled with corruption, no matter how dictorial or democratic. But as long as the goals and the methods pleases me, I'll accept alot. Big hyphotesis: And if I was to build an empire my way, most likely our grandchildren would put me on the good list if they look at the world they live in and think it's good. And I do firmly believe that the end results would be good, because we all strive to do what seems good no?

For exmeple, my goals would be *what I percieve as* true justice, the end of corruption on any level - governmental or economic, long term vision of what would be better on all levels - economic to ecologic instead of short sighted nonsense, stability and no-nonsense policies on everything from crime to personal liberties and foreign policy. One good point is that no amount of zeros on a check or no promise would bring me one iota away from my goal of a better world. As long as I'd lead the whole thing I'd do all I can to keep things fair, and improve the world. The "percieved evil" points is that to that end, a rigidly lawful system where the community comes before the individual in most matters, a heavy-handed justice system with more death penalties than jail sentances, state interventionism on a large scale, with the implications like a secret police would be needed. Am I evil for thinking something like that could be better than our current systems? One thing is sure - the success of any government form is based on the long term hapiness, security and stability of it's people. If democracy in it's current form is believed superior in these terms, is a different opinion evil? Should I build this little state two things would worry me. What about what I can't control, and what about once I'm dead? Because in the wrong hands, this thing goes down the drain, and who knows if the successor I chose will choose a worthy successor? No great empires survived the trials of time to this day. Was Ceasar evil for trying?

What I say is: take your list of evil and ask yourself, who here, knew what he did was evil and did it anyway with evil intent and purpose, because that's what he wanted? Remove the others. Then you'll have a list of evil people that we can all agree on, except a tribunal, for it would simply point out an absolute fact: the persons on this list are madmen.

As for those we removed, they had good intent and purpose, so they were either severly misguided or they failed. History has it's own way to overlook the first on a regular basis... but those guilty of the latter are doomed to centuries of calomnies. Jannus.

From: DAHBaker

President Andrew Jackson should be added to your "Evil List". He is responsible for murdering thousands of Native Americans and stealing their land for the benifit of wealthy slave-owning Southerners. He then exiled the remainder to a far away land. That trip is called "the trail of tears". The Cherokees took their case to the supreme court and won but Jackson ignored them.

From: "KV"

I submit Charles Manson as another evil being to add to your list. Although he didn't directly carry out any killings himself, he was another Hitler in that he convinced others to kill for him. It's really too bad that he is still alive.

I would also suggest anyone who kills a child, but your list of evil people would then number in the millions, I'm sure.

I really like your site. I'm glad I found it.

Thank you. Best, Kathy

From: "Jim H Markley"

To those of you who say that Osama Bin Laden should be on the evil list, I disagree. On the thoughts of evil and good, it's all perspective. Osama and his followers probably consider us evil, and who is to say that we are right, besides us? And I suppose virtually no Arabs or followers of Bin Laden access this site, which makes it all American perspective, and not necessarily right. What exactly is "evil" anyway? Doing things with bad intents? Does how many people someone has murdered determine the level of their "evil-meter"? In that case, many of our former presidents would be very evil, if you consider their choices to involve our country in many wars that could have otherwise been prevented. Oh, and by the way, I also don't consider Clinton evil either, for his poor choices were something that thousands of people do every day. If you can get past the fact that what he did was wrong, the rest of his presidency was very successful.

ANNA (respond if you want)

From: "Duff Mason"

A full-fledged psychopath, Courtney Love drove Kurt Cobain to kill himsel= f so she could take over his fortune and ownership of his music. While he= r evil isn't of the scale or type of that of Hitler and Torquemada, she h= as had a subversive, insidious effect on society of a different nature by= becoming a role model to millions of teenagers, demonstrating to them th= at one can achieve fame, admiration and material success by being vicious= , greedy and self-centered and generally embodying all the basest human q= ualities. Like all psychopaths, the complete lack of a conscience has all= owed her to do what she wants and take what she wants. =20

Duff Mason

PS. Heinrich Himmler was not the architect of the final solution. That wa= s Adolf Eichman. Himmler was the head of the SS. Ted Bundy

From: BobLutt

I guess you can't call Satan a Person (as in Human) But he is the King of all Evil beings who ever existed. I'm sure most who read this will laugh and say Satan doesn't really exist....That's just what he want's you to believe. If mankind is born basically good as so many people believe, Then how come a two year old will lie thru the two teeth they have to their mothers that they didn't take the cookie. If we are born good, why do we have to teach kids to be good? Shouldn't it be the other way around? We should have to teach kids how to be Evil, if evil isn't in their nature. And as far as the good list. Jesus Christ is beond good. He is Holy, the Son of the Living God.....I have read some of the responses written. One says take Jesus off the list because there is no evidence that he really existed....That's really funny. There is more written about Him than any other great master in history. And why would over TWO BILLION people believe and follow a person who didn't exist. How many people follow SANTA CLAUS???? It's really sad how Deceived so many people are today......Hey prove to me that George Washington existed...there are no photographs of him and people wrote about his life....DID HE REALLY EXIST? Wow boys and girls planet earth is in deep trouble.....Guess who is going to Judge US ALL..??????

From: "Margaret"

Hi Cliff, I found your site when I was browsing, which had a link to it.

After I emailed the link to your esp test to several of my friends, I then proceeded to explore the rest of your site. I was quite interested in your top 10 morally good/morally evil people (I have a master of divinity from St. John's Provincial Seminary, a Roman Catholic seminary in the Detroit, Michigan area. I should add that Allan, my friend who saw the trick in your experiment, hails from the same seminary). I read over your exchange of emails with the supporters of Vlad Tepesch. Vlad has some interest for me because I wrote a term paper on him years ago. Anyway, I was amused that although they claimed you had not done your homework, they did not give any sources to support their side of the story. In addition, since it is obvious that Vlad did engage in impaling/burning/nailing turbans to heads, etc., their only real argument in support of him was that the end justified the means (he promoted the homeland, therefore he was morally good despite his atrocities). When pressed to defend their position, they resorted to being verbally abusive rather than trying to argue their ideas. I suppose I should add that I have nothing against Vlad as he was 1. probably just one more cruel ruler of that and earlier eras and there are plenty of other rulers that engaged in atrocities. Roman and ancient Eqyptian rulers are definitely in the competition; 2. he was trying to rule a primitive rabble that probably would not have responded well to a 20th century "I feel your pain" approach, and 3. he obviously had severe emotional and mental problems resulting from the abuse he endured while he was imprisoned by the Turks when he was young.

Very interesting website. I actually think there may be something to ESP, but every time I get to thinking that, The Amazing Randi comes along and ruins it for me. Thank you for the time you took to respond! Margaret

From: RavenMad aka Prettychainsaw

I'm not sure I agree with your top ten evil people of all time list. I'm not romanian, and I think Vlad the impaler definately belongs somewhere on such a list, but putting him above stalin and hitler, who killed millions is hard to justitfy. It could be argued that he killed a larger percentage, or because of the manor in which he killed and tortured, he belongs higher up, and he actually killed his victums, where as hitler just ordered it. But then, why is Gilles de Rais last? He was certainly very cruel, just lacking in the power of the others. A list of evil people in history, with a description of some of the lessor known monsters is a good idea, declaring that this one was worse then that one without a standardized (unless I missed it) system is difficult to defend.

Honestly, I'd rather find myself in a room with a modern stalin or vlad then H. H. Holmes. While Stalin and Vlad seemed to have some reason for what they did, while crazy, they killed those who were threats, not those who were somehow near them at some point. Where H.H. Holmes invited and killed people for no reason, except the thrill of the kill. Does that make a person evil? How many people only managed to kill 20 or 30 like that? are they worse then Hitler?

Well, at this point I'll stop, because I probably sound like I'm preaching or have that classic arrogent attitude (I *am* arrogent, but I try to keep that under control as best I can.)


From: "Maeljin"

I would upgrade Stalin, after all he made 22 millions disappear in Siberia. I would also add Martin Bhormann (sp), Hitler's right arm and probably the true mind of Nazi rule.= Just suggestion, after all I don't substantiate them. Franz

From: "Mattias Henricsson"

Are you really sure Abraham Lincoln has a place among the ten most good = people of all times? Did he really pave the way to freeing all the = slaves in the USA out of pure goodness, or did he perhaps do it for = economic and political reasons? I think it is a bit na=EFve to view him = as good on the basis of what political strategy happened to lead to. A = much more realistic view of this man can be found in, for example, = Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States". From the point = of view of the slaves (and for the rest of humanity too!), of course = what he did was a good thing, but does that really make him a GOOD man? Mattias Henricsson

From: "it's me"

hi Cliff, i must admit, i've only begun to scratch the surface of ur site. nonetheless, i've liked what i've seen so far. i'll tell you what i think once i've seen a little more.

i tried the ESP test on a few of my friends, and though normally bright people almost none of them picked up on it. as far as i can tell (i think i said this already but anyway) most people try to complicate something they find strange and mysterious. like trying to give it an auro of greatness to justify the fact that they can't grasp the concept.

one thing on your site i must comment about is the good and evil page. i liked it a lot, and agree with most of it, but i have a couple of people who's positions i think are unfitting (you probably get a hundred of these on that page, and i hope u take it with a grain of salt):

i think idi amin should be higher up the list. after all, the only reason he only killed somewhere between 100 000 to 300 000 of his own people, it was only because of his relatively short riegn and he did have them tortured in the most gruesome ways. not to mention the rape. i'm not sure if you've read 'the confessions of idi amin' (if you haven't, i heartily recommend it) but his goons would cut off men's genitals and stick them down their throughts (betting on whether the man would die of suffocation or blood loss). there were rooms were people were hung up on meat hooks and then bits were cut off them so it would take as long as possible for them to die. there were rooms were people would be roasted to death like a pig on a stick. torture victims were thrown in tiny cells without food, water, or toilets for days were they would grow so weak as to have to fight a desperate struggle against the rats to survive. a janitor would periodically come in and dumb a bucket load of human feces and piss over their heads. there were rooms were they would have people fight to the death with sledgehammers, told that the victor would be let free. with the afore mentioned rape, idi would pick whatever woman he wanted, rape her for as long as it pleased him (taking her in any way he wished, from any oraffice), and then when he was done with her he would hand her over to his soldiers. this was not something they survived, except on the rare occasion one of those soldiers felt for them and helped them escape.

that's all i can think of right now on the case of idi.

as for the good list, i think that lincoln and martin king should be higher than jesus, for jesus was homophobic and a sexist, and promoted those things in others. not to mention that promoting the whole no pre-marital sex thing causes the sexual frustration that leads to priests abusing small boys.

i'd just like to say i am also a skeptic. why do i not believe in pegasus? no one can disprove it, but until i see it with my own eyes it does not exist.

sincerely Sami

From: "jrizzo"

Find your list very interesting. But we cannot judge anyone for their actions good or bad. There is only one being to placed on the evil list and that is Satan who invokes his evil presence in people. And of course only one being on the good list and that is God who invokes just the opposite of Satan. Joseph Rydzy

From: "Mark Funk"

George Wallace should be in the top 10 because he paved the way for = addition of white-supremacy hate groups and people into them. The guy is = a modern Hitler and deserved to get shot down.

From: Amy

Amy S. -- she is an 18 year old girl who is all sweet and inocent on the outside but on the inside has a crual and sinister mind wich has destryed the lives of countless people. amy never wanted to be bad she just wanted to be loved by everyone like so many of her friends who seemed so perfect. she destroyed the life of one boy called dwayne w. she did this by playing silly mind games(wihout even realizing she was doing it it was almost a subconciouse thing) to make him like and then reject him every time he tried to get close to her. one night at a party she got into a fight with him and he pushed her to the groung first because she wound him up soo much, and then he hit her repetedly(which is exactly what se deserved) of cause she came out as the victim and everyone gave her the love and attention where as he was thrown out of the party and all his friends deserted him, and he was forced to leve his corse at college and now spends his days doing drugs and getting drunk.! amy did not mean to ruin his life she would never have wanted to do that but her evil and sinister mind just took over her. not only did she ruin this boys life she also ruind her friends party, and some how or outher she has manged to secretly ruin the lives of all the people she has ever known. The question is, is it true that she does'nt actually mean to do it or or is it that she is just such an evil minded lier that she cannot controll the need to ruin peoples lives. the answer?? she dosn't even know ! This girl is a truely evil person even more so than, the like of Hitler and Stalin who at least had reason for doing what they did.

From: Jose Olimpio Ribas de Oliveira

Congratulations for your iniciative. It allowes us to know how deep mankind may go to hell or heaven, nor angels or demons could do it better. I hope more men as Gandhi and Martin Luther King grow up on Earth.

Id like to have Marius' email, the romenian defensor of V.D.

If you are not allowed to tell me this information id like to know something about V.D's genealogy.

God bless us and Free the world from all evil.

Thankyou very much,


From: "Emma Easton"

I noticed that you didn't include Elizabeth Bathory! I really thought she was pretty evil

From: "brady strachan"

Hi Cliff, The one other part that I did investigate was the EVIL/GOOD people section. I don't know how I ended up there, but it caught my attention. Interesting comments. I hadn't heard of the person who is on the top of your list. To be honest, after reading about #2. Vlad, I wonder why he doesn't top the list. I like that you give people a chance to voice their ideas. One thing that occured to me is that much more text is given to describe the horrible people and their horrific crimes against humanity compared to the space to describe the GOOD people and their contributions to society. I'm pretty certian that most people probably spend the majority of their time reading about the EVIL deads and the horrible torture they endured on their victims than they do on the GOOD list and the merits to society. It would be nice to see more written on the GOOD people. Inspire us!! At least a link to find out more so that we may learn from their example!

As I said, I have't had time to check out the rest of the site, but I will go back and search around more. It is interesting, and I hope to pick up one of your books someday and give it a read, especially the newest one that details your experiment results.

Take care!!

Brady Strachan

From: winston legrand

Courtesy of Lightbringer I find it rather comical that people feel the compulsion to justify the actions of characters like Vlad and Hitler. They are different cases indeed in different times but the scale of their terror was equal. To manipulate understanding and use comparisons between guys like Clinton vs. Hitler is out of this world. One quick aside, some lady used the Gulf War as an example of American tyranny but lets not forget that Sodamn Insane gassed his own people with the horrifying anthrax which in my mind puts him on a scale with Vlad. I am a university student studying to be an archaeologist and every one knows that history paints people differently based on who wrote it. The only evidence I need about Vlad's level of evilness is the fact that the Ottoman ruler left town because he did not want to come in contact with an individual that would have that level of disregard for his own people whatever the circumstances.(dead family doesnt count-go talk to the Medici's of Italy) Anyhow I,m certain that Mohammed didn't leave out of fear because the Ottoman empire was the second biggest ever next to Genghis. The only other argument is they couldn't wage an effective was after the taking of Byzantium, which is also unlikely because it was only the richest place ever and I'm sure there was no problem with forging a slave army like the Romans. So why then did he feel that Europe was unworthy of his company. He did not like Vlad's style and he knew if he lost, what would happen to him and his men. They were fearful I can guarantee. Was this Vlad's intention? Did he receive word of the marauding Turks, who can know and who gives a crap when your talking about moral distinction. It doesn't justify killing anyone, especially on the scale and manner in which he did. As to even compare Hitler to him would not be clear because Hitler did not massacre his own people on that scale but he still managed to manipulate his country into hating the Jews which in my mind is just as evil. The one fact that remains is that Vlad killed his own kinsmen and liked it, enjoyed, and proved he could hold back a big meal while witnessing the most extreme form of suffering I have ever heard of. The inquisition could be a comparison because it was in the same age and the torture was on the same scale maybe even worse in terms of numbers. (the Incas) Anyhow there is no confusing the fact that Mr. Draconian is among the most evil people the light of this world has ever seen and I hope we can all pray that if anyone like him attains power in this age that someone will have the courage to try and change his/her ways or extinguish them from this world. Does this event make God evil, no of course not. If you look at the broader picture this has allowed democracy to flourish in Europe as opposed to the regime situation in most Muslim countries. I don't know this for a fact but I think most hard-core followers of Allah prefer to be among their own somewhat comparable to the Jewish community which is also fairly tight. Where as Christianity has allowed the cohesion of all cultures(now, not in the middle ages) and instills the idea of peace among all cultures which will bring an end to war altogether eventually. I am a believer that Christ existed, and existed for a reason, a purpose, he did not promote fanaticism or forcing ones will on another, he simply wanted to help people in general and that is good. Vlad and Hitler did not want to lend their fellow man a hand and that is what distinguishes a person that is less than good. I hope my insights don't appear to be too biased. I appreciate you listening and peace out to all, and God always empower those that reach for the light and open the hearts of those that can't.

From: "Shannon Conger"

Cliff, I have been going through your site lately and found your convo with Mari us about whether or not Vlad Tepes was evil or not. I have to agree with your side. The people who disagreed with you said that you weren't list ening, but it was really they who weren't listening. I don't remember Ma rius denying that Vlad had killed all those people in a horrible, ghastly way, just with who they were specifically. Did it matter whether the 20 ,000 people Vlad killed were romanian or turkish? The fact remains that he killed men,women, and children and took perverse pleasure in it. Ther e is a woman I remember from a paper I did in high school that was a nobl ewoman and believed that she could stay young by bathing in the blood of virgins. I believe by the time the caught her she had something like 50 o r 60 young women buried in her courtyard, and not only that, but she had a freshly used torture chamber. I don't remember her name, but she certa inly would qualify for the top ten evil people. Many people at the time thought she was a vampire as they did Vlad. (My paper was on common myth s and some of the facts behind them) Anyways, great site!

Shannon Conger

From Angie

While reading your conversation with Marius, Debi, and Martin over the debate of Vlad I was appalled. Your constant repition of the same phrases read more like a rant of a young child then that of a grown, mature adult. If you plan on labeling these figures from history then you need to have some common criteria in order to place them on your list. I agreed with Marius when he mentioned the fact that God killed many people also. If you wish to establish your list of evil people by that criteria then God should also be on that list. Also it sickens me to think that people with ignorant viewpoints, as yourself, are the way that Americans are judged and the fact is that not all of us are blind to what is going on in the world around us. I'm not saying that anyone should be on either the evil or the good list, I'm simply saying that you need have an open mind, you need to research in depth what you write, and you need to have a common criteria for your judgements. Angie

From: "Lauri H"

Hi, Most of your "Good List" is what I would list in the Evil list.

1. Buddha - Despite Siddharta Gautama's preachings for peace, Buddhism includes a Hell where non-Buddhists go, just like Christianity. Buddhist governments, like the in the former Tibet, Bhutan, etc. are corrupted, theocratic and try to enforce Buddhism by persecuting people with other faiths.


3. Dalai Lama - The head of the aforementioned type of government. This Dalai Lama hasn't done much evil, but he represents the old, corrupt, theocratic Tibet government.


4. Jesus Christ -- I would say he's the most Evil for starting a religion with "destroy other cultures and religions" inscribed. However, it is a bit unfair to account him, as the Christian religion (as we know it today) is founded by the first apostle, Paul of Thyrsus.

5. Moses - He's a completely irrelevant Egyptian aristocrat. He didn't invent the idea of resting on the seventh day, and it's not so popular either.

From: Laura

Dear, Cliff, I love your mind and your style. And your sense of humor. I'm in my late twenties. Please say you'll marry me.

From: James C Lawter

I'd like to nominate Josef Mengele as top name on your Evil List. Although greater monsters may have existed in Human history, to my knowledge none has been better documented. His Nazi-sanctioned personal torture and murder of children was the epitome of evil, so extreme that "criminal" doesn't begin to describe it. The fact that he was never punished for his unbelievably heinous acts just adds to his notoriety in my mind, and makes me question if there is any true justice in this world.

For your Good List, I nominate The Good Samaritan. Not necessarily the nameless Biblical character, but each and every person who helps a fellow Human being out of the goodness of their heart. As selflessness is a major attribute in such a person, their name would not be available to your list.

By the way, that's a very amusing "ESP" Experiment that you have on your web site.

Best Wishes, James

I have collected many additional comments and suggestions regarding my list of good and evil people. However, I have no idea if visitors want to read additional comments or even get to the bottom of this page. If you have gotten to the bottom of this page and if you also want me to post 100s of more comments, let me know.

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