Belle Gunness And Ray Lamphere
Belle Gunness was born Brynhild Paulsdatter Storset in Norway in 1859, but came to America sometime in the early 1880s. There she wasted little time ruining the lives of everyone around her. Shortly after marrying Mads Albert Sorenson in 1884, their store and home both burned down. The two cashed in on the insurance policies, and then Sorenson died of a mysterious cerebral hemorrhage on the day both of his life insurance policies just happened to overlap (meaning Belle got double payment). Oh, and their two children had died mysteriously earlier, too. Spoiler for the rest of the entry: Lots of people died "mysteriously" around Belle.
After using the insurance money to buy a 40-acre farm in La Porte, Indiana, Belle went on to marry Peter Gunness, whose name she'd take and keep. Soon she'd say adios to their new baby girl, her adopted daughter Jennie, and then Pete himself. Gunness then began placing personal ads and drawing the attention of a string of unlucky gentlemen -- John Moo, Henry Gurholdt, Olaf Svenherud, Ole B. Budsburg, Olaf Lindbloom, etc. All would disappear on her murder farm after dropping a nice wad of cash on Belle.
In 1907, Gunness took in a farmhand, Ray Lamphere, whom she started a relationship with. As she continued to first poison then dismember victims around her farm, the two grew even closer. Did she ever consider making him a victim? If so, what convinced her to keep him around? We'll never know. What we do know is that Ray became privy to her murderous secrets, and was fine with it. Still, Belle dumped him as soon as Andrew Helgelein, the latest man she'd set her sights on, came a-courtin'. Lamphere took this poorly, or at least Gunness said he did, and Gunness made sure that everyone knew Lamphere had threatened to burn her farm down. And then her farm burned down, and Gunness was nowhere to be found.