Date of Award

Winter 12-6-2013

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of arts (BA)


Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Michael Allen


This thesis will reexamine the life of America’s greatest unknown serial killer William (Billy) Gohl. Spanning an eight year period (1902-1910) Gohl was able to amass over one hundred victims in the port city of Aberdeen Washington. Gohl did this through taking advantage of people’s trust and integrating techniques from 19th century San Franciscan criminals to produce a systematic murder enterprise. It took a new mayor, chief of police, and over two years of investigation to finally bring Gohl to trial and conviction. Gohl’s story is one that covers a variety of historical studies and hinges on a fascinating narrative. The research and literature on Gohl is sparse but has been able to stay progressive and continuous throughout the years. Gohl’s history and tale is one that has been rarely seen and almost hidden in our Nation’s and Washington State History. But like Gohl’s victims his story will always surface.