The Lonely Hearts Killer was one of the rare instances of a female serial killer who was so prolific that she earned her own national nickname. Nannie Doss, born as Nancy Hazel on November 4th, 1905, was OBSESSED with the Lonely Hearts column of her mother’s romance magazines. Her parents tried to keep her as sheltered as possible while growing up in Alabama, in the hopes that they could avoid any male attention coming to her. Her one look into the world of romance was through these columns and stories.
When Nannie was 16, she married a man named Charlie Braggs. She would go on to have four children with him before their marriage disintegrated, following the death of their two middle children. Charlie suspected Nannie played a role in the death of their children, so he fled with their eldest daughter in tow. Nannie began picking up the pieces of their life with her infant daughter, and kept things under control for a year until Charlie returned asking for a formal divorce.
After Nannie and Charlie were divorced, she began looking for love in the Lonely Hearts Column; this time, as an adult, she was able to make romantic connections rather than just reading casually. She would mail cakes to her prospective lovers, and they would respond with marriage proposals. She often played the part of the ideal wife, in one case even being married for 16 years. In other marriages though, she would be known to disappear for months at a time for unknown reasons.