Serial Killers 101
We all know about famous serial killers throughout history. We may not know their stories, their cases, their lives or how they got where they ended up, but we certainly recognize their names. At least most of their names anyway. Serial killers are a different kind of person. They’re not “just” a murderer or a kidnapper or a rapist… they’ve committed these crimes numerous times.
Here’s a list of some of the most known serial killers: David Berkowitz, Ted Bundy, Andrei Chikatilo, Andrew Cunanan, Jeffrey Dahmer, Albert DeSalvo, Albert Fish, John Wayne Gacy, Ed Gein, The Hillside Stranglers, Jack the Ripper, Edmund Kemper, Peter Kurten, Henry Lee Lucas, Charles Manson, Carl Panzram, Richard Ramirez, Richard Speck, Ottis Toole, Wayne Williams, Aileen Wournos and the Zodiac Killer.
Did I mention I once saw an actual letter written by Charles Manson? My first semester of college when I first started to study the law and criminal justice. The local grade school had an assignment where the kids had to write a letter to celebrity. Some kid picked Charles Manson (what kind of kid… I don’t know. I’m not sure I want to!) and Manson actually wrote back about 2 months later. Guess there’s nothing better to do in the pokey.
Anyhoo, in the kids letter, the girl explained that she was in grade school and that this was her assignment and all that good stuff. Well, ole’ Charley didn’t believe her. He was convinced she was an authority figure or official trying to trick him into saying or doing something. He then commenced to tell the child certain steps to take in writing the next letter to prove it was really a little kid writing to him. Did I mention his writing looks like a grade schoolers? Oh, and his spelling is even worse. It’s like deciphering code.
So the grade school immediately called officials and my professor ended up with the letter and showed it to us. It was awesome! It made me giddy like a schoolgirl and all fuzzy inside. The coolest thing ever. But would I write to Manson? Hell no.
There’s my story. The closest I’ve come to a serial killer (that I know of) and the closest I ever intend to be.
So let’s look at some serial killer facts…
Over 90 % are white males
They have high average IQ’s but still do poorly in school and work
They have unstable families with psychotic or alcoholic backgrounds
They hate their fathers and mothers
Abused as children
Spend time in institutions as children
High rate of suicide attempts
Interested at a young age in voyeurism, fetishism and porn
As children they also have a few things in common. They wet the bed, enjoy fire starting and are involved in sadistic activity. Before they’re big/strong enough to target humans, they target small animals.
That’s part of the psychological profile of a serial killer. Here’s some more:
Disorganized thinking Bipolar Disorder
Feeling or resentment towards society
Sexual frustrations Inability to be social or socially accepted
Overbearing parents Wild imaginations Daydreaming
Compulsive masturbation Isolation
There are usually pre-crime stressors which “the criminal does not realise the full extent of his motivations or fails to see the reasons behind the stress he feels. A clear example of this can be seen upon the questioning of Berkowitz who denied he had anything against women, nor did he have reason as to why he killed so many. In actually fact, his mother’s rejection was the stresser that ultimately turned him violent. He did not attack his mother directly (few serial killers ever attack the source of their resentment), but the majority of his killings where based on women who had a likeness to his mother” (Sycmnias, nd).
Freud once said that a child would take over the world if they had the power. In a way, a serial killers mentality could be compared to that since they have not have the opportunity to develop “normally” like the rest of us. They live in a fantasy world in which their fantasy takes place of reality.
88% of serial killers are male
85% are caucasian
Average starting age is 28
62% target complete strangers
22% kill at least one stranger
71% operate in specific locations
These individuals have no conscience and have not learned intimacy. They think of themselves as dominant and powerful. They lack insight and have a superficial charm as well as a lack of remorse. Added to that, they have no signs of irrational thinking.
In closing, there are a ton of serial killers out there; some of which haven’t been found yet. These are just some names, facts and figures to give you a bit of insight into a serial killers world. And no, I’m not posting crime scene photos. I’m sure we could all live without them.