When I’m researching for my next novel, I like to jot down some things about serial killers that may or may not be widely known that could be used at a later date. There are always interesting tidbits that pique my interest into the criminal mind and that make me shudder. I wanted to share some of the intriguing and somewhat disturbing facts with you.
“I am what you have made me and the mad-dog devil killer fiend leper is a reflection of your society.” – Charles Manson (at his trial)
- Serial Killers International – it’s widely known that America seems to lead in the production of serial killers. Cultural factors seem to drive the force because of the fragmented, highly dysfunctional families along with the anonymity of American life that allows a serial killer to constantly move into communities without attracting much attention.
- Serial Killer Cops – there have been more than just one or two cops that have stepped into the serial killer phenomenon: Dennis Nilson, Gerard Schaefer, and Craig Peyer. Many serial killers are often attracted to law enforcement and consider it to be a fantasy occupation. They study police work, crime scenes, and have actually befriended police officers. Although, not many actually become police officers, they are familiar with the work. The most common traits of serial rapists and serial killers are that they exhibit behaviors of domination, manipulation, and control. This exposes some interesting insight into what drives them and why they are attracted to police professions.
- Criminal Psychologists – have found that there are three major warning signs for the root causes of a serial killer. These three red flags are called the “psychological triad” – which incorporates bed-wetting, fire starting, and animal torture.
- Psychopaths Throughout History – serial killers aren’t just a twentieth century development. There were plenty of psycho-killers in ancient Rome (Nero, Agrippina), pre-modern age (Gilles de Rais, Tommy Lyn Sells), seventeenth century (Thomas Sherwood aka Country Tom, Elizabeth Evans aka Canterbury Bess), eighteenth century (Sweeny Todd, La Tofania), nineteenth century (Jack the Riper, William Burke, William Hare), World War 1 (Bela Kiss, Ax Man), 1920-1930s (Nathan Jeopold Jr., Richard Loeb, Albert Fish), 1940s-1950s (Harvey Glatman, Ed Gein, Reg Christie), 1950-1960s (Charles Manson, Albert DeSalvo, the Zodiac), 1970s (Ted Bundy, Joel Rifkin, Arthur Shawcross, many more to date.
- Serial Killers – suffer from a wide variety of psychological, environmental, and chemical deficits. There is no one defined recipe that makes up a serial killer. However, serial killers have triggers that set off their rampage, familiar hunting grounds, look to other human beings as prey, find targets of opportunity, design snares for victims to support their pathological needs, and generally have a signature, ritual, and MO for killing their victims.
“I can relieve myself of hatred and feel at peach only when I’m killing someone. I can ease my own pain only when I see others in pain.” – Kobe School Killer (1990s, Japan)
“He is cruel and selfish, and I love him.” – Myra Hindley (about her partner and co-serial killer)
“Serial killers have a dead conscience. No morals, no scruples, no conscience.” – Richard Ramirez (Night Stalker)