Introduction: The term serial killer was created in the 1970’s by a man named Robert Ressler. He chose serial killer as the name to describe a killer that murders three or more victims over a period of time because the FBI were always studying a series of cases created by the killers (Freeman, 2007). Serial killers have been around for centuries, since ancient times. There have been many studies done to try and figure out how the minds of serial killers work, so the FBI can catch them and find a way to stop them. Not all serial killers are the same, this makes it hard to figure them out and provide a clear definition of how their minds work. Most serial killers have similar character traits and can be classified into different categories to make it easier to find patterns and reasons as to why they are killing. Early Indicators of Someone Becoming a Serial Killer: In 1963, J.M MacDonald put together a list of attributes/characteristics that are now considered early indicators for violence; this list was later referred to as MacDonald’s Triad. These characteristics include fire setting, animal cruelty and enuresis; these traits are often first noticed when they are children. Fire setting often begins with the child being curious as to what happens when you make a fire, but then it becomes a way for the child to deal with stress and anger. It is an act of “speaking out” because the child feels as if no one is listening and wants attention. This characteristic/behaviour could become more dangerous if the child keeps feeling the need to relieve stress/anger through setting fires, because the child will start setting bigger fires and experimenting with fires more. Animal cruelty is another major factor in MacDonald’s Triad; it is ... ... middle of paper ... ... violent behavior: myth or reality?”. SerialKillerLab. Retrieved March 28, 2014, http://serialkillerlab.blogspot.ca/2013/04/macdonald-triad-as-predictor-of-violent.html Charney-Perez, J. (2005, April 1). “History of Serial Killers”. Serial Killers. Retrieved April 23, 2014, http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/spring05/charney-perez/history.htm “Macdonald Triad”. Sociopathology. Retrieved April 14, 2014, http://sociopathology.org/tag/macdonald-triad/ Scott, S. L. “What Makes Serial Killers Tick?”. Crime Library. Retrieved April 3, 2014, http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_killers/notorious/tick/victims_1.html Dee, C. (2007). Serial killers, up close and personal: inside the world of torturers, psychopaths, and murderers. Berkeley, Calif: Ulysses Press. Roland, P. (2006). The crimes of Jack the Ripper. London: Arcturus.
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Arndt, W., Hietpas, T., & Kim, J (2004). Critical characteristics of male serial murderers. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 29(1).
In many cases, serial killers began their lives as remotely normal human beings. Most, however, have detectable characteristics of murderers before they hit puberty. Otis O’toole, for example, started a neighbourhood fire when he was six. George Adorno was even younger when he first displayed his pyromaniac tendencies by setting fire to his own sister when he was four. Along with pyromaniac behavior, other often-cited warning signs are enuresis (bed-wetting) and cruelty toward animals. Often, serial murderers are abused physically, psychologically, and sexually as children, sometimes from a stranger, but in most cases from a trusted family member or friend. Typically, they come from broken families, usually...
As if molded directly from the depths of nightmares, both fascinating and terrifying. Serial killers hide behind bland and normal existences. They are often able to escape being caught for years, decades and sometimes an eternity. These are America’s Serial Killers (America’s Serial Killers). “Even when some of them do get caught, we may not recognize what they are because they don’t [sic] match the distorted image we have of serial killers” (Brown). What is that distorted image? That killers live among everyday life, they are the ones who creep into someone’s life unknowingly to torture and kill them. The serial killers that are in the movies, Norman Bates, Michael Myers, and the evil master mind of SAW, these characters are just that characters. They have been made up as exaggerated fictional characters from the Hollywood imagination.
Mass Murderers and Serial Killers are nothing new to today’s society. These vicious killers are all violent, brutal monsters and have an abnormal urge to kill. What gives people these urges to kill? What motivates them to keep killing? Do these killers get satisfaction from killing? Is there a difference between mass murderers and serial killers or are they the same. How do they choose their victims and what are some of their characteristics? These questions and many more are reasons why I was eager to write my paper on mass murderers and serial killers. However, the most interesting and sought after questions are the ones that have always been controversial. One example is; what goes on inside the mind of a killer? In this paper I will try to develop a better understanding of these driven killers and their motives.
Unlike regular homicide, serial killers are driven by desire and instinct, often leading to the victims being unassociated with the killer. Though serial killers only make up for only one percent of total victims, about a dozen of them make up for one hundred to two hundred fatalities annually (Fox 102). In a study conducted criminologist, Eric Hickey, in which he assembled a database of nearly four hundred serial killers, he found that “eighty four percent of killers were male, twenty percent were of African American descent, and that the first murder committed by a serial killer was at the average age of twenty seven and a half years old” (Fox 106). Although the exact number of serial killers throughout history is unknown, estimates range that as high as 1,500 serial killers have roamed the world, taking one life at a time (Newton,
Introduction: On the spectrum of criminal activity, serial killers are rather rare. Rarer still is a serial killer like Ted Bundy. Bundy confessed to killing 28 women in the 1970s in ghastly fashion and some believe he may have killed far more. It is hard to imagine what could cause any person to cross the mental boundary into such macabre behavior as Bundy perpetrated. Nevertheless, it is important to try to understand that behavior because only though such an understanding would society be able to identify and deter mass murderers in order to save lives.
A serial killer is a person who murders three or more people over a period of more than 30 days, with a "cooling off" period between each murder, and whose motivation for killing is largely based on psychological gratification. Most people do not understand what can make a person want to kill multiple people for no reason other than own satisfactional gain. In actuality serial killers have been studied for over hundreds of years, and the information that has been documented continues to grow. The research that I have gathered about serial killers focuses on their childhood development, the differences and similarities between men and female serial kills, and finally general information on how their brains operate and their motives for committing such harmful acts.
Serial killers have many frightening facets. The most frightening thing about them is that experts still do not know what makes a human become a serial killer. Many experts believe serial killers become what they are because they have a genetic disposition or brain abnormality while other experts believe that a serial killer is created by childhood abuse; and some other experts believe that it is a combination of both brain abnormalities and abusive childhood experiences that creates a serial killer. A murderer is considered a serial killer when they “murder three or more persons in at least three separate events with a “cooling off period” between kills” (Mitchell and Aamodt 40). When defining a serial killer, their background, genes, and brain are not mentioned; perhaps one day those aspects of the serial killer can be included.
Serial killers are usually young, white males who are quite intelligent and often come from broken homes. They may have been abused either physically or sexually during childhood and they have serious personality defects, such as low self-esteem and a lifelong sense of loneliness. Although no two serial killers are alike, they all fit this description somewhat. In the sixth edition of Crime and Criminality by Sue Titus Reid, a serial killer is defined as a person who commits more than one murder but at different times (Reid, p. 134).