The Psychology of Serial Killers

Powerful Essays
The Psychology of Serial Killers

Many things today confuse, yet enthrall the masses. War, murder, medical science, incredible rescues, all things you would see on The History Channel. There is another topic that is also made into documentaries however, serial killers. Dark twisted people that commit multiple murders are of interest to the population, but what caused them to be this way. What horrible tragic set of events could twist a man to murder one or many people. Could Schizophrenia, psychopathy, or sociopathy? Many people have researched this topic and believe that childhood trauma, heavy drugs during the growing phase of life, as well as many other things have twisted the minds of men such as Jeffery Dahmer, Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy, and David Berkowitz. Many say that their actions were preventable but many other believe that the warning signs were present and that their behavior could have been modified long before the murders began.

The triad is the name given to the set of characteristic that serials killers are evident of in their youth. The ?typical? serial killer is a sociopath or psychopath that during childhood was subject to three diagnoses: fire starting (pyromania), prolonged bed-wetting, and animal torture. All of these things correlate to a phase in life in which the young person is curious of certain things new to them. Most children grow out of their interest in fire starting when they first get burnt and bed-wetting when they progress out of the same phase. Animal torture is slightly different. Many children enjoy pulling the wings off a fly, or the legs off of other insects however grow up into quite productive members of society. Some children are enthused by larger animals. Jeffrey Dahmer was enthused originally by fish. He would gut them and inspect their organs to examined how they worked. Curiosity being the main reason for his actions, he would also nail frogs to trees and collect animals that had been run over by cars. Dahmer was less than characteristic in his choice of animals, the most popular victim being cats. Be it throwing felines from high elevations to watch them ?splat? as explained by Ian Brady the Moors Murderer, gutting them and watching how far they can run after, or burying them alive cats have become the general choice among serial killers-to-be. The A to Z encyclopedia of Serial Killers men...

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...for these people should be higher. If that cannot be done then in modern day with all the screening at schools for eye sight problems and back problems could psychological tests also be run to screen for the triad or other such symptoms that lead to murder. Can serial killers be medicated and dissuaded from their future murders before they occur? What can be done in order to dissuade murder in modern society? That is what the world needs now.

Works Cited

Newton, Michael. The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. New York: Checkmark Books, 2000.

Schechter, Harold, and David Everitt. The A to Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. New York: Pocket Books, 1997.

Douglas, John, and Mark Olshaker; Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit. New York, Pocket Books, 1997.

What Makes Serial Killers Tick?. Shirley Lynn Scott. From

Angels of Mercy; The Dark Side. Rick Hampton Dec. 2003

Antisocial Personality Disorder: Treatment. Phillip W. Long M.D. Jan 1990.

Psychopathic Sexual Sadists The Psychology and Psychodynamics of Serial Killers. Vernon J. Gerberth. April 1995.
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