Being one of ATSers long time member and lurker iv had the chance to be ‘enlightened’ and sometimes downright flabbergasted at some of the claims,
truths and ‘what ifs’ that have popped up over the years. Those of you that know me or my posts will know that im the type of gal that whilst
being skeptic, I enjoy venturing out of the comfort zone and often into jaggy territory to investigate the unusual, unknown, silly, impossible and awe
inspiring. I also am an avid reader of true crimes magazines etc in my spare time, not many may know but a few months ago I done a thread called
The life and death of Ruth Ellis- was she a murderer or the victim?
were I looked into
a case from the 50’s and one I deem to be one of those rare ‘genuine’ conspiracies. If you have some time please do go and read her story, it is
Anyways, the purpose of this thread was that with me being a crime fan amongst other things I have often wondered what drives serial killers to
actually kill, were does the urges come from? Is it something they are born with? Is it genetic, hormonal, biological, or cultural conditioning? We
have to wonder if serial killers/psychopaths have any control over their desires or thoughts, each and every one of us at one time or another have
experiences ultimate rage and inappropriate sexual feelings but yet we never step over that invisible line – the line that stops us becoming one of
these monsters. Does us social or moral upbringing play a factor in this I wonder? It seems that with these seriel killers/psychopathic killers may
have such things lacking – that invisible barrier that we never seem to cross in normal circumstances, I wonder why? Some people will be wondering
why the hell I would care lol, well the way I see it is if we try to understand the psychology of people like this maybe we can spot the signs, get
help for such people before these things escalate or simply help to catch future killers, plus I guess because im a little on the out-there side.
It’s not just us simple folk who struggle to understand people like this, even crime professionals and professors are baffled. It seems that most (I
won’t say all) are deemed to be highly intelligent; Ted Bundy comes to mind someone who was said to have an IQ of 140. Most also seem to come from
unstable family homes, suffered abuse of some sort – again this can be said for most people in the world, but what makes these kinds of people step
over the line?
Below is a list of *types* of serial killers for reference taken from HERE
The one who Kills for 'Lust'
These serial killers get immense sexual pleasure when they torture or kill others. These people kill only to obtain sexual contentment by fulfilling
their sexual fantasies. The more they torture the person, the more they are sexually aroused. Sex is the primary cause of serial killings, which is
why most of the victims of these type of murderers are within a certain age group, and generally have similarity in height, weight, looks and race.
The example of this type of serial killer would be Keith Hunter Jesperson who killed a 23 year old Taunja Bennet. He confessed saying, "I killed
Tanya Bennett... I beat her to death, raped her and loved it. Yes I'm sick, but I enjoy myself too. People took the blame and I'm free... Look over
your shoulder. I may be closer than you think."
The 'Visionary' Serial Killer
You would found them completely insane... in fact they are completely insane because of the simple reason that they blame their killing habits to some
voices or visions that they hear! Yes, these serial killers are psychotic in nature and believe that they are compelled to murder by the entities like
Demon and God. A classic example of this would be the serial killer known as the Son of Sam, the real name being David Berkowitz who said he was
possessed by a demon and that there are many 'other sons' out there.
The 'Profit Seeking' Serial Killer
These types of serial killers kill only to obtain comfort through material things which can give them a comfortable and a luxurious lifestyle. In
order to stay away from the eyes of the law, these types of serial killers usually keep a gap between their killings, and then attack the next victim.
Dorothea Puente would be the perfect example for this as she killed approximately 9 people in a span of 6 years for their social security checks.
Studies also reveal that most of the female serial killers kill for comfort and material possessions.
The One who Kills for 'Power and Control'
Ted Bundy, the most notorious serial killer ever known said, "I want to master life and death." Didn't this statement represent the urge to possess
power or take control! In fact, most of this type of killers kill because, they themselves lacked control of their lives in the past. Studies show
that such killers were either abused as kids or were abandoned making them feel left out and powerless. Most of these killers also abuse their victims
sexually, but not because of lust, only because it gives them a sense of control over them.
The One who Kills for 'Thrill'
These serial killers don't kill for money, or sex, or power, it is more of a recreational activity for them. The ability to be able to terrorize
their victims and the entire neighborhood is something that brings a lot of thrill and excitement in their lives. One of the famous serial killer that
has not been caught yet, the Zodiac, had written, "[killing] gives me the most thrilling experience, it is even better than getting your rocks off
with a girl." The killers that kill for the trill are highly organized and invest a lot of time and research on how to become perfect at what they
Taken from This site here
it lists the typical characterizes of a
serial killer as quoted below:
The Common Traits Between Serial Killers
The characteristics shared by serial killers binds them together according to their style of killing and motive behind the killing. Let us have a look
at these serial killer traits in detail.
Categories of Serial Killers and their Characteristics
There are three types of serial killers organized, unorganized and mixed serial killers. These serial killers and their characteristics are explained
➳ Organized Serial Killers
The organized serial killers plan their acts beforehand. They love to prolong the pain and suffering of their victims. These killers choose their
victims at random. They will imagine killing their victims and get pleasure out of it. These serial killers are after a particular group of
individuals. These include old people, prostitutes, children, young women, etc. These crimes are not carried out of impulse or passion. But, they are
actually premeditated crimes. Organized killers take all precautions before killing their victim. They are so confident that they are ready to be
interviewed by the police without fear. This is because they generally leave the crime scene clear of any kind of forensic evidence.
➳ Unorganized Serial Killers
Unorganized serial killers are generally found to have below average intelligence. They often live alone and have poor or moderate social skills.
These people often have problems dating or never date. Unorganized serial killers are generally high school drop outs and have really poor hygiene.
They do not plan in detail before murdering their victim. Unlike the organized serial killers, these serial killers often leave a lot of evidence
around their victims.
➳ Mixed Serial Killers
These are serial killers who exhibit characteristics that are similar to the organized and disorganized serial killers. Sometimes, an organized killer
may start showing characteristics of a disorganized serial killer. They are able to avoid getting caught and this makes them overconfident. Thus, they
start becoming careless with their approach to the killings.
Experts have found out some common traits of serial killers. These traits help the police identify their possible suspects. These typical serial
killer characteristics are as follows:
• These serial killers are found to be intelligent and have above average intelligence.
• Most of the serial killers are found to have families and steady jobs. Some have trouble keeping a job and generally carry out menial jobs.
• These killers are often from divorced families where the father has left the mother. They are bought up by their mothers who have domineering
• They often come from families with a criminal, psychiatric or alcoholic background.
• These children are often abused emotionally, sexually and physically, especially by a close family member or acquaintance.
• There is a high rate of suicide attempts among the serial killers.
• These serial killers have found to be interested in voyeurism, sadomasochism, fetishism, etc. since an early age.
• It has been found that 60% of the serial killers wet their beds even after they reached the age of 12.
• Many have been fascinated and involved with torturing animals or setting fires.
• Many were bullied as children and some were involved in cases of petty crimes like theft, vandalism, etc.
It would seem looking at these traits and such, it could easily describe a lot of people, and most who go on to lead perfectly *normal* lives. It’s
easy to summarize that the questions I cited at the beginning are never going to be easily answered. There have of course been a few exceptions to the
cited expert examples above, Female serial killers are said to be pretty rare, same with killers who were members of racial and ethnic minorities,
serial killers who murdered outside of their race and serial killers who began murdering during childhood. A few examples of these exceptions are:
Aileen Wuorns – convicted of killing 7 men and the subject of a movie about her life called *monster*, she was put to death in 2002.
Mary Bell – Convicted in 1968 of murdering 2 boys in England when she was just 10 years old, she was released when she was 23.
Another exception could be that of john wayn gacy and even Jeffery Dahmer – both white males who murdered both men and boys who were deemed to be
ethnic or racial minorities.
Some experts believe that there is something wrong with the brain inside these seriel killers heads that give them the impulses that they have see
They believe that some sort of injury to the head perhaps at an early age could account for their behaviors, Quoted from
Some researchers theorize that serial killers have brain damage or other biological abnormalities that contribute to their actions. Damage to areas
like the frontal lobe, the hypothalamus and the limbic system can contribute to extreme aggression, loss of control, loss of judgment and violence.
Henry Lee Lucas, who was convicted of 11 murders, was shown to have extreme brain damage in these areas, probably the result of childhood abuse,
malnutrition and alcoholism. Arthur Shawcross, another 11-time serial killer, was found to have had several brain injuries, including two skull
fractures. While in prison, he suffered from headaches and often blacked out. Bobby Joe Long, convicted of nine murders, stated at one point, "After
I'm dead, they're going to open up my head and find that just like we've been saying a part of my brain is black and dry and dead"
It seems plausible I guess. Also from same link it says
Some serial killers have been diagnosed by psychologists and psychiatrists as psychopaths. The official term in the Diagnostic and Standard
Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV) is antisocial personality disorder (APD). According to the DSM-IV, a person with APD follows a
pattern of "disregard and violation of the rights of others occuring since age 15 years." This pattern includes seven factors (three of which must
be met for diagnosis), such as "failure to conform to social norms," "irritability and aggressiveness" and "lack of remorse" [source: Vronsky].
Psychopaths are not insane -- they do know right from wrong. But this diagnosis may explain their behavior during their killing cycles.
Now this is just my opinion but that seems like an excuse, well to me anyways, but perhaps it has some truths. Now I don’t want to do too much in
the OP as I want to leave it up to discussion (hopefully) obviously what is cited are examples so what do the rest of ATS think on this subject?