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Serial Killers

What do these men have in common?

They all are Serial Killers !!!

The textbook definition of a serial killer says

that an individual who has killed three or more people over a period of more than a month, with down time (a "cooling off period") between the murders, and whose motivation for killing is usually based on psychological gratification can be termed as one Serial killers are not the same as mass murderers, nor are they spree killers, who commit murders in two or more locations with virtually no break in between

The English term and concept of the "serial

killer" is commonly attributed to former FBI Special agent Robert Ressler in the 1970s Author Ann Rule postulates in her 2004 book Kiss Me, Kill Me that the English-language credit for coining the term "serial killer" goes to LAPD detective Pierce Brooks The terms "serial murder" and "serial murderer" appear in 1966 in John Brophy's book The Meaning of Murder

possessing IQs in the "bright normal" range,

although they are more likely to have low/average intelligence have trouble staying employed and tend to work in menial jobs were often abusedemotionally, physically and/or sexuallyby a family member fetishism, partialism, and necrophilia, are paraphilias which involve a strong tendency to experience the object of erotic interest

Many serial killers have faced similar

problems in their childhood development The child's environment (either their parents or society) is the dominant factor in whether or not the child's behaviour escalates into homicidal activity Hickey's Trauma Control Model clearly shows that the development of a serial killer is based on an early trauma followed by facilitators (porn, drugs, and alcohol) and disposition (the inability to attach)

The quality of their attachments to parents

and other members of the family is critical to how these children relate to and value other members of society It is common for the serial killers to come from a family that has experienced divorce, separation, or the lack of a parent Nearly half of the serial killers have experienced some type of physical and sexual abuse and even more have experienced emotional neglect

Children who do not have the power to

control the mistreatment they suffer sometimes create a new reality to which they can escape This new reality becomes their fantasy that they have total control of and becomes part of their daily existence In this fantasy world their emotional development is guided and maintained Boundaries between fantasy and reality are lost and fantasies turn to dominance, control, sexual conquest, and violence, eventually leading to murder

A Serial Killer can be classified into three broad categories which are as follows:
Organized Disorganized


usually have above average intelligence, with

a mean IQ of 113 often plan their crimes quite methodically, usually abducting victims, killing them in one place and disposing of them in another often lure the victims with ploys appealing to their sense of sympathy maintain a high degree of control over the crime scene, and usually have a solid knowledge of forensic science that enables them to cover their tracks

follow their crimes in the media carefully and

often take pride in their actions, as if it were all a grand project is usually socially adequate, has friends and lovers, and sometimes even a spouse and children Bundy and John Wayne Gacy are examples of organized serial killers

often have average to below average

intelligence, with a mean IQ of 92.5 usually far more impulsive, often done with a random weapon available at the time, and usually not attempting to hide the body are likely to be unemployed and/or a loner with very few friends often turn out to have a history of mental illness, and their modus operandi or lack thereof is often marked by excessive violence and sometimes necrophilia and/or sexual violence

Prominent examples of disorganized serial killers include:

the delusional killer Jeff Schreider who

cannibalized his victims' remains Ed Gein, who killed two people but stole numerous recently deceased corpses from numerous graves to make a "woman suit"

tend to murder men for material gain, are

usually emotionally close to their victims, and generally need to have a relationship with the victim analysis of 86 female serial killers from the U.S. found that the victims tended to be spouses, children or the elderly methods they use for murder are covert or low-profile, such as murder by poison commit killings in specific places, such as their home or a health-care facility, or at different locations within the same city or state

The motives of serial killers are generally placed into four categories:
Mission-oriented Hedonistic


Suffer from psychotic breaks with reality,

sometimes believing they are another person or are compelled to murder by entities such as the Devil or God The two most common subgroups are "demon mandated" and "God mandated David Berkowitz ("Son of Sam") is an example of a visionary killer. He claimed a demon transmitted orders through his neighbor's dog, instructing him to commit murder

Mission-oriented killers typically justify their

acts as "ridding the world" of a certain type of person perceived as undesirable, such as homosexuals, prostitutes, or people of different ethnicity or religion However, they are generally not psychotic Some see themselves as attempting to change society, often to cure a societal ill

This type of serial killer seeks thrills and

derives pleasure from killing, seeing people as expendable means to this goal Forensic psychologists have identified three subtypes of the hedonistic killer:


"lust "thrill" "comfort"

Sex is the primary motive of lust killers, whether or not the victims are dead, and fantasy plays a large role in their killings Their sexual gratification depends on the amount of torture and mutilation they perform on their victims They usually use weapons that require close contact with the victims, such as knives or hands Kenneth Bianchi, one of the "Hillside Stranglers", murdered women and girls of different ages, races and appearance Jeffrey Dahmer searched for his perfect fantasy loverbeautiful, submissive and eternal

The primary motive of a thrill killer is to induce pain

or terror in their victims, which provides stimulation and excitement for the killer They seek the adrenaline rush provided by hunting and killing victims Thrill killers murder only for the kill; usually the attack is not prolonged, and there is no sexual aspect Thrill killers can abstain from killing for long periods of time and become more successful at killing as they refine their murder methods Robert Hansen took his victims to a secluded area, where he would let them loose and then hunt and kill them

Material gain and a comfortable lifestyle are

the primary motives of comfort killers Usually, the victims are family members and close acquaintances After a murder, a comfort killer will usually wait for a period of time before killing again to allow any suspicions by family or authorities to subside Female serial killers are often comfort killers, although not all comfort killers are female Dorothea Puente killed her tenants for their Social Security checks and buried them in the backyard of her home

The main objective for this type of serial killer is

to gain and exert power over their victim Such killers are sometimes abused as children, leaving them with feelings of powerlessness and inadequacy as adults Many power- or control-motivated killers sexually abuse their victims, but they differ from hedonistic killers in that rape is not motivated by lust but as simply another form of dominating the victim Ted Bundy travelled around the United States seeking women to control

Schizophrenia Multiple personality disorder Antisocial personality disorder Anxiety disorder Bipolar disorder Borderline personality disorder Childhood antisocial disorder Delusional disorder Depression Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) Obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) Physical abuse Panic attack Paedophilia Personality disorder Psychotic disorder Sexual sadism

Albert DeSalvo

Richard Ramirez

Ed Gein

Jeffery Dahmer

Wayne Williams

Danny Rolling


John Wayne Gacy drew and painted art from

prison In 2005, serial killer Alfred Gaynor's art was offered on an online auction "A Righteous Man's Reward", was a drawing depicting the figure of Jesus

There is a huge market for "True Crime" and

mystery murder novels, some of the more successful authors being Patricia Cornwell, Ann Rule, Truman Capote, Harold Schecter, Peter Vronsky and Philip Carlo Notable literature with a serial killer theme includes Davis Grubb's The Night of the Hunter, Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho, Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me and Thomas Harris' books Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and Hannibal Rising, all featuring Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist who is also a cannibalistic serial killer

Films and Television

Films featuring serial killers include M, Psycho,

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, The Silence of the Lambs, The Watcher, Mr Brooks, Dirty Harry, Zodiac, Seven, The Beachcomber, Copycat, Halloween, Scream, Frailty, Man Bites Dog, The Hitcher, Monster, The Killer Inside Me and many others The television series Dexter revolves around Dexter Morgan, a police blood-spatter pattern analyst who moonlights as a vigilante serial killer, attempting to channel his homicidal urges in a "positive" direction by killing other murderers who have slipped through the cracks of the legal system. It is based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Detecting a serial killer and understanding a serial killer's psychology in a crowd of millions is impossible But it is in our hands to build a society where people respect each other, irrespective of their colour, a society where parents provide their children with a childhood full of love and care and where every person is aware that life is precious a serial killer as a child didn't understand love and how it felt to share it with others And at some point or the other, it was and is the fault of society. Is it or it isn't?

A Presentation By:
Ajitabh Gupta - 09BEC262 Dathi Manikanta - 09BEC406