Serial killers have always been a fascination for many people; including me, which is the reason I have read everything I can find on them. Most of us love to listen to all the gory details of there murders. However, I prefer to focus on what might have warned us that they were going to become monsters, and that is what I am going to do.
Serial Killers are either psychopaths or psychotic, with the majority being psychopath.
A psychopath is a person who has a personality disorder that is recognized by aggression, violence, antisocial thoughts, and behaviors, and lacks remorse or compassion. A psychopath can commit unthinkable acts with cool, rational judgment. However, the scariest thing of all is that psychopaths can present themselves as completely normal. Jeffery Dahmer is a perfect example of a psychopath, he showed the world a normal person while, he tortured, killed, and ate young men. He could also present calmness in the midst of chaos, which he proved when one of his 14-year-old victims escaped naked out into the street. Concerned citizens called the police, but when they showed up Dahmer was able to convince the officer that the boy was his 19-year-old boyfriend who had consumed too much to drink and the officer released him back into his custody where he was eventually killed.
Now, I bring you the psychotic a psychotic is a person who is suffering from some sort of psychosis that is recognized by hallucinations, delusions, incoherence, and an imprecise awareness of reality. Even though it sounds like most serial killers would be psychotic that is in fact untrue, but Herbert Mullin was one such person. Mullin was diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic; he says he killed his "consenting" victims to save California from a cataclysmic earthquake.
There are three warning signs of a serial killer
Bed Wetting is the first, do not freak out, bed- wetting is normal for children, it is only a warning sign when they are still doing it into puberty. Alton Coleman is one of the 60% of Serial Killers who wet there bed into puberty.
Fire Starting is our second sign that real trouble is to come, pyromania is a turn on for most serial murderers just as torture and murder are. Ottis Toole and David Berkowitz were only two of the numerous murdering pyromaniacs.
Animal Torture For serial killers is not a stage it is rehearsal.
Edmund Kemper (Co-ed killer) and Jeffrey Dahmer are two of the many who rehearsed with animals before going onto people.
4) Ten Traits of Serial Killers-Obviously there are exceptions to the rules, the list is a generalization taken from a study of 36 serial killers. Remember, it is impossible to characterize everyone; there are those who possess different characteristics than the following.
a) Most are single white males
b) The tend to be smart, with an average IQ of "bright normal"
c) Despite being "bright normal," they do badly in school, have spotty employment records, and usually end up being unskilled workers.
d) They come from very troubled homes. Usually, they were abandoned early on by their fathers and dominated by their mothers.
e) There is a long history of criminal behavior, alcoholism, and psychiatric problems in their families.
f) They suffer significant abuse as children; at times, the abuse is psychological and/ or physical and often sexual. When treated brutally it instills them with deep feelings of helplessness and humiliation.
g) They have trouble with male authority due to their fathers having been absent, abusive, or distant. Domination by the mothers causes severe hostility toward women.
h) They have noticeable psychiatric problems at an early age and often spend time in institutions as children.
i) Due to social isolation and a general hatred of themselves and the rest of the world they often feel suicidal as teenagers.
j) They show a precocious and unshakable interest in deviant sexuality and are obsessed with fetishism, violent pornography, and voyeurism.
Again, each of these characteristics is not a part of every Serial Killer, but if you see a person that might have some of these characteristics in addition to one or more of the warning signs there is a good chance that death and or destruction will be around them.
Schechter, H. (2003). The Serial Killer Files. The Random House Publishing Group.
Bardsley, M. (n.d.). Serial Killers/Most Notorious. Retrieved March 18, 08, from TruTv Crime Library: http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_killers/notorious/berkowitz/9.html