The Mind and Motivation of a Serial Killer Essay
Serial killers tend to be white heterosexual males in their twenties and thirties, who are sexually dysfunctional and have low self-esteem. Serial killers generally murder strangers with cooling off periods in between each murder. Serial killers are twisted in nature. Some return to the place the murder happened or the gravesite to fantasize about their deeds. Serial killers have made many excuses for their killings and behavior such as: Henry Lucas blamed his upbringing, Jeffrey Dahmer claims he was born with a “part” of him missing, Ted Bundy said porno made him do it and John Wayne Gacy turned the blame around and said the victims deserved to die.
Many killers blame their families for their behavior, seeking sympathy. Forensic psychiatrists and FBI agents have tried to get inside the killer’s mind for many years. Traditional explanations include childhood abuse, genetics, chemical imbalances, brain injuries and exposure to traumatic events. In true psychopathic fashion, serial killers are blaming someone else for their actions. If their bad childhood is the primary reason for their homicidal tendencies, then why don’t their siblings also become serial killers? Are serial killers insane? Not by legal standards. Always looking to manipulate, serial killers will do just about anything to convince the authorities of their insanity.
Being declared “legally insane” means avoiding death row, and if the criminal can convince his keepers that he has fully recovered, there is the hope of actually being released. Serial killers are sick people and their numbers seem to be growing.
Serial killers choose victims weaker than themselves. Many times their victims will fit a certain stereotype, which has symbolism for the killer. Ted Bundy killed college age girls with long brown hair. I wonder if he was killing over and over again the girl who broke his heart? Many serial killers will keep “souvenirs” of their crime, which later refuels the fantasy.
When Bundy was asked why he took Polaroids of his victims, he said, “When you work hard to do something right, you don’t want to forget it.” Also, serial killers seek perverse pleasure torturing the victim, even resuscitating them before they are about to die, so they can torture them more. John Wayne Gacy has been known to ask his victims, “How’s it feel knowing, your about to die” and then he strangles them to death. Serial killers need to dominate and “own” their victims, yet the victims die; they are once alone again, and left with rage and self-hatred. There are six stages of the serial killers cycle; phase one-“the aura phase”, where the killer loses grip on reality, phase two-“the trolling phase”, when the killer searches for a victim, phase three-“the wooing phase”, where the killer lures his victim, phase four-“the captive phase”, when the victim is entrapped, phase five-“the murder”, which is the emotional high for the killer and lastly phase six-“the depression phase”, which occurs after the killing . When depression sets in, it triggers the phases into beginning again.
Bundy said he never really got what he had hoped for out of the murders, and always felt emptiness and hopelessness after.
Strange and bizarre fantasies thrive in isolation and anger. Eventually, to sustain the fantasy, serial killers come to a point where they need to live it out. They will dwell on the murder act for years, and drift into almost trance-like states days before the murder, completely involved by their fantasy. Their victims are reduced to innocent victims in their twisted game. Much of the strange, ritualized mutilations come from an inner drama that only the killer can understand.
Yet the brutal, messy reality of murder never completely fulfills the power of the fantasy. In fact, it is usually a letdown, but the fantasy won’t go away.
When does a serial killer stop? Either when they are caught or killed. Very few have turned themselves in. Only Ed Kemper called the police to confess, and waited at a phone booth to be picked up. Some plea to be caught; yet they disappear before the cops arrive to arrest them.
William Heirens wrote his memorable message (“For heavens sake catch me before .