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Serial Killers:

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Alexandra Northrup

on 10 January 2014

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Transcript of Serial Killers:

What is a serial Killer?
Serial Killers:
Born or Made?
What Makes a serial Killer?


Thesis: All in all, an individual
into this world and the
is the

that can
murderous intents or actions.

Serial killers, no matter where in the world, were


“We serial killers are your sons, we are your husbands, we are everywhere. And there will be more of your children dead tomorrow.”
― Ted Bundy
3 or more murders with a "cooling off" period in between.
No direct link to victims.
Need to dominate victims.
Choose vulnerable victims.
Incapable of showing sympathy and remorse
Mimic normal behavior.
"[Being a serial killer] is like being a movie star... you're just playing the part"
- Henry Lee Lucas
Brain Abnormalities
Dangerous when combined with low serotonin levels
Need to dominate others
Serotonin balances aggression, calms nerves
Serotonin is low, could lead to sadistic and aggressive behavior.
Limbic brain - emotion and motivation; when damaged the individual loses control over primary emotions (fear)
Hypothalamus plays role in reticular activating system, can block stimulating activity from reaching the judgement cortex. Responsible for chronic under-arousal in the psychopath => Antisocial behavior.
Research: criminals with psychopathic tendencies have shrunken ventromedial cortex - the area that controls decision-making.
86% of serial killers met the criteria for psychopathy.
What Keeps a Serial Killer Going?
There are 6 phases of the serial killer cycle:
->The Aura Phase
->The Trolling Phase
->The Wooing Phase
->The Capture Phase
->The Murder or Totem Phase
->The Depression Phase
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, for it is too deeply ingrained in the killer's psyche.

Therefore it urges the murderer to kill , quenching their bloodthirsty cravings until they are sparked once more.
"I wished I could stop but I could not. I had no other thrill or happiness..."

- Dennis Nilsen aka "The Kindly Killer"
MAO-A (Weak Variant)
Warrior Gene.
Research lead by Temi Moffitt found that individuals with the gene were more likely to develop into anti-social adults, but only if they were also maltreated as children.
Michael Ross, a sado-sexual psychopath raped and murdered 8 women.
He was wrongly "wired up" in the hypothlamic region
This malfunction causes to act with homicidal rage.
Is it Nature OR Nurture?


Although nature contributes to creating a serial killer, nurture is the dominant cause that either allows the behaviour to manifest or perish.
The MacDonald Triad
Animal Cruelty
The MacDonald triad unites the childhood signs that can signal that a troublesome future as a serial murder may lay ahead. This is a set of three behavioral characteristics, in which if all three or a combination of two are present, there is a strong possibility of the individual committing serial offenses.

A disturbing red flag, due to the fact that animals
could be used as “practice” for killing humans

For example, as a young child, Edmund Kemper (convicted murderer of 10 cases and necrophilia) buried the family cat alive, dug it up, and cut off its head. Animal cruelty was also prominent in the early life of Jeffrey Dahmer(rapist and killer of 17 young men). He biked around his neighborhood looking for dead animals, which he dissected at home (or in the woods near his home). In one instance, he put a dog's head on a stake.

Additionally, pyromania, which is the obsession with fire setting, is seen as a less severe way of releasing aggression.
This dramatic destruction of property feeds the same perverse need to destroy another human.
For example, when David Berkowitz aka Son of Sam was tired of torturing animals, he became preoccupied with setting fire on 1411 different occasions.
Isolation in childhood is a commonplace among psychopaths and serial killers.
This lack of social integration and increased loneliness can begin in a family environment. The parents can perceive a real or imagined flaw in the child, which eventually results in the child being deprived of love and nurturing.
“There is often a malfunctional and debilitating relationship within the family… so the children develop an incapacity to make relationships” and end up isolated.
Such is the case with Edward Kemper, who’s parents divorced and while living with his mother, he was locked in the basement for fear that he would rape his sister.
By Peers
Moreover, if the individual experiences peer rejection, this furthers the initial isolation.
Individuals can be bullied or ignored because of behavioural differences => base hatred feelings.
Being collectively rejected by primary social groups at a young age usually provokes a generalized hatred towards everyone.
Detrimentally, when an individual is exposed to extensive isolation, their unusual behaviours and insufficiency of controlling their desires will further separate them.
This, in turn allots more time for thoughts of hatred and dark fantasies. Later in life, if the individual’s fantasies turn to action, their enjoyment of people’s suffering and pain can be a reflection of the pain of rejection and bullying that they experienced throughout childhood.
Westley Dodd, who became a harsh child molester and murderer, grew up in an unloving home and was additionally bullied at school
The nurture of a child in one’s early life is likely to determine the future outcome, and factors such as physical, psychological and sexual abuse all contribute to to the making of a serial killer. In fact, 72% of serial killers were maltreated (regardless of type) as a young child
Witnessing violence between family members can ignite their thirst for blood and make them desensitized to violence with time.
Abusive experiences often lead to the use of dehumanizing tactics when killing their victims as a way of spreading their feelings.

In the particular case of Joseph Kallinger, he was adopted by sadistic parents and his mother further beat him when he refused to hold out the pain she caused. He later became a sadistic parent himself and also took extreme pleasure in torturing people.

Another example of abuse is found in the case Henry Lee Lucas, who was raped and beaten when in juvenile detention by other prisoners at the age of fourteen. The suffering and embarrassment he went through created immense hatred towards humans in general.
"I made my fantasy life more powerful than my real one"
- Jeffrey Dahmer
A less grave behaviour is enuresis, also known as unintentional bed-wetting past the age of five. Statistics show that fifty-seven percent of multiple murderers wet their beds past adolescence, such as Kenneth Bianchi, an American serial killer, kidnapper and rapist
A few years after Macdonald's paper was published, a team of researchers tried to recreate its findings. It divided 84 incarcerated offenders into two groups: the 53 nonaggressive offenders and 31 aggressively violent offenders. Three-quarters of the violent offenders had evidence of one or two of the behaviors of the Macdonald Triad, and 45 percent had all three.
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