With Ritual Dreams at the editor, I’ve been taking some time to catch up on recent serial killer cases. I know that’s a weird hobby, but I’m kind of a weird person, so it works. And I noticed a blog post trending… Not history related. I did a blog post in 2016 regarding myths about serial killers. It seems very popular right now. So I read through it again and decided to revisit some serial killer facts.
- Serial killers are rarely mentally ill. This is kind of a double edged sword. People with ASPD are mentally ill. Some would say that having psychopathic or sociopathic tendencies is probably one of the worst mental illnesses a person can have. You cannot have ASPD and several other illnesses (bipolar disorder, depression, DID – there is a caveat to this that I’ll get to a little later, and it has never been documented in someone with schizophrenia). I don’t know if its good or bad that you can’t have ASPD with psychopathic tendencies and Bipolar Disorder, but there it is. It is incredibly rare for serial killers to have a mental illness such as schizophrenia or DID.
- Approximately 20% of serial killers ARE female. However, they tend to be older females. 20-something women are far less likely to be serial killers than 20-something men. Instead, most female serial killers are in their late 30s or early 40s before they make their first kill… the exception is females working with male partners (Think Ian Brady/Myra Hindley or Paul Bernardo/Karla Homolka.
- Female serial killers get lighter sentences than male serial killers and female partners of male serial killers on average only get half the time the male partner is sentenced to (which is why Karla Homolka is free and Myra Hindley was due to be paroled when she died [according to the sources involved in her upcoming parole hearing, Hindley would have gotten out if she hadn’t died]).
- Serial killers of minority ethnicities in the US are on the rise. Before 1990 only about 15% of all serial killers were not white. That’s up to about 25% according to the FBI (2014 last date available).
- As mass murder rates in the US rise (think school shooters and the guy who killed 5 people at a Florida bank in January 2019), serial killer rates have started to decline. And some sociologists and psychologists think they two are directly related. Possibly because people who would grow up to become serial killers are venting their rage at a younger age, resulting in more mass murderers.
- There are serial killer fanclubs on the internet as well as a dating site specifically for men in prison for committing murder (I read an article about it a couple years ago – I consider both of these things bizarre).
- Psychopathic and sociopathic serial killers get bored with killing. This is the primary reason for escalation of either violence or risk taking behaviors associated with being a serial killer. It can also be the reason they suddenly just quit killing. Dennis Rader (BTK – Wichita, Kansas 1980s-1990s) admitted that he stopped killing for a while because he was bored, so he got married and started having children. When the novelty of that wore off, he increased his taunting behaviors against the police – which is what led to his capture).
- Very few serial killers get national news coverage in the US. Even after they are captured.
- While serial killers in the US are on the decline, they are on the rise in most other Western countries. The number of serial killers rise when countries experience social unrest (after Katrina decimated New Orleans and most of the Southern part of the US, serial killer rates in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi all increased). I read an article by a sociologist who suggested that the reason serial killers are increasing in Canada and Europe is because the general public is relatively unhappy with the acceptance of refugees by the government in those countries.
- There are serial killers that specialize in low risk victims. High risk victims are runaways, prostitutes, and drug addicts. However, for some serial killers soccer moms or successful 20-something men are the only victims they will take.
- Dismemberment of serial killer victims is increasing. It is thought this is meant to be a forensic countermeasure. With the increase of crime shows like CSI, Forensic Files, and Criminal Minds, serial killers today are more aware of forensics and take more precautions to prevent leaving evidence; dismemberment and washing of the corpse are both fairly decent counter measure.
Go forth, don’t kill anyone, and don’t get yourself killed. Bonus fact: shows like CSI always make dismemberment look like a super bloody affair, blood spatter on the ceiling, coating the walls, soaking the floor, ect. Except, that only happens if you try to dismember a living person. Once the body is dead, the blood instantly begins to coagulate and congeal within the body. It doesn’t spray out, it can’t. It seeps out, but not an exceptional amount. If it did, autopsies would be incredibly messy affairs that required a full room disinfection and HAZMAT clean up after each one if cutting dead flesh created a mess.