What are the underling factors that contribute to the psychological profile of men and women serial killers? One may hypothesize that serial killing is triggered by insanity, mental illness, or psychopathy. However, serial killing has been defined by killing at least three or more individuals in a given time (Bartels, 2009). At the same time one might assume that a serial killer is a predator that hunts for human prey. Another hypothesis might be that enacting on their fantasies may perhaps drive them to violence and then they kill and kill again.
Nonetheless, the victim is determined by one thing; the mind of the serial killer.
Serial killing has been explained as mystifying, bewildering and it is repeatedly hard to grasp and understand why one is able to kill another human being. We often see these perpetrators participate in lunacy or just plain insanity, however, many are not insane nor do they suffer from mental illness (Knight, 2006). Still the axiology of serial murders are still considered ambiguous to whether the source is sociological, biological and psychological philosophies in which psychologist and criminal profilers keep researching.
Knight states, “That serial murders have been chronicled throughout history since the 1400’s. Then by the 1960’s there was an increased number of serial killers, in which one may ask why? Could we apply Bowlby’s attachment theory, personality disorder, and physical abuse as a child to explain such heinous crimes? We do know that serial killing comes in many different forms and in the way each offender has committed these crimes. We also know some kill alone while others kill with partners, although each crime is different; one can see that almost all serial murders are acted upon with the purpose and motive of the fascination each killer perceives they must act out.
When we talk about men serial killers, many remember the most notorious like John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Jeffery Dahmer, Robert Hanson, Larry Gene Bell, Denise Radar and Charles Manson. Although criminal profiling has been around for a long time; John Douglas and Robert Ressler has made criminal profiling into an art. The art of profiling is using deductive reasoning and depends greatly on the human experience and common sense by utilizing psychological, behavioral, criminal and investigative profiling. The main key to capturing a serial killer is to get into the mind of that serial killer (White, 2010).
Because of these two men we are now able to see some comparable patterns between these serial killers. 1978 is when investigators uncovered the remains of 29 young men buried underneath and around the home of 36 year old building contractor in suburban Chicago, named John Wayne Gacy. In addition to the bodies in his crawl space he also admitted to killing 4 more between 1972 and 1978. These young men were found to be given marijuana and alcohol, had been sexually assaulted and then strangled and then buried underneath Gacy’s home.
When John was young, he was the only boy of 2 sisters. However, his sisters were adored by their father, but John was the brunt of his father’s criticism and felt that his mother was the only person that made his life bearable. His father wanted a tough and masculine son, however John was a very sensitive child. By the age of ten, John would take his mother’s panties and bury them in the backyard very similar to the way he buried the bodies under his house years later.