Serial Killers Lives Essay, Research Paper
The Actions Of Some Of The Most Notorious Serial Killers
What is a serial killer and what makes them kill? There are many answers to this question. Although only a hand full of serial killers make the national news every year. The FBI reports that there are as many as 35 to 50 serial killers in the United States at any given time. Since the year 1800 there have been at least 150-documented cases of serial killers in the United States alone. It is estimated that of the 7,000 murders in the U.S. every year about 120 are by serial killers. World wide it is estimated that there are as many as 6,000 serial killer victims per year. In order to be considered a serial killer a person must kill three to four people with brief intervals between the murders. These killers kill over a period of days, weeks, months, even years. They have a cooling off period which means they go through periods of times where they do not even kill. Most serial killers pick people at random to kill. The murders of serial killers are all linked in at least one way such as the manner in which they are committed, and the characteristics of the victims. A serial killer works alone except in very rare cases, and they continuously kill unless they are made to stop. The killers motivation is based on any type of profit, their motivation generally comes from an event in their life.
A serial killer usually has an I.Q. anywhere between 100 and 145. There is no typical social class that a serial killer comes from. He may come from lower, middle, or upper class societies. Most serial killers are described as cowards who cannot establish or maintain relationships with women.
There are four types of serial killers. The visionary motive type hears voices in their head and is usually considered insane. The missionary oriented type feels that they have to rid the world of unworthy people and kills a certain group of people. The thrill oriented type get a high from killing and kill people for the thrill of it. Then there is the lust killer one of the most famous types of serial killer. They kill because it turns them on. They take pleasure in knowing how much they can torture a victim.
Although serial killers are unique in their own ways, many of them have things in common. For instance, as children most serial killers tortured animals, wet the bed often, and set fires. It is also common for a serial killer to have been abused as a child or to have had exposure to traumatic events. Most serial killers usually have some brain damage. The brain damage is usually caused by the abuse of drugs. Most serial killers are white males in their 20s and 30s. Serial killers are often said to have low self-esteem and are sexually dysfunctional.
Explanations as to why a serial killer kills have been given. Some say it is
because of genetics, a predisposition to kill. Others believe it is because of their environment, or in the way they were brought up. A definite answer lies in the childhoods of serial killers. At an early age, behavioral patterns that lead to serial killing begin.
The following childhood traits of serial killers were determined in a study by Robert Ressler, Ann Burgess and John Douglas of 36 incarcerated serial killers:
The three most reported behaviors were daydreaming, compulsive masturbation and isolation. Daydreaming, or fantasy, is a major component of the psyche of a serial killer. In a 1998 FBI study of 151 imprisoned serial killers, it was found that 42% were abused or neglected as children, 74% were psychologically abused as children, and 35% witnessed sexual violence as children. (www.serialkillers.net)
A serial killer usually uses their victims in a way that will satisfy their sexual fantasies. If the serial killer is a homosexual their victims will quite often be of the same sex. For example, Jeffrey Dahmer killed seventeen males. He would kill the men and then have sex with their bodies.
Prostitutes and hitchhikers are most commonly the victims of serial killers. These groups of people are easy targets. They can fulfill the sexual void in the serial killers life. These victims are the least likely to be missed by others until a good deal of time has passed.
Women and children are usually the victims of the serial killers. Most generally they are of the same race. Women and children are easy for killers to kill because they are often weaker than the killer. These people are usually strangers to the killer. They choose these people because they are vulnerable. A victim is usually symbolic to the killer in some way. Meaning that the victim in some way shape or form reminds the killer of someone or something that he has had some hard feelings with. For instance someone that abused him as a child or someone that picked on him or bullied him around. Another thing that could be a factor is jealousy, jealousy towards somebody who was more popular or somebody who tended to have things go his or her way.
Serial killers feel that they must have control over their victims. They often want to feel as if they own the person they are going to kill. Some serial killers humiliate their victims to show their control over them.
Quite often when a serial killer is caught, the killer will suddenly begin to pretend to be insane. They will quite often try to convince people that they are schizophrenic, prone to blackouts, or say they have multiple personalities, anything to evade responsibility.
The names Jeffrey Dahmer, Albert Fish, and John Wayne Gacy are all familiar
and terrifying names. What do they have in common? They are the names of notorious serial killers whose stories have been heard by almost everybody.
Jeffrey Dahmer was known as what is called a lust killer. He is famous for two reasons, the first being that he was gay and killed all males, and the second being that he ate his victims. Jeffrey grew up with his mother, father, and younger brother. They lived in Bath Township, Ohio. His mother had a mental illness, so her marriage to his father wasn t a good one. At the age of thirteen Jeffrey realized that he was gay. At the age of fourteen he had a sexual experience with his neighbor. By the time Jeffrey was sixteen he was having many sexual fantasies, which led him to drinking.
Dahmer killed seventeen males. He said that he had no hatred for his victims, he just wanted to control them. Dahmer killed his first victim just after he graduated high school. His victim was Steven Hicks. He was hitchhiking one night when Jeffrey picked him up. They went to Jeffrey s house where they drank beer and had sex. Steven wanted to leave, but Jeffrey didn t want him to. Dahmer struck Steven in the head with a barbell and then choked him to death with it. Dahmer then cut open Steven s body to examine it.
After killing Steven Hicks Dahmer didn t kill again for ten years. This time is what is referred to as the cooling off period mentioned above. He turned to heavy drinking, pornography, and masturbation to keep himself from killing. He joined the Army, but was soon discharged because of his bad drinking habits. He moved in with his grandmother in Wisconsin where he got in trouble with the law several times for public intoxication and removing his pants in public places.
Dahmer began going to gay bars. He tried many things to control his sexual desires. He robbed graves and stole mannequins to have sex with to keep himself from hurting anyone. Dahmer tried to keep from killing people, but eventually one thing led to another and he was back to murdering.
At first he murdered people once every two months, but he began killing more often and he eventually ended up killing once a week. Between 1988 and 1991 Dahmer killed fifteen men. Usually Jeffrey would go to a gay bar and pick up his victims. He would take them home and slip pills into their drinks to knock them out. He killed gay men in their teens to early thirties. The men were black, white, Asian, and Hispanics.
Dahmer would keep the bodies of his victims for many days. He would put them in a large freezer to keep them fresh. He would often take pictures of their bodies, some half dissected with their organs hanging out. He decided that he wanted to keep the bodies longer, so he began a drilling technique. This technique involved putting holes in their heads and then putting acid in their frontal lobes.
Keeping bodies and body parts of his victims wasn t enough. With his sixth or seventh victim he decided to try something new. Jeffrey decided that he would eat his victims, he said that this made him feel as if his victims were more of a part of him. He ate hearts, livers, thighs, and biceps.
Another famous cannibalistic serial killer is Albert Fish. Albert was also a lust killer. Not only was Albert a cannibal, he was also a child molester. Fish claimed to have attacked over one hundred children.
Albert was born in Hamilton Fish, Washington, D.C. His father passed away when he was five years old. Albert was then sent to an orphanage where he was considered a problem child because he wet the bed often.
In 1928 Albert ate his first human. She was a twelve year old girl named Grace Budd. Albert was friends with Grace s parents. One day he asked if he could take her to a party where other children he knew were going to be, Grace s parents agreed to let him take her because they knew and trusted Albert.
Albert never took Grace to a party, he took her to his cottage. Albert took off his clothes and strangled Grace. Then he beheaded and dismembered her. After that he mutilated her with a meat cleaver and then put her flesh into a stew. Several years later Albert wrote a letter to Grace s parents describing everything that he had done to her.
John Wayne Gacy was one of the worst serial killers to ever get caught. Gacy too was a lust killer. John Gacy was arrested in 1968 for sexual assault on a boy. He did not kill the boy, but he did try to pay him off to keep him quiet. The boy did not keep quiet, rather he testified against Gacy. Gacy paid another boy to beat the victim up. He was sentenced for ten years for this crime. But, was released in 1971 after three years in prison.
John Gacy was married before this whole ordeal. His wife shortly after divorced him. He then moved from Iowa to Des Plaines, Illinois. He got remarried, and started a construction business, which he ran from his home. To most people John seemed like an all around good guy. He was portrayed as a caring and giving man. If you had talked to his wife or co-workers on the other hand, you would have gotten a totally different story. They said that he was mean and fought with them constantly. In 1976 his second wife also left him. Gacy, from then on was quite regularly seen in what was known as the homosexual prostitute area of town.
Gacy s neighbors reported seeing young men and boys enter his home at all hours of the day. Although many of the men and boys that were hired were not killed. Many of them were beaten, or hurt in some manner.
In 1978 a 27-year-old abuse man checked into a Chicago hospital. This man gave the police a description of the assailant. The man did not want to let this crime go unpunished. Finally, the victim saw the vehicle that he had been transported in and reported the license plate number to the authorities. The vehicle was traced to John Wayne Gacy whom was later arrested. He was later released due to insufficient evidence.
Gacy s crimes finally caught up with him on December 11, 1978. A 15-year-old boy who had came over to inquire about a job, disappeared. The boy s name was Robert Piest. When Robert did not return home, his mother notified the police. This was enough to finally get a search warrant for Gacy s home and property. When the police entered his home the smell was putrid. The investigators followed the smell to a crawlspace beneath the house. When they looked in the space they found three decomposing bodies. The floors were then removed from within the house and the authorities found more bodies. Finally, the house was lifted from its foundation; beneath the house the investigators found bodies in long trenches and in shallow graves. He had used quick lime speed up the decomposition process. In all they found 33 victims including five that he reportedly threw into a river.
Gacy was convicted and sentenced to die in 1980. Over ten years later he was finally put to death by lethal injection.