Hi, it’s Linda. The Boss had “stuff” to take care of today, so I stepped in. Given the three of us at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency have had cases with multiple murders/murderers, we thought it might be interesting to look at serial killers.
While the murderers in The Connecticut Corpse Caper, Can You Hula like Hilo Hattie?, Coco’s Nuts, and Forever Poi did kill a few people who crossed their paths, we never truly viewed them as “serial killers” (or SKs, as Rey likes to call them). They executed people for specific reasons. The National Institute of Justice, by the way, defines a serial killer—SK—as a person who has committed two or more separate murders, generally with some psychological and/or sadistic sexual aspect. Wikipedia defines an SK as someone who has killed three or more people.
There was a time—the latter part of the 20th century specifically—when there appeared to be a glut of them. Remember Ted Bundy, Son of Sam, John Wayne Gacy, The Zodiac Killer, The Hillside Stranglers . . . ?
Did you know, though, that the number of serial killers has dropped 85% in 30 years? In fact, the FBI says they account for less that 1% of killings. (I wonder if the writers of Criminal Minds considered that.) Some of the reasons were that the latter part of the 20th century had turbulent times, people moved frequently, and hitchhiking was common. Finding victims wasn’t overly difficult. Moreover, computerized databases and data banks, and utilizing DNA for forensic purposes, didn’t exist until more recently. Add to that: longer prison sentences and reduced parole, as well as the abundance of security cameras.
In case you were wondering as to the types of SKs, there are said to be four major ones.
These serial killers hear—and respond to—voices or visions, which compel them to murder certain types of people. Visionaries tend to be psychotic.
This one experiences a need to kill certain people that fall under a given group (call girls, women/wives, transient workers, those with certain religious alliances or a particular race, as examples), but this type isn’t considered psychopathic or psychotic.
These former two tend to be focused on the act of killing and do so swiftly.
Power- & Control-Oriented
This SK experiences sexual gratification by dominating and humiliating victims. Sociopaths, they live by their own rules and guidelines. They also like to play God by being in control of life and death. Many famous serial killers fall under his category.
This one experiences a connection between violence and sexual gratification. Feeling pleasure from the act, he/she has “eroticized” the experience. A hedonistic killer takes the time to torture or mutilate a victim. You’ll find this type of serial killer in novels and movies.
These former two are focused on the process of killing; they enjoy torturing their victims and derive delight from the slow deaths they produce.
Based on interviews and subjective data, not every serial killer falls under one type and many are more than one type.
Eighty percent of SKs are white males between the ages of 25-34 and are charismatic, bright, and mobile. Their killings, at least initially, tend to be meticulously planned. They also develop over time and learn from mistakes so that they can “improve” their killing methods/styles. Women SKs, by the way, do exist and generally tend to kill for the same reasons as their male counterparts. Unless they have a male partner, however, they don’t tend to sexually assault or physically maim their victims.
Another general fact: many were mistreated or neglected as children and many abuse drugs and alcohol.
Other labels include “organized” versus “disorganized” and “asocial” versus “non-social”, but the majority appear to be organized and non-social.
There’s simply too much information to impart in a post, but as gruesome as some of it can be, it’s also—as Mr. Spock would say—fascinating. If you’re interested, I’d highly recommend you go googling.
Meanwhile, our latest case, Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha, may—possibly—feature an SK. This crafty and creative individual is certainly keeping us, and our police pals, on our private-eye toes.