What does a serial killer do? Serial killers usually have reasons for killing, they just don’t go out and kill anyone (the majority). A serial killer will plan out where, when, why, and how before they actually kill. Ted Bundy used to lure his victims with a phony cast on his leg. Others lured with the promise of sex or porno movies. When they kill they usually have their own style. The Son of Sam used a .44 Cal, Dahmer killed various ways and then hacked his victims into several pieces, dumping the bodies into vats of acid, and Gacy molested little boys before strangling them and dumping them into the crawl space under his home. What makes a serial killer? A serial killer tends to be white, male, and middle aged. There are other races, sexes, and ages, but the majority fit the description I’ve just given. Their character flaw seems to come from their childhood. Ted Bundy grew up in a male dominated family, so Ted grew up to kill women. John Wayne Gacy was sexually molested by a man and accused of being a “queer” by his father, so John grew up to kill little boys. Ed Gein was over protected by his mother so he grew up with a warped sexual sense and started, gravedigging, and making furniture out of corpses, and killing   To be labeled a serial killer, a person must kill at least three people with intervals between each killing. That is what differentiates a serial killer from a mass murderer. Mass murderers will kill large numbers of people at one time, (1994 Mass Murderers, Time Life Books) while a serial killer will kill and kill again over a period of time. Everybody knows that serial killers murder people in abhorrent ways, they often do not know the whole story behind these deranged people. Serial killers backgrounds are often too hideous for the common person to endure. Others view what these people do as taboo and refuse to believe that it happens in our society. Well it does happen, and to understand the full concept of a serial killer you have to know the whole story. Because every serial killer has their own uniqueness, you’ll have to hear several case profiles too understand the idiosyncrasies between them.     Psychotics are the easiest of all serial killers to pick out. That is because they are insane. They often tend to have interesting stories behind their killings because they often see and hear things that the normal person doesn’t. Schizophrenia is a common source are associated with psychotics. Schizophrenics will hear voices in their head and will ultimately make them go insane. Often the voices will make these people kill to appease them or to kill for a cause. Psychotics will most likely have a normal childhood unlike the psychopath. Although there are cases were psychotics have had a rough childhood as in the case of Ed Gein.  The number of psychotics compared to the psychopath are minimal. Psychotics have a mental disease unlike the psychopaths which have a character flaw. To show what a psychotic actually is, the following are two profiles on psychotics with interpreted case histories.

Herbert Mullin

Herbert Mullin had a normal childhood. Growing up in a middle class family Herbert had no major difficulties. But by the time he was twenty, Herbert started to become violent, had began learning Eastern religions, and became a drug user. In 1969, he started to imitate his brother-in-law and his parents were worried that he suffered from echopraxia. Echopraxia is one of the first symptoms of schizophrenia. Herbert admitted himself into a mental health institution and was diagnosed with having schizophrenia. Six weeks later he was released. Upon released he shaved his head and began slipping away from reality, during this time he was quoted as saying “murder is an act of love”. In 1972 Herbert went to visit his parents in Santa Cruz; it was at this point when Herbert began to hear voices. He believed that his father was communicating with him telepathically. The voice would instruct him to go kill people. So in time he had done just that. His first victim was a man that he clubbed to death. A few months later he picked up a hitchhiker, stabbed her to death and dumped the body. His third victim was a Catholic priest he stabbed to death in a confessional. By this time a new voice had entered his head. Albert Einstein told Herbert telepathically that Herb was the “designated leader” of his generation. Einstein then told Herb that he had to sacrifice people to stop the great California earthquakes. Then the voices changed in Herbert’s head from Einstein to random people offering themselves to be killed. Herb killed five of these people. In early February he came across some teenagers illegally camping, Herb first told them to leave but then shot and killed them all. Then on February 13 Mullin was delivering firewood when the voices told him that he could not deliver the wood until he killed someone. As he was on his way to deliver the wood, he observed a seventy two year old man, he shot him and continued on his way never leaving his vehicle. Herb was quickly arrested but he didn’t even know why. Herb was not found insane by the courts, but this is highly arguementive. Herb Mullin was sentenced to life in prison.

Ed Gein

The people of Plainfield, considered Ed Gein a gentle man who everybody trusted. Ed had a very strict childhood. His father died when he was very young. His mother then decided that she would raise her children and not marry or be involved in any relationship. Mrs. Gein told Ed and his brother Henry that all women were bad and that sex would lead to heart breaks and diseases. Later in life, Ed confessed he felt his mother was good in every manner (deranged,wierd,sick, http.//www.deranged.com). Authorities suspected he had a sexual relationship with his mother. Within a matter of time Ed’s mother and brother had died, leaving Ed desolate on a farm which didn’t even have electricity. Ed worked odd jobs like a handyman and baby-sitting. In his free time, Ed conducted psychotic experiments. Fascinated with the female body, Ed often indulged himself in anatomical textbooks. To actually see and feel for himself, he went to the graveyard and exhumed several bodies, including his mothers’. He found pleasure in handling dead women’s sex organs. Even worse, he skinned the corpses and dissected the bodies. The inventory inside his home consisted of heads, hearts, livers, intestines, and skin scattered about. At night he would take off all of his clothes, put on his mothers skin, and dance around the house. Seeking yet more sexual gratification Ed made furniture and musical instruments from body parts.  Some of these items included lampshades, tom toms, and bracelets. Gein then moved on to killing other people. Even though he only killed two women (Mary Hogan and Bernice Wordan), Ed was still considered a serial killer. After killing Bernice Wordan, the evidence left behind lead to Ed Gein. When the authorities arrived they were welcomed by an assortment of human artifacts. Shrunken heads, drinking glass skulls, and skin furniture. Ed didn’t realize that what he had done was wrong so he invited the police in for coffee. In the kitchen there was a human heart simmering in a saucepan. The police then found Bernice hanging in the barn, she was gutted and strung up like a deer. Most of the officers became sick after viewing the carnage. Ed was arrested and found by the court to be insane. He was institutionalized for the rest of his life. The movies Psycho and Silence of the Lambs were based on his life (1994 Serial Killers, Time Life Books). Psychopaths or also known as sociopaths are people with a severe character flaw in which they feel like they have to kill. Sociopaths know that killing is wrong, they just don’t care. Sociopaths act just like everybody else, some are shy, and some are extremely outgoing. These people are usually led to killing by influences that have warped their personalities. Common examples are child abuse, a fetish with a certain items, or a hatred of some sort. A serial killer loves to kill, it gives the killer a sense of power and gratification. Since sociopaths far outnumber the psychotic, seven profiles on select serial killers are given to understand the many different aspects serial killers have.

Gilles De Rais

This serial killer is the third most notorious serial killer known. His name is Gilles De Rais. During the Hundred Years War, De Rais was Joan of Arc’s personal bodyguard. Immensely rich, and popular throughout France, De Rais was named a baron to the people. Being a faithful Christian, it was hard to accept what De Rais had done. Other lords and the common people became suspicious of all the missing children in the area. The Bishop of Nantees demanded that De Rais’s castle be searched. In a pit within the castle, they dug up the remains of one hundred and forty boys. De Rais had murdered them all by means of satanic ritual or sexual gratification. At times when he didn’t feel like killing, he had his servants molest, torture, and murder the young men. While this was happening, De Rais watched and masturbated over the children’s entrails. De Rais and his servants were found guilty of murder and torture. De Rais was simultaneously hanged and burned alive, while his servants were just burned alive. Though, they only found the remains of 140 people, it was estimated that he killed over 300 (Compulsion to Kill, Time Life Books).

Albert Fish

The next serial killer to be discussed is Albert Fish. The father of sadism, Fish was sexually aroused by pain and misery. After Fish’s wife and six children left him, he would become aroused by inflicting pain upon himself. He would eat his own defications, stick flaming alcohol balls into his anus, flagellate himself with a nail studded paddle, burn himself with red hot pokers, and insert sewing needles into his groin. At night he would dance naked in his yard screaming “I am Christ!” (1994,Serial Killers, Time Life Books). As a pass time Fish would answer lonely widow ads in the newspaper by giving promises of paddling, punishment, and much worse. He bigamously married three of the women he had met through the ads in the paper. None of these rituals could fully sexually appease him so Fish turned to molesting children and cannibalism. After molesting seven little girls and then strangling them, he decided to try cannibalism. The 8th and final victim was ten year old Grace Budd. He told her parents that Fish was taking her to Fish’s niece birthday party. There was actually no party, he took her to an abandoned house in the country. After molesting and strangling the girl, he chopped her into pieces and made a stew out of her. When Fish ate the stew he had experienced an orgasm that lasted seven days straight. He then quickly moved out of state but his conscience told him to inform the parents what had happened to their daughter considering the Budds were his friends. Albert wrote the Budds a letter telling them what a delight it had been eating their daughter. The police then traced the return address and apprehended Fish. He was found guilty of murder and a multitude of other charges and then sentenced to death. At age 65, Fish was the oldest person electrocuted at Sing Sing prison. An untrue legend has it that Fish short circuited the electric chair due to all the sewing needles in his groin (1994, Beyond Murder, John Philpin, Penguin Books USA Inc.)

Richard Ramirez

Ever since Richard was a boy he was a loner. By the time he was in 8th grade he was sniffing glue and smoking marijuana but shunned group activities such as youth gangs. The one thing about Richard that is the most frightening is that he killed randomly. There were no racial, sexual, or age preferences. Richard would just break into houses and kill the occupants. Ramirez’s first victim was seventy-nine year old Jennie Vincow, whom he raped and nearly decapitated. Ramirez was homeless, sleeping anywhere he could. As a pass time Richard would flirt with Satanism and practice in the occult. After killing thirteen people and assaulting about thirty more, Richard was finally captured with the first time used invention of the computer used to match finger prints (VICAP) (1994, Most Wanted, Time Life Books). Ramirez was found guilty and was given the death penalty. Richard tried pleading insanity but the court found that he wasn’t. “The Night Stalker” would kill just because he liked to.

Jerry Brudos

Jerry Brudos was known as the Shoe Fetish Slayer. At age five Jerry found a pair of high heel shoes in the dump and became fascinated by them. Jerry took them home and wore them around until his mother found out, Jerry was severely punished. When Jerry was 16, he dug a tunnel hoping to capture a girl in it so he could make her do anything that he wanted. Still enchanted by the high heeled shoes, Jerry started to burglarize houses, stealing their high heeled shoes and sometimes lingerie. After stealing the items, Jerry would go home and try them on. In 1956 Jerry was arrested for assaulting a little girl and trying to rip her clothes off. At age 23, he married a 17 year old girl and became the father of two children. This is when he started to kill. In January 1968, he killed a 19 year old who was selling encyclopedias door to door (1994, Lethal Shadow, Stephan Michaud, Penguin Books USA Inc.).  Knocking her unconcience, he took her to the basement, and then strangled her. He then undressed her, and put on her undergarments and high heeled shoes. Fascinated by the shoe, Jerry cut off her left foot, put a high heeled shoe on it, and then stored it in the freezer. But now what was he going to do with the body? He tied her to an old, discarded engine block and tossed her into the Willamette River.  His next victim was killed ten months later. This time he dressed up the cadaver and took photographs. He severed one of her breasts before dumping her into the Willamette River. In March 1969, Brudos had raped another victim and then strangled her. Once finished with the body, Jerry severed both breasts before dumping her body. His last victim followed about a month later; after the rape and murder, he applied electric shocks to the rib cage to see if the body would jump. A anonymous tip led the authorities to Brudos. At his home they found special electrician knots which were used to hold down the body in the river. They had also found his souvenir collection of body parts. The last thing the authorities found was a photograph of a dead woman hanging from a hook in his garage. Jerry was charged with three out of the four murders and was sentenced to life in prison. Jerry is eligible for parole in 1999 (1994,Compulsion to Kill, Time Life Books).

Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy was probably the most brilliant serial killer of all time. A law school drop out, this murderer of thirty six women was on a killing spree that lasted a decade. As a child, he grew up in a male dominated household. His father would scream, yell, and beat his mother. Ted grew up with domestic violence ingrained into his personality. He tried many times, but relationships never lasted. He was a charming and well educated man. To some he was considered a hero. When he was a teenager, he saved a child from drowning. So it was considered odd that he ended up a killer. When he was in his twenties he married Beth Archer. This seemed peculiar because by this time he had already killed two dozen women. Eventually she divorced him and he remarried Carol Bartholomew. Even though he was married, he still continued to stalk and murder. Ted’s common hunting grounds were universities and beaches. He lured his victims by using a fake cast. Women would feel sympathetic and help him with his books or assist him in some other way. This would be their fatal mistake. He would take them out of site and then murder them. Ted’s methods of killing were strangling and/or beating to death with blunt objects (1994, Serial Killers, Time Life Books. He knew how to cover his tracks and not let anyone notice him. When he’d go “hunting” he would leave the area which he live traveling as much as three hundred miles to find his victims. Police became suspicious of Ted but they had no evidence against him. Nationwide, college campuses were advised to be on the lookout for anyone unfamiliar roaming the campuses with a cast on. One day Ted’s wife was scavenging the attic for something when she stumbled upon a box filled with cast material. She called the police and Ted was apprehended. With Ted’s friendly personality he was givin a lot of freedom in the courts. Since he was a law student he decided to represent himself. One day in court Ted asked to go to the bathroom and was allowed to do so. The court room was on the third floor so they didn’t anticipate an escape attempt. Unattended in the bathroom, Ted jumped from the third floor window and escaped with a broken leg. There was a state wide man hunt for Bundy and he was apprehended a few days later. Ted was then shackled in the courtroom and his liberties were stripped. The courts have convicted Ted with thirty six counts of murder. Ted, after conviction, admitted to the crimes he had committed. He had a hard time remembering the names because there were so many victims. Ted had a inner hatred towards women and this was the only way he knew how to deal with this hatred. Ted was executed January 24, 1989. His last word were “Thirty six is the wrong number, you have to add one more digit” (1992, To Kill and Kill Again, John Coston, Penguin Books USA Inc.). This means he could of killed one more, ten more, or a hundred more, we will never know.

Henry Lucas

If anything that can go wrong in a childhood, it has happened to Henry Lee Lucas.  The youngest of nine, Henry came from a severely dysfunctional family. He never knew his father, just a drunken stepfather that lost both his legs while working for a railroad, who eventually died of pneumonia. Henry’s mother was a cruel prostitute. She made him grow his hair long, and put him in dresses just to make fun of him. If he’d disobey, she’d beat him until he was unconscious. Sometimes she’d make him watch while she was with a client. It took Henry three years to pass the first grade and he dropped out after the fifth. At a young age he was subjected to necrophilia. One of his mother’s lovers killed a cow and had sex with it. His older brother damaged Henry’s eye in a fight and when a teacher accidentally hit him, he went blind in that eye. In 1960 Henry killed his mother in a argument about marriage. He claimed that she died of a heart attack after he punched her and slightly slit her throat. The autopsy showed that she had actually died from bleeding to death.  Henry was sentenced to twenty to forty years in prison; but only served ten. After Henry was released from prison he teamed up with Ottis Toole, a bisexual cannibal, and they went on a nationwide killing spree. They killed and raped their victims as it was a necessity to them. If they ever had a urge to kill, they said that they would just pick up a hitchhiker every now and then. Joining up with them later was Toole’s niece, Becky Powell. With time she developed a relationship with Henry and he ultimately ended up killing her too. Henry had Becky’s dismembered body in the back seat of a car when he was stopped by a deputy sheriff in Texas. After arrest Henry admitted killing over 360 people nationwide. Officers from twenty eight states came to interrogate him (which had included my father, Richard Wellner). In one interview he was quoted as saying “We killed them every way there is accept one, I haven’t poisoned anybody. We cut ’em up. We hanged ’em. We ran ’em down with cars. We stabbed ’em. We beat ’em. We drowned ’em. There’s crucifixion-there’s people we fillet like fish. There’s people we burnt.(1994,Serial Killers, Time Life Books) There’s people we shot in cars. We strangled them by hand. We strangled them by rope. We strangled them by telephone cord. We stabbed them then we strangled them. We even tied them so they would strangle themselves. Henry Lee Lucas is known as the Bloody Liar because of his false confessions and that strive for attention. He was only linked to eleven murders, one being Becky Powell. He may have killed more but this is all that police have proven so far. Henry is currently sitting on death row.

John Wayne Gacy

John Wayne Gacy’s part time occupation as a clown hid his true self pretty well. Pogo the Clown molested and murdered thirty three boys. When John was a child, he was what you would call a momma’s boy. His father had always accused him of being a “queer”. Later on in childhood his father’s friend sexually molested him while taking him for a ride in a truck. John grew up and worked as an electrician and a part time clown. Gacy suffered from two broken marriages and then he started to kill. John would lure young boys to his house with promises of sex or porno movies. He would have sex with those who wanted sex and would manipulate the others to masturbate during the porno’s. After having his way with the boys he would then strangle and bury them in his crawl space. Before all the killings started, Gacy had a police record and spent time in jail for sexual assaults. Gacy became a suspect in a number of missing boy cases because of his police record. With a anonymous tip, they searched his house and found there were three boys buried in the crawl space. After being arrested and convicted, John Wayne Gacy was sentenced to death. While sitting on death row, he imitated his father when he used to lock himself in the basement and started to paint. Gacy’s paintings sold up as high as five hundred thousand dollars each (1993, Garden of Graves, Maria Eftmiades, St. Martins Press).

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