Research Paper on What Makes a Serial Killer

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About this sample


Words: 1568 |

Pages: 3|

8 min read

Published: Dec 3, 2020

Words: 1568|Pages: 3|8 min read

Published: Dec 3, 2020

Why do Serial killers kill? Are they born or made? The main argument towards serial killers is if they are born or made because they become who they are or do because of experiences in early life. There is no proof if it is genetics if they are born being killers but can say they are made because traumas in their life. The Serial Killers in the United States are very well known in the world and many argue what makes a serial killer kill. Serial Killers are very aware what they are doing and they choose to act a certain way.

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A serial killer is a person that commits murders in succession from one another. Serial killers have been around for many years, and to this day many still ravage the world. The FBI defines a serial killer as a person that commits three or more murders within a short period of time, within months. Serial killers usually exhibit psychopathic trait, which can be indicative of brain abnormalities. In a Wisconsin study, it shows a direct correlation between people with criminal psychopathy and brain abnormalities. Knowing how the criminals act is a good way of understanding the make-up of these killers.

The killers become who they are and what they do because of their childhood trauma. Almost all of them have gone through a bad childhood. Their bad childhood will include physical and sexual abuse or parents’ separation etc. These well known serial killers are part of that trauma. Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Ed Gein, Richard Ramirez and so on. There is one known serial killer named Ted Bundy which evidence was not found upon trauma on his early life like the rest of the killers.

What really makes a serial killer kill? What goes through mind? Are they Psychopaths? We ask to ourselves these questions and many more on why do they do what they did or why do they do it. We wonder what goes through them and in their minds when they are killing people and if they feel regret or they do not. According to LaBrode, “These serial murderers intrigue the average person because the average person cannot fathom committing such a heinous crime and never showing any remorse.’

These serial killers do know what they are doing when they think on their next victim. They know who, when, where, what, and why they are doing it. They know when they are hiding evidence because of what they did. They leave the crime scene and they do surely know how to hide their second personality. This is when we call them psychopaths. These killers know how to compartmentalized their life. They do not feel guilty after they commit their crimes and why they seem and act normal in public. These serial killers are made and are not born to kill.

Ever heard of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer? He is a great example I can talk about what he did and what made him be serial killer. During his childhood Dahmer liked collecting dead animals and decompose them with corrosive chemicals. His father was a research chemist and they would spend time together doing that hobby. Then, later in his life there were moments where his dad was not present much in his life. While that happened his mother was going through depression and attempted to suicide. As all that was happening his parents ended up divorcing. Now, is that really a reason to become a serial killer? Of course not. This may of affected him even more to do what he did and wanted to do because it all started in his mind. At a young age he already had the urges to kill someone. When he was 13 years old he would plan to kill a jogger but never ended up doing it. When he turned 18 years old he went deep into drinking because of his parents problems. He had anger built in him no love or attention given. Because the lack of these emotions, during a kill according to Jentzen, ‘At the basis of hostility-aggressivity, one may find feelings of dependence, passivity, helplessness, a need to be loved frustrated in childhood, or a wish to control or dominate a reaction formation against dependency and passivity.’ Dahmer killed his first victim at the age of 18. He ended up killing 17 men between the year of 1978 and 1991 (Jeffrey Dahmar’s Victims) He knew what he was doing. He knew how to hide his evidence. He knew the feeling he felt when he started to kill and he found out when he killed his first victim. He created this in his mind and been wanting to do this at the age 13.

Another famous Serial Killer I will mention is Ted Bundy. He confessed killing about 36 women. Ted Bundy was a good looking man and was very manipulative when it came to kidnapping women. Bundy was a very intelligent man and he used his charm to get girls to help him because of the cast he had on. Therefore the girls that would fall for his charm would end up getting kidnapped and killed by Bundy. During his childhood he grew up thinking his mother was his sister. “Bundy may have experienced physical or psychological abuse at the hands of his grandfather, despite his later insistence that the two had a good relationship.” There is evidence that he did not have a bad trauma in his childhood life. When people found out that Ted Bundy was a serial killer people were shocked to know that someone so nice and friendly like Ted was a serial killer. So, according to Michaud and Aynesworth, ‘He shattered the comfortable preconceptions about the sort of person capable of such monstrosities, presenting the world a figure both gross to contemplate and wholesome to behold; a likable, lovable homicidal mutant’. While there is some debate as to when Bundy started killing, most sources say that he began his murderous rampage around 1974. Around this time, many women in the Seattle area and in nearby Oregon went missing. Stories circulated about some of the victims last being seen in the company of a young, dark-haired man known as ‘Ted.’ He often lured his victims into his car by pretending to be injured and asking for their help. Their kindness proved to be a fatal mistake. (Ted Bundy’s Victims) When Ted would dump the bodies of his victims anywhere that was far away from where he abducted them, he would often revisit the body dump sites in case he did not leave anything behind but he would always be paranoid. After killing the girls Ted often would like describing what he did to them just to get the feeling of reliving the moment when he killed them. In this case, Ted knew what he was doing. He would go back and double check he did not leave no evidence. Is that a serial killer born or made? That indeed is a serial killer being made.

Some people will argue and say serial killers are born. How can a serial killer be born in their genes wanting to kill? ‘They were portrayed as being the product of ‘bad genes’ and a ‘bad environment.’ I say serial killers are made and it all starts in their mind. They create this person in their minds and all suffer some sort of mental problems. It all started with them having bad childhood experiences. Those experiences they went through is what made them do what they did to start with. They express their mental issues and emotions by killing without feeling guilt. Serial killers have urges and it can even be sexual urges that they can not control themselves from sexually abusing the victims after killing them. ‘Sexually, psychopaths continue their grandiose demeanor and are hypo aroused autonomically, which causes them to be continuously seeking sensation.’

Serial killers detach themselves from feeling guilty and the responsibility for murder. ‘This ‘self process’ could easily be the phenomenon exhibited when a killer appears to be in a different or detached state, ‘watching’ what is going on rather than being the direct participant, thus removing him or herself from the feelings and responsibilities of murder.’ Many killers have fantasies of how they want to kill their first victim and where they want to do it. In most cases when investigating serial killers they often say how they want their first victim to be killed exactly as in their fantasy. It is common for killers to re visit where they dumped their victims and this is because killers fear that they might have left some evidence for the police and the item being traced back to him. A majority of killers suffered from a horrific event in their childhood. ‘Casualty regarding dissociative states includes severe childhood trauma and some evidence of a physical predisposition.’Every serial killer always had some sort of blackout whenever they were killing people and claimed that something else took over them. Take Ted Bundy for example, Ted Bundy claimed that whenever he killed his victims, he would blackout and have no memory of killing some of the girls. The deep mental state he was in, was how he felt no remorse. With all the experiences developed over time in their environment from childhood to adulthood, one can see how someone’s past can have a huge impact on their mental state of mind.

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Serial killers are nurtured into who they are based on their experiences in their past; this could be caused by family or terrible events that could change a child’s mentality. We should have mental evaluations as we grow up in order to help these people before they become murderers. There is no proof if it is genetics if they are born being killers but can say they are made because traumas in their life. Overall, our society is a dangerous place, ones nurture is what makes them become a killer.

Works Cited

  1. Holmes, R. M., & Holmes, S. T. (2002). Serial Murder. SAGE Publications.
  2. Hickey, E. W. (2013). Serial murderers and their victims (7th ed.). Cengage Learning.
  3. Schlesinger, L. B., & Revitch, E. (2017). Serial Killers: A Cross-Cultural Study Between Germany and America. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 28(1), 126-141.
  4. Bartol, C. R., & Bartol, A. M. (2018). Criminal behavior: A psychological approach (11th ed.). Pearson.
  5. Ressler, R. K., Burgess, A. W., & Douglas, J. E. (1988). Sexual Homicide: Patterns and Motives. Lexington Books.
  6. Fox, J. A., & Levin, J. (2012). Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial and Mass Murder. SAGE Publications.
  7. Keppel, R. D., & Birnes, W. J. (2003). The Psychology of Serial Killer Investigations: The Grisly Business Unit. Academic Press.
  8. Vronsky, P. (2004). Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters. Berkley Books.
  9. Holmes, R. M., Holmes, S. T., & Holmes, R. M. (2009). Profiling violent crimes: An investigative tool (4th ed.). SAGE Publications.
  10. Canter, D. (2004). Criminal Shadows: Inside the Mind of the Serial Killer. HarperCollins.
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Research Paper on What Makes a Serial Killer. (2022, April 20). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 18, 2024, from
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