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Thread: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

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    Morning Glory's Avatar Apathetic Voter
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    Default Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    Of course Serial Killers by definition must exist- people who commit a series of murders over a prolonged period of time with an interval of time in between; as opposed to mass murders (all at once) or spree killers (back to back). But the emergence of this behavior as a phenomenon is not really understood. Law Enforcement officers, contrary to popular belief, have no idea how many serial killers or serial killings there are because of serial killings that look like unrelated murders, unrelated murders that look like serial killings, murders that don't look like murders, crimes that are unsolved, crimes that are falsely attributed to suspects and even a potential confusion between different cases that are thought to be related that aren't and related cases that may not be known and of course crimes that are never known about at all.

    I was reading about the interesting case of Henry Lee Lucas. Lucas is regarded as one of, if not the most, prolific serial killer of all time. Lucas confessed to murdering hundreds of people- low estimates around 300, high estimates as many as 3,000. In the end he was convicted of 11 counts of murder. The thing is that there was no evidence connecting him to any of the crimes and it's doubtful that the crime he received the Death sentence for ever even happened (the victim's "body" consisted of a single bone fragment that matched the blood type of the person it supposedly belonged to). Lucas later recounted his confessions and denied that he was a serial killer. Many people believe that Lucas is innocent of most if not all the crimes and that he was coerced by the police into confessing and even given information from the investigation so that they could simply claim credit for unsolved cases. Oddly enough he was pardoned from execution by then Texas Governor George W. Bush and was the only person ever convicted to death in Texas to be spared up till that time.

    I've read articles that pretty convincingly show that FBI's serial killer profiling doesn't apply in almost every case. However those people claim that many of these murders are the result of ritualistic satanic cults, which have also been debunked. Other slightly more plausible claims is that they are the work of organized crime groups.

    I'm most interested in the case of California's Zodiac Killer, which I discussed at length in another thread. For me it presents the entirety of the serial killer phenomenon in that it raises all the questions and doubts I have mentioned and it was never solved. What's oddest is that for a case that doesn't really even connect to itself, it connects to several other prominent cases. At the time of the Zodiac Killings 1968-1972 there were at least five other mass murders/ serial killings in the SF area. The Zodiac wrote letters to police threatening to set off bombs. The Unibomber also wrote letters to the police and sent bombs to San Francisco, where he was from. The BTK killer tied up his victims and also wrote taunting letters to police, just like Zodiac. Several murders that were thought to have been the work of Zodiac later turned out to have been committed by serial killer Ted Bundy. All these killers and more gloated about their crimes and the ones that were caught eagerly confessed.

    That seems to be the only real connection between all serial killers: They confess. It would seem that there are a whole lot more people who think they are serial killers than actual serial killers.

    Could it be that the Serial Killer is just a product of deranged minds and an overzealous police force?

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    TheDeathKnight's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    Well, there are some that were caught with the bodies buried in their yards and stuff like that. So it's hard to deny that some of these people were habitual killers.

    Obviously, some killers want the notoriety, and claim more victims than they actually killed.
    And other times, cops pin murders on serial killers, to clear them from the books.
    It's an easy way to give a family a sense of closure.

    But there is no denying the fact that some people kill large numbers of people
    over a long period of time. There are many documented cases that were beyond doubt.

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    TheDeathKnight's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    The thing I find interesting, is the idea that in ancient times, there were also killers like this, but they probably got away with it. In fact, many of those killers would be considered an asset to an army or a government. They would get jobs as soldiers, or torturers, and get paid for it.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDeathKnight View Post
    The thing I find interesting, is the idea that in ancient times, there were also killers like this, but they probably got away with it. In fact, many of those killers would be considered an asset to an army or a government. They would get jobs as soldiers, or torturers, and get paid for it.
    How is this exclusive to ancient times?

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    Mr Karl's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    serial killers are real.......if there wasn't so much committment involved I could see myself applying for a job like that

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    TheDeathKnight's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raza View Post
    How is this exclusive to ancient times?
    It's not exclusive to ancient times, but I'm just thinking that casual, recreational killers, could probably do so at will, and not have to worry about getting caught. I suppose if enough people disappeared from a town, they might lynch someone who they suspected, but if someone was good at hiding what they were up to, and being part of the crowd, no one would suspect them.

    As far as killing for the government, or the military, I suppose there is some of that, but it's different when people kill as part of an army, versus people who kill for pleasure and recreation. Dropping a bomb on someone from a plane 5 miles up, is different from slowly cutting someone up with a knife.

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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDeathKnight View Post
    It's not exclusive to ancient times, but I'm just thinking that casual, recreational killers, could probably do so at will, and not have to worry about getting caught. I suppose if enough people disappeared from a town, they might lynch someone who they suspected, but if someone was good at hiding what they were up to, and being part of the crowd, no one would suspect them.
    True enough. As far as my insight in ancient times' social mechanics goes, anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDeathKnight View Post
    As far as killing for the government, or the military, I suppose there is some of that, but it's different when people kill as part of an army, versus people who kill for pleasure and recreation. Dropping a bomb on someone from a plane 5 miles up, is different from slowly cutting someone up with a knife.
    Sounds like a matter of taste to me. 'Sides, my gore collections says that 'up close and personal' still happens all the time, too.

  9. #8
    TheDeathKnight's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    I certainly know people who joined the military with the intention of killing people, and seem to enjoy it.

    But I still think that's a different kind of psychosis than people who kidnap people, torture them, etc.

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    Mr Karl's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    I think a serial killer would be more inclined to follow thier own agenda than the standard hired killer

  11. #10

    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Karl View Post
    I think a serial killer would be more inclined to follow thier own agenda than the standard hired killer
    An admirable sentiment, but if artists are any indication many will be tempted by the idea of 'making a living doing something they love'.

  12. #11
    Mr Karl's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    well, then it just comes down to sorting which ones live to kill from those who kill to live........some are artisans and some are artists.....some are just murderers and some are serial killers

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    nvrsetl's Avatar Junior Member
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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    Very interesting.....

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    Ajax Knucklebones's Avatar God fearing atheist
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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    I think it's all just a power trip for serial killers, so could it be the serial killers are already out there as "murderers for hire"? Why not? Then they get the best of both worlds. Money AND power. Any documentaries though that I've seen on hitmen though, is that they were more sociopathic than the average serial killer who feels the need to kill something to actually feel something. Hitmen tend to be a certain type of person that is just not affected by killing. They do it simply because it pays well and doesn't bother their conscience one bit. Serial killers always seem to be partly sociopathic when it comes to the actual killing, BUT, they always seem to fighting with some kinds of emotional demons in their head.

  15. #14

    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    I think that as with everything, killing instinct ends up on some sort of scale. You have negative and positive part of scale with its far extremes. In this case negative would be need to help and care and to give life. So... in my point of view there is a serial killer in all of us. It's just that how we meet the outer world and what it makes of us what decides if we're going to look for career in murders itself. Way of murders is just a matter of taste as Raza said.

    Morning Glory, check Thomas Quick. If you knew Swedish you could see this documentary which is quite insightful

    http://svtplay.se/v/1416372/dokument...p103467,1,f,-1

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    RubyViolence's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    Very interesting info.

  17. #16
    TheDeathKnight's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    Yeah, there is a big difference between sociopaths and psychopaths.

    Some people just don't care about killing someone else.
    A lot of gang bangers and soldiers fit into that category.
    They just don't feel much, and it's not a big deal to them.

    But it's the psychopaths that ENJOY it. Like really, really,
    enjoy the thrill and the pleasure it gives them to kill and torture.
    To them, killing it much more of an addiction, like a drug.
    That's why serial killers seem to just keep going, and going,
    because they need their "fix".

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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDeathKnight View Post
    Yeah, there is a big difference between sociopaths and psychopaths.

    Some people just don't care about killing someone else.
    A lot of gang bangers and soldiers fit into that category.
    They just don't feel much, and it's not a big deal to them.

    But it's the psychopaths that ENJOY it. Like really, really,
    enjoy the thrill and the pleasure it gives them to kill and torture.
    To them, killing it much more of an addiction, like a drug.
    That's why serial killers seem to just keep going, and going,
    because they need their "fix".
    Agreed... But bangers don't even always need a reason to kill. Some gangs require a murder as a sign of membership, and that murder might be random. They have to prove their willingness to take a life as a first step into the brotherhood. Seems like they actively recruit psychopaths...
    Last edited by BiggTruxx; 11-24-2010 at 02:14 AM. Reason: additional thoughts

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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    Isn't the difference that sociopathy is socially acquired, while psychopathy is genetically determined? There's some other distinguishing symptoms, too.

    Both are characterised by sadism and a lack of empathy; the latter alone doesn't make you a sociopath.

    In fact, even the two combined don't make you a sociopath - I lack empathy as a symptom of HFA, and I derive pleasure from death and injury through my gore fetish, but I'm still generally a benign person and lack various key characteristics of both socio- and psychopaths. They're distinct psychological conditions, presumably with a specific underling cause, not just something you label murderers with a certain style.

  20. #19
    Mr Karl's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    HFA??..............does anyone even take that seriously?

    I lack empathy becuase most of the time I just can't be bothered to care

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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    I rarely note anyone else's opinion on the subject, but speaking for myself its influence is unmistakable, yes.

  22. #21
    Mr Karl's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    I dunno, it just sounds like another label to me that can be used by all the wrong people

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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raza View Post
    In fact, even the two combined don't make you a sociopath - I lack empathy as a symptom of HFA, and I derive pleasure from death and injury through my gore fetish...
    I knew it... Always picked you for one of THOSE...
    https://www.thehfa.org/

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    Mr Karl's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by BiggTruxx View Post
    I knew it... Always picked you for one of THOSE...
    https://www.thehfa.org/
    oh.....I thought hfa meant the other thing

  26. #24

    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Karl View Post
    I dunno, it just sounds like another label to me that can be used by all the wrong people
    As a list of symptoms with a name it carries that potential, yes. But it is a real neurological deviation that affects thinking and social interaction on a fairly fundamental level.

    Quote Originally Posted by BiggTruxx View Post
    I knew it... Always picked you for one of THOSE...
    https://www.thehfa.org/
    Yeah, I bet lack of empathy is a symptom of those, too.

  27. #25
    TheDeathKnight's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    Raza pretty much nailed it.

    David T. Lykken proposes psychopathy and sociopathy are two distinct kinds of antisocial personality disorder. He believes psychopaths are born with temperamental differences such as impulsivity, cortical underarousal, and fearlessness that lead them to risk-seeking behavior and an inability to internalize social norms. On the other hand, he claims sociopaths have relatively normal temperaments; their personality disorder being more an effect of negative sociological factors like parental neglect, delinquent peers, poverty, and extremely low or extremely high intelligence. Both personality disorders are the result of an interaction between genetic predispositions and environmental factors, but psychopathy leans towards the hereditary whereas sociopathy tends towards the environmental.

  28. #26
    Ajax Knucklebones's Avatar God fearing atheist
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    Default Re: Are Serial Killers A Myth?

    I'm a HFS. Highly functioning sociopath. I care too much about not caring.

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