Outrageous Serial Killer Myths

To create my own serial killers, I do a lot of true crime research.  Sometimes, I am shocked by the theories people have about serial killers.  Here’s a handful or so of some of the most outrageous.

  • The Zodiac was the son of a serial killer who didn’t get caught and learned the trade from him. – Why would you take your kid along for your killing spree?  Taking a child along while you kill people isn’t the smartest thing to do, kids have big mouths.  It happens, but it’s rare and it’s a good way to get caught.
  • Most serial killers are Satanists. – Very few serial killers are actually Satanists.  Palo Moyambe is more likely to be involved when a serial killer dabbles in the occult.  Ramirez claimed to be a Satanist, but he wasn’t a member of a Satanic church (perhaps in his mind).  For most, claiming to have killed in the name of Satan seems to be more for shock factor than actual obedience to the Demon King.
  • Serial killers rarely confess. – There are a dozen or so serial killers that have not confessed.  Most have, in great detail, and at great length.  Sociopathic and psychopathic serial killers are all narcissists and their narcissism is deep enough that if they know they’ve been caught, they are going to tell all about it (again with the shock factor).  Amazingly, most serial killers over confess.  Henry Lee Lucas confessed to over 3000 murders.  Bundy confessed to murders he didn’t commit, while not admitting to others that he obviously did commit.  Gary Ridgway stated “You got me.”  At that point, he confessed to the murders they knew about, but not the ones they didn’t (he would later confess to more and then more and then more).  Gacy, Radar, Joseph Franklin (the guy that shot Larry Flynt), Fish, Evans, and Harvey all confessed to more than they were convicted, but later recanted their confessions (Franklin confessed to over 70 murders and Harvey confessed to more than 80).
  • All serial killers are sexual deviants. – Some are: Ramirez, Gacy, and Fish are all definitely sexually motivated.  Some aren’t: Berkowitz, the Madbutcher of Kingsbury Run (most likely not), and Zodiac are unlikely to be sexually motivated.  Berkowitz claimed the neighbor’s demonic dog did it.  The Madbutcher seemed to be studying anatomy.  And Zodiac, we’ll he’s Zodiac, he liked the publicity.  Then there are a rare few who seem to be both.  Radar falls into this category, he masturbated on a few of the female victims, but he really really really liked killing and taunting the police.
  • All serial killers are mental disabled or suffer from schizophrenia and other serious mental disorders. – No to the first, sort of yes to the second. Serial killers are sociopaths and psychopaths, but I’m not sure that qualifies as a serious mental illness, it certainly isn’t schizophrenia.  A few claim to hear voices (Berkowitz) and a few have low IQs (Gein), but most are of average intelligence without much of a history of mental illness.  Radar, Gacy, Ridgway, Hansen (The Frozen Ground), and Holmes were all examples of people with at least average intelligence and no history of mental illness.
  • Serial killers are either caught in the act or not caught. – So not true.  Berkowitz really was caught because of a parking ticket.  Bundy was caught when his car was trolling a neighborhood at 2:00 a.m. and was seen by a police officer, who tried to pull him over, but he fled instead.  Inside his car, they found burglary tools and at the time, had no idea he was a serial killer.  And Radar was caught almost 15 years after his last known kill because he believed the police when they said they couldn’t track down a floppy disk (which they most certainly could, even in the early 2000s and those who just asked what a floppy disk was can Google it).

Just a few myths to expel…

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