Inside the Minds of Serial Killers: Why They Kill

Front Cover
Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006 - Social Science - 199 pages
2 Reviews

There are many cultural myths about serial killers, often propagated even by mental health professionals. Many assume there is a profile of a serial killer, that serial killers always go for the same victim type or always use the same MO, that they are more clever than ordinary people, and that they are inevitably charming and attractive. The truth is not as simple as that. There are different types of serial killers, and while there are many books that discuss the serial killer phenomenon especially in relationship to victim types or context, researchers have not yet been able to come up with a definition, or type, that covers the broad spectrum of serial killers and their complex psychological dynamics. Ramsland looks at the variety of serial killer types, illustrating that it is difficult to accurately depict these elusive, intriguing, and dangerous killers.

There are many cultural myths about serial killers, often propagated even by mental health professionals. Many assume there is a profile of a serial killer, that serial killers always go for the same victim type or always use the same MO, that they are more clever than ordinary people, and that they are inevitably charming and attractive. The truth is not as simple as that. There are different types of serial killers and while there are many books that discuss the serial killer phenomenon especially in relationship to victim types or context, researchers have not yet been able to come up with a definition, or type, that covers the broad spectrum of serial killers and their complex psychological dynamics. Ramsland looks at serial killer types, illustrating that it is difficult to accurately depict these elusive, intriguing, and dangerous killers.

This book examines a variety of serial killers, from sexual predators to psychotic killers, from murder teams to odd eccentric stalkers, in order to present the distinct psychological dynamics that set serial killers apart from other violent murderers. Among the motives addressed are lust, control, glory, profit, thrill, delusions, rage, the desire for company, the need to please a partner, and even murder as an intellectual exercise. Serial killers live double lives, hiding their violence even from those who live with them, so along with a study of motives are chapters devoted to how close associates have described killers, including parents, siblings, co-workers, lovers, and survivors. There is no profile of a serial killer, and this book establishes that in vivid and frightening detail.

 

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Contents

1 Jack the Ripper and the History of Serial Murder
1
2 Lust
9
3 Omnipotence
21
4 Intellectual Exercise
33
5 Glory
43
6 Delusions
53
7 Rage
65
8 Profit
77
12 Early Aspirations
119
13 Related by Blood
133
14 Matches Made in Hell
143
15 Care takers
153
16 Close to a Killer
163
17 Behind the Eyes
177
How Theyre Caught
185
Bibliography
187

9 Blood and Bodies
85
10 Living with Death
97
11 No Particular Purpose
109

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About the author (2006)

Katherine Ramsland has a masters degree in forensic psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a masters degree in clinical psychology, and a PhD in philosophy. She has published twenty-seven books, including Inside the Minds of Mass Murderers, The Science of Cold Case Files, The Criminal Mind: A Writers Guide to Forensic Psychology, The Forensic Science of CSI, and The CSI Effect. With former FBI profiler Gregg McCrary she coauthored The Unknown Darkness: Profiling the Predators among Us, and with law professor James E. Starrs, A Voice for the Dead. In addition, Ramsland has published over three hundred articles on serial killers, criminology, and criminal investigation and was a research assistant to former FBI profiler John Douglas for The Cases that Haunt Us. She writes forensic articles for Court TVs Crime Library and teaches forensic psychology as an assistant professor at DeSales University in Pennsylvania.

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