Tiger Lily of Bangkok
Stories of Suspense

Read how 'Tiger Lily of Bangkok' caused utter panic on all
levels of society in the nation's capital, especially among men...

Serial Killers, Spree Killers, Mass Murderers and Cannibals

Serial Killers, Spree Killers and Mass MurderersSerial Killers, Spree Killers, Mass Murderers and Cannibals

As you can well imagine, there has been a great deal of work done by criminal psychologists and psychoanalysts on serial killers and what motivates them to carry out their shocking crimes. This has, equally naturally, led to the use of many terms and definitions that the general public is unaware of.

For example, a serial killer is commonly defined as 'a person who has murdered three or more people over a period of more than a month, with down time (a 'cooling off period') between the murders'. This definition is not accepted by everyone, but it helps to distinguish a serial killer from a mass murderer and a spree killer.

One of the notable objectors to the 'theory of three' making it 'serial'is the FBI, which defines serial killing as 'a series of two or more murders, committed as separate events, usually, but not always, by one offender acting alone'. The FBI says that motives for serial killings include 'anger, thrill, financial gain, and attention seeking' and that the victims may have traits in common such as 'occupation, race, appearance, sex, or age group'.

Spree killers, on the other hand, commit at least two murders at least two separate locations, but with little or no 'cooling off period' between the bouts. Then there is the group of spree killers who murder a few people with no break, then stop for a while and kill a few more without a break. This group is sometimes referred to as spree-serial killers.

There have been many studies of the characteristics of serial killers and there is some commonality, although there are many exceptions to the 'rules'. Most serial killers are young men who prey on young women, but not all, by a long chalk, there are also female serial killers.

There is often, or has been a history of, some form of sexual contact between the victim and the perpetrator and most serial killing is carried out in a city.

One survey said that serial killers are usually young men of average to lower than average intelligence, but are perceived as being highly intelligent, although they often have menial jobs and have trouble holding onto a job.

Many were either bullied or socially isolated at school or and at home. Some, but not all serial killers are psychopaths who lack empathy and remorse, are impulsive and do not feel that the normal laws of the land or society apply to them; they make up their own rules, although they are often described as charming people.

Many were abused in childhood and, not having control of their world, create a fantasy world where they can do no wrong and are always right. It becomes a part of their daily existence.

"According to Garrison (1996), "the child becomes sociopathic because the normal development of the concepts of right and wrong and empathy towards others is retarded because of the child's emotional and social development occurs within his self-centered fantasies. A person can do no wrong in his own world and the pain of others is of no consequence when the purpose of the fantasy world is to satisfy the needs of one person" (Garrison, 1996). Boundaries between fantasy and reality are lost and fantasies turn to dominance, control, sexual conquest, and violence, eventually leading to murder. Fantasy can lead to the first step in the process of a dissociative state, which, in the words of Stephen Giannangelo, "allows the serial killer to leave the stream of consciousness for what is, to him, a better place"." (from Wikipedia).

The victims of serial killers are most often women, especially young women. 'Ladies of the Night' figure prominently, but so do wives, ex-lovers and even schoolgirls. Gay men are targeted sometimes and cannibals tend to go for children or babies, as in the case of the Chinese Thai serial killer cannibal Si Ouey Sae Urng of Bangkok in the Fifties.

Boys have also been the focus of attention of a few serial murderers. The safest group is that of old men. I found only one serial killer who murdered random middle-aged men and that was in Wales; elderly single women living alone have also been preyed upon, but robbery is often a motive as well as sex. However, hitch-hikers and young women students have been hit often too.

by +Owen Jones