Bloodthirsty — Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer
Serial killers are as fascinating as they are horrifying. As much as we fear them, we can’t help but be captivated and perplexed by their nature. Let’s take a look at some of the most infamous — and chilling — serial killers in history, along with a closer look inside their minds.
Serial Killers Through History
Here’s a brief list of some of the deadliest serial killers in history. (1)
John George Haigh
Also known as: The Acid Bath Murderer
Crimes: Convicted of killing and dissolving in acid the bodies of 6 people.
Sentence: Hanged in 1949.
Where: Southern Scotland
Crimes: Convicted for killing 9 people, but thought to have killed as many as 18.
Sentence: Hanged in July 1958.
Names: Ian Brady and Myra Hindley
Where: Greater Manchester, England
Crimes: Sexually assaulted and murdered 5 victims ages 10-17.
Sentence: Both received life in prison.
Donald Henry “Pee Wee” Gaskins Jr.
Where: American South
Crimes: While he claimed that he killed more than 100 people, it’s not clear whether that’s true or if he simply wanted to be a famous serial killer.
Sentence: Executed in South Carolina’s electric chair Sept. 6, 1991.
Also known as: Son of Sam, .44 Caliber Killer
Where: New York City
Crimes: Shot and killed 6 people, wounded 7 others.
Sentence: 25 years to life for each murder, served consecutively.
Crimes: Kidnapped, raped and murdered many women, 12 of whom he decapitated.
Sentence: Death by electric chair in 1989.
Also known as: The Co-Ed Killer
Crimes: Killed and dismembered 6 women, then murdered his mother and her friend.
Sentence: Though Kemper asked for the death penalty, he was given life in prison.
Larry Bittaker and Roy Norris
Also known as: The Tool Box Killers
Crimes: Raped, tortured and murdered 5 women.
Sentence: Bittaker was sentenced to death, but Norris was given 45 years for testifying against Bittaker.
Pedro Alonso Lopez
Crimes: Raped and killed more than 300 girls around South America, mainly in Colombia and Peru.
Sentence: Life in prison after a mass grave was found with 53 of his victims’ bodies.
Also known as: The BTK Killer
Where: Wichita, Kansas
Crimes: Stalked, tortured and murdered 10 people.
Sentence: 10 consecutive life sentences.
Also known as: The Night Stalker
Where: Los Angeles, CA
Crimes: Robbed, raped, mutilated and murdered many people, from a 9-year-old to a couple in their 60s. He was known for being a Satanist and smearing pentagrams on the walls of his victims’ homes with their blood.
Sentence: Sentenced to death, but died in prison in June 2013.
Also known as: The Milwaukee Cannibal
Where: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Crimes: Raped, murdered, dismembered and cannibalized 17 men and boys.
Sentence: 15 consecutive life sentences, but killed by a fellow inmate after just two years.
Also known as: The Butcher of Rostov
Crimes: Raped, murdered and mutilated at least 52 women and children.
Sentence: Executed by firing squad in 1994.
The Psychology of Serial Killers
“I don’t feel guilty for anything. I feel sorry for people who feel guilt.”
Ted Bundy (2)
The nature of psychopathy is still somewhat a mystery to the medical and scientific community: Is it upbringing or nature or a mixture of both that drives these people to do what they do? And are they “fixable”?
Psychopathy and Psychosis: A Closer Look
Psychopaths understand right from wrong. They are unlikely to become psychotic unless they suffer from additional mental illnesses or take powerful drugs.
Traits of psychopaths (3)
- Superficial charm
- Pathological lying
- Lack of remorse or guilt
- Unrealistic goals
- Early behavioral problems
- A feeling of being above the law
Traits of psychotic patients (4)
- Delusions and hallucinations
- Loss of interest in regular activity
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Illogical beliefs
- Confused or bizarre behavior
- Violence toward self and others
Lifetime prevalence of a psychotic disorder (5)
30 to 40 years
Ages at which adults are at a higher risk of brief psychotic disorder (6)
Brief psychotic disorder is more likely to affect those of a low socioeconomic class, those with other personality disorders and immigrants. (6)