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Bloodthirsty — Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer


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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

Where: England

Active: 1940-1949

Crimes: Convicted of killing and dissolving in acid the bodies of 6 people.

Sentence: Hanged in 1949.


Peter Manuel

Where: Southern Scotland

Active: 1956-1958

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

Active: 1963-1965

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

Active: 1969-1975

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.


David Berkowitz

Also known as: Son of Sam, .44 Caliber Killer

Where: New York City

Active: 1976

Crimes: Shot and killed 6 people, wounded 7 others.

Sentence: 25 years to life for each murder, served consecutively.

Ted Bundy

Where: U.S.

Active: 1970s

Crimes: Kidnapped, raped and murdered many women, 12 of whom he decapitated.

Sentence: Death by electric chair in 1989.

Edmund Kemper

Also known as: The Co-Ed Killer

Where: California

Active: 1970-1973

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

Where: California

Active: 1979

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

Where: Colombia

Active: 1970s

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.


Dennis Rader

Also known as: The BTK Killer

Where: Wichita, Kansas

Active: 1974-1991

Crimes: Stalked, tortured and murdered 10 people.

Sentence: 10 consecutive life sentences.

Richard Ramirez

Also known as: The Night Stalker

Where: Los Angeles, CA

Active: 1984-1985

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.

Jeffrey Dahmer

Also known as: The Milwaukee Cannibal

Where: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Active: 1978-1991

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.

Andrei Chikatilo

Also known as: The Butcher of Rostov

Where: Russia

Active: 1980s

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
  • Impulsivity
  • 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
  • Paranoia
  • 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)




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Find Your Degree is an advertising-supported site. Featured programs and school search results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.