Humans are the most unconventional and unpredictable species of all time. We have all heard about at least one serial killer story that shook us to the core. These stories leave us wondering about the minds of these individuals. What exactly leads a human to brutally stab and kill multiple people without even a specific motive? Are some people just born different from others? The debate between nature and nurture has been going on for decades now. Some people believe criminals are just born as criminals and some people believe that incidents that happened in a person's early or later life caused them to become criminals. Even if it is hard to pinpoint one reason for all serial killers, various studies show that many serial killers show similar signs and patterns in their stories. Let us learn about these patterns and signs and dive into the mind of a gruesome serial killer.

FBI's behavioral science unit interviewed 25 serial killers from the year 1979 to 1983. They concluded that there are mainly two types of serial killers, organized and disorganized. Organized serial killers meticulously plan their killings. They overlook every single detail and carefully plan and execute their plans. On the other hand, disorganized serial killers attack based on their will and opportunities they find on the spot. Based on this classification, they were divided into different categories to understand their motives better.

Visionary killers 

These killers suffer from psychosis. They have voices in their heads that lead them to kill people. David Berkowitz is usually cited as a classic example in this category. He claimed that his neighbor's dog pushed him to murder people by persuading him to kill with its persistent barking.

Mission-oriented killers 

This category of killers believes that murdering people will make them famous and help them gain some sort of importance in the world. Joseph P. Franklin can be cited as an example here. He went after black men. He believed that racial mixing was a sin against God and nature and that it was his duty to protect white womanhood from this sin.

Hedonistic killers 

Hedonistic killers are the most common type of serial killers. They are mainly of three types. One type of is who kills for money or their business interests. H. H Holmes is a popular and notorious murderer that belonged to this type. He murdered for life insurance gains and property inheritance from his victims. Another type is the killer who kills for lust-related reasons. This killer kills for sexual gratification and their desire to torture human beings. Edmund kemper would have sex with the bodies of his victims long after they died. The last type is the killer who is a Thrill killer. This killer purely kills for generating fear and death. Zodiac killer is one of the most popular in this category. He wrote about killing being the most fun activity that he has ever done.

A neuroscientist Jim Fallon studied the brains of serial killers for many years. He found that serial killers normally have low orbital cortex activity. This is area is said to be related to ethical behavior and impulse control. People who show low activity have a hard time suppressing their behaviors like alcohol drinking, eating, rage, etc. In some cases, it has also been found that some serial killers have low gray matter than normal people. Another interesting thing is that they usually kill during a period of stress and they feel a sort of relief after committing their acts. Many organized serial killers have their I.Q.s above the average level. Kemper had an I.Q. of 136. Whereas disorganized killers only have an average I.Q. of 93.

An important thing to do when it comes to studying serial killers is to take a closer look at their childhood. Many serial killers are emotionally, mentally, or physically abused by a close person which leaves them feeling helpless. They like to instill the same pain and fear onto their victims. Aileen Wuornos who killed 7 men was abandoned by both her parents and abused by her grandmother and ran away from her house at age fifteen. A huge number of them also show interest in sadomasochist pornography and violent videos from a young age. Ted Bundy who was from a normal Christian family said in an interview that his tendencies started from viewing violent videos. Some of them also have substance and alcohol issues as a child. Another huge sign to spot a serial killer is arson. Some serial killers start as arsonists and then move to murder as it offers the same kind of pleasure to them. One other warning sign when it comes to serial killers in their childhood is when they love torturing animals or killing them. Killing makes killers feel in control and as kids, they only have access to small animals. Jeffrey Dahmer killed his own puppy and mounted its head on a stake.

Crime of all sorts lurks in every corner of the world. We all pray and wish with all of our hearts that it did not exist in the world. All we can do is hope that someday the crime rate in the world will drastically come down. It is interesting to question why they happen in the first place. It can even help us spot problematic behaviors in kids or people among us that might eventually lead them down the same path of a cold-blooded serial killer. 

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