Mind of a Killer

The age-old chicken-or-the-egg riddle applies when trying to understand mind of a killer: Is it the serial killer psychological makeup affirming itself through murder, or is it their environment that creates the capacity within them to kill others? Complicating the issue further is the various typologies of murderers – does a certain psychological condition make an individual more prone to become a mass murderer, as opposed to a serial killer? Psychologists research the differences of a normal brain and a mind of a killer and offer patterns explaining why killers express themselves the way they do: killers often suffer from depression or psychosis; they suffer from alcoholism or drug abuse creating delusions; they murder out of malice, for profit, for lust, or misguided compassion.  The combinations and permutations of how and why killers do as they do suggests that killers are not uniform – that the mind of a killer is a delicate balance between their internal and external demons expressing themselves in the most repugnant way. The mind of a killer maybe shows the top point of the complexity of human mind.

Mind of a Killer

Mind of a Killer

Popular imagination illustrates killers with broad strokes. It says that killers are alienated from society and, consequently, murder out of disenchantment with the ways of society. Certain types of killers do support this hypothesis that murder is derived from malice. Mission oriented killers are those who feel salvation is attained by eradicating the world of the impure. They murder with unswerving certainty that their virtuous mission to rid society of a certain group or demographic is justified. This form of killer is the result of a strange combination between their distorted interpretation of the world with the etiquette and ethics of popular society. For example, a popular choice of victims in this category of killers is prostitutes. Cultural lore suggests that prostitutes are often viewed as the embodiment of impurity. It is a strange combination of biological and sociological factors that create this hate within mission oriented killers.

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A lust murder, by contrast, is killing out of erotic stimulation. More than out of hate, they murder to satisfy their fetishes. Lust murder can take the form of an obsession with one particular victim, or serial lust murder can be more a matter of opportunity. For example, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s strategy involved luring victims who were strangers from gay bars back to his apartment where he would torture them, murder them, and engage in cannibalism and necrophilia with their corpses. Another famous serial killer, Ted Bundy’s mode of operation involved feigning requiring help from female passersby, who he would then rape, murder, and engage in necrophilia. Necrophilia is a popular expression by lust killers because it is a reflection of their absolute control over others to act out their fetishes. Despite all of this, lust killers are often considered to be in touch with reality; understanding the consequences of their arousals if caught, but still engaging in their hedonistic urges nonetheless.

The mind of visionary-motive killers offers a more deep-rooted psychological disorder than other forms of serial killing. These killers convince themselves that external or internal voices in their heads command them to murder. These hallucinations are often a symptom of schizophrenia. Unlike hedonists or mission oriented kilers, all of the visionary serial killers caught have been diagnosed to suffer from severe mental disorders. The tale of Herbert Mullin demonstrates how powerful these voices can be: Mullin murdered people with the belief that voices were telling him to kill to prevent California from suffering a great earthquake and sinking.

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Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde shows the dual lives of the serial killers. Those serial killers have normal lives with their families, friends, jobs,, etc. and on the other hand they are evil murderers. Most of the serial killers are very successful in having a normal life together with their evil lives. Think about Hannibal Lecter; he is a gentleman and a brilliant man, yet a brutal serial killer. It means that it is possible to have many Hannibal Lecter or Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde characters around us. Serial killers may kill many victims for years without getting caught. It is almost impossible for the families, neighbors and friends to understand mind of a killer in their lives.  Another point about the mind of a killer is that a serial killer generally does not develop empathy with his victims and considers the victims as non-human objects.

The cannibal killers are mostly homosexuals at the same time. The cannibal killers usually eat those who they admire to get their strengths, mostly the masculinity they lack. Some cannibal killers eat to overcome loneliness or to demonstrate their love. For example the German cannibal Armin Meiwes explained his motive as a desire for a younger brother and ate his victims because he wanted someone to be a part of him. Most of the cannibal killers have bad childhood stories. They feel more powerful when they consume the bodies of their victims.

The mind of killers tells different stories. Considering this, it becomes self-evident that murderer’s motives, actions, and behavior are not uniform. There are definite shades of grey even within one individual killer. That is why forecasting the capacity for evil is impossible – it is impossible to understand the mind of a killer.


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