Into the Minds Of Serial Killers

Photo Credit:

Makayla Monreal, OwlFeed News Reporter

Editor’s Note: Trigger warning — this story deals with themes that may make some readers uncomfortable, including violence, sexual assault, and abuse.

You never know who’s lurking behind you, you also never know who’s next door. The people you may know might put on a facade during the day, but at night, they reveal their deepest darkest secrets to their unlucky victims.

Through the years, troubled individuals have left an influential yet deadly impact on the criminal world. Stories and patterns left behind at the crime scenes can give us some insight into common behaviors that many of history’s most infamous murderers share. Today you will go into the minds of serial killers. 

Satisfaction from killing and torturing animals:

We all experimented as children, we couldn’t help it, we’re curious little younglings, but people who grow up as killers like the pleasure of controlling one’s life in their hands. 

Children who like killing animals such as dogs, cats, or birds, are known as sociopaths because it brings them joy when they do it and they feel no remorse when killing. As children, since small animals such as the ones I named are so innocent and helpless, they can wield their power on such a small little animal and eventually use their power on a human being.

Serial killer Jeffery Dahmer, for example, expressed this behavior as a child. He would go around his town looking for little animals that he can use to dissect and kill them. He even went to the extent of killing and taking apart his own little innocent dog, flaunting his dog’s head on a sharp pole after doing this horrific act. 

Dahmer then went to grow up and become known as the Milwaukee cannibal having a victim list of 17 innocent people. After he would kill his victims he would cut them up and preserve them so he can then later on eat the human remains.

Committing arson or simply setting things on fire:

As children, many serial killers have violent tendencies, that’s why they grow up to love killing. One of those tendencies is setting things on fire. It fascinates them to know that they are in control and that they have the power to set something to ablaze.

A well known serial killer known as The Son Of Sam (David Berkowitz) was known as a child to set things on fire, more specifically living things such as little animals. During the period of 1976-1977 he claimed at least six victims with a .44 caliber gun. Berkowitz claimed that a possessed dog named Sam told him to do this horrific act. 

After the authorities had made the arrest on Berkowitz they later came to discover that he was responsible for hundreds of fires in the state of New York. 

Being abused during childhood:

Trauma is never an excuse for acting out, but it certainly is a common risk factor to do such things. 

Psycological, physical, and maybe even sexual abuse is a trigger for many killers. “42% of convicted serial killers suffer from physical abuse and 74% suffered from psychological abuse as children,” according to Julia Vu in

The humiliation and the pain that they suffered from either their abuser or a family member when they were so helpless as a child can lead them to do the same to their victims. They do this because they want their victim to go through what they went through. They want them to suffer just like they did. 

It’s the feeling of deprivation that they like and have so much relief from because they can make other people feel the way they felt, but worse because this time they are in control. 

Aileen Wuornos, one of the few female serial killers, killed seven people who were all men between the period of 1989-1990. Her argument was that she did these acts out of self-defense claiming that they all tried to rape her.

As a child, she was left by her mother at the age of 4. She also never met her father who was serving time for raping a 7-year-old girl. She was taken in by her grandfather who sexually and physically abused her to the point where she ran away at the age of 15.

Obsession with intimacy:

Many serial killers when asked why they would kill would say or use adult content as an excuse on why they like to kill. Going as far as using these desires on other people without their consent is when it becomes a huge problem especially if it started at a young age. 

One of the most infamous killers Ted Bundy had a victim list of 30 people, all being young women who he killed during 1974-1978. He committed acts such as necrophilia on several of his victims after he killed them. He was also a stalker who would stalk young women and would watch them undress in their own homes. 

Having power is a common theme with these serial killers because they love being in control and such being in a non-consensual manner really makes these people feel powerful.

Pushing yourself away from society:

While being introverted is not a complete sign that someone can be a serial killer, because let’s be real we all know a shy and awkward person who doesn’t like or enjoy big crowds, but “psychologists have observed that early or sudden antisocial behavior has been linked to violent tendencies,” according to Ben Kageyama on

Grave robber Ed Gein, better known as the Plainfield Butcher, was a murderer who stole dead bodies from a grave and would turn them into souvenirs, mementos if you will. 

Growing up, however, he had an abusive mother and had no socializing skills or any connection with society at all. He tried to make friends when he was younger, but his abusive mother who kept him away from society would punish him for doing so. Sick and twisted when his mother died, he murdered and stole bodies that were almost identical to his mother to make a “women suit.”

The End:

Now don’t be scared just because your friend or neighbor is a little antisocial or whatever it may be, but always make sure to check up on them and make sure they’re okay because one simple gesture of kindness can change their whole future. We all have good in us no matter where we grow up or what we may have done in the past.

Some people just let their inner demons get the best of them because they were just alone for too long with their thoughts and couldn’t take it anymore so they lashed out, but eventually the bad and evil come out at night, so they can do what they do best. But when you shine a light on them…that’s when they scatter.