Free Essay Sample: Serial Killers - Myths and Reality

Published: 2020-04-28
Free Essay Sample: Serial Killers - Myths and Reality
Categories:  Criminal law Personality
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1492 words
13 min read

You may think that everything you watch on the television news and movies about serial killers is the ultimate truth, but there is more you do not know about the actual serial killers. According Barkan & Bryjak (2009) cases of serial killers are mostly covered on news outlets and further brought to life through reality shows and movies. However, most of the movies and shows on serial killers write and cover what can increase sales and viewership. What is your view on serial killers? Perhaps you feel they are mental, or they are evil? Well most thins you know about serial killers are what you from media but in reality there is a lot that is not covered about the actual serial killers. This essay will look at some the known and unknown serial killers, the myths surrounding serial killer and the reality.

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Popular Serial Killers

Thomas (2010) describes a serial killer as any person that has killed three or more people during a set period where there is a noticeable pattern as far as timing is concerned. Most serial killer is believed to have psychological or abnormal gratification from their act of killing. According to the FBI, a large number of serial killers are not only motivated by psychological gratification but also focus on sexual contact with victims. It is a common believe that serial killers always kill because they want to seek revenge, anger or financial motivation. Those are not the only reasons why serial killers kill; thrill and attention seeking are other reasons. Just to know that there are people chasing and trying to find them makes them want to kill more.

In the history of killings, there have been serial killers that have been more popular and left a mark through their styles of killings (Berry-Dee & Morris, 2010). A serial killer that left such great mark was Zodiac killer. Zodiac killer carried out his killing activities in the late 1960s to early 1970s. The Zodiac killer ones said that he liked killing people because the killing was fun. Only five bodies have been associated to the Zodiac killer even though it is believed he killed approximately 37 people. In Colombia, there was a serial killer by the name Luis Garavito who was convicted for the murder of 189 boys in the 90s. Luis endured a hard childhood that saw him drop out of school and suffered abuse from his father and some of his neighbors. The difficult childhood may have been a factor that led to Luis being a serial killer. Most of the bodies of his victims were brutally damaged and had signs of sexual assault. Unlike the Zodiac killer, Luis was known to have alcohol drinking problems and had the psychiatric illness. Zodiac killer was never arrested, and much is known from the many letters he wrote. Luis Garavito was suspected of sexually assaulting young boys who forced him to confess later. Clearly from the two examples, serial killers can be different and can have different motivations. While Zodiac found killing to be fun, Luis saw killing as ay of dealing with his past childhood issues.

Myths about Serial killers

One of the most popular myths about serial killers is that they are all men. Of course, this myth is supported and fueled by the many movies on serial killers that have male actors as the serial killers (Greer, 2010). Statistics from the FBI also show that there are no female serial killers. Women are always associated with weakness and inability to commit acts of violence and therefore as seen as harmless. It is believed that many pieces of evidence of serial killers show gruesome scenes and, therefore, no woman can per take in such incidents.

It is a popular myth that all serial killers are Caucasian. A large number of serial killers both arrested or not are whites. There has been little or no evidence of a black or Asian serial killer. The myth that all serial killers are Caucasian is still supported and perpetuated by films. The news coverage of serial killers also has proven that most, if all news breaks on serial killers, are white. It is, therefore, acceptable for many people to believe this myth. It is fair to conclude that there have been white serial killers who have become popular culture icons such as Ted Bundy.

Another myth about serial killers is that they are all isolated and are dysfunctional loners. It is believed that all serial killers live alone and do not want to socialize with other people. Al serial killers are believed to avoid contact and communication with the rest of the society probably to avoid revealing their activities. Again this myth is mostly shown by the media and news items. Most movies show the serial killer as a person who is quite, avoids conversations and usually stay alone in a cold house.

It is a common myth that all serial killers are either evil geniuses or have mental issues. In the series Hannibal, the serial killer has got a well-planned system of enticing and tricking his victims (Packer & Pennington, 2014). He is seen as a genius who can cover up his traces and at the same time knows how to plan. The myth that all serial killers are mentally ill is also supported in many cases, movies and news items. The kind of brutal activities and unnatural acts of killing can only be carried out by people who have mental issues.

Reality about Serial killers

The first myth mentioned in this essay was that all serial killers are men. This myth is totally wrong because it is only that a majority of cases of serial killers solved find men as the serial killers. There have been documented cases of female serial killers in the United Sates. It is approximated that 17% of serial killers homicides are carried out by female serial killers this is evidence that there are female serial killers who exist or existed before. On average there are or have been more female serial killers than men in the United States.

The reality about the myth that serial killers are all Caucasian is that there have been many documented cases of serial killers who are African American, Latino, and Asian- Americans. A good example is Colombian serial killer Luis Garavito. Other than the Colombian serial killer there have been serial killers like Eugene Watts also known as Sunday morning slasher who handled the death of 17 white women in the state of Texas. In the United States, the majority of occupants are Caucasian and, therefore, the myth that all serial killers are the same lies on the number of Caucasian in the overall population.

Serial killers have been depicted to be loners and choose to avoid publicity and socialization. This is not true however because most successful serial killers can hide because they can naturally blend in with other people. Therefore, there is n suspicion. There are serial killers with families and are employed which is an indication for being a normal person in the society. Some serial killers go to the extent of creating relationships with the detectives who are in charge of their cases without the knowledge of the detectives.

As seen earlier the myth that all serial killers are evil geniuses or suffer from mental illness is not accurate. Many serial killers do not suffer from mental illnesses. It is a requirement that for a person to be proved to be mentally sick they must be unable to differentiate what is legally right from wrong. Most serial killers are of sound mind; a good example is Zodiac killer who could even write letters and say that he killed because it was fun. He knew that killing was wrong but to him it was fun and therefore still went on and killed several people.

In conclusion, most myths about serial killers are brought out by the many films and movies about serial killers. Most news coverage of serial killers also builds up myths based on the perspective that media houses take. In reality, most serial killers are normal people just like any other person and have the ability to deceive people into thinking they are normal to avoid being caught and arrested. Understanding that serial killers are amongst us and can even be our friends is important so as to avoid making wrong judgments that can get us in trouble.


Berry-Dee, C., & Morris, S. (2010). Born killers: Childhood secrets of the world's deadliest serial killers. Chicago: John Blake.

Barkan, S. E., & Bryjak, G. J. (2009). Myths and realities of crime and justice: What every American should know. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Greer, C. (2010). Crime and media: A reader. London: Routledge.

Packer, S., & In Pennington, J. W. (2014). A history of evil in popular culture: What Hannibal Lecter, Stephen King, and vampires reveal about America. California: Praeger

Thomas, T. R. (2010). Serial killers. Irvine, Calif.: Saddleback Educational Pub.

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