Behind the Mind of a Serial Killer




Behind the Mind of a Serial Killer



Behavior is sometimes defined as the response of an individual, group, or species to its environment. But what is it that effects our behavior? What allows us to think the way we think… behave the way we behave… act the way we act? Could it be the way a certain individual is brought up, and how this person was raised? Or does it have more to do with biological design of the human mind? Could certain people simply have a certain type of behavior coursing through their veins? How does one explain the behavior of a serial killer? In the this paper, I will attempt to show the difference between the psychopath and the psychotic, and explain how the environment, upbringing, and treatment of serial killers led them to become who they are today.

Most serial killers can be placed in one of two categories: the psychopath and the psychotic. Psychotics are clearly insane, and fail to perceive reality correctly. However, very few serial killers fall into this category. Most serial killers have an elaborate scheme, or method of going about things. They think things through… evaluate what the situation could bring to them. This stems from a long line of abuse/intolerance/dysfunction during their early childhood years. Many people may even go so far as to view certain serial killers as geniuses, in the respect that their actions are so well thought out, so very carefully planned. These types of serial killers would fall under the ‘psychopath’ category. A psychopath, also known as a sociopath, does not suffer from a mental illness, wherein their biology and genes have nothing to do with the way they are. A psychopath, rather, suffers from a severe form a character flaw, again, resulting, most probably, due to the way they were brought up, their environment, and the way they were treated [mistreated] by family, especially that of the immediate kind. One thing to note about the psychopath, however: the majority of the time, they realize the crime they are committing is wrong. This does not concern them, however, as they feel their need to kill and punish is greater than any rule or law. (1994, Serial Killers, Time Life Book)

Psychopaths are usually very clever, very deceitful, and very normal upon first glance. They look like everyone else, and behave like everyone else when in the company of others. Deep into the depths of their mind, however, they are working up an elaborate plan on how to catch their prey tonight. They have a need to kill, and an elaborate scheme to fit the pieces of the puzzle. Their need to kill stems from the way they were treated in the past. Some serial killers hold a resentment towards their parents, fathers in particular, who dismissed them from their lives, or abused and harmed them when they were children. Take, for example, John Wayne Gacy. During Gacy’s late teens, he suffered some turmoil with his father, although relations with his mother and sisters were very strong. John Wayne Gacy, Sr. was an abusive alcoholic who physically abused his wife and verbally assaulted his children. Although John Sr. was an unpleasant individual, young Gacy deeply loved his father and wanted desperately to gain his devotion and attention. However, his father would drink himself to a stupor and physically and verbally abuse young Gacy. He would call him a “queer” and a “mama’s boy”, and seemingly avoided his son at all costs. Unfortunately, Gacy was never able to get very close to his father before he died, something which he regretted his entire life. (www.crimelibrary.com)
This type of behavior, presented to a child at a young age, is bound to stir up some troubled emotions. Gacy was to never get over his father calling his only son a “queer.” During a three-year period, Gacy would go on to viciously torture, rape and murder over 30 young boys, who would later be discovered buried under the floorboards of his home.
Another notorious serial killer whose killings were based on major events that occurred to him during his adolescent years is the infamous Ted Bundy. Bundy grew up with a family of all women. He never knew his