I’ve been reading Harold Schechter’s work for years. Whenever I hear that he’s written a book, I know it will be well researched and worth my time. He teaches American Lit and Popular Culture at Queens College at CUNY. From his work, I got my first taste of H. H. Holmes (Depraved), Ed Gein (Deviant), and Jesse Pomeroy (Fiend), among others. Although Schechter specializes in … [Read more...] about Who Coined “Serial Killer”?
Unlike the socially challenged “Tooth Fairy” in the film Red Dragon, real-life serial killers are not isolated monsters. Frequently, they do not appear to be strange or stand out from the public in any meaningful way. Many serial killers are able to hide in plain sight for extended periods of time. Those who successfully blend in are typically also employed, have families … [Read more...] about Serial Killer Myth: They’re Dysfunctional Loners
The sensationalized images of serial killers presented in the news and entertainment media suggest that they either have a debilitating mental illness such as psychosis or they are brilliant but demented geniuses like Dr. Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter in the iconic film The Silence of the Lambs. Neither of these two stereotypes is quite accurate. … [Read more...] about Serial Killer Myth Number One: Mentally Ill or Evil Geniuses
Over the centuries there have been hundreds of documented cases of serial murder around the world but the term “serial killer” is relatively new. Up until the 1970s, serial killers were generally called mass murderers by both the criminal justice system and the media. Today, however, we draw a clear distinction between serial murder and mass murder. Unlike serial homicide which … [Read more...] about Origin of the Term “Serial Killer”
The entertainment industry has provided many inaccurate depictions of psychopathic killers in film, television, theater and books. Psychopaths are often incorrectly presented as ghoulish predators or monsters that readily stand out in a crowd. In reality, a psychopathic killer like Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy (the “Killer Clown”) or Gary Ridgway (the “Green River Killer”), can … [Read more...] about Psychopathic Killer: The Homicidal Boy Next Door