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Causation Of Serial Killers Essay

2576 words - 11 pages

“I just know it’s a dark side of me. It kind of controls me. I personally think it’s- I know it’s not very Christian, but I actually think its demons within me” (Wenzl et al. 308). Dennis Rader, infamously known as BTK, commented about what he called his “factor X” above, which he claimed was his motive for killing. The demons within Rader supposedly caused him to murder four members from the Otero Family leaving the youngest daughter hanging in the basement nearly naked and gagged (Wenzl et al. 10). We now know that these demons within and “factor X” that Rader was referring to was his psychopathology, but we cannot ignore that these traits were triggered by early childhood experience. His early childhood experiences as in many other serial killers triggered psychotic and/or psychopathic behaviors. Rader’s and other serial killers’ crimes may have been caused by their loss of reality as a result of psychosis, the lack of emotion, possible brain abnormalities, and personality disorders due to their psychopathology. I would argue that the inability to cope with the stresses of trauma and victimization endured during their childhood are the main cause of the formation of serial killers. Both psychopaths and psychotic people can endure problems during their early childhood development, which can trigger their deviant criminal actions, making early childhood development the main cause of serial killers.
One possible cause of becoming a serial killer is psychosis. Psychotic patients, unlike psychopaths, have lost their sense of reality (Brogaard). For example, Carl “Coral” Eugene Watts was charged with strangling twelve women with many more suspected victims because he believed they had “evil in their eyes” (Brogaard). Watts’ had lost his ability to perceive what was right and wrong allowing him to commit serial murders. His psychosis impaired his judgment leading him to believe his victims were evil, which in his mind justified his acts. Psychotic serial killers mostly tend to be either schizophrenic or bipolar (Brogaard). Richard Trenton Chase was a schizophrenic who believed the Nazis were after him with poison that would turn his blood to powder (Brogaard). In order to prevent this, he consumed and soaked himself in the blood of those he had slain (Brogaard). Chase suffered from paranoia as a result of his schizophrenia, making him believe that there actually were Nazis trying to kill him. Similar to Watts, Chase also lost his sense of reality allowing his paranoia to consume him and as a result he killed multiple people. This inability to differentiate between fantasy and reality is significant among all psychotic serial killers.
Psychotic serial killers can also be triggered by their relationships with family members and loss of close relatives, such as in the case of Ed Gein (Morrison 51). Ed Gein was also a Schizophrenic, who began digging up graves and most notably skinning his victims to make suits consisting of women’s breasts and genitals...

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