Serial Killers: Is There A Pattern To The Chaos?

What Makes a Serial Killer?

Some of the most notorious serial killers to date (courtesy of

Harley Johnson and

A serial killer is defined as someone who commits 3 or more murders, usually with victims following a certain pattern, and with a month or more of emotional cooling off period (

Over the years there have been many different serial killers. Some of the more popular being Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer. The first suspected serial killer in history was Locusta of Galt, a woman, in the early first century A.D. She poisoned many people, it isn’t sure how many people she poisoned, but one of her victims, supposedly, was Emperor Claudius. Locusta was executed by Galba in 69 A.D. (

According to, the first reported serial killer was Dr. H.H. Holmes, who killed his victims in a three-story hotel he built. He has been portrayed in many films and television shows for the unique way he would torture and kill his victims. When done with his victims, he would collect on their life insurance policies and sell their bodies to medical schools. Holmes killed 200+ victims before being convicted and hung in May of 1896.

What makes someone a serial killer? It hasn’t been proven if serial killer are born or made, but most believe they are made. “Many serial killers are survivors of early childhood trauma of some kind – physical or sexual abuse, family dysfunction, emotionally distant or absent parents. Trauma is the single recurring theme in the biographies of most killers,” J. Oliver Conroy, a writer for The Guardian.

According to Psychology Today, Everyone’s brain treats trauma differently. In most cases, it can affect how the brain develops. People that experience trauma tend to only remember the events of the trauma, not what lead up to it or what followed, and for experiencing trauma as a child the brain doesn’t know how to process the trauma and might keep it, along with the emotions, in a fictional closet. A child could develop PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) of the events and in some cases will either act violently towards themselves or others.

According to The Guardian, While most serial killers are men, it is believed that women process trauma differently and their tendencies are a lot different making them less likely to leave evidence behind or take “trophies” and it takes them longer to get caught. In other word, women are better serial killers.

There are an estimated 25 to 50 active serial killers in America right now ( With 1 in 5 to 6 being women (