The Fascination with Serial Killers

What is the fascination with serial killers? I am not talking about groupies. No! That is something else entirely. Why are true crime series so popular? Why do we spend our time watching these shows? We sit and hang onto every word and detail.

I will admit that I have a fascination with serial killers. Especially Jack the Ripper and Ted Bundy. I think my fascination with Jack the Ripper is that it remains a mystery. Unsolved. I want to know who. Ted Bundy is a bit different for me. Here is a man that was brilliant. He could have done anything that he wanted in life. He even represented himself during his trial. I want to know the why?

And there it is. We want to know why they are the way that they are. Because if we can find the reason, then maybe we can prevent such horrific crimes from happening. Nothing is that simple. And this is no different.

I used to think that extreme abuse coupled with neglect as young children is what created these monsters. But it has been proven that many never suffered any abuse but in fact had loving parents. From all appearances, a stable loving home life. Well scratch that.

What about brain injury? That would make sense. If injury has occurred to the Prefrontal Cortex, this would be the perfect explanation. The Prefrontal Cortex controls executive functions, judgment, impulse control, management of aggression, emotional regulation, self-regulation, planning, reasoning and social skills. Perfect! There’s just one problem. Not every serial killer has suffered a brain injury.

Okay what about a chemical imbalance? We could speculate all night. The truth is we cannot lump all of them into any one category. What might be the cause for creating one monster may not be what led to another’s spiral into madness.

One thing that has been proven are specific behavioral patterns seen in serial killers as young children. These patterns of behavior are good indicators of things to come. If these patterns are spotted, can anything be done to “save” this child from growing into a monster? Or is their conscience already dead?

So many questions. So many. And that’s the reason for the fascination. It isn’t about idolizing these monsters. Its about trying to dissect the madness and finding its roots. We want to know why.