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How to Write a Killing Paper About Serial Killers

Academic writing

Essay paper writing


The study of serial killers has always been of particular interest to psychologists, psychiatrists, criminologists, and students. That is indeed intriguing and shocking to realize that some people who seem to be normal citizens can commit a cruel and outwardly unsubstantiated murder. Many students and academics, particularly those who undertake a course in criminology, write fundamental research papers on serial killers delving into this topic and seeking an explanation of this phenomenon.

This topic may seem rather depressing, but it is still considered to be among the most striking ones.

If you are brave enough to write a serial killer essay, this article will be useful for you. We will take a closer look at this phenomenon to understand what pushes people to commit monstrous crimes so that you can build your own work on the basis of this information.

Serial Killers Essay 1

How to come up with a good title for a serial killer essay?

One of the main paper requirements is that serial killer research topics you will choose from must necessarily match the current development level of psychological and psychiatric science.

Studying analytical reviews of scientific achievements on the subject will be of great help when choosing a topic. Unsolved cases and other interesting information is often mentioned in such papers, so we are sure that you will be able to find a fresh idea for your essay. If you want your research to be unique, you can choose an unusual theme; for example, you can write a female serial killer essay.

Thesis statement for a serial killer essay

A thesis for serial killer essay has to describe the main points you’re going to write about. Moreover, it should be put in the introduction section of your writing piece. In the intro, it would also be necessary to provide the readers with the background information on the topic before presenting your thesis.

By the way, here is an example of a thesis statement for your essay: “Serial crimes are more often committed by people with a high IQ level.” And of course you have to provide some evidence of your claim. It can be some statistical information or examples. Also, you can mention several historical facts in the first part of the paper. It will fuel the reader’s interest to continue reading your serial killer essay.

In order to decide what to write further, try to put yourself in the reader’s shoes. What thoughts will appear in his or her head after seeing your perfect thesis statement? Compile a list of research questions about serial killers related to your topic to answer them consistently when writing a paper. For instance, students often decide to describe different types of serial killers and their motives, and you can go with the similar option. Once you know which questions to address, it will be easier for you to create a serial killer essay outline to guide yourself when writing.

Definition of the term "serial killer"

Robert Ressler, the famous FBI agent, introduced this concept in criminology. In the 1970s, his main goal was to compile portraits of alleged criminals. He tried to penetrate into the subconscious of the murderers as well as understand what motivates them and what are the goals of their crimes. Based on these observations, Ressler created psychological portraits of maniacs.

During his work on one of the cases in 1970, he introduced the general concept describing such persons. According to Ressler’s definition, this is an individual who commits more than 3 murders in more than 30 days with periods of an emotional cooling-off, and the motivation for killing is often based on achieving psychological satisfaction. This definition should be taken into account if you have already chosen a person to write about and want to make sure he/she can be profiled as a serial murderer. If you want to understand how to discuss serial killer in an essay, it would be necessary to review the types of such people.

Serial Killers Essay 2

Types of serial killers

You can mention in your serial killer types essay that Robert Ressler identified two main types of such killers: organized non-social and disorganized antisocial.

Organized non-social type

In your serial killer research paper, you can describe the following key features possessed by organized non-social serial killers type:

  1. High intelligence. The intellectual level of some representatives of this group can reach 145 points, which is recognized as “very superior.” For example, the IQ level of Edmund Kemper is 150 points.
  2. Self-control. The killers maintain a good appearance as well as the state of their housings and cars.
  3. Sociopathy. The criminals reject and despise society. They tend to communicate only with a narrow circle of people.
  4. They can be charming and make a favorable impression on others. Usually, people who turned out to be acquainted with a serial killer are very surprised later to learn that this person committed crimes. Moreover, they have a healthy relationship with the opposite sex and are often characterized as family people and good parents by friends and acquaintances.
  5. They prefer to act with cunning, not violence. For example, Theodore Bundy enchanted young girls. They followed him calmly, being unaware that he was a serial killer.
  6. They prepare for a crime far in advance. This type of murderers thinks through all the details such as the place and weapon of murder.
  7. The killers take measures to eliminate any evidence that can incur suspicions. For example, they can dismember the corpse and get rid of it in parts, hiding them in an inaccessible place.
  8. In some cases, serial killers return to the place of the murder. An example can be Gary Ridgway, who often came to the crime scene to refresh memories, and even defile the remains of the victim.
  9. Sometimes, they can cooperate with the police during the investigation and after imprisonment.
  10. During the interrogations, they concentrate and think over the defense line. The murderers can feel a sincere respect for a competent and intelligent investigator, and often manipulate them.
  11. They tend to improve during the entire period of committing murders, become more difficult to capture, control themselves, and even can stop killing in order to remain uncaught. The Zodiac Killer, for example, stopped committing murders when he felt that the police came close to him.

If you want to describe a classic example of an organized non-social murder in your serial killer informative essay, you can mention Theodore Bundy. This charming young man has become one of the most famous criminals in the history of humanity due to his attractiveness, intelligence, and the ability to create an image of a supportive and well-educated person.

Disorganized antisocial type

The following key features of this group can be mentioned in your serial killers psychology essay as well:

  1. Such people have low intelligence.
  2. They are mentally ill, inadequate, despised, or not accepted by society because of visible deviations in behavior. This type of killers cannot establish contact with people.
  3. In most cases, they had a difficult childhood where they had experienced abuse from their parents, relatives, or peers.
  4. They are socially maladjusted, often live at the expense of relatives or state, and can be registered in a psychiatric clinic.
  5. They rarely care for their appearance and housing.
  6. These murderers commit crimes spontaneously.
  7. On most occasions, they kill near the place of residence or work.
  8. The weapon of murder is often not prepared in advance. Therefore, improvised means are used when attacking the victims.
  9. They try to save memories about the victims; for instance, they can have a diary in which they describe the killings or store video recordings or photos.

A classic disorganized antisocial murderer is Richard Chase, a schizophrenic nicknamed “The Vampire of Sacramento.” You can find his name in many serial killer essay examples. His psychological portrait was compiled by Robert Ressler, who was able to describe Chase as accurately as possible after examining the places of the murders. Despite the obvious mental disorders that were supposed to lead Richard into a specialized clinic, he got sent to prison where he committed suicide because he was afraid of a “Nazi conspiracy.”

The motives for committing serial killings

When writing an essay on what is the general profile for a serial killer, it is also worth describing the motivation for destructive actions committed by the criminals. There is a special classification of maniacs. However, it would be wrong to assume that each of the murderers belongs to only one type or has only one motive for committing crimes.

1. Hedonists

These killers commit crimes for pleasure. A murder is considered as a way of satisfying the needs of such a maniac. Psychiatrists distinguish three types of hedonists:

  1. Sexual. Most serial killer research papers describe them. In this case, the victim can be either alive or dead. It all depends on the preferences of the killers and their fantasies that usually play a big role in planning the crimes.
  2. Destroyers. They can rob their victims, but the primary motive for committing a crime is torturing. Violence is inflicted without sexual manipulation. Such maniacs are often caught for robbery, vandalism, or hooliganism.
  3. Mercenary. Material and personal benefits are the main murder motives for this type of criminals. These are mostly women who kill with the help of poison or drugs that cause death if used in large doses. However, men also resort to such means. To write a good serial killer persuasive essay, you can describe the life and crimes of Henry Howard Holmes, Gonzalez sisters, or Mary Ann Cotton.

2. Power-hungry

The main goal of this group of killers is to control and subordinate a victim. Moreover, they experience sexual pleasure from domination. However, their main difference from the hedonists is that they are driven not by lust but by the desire to control another person. Many of such serial killers were subjected to violence in childhood, which gave them a sense of helplessness and impotence in mature age. Paul Bernard and Ted Bundy can become a vivid example of this type of criminals in your serial killer extended essay.

3. Visionaries

They commit murders “at the instigation” of God or Devil, hear voices, and suffer from hallucinations. David Berkowitz, who received instructions from the Devil who “contacted” him through a neighbor’s dog, and Herbert Mullin are typical representatives of this group.

4. Missionaries

Missionaries kill for a specific purpose. Most often, they try to improve the world and change society for the better. Their victims are usually prostitutes, drug users, and adepts of minority religions. Such criminals are not merely mentally ill people. They sincerely believe that the cruel actions they commit can bring good to people.

Serial Killers Essay 3

The mask of normality

Now that we know that some murderers had been committing their crimes for many years, the first question that comes to our mind is what helps some serial killers to escape justice for decades. How can people, whose relatives, friends, and acquaintances characterize them in an exclusively positive way, commit cruel murders? Essays on serial killers as well as other academic papers that disclose the answers to these questions are especially relevant in modern psychology and psychiatry. Such studies allow us to understand the motives of murderers and to recognize them among ordinary people.

The thing is that many criminals can lead a double life for a long time. They may seem to be intelligent, well-educated, and law-abiding citizens. This phenomenon is called “the mask of normality,” which is an artificial behavior aimed at demonstrating compliance with generally accepted social standards. In general, “the mask of normality” is inherent to organized non-social serial killers. There is also another definition of this concept as a state of mental stability being achieved after a single release of unconscious energy.

There are several types of “normality masks”:

  1. Strongly expressed. Representatives of this type of serial killers are well-adapted in a society. They can have a good job and a family in which they are considered as caring fathers and spouses. Such people often have higher education.
  2. Medium expressed. Such serial killers are inconspicuous in society. Friends can consider them eccentric but harmless to others.
  3. Badly expressed. Such people are antisocial, can suffer from visible mental disorders, and be registered at the psychiatric clinic.

Mention these facts in one of your serial killers essays to help the reader understand what type of “normality mask” the person you’re writing about has and why he/she hasn’t been caught for a long time.

Serial Killers Essay 4

Some similar personality traits of serial killers 

Despite the fact that serial killers exhibit many significant differences, they all have certain similarities:

  • 88% of them are men;
  • 85% are white;
  • 62% kill exclusively unfamiliar people; the others kill at least one stranger;
  • 71% of maniacs commit their crimes in a particular territory; not many of them overcome long distances for murders.

Hervey Cleckley identified 16 essential behavioral characteristics of a psychopathic killer, which are mostly inherent to the organized non-social type:

  1. Charm and intelligence.
  2. Unreliability.
  3. Falsity and insincerity.
  4. Absence of remorse and shame.
  5. Unmotivated antisocial behavior.
  6. Bias of judgments and inability to learn from mistakes.
  7. Pathological egotism and inability to love.
  8. Weak affective reactions.
  9. Bad concentration of attention.
  10. Indifference to the creation of interpersonal relations.
  11. Indecent behavior with alcohol abuse or without it.
  12. Messy sex life.
  13. Lack of goals in life and the inability to follow a certain order.

Moreover, serial killers are characterized by low social adaptation, dissatisfaction with their place in society, impulsiveness, infantilism, narcissism, isolation, aggressiveness, suspiciousness, and vindictiveness. One more important fact to include in your conclusion for a serial killer essay is that serial killers do not recognize public norms and values. They can comply with laws or follow state instructions not because they understand their necessity, but due to the fear of punishment.

Now, as you have read this article, you have a lot of information on how to write a serial killer essay. You are also welcome to use the key ideas and theories about maniacs described above. Famous psychiatrists and psychologists had been developing these classifications and theses for decades, so you can rely on them confidently. We hope that this material prepared by our academic paper writing service was useful for your research. Good luck with your paper!



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