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Wicked Nerdery

Where psychology, pop culture, and true crime collide

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Serial Killers

Real Life American Horror Stories

It is well-known by now that the show, American Horror Story, uses true crime stories in each of their seasons either directly (with their own respective twists) or as inspiration.  Everyone from the Black Dahlia to John Wayne Gacy to the Zodiac killer have shown up in one way or another.  There have also been a few on each season that went unnoticed or overlooked.  Whether it be Richard Speck or those behind the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders every season of the series has had at least one real life horror story shown.

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The Family that Slays Together…

Despite what movies and TV shows might suggest families killing together, as a unit, is fairly rare.  There are many instances in which couples or two blood relations get together to kill others, but a whole family working to take lives?  Not so much…though it’s not unheard of either.  There was at least one such case in the 1800s wherein the Bender family worked together to rob and kill unsuspecting travelers who made the mistake of choosing to stay at their inn.  When their crimes were discovered they became known simply as “The Bloody Benders”.

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Killer Kiddies

When most hear of killer children they usually think of school shooters…those frequently of high school age and qualifying for the mass murder category (killers of multiple people in one central location at one time).  While sad and disturbing to hear about it’s not terribly shocking anymore; many schools now have metal detectors, bag checks, and other safety precautions just to prevent such things from occurring.  However, what really can’t be prepared for by a school (or anyone) and is still rare enough to shock others is the child serial killer.  Those pretty little girls and bright young boys who target, hunt, and kill those around them just as Dahmer, Bundy, and other adult serial killers would.

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Oh, the Places They Will (and Won’t) Go!

Ah geography, it can tell you so much; the history of a continent, the political and religious undertones of a country, social growth and expansion of a society…if there’s a serial criminal in your neighborhood.  One frequently used method in law enforcement is geographical profiling – basically studying the crimes as they relate to, well, geography – which can help to connect crimes and victims thus narrow down a suspect pool.

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Vicious Valentines: The Barbie and Ken Killers

Love is said to make people do “the damnedest things” and, in some cases, that means rape, torture, and murder.  It certainly did for Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo; a fairy tale couple in appearance who, in the end, were a living horror to those they victimized together.

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Female of the Species 3: His Killer Half

We’ve covered the typical and not-so-typical female serial killer; now it’s time to look at the female serial killer in a serial killer couple.  Nearly all of these women claim to be abused loves dragged along for the ride once the police come into the picture so it’s difficult to tell who are genuine victims and who were active participants in the murders.  However, there are certain women who not only actively participate, but are the actual killers.  They were not women too scared to run, they were women too in love (with the kill) to run.  It will be one of these women we’ll look at now…

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Female of the Species 2: Aggressive Girls

As reviewed in the previous piece female serial killers tend to do things a little differently from their male counterparts.  For the most part their methodology – smothering, poison – is subtler and less overtly violent and victims are those they know, those others would expect them to care for – family, patients if they’re a nurse.  Yet there are exceptions to every rule and sometimes female serial killers are just as openly aggressive and random in their kills as their male counterparts.  (For the purposes of this essay I’m leaving out those females involved in “killer couples” as there are a number of other dynamics going on that might be influencing their violence level and victim choice.)

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Female of the Species

When people think of serial killers they think of men.  Hardly a surprise since a vast majority of serial killers are, in fact, male.  However, it would be a mistake to think that women, “the fairer sex” as it the old saying goes, aren’t every bit as capable of multiple murders as their male counterparts.  They tend to go about their murders a little differently and select different kinds of victims to prey upon, but they are no less guilty of their crimes and get no less of a thrill in causing the death of others.  And to those chosen to be their victims they are no less terrifyingly dangerous.

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