Serial Killer Myths
Updated: Jun 13
You see and hear about serial homicides on television, in books, and the news. You even read about them in my books. However, did you know that what the average person knows about a serial killer may just be a myth?
Many myths surround serial homicides. These socially constructed celebrity monsters have been sensationalized by the media and depicted by humanity through the construct of stereotypes. The truth of these killers is far less whimsical and definitely less scary than you might think.
So, what are the myths that surround serial killers? There are a few, and here we are going to debunk them to get down to the truth.
1. All serial killers are men
We have talked about this in a previous blog; all serial killers are NOT men. There are a few women serial killers out there who have been caught and who have sat on death row. The most common thinking is that if there is a woman who kills, they are usually just at the whim of a dominant male killer as in the case of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka.
Historically, there are many more male serial killers as compared to women that the women get lost, but the truth is 17 percent of serial killers in the United States are women. Though female serial killers are less likely to be caught, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. They most definitely do.
2. Serial Killers are more often the loner and the one who is a bit “off.”
Serial killers have a reputation as the boogeyman. They are the type of person who you know is a bit weird and socially awkward. The reality is that most serial killers are not social misfits. They are the person next door holding dinner parties and visiting friends. They are the person with a job and a family.
A really good serial killer is so innocuous, the authorities don’t even consider them a suspect in their own murders. Most of these killers are so successful at hiding in plain sight that their own families don’t know who they are or what they do in the darkness. Don’t think that you can pick a serial killer out in a crowd because the truth is, they are apart of the crowd and very successful.
3. All serial killers are Caucasian
Race plays a part when it comes to profiling many crimes, but serial killing isn’t one of them. For the most part, the serial killer can be of any race or creed. You cannot assume that they are going to be a white American male. That just isn’t the case.
4. Serial killers travel far and wide
Most television depictions of the serial killer state that they travel far and wide to commit their crimes. Freddy Kreuger may travel across state lines and take victim after victim wherever they end up, but that’s not the norm. The myth that serial killers travel came from the few who did. Fictionally, serial killers travel across state lines all the time, and historically there have only been a couple, such as Ted Bundy.
When it comes to the most serial killer choice of killing location, they prefer near home. Most serial killers have a defined geographical location that they prefer to “hunt” and kill in. As a matter of fact, most serial killers commit their first crimes near home because it is comfortable and familiar.
When it comes to serial killers, there is plenty of information that is both fictional and real. Sometimes you have to wade through the myths to find out the truth. From the evil genius to the boy next door, the fictional myths that have ensued about serial killers are just that, myths. These celebrity monsters aren’t to be defined by stereotypes, because the truth is, anyone could be a serial killer.