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          Fourteen Characteristics of a Serial Killer

          September 22, 2004

          Could you be raising a criminal? Acts of violence don’t come out of nowhere, and every parent should be aware of the clues along the way. For the most violent of criminals, there are warning signs that often start in childhood. Below is a list of the 14 most common traits of serial killers.

          1. Over 90 percent of serial killers are male.

          2. They tend to be intelligent, with IQ’s in the “bright normal” range.

          3. They do poorly in school, have trouble holding down jobs, and often work as unskilled laborers.

          4. They tend to come from markedly unstable families.

          5. As children, they are abandoned by their fathers and raised by domineering mothers.

          6. Their families often have criminal, psychiatric and alcoholic histories.

          7. They hate their fathers and mothers.

          8. They are commonly abused as children — psychologically, physically and sexually. Often the abuse is by a
          family member.

          9. Many serial killers spend time in institutions as children and have records of early psychiatric problems.

          10. They have high rates of suicide attempts.

          11. From an early age, many are intensely interested in voyeurism, fetishism, and sado-masochistic pornography.

          12. More than 60 percent of serial killers wet their beds beyond the age of 12. 

          13. Many serial killers are fascinated with fire starting.

          14. They are involved with sadistic activity or tormenting small creatures.

          Source: Internal Association of Forensic Science, an article written by FBI Special Agent Robert K. Ressler "The Serial Killer," Harold Schechter

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