I apologize for the lack of posts lately. I have been working on a freelance job as well as finishing up 2 books. Writing is like, so hard.
Note: The following post is in no way meant to victim blame. This is just presenting facts.
In our PC laden culture, victimology can be a somewhat controversial topic as it can come across as victim blaming (see note above). However, the study and theories of victimology are extremely important in apprehending criminals.
Victimology is simply the study of victims in the criminal justice system and the connection between victims and perpetrators. This is a pretty basic, self-explanatory topic although it sounds much more complicated.
For example, Ted Bundy’s victims were college-aged girls often with long, brunette hair. Specific details about victims are used to create a victim profile which helps law enforcement track crimes. For a fictional example, take Dexter who’s victims are criminals and generally all around bad people.
This is a rather heavy topic and isn’t as fun as teenagers who think they are vampires and murder a bunch of people in Florida (where else would they do it?). Here’s a Dexter meme to lighten the mood.
Victimology comes with various sets of theories based upon the lifestyle and environments of potential victims. For example, drug users, sex workers, abuse victims, and individuals fitting into a criminal’s M.O. are all considered in victimology theories. The study of victimology also explores how perpetrators lure and groom victims based on these theories.
The study of victimology has led to the rise of the victims’ rights movement, which was nonexistent until the 1970s with the beginning of the Victims’ Rights Movement. In 2004, the Crime Victims’ Rights Act was passed ensuring victims of protection, restitution, etc.
Freakin’ 2004! Seriously, it shouldn’t surprise anyone it took so long to get something so basic and obvious into law. The Victims’ Rights Movement has been very successful in passing legislation to help victims and future generations.
Owning something collected from a crime scene or that was once owned by a famous murderer is the ultimate way to:
1. Keep your family and neighborhood children away from your house
2. Creep out your friends
3. Not get a second date
OR maybe find cool friends and the love of your life. Dean Martin was wrong, you are somebody when someone doesn’t love you, even if you have Ted Bundy’s Christmas card on your fridge.
Murderabilia is exactly what it sounds like- memorabilia collected from crime scenes and from the homes of murderers, personal effects, and artwork.
By far the famous pieces of murderabilia are the notorious Pogo the Clown paintings by everyone’s favorite KFC lovin’ serial killer, John Wayne Gacy.
Murderabilia is taking both true crime and trash vs. treasure to the extreme. While legal, the buying and selling of these items go hand in hand with the Son of Sam Law, which prohibits criminals from profiting from their crimes such as selling stories to journalists and publishers.
Instead, these macabre collectibles are sold through dealer sites. eBay banned the sale of such items in 2001. The concept alone sounds like something only the most depraved can access via the dark web. Surprisingly (or not), a Google search will lead the curious to these sites. eBay banned the sale of such items in 2001. The concept alone sounds like something only the most depraved can access via the dark web. Surprisingly (or not), a Google search will lead the curious to these sites.
To collectors, murderabilia is owning a piece of history. While collecting these oddities borders on illicit and would raise some eyebrows in conversation, the sale of these items isn’t about making money for the sellers. Many of these sites will donate to victims and their families.
The concept is interesting and intriguing. However, as someone who runs a true crime blog, collecting these items is taking it too far and borders on serial/mass murder glorification and sympathizing (more on that later). These items belong in a museum, not in the creepiest living room display case of all time.
You’re probably better off still hoarding Beanie Babies.
The typology of a serial killer is exactly what you think it is. In order to track them, investigators must first have an understanding of how (and later why) they operate.
While there are several different types of serial killers and offenders, which I will get into in a later post, the most basic typology and the most widely used by investigators is the Holmes Typology. This is also known as the Organized/Disorganized Dichotomy and is also attributed to famed FBI Profiler Roy Hazelwood. Once the basic typology is documented, a more detailed subcategory can be assigned.
The HT classifies serial killers into 2 groups:
Organized and Disorganized
Organized serial killers live seemingly stable, normal lives. They are gainfully and skillfully employed, socially aware, highly intelligent, and often have families and regular friendships. These characteristics also spill over into how they commit their crimes. Organized killers plan their crimes well in advance, sometimes years.
They have a specific type of victim such as sex workers or individuals with a certain physical trait. These individuals are more likely to restrain victims, dispose of bodies in a discreet location, and remove a weapon from the crime scene. Their crimes are also usually not committed where they dispose of bodies, but are more likely to move bodies.
Since they are more socially skilled than their disorganized counterpart, these killers often have a social interaction with their victims. Little evidence is left behind at murders committed by organized killers.
Examples include: BTK, John Wayne Gacy
Disorganized serial killers tend to be drifters with a more spontaneous lifestyle. They are also more likely to commit other crimes along with murder, including drug use and necrophilia. Below average intelligence is a characteristic. They often suffer from some sort of sexual dysfunction and severe mental illness, which are the root causes of their crimes. Victims are random and usually do not fit a certain demographic or description. Disorganized killers will leave evidence behind at crime scenes, including blood, fingerprints, and the murder weapon. Crime scene locations are in close proximity to the killer and murders are committed at the location where the victim is found, hence the evidence left at the crime scene.
Examples include: Ottis Toole, Richard Chase a.k.a The Vampire of Sacramento.
FYI, if you never want to sleep again, do a search for Richard Chase. Nighty, nighty!
Then, of course, there’s Ted Bundy. You know you can’t mention serial killers without his name coming up. Teddy boy is actually a mixture of both typologies, even though he tends to lean towards organized more so than disorganized. However, based on his famous Florida murder spree in 1978, Bundy crossed over into disorganized territory with the random killings. Bundy’s affinity for necrophilia also puts him into the disorganized category.