Natural Born Killers...
Fact or Myth?

Do natural born killers exist?

Notorious serial killer Carl Panzram wrote about himself "When I was very young at 5 or 6 years I was a thief and a lier and a mean despisable one at that... The older I got the meaner I got".

While Ted Bundy (convicted of 37 homicides but estimated to have killed anywhere from 50 to 100 people) confided "I just liked to kill. I wanted to kill".

So it seems likely that natural born killers do exist.

Now there's a thought to make the stomach churn... and something to always keep in the back of your mind.

Born of a Bad Seed?

A number of factors have been suggested for producing criminal psychopaths, including:

  • A Genetic Link.

    chromosome In their article "Natural born killers: The genetic origins of extreme violence, 2009" Ferguson & Beaver explain that "...studies which have been based on thousands of sibling pairs, have pointed to the inescapable conclusion that genetic factors are implicated - at least to some degree - in the etiology of violence... approximately 50% of the variance in anti-social phenotypes is the result of genetic factors".

    A study by Hur & Bouchard in 1997 also found a strong genetic link for sensation-seeking and acting-impulsively... traits "found to be higher in drug abusers, delinquents, and psychopaths."

  • Biological Factors like Hormone or Heavy Metal Imbalances.

    High levels of Testosterone and low levels of Serotonin can lead to aggressive behavior and mood swings, as can high levels of lead, manganese, copper and cadmium. Interestingly, psychopathic serial killers are almost invariably male.

  • Head Injuries especially to the brain's Frontal Lobe.

    brain waves Many researchers believe damage to the Hypothalamus (which regulates the hormonal system and emotions)... the Frontal Lobe (which controls behavior & decision making)... or the Temporal Lobe, can cause abnormality and dysfunction.

    This in turn can lead to increased aggression, anti-social behavior, and changes in emotions like guilt, conscience, empathy, self-control, and remorse.

  • Traumatic Childhood.

    In 1984 FBI agent Robert Ressler told the International Assoc. of Forensic Sciences that many serial killers had a history of a troubled childhood which resulted in characteristics such as:

    • came from a dysfunctional family
    • were abused mentally, physically or sexually
    • often were abandoned by father, raised by domineering mothers
    • did poorly at school
    • usually hated their parents
    • over 60% wet their beds past 12 years of age
    • displayed a fascination with fire & destruction
    • practised sadistic torture of animals
    • often developed an early interest in porn
    • developed early psychiatric problems
    • had spent time in institutions.

    Many serial killers are thought to sadistically dominate their victims in a quest for control, sexual gratification, and power (e.g. power of life or death) as a way of making up for their own deficiencies and psycho-pathologies.

    While other offenders seek retribution or pay-back for abuse, neglect, or victimization inflicted upon them earlier in their lives.

"I grew up in a wonderful home, with two dedicated and loving parents... we were the focus of our parent's lives... regularly attended church". Ted Bundy, Serial Killer.

*No history here of a traumatic childhood or brain injury.

Serial killer Ted Bundy describes how he murdered one of his victims.

So do Natural Born Killers exist?

It seems there is definitely a Genetic Component involved in some cases, and this can be greatly modified even further by both Biological Factors, Head Injuries, and an Abusive/Deprived Childhood.

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