Blog Post #4: How to find out if someone is a serial killer

A small recap. In my other blog post we talked about if serial killers are born or made. I had asked a question if you guys thought if serial killers are born or made.The people who commented had said that they were made and not born. A brief about what I talked about in my other post I said that serial killers are made due to their living environment. Especially those who have the MAOA genes. The MAOA genes would get activated if they the victim (serial killer) is getting physically, mentally, or verbally abused at home or by people who surround them. I wrote that there are a lot of experiments going on to see if the brain scan is different from an average person or not. But the difference in the scans is that the orbital cortex is smaller or undeveloped which causes them to not have a sense of morality. To read more about what I did on the last blog post here is the link ( )

For blog post #4 I will be talking about how you would find out if someone is a serial killer and some signs that they are becoming one. I would also talk about how they would describe themselves.

Signs of a serial killer:

  • Antisocial Behaviour (1,2)
    • There are loners; they are timid and antisocial
    • For example, Jeffrey Dahmer was a lively child but when his parents moved to Ohio for a job offering, Jeffrey was allegedly molested there and moved his attention to road kill instead of developing friendships.
  • Arson (1)
    • They like fire because they think they are powerful
    • For example, David Berkowitz was known as a serial killer that has a fire obsession and started over 1000 fires in New York 
  • Torturing Animals (1)
    • They would do animal abuse when they were a child
    • For example, Albert DeSalvo would capture dogs and cats as a kid and trap them and shoot arrows at them as a sport
  • Family History (1)
    • They grew up in a family with criminal, psychiatric histories, or alcoholism
  • Childhood Abuse (1,2)
  • Substance Abuse (1)
    • They use drugs and alcohol
  • Voyeurism (1,2)
    • They are a peeping tom
    • Would try to see girls get undressed in their bedrooms
  • Can’t keep a job (1, 2)
    • They can’t keep a job due to their activities that take up a lot of time to get ready and plan 
  • They are smart (1)
    • They have a high IQ
    • For example, Edmund Kemper has an IQ of 136 which is 4 points below genius status. He used his IQ to create complex cons which he was released from prison early.
  • Bragging (2)
    • They often like to brag about themselves a lot 
    • Due them being pleased with their crimes
    • They often like to take credit for crimes that weren’t theirs to increase their reputation
  • Guns (2)
    • The commonly used weapon for serial killers at a 43% rate
    • Their own hands is their second commonly used weapon at a 21.7%
  • Emotional Munipulation (2,4)
    • They often use their charms to get victims
    • This allows them to understand human emotions on what people do, what they want, etc. to make them look invested in others
    • For example, Ted Bundy he was known as a charming guy that turned out to be a serial killer which allowed him to get majority of his victims easily
  • Fantasies (2)
    • They love to fantasize about killing
  • Violence (4)
    • To control others

Serial killers tend to have a lack of empathy for others. They have no guilt towards anything that they do. As I said serial killers are usually charming which allows them to lure victims. Serial killers are known to have two mindsets. Which one is a rational self that helps them achieve the acceptable social behaviour allowing them to seduce and charm others. The other mindset is their sinister self which they are capable of the unspeakable and violent actions against others. For example, Ted Bundy was a charming handsome man that was successful but turns out that he is a rapist, sadist, necrophile, and has no remorse towards his actions to kill and capture. Has no social conscience. We are taught to distinguish between right and wrong which allows us to engage in anti-social behaviour. Although serial killers think that they can be exempt from it. (3) Dr. Hare, a psychologist , developed the Psychopathy Checklist Revised. This checklist will help provide a clinical assessment on an individual who has a psychopathic personality disorder to some degree. The instrument will help measure the amount of personality traits they have and social behaviour of the individual. Usually they would fall into four factors: interpersonal, affective, anti-social, and lifestyle. (4)

Phases a serial killer would go through: (5)

  1. Aura Phase
  2. Trolling Phase
  3. Wooing Phase
  4. Capture Phase
  5. Murder Phase
  6. Totem Phase
  7. Depression Phase

Each one is a phase that a serial killer would go through when going to kill someone. Each one has a role in a serial killer’s mind. The aura phase is where they would go away from reality and lose their senses in what to do. Trolling phase  is when the killer would try to find a victim with a description that they would want. Wooing phase is when they have confidence and lure the victim into a trap. Capture phase is when they capture the victim which happens really quick. Murder phase is a reenactment of the horrible experiences in their childhood and will reverse the roles making them reenact it to the victim. Totem phase is after when they kill the victim and the excitement of the killer would drop and wake up from their fantasy. Depression phase is when they start to feel depressed and would want to attempt suicide. The killer thought that the victim represented their torture that they went through but they remember that the past is still there. Then the cycle would start all over again. (5)

That is all for blog post #4. On my next blog post it will be about how a serial killer would think or feel when killing someone. I would go into more depth on the serial killer phases on that blog post so please make sure to read that blog post if you want to know more about it!

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog post. Stay in tuned for my next one.


Rosewood, J. (2018, September 20). 9 early warning signs of a serial killer. Insider. Retrieved December 3, 2021, from

FBI, U. S. (2010, May 21). Serial murder. FBI. Retrieved December 3, 2021, from

Kharakh, B. (2017). 10 signs someone you know might be a serial killer. Criminal. Retrieved December 3, 2021, from

Parrington, J. (2021, February 26). What can neuroscience tell us about the mind of a serial killer? OUPblog. Retrieved December 3, 2021, from

True Crime Magazine, T. C. (2019, May 6). The 7 psychological phases a serial killer goes through. True Crime Magazine. Retrieved December 3, 2021, from   

2 Replies to “Blog Post #4: How to find out if someone is a serial killer”

  1. Hey Stella!
    This made me want to psycho-analyze my friends and my family, even though i shouldb’t be. This is so interesting to know yet terrifying because any one around you could have the tendency to become a serial killer. The phases are so interesting to know, I’ve never heard of anything like that before. Great job! I look forward to your next post, and here are some useful sources:

  2. Hey Stella, interesting post! The information you reveal here is so intriguing, yet so anxiety-inducing at the same time. Reading through all the common signs of a serial killer has made me retrospectively analyze everyone I’ve spoken to today and think whether or not they could be a serial killer; while I know that not all of these always apply to each and every serial killer, it makes you quite paranoid knowing that someone close to you could be one. The way you described the serial killer cycle was also super depressing. I couldn’t imagine having to live through all that torture again and again. Keep up the great work!

    Some resources you may find useful:,dominance%20over%20a%20human%20being.&text=It%20is%20generally%20accepted%20that,to%20commit%20acts%20of%20murder.

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