Serial Killers. Studies into the profile of American female serial killers have turned up shocking results that do not necessarily coincide with the findings from Australia. Serial killers are different from a single time murder in several ways and for several reasons. Those researching serial killings have to consider a cooling off period and a kill count to define their serial killer.
Marissa A. Harrison. Penn State’s psychology professor, Marissa A. Harrison, was the lead author of a study that put together a profile on the average American female serial killer. The findings were astounding. Some of the serial killers were completely devoid of feeling for their victims, who in some cases, were all men. Very few were apologetic or empathetic as some would assume a woman would be, and therein lies the danger.
Definition. The study profiled the serial killers as anyone who has killed more than three people with a week or more long cooling off period between kills. They have used this information as the standard and researched every serial killing female they could find dating back to the Revolutionary War. The total number of female murderers they found was surprising and it took a long time to find them all.
Months of Research. In total, the group found 64 American female serial killers in American history. They found serial murderers like Martha “Patty” Cannon who was a leader of a gang. Her business was kidnapping people and selling them into slavery, and along the way she committed at least four murders. They managed to find a lot of similarities between female serial killers, helping to flesh out a profile that was helpful but troubling.
Findings. Harrison explained that “Female serial killers gather and male serial killers hunt. That was very interesting to me, as an evolutionary psychologist, that it reflects kind of ancestral tendencies.” More frightening than the reasons for killing is the way the killers profile appeared. They all seem like normal, helpful women.
Dark, Revealing Information. The study read “Contrary to preconceived notions about women being incapable of these extremes, the women in our study poisoned, smothered, burned, choked, bludgeoned and shot newborns, children, elderly and ill people as well as healthy adults; most often those who knew and likely trusted them.” In most cases, since these women were able to evade arrest for so long, they had higher victim counts than a lot of male serial killers. No one expected these helpful women who did not display any odd or alarming characteristics to secretly be serial killers.
What Do You Think? What do you think about how female murderers and serial killers are underestimated? Do you think it allows female murderers more time and opportunity? Tell us in the comments!