Clues from Killers: Serial Murder and Crime Scene Messages

Clues from Killers: Serial Murder and Crime Scene Messages

Clues from Killers: Serial Murder and Crime Scene Messages

Clues from Killers: Serial Murder and Crime Scene Messages


"Killers from Jack the Ripper to the Son of Sam have often provided clues to their identities, their motives - even their future targets - through crime scene notes, letters to the media, calls to police, messages scrawled on victims, and, increasingly, email and other technology. Here, Gibson takes a look at ten notorious serial killers, their crimes, their victims, and their communications to uncover new insights into the minds of these unusual and dangerous people." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Son of Sam. Jack the Ripper. The Unabomber. These serial killers, separated in time and nationality, had one major thing in common: besides killing many people over the years, they all engaged in repeated acts of crime-related communication.

It is clear that communication is an integral part of many, if not most, serial murder cases. My research into more than two hundred such cases has convinced me that most serial murderers communicate about their murders during or after the murders. Most serial killers, in fact, communicate more than once. They communicate in a variety of ways, to a variety of audiences, on a variety of subjects.

The motives behind their communications similarly vary. Some seem to relish taunting the police, while others leave clues. Although a few offer explanations for their murders, others try to justify their homicidal acts.

Six main topics are considered in this introduction: (1) the concept, (2) the significance of serial killer communication, (3) the purpose of this book, (4) the method used in this book, (5) the rhetorical perspective on serial murder, and (6) a preview of this book.


Communication by serial killers is the basic concept behind this book. That communication takes many forms. At the crime scene (or dump site), some serial killers may leave messages scrawled on walls and other surfaces. Occasionally, they use the human body as a communication medium. Other serial killers leave notes at the crime scene.

Subsequent to the discovery of serial victims by law enforcement, another set of communication acts by serial murderers has been noted . . .

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