Real-Life Monsters: A Psychological Examination of the Serial Murderer

Real-Life Monsters: A Psychological Examination of the Serial Murderer

Real-Life Monsters: A Psychological Examination of the Serial Murderer

Real-Life Monsters: A Psychological Examination of the Serial Murderer

Synopsis

This book presents an in-depth psychological analysis of the development of the serial killer personality that will fascinate all readers, from the experienced criminology student to the casual true-crime reader.

• Includes eight case studies of fascinating serial criminals, including recently convicted media stars Rodney Alcala and Anthony Sowell

Excerpt

In the early 1960s, as a child growing up in New England, I spent a great amount of time with a riveted focus on the subject of movie monsters. Plastic models, magazines, and the latest horror flick ruled the day for this child. I even managed to convince my slightly skeptical mother to allow me to go to bed early on Saturday evenings, so she could wake me up in time to watch the weekly monster movie shown at midnight. Concerned relatives counseled my mom, thinking that maybe I could turn out, well, odd. Maybe they were right.

Still, for some reason, I never was all that affected by the horrors of the cinema. While interesting, I never did buy into the terror of Frankenstein’s Monster, The Wolf Man, or the Creature from the Black Lagoon. They were interesting, but not real. Later movies came closer: The Exorcist, The Omen— these monsters looked a little more like they could be hiding under my bed—but not really. I believe this is what sparked my interest in human psychopathology and extreme abnormal psychology. I wanted to know what real monsters were capable of.

For it’s the people who walk among us that strike fear into our hearts. Not the seven-foot tall hulk with bolts in his neck, sewn together with leftover parts from the graveyard—it’s the normal-looking scrawny kid who works at the chocolate factory, brings people home, and desperately clings to the idea they might not leave this time. And then eats them. It’s not the half-man, half-wolf that howls at the full moon and scours the night for victims—it’s the chubby ex-shoe salesman turned contractor, the part-time performing clown, who lures a parade of young, unsuspecting victims to his home. And then buries them in his crawl space.

These are the monsters of real life. This is what real nightmares are made of.

In a 1993 New York Times interview, prolific true-crime author Jack Olsen recalled:

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