29 March 2010

Female Serial Killers

I've been drifting in and out of work and life the past couple of weeks. Since I have not blogged, this may suggest that I've had no life. However, this would not be true. I've just not been online very much. I lie, I have. Just not blogging but reading. The topic of choice this time around was an exploratory look at serial killers. I'm not sure what turned the lights on this topic, it could be hidden angst on my end, or just this innate desire to understand enigmas.

Like a modern day mystery. These are my opinions, and I've tried to deal with the matter objectively, using only one source, Wikipedia and here are my findings on the topic. My advance apologies to those who may find the content offensive or the treatment of the topic insensitive. I'd like to also add, that I these are just my opinions, and are not backed by any scientific-psychology analyzing degrees.

Common Targets
  • Most of the women I read about, seemed to kill one of these following categories of people: children, husbands or the elderly.
  • A majority of the people killed were for monetary gain from insurance- though the modus operandi differed. For eg. early Victorian women ran schemes along the lines of the modern day adoption agencies, followed through with old folks homes schemes between 1890s- 1930s, peppered generously with stories of children & husbands dying across time.
  • Older female serial killers seemed to be those with power (either that or the others were not important to keep track of), who killed those with lesser power. Common themes were :
  • 1) Women of the nobility exerting themselves by murdering or torturing their slaves and serfs.
    2) Slave abuse by female slave owners, bordering on torture and the like
  • The trend seemed to shift slightly in the later part of the century, where there was a sudden instance of mothers smothering their own children. Most of these deaths were attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIFS) until, as in one case, the husband read the diary of this wife and turned her over to the police.
  • There were out of a list of 72, maybe about 4 cases of lust murderers, and sexual assaults. As advised, the largest was monetary.
  • And because this is about female serial killers, there has to be one case of 'shopping' being a motive to kill. Yes, you read right, there was actually a killer who killed, then lifted the credit cards of the victims and went shopping.

  • No clear patterns on this one. It was noted that a lot of the women were products of broken marriages, single mothers: who also had a history of being abused either physically or sexually
  • Where they came from families: they were from an authoritarian family where one parent was dominant and strict, either because of religion or because they just were.
  • There were exceptions to this as well. The more violent crimes came from duos. That was where there was a pair up between a timid shy woman, and a dominant man. Who were in a relationship and that eventually led to a change in the woman, and a killing spree.


  • Strangely, most of the killers were women who had positioned themselves as 'carers' or 'parental'. Nurses featured prominently on the list.
  • Common methods of killing was the usage of poisons like arsenic, strychnine.
  • Disposal methods- were common funerals and burials. As most of the victims were known to the murderers and not picked at random.
  • Where it involved the murder of more than 40 or so individuals, the dead were normally thrown into water bodies or exonerated at a morgue. Once again, this pattern is presumably different to the methods of disposal employed by serial killers who are male.

Female serial killers are divided into nine categories:

  • Black widows (kill husbands)- Belle Gunness
  • Angels of Death (Nurses) - Genene Jones
  • Sexual Predators ( Rosemary West)
  • Revenge Killers (Aileen Wuornos)
  • Profit Killers (Mary Ann Cotton)
  • Team killers (Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Wood)
  • Killers whose sanity is in question (Myra Hindley)
  • Killers whose motives defy explanation (Martha Ann Johnson)
  • Unsolved crimes.


Cryptic Chaos said...

And YOU gave me stick for writing '' The assasin'' :)

The Fool said...

Interesting set of facts and excellently classified. But I was hoping to see some analysis in the end and some theory being proposed linking all the facts. Was disappointed on not finding any such.

Mural! said...

poor husbands :( frightening the young folk of the country from marrying are you!

If shopping is such a big motive, I guess its about time someone objected to bigbazaars phrase "shop till you drop"! I am planning to now.....

you have also succeeded in frightening a guy already afraid of the hospitals to never ever venture near one!!

and all those fools out there want 33% reservations for women in the parliament, let the purging begin :P :D

but seriously nice analysis :)

Siddhesh 'Ravan' Kabe said...

err...m scared...any particular reason of writing this post...r u like looking for career options? :o :P

aces said...

good to know i dont fall into type of "vicitms" nor do i knw any of those interesting ladies u mentioned above...though wud like to keep away from nurses as always(they take pleasure in sucking blood from u thru a Syringe)...still nicely written..though a question in my head half way thru reading...u empathize with them??

but i think someone needs to relax and have a smoke...knw its not me ;) !!

Hitesh said...

dudette..... you just gave me shivers....i really thank god that the list didn't have any Indian women...... actually other than
Aileen Wuornos played by Charliz Theron in Monster (2003), i didn't know there were other women serial killers.........

i think we can leave people with insurance as motives....yea, it's killing....but it's too common or doesn't involve killing a lot of number of people.......

i would like to know the number of people these ladies has killed to be classified as a serial killers?????

i mean..does killing 2-3 people is classified as serial killing????

Saro said...

Cryptic: Hey, that was you in dark writing some serious stuff! All we needed was weather like this and it would be a scene from some crazed out Stephen King fiction.

The Fool: I didn't feel that it was in my place to come up with theories, as the facts were limited. At best, Wikipedia articles give information at a surface level, and yes, it would be good to connect the dots, but I suppose it needs more research. More meat. And perhaps, when I have access to the level of info required, I'll write back and inform you too!

Murali: Ha ha ha ha. U hit the nail on the head with that comment! And it is scary, hopefully you can always google every injection the nurse puts into you as a way to check.. through your phone!

Sid: So mean! I'm no serial killer.. *rubs hand as evil gesture* muahahahahah

Ace: I don't empathize them, but I suppose they are exaggerate the emotions we have sometimes. Been reading up on the male serial killers, those make my blood boil. Cz some of them, bathed in the blood of their victims, imagine!

Hitesh: Killing more than three people is considered serial killing. Please find the link below, that will connect you to the number of victims recorded serial killers have killed... as you can see, the range is huge.


acestreamin said...

yeah..the bathing in the blood thingy is kinda fucked up...iv got no more comments