Simply put, a serial killer is a person who kills a number of people over a period of time. The true definition, however, has far greater implication. What is generally known of a serial killer - the portrait created by the media and law enforcement agencies, fails to encompass all varieties of serial killings. Many offenders are excluded as they are not be classified as "sinister, blood thirsty monsters".
However, quintessentially, serial killers should include anybody, irrespective of gender or age, who kill over time. It is agreed that it is a minimum of 3 or 4 victims that brings a murderer into the "serial" category. They may be described as neurotic because when kill a pattern seems to emerge. The pattern may revolve around the victim, the motive, or the method of killing. Some serial killers may make special effort, for example a change in style or location, to evade recognition. The murders may go on for a sustained period, until the killer is caught, is killed, or simply stops killing. There may be a break between kills, probably where the killer plans his/her next move or simply cools off.
Types of Serial Killers.
Many have tried to thoroughly classify serial killers, yet none have been able to bring about distinct categories. The characteristics seem to overlap, making it complex to achieve distinctive classification.
The classification presented herein below might help gather a broader perspective of the various types of serial killers.
Let's first identify a variety of motives a serial killer may have. .
The visionary - this type of killer usually suffers from psychosis and schizophrenia; will hallucinate, i.e. have visions or voices instructing him to carry out these acts.
The missionary - clearing the society of unnecessary human occupancy considering it his responsibility to do so.
The hedonist - deriving pleasure from the act of killing.
The lust killer - killing for sexual indulgence; usually involves sadist activities.