Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sex and the Serial Killer Part 2: The Seduction

For the purposes of this paper the seduction under the normal (i.e. not sexual homicide committing) circumstance will occur in the span of one night out...because it's not like a serial killer really gets the chance to re-attack a victim once he's killed her.

The Seduction

Let's assume  the average Joe has finally worked up the courage to ask out that special girl and she's said yes.   For the purposes of comparison the interaction from then until, let's say, the walk to the door that would normally be considered the end of the date all include seduction.  Once he begins the seduction it starts, at its bare bones, with how the man appears.  He'll be clean, well shaven, and dressed to impress...whether this is in a suit or something else depends on both the girl he's trying to attract and the circumstances of date.  After appropriate appearance comes behavior and interaction.  Wanting to make a good impression a man on a date may do a number of things...open doors, pay for meals, offer his coat, and walk her to her door after.  ...Those more into "picking up" women than dating them may also use pick-up lines, special move or ploys (like those involving a "wing-man"), or even wear certain clothes to vastly accentuate something they consider a good aspect of themselves and distract from more negative ones (aka "peacocking").  Whatever tactics are used the goal is ultimately the same, to get the young woman to feel comfortable, even enamored with him, enough to trust and get close to him.

With serial killers, Foyet or otherwise, the goal of seduction stage is almost disturbingly similar...actually it's pretty much the same.  A serial killer wants to lower a persons defenses enough so they can get close.  Like the average gentleman it starts with their appearance.  What they decide to look like depends greatly on what they think will work best to attract the type of victim they wish (assuming they have a preference) and their hunting grounds.  A nice suit will work wonders in trolling for victims around an upscale neighbor or in a business district where the killer can mix in with those getting off work.  Going into a lower socioeconomic part of society?  Jeans and a tee shirt might just do the trick.  And, if they want to get fancy, pretending to be disabled or putting on some kind of uniform (police officer, repairman, etc) can work wonders.  Presuming they're not drooling, staring like a complete psycho, or making a big scene they've got the correct behavior down just fine.  After that there's the "pick-up" line which can usually be any of a number of things including, "Need some help?" "Can you help me?" "Repairman!"and "Hey, wanna see my puppy?"  Once the person falls for whichever ruse (basically the killer's version of a seduction) the killer has used and gets close enough frequently they're just a knock on the head away from victimhood after that.

Foyet himself was shown using two ruses while hunting, though it's likely there was a third not shown to get into Hotch's building (I am not including his ruse of a victim since it wasn't used to get near victims but to avoid capture).  For the first one he was just an average driver on the road offering help to a couple who'd gotten a flat, for the second he played at being a traffic cop pulling a couple over.  The third was likely that of portraying FBI Agent Derek Morgan, colleague of Hotch, by using the man's credentials previously stolen...he later did pretend to be Morgan when dropping off Hotch after stabbing and, well, torturing the man so it stands to reason he'd have used it should he needed a way to enter Hotch's building and possibly even the apartment itself (if someone, like the superintendent or maintenance man, had let him in rather than him having picked a lock or used an open window).

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sex and the Serial Killer Part 1: The Fantasy

In the premiere of the fifth season of Criminal Minds there is a scene in which a killer (George "The Reaper" Foyet)  and agent (SSA Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner) face off...not a surprise, of course.  What seems to be though is how quickly the interaction becomes almost disturbingly intimate once the killer is able to get the upper hand.  ...However, for a serial killer, it just might be the norm...after all their torture is frequently our foreplay.  And their sex?  It's that lovely little moment when they kill their victim, when they have all the power, and when they can believe they are God.

For the purposes of this larger piece I'll be breaking down the sexual homicide - which, had Hotch died, would've been what Foyet committed according to its definition (it doesn't require actual, obvious, sexual behavior at the scene...all it requires is the killer to "get off" in relation to the crime) -  into stages that relate to the standard sexual interaction.  There's the fantasy, the seduction, the foreplay, the act, and the aftermath.

The Fantasy:

Of course, the average person doesn't suddenly go from normal sexual appetites to the  macabre ones over night...no matter what a serial killer might claim later.  No demon enters their body, nor do they suddenly "snap" and go about getting their jollies killing others.  Ever found yourself suddenly having sex with another person for no particular reason and having never even thought about that person sexually before?  Didn't think so.  Serial killers and those committing sexual homicide fantasize beforehand just like everyone else.  Fantasy is a key element to the killer throughout his life...both before, during, and after the kill and during his "cooling-off" phases.

~ In Development ~

Like a person developing a normal (i.e. not a killer's for the purposes of this piece) sexuality it's a slow, steady, process that leads up to their committing sexual homicides.  For the serial killer the fantasy starts early and there is almost always a linkage of sex and violence....and those two things forever represent the same thing to them...Power!  Little boys (for simplicity's sake we'll stick with male serial killers throughout the piece) who grow up to be killers frequently recall having early childhood thoughts about violent sex acts.  They dream of dead people or force their siblings into playing death/murder games with them...something I seriously doubt their siblings are all that excited to play.  As the budding killer gets older his fantasies grow in scope, number, and specificity...and the amount with which he is aroused grows as well.  And, while the average teenage Johnny is masturbating to thoughts of Jane down the lane coming out of the pool dripping wet, the serial-killer-to-be Tommy is masturbating to thoughts of Jane covered in blood weeping for the mercy he won't give her (because HE has the power not to).

Using the previously mentioned Foyet from Criminal Minds as a comparison we can show the difference.  Because not enough is known (yet at least) about Foyet's past it's hard to say what fantasies he had, but studies show they'd be in line with little Tommy and speculation can be fun so let's, shall we?  Perhaps little George Foyet liked scaring his peers into crying and wetting themselves?  Maybe he would have siblings or other children in the neighborhood join him in a (a)rousing game of psycho slasher?  It's even possible that he could've hurt himself intentionally - considering the character, it's not impossible - just to fulfill his fantasies and get himself off.  Once little George isn't so little maybe he began to masturbate to thoughts of stabbing young girls (I say young girls because he's defined as a hebephile meaning his sexual preference is for those about 11-14 years old) or the fear in a person's eyes if he were to shove a gun in their face.

~ In Action ~

Now the average young man will probably spend a few days thinking and planning before asking a girl out.  He'll debate how to approach her, what to say when he does, and try to figure out all the ways in which he can increase the likelihood of getting her to say yes.   He'll imagine what will happen when he does ask her...Will she smile?  Be flattered?  Say yes, she'd love to, and really always liked him but was too shy to ask him out herself?  Even for those men only aiming to sleep with a girl he met at a club the idea of fantasizing beforehand fits.  The approach, what's said, ways to get the girl's agreement, and her possible reaction are all played out in the guy's mind...there just might not be as prolonged period between the fantasy and the seduction stages.  The everyday guy will probably go through his fantasy scenario with the girl a fair amount of times...but never as much as a killer.

A serial killer like Foyet would be no different in thinking and planning for his kills.  He'll picture himself driving up on his victims, maybe after pulling them over or offering them help with a flat, and imagine what they'd be like.  A trusting, young, couple, perhaps?   He'll think of a possible way to lower any nerves they might have being out on that lonely highway with him so that, when the fear that he needs to see does come, it'll be that much stronger in their eyes.  And, of course, Foyet will consider every possible reaction his victims might give - the screaming, the crying...will they be stunned at seeing his weapons?  Will they call out for their "Mommies"?  How many times can he stab (most frequently) her before she succumbs to blood loss and the life finally leaves her eyes?  In many cases Foyet might have to do some prep work as well and this would go into the fantasy stage - whether it were considering the tools he'd need for his rouse, how long he could torture a person before time ran out (he was spotted, the victim died, etc), and for his attack on Hotch how to slip in and out of a victim's apartment without ringing any alarms would need to be thought out as well.  Before he even steps out of his house as The Reaper, Foyet, like other serial killers and those who commit sexual homicide, will have gone over every single detail in his mind probably a million times or more.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Before There was George "Reaper" Foyet...

...On CBS's Criminal Minds there were some other, real life, serial killer's making their demands in wirting as well.  Some were specific, others not, some were normal in the range serial killer desires, others a little odder, but it was ALL about the power.  After all, it's what these men lack most in their everyday lives...power, control, and a general "by George, I've made something of myself" type attitude.  And so, by having those around him (especially those actually in power) obey them they get another form of the rush they get in killing - power!!

The first, chronologically (for these purposes at least), would be Jack the Ripper and his "Dear Boss" letters; one of which was actually a postcard (perhaps he was busy that day?).  These not only mocked the police ("They say I'm a doctor now.  ha ha.") but also requested in the first that police hold off sharing the letter until he'd done a little more killing..."Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight."  The reason isn't given, just the request.   ...Of course we're going on the assumption dear Jack wrote these, because Mr Ripper was never caught and so much myth has mixed with fact the letters cannot be completely proven to have been written by him.

Now let's move onto The Zodiac Killer and his delight in suggesting that, should his demands not be met, he'd pick off those little kiddies coming off the school bus.  Now he had a few different demands, wanting all of California jumping through hoops for him.  Something he damn near got at times!  Whether it was involving the readers of the San Francisco Examiner in what would probably be one of the more disturbing word puzzles known to man thanks to his threat of a killing rampage is his cipher wasn't printed or getting the good citizens of the Bay Area to wear his nifty Zodiac symbol buttons...imagine the rush he got from that!  Not only could he see people obeying him as he walked the streets but each button worn was like an advertisement in terror...terror brought on by him.

For something just a touch more recent let's look at the BTK Killer, Dennis Rader.  He was a little more with the boasting than the demanding in his letters but he still made at least one.  He wanted a name...apparently, after killing seven women, he felt he'd earned one.  One of his suggestions "Poetic Strangler"; the man wrote poetry which, apparently, he felt made him poetic.  Of course, unlike the other two, BTK's need to babble about the wonders of his kills and the ineffectiveness of the cops ended up being what got him caught in the end, a full 30 years after he'd started (his killings ran from 1974-1991, but it was a 2004 letter he sent that did him in).

And now back to Criminal Minds baddie, The Reaper.  He demanded that law enforcement stop hunting him and, in return, he'd stop killing...a rather unusual request really.  Serial killers do love their power and control over others and, yes, getting those pesky Feds and cops to stop under their command would be a thrill and a half but there is a small problem.  Why on Earth request something like that if it's what you love the most, the one thing that makes you feel good?  It's suggested by Hotch that killing just didn't do it for him anymore and hence the deal made but, if that were completely true, it's likely he'd try something new first, see if maybe it was the MO that got tired for him; maybe give strangling a go or try hunting on one of the many Boston campuses available.  He didn't, he went to deal making and then, after the deal was forfeited in the lead detective's death, the good ol' Boston Reaper skipped right back to those couples on the highway, shooting, stabbing, and bludgeoning them to death.  So then...why make that deal??  Maybe Foyet's a rare (ie only found on TV and in movies) breed, that's highly likely, or maybe he expected the lead detective after him to do exactly what Hotch did - tell him to go to hell.  After all that would defuse any blame on him - "I would've stopped, but that SOB didn't take the deal!  Blame him!" - and make him feel he had every right to kill in retaliation, which he did after Hotch hung up on him by taking out a bus full of people.  We'll probably never know, unless he explains it to Hotch while attacking the agent in his own home, but let's hope whatever Foyet wants he fails to get.