Saturday, October 31, 2009

Philia Friday: Vampirism

In pop culture media some vampires are handsome young things who're deeply remorseful for what they are - Edward from Twilight, Louis from The Vampire Chronicles - while others are (at least slightly more physically) grotesque creatures who revel in the monsters they are - Count Orlok from Nosferatu, Severen from Near Dark.   Whether to tell a story of love and passion or one of horror the idea of the vampire is romanticized.  There seems to be two kinds of real life blood-drinkers; one kind is relatively harmless to the everyday person because they, too, romanticize vampirism and consider it simply a sexual preference or fetish.  The other kind, however, are those that are serial killers with a desire to drink their victims blood and very much a danger to those who come in contact with them.

Sanguineous Is Sexy

There are some for whom vampirism is a consensual, sexualized, act that simply feeds (so to speak) their own personal preferences.  Some decide to embrace the part complete with fangs - bought or created through filing down already existent teeth - and coming part of online or in-person vampire communities.  But even for those who don't chose to make vampirism a major part of their lifestyle if they practice the act of drinking blood and derive sexual pleasure from it they'd be considered real-life "vampires".

Blood Drive

In serial killers vampirism is something far more is a sadistic act upon a victim and/or the uncontrolable drive to drink the blood of whoever (or whatever) they can get their hands on.  One such killer with this drive was Italian lust-killer, Eusebius Pieydagnelle, would smell blood from butcher shops and it would arouse him so much that it compelled him to go out and kill six women in 1878.  Another, Italian madman, Vincenz Verzeni, tore apart two young woman in 1871, chewing on their flesh and drinking their blood in a frenzy of vampiric desire.

Peter Kurten, "The Vampire of Dusseldorf", started early in his depravity, including vampirism.  As a youth he would decapitate swans and drink the blood that would spurt out from their necks as he would sexual violate the rest of the body.  As he grew into murderous adulthood he frequently drank the blood of his victims - over two dozen men, women, and children.

Fritz Haarmann, "The Vampire of Hanover", started with escaping institutionalization in the late 1800s.  For a while after he remained a vagrant before he learned to butcher meat and was able to start his own business with the skill, thus getting the money to afford a place to live.  While it's likely he started killing then, the home allowing him the privacy he needed with his victims, his murders really picked up when he gained himself a lover in, Hans Grans also called Graf in some places, an attractive male prostitute.  (There is some debate as to how much of an accomplice Grans was but, at the very least, he seemed aware of what his lover was doing and enjoyed the clothing and money taken from the victims.)  Luring them to the couple's home Haarmann would first feed his victims then, still sleepy from the large meal, he would grab the young men and bite right through his young male victims throats while sodomizing them.   In fact, Haarmann was known to chew until the head was practically severed from the body in some cases and, as he tasted their blood, he achieved orgasm.  He would then take the possessions of victims to sell on the black market or retain them for himself or Grans, then cut the flesh from their bodies, eat some of it, and sell the rest on the open market as butchered meat.  The rest he dumped into the canal.  When cops checked his house (with where the bodies were found and his past history he was a rather clear suspect) and found clothing from "missing" young men and boys and blood all over the walls Haarmann was arrested...he confessed shortly after.

Men, however, are not the only vampiric killers.  Elizabeth Bathory is the most obvious example, a countess from modern day Slovakia (Hungry in her time) who killed anywhere from 50-600+ victims and reportedly bathed in their blood in an effort to stay young.  There was also Magdalena Solis, "High Priestess of Blood", in 1963 Yerba Buena, Mexico, who convinced the villagers that she was a goddess and created a vampiric sex cult based around her.  As a way to pay tribute to her blood rituals were orchestrated in which she drank the blood of those murdered at her behest...when the human sacrifices were discovered outside the village, police came in and rounded up the cult.


Author's Note:  Yes, this is a day late but how perfect is it to have this posted on Halloween, right?  Happy Halloween all, and stay safe!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Killer IQ Part 4: Are There Evil Einsteins?

Logical-mathematical intelligence has, of course, to do with logic and math (numbers) as well as reasoning and dealing in abstractions.  Those who score high in this intelligence excel in scientific thinking and investigation, they can perform complex calculations and recognize abstract patterns...they are puzzle-solvers, can think events out in advance, and tend to focus on precision.  This intelligence strongly correlates with the traditional ideas of IQ and high-rankers include scientists, mathematicians, engineers, doctors and economists.

It's Highly Ill-Logical

This is another intelligence where serial killers seem to both excel and falter depending on the situation.  Some killers, certainly the more successful ones, have thought out their kills beforehand, have considered how events will play out during and after the kill which immediately implies they rank at least average in this intelligence.  But I think the biggest revealer of this intelligence in killer's lie in precision.  Some killers are very precise, almost to the point of obsession, in their "work".  Bombers, for example, would fall into this category not in the least because, without precision, they risk becoming a victim of their own creations.

Also likely to rank high on this intelligence is Zodiac and BTK.  As mentioned previously Zodiac enjoyed playing with words (changing spellings of things, etc) but he also seemed to like other games and puzzles.  Included in his infamous letters was his equally infamous cipher that, he claimed, held the key to he was.  While I personally doubt that he'd reveal who he was under any circumstances, the self-made code was very real and an indication of his skill in logical-mathematical intelligence.  For his own personal amusement, and to show off no doubt, Zodiac created his own twisted puzzle that had virtually the whole world scrambling to solve it.

BTK, on the other hand, was merely precise in in writing about his victims.  On a separate piece of paper, as a sort of "P.S.", of his 1978 letter to law enforcement and media Dennis Rader (BTK) wrote about what he did - or intended to do - to victims.  The comments didn't just stop with the basics either, he noted specific details such as a female victim being on a "made bed in southwest bedroom", the temperature of the house being at 90 degrees, and how much pre-planning he'd done ("some", "little", etc).  Rader showed precision before the crimes by preparing for them (which included stalking beforehand at times), presumably during since he was able to control and kill a family of four (the Otero's) single-handedly, and after the crime by writing detailed accounts of his kills.

There are, however, those killers that seem to be lacking in this intelligence.  Disorganized killers - those who don't plan ahead, who kill on a whim, and don't care about leaving evidence behind - fall into this category.  Some blitz attackers, especially those that literally just whack victims over the head and leave them to die (and, yes, those do exist), would would those like Ed Gein and Richard Chase ("The Vampire of Sacramento" who killed 6 people and engaged in such things as vampirism, cannibalism, and necrophilia with victims and animals alike).  Now while some of these killers may get away with killing a fair number of people beforehand they are nearly almost caught eventually - they're just so sloppy and erratic - and, when asked about their kills, most give an even more twisted logic behind them than even the average serial killer.  Gein wanted a woman's suit, Chase claimed he committed his atrocities because he needed to prevent Nazis from turning his blood into powder via poison they had planted beneath his soap dish.

This form of intelligence also seems in constant battle with the psychological issues these killers have.  After all if it weren't for his serious narcissism BTK killer Rader might never have been caught...but he had such a drive to prove his greatness he stupidly contacted police and press again after years of staying off the radar and, from that contact, police were able to discover who he was.  Bundy, likewise, seemed to let his smugness get the better of him when he allowed a cop to search his trunk when his kill-kit was still inside it.  Because of their severe personality impairments killers sometimes seem incapable of thinking logically when they (and most anyone else) would which makes assigning killers a set ranking in logical-mathematical intelligence rather difficult if not impossible.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Killer IQ Part 3: A Way With Words

The third category of intelligence according to Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences is verbal-linguistic which involves using words, spoken and written.  Those who rank high on this form of intelligence are typically skilled at reading, writing, and in using words whether it's to tell stories or recall words and dates.  Learning is done via listening to lectures, taking notes, reading, and through discussing and debating with others.  This form of intelligence makes individuals that rank high in it good teaching, explaining, speech making, and persuading others through also implies a skill at playing "word games" (understanding and being able to manipulate words, syntax, and structure).

Wicked Wordsmiths

Dennis Rader, aka The BTK Killer, fancied himself a, seriously.  In one of the many letters (this one sent in 1978) he wrote to police and press he suggested "POETIC STRANGLER" as a possible name that he could be referred to as and also enclosed a poem of his.  Now whether or not the poetry was any good is hard to say - art is in the eye of the beholder and all - but there's no doubt Rader was a word-oriented person and and he's not the only serial killer to use words to his own advantage.

Zodiac also did his fair share of corresponding via letters with the press and police as well and he even added his own creative spelling ("Christmass" instead of "Christmas", "Fry" instead of "Fri", the abbreviation for Friday) and punctuation (which was to not have much).  Part of this could, of course, just be an effort on the part of the killer to have a flair, so to speak, but either way he's playing with words and their meanings just like a person who'd scale high on verbal-linguistic intelligence might.

But even for those killers who don't write letters to law enforcement or the press, it would seem that a great many do fairly well with activities involving this intelligence.  Provided the killer isn't a blitz-attacker or simply waves a gun in the victims face with orders to obey it's likely they rate as good as the average person...and some possible better than average.  Both ruses, which require the creation of a story, and being able to be discounted as a suspect after being interviewed by authorities (recalling names, dates, and explaining your whereabouts along with lying aka "story-telling" to some, etc) would require skills related to this form of intelligence.  In fact it's likely serial killers' potentially high ratings in this category is what's mistaken for interpersonal intelligence (the ability to deal with/relate to others)...they talk a good enough game to the everyday person that they can seem very sociable and, well, normal, when they're anything but.  They know the textbook definitions and proper uses of words yet not the true meanings behind them but, in passing, that's enough to fit in and go unnoticed.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween Special: Avoiding "Tricks" Tips

Halloween is this upcoming Saturday so I'd like to share some safety tips now, before the holiday.  Most have been ingrained in every man, woman, and child's head already,  but there might be a few that have been overlooked, need to be updated for the times, or people heard so often they've stopped actually taking to heart.  I'll be covering five that would fit into at least one of those categories.

Tip #1:  Make Your Cellphone Part of the Costume

Even the undead would probably roam around with a cellphone these days so dressing like a zombie, vampire, or anything else, doesn't mean to you can't bring yours.  Yes, I imagine having a cell ring while dressed as a ninja could be a little awkward - and totally kill those stealth moves of yours - but it's better than being out on the town, in trouble, and having no way to call for help.  My advice is to work it into your costume somehow; whether attaching it to your superhero (or is that villain?) utility belt, sticking it in a bag adjusted to match your costume, or just tucking it in a back pocket, bra, or waistband.  If you made your costume than you're more than creative enough to find a place for your cell.  To better suit the season you can always use a really creepy ringtone for the night; just be sure you've got a way to keep in touch with others while out on Hallow's Eve.

Tip #2: Pre-Plan Your Route

This is geared towards Trick-Or-Treaters old enough to go off with their friends…or any adult doing a Halloween inspired party-hop/pub-crawl.  There's actually a few reasons this is a good idea, both outside of safety or for it.  Outside of safety the group you're with won't ever really have to stop the expedition throughout the neighborhood/city to debate which street to head down next, you'll already have it pre-planned.  You can even plan according to the places known for the best treats/drinks/atmosphere to optimize the night’s experience.  On the safety end it's good simply because people know where you'll be so if you go missing due to confusion or foul play others will know where to look - along your route - and be able to search from there.  For the Trick-Or-Treaters there can also be an agreed upon time that you'll return home (or to whatever end point is chosen from which you'll call adults in charge) so people - a.k.a. parents or guardians - know when to start worrying.  For the costumed partiers and pub-crawlers there can be an agreed upon crash pad so that no one needs to worry about getting home alone safely after all the festivities.

Tip #3 Treats Stay Outside!

Just like any other day of the calendar do not, under any circumstances, enter someone's house or car while trick-or-treating.  There is no reason to.  Any candy you're going to get you can get right there on the front porch (in front of witnesses) and any offers to come inside should be refused.  As far as cars...well who hands out candy to random folks from their cars without some other ulterior motive?  Keep your trick-or-treating to the the front porches of well-lit houses on your route.  (If you’re going to a party or on a pub-crawl the opposite is true - don’t leave with people you don’t know, just like you shouldn’t at any other time of the year.)

Tip #4 Avoid Shortcuts

Shortcuts, especially those through unlit and unpopulated areas, are never a good idea.  True they can get you to the place with the better candy, booze, or party faster, but they're also a great place for those of ill-intent to hide in wait for a victim.  Quite simply, the risk isn't worth it.  The possible urge to take shortcuts can be avoided if the tip to pre-plan your route is taken…in planning your route ahead of time you can find the best and fastest routes without having to even think about using shortcuts.  Also included in shortcuts should be yards, parking lots, and (visits to/cuts through) graveyards since they are also places where you don't know what or who might be around.  What’s true for trick-or-treating is true for party-hopping/pub-crawling in this case; just stick to a nicely lit, safe, route so you can enjoy yourself without worry.

Tip #5 Use Sidewalks

While obvious almost any other time of the year, a great deal of folks forget this one on Halloween night.  It's understandable, in a group of costumed individuals, everyone hyped on sugar and/or liquor, one might feel special and not required to follow the usual rules of the road...after all cars will be looking out for you and other revelers.  However, some drivers might be coming back from a Halloween event where they've been drinking - in other words: drunk drivers are around! - and even the most careful and sober driver might have trouble seeing someone dressed all in black as a Sith lord.  In the end it's better to stick to sidewalks and making sure to look out for cars while crossing road like you’d normally do.

Now...go!  Give those costumes a final touch, grab an extra bag of candy, queue up some horror films, and enjoy the greatness that is Halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Philia Friday: Transvestism

Let's first start with a firm and clear statement: transvestites are not a violent group of people as a whole, cross-dressing is not an illegal activity nor should it be.  It's a personal preference that may or may not have to do with the individual's sexuality.  ...Of course now you're probably asking, with that disclaimer, why am I going to cover the topic at all?  Because, frequently, serial killers have had some experience in transvestism whether they've wanted to or not.  For the serial killer involved in transvestism it's usually a progression of sorts, their earliest, unwanted, encounters in cross-dressing leading them both to their desire to kill and cross-dress later.

Forced Into Frills

The idea of severe childhood abuse contributing in the creating a serial killer is common, probably because it often is the case.  When child abuse is mentioned in this capacity thoughts of physical violence, sexual molestation, and extreme verbal abuse are the most common to pop up.  There is another form of abuse that seems to occur frequently in the male killer's childhood and that is forced cross-dressing - being made to wear dresses, being referred to by female names, and even being presented to others under these circumstances.  For this "form" of cross-dressing it's less about transvestism and more about the utter humiliation caused to the young, developing, male child forced to undergo it.  At its bare-bones it's simply a creative form of child abuse perpetrated by the abuser.

Charles Manson had an uncle who sent him to school in a dress, Henry Lee Lucas's mother did the same.  Carroll Edward Cole, aka "The Barfly Strangler", who murdered 16 people from 1948-1980 (the earliest being when he was just ten and drowned a classmate) in a number of states, also seemed to have a mother who forced him to dress like a girl.  According to crimewriter Michael Newton, after forcing her son into frilly skirts and petticoats and the like, Cole's mother would make the boy serve her and her friends at tea parties where they would all mock him, sometimes referring to him as "mama's little girl."  ...It's no wonder the man grew up to despise women!

Dress-Up Turns Deadly

None of the previously mentioned killers ever continued their cross-dressing into their adult years, however some other killers did.  Hadden Clark was born to two parents of wealth and privilege (his mother could date her family back to the Mayflower and his father helped to invent Saran Wrap); something that is not only rare in the cases of serial killers but also the only real difference in his childhood from others who grow up to kill like he did.  Despite that "leg-up" of money and a good name Clark's parents were alcoholics who, when drunk (which was most, if not all, the time) were vicious to each other and their children.  When drinking the boy's mother would dress him as a girl and refer to him as Kristen and, as a man, Clark retained the alias of Kristen can only assume that the alias came directly from his mother's "nickname" for him.

As he grew up Clark was disturbed at best...continuing the early forced cross-dressing and frequently identifying himself as female as a result of the childhood abuse was, in fact, the least of his bizarre adult behaviors.  Clark, who most often worked as a chef, was recorded as urinating in the mashed potatoes of customers he disliked and/or felt had slighted him, chugging down beef's blood, and masturbating in front of his little niece in 1986.  It was as he packed after getting kicked out for the last behavior that his first of two confirmed kills (he claimed there were more, but none of the others were confirmed) occurred...that of six year old, Michelle Dorr.  The little girl showed up looking for the niece when Clark stabbed and killed her with one of his chef knives.  After failing in his attempt to have sex with the body, he ate some of the flesh before putting the child in a duffle bag and burying the cargo in a shallow grave in a nearby park.

His second kill occurred in 1992 and more closely related to his transvestism as well as his fast deteriorating mental state.  This time he went after the daughter of a woman he was gardening for,  a recent college grad named Laura Houghteling.  In the middle of the night Clark, dressed entirely as a woman (wig, blouse, slacks, and even a purse), he snuck into the young woman's room with a .22-caliber rifle as a weapon.  He woke the girl up demanding to know what she was doing in his bed and forcing her to admit that he, in fact, was Laura and she was just some impostor.  At gunpoint he then made her undress and bathe before covering her face entirely in duct tape, killing her via suffocation in the process.  Once dead Clark then used scissors to cut off the young lady's earlobes, carried her body and bloodied bedding into his truck, and buried her in a shallow grave.

Clark was immediately suspected of the murder of Laura Houghteling and arrested when a bloody pillowcase he'd kept as a souvenir was found with his fingerprints on it.  While in prison for that murder he confessed to killing little Michelle to his cellmate and then later brought police to her body.  As recently as 2000 Clark agreed to show law enforcement other sites where he claims he's committed murders...provided they bought him a wardrobe for a woman at Kmart and he could wear the clothes while helping the officers, of course.  Dressed in an outfit that included bra, panties, wig, and skirt Clark escorted the lawmen over a few states (including Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) and to land in Cape Cod once owned by his grandfather where a bucket of approximately two hundred pieces of women's jewelry - including some owned by Laura - was found.  Clark claims they were all trophies of kills, whether or not that's the case is debatable though since only the remains of the two kills covered here have ever been found to date.

Killer IQ Part 2: The Empathy Issue

The next category of intelligence according to Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences is interpersonal; it has to do with interacting with other people.  Those who rank high on this form of intelligence are generally outgoing, sociable, people who are greatly in tune with the emotions, motivations, and sociability of those around them.  They learn best working in groups, can easily be leaders or followers depending on the situation, and enjoy discussion and debate.

Fake It Until You Make It??

It's pretty clear just from the definition that serial killers aren't likely to rank at all high on this intelligence.  Interpersonally intelligent people are able to empathize with others while serial killers lack empathy (which is why they can do what they do to others).  There is, however, a slight catch 22 in just writing these kinds of criminals off as virtual retards in this category and it's this...serial killers are generally known to make some of the best profilers and, to do that, logic dictates you'd need to understand those around you deeply.  So how can they seem to have the possibility of ranking so low and so high at the same time?   It probably partly lies under the idea of faking it until you make it and partly under the fact some of these guys (consciously or otherwise) know of their short-fallings in this form of intelligence and so study extra hard to fit in.

Let's first settle on the fact that empathy is normally developed naturally, though can be taught to small children ("you'd want the other children to share their toys with you" "you wouldn't want your brother/sister to bite you") up to a point.  But once a person has entered adulthood either they have it or they don't.  That being said there's a reason that, so frequently, when police find a bunch of dead bodies under the crawl space of Johnny's house the neighbors seem confused and horrified, proclaiming to press and police alike, "But he was such a nice/normal guy."...sociopathic personalities (such as those that serial killers have) can show a shocking amount of emotion deemed appropriate at the appropriate time when they have to.  When claiming that childhood abuse caused them to kill or that they have remorse they will cry virtually on cue and this trick of faking emotions comes into interacting with people on a day to day basis as well as in the use of their ruses.  Here's the rub though, and what disproves the "fake it until you make it idea"...those who really, truly, get to know these killers will tell you they're creeps.  Family, exs, coworkers will all admit that Johnny kinda gave them the willies after awhile and, even if they didn't suspect the guy was a serial killer, they aren't all that surprised to find out he is.

Even with all those emotions and interactions essentially being faked there's still one other issue to contend with...the frequently heard statement that "serial killers make the best profilers".  Assuming that statement is true then the serial killer would have to be highly skilled at understanding and being in tune with the emotions of others and thus would rate high in interpersonal intelligence.  This is a tricky one because while serial killers do seem to have a rather great understanding of those around them it's really not all that deep...and it frequently takes them years and years of study to understand what comes to the average person naturally.  And, even if and when they do understand others emotions, they only use it to their own personal advantage - "I want to hurt someone, raping and torturing them will do that" or "She seems upset I killed her son, perhaps I should act the same way to get off on the murder charge?".  All the studying in the world won't get these killers to really rate high in this intelligence because everything about them (feelings-wise) is fake, anything learned is used to their own personal advantage, to help in meeting their own twisted goals, and so it's a lost cause...when it comes to interpersonal intelligence, without true empathy, these guys are all defectives.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Killer IQ Part 1: Using Bodies to Their Best

There is the belief, thanks in great part to the entertainment industry, that serial killers aren't just bright individuals but evil geniuses.  It's an understandable assumption sometimes considering how long these people can go on killing over and over without ever being caught...months, years, decades even.  But rarely (if ever) are there any true genius, Hannibal Lector, types in the group and their intelligence overall depends greatly on how it's being determined.  A great many serial killers would qualify as bright on some levels but downright stupid on others...take Ted Bundy; IQ of 124 or so (a rating of above average/bright) but caught because he let a police officer search his trunk where his rape & murder kit were.

Because the determination of intelligence is so tricky - killer or not - it might be a good idea to use different forms of intelligence rather than just straight IQ ratings.  So, for the purposes of these forthcoming essays, let's review the 8 categories of intelligence as set forth by Howard Gardner in 1983's Theory of Multiple Intelligences and see how some (or at least the "garden variety" forms of) serial killers would rate...and then maybe we'll throw in IQ for good measure.

I Like the Way You Move

The first category is bodily-kinesthetic which has to do with, well, the body, how well someone can move, and even the ability to build or create physical objects.  Those rated high in this form of intelligence tend to learn through doing and have good muscle memory - their bodies recall movements easily; when you perform all the steps to a dance over and over until it grows automatic that's muscle memory.

Gotta say, in this category, most serial killers probably rate pretty high.  If they didn't their killings wouldn't succeed and there'd be far more survivors than victims.  Not that serial killers are muscle men, pictures alone indicate "Greenriver Killer" Gary Ridgway probably would've lost most fights with men...but then he probably knew that and chose his victims and kill method accordingly.  Knowing that, knowing his limits and adjusting for them in order to get the job done, alone makes him smart for this form of intelligence.  Ridgway and other killers also seem to know how to use whatever physicality they have for maximum impact and make up for what they lack.  Small killers who would loose a fight even to a woman might target children or use a blitz attack (sneak up and whack the victim upside the head) first to subdue the person.  Have the urge to strangle a victim but lack the upper body strength?  Use a belt, some kind of pulley system, or hang the person and let their own weight work against them as you watch the life leave their eyes.

As far as serial killer builders are concerned there's no end to the different kinds of contraptions of torture these guys have created...including that pulley system previously mentioned.  But there is one serial killer that really was tops in this department...H. H. Holmes.  In 1893, just in time for the Chicago World's Fair, Holmes opened his self created and built hotel of horrors later to be called the "Murder Castle".  Yes, he did hire teams of builders since the job was so big, but it's highly likely certain rooms - such as the ones set up to become gas chambers - Holmes had to personally work on...otherwise he'd raise some eyebrows even before he got a chance to open for business, as it were.  The fact he went to medical school and, in using his skills for darker purposes, frequently dissected, stripped the flesh from, and then pieced bones together into skeleton models of his victims also all speak to a high level of bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Survivor Sunday: The Dangers in Daylight

Most people are fully aware and prepared for the dangers that come as the sun goes down.  They lock their doors, set their alarms, and stay inside until the next day arrives.  It's understandable; a great deal of crimes do occur at night with all those opportunities the cover of dark gives the criminal that can't be had when the sun's out.  But that doesn't mean one's risk of becoming a victim leaves with the night so here are some tips to keep in mind to remain safe even in the sunlight:

Tip #1: Beware of Dusk and Dawn

These two times of day, where it's still or getting to be light out, frequently give people a false sense of security.  Those early morning and late evening joggers become prime targets for just that reason...with their iPods rocking and concentration set on the run rather than their surroundings joggers are ripe for the kill.  It's true that these times of the day are great opportunities to get a workout in without the hassle of other runners, but it's also true that the potential killer simply sees it as a time in which a target is available minus all those pesky witnesses.  ...The tip?  Either push your run times to where there will be more people around than just you (and a potential attacker) or run with some friends.  The calories burned are the same no matter the time of day or the number of people out with you.

Tip #2: Midday Murders Happen

The sun is shining and people are out and about enjoying the fine midday weather.  A guy, his arm in a sling, walks up to a pretty girl and asks if she could help him in unloading a sailboat from his car...he would himself but, well, the busted arm and all makes it hard for him to do all on his own.  The pretty girl agrees and heads off with him...the pretty girl is never seen alive again.  That was the story of Janice Ott and Denise Naslund from Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah, Washington...both victims of serial killer Ted Bundy on July 14, 1974.  ...The tip?  No matter the time of day it's deeply unwise to follow a stranger (even a seemingly handsome and somewhat crippled one) off somewhere alone.  Don't be afraid to decline to help and suggest the person go in search of someone better able to help.  If you really do feel the need to help there's always suggesting someone else for them ("I'm not strong enough to help, sorry, but that friggin' huge guy looks pretty capable") or asking others in the area to go with you and Mr. Sailor-In-Need ("The more the merrier, right?")  If the person in distress moves on or declines your new offers then you're off the hook from the guilt of not helping and all the safer...of course if the guy does turn you down and appears to go off to the next available pretty lil' thing with the same story you might want to notify the nearest official (lifeguard, park ranger, cop, etc) that there's a guy that might to be in search of more than just a helpful hand walking around.

Tip #3: Secluded is Secluded, No Matter the Time

The title pretty much speaks for itself.  Yes, I'm sure the national park or nice country road is lovely to walk down on a nice sunny day, but that doesn't mean it has to be walked alone people!  Think of it this way, while you can better see the scenery an attacker can better see you, the lack of witnesses, and what he's doing.  ...The tip?  Bring some friends.  None of the natural beauty of where you are will be lost if some friends join you in the appreciation of it; heck having friends along might increase your enjoyment because you're sharing the experience with those you know, care for, and trust.  Remember, what can be enjoyed alone can often be better, and safer, enjoyed with others.

Tip #4: Go Ahead, Make A Scene

This is something that parents frequently teach their children but forget the importance of themselves; don't be afraid to make a scene.  It's understandable that people fear that, if wrong in the threat assessment (or, even if correct, the threat level not being obvious to others), they will look strange, incredibly rude, or even crazy to others nearby...but kidnappers, car-jackers (the ones where they want you to stay in the car with them), and killers likely depend on this fact for their success at times.  Take a tip from yourselves on this one, moms (and other older family members), and don't be afraid to scream, yell, hit, kick, and otherwise make as much noise and fuss as possible if some creep tries to grab or threaten you in attempts to take you somewhere you don't want to go.  Better safe and thought crazy than be remembered fondly by those you loved and left behind.

Tip #5: Always Be Aware!

It would seem this essay is encouraging paranoia or hyper-vigilance, but that's not the case.  The idea isn't to assume every person or circumstance is a threat, it's merely to be more aware in general.  For the most part criminals aren't really all that invested in one specific victim, they're just going for the easiest mark and a good way from keeping from being that is to be aware of what's going on.  Look around you, keep your headphones low enough so that you can still hear people, and avoid areas that look a little unsafe (i.e. secluded).  Even if you're really not taking in that much look like you are.  Look people in the eye, keep your head up, and give off the vibe of being fully in charge...killers are losers looking for an easy win, if you look like the type to fight they're going to move onto the next person.  Also it never hurts to bring that herding mentality so frequently used in trips to the ladies' room into other aspects of life - smoking breaks, walks to the car (the last two in the group can park next to each other), and even taking the family out to the beach or park (this one gives moms and dads the added bonus of extra babysitters and helps with that whole "it takes a village to raise a child" ideal).  The more aware you are of your surroundings the safer you are, enough said.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Philia Friday: Necrophilia

Necrophilia, the cornerstone of every psycho it seems...and a damn creepy idea to the rest of us.  After all who in the world would want to have sex with a dead person?!  Well there are a number of different reasons, some more understandable or romanticized and others more ghoulish and, honestly, stomach-turning.  Whatever the reason though it's pretty safe to say that this love/sexual preference/fetish is not the norm and likely (if not certainly) indicates some serious mental, emotional, and social problems in those that have it.

Romancing the Remains

The first category of those with this philia don't so much love the dead as they love the person so much when he or she was living that they sort of just take that last kiss goodbye a little too far.  Famed American author, Ralph Waldo Emerson, confessed in his journal to be being so distraught over his young wife, Ellen's, death that shortly after she was buried he dug her back up.  What he did after that is anyone's guess (he never said) but should he have done more than look he'd fall into this category.

On the far more grotesque end of love gone to the burial ground is that of Carl Von Cosel in 1930's Key West, Florida.  The radiologist who worked at a sanitarium he fell deeply in love with a 22 year old patient of his, Maria Elena de Hoyos, and his love carried over into her death of tuberculosis.  He snatched the young woman from her burial place and brought her back to his place to keep as his love, and lover, for the next seven years or so.  Even as the woman's body began to discompose.  Over the years Cosel was forced to use piano wire to hold her bones together, replace rotting skin with wax and silk, use glass eyes to replace ones long gone, and even insert a tube between her legs to have a "vagina" to continue having sex with her.  When his activities were finally discovered and what was left of Maria Elena was returned to rest in peace Cosel continued to love, and lust after, her using a personalized sex doll in her place...when he died in 1952 he was found clutching said doll which had a death mask of his dearly departed on it.

Loser Lovin'

The next type of necrophile has a slight more, um, "open relationship" with the dead...still not violent but certainly not one to settle down with just one corpse as it were.  It's with these folks that we tend to find those misbehaving morticians and gravediggers who get busy with those they're trusted to care for by loved ones.  These types do love the dead, not because they're dead per say but because they can't say no.  These men (there are some cases of female necrophiles but the vast majority are men) don't do so well with the living ladies - too shy, too weird, etc - and so turn to those that they're certain won't (can't) reject them.

Viktor Ardisson was a mortician and gravedigger who supposedly had sex with over a hundred of the dead - or, in some cases, at least parts of them.  He was caught when the smell of a decomposing three-year-old girl, who'd he'd been performing oral sex on since digging her up, alerted neighbors enough to call the police.  Also found at his place of residence was his "bride"...the severed head of a thirteen-year-old girl that he kept on his beside table and was known to kiss from time to time.  (It's important to remember, despite the ages of the two defiled mentioned, Ardisson was not a pedophile - it was the fact they were dead, not their ages, that aroused the man.)

Another such corpse loving creep, Henri Bolt, was caught fast asleep after having dug up and had sex with a recently deceased ballerina.  While on trial the judge commented that what Bolt had done was depraved to which Bolt was quoted as replying, "How would you have it?  Every man to his own tastes.  Mine is for corpses."

Deadly Desires

The final form of necrophile being covered is the dangerous, violent, killing kind.  At the core these types are the same in that they use sex with the dead as another form of power over their victims.  Frequently all that comes prior to the death - the rape, the torture, what have you - is all foreplay until the main act of killing.  Once the victim is dead they want that one last form of "owning" their victim in performing some sort of sexual act upon them whether it be intercourse or giving or receiving sexual pleasure in some other manner.

Some big names in the serial killer world were involved in doing the dirty deed with the dead.  Ed Kemper not only would rape his dead victims but also was said to have done so after decapitating one of them.  The "Sunset Slayer" Douglas Clark (with the help of his girlfriend Carol Bundy) would pick up hookers for oral sex and then shoot them in the head during the act, climaxing with the now dead woman's mouth over his member - he kept one victim's head in the freezer as a morbid sex toy.  And, after strangling his victims (thus leaving them with the common "Angel Lust" erection seen in strangulation cases), Jeffery Dahmer would perform oral sex on his victims...he was also known to cut the bodies open to have sex with the victim's innards.

...While mentioned at the start of this section these killers are the same at the core, there are subtle differences that are to be made.  Those like Dennis Nilsen the murder was more just a means to an end; the end being a lover they have power over and that will never, ever, leave them.  Others, like Ted Bundy and Andrei Chikatilo, the raping of corpses is just an extension of their sexual sadism, another way to completely dominate their victims.  It will hardly matter to the victim's families, of course, but for those in law enforcement these small differences may help in catching the killer but also possibly getting them to confess and/or convicting them of their crimes.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oh, the Places They Will (and Won't) Go!

Ah geography, it can tell you so much...the history of a continent, the political and religious undertones of a country, social growth and expansion of a society...if there's a serial criminal in your neighborhood.  One frequently used method in law enforcement is geographical profiling - basically studying the crimes as they relate to, well, geography - which can help to connect crimes and victims and narrow down a suspect pool.

Connecting the Dots

A series of couples are killed - some shot, some stabbed - in their cars and it is determined that there is, in fact, a serial killer on the loose.  During this time, in the same general area, a lone cab driver is shot, his wallet and keys taken, and his shirt ripped.  At first glance these two crimes are totally unrelated.  Then..."This is the Zodiac speaking..."and what would've been thrown aside as a possible robbery of the cabbie gone violent suddenly becomes another victim of that ever elusive serial killer that's been terrorizing lower California.  Now this is a rather extreme case in which geographical profiling would've at least encouraged a stronger look at the cabbie murder (after all, the shooting was in the same area Zodiac had been hunting) but that's what makes it a good example of how important examining the geography of crimes can help to connect apparent unrelated crimes.  Naturally not ever crime committed in a five mile radius will be the doing of a single person, but certain crimes (burglaries and arsons especially) that occur close together do tend to be.

No Place Like Home

Aside from the lucky few with the money or profession to travel most killers stay local, close to home and work, while killing.  It is appropriately called their comfort zone.  This comfort zone offers a bunch of pluses for the killer, not in the least because they know the area - which means they know the best spots to snatch people from, places that they would be able to discreetly kill, and places to hide the bodies after they're done.  There's also the fact that it's an area that the killer is fairly confident he won't be suspected.  Who's going to think good ol' Hank from the bank is capable of multiple rape and homicide even if all those women just happened to be his bank's customers?  Not least not right off the bat anyway.  Still, when n a bunch of folks go missing from the same bar, 10 block radius, or people start getting attacked in the same apartment buildings there's a good bet the same person may be responsible.  A likelihood that increases if the crimes are the same or at least involve similar circumstances (i.e. all disappeared walking out to their car, getting off the bus to walk home, or on a jog).

Respect the Boundaries

Everyone has boundaries, even the criminal, and they can stick within them just like anyone else in the world...even when it doesn't appear so.  From 1991-1999 (though 1997-1999 at it's high point) a killer crosses not just city and county lines but multiple state lines as well in order to kill his victims; of which there were somewhere between 15 and 24.  At first glance it appears this killer is without boundaries at all, that he could strike anywhere because nothing holds him to any kind of set location, and his crossing all these jurisdiction lines is his clever way of making things more difficult for law enforcement - which, offhand, would make most consider him pretty darn clever.  The sad, and slightly more disturbing, truth was that the man, Angel Maturino Resendez (aka The Railway/Railroad Killer), was just following the railroad tracks he illegally rode around the United States.  In this case the boundaries by which the killer was held was how far he could get from the train tracks to find his victims (which he robbed and sometimes even stayed in the homes of after the kill) but still be able to easily hop back on the train out of town before he was wonder virtually all the crimes took place very close to the railroad tracks - 100 yards is the farthest I could find documented - any farther and he'd loose his ride!

With a good geographic profile law enforcement can link crimes and significantly narrow the search for a suspect.  How the victims are being targeted and where the killer feels all comfy and cozy enough to do what he does can be revealed.  While this alone isn't going to catch a suspect it certainly makes things one heck of a lot easier than the generalized panicked statement, "he could be anywhere!" that could otherwise be thrown around.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Survivor Sunday: The Myth of Males

So, I'll be trying a little something different and special for weekends...Sundays will be "Survivor Sundays" which will give some (admittedly sometimes tongue-in-cheek) information on how to stay just a little safer, or at least a little more aware of potential danger.  For the first try at this I'll be looking at male-victimhood and how the idea that men can't, or are rarely, victims of serial killers is a big ol' myth.  Beware boys!

Myth #1: Men aren't really victims of serial killers.

Au contraire mon fraire, they most certainly are!  The reasons they become victims are varied, some are just the guy between the killer and the girl while others are, in fact, very much the target.  Their murders just happen to be seriously downplayed or overlooked.  A series of murders in which the victims are all gay men strangled to death may be attributed to a series of lover's spats or sexual encounters turned violent without a connection ever being made.  And a woman who loses a few hubbies might be considered to just have terrible luck instead of being a suspect.

Myth #2: The men that are victims, aren't victims of serial sexual homicide.

It's cute to think that, but also totally wrong.  Anyone remember Jeffery Dahmer?  He murdered 17 males between 1978-1991; murders that included a number of sexually charged acts beside the kill itself - such as rape, torture, dismemberment, necrophilia and cannibalism.  Even without those sexually charged acts Dahmer's own quote concerning what he did makes it a sexual homicide: "I would cook [the body], and look at the pictures and masturbate."  He killed, it got him off, so Dahmer was very much committing serial sexual homicide and his victims were exclusively male.

Myth #3:  Only gay men are victims of those types of murders.

Not at all.  True Dahmer targeted gay men...but then he was a gay man himself and it was simply very easy for him to pick up a gay guy at a bar, bring him back home for sex, and then attack.  Honestly the victim's sexuality has little to do with whether or not they're a's more about the sexuality, or apparent sexuality, of the killer.  John Wayne Gacy, bisexual, killed straight men - straight men to keep up an appearance of heterosexuality in the community.  He frequently offered his targets jobs to lure them to his place where he would then ply them with liquor and (straight) porn to get their guard down before attacking.

Myth #4: Men can fight off their attacker.

Well so can women, but that doesn't always mean they'll win.  Just like the serial killer targeting women the serial killer targeting men is going to pick the guy he's pretty sure he can take.  The little guy's a pretty frequent target, so's the overly drunk or drugged (which can happen before or after the victim and killer meet).  A killer might also blitz attack first - it's kind of hard to fight back if you're smashed over the head with a bat beforehand - to ensure they have total control.  The killer wants to be successful no matter the victim he chooses so he'll do just about anything to make sure he is.

Myth #5:  Men only have to fear female serial killers who are "black widows".

One name, two words:  Aileen Wuornos.  She shot and killed seven men, all of whom were her "johns".  Think of it this's a little hard to avoid becoming the victim of a female killer with your pants down and a gun in your face.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sex and the Serial Killer Part 5: The Aftermath

Due to the topic of this essay let me first note that things may get a little graphic, please be advised. This is the fifth and final in this series of essays comparing George "The Reaper" Foyet of Criminal Minds (and other killers who commit sexual homicide) to the average male...Please remember that while I have done research on this what's written is still my rather unprofessional opinion and open for debate.  For the purposes of the essay the aftermath stage will cover what occurs after sexual release for the average male and the kill for those committing sexual homicide.

The Aftermath

Whether a typical guy or a serial killer what's felt and done in the aftermath depends a great deal on how the act stage worked out.  Did it live up to the fantasy?  Or was it just one great big disappointment??  Of course it also depends on logistics as well.

~ Average Joe ~

It could very well all depend on whether or not the sex was enjoyable.  Let's say that it was everything that was imagined and that case, if able, the man may decide to spend the rest of the night with his lover.  He may engage in sex again later or simply remain content sleeping with his lover in his arms.  Should he have to leave due to logistics he's likely to call and arrange another meeting (whether it be a date or "booty call") at another time.  If sex was not enjoyable he may create an excuse to leave right after or catch a nap (if he's tired and the bed's there, why not?) and then leave.  Rarely, if ever, is the average guy turned off from sex as a whole after a bad experience...instead they're simply turned off from the girl herself and so move on to pursue another woman.

~ The Killer ~

Let me first serial killer who commits sexual homicide is completely satisfied with the act stage.  The act itself can never really live up to their fantasy and this is one of the reasons they kill again and again; they're trying to perfect a fantasy and, as most anyone can tell you, nothing is completely perfect.  That being said they can be reasonably satisfied enough to feel mighty good about themselves after.  However, unless the murder occurred somewhere the killer is ensured privacy and it's his preference, it's highly unlikely he'll just nap by the body afterwards.  Instead he might have a whole lot of practical issues to deal with - clean-up, body disposal, and getting himself a damn fine alibi are all top priorities.  Foyet of Criminal Minds was mighty clever in avoiding most these troubles when making himself the victim though.  First, in the crime where he was the "victim", he didn't have to worry much about any those things save making sure his prints weren't on the knife and the knife wasn't still in the area enough to be suspicious...after all, his blood and fingerprints would naturally be all over the crime scene, he was supposedly a victim!  And, after that crime, it's unlikely he was ever going to be suspected of the future or past murders - everyone thought him to just be the very lucky computer geek who got away and Foyet played the part masterfully, it's unlikely any officer asked brave little Foyet his whereabouts on the nights of any the crimes.  Dumping bodies would've defeated his purposes of causing panic over a city, enough of a panic that he got the lead detective in the case the first go-around to fold and take a deal to stop hunting him, so that was another logistic Foyet didn't have to concern himself with much.  He'd still have had to do clean-up though, even in the Reaper uniform that covers most his body, but that's still just one of three concerns he'd have had to deal with.

How a killer celebrates his little triumph over their victim in a sexual homicide varies; some take souvenirs from their victims, some take pictures of their victims, some return home to remember the crime and get off on it (either again or for the first time, with or without a partner), and some just go out for a nice meal.  But let's focus on the souvenirs; they are usually taken for two reasons.  One, so the killer can look at them later and relive the kill in his head...just like the average joe might buy a souvenir if he went on vacation with a loved one or even one average joe might buy for his love to wear later.  (Normal: go to the tropics, buy the love a nice necklace, get a little rush remembering that night of love-making on the beach.  Killer: kill a bitch, take her necklace from the dead body, give it to wifey to wear and get a little rush remembering the kill.)  The second, to show off!  Average guy works hard and gets trophies or a nice pen from his job, killer puts in the effort to kill and feels he does a good job he might just get himself his own trophy in the form of something belonging to the victim.  And, like average joe, he might just show it off at his home, job (the one outside his killing, if he has it), or again having his significant other unwittingly wear it, and get his jollies at his seeming cleverness.  Foyet seems to play with these ideas to up the ante of fear at large...He takes something from a victim which he keeps to relive the crime (he may use it as a trophy, wear something of a victim's, but that's not likely since he cut himself off from most while playing victim so he'd have virtually no one to show and he seems a bit smarter than that) until his new murder where he sort of exchanges his old souvenir for a new one, the old souvenir becoming a taunt and way of linking his crimes together to show law enforcement (and press) that he's still very much a threat.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sex and the Serial Killer Part 4: The Act

Due to the topic of this essay let me first note that things may get a little graphic, please be advised.  For the average male the act as a stage covers the end of foreplay up to and including orgasm; for the killer committing the actual murder or whatever specific act pre or post that which brings him to orgasm qualifies as the act stage.  (For those that get their sexual gratification post crime, like David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz, it'll be whatever part of the crime they're thinking about when sexual release occurs.)

The Act

From the end of the foreplay stage to orgasm really isn't that long; just a moment or so of pure bliss.  But it is, generally, pure bliss...something that a person will want to experience again and again...and again.  Whether it's with the same person or not is a matter of preference.  So is, exactly, what pushes the person over the edge and into orgasm.

~ Average Joe ~

Some men can get off through just intercourse with their partner; some simple adjustments in pace and force of thrusts and they're all good.  Though there's the possibility that the lovers' positions will need to be changed or even the form of sex act (vaginal, oral, anal, etc) itself must be differed.  Others, however, might require an extra special something else to push them over the edge.  Frequently these are things that have started during foreplay and are then done with increased frequency (and/or pressure and/or speed depending on what it is) as orgasm gets closer.  For some men it's a phrase or word or even just a sound from their partner and for others it's a certain "move" - stroking or pulling of the hair, soft kiss or bite of the neck, etc - they or their partner makes that sends them over the edge.  Of course it could also just be the look of love, attraction, and arousal in their lover's eyes that causes the man to climax...feeling so good that they gave their partner so much pleasure.  Whatever it is that pushes them to the moment of orgasm, when it occurs, it's an incredible release of pressure that'd been building since the first stage of the fantasy.

~ The Killer ~

Similar to the average male some killers are just fine getting themselves off with the straight up act; just the kill by however method they might prefer (the preference can be part of the fantasy or simply because one method is easier than another for the killer).  But most need a great deal more than that...probably because they have a richer fantasy stage than any normal person would.  Generally they need to act out a whole scenario, one that's started (in action) in the foreplay stage.  However, like the average joe, there can still be one thing that really sends them over into ecstasy.  For some it's the look of utter terror in their victims (like with Foyet who, once seeing it, kills with the final thrust of the knife or pull of the trigger) and others it's the blood and/or tears they cause to seep, ooze, or pour out of their victims.  Still others it's actually something that occurs after the murder itself - like the mutilation of the victim's body or a provocative pose they put the body in postmortem, for instance.  No matter what it is, exactly, that brings the killer to climax it's the power they feel over their victim that's at the's this feeling of power, of control over another human being, that is what's so arousing to these killers.  And, like with the typical male, the moment of orgasm is an incredible release of pressure that'd been building since their fantasy phase started in their youth.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sex and the Serial Killer Part 3: The Foreplay

Due to the topic covered in this essay let me first note things may get a little graphic...both as I cover the average male and as I cover the killer who commits sexual homicide.  (Also, at the end of this essay, the serial killer George "The Reaper" Foyet's attack on FBI Agent Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner will be posted.  It, like much of this essay, is very much a spoiler for the season 5 premiere of Criminal Minds.)  For the average male foreplay will cover from that first kiss to sexual activity for the sole purpose of orgasm (as opposed to arousal).  For the killer it'll cover the moment he reveals his "true self" to the victim and the violent activity done for the sole purpose of killing the victim.

The Foreplay

Ah, foreplay, the beginning of measurable pleasure that can last a few minutes or even hours if paced right.  That is the main point in foreplay, to build up the arousal between (presumably) two get the juices flowing, so to speak.  Which "juices" flow and why however depend on if it's two lovers or a killer and his victims.

~ Average Joe ~

It starts, typically, with a kiss...that first kiss, accompanied by that first moan from his lover, is likely even to get the heart to start pumping.  Kisses, soft and sweet to start, quickly build into something more demanding from both lovers.  Hearts start to pickup their pace and breathing begins to grow heavy with anticipation.  Joe shrugs his jacket from his body as his female companion steps out of her shoes.  By the time they reach the bedroom shirts have been untucked and, as she lets herself tip back onto the bed, Joe goes to remove his own shirt.  He then moves to get on top his lover, return to kissing her and letting his hands explore her body.  His body heats next to hers and her reactions - the labored breathing, the moaning, that look of pleasure in her eyes - all work together to make Joe's blood pound through his body in excitement.  As more clothes are shed by both parties and more access to one another's bodies is allowed Joe may begin to feel himself getting further aroused, his member swelling and hardening with desire.  Noting his arousal, seeing it, feeling it, may cause his mate's own to increase to the point where she is sufficiently lubricated enough to allow him to enter her which, in turn, may increase Joe's and thus a cycle begins...a cycle that progresses with penetration and into the next stage, The Act.

Depending on the couple there may also be different methods used to arouse one another or simply to prolong the foreplay.  Roleplaying (with or without costumes), sex toys (vibrators and such), changing pacing or position of the lovers, and even just starting up only to stop, cool down, and start up again during intercourse are all possibilities.

~ The Killer ~

It starts, typically, with the killer revealing his true intentions....that first reaction his victim gives when she realizes she's made a terrible mistake in trusting him and her fear begins to show.  Like the first moan for the average guy the first gasp or tear from a victim can be intoxicating to the killer.  The killer's heart begins to pump faster, his breathing can grow labored, and his urge to get more fearful, more pained, reactions grows.  The victim's heart rate may also increase, her breathing may also labor, though obviously for very different reasons as she's progressing from scared, to terrified, to both terrified and in pain.  If stabbed the victim may begin to scream, cry, and moan in pain, all of which, including her blood flowing and looking up at her attacker in fear is likely to cause the killer to begin to feel himself start to swell and harden into a full-on erection.  At this point, depending on the killer, he may rape the victim or simply to build up his own lust (and her terror) by torturing her with increasing cruelty and depravity.  ...A word on rape:  For the killer committing sexual homicide rape is really just a means to an's just another way to increase the killer's feeling of power over their victim.

Depending on the killer certain techniques and implements might be used (rape, in sexual homicide, falls into this category).  Foyet himself uses a number of different things to manipulate, terrorize, and gain control over his victims.  He uses a costume, his "Reaper" appearance of all black and his mask that serves to immediately intimidate his victims, which often times is accompanied by a gravely voice (both are likely also used to avoid potential identification).  There are at least two weapons he uses, a gun and his knife, both of which are used for a few purposes during his killer foreplay - increase the fear in his victims, gain control of his victims, and cause his victims pain.  And, of course, there was also his offering of a deal which, in and of itself, was a way for him to exude power and control and get off at the expense of law enforcement.

In Foyet's attack on Hotch the comparison between normal foreplay done by two lovers and the twisted version a killer may engage in with his victim is really driven home in a number of ways.  He strips himself from the waist up, proudly showing Hotch his scarred chest and asking the agent if he liked them (the scars)...though a great deal of this reads as a man showing off his body to his lover during normal foreplay.  Also, rather than find a position that might make his stabbing of the agent easier, Foyet chooses a far more intimate one by straddling and laying over Hotch's body as a lover might.  The stabbings themselves (outside the first two which seem more to subdue) are slow, purposeful, and rather clearly intended for Hotch to feel every inch of the blade.  Each time Hotch's body is seen tightening enough that he arches some (different circumstances this would appear as a sexual act, one lover arching his/her back while the other enters them) and Foyet studies the agents face seeming to drink up the looks of pain.  When Foyet speaks, more often than not, he is using a smooth, low, and almost disturbingly soft voice - one a man might use as he whispered those "sweet nothings" into his girl's ear.  As the scene progresses both men begin to develop a sheen of sweat and have greater difficulty breathing; Hotch from physical strain and Foyet, presumably, from his growing arousal.  Clever little deviant that he is Foyet himself brings up the fact that profilers believe stabbing is a substitute for the sex act and that done when a killer is impotent then suggests that this attack will change the way Hotch profiles before going to stab the agent somewhere on his body that is off-screen (presumably around or below the waist) giving a soft grunt as he does.  At this point the scene cuts out and nothing more on the attack is shown but there's been great speculation as to what happened next.  Let me say now that I have my own theories (some of which I've already shared) but, in the end, it hardly matters...Foyet is shown to be rather clearly aroused in some way during the attack and that alone makes it a sexualized attack and, should Hotch have died, it would've qualified as a sexual homicide.  But, instead, Hotch did not and, I'm sure, Foyet will continue his twisted foreplay with Hotch for as long as he can - even if only vicariously (by forcing Hotch to send away his family, his son) or from afar (he's disappeared again, but I'm sure he'll keep tabs on Hotch).

The attack as it was filmed on the show (courtesy of CBS via YouTube):