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Inside the Mind of a Psychopath (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
Sorry, its a little long (14 paragraphs). I submitted this as an editorial essay in my creative writing class over a year ago. Forgetting about the research paper that was due in my english class the next week I actually ended up throwing some fake citations into this, sprucing it up a bit, and then turned that in. 100% Nice. Hah. Anyway, I truly do feel this seriously about the misconceptions of the psychological world. Tell me what you think.

Inside the Mind of a Psychopath

On a frigid misty morning, which wasn’t uncommon in 19th century London or 21st century London for that matter, the nearly decapitated body of Mary Ann Nichols was found lying in the gutter of Buck’s Row, a side street in the Whitechapel district of London. The date was August 31st 1888, and many believe that this began the series of murders which were committed by a cold-blooded killer under the pseudonym of “Jack the Ripper”. In addition to his brutal executions, “Jack the Ripper” prided himself on his ability not to be caught. He sent maliciously taunting letters to Scotland Yard, claiming responsibility for his victims; in all over 200 authentic letters were sent to Scotland Yard, all of which included phrases such as; “Catch me if you can” or “Ha Ha.” To date, no one knows the true identity of this murderous brute and through the limited forensic knowledge of the late 1880s, and despite the greatly improved forensics of today, no clues were uncovered and many were lost. As in every murder case, many assumptions were made concerning the motivations of this self-proclaimed executioner, most of them by misinformed journalists and newspaper columnists. Whoever this elusive serial assassin may have been, I’m sure he would’ve been overjoyed to know that he stands strong as the most infamous serial killer in history.

However, if you were to look at news reports of the late 1960s and 70s you would see many parallels to the journalistic misinterpretations and assumptions of the 1880s “Jack the Ripper” murders. On Halloween night of 1966, the first of what was to be the “Zodiac Killer’s” eight definite victims was killed by a profound slash from ear to ear outside of her community college’s library, and possibly the only other serial killer to give “Jack the Ripper” a run for his notoriety was made known to the public. The photos of the victim resemble a striking similarity to the autopsy photos of Mary Ann Nichols in the “Jack the Ripper” case almost eighty years before, excluding the intense disemboweling that was common in the “Ripper” cases. The “Zodiac”, as he referred to himself in his letters to the police and the news papers of the surrounding areas, claimed responsibility for over forty murders although only five of the eight above actually died. He used a variety of weapons to commit his atrocious activities, among them were; .38 caliber, 9 mm, and .45 caliber handguns; .22 gauge shotgun; a white nylon clothesline; and many uncommonly sharp knives. He, like “Jack the Ripper” before him, made his accountability of the assaults and murders known to the authorities and even went so far as to send taunting letters directly to the San Francisco Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s headquarters; letters, which included ciphers, or coded messages, that to this day have yet to be cracked, despite the efforts of every branch of the military. Although he got nowhere near the recognition and “fame” of “Jack the Ripper”, the “Zodiac Killer” became a notorious criminal among many children of his day and no longer did they amuse themselves with the joys of “Cops and Robbers” but of “Cops and The Zodiac”; a game in which each child would pick a piece of paper from a hat, one becoming the “Zodiac” and one becoming the “Cops”. The game progressed as the one who was the “Zodiac” silently “picked off” the other members of the group, and the child who played the “Cops” had to try and guess which child was really the “Zodiac”. This game presented a parallel among the actual authorities and their relentless pursuit of the elusive murderer, despite filing cabinets full of evidence, which ranged from fingerprints to a car door; the entire investigation really was a guessing game of “Cops and Robbers”. Like “Jack the Ripper”, the “Zodiac Killer” was never caught, despite handwriting analysis, fingerprints, and the 2,500 suspects in the case.

So what is so intriguing about these merciless killers? What causes us as humans to be helplessly trapped in a web of captivation and fascination over the obscurity that surround these apparently heartless beings? Or perhaps an even more stimulating question; what causes them as humans to be helplessly trapped in a web of misery and carnage that brings them the satisfaction that exists in the guise of the butchery of human beings?

Although the dictionary definition of the word “Psychopath” is; “a person afflicted with a personality disorder characterized by a tendency to commit antisocial and sometimes violent acts and a failure to feel guilt for such acts”; most, if not all, Criminal Psychologists would choose to catalog a psychopath into two separate categories, both of which are only vaguely related to the definition above. These two categories are; 1) Sexual Sadism and 2) Psuedoreactive Schizophrenia.

A Sexual Sadist, which is the typical diagnosis of most serial killers, including “Jack the Ripper” and the “Zodiac Killer”, is any murderer, rapist, or voyeur, who may find sexual satisfaction in the slaughter, raping, or stalking of an individual. A Sexual Sadist is normally a white male between the ages of 25 and 40, who suffers from chronic depression and a psychological history of delusional obsessions. Typically the past of the person includes criticism in schools, and a detachment from their parents. According to Sigmund Freud, a world renowned psychologist, the ONLY human need that is strong enough to lead someone to something as sinister as murder is their need for love and their obsession with sex. Freud believed that EVERY male was subconsciously obsessed with their mother in a sexual way. Personally, I believe this to be the biggest inaccuracy of the psychological world and it saddens me to believe that this theory is held in such a high regard. Using this theory, as most psychologists do, they come to the conclusion that in most cases the said psychopath was obsessed with their mother in a sexual way when they were younger. This need for their mother was strong enough to lead them to a life of Sexual Sadism, which is sometimes strong enough to lead someone to kill for the simple occurrence of sexual satisfaction.

The next belief is that of a Psuedoreactive Schizophrenic or, to put it simply, someone who kills because their paranoid psyche tells them that it is acceptable or the personality that is not “manic” has no recollection of the murders or even minute homicidal thoughts. It is because of this diagnosis that criminals in general can plead insanity and consequently get away with all types of crimes; including murder.

Although Criminal Psychologists choose to classify a psychopath into two categories, if we were to consider the dictionary’s definition above, a psychopath would be ANYONE who struggles to keep away from other human beings; the personality disorder ultimately being a result of their desire to be antisocial. When one decides to become antisocial they are looked down upon by psychiatrists and automatically diagnosed with depression or some other personality disorder.

This prognosis is reached by looking at human nature and our needs as humans. In 1954, a psychologist named, Abraham Maslow, noticed common needs among all humans and this led him to construct a “ladder” of sorts which had our primary needs listed in order of importance, this was called “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” and holds great influence upon the psychological world. According to this “ladder” of needs, our primary need, as humans, is basically common sense, the physiological needs, such as; air, water, food, etc. The next need is the necessity of safety, this is mostly physiological in nature also; basically, we need a stable environment in a chaotic existence. The next need, and the one I will focus on, is the need for love and acceptance. Humans have a desire to belong to groups: clubs, work groups, religious groups, families, gangs, etc. We need to feel loved, in a non-sexual way, by others; we need to be accepted by others. We need to be needed.

Using this “Hierarchy of Needs” as a basis for their diagnosis, psychologists assume that all humans MUST have or at least desire human companionship, so when one becomes antisocial obviously they are fighting their needs as humans, thus presenting an apparent psychological problem, or what is better known as a personality disorder. Among these personality disorders is one ultimate common among all diagnosed psychopaths, that being depression.

I have presented this wealth of information in hopes that when one reads the following paragraphs they are no longer ignorant on society’s views of a psychopath and can therefore make a clear and precise judgment on my opinion based on the information that you now know. My analysis being, that although this acute classification of psychopaths presents only two categories, it is my belief that eventually society would recognize the existence of a third; the psychopath who kills for the sake of killing.

Like the football player who gets psychological fulfillment from kicking the game winning field goal or the hunter who gets satisfaction from shooting a nine-point buck, isn’t it entirely plausible that a psychopath receives the ultimate satisfaction from sliding a cold blade across an unsuspecting victims throat? Why is it that when a hunter comes home with a dead animal carcass strapped across the roof of his SUV no one shouts that he must have gained sexual satisfaction from pulling the trigger that killed that animal? Or that he killed merely to appease his sexual need for his mother? I am not saying that I encourage or even condone the act of murder let alone the brutal serial killings which are common amongst psychopaths, but I am saying that it is time for society to open their eyes to what I believe is an extreme misconception throughout the psychological world.

There is absolutely NO EVIDENCE to support the postulation that the “Zodiac Killer” was a Sexual Sadist; “Jack the Ripper” yes, but the “Zodiac” no. “Jack the Ripper” brutally dissected his victims, who were all prostitutes over the age of thirty-five, even going so far as to pilfer pieces of the mutilated prostitute’s nether regions. The “Zodiac”, however, was said to have targeted couples and committed his acts of transgression at the cliff-side meeting places of many young couples in central California. This could be argued by saying that the “Zodiac” was intelligent enough to realize that young college students could be found at those spots on almost every night of the week, especially on weekends, which, in truth, is when all of his murders or attempted murders took place. I can honestly say that his targets weren’t just couples because his last definite victim, Paul Stine, was a cab-driver for the San Francisco Cab Company and was murdered in his cab on a suburban street in downtown San Francisco. A cab-driver could have been a target for the same reason the unsuspecting college students were at their secretive “Inspiration Points”, simply because all of them would be easy prey. A cab-driver picks up some hundred passengers a week and I seriously doubt it would occur, even to one today, that one of their passengers could possibly a deranged Psychopath. As for the teenagers and young adults, I am sure that being murdered by a blood-thirsty lunatic would be farthest from their minds as they enjoyed each other’s company.

In none of the “Zodiac’s” letters did he announce that his murders were to appease him sexually nor did he hint at his motivations being even remotely related to the Sexual Sadist’s typical impulses. The only conclusion I can reach is that he was diagnosed as a Sexual Sadist simply because there was, and still is, no other category to place him in. He was definitely not a Schizophrenic, and the thought that a member of a modern society might actually take hunting to a new level is, as far as any “sane” member of society is concerned, ludicrous. Despite an intensely debated line in the only one of the “Zodiac’s” ciphers to be correctly cracked which read, “I like killing people because it is so much fun it is more fun than killing wild game in the forest because man is the most dangerous animal of all,” the “Zodiac” still stands as only a Sexual Sadist.

My question to you is what will happen when one day a psychopath arises that shows absolutely no evidence to even vaguely support the only two classifications of their kind? Would the psychological world be persistent enough to make a conclusion based on their own pride and apprehension of even possibly being wrong for all these years? Hopefully this has given you an insight into an incomprehensible truth about the world of criminal law and investigation that affects us daily. If we don’t change now than we may never change and humanity will be forced to live in a world of even more lies and deceit, with no fathomable hope of ending what should never have began.


nice post..proper play of words although a little more facts and quotes might make it better...

pretty good though