The Psychology Of Women Who Love Serial Killers
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The Psychology Of Women Who Love Serial Killers

There is something about the poles of human behavior that attract the interest of not only scholars, but of mates.

The Psychology Of Women Who Love Serial Killers
Wikimedia Commons

It is February, 1980. The world sits at the edge of their seats to witness the trial of the century. Theodore Bundy, 34 at the time of his penalty trial, chooses to represent himself. Forgoing a lawyer, Bundy makes his case despite the overwhelming evidence against him. In the end, even the judge couldn’t help but admit he was smitten. Many people couldn’t believe that Bundy confessed to brutally murdering 30 women.

To the average eye, Bundy looked like a charming young man. To the average eye, Bundy was simply an intelligent, handsome gentleman. Wealthy, white and witty, Bundy managed to make a career out of killing because of his seemingly innocent facade. He would feign sickness and ask girls to help him carry boxes to his car. This deception played on the compassion of young girls, and without compassion, he killed them all. Behind his angel mask, was the devil.

“We serial killers are your children, your husbands. We are everywhere. And there will be more of your children dead tomorrow.” — Ted Bundy

When he was caught, many people, especially ladies, refused to believe that this strapping fellow had ended the lives of many just like them. However, some girls liked him despite his murder habit. Some even liked him because he was a violent criminal.

On that day in February, Bundy stood before Carol Anne Boone, who sat at the witness stand. He turned to her and spoke with the power of the judicial figure he was impersonating. He said: “I’d like to marry you.” He asked her: “Would you like to marry me?” She said yes. Within the span of 10 seconds, they were married. Legally.

Carol wasn’t the only girl after Bundy’s heart — hundreds of love letters arrived before and after the trial. Gaggles of girls squeezed into the courtroom, or waited outside in hopes of making eye contact with the “catch of a killer.”

It wasn’t only Bundy who attracted infatuation. Richard Ramirez, the “Night Stalker,” also has hordes of fans, even after his execution. He, too, married in prison. Charles Manson got engaged in prison. Even those whose crimes weren’t heterosexual sparked the interest of thrill-seeking men and women. One needn’t even be conventionally attractive to be adored. John Wayne Gacy who murdered over 30 young boys was an object of desire. Both the Menendez brothers, who were convicted of killing their parents, put a ring on it.

Take one look in the catacombs of Tumblr’s True Crime community and you will find a subsection of fangirls utterly devoted to people like Richard Ramirez, going far enough to edit pictures of his face with hearts and kisses, affectionately referring to him as “Richie.” Some have even photoshopped themselves into pictures of killers.

You’re probably asking yourself: Why on earth would anyone want to be around rapists and murderers, let alone marry them?!

This kind of behavior is nicknamed “Bonnie and Clyde Syndrome.” The technical term for this mental abnormality is called Hybristophilia. Anyone who is aroused by someone who has committed an outrageous crime would fall in this category.

Biologically speaking, women tend to seek out a mate who will protect them. An Alpha Male. Although it seems counterintuitive, this ideology makes some sense when dealing with women who love men that kill. These women perceive violent crimes as a show of dominance, power, and ability.

Even if they don’t condone their behavior, this fearsome nature attracts women looking for someone strong. They revel in the idea that they alone will be safe from the killer because they have been specially selected. Like Harley Quinn from DC comics, these girls are fascinated by the inner workings of a madman. Like Harley, these women sacrifice their morals and reputations to be with — or be owned by — these men. Some women even convince themselves that they can change or save these men. They seek to nurture and be the catalyst for their salvation.

Unfortunately for these women, the men they seek usually have an empathetic dysfunction — and are incapable of truly being changed by someone else. This being said, some women share the dark tendencies that these men do, and seek companionship in those who have proven themselves violent. From their perspective, these men are actualized because they fulfilled their dark desires rather than stifle them.

Whatever the case may be, these women never fail to fascinate filmmakers, authors, and moviegoers alike. The poles of human behavior create high stakes content for audiences big and small. I imagine visiting a killer in prison is akin to watching the most realistic horror-thriller movie. The type of person to be involved with a deviant is assumed to also be deviant in nature.

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