I have had a fascination with serial killers for as long as I can remember. Many of them are horrid, many were cunning and extremely smart, and others were thrill killers. I plan on putting a series together of some of the more horrendous ones, and wanted to know which of the killers in American history provoked the most thoughts on different characters. Movies have been made about some of them, and some of those were just plain bad, either in their writing or direction.  For instance, Norman Bates from Psycho was based on Ed Gein, and that turned out to be a huge franchise. Another one that went to film was The Night Stalker, which was horrible.

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Here are a few that have operated in Southern California in my lifetime, the first six killed people in my county. I guess SoCal is a breeding ground for serial killers:

William Suff: Killed his infant daughter, gets out of jail and kills at least 12 prostitutes.

Robert Diaz: Killed at least 12 people, perhaps as many as 50, in nursing homes.

Dana Sue Gray: A female serial killer who killed for money.

Joseph Edward Duncan: killed 7, including a boy same age as my son, who lived in a neighboring town. This guy caused me nightmares for a couple years.

Zodiac Killer (real name unknown): murdered at least five people, but he claims to have killed more than 37.

Keith Hunter Jesperson: Happy Face killer; killed people and then sent notes to local newspapers, signing them with a happy face.

Jeffrey Dahmer: Convicted child molester; Killed 17 people; kept heads in his freezer; rotting body in his house. The most memorable thing I recall was when one of his victims (a 14-year-old boy) escaped--drunk, naked and bleeding--police were called and released the kid back to Dahmer, who killed him that night.

William Bonin: Raped, tortured and killed at least 21, perhaps as many as 36 boys and young men.
I don't know how you can immerse yourself in this kind of subject matter mate - I'm all for disgusting murder scenes, the gorier, the better. But I don't have the stomach for real-life serial killers. I guess I prefer to delude myself into thinking that the sickos only exsist in fiction. I reject your reality and substitute my own! :)
Jessica, more often than not truth is stranger than fiction. With the project I just completed, I based it on David Parker Ray, and the things he did to his victims far exceeded anything I could have ever thought of. Sometimes, reality is like a mushroom trip where everything is surreal, other times it is extrmely gritty, but there is a huge gray area in between truth and fiction that we writers dwell in that makes people such as yourself, who have no stomach for the real horrors of the people we write about, our readers.
Hi Jason,

Wow, I can't explain my fascination with them too. I've read about serial killers for years. I really couldn't tell you which one I found more fascinating but I guess Gacy would definitely be on of them. I just caught the story Sunday about the guy who did the Atlanta Children Murders on CNN or MSNBC. I hadn't done much research into this guy but found his story one I couldn't shake even more than some serial killers.

I know Manson isn't a "serial" killer, but he is also one that fascinates me to the hilt. I'd say, Son of Sam, Bundy, wow. There's so many I can't name them. Norman Bates is one of my favorite characters! I never knew he was based on Gein! Man, learn something everyday, LOL.

They all intrigue me.

Best Wishes!

Jason, I am sure you know the common reason why most serial killers are so demented is because of their childhood. Most were sexually abused or physically abused by parents. They were also mostly very reclusive loners as kids.

This is why we need to stop child abuse all around. You can end up with crazy, unstable adults who can't help but take their frustrations on innocent people of society. Most are abused by their mothers. That's why a lot of serial killers hate and target women.

Food for thought.
Surely the most notorious of all serial killers is Jack the Ripper?


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