• Rod Kackley

What motivates a female serial killer?

Of course, some women fit the profile of serial murder, slaughter, and pillage on the order of a Ted Bundy, Dennis Rader, or Jeffrey Dahmer.

But the way women do it is different.

You'll find their stories in the Crime Stories Bookstore on this website: Women like Myra Hindley who, along with her boyfriend Ian Brady, sexually abused, raped and murdered children. Don't forget Martha Ann Johnson. Every time she and her husband Earl fought, he ran off to his gay lover, Stanley, and one of their children died. And there were two nurses aides in a senior citizen home, Gwen Graham and Cathy Wood, who murdered their elderly patients to seal their bond of love.

However, when it comes to serial killers, there is a "Mars vs. Venus" thing when it comes to male and female murderous monsters.

Peter Vronsky, a fellow true crime author, pointed out just a few of the ways men and women differ when it comes to serial killing, in an article published online by Refinery 29.

1. Female killers are harder to recognize than men.

"Overall, females are better at serial killing than men, precisely because they are 'quiet killers,'" Vronsky says, adding that their "careers" as killers last twice as long as men's, on average.

2. The motivations of female serial killers are different. Vronsky pointed to the Victorian era, which saw a "surge" in female serial killers.

"This was an era when women had very little control over their lives and very few recourses if they found themselves in a bad marriage or untenable domestic situation," he explains. "Some desperate women would 'free themselves' by poisoning their husbands and even their children."

3. Women are far less likely to brutalize their victims. A female serial killer is more likely to use poison, drugs or suffocation to kill; rather than guns, knives or torture.


"Again," Vronsky says, "that often has to do with the nature of the caregiving relationship they have with their victim."

Of course, some female serial killers go against type or break the mold, such as the Myra mentioned above Hindley. There's also the story of Carol Bundy, who along with her husband, killed prostitutes on L.A.'s Sunset Strip one bloody month in 1980. Not only did she shoot one of the women, Carol who put make-up on the heads of the women her husband killed and stored them in the freezer so her hubby could have sex with them.

Sexual Killing: A Shocking True Crime Story

The story of Carol Bundy and Doug Clark is told in Sexual Killing: A Shocking True Crime Story, which is available wherever books are sold, including:

Amazon/Kindle linke

Barnes&Noble Link

Crime Stories Bookstore

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