Female Serial Killers Aren’t a Type

Serial killers have fascinated the public for a very long time. Rumor and speculation and myth inflate and conflate the details. Even the definition of a serial killer is up for debate. But one thing is certain, there is no template that produces serial killers of any specific gender, race, or nationality. A short review of history shows that even female serial killers aren’t a type.  The Definition The FBI defined serial murder as: The unlawful killing of two or more victims by the same offender(s), in separate events. This differs from a spree murder because there is a “cooling-off” period. A cooling-off period is a period of days between murders. A spree killing does not have a cooling-off period. The time period also differentiates serial murder and mass murder.  How Many Serial Killers? The FBI estimates that approximately one percent of all murders in the United States are serial killings. That would amount to twenty-five to fifty serial killers operating in any year. That’s only in the United States. I haven’t found an estimate for how many exist worldwide.  The History of Serial Killing It’s likely that serial killing has been around as long as mankind has been. And the first serial […]

Real-life Villain or Scapegoat

On October 15, 1917 Mata Hari died, executed by firing squad for being a German spy. Her story of excesses, seduction and espionage has captured the imaginations of people for more than 100 years. She became a symbol and to this day her story fascinates. But was she a real-life villain or scapegoat? Early Life Born in Leeuwarden, Netherlands on August 7, 1876, she was the eldest daughter of prosperous hatter, Adam Zelle, and Antje van der Meulen. She learned early that she could get what she wanted by pleasing men. Her doting father gave her extravagant gifts.  Her dark, exotic looks made her stand out amongst her peers. A schoolmate compared her to and orchid amongst dandelions (blond Dutch children). When Margaretha was thirteen, her father abandoned the family for another woman. Her mother passed away two years later. At fourteen, she was sent to a Teacher’s School in Sneek. She was expelled at sixteen for having an affair with the married headmaster of the school. This time she went to live with her uncle in The Hague. The city brimmed full of colonial officials who had served in the Dutch Indies (Indonesia). Marriage At eighteen, she answered a newspaper advertisement. […]

Always Remember 9/11

Today is the eighteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001. Always remember 9/11. Terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City and into the Pentagon. A third plane crashed in Pennsylvania. Its passengers, aware of what had happened, fought back and sacrificed their lives.  First responders selflessly struggled against impossible odds to help survivors and evacuate those in danger. Many first responders lost their lives, too.  Thousands died that day. It was a day that changed America. Our sense of safety shattered. Our isolation from what happened overseas vanished. Time is Relentless Families were forever changed on that day. Witnesses near the Towers were also changed. Some have physical reminders—old injuries or chronic injuries from debris and dust.  Time has claimed some of those who watched the Towers crumple. For some eighteen years was a lifetime ago. They never saw that day. And unless the tragedies touched their families, they do not know or feel the solemness of the day.  Memory Fades The nation’s collective memory is fading.  Thousands died. It didn’t matter what color their skin, what religion they did or didn’t follow, or what their sexual preference was. They […]