A Paranormal Library – The Serial Killer Files

Ballantine Books, 2003

I would like to preface my review by stating that I have purchased all the books I review for the public.  I am in no way being paid for my reviews, but I am sharing my favorite paranormal books for your reading pleasure.  The opinions expressed in these books do not always reflect my own personal opinion, but I do find these topics fascinating.  Your purchases of these books do not monetarily benefit me, nor do I gain

to anything that is not normal, be it ghosts, conspiracy theories or aliens.  If the topic is not part of conventional beliefs, then it is paranormal.  So please do not bombard me with comments about how something is or is not paranormal.

The Serial Killer Files: The Who, What, Where, How and Why of the World’s Most Terrifying Monsters by Harold Schechter

SAW 3.14 - Cereal Killer

Via Flickr Scytis

While this is not your average “Paranormal” topic, I personally find the subject of Serial Killers very fascinating.  Also, with the upcoming Halloween celebrations, the subject of Serial Killers will be on everyone’s mind.  Such as kids dressing up in bloody clothes, carrying a cereal box with knives protruding from the mutilated box.  At least we know that the Cereal Killers are not pawns of a large candy company who are harassing said Cereal Killer’s nieces.

Aside from that, Serial Killer movies are on during the month of October, such as Halloween with Michael Meyers, House of a Thousand Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects get more play time on cable TV, even if you watch the first movie of Friday the 13th, you could classify Mrs. Voorhees as a Spree Killer if anything.  The thing is, Serial Killers are deeply engrained into our American Halloween Culture, and if people do not find Serial Killers Paranormal, than you really do not know The Son of Sam.

Harold Smith, Power Puff Girls

Aside from our cultural standings, Serial Killers also come with the supposed fact that they are a modern creation, with humans being bored and finding ways to entertain their time, kind of like the bored husband with the catty wife in The Power Puff Girls who decided to become a Super Villain. Schechter and others agree that “Serial Killing” has been around since the beginning of human history. If we look back at history, we can see that killing was sociably acceptable only if the occupation fit and the rich were not the ones being killed.

Emperor Nero

For example, there has been evidence of knights performingmurderous, sexual acts on unsuspecting peasants, but we remember them as romantic, chivalrous do good-ers whosearched for the Holy Grail.  Nero was a famous sociopath who committed horrible acts on Christians (turning them intohuman torches for a garden party), and supposedly ripped out his mother’s womb to see where he came from.

Vlad Tepes

Vlad Tepes, or better known as Vlad the Impaler, was another such “celebrity” having been honored by the Pope for protecting the Christian World from the Ottomans and subsequently started impaling his captured victims on long pikes for the vultures to eat. Elizabeth Bathory is another, who tortured peasant girls in her torture chamber, killed them, dangled the mutilated bodies above a bath tub and bathed in the girl’s blood to keep her young and beautiful.  Even in the more recent century, during the Vietnam War, there were accounts of Soldiers, both the Vietcong and

Elizabeth Bathory

U.S. Soldiers, committing murderous acts on unsuspecting peasants. We can even account for Desperadoes in the Wild West of being serial murders while they rustled cattle, and were wanted dead or alive. The book is set up in a fashion where Schechter describes “what” a Serial Killer is, the history of Serial Killing, and its definition with case studies to prove his point.  He categorizes the Serial Killer into three specific categories “Serial, Mass and Spree Killers” with different categories under the first three with more examples through case study.  It is a very well-organized book, with easy to access chapters and great case study examples.  This book was way too hard to put down because of how informative the book was.

John Norman Collins

The case studies are fascinating and he discusses the more popular Serial Killers and those I never had heard of before.  He even briefly discusses the Michigan Murders and John Norman Collins.  JNC was an Eastern Michigan University student who killed seven women, each with long brown hair, petite with pierced ears.  All seven were raped, tortured, slashed, mutilated, garroted and bludgeoned to death.  The only reason why he wasn’t caught during his two-year killing period, was due to the influx of “Psychics” coming into “help” the investigators on the case, and inevitably sent the investigators on a wild goose chase.  He was eventually caught by an eye-witness who noticed that one of her employees was given a ride by JNC, and went missing a day later. What makes this case especially significant was that I am a graduate of EMU and went on a night investigation with some friends to a silo where JNC is said to have “dumped” one of his victims, and is haunted by JNC and his seven victims. In the investigation, we got an orb that night (even though it looks to me like a glare), a scary deer with red eyes, and me having to pee in the middle of the woods next to the scary silo.  Will I ever go on another night investigation again? Only if Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Paranormal State, or any of the other Ghost Investigators out there will ask me to tag along.  Just a little bit of information about me though, I am TERRIFIED of the dark, and to be more specific, I’m terrified of what is IN the dark, i.e. ghosts, demons, aliens, weirdos, what-have-you that we haven’t even thought about looking for in the dark.  A Weirdo I am!

Take this book as an encyclopedia of Serial Killer behavior, with wide-ranging information on the psychology, mechanics and the different cannibals of Serial Killer History.


Barnes and Noble



Harold Schechter


About theoracleofdreams
The Oracle of Dreams is a High School teacher, who spends a great deal of time outside of school watching movies, listening to music, and various other artistic ventures. The Oracle of Dreams is a pseudonym for reasons beyond her knowledge, and wishes to keep her identity secret...or until she makes big bucks and can leave the teaching field...one can always dream bigger right?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: