Serial killers are composed of all types and forms of people. They can be males or females, young or old, single killers or pairs of killers, and of any ethnic background. A serial killer can be from any walk of life. He or she could be your next door neighbor or even a long time friend. History has proven that a serial killer could be anyone.
Through the exploits of past serial killers we have been able to learn a lot about this breed of killer. Police have been able to look at their background and view their childhood life in order to better understand what drives them to kill. The Behavior Science Unit of the FBI has used the information collected to create a standard profile of serial killers. This tool is able to help the FBI and other police agencies in identifying possible serial killers.
The “typical” profile of a serial killer is a Caucasian male between the ages of 18 and 32. There will be evidence of child abuse in his background. In his background, he will show signs of bedwetting beyond the age of ten, abuse to animals, and a history of arson. The serial killer will operate by himself. This set profile does not encompass every serial killer. There have been many serial killers that do not fit this profile. For this reason alone, the standard or set profile of a serial killer is used to aid an investigation, not run it.
H. H. Holmes, known as “The Torture Doctor,” was one of the many killers who defined the “standard” profile for a serial killer. Although no one ever expected Holmes to be a serial killer, he seemed to fit the profile perfectly. But even Holmes did not fit every criminological theories.
The Theory of the Chicago School of the Social Ecologists was one of the many theatrical explanations that did not fit the characteristics of Holmes. This particular theory saw crime as being caused more by place the individual lived than by person's biological characteristics. Holmes’s crimes were more committed by him rather than any place he ever live. This can be proven because Holmes not only lives in one particular place but he live in about ten different places thought his life span.
Evidence of abuse, as a child, is believed to be a factor in the background of most serial killers. This is known as “The Classic School Theory”. In this particular theory people choose to commit crime because they derive more pleasure from doing so than pain. This theory describes Holmes almost perfectly. Holmes never had a bad childhood, his parents extremely loved, and he never had a bad relationship with someone of the opposite sex.
It is hard to describe by really any criminological theory. Holmes was just a corrupt man, “I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer…I was born with the “Evil one” standing as my sponsor…”