HOW TO SURVIVE A SERIAL KILLER: New History of Serial Killers

In SERIAL KILLERS: THE METHOD AND MADNESS OF MONSTERS (Penguin - Berkley) a recently published history of serial murder, author Peter Vronsky reports on research made by the FBI into the behavior of victims who survived captivity by a serial killer. Certain behaviors could enhance one’s chances of surviving a serial killer, the FBI discovered.

(PRWEB) November 8, 2004 -- According to a new history book on serial murder, SERIAL KILLERS: THE METHOD AND MADNESS OF MONSTERS, the FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit (BSU) interviewed serial killers, sexual murderers and rapists and their surviving victims to ascertain if anything in their behavior saved them from being murdered. Murderers convicted of multiple homicides were themselves asked, why they spared some of their intended victims. (See )

The FBI eventually identified a number of behavioral options a victim might take, organized in a decision flow-chart system ranging from acquiesce to resistance. Vronsky describes how the FBI weighed the various risks and dangers of each option against the possible profile type of serial killer or rapist.

Part of surviving a serial killer is avoiding one in the first place, Vronsky writes in his book, inspired by his own two brief encounters with serial killers prior to their capture. Vronsky reviews the accounts of several women who managed to avoid capture entirely because of a sudden intuitive flash. Vronsky warns both men and women not to underrate their “intuition” or “gut feeling.” He describes intuition as a psychological process where a person has observed something but the mind has not yet logically analyzed the meaning of what they saw.

In one case, Vronsky documents how a serial killer who was feigning a ski injury approached a young woman on campus and asked her to help him carry some library books to his car. She readily agreed to help the handsome studious young man, his arm in a cast, by carrying his books to a vehicle parked nearby. But as she approached the car she noticed that the front seat was missing and she was suddenly overcome by a wave of unexplained fear. She quickly put the books down and ran off, deeply embarrassed by her sudden seemingly illogical and unfriendly behavior. That handsome young man was Ted Bundy and he would sometimes use his fake cast to batter women into unconsciousness. Bundy had removed the front seat from his car to conveniently transport in various states of life and death some of his twenty-one raped and mutilated female victims. "Indecipherable warning signs of danger can be perceived subconsciously without being immediately understood by the rational mind," Vronsky argues. "No woman," he says, "should be embarrassed or ashamed to respond to her intuition and flee without explanation any situation she finds uncomfortable or threatening."    

Once confronted, captured, or under control of a serial killer, a whole new dynamic comes into play, according to Vronsky’s book. In his closing chapter he explores the range of options that a victim might be able take and the projected effectiveness of each for escape and survival: verbal confrontational resistance, physical dissuasion, physical confrontational resistance, verbal non-confrontational dissuasion and acquiesce. Vronsky reviews each option and discusses the type of serial killer who might respond to it—and which types might react with increased violence instead, according to the FBI studies, and what to do then.

SERIAL KILLERS: THE METHOD AND MADNESS OF MONSTERS is an exploration of the historical, cultural, psychological and investigative aspects of serial homicide in a 430-page illustrated volume.

Peter Vronsky is a former investigative documentary producer and is currently completing his doctorate in history at the University of Toronto.

For more information or to contact the author:

Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters
Peter Vronsky
New York: Berkley Books, 2004.
432 Pages, Illustrated
ISBN: 0425196402

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