16 Personality Types of Famous Serial Killers

16 Personality Types of Famous Serial Killers

Today we look at the 16 personality types of serial killers. What is it about serial killers that fascinate so many people? Is it the mystery and suspense of a cold-hearted murderer? Or simply the shock factor that comes with such an extreme crime? Perhaps it’s something deeper than that – maybe there are patterns in the psychology behind these monstrous acts that we want to uncover. Whatever the case may be, serial killers have long been a source of both fear and fascination for people around the world.

From notorious names like Jack the Ripper to the more recent Ted Bundy, these twisted individuals provide a glimpse into the dark side of our society. Their actions are heinous, but understanding the motivations and behaviors of serial killers can give us powerful insight. One way to explore this curiosity is by looking at their personality types.

It’s important to note that every serial killer is the most extreme, unhealthy version of their type. The vast majority of people with these personality types would never commit such awful crimes.

Additionally, many of these serial killers have personality disorders and psychological issues (which often manifest in childhood) that contribute to their behavior. Still, studying these personality types can provide us with important insights into the minds of serial killers and how they operate.

A lot of research has gone into this blog post and the Parcast podcast called Serial Killers has been a great source of information. If you’re as fascinated by this subject as I am, I highly recommend giving it a listen.

So, without further ado, here are the personality types of seven of the most famous serial killers.

16 Personality Types of Serial Killers

John Wayne Gacy, AKA The Clown Killer: ESFJ

John Wayne Gacy was an unhealthy ESFJ. ESFJs can be charming and outgoing, but they can also be people-pleasers who use their strong social skills to be manipulative and controlling. Gacy was a classic example of this. Gacy was a successful businessman and community leader on the surface who campaigned for the democratic party and helped charities focused on children with cancer. However, Gacy was also a serial killer who preyed on young men and boys.

Before Gacy began his murdering spree, he wanted to please his abusive and homophobic father and the community he lived in. In school, he was a bit of a teacher’s pet, and even in prison, he thrived. Gacy tried to lead a “normal” life, but his dark side eventually took over. He began sexually abusing young boys, and then progressed to raping and murdering them. In total, Gacy is believed to have killed 33 people. Gacy had antisocial personality disorder which enabled him to switch his emotions off. He actually could feel empathy for some people, often getting tearful at the thought of children with cancer. However, in the next sentence, he would lack total empathy for any of his victims.

Ted Bundy, AKA The Campus Killer: ENTP

Ted Bundy was an unhealthy ENTP, and a disturbing individual. On the surface he was charming, intelligent, and articulate. People even commented on his good looks throughout his trial. But this masked a deeply troubled individual who was an egocentric, manipulative, notorious liar from a young age. Ted Bundy displayed narcissistic personality traits, including a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, lack of empathy, and a need for admiration which began in early adulthood. One of his main motivations for his heinous acts of crime was to inflict pain and suffering on women that looked like his first girlfriend, Diane Edwards. Psychologists believe he chose victims that looked like her as an act of revenge. He was said to feel insecure and inadequate in their relationship as he thought she was out of his league financially.

ENTPs prefer abstract theories and fantasies to the gritty reality of everyday life. This can definitely be said for Ted Bundy, who talked in metaphors and had a grandiose, yet fragile, sense of self. He once said, “The fantasy that accompanies and generates the anticipation that precedes the crime is always more stimulating than the immediate aftermath of the crime itself.” Bundy’s egotistical and opportunistic tendencies meant he even represented himself at trial. He smiled nonchalantly at the jury and tried his best to charm them. He was confident that he could talk his way out of anything. Disturbingly, women even wrote to Ted Bundy professing their love for him during his trial and whilst in prison. But ultimately, Ted Bundy was a serial killer, rapist, and necrophiliac who confessed to killing over 30 women. And he even managed to escape prison… twice!

Jeffrey Dahmer, AKA The Milwaukee Cannibal: INTP

Jeffrey Dahmer was an unhealthy INTP. He was an introverted thinker who was preoccupied with dark, macabre fantasies. Dahmer was an isolated individual who struggled to connect with other people. He often withdrew from society and preferred to spend his time alone. Like a typical INTP, Dahmer had difficulty reading social cues and often said inappropriate things. He was also a shy, awkward person who found it hard to make friends. This is partly why he turned to murder, sexual assault, and cannibalism; he wanted to feel close to someone, but in a very sick and twisted way.

INTPs can be impulsive people, especially when they are truly passionate about something. When this passion is about something dark, it can be extremely unhealthy. Whilst Dahmer knew what he was going to do to his victims, he usually murdered them on impulse and desire. His victims were not chosen beforehand, and it was based on who he could pick up at the local bar. Unhealthy INTPs can also be cold, calculating, and manipulative, which is definitely true of Dahmer. He was a skilled liar and manipulator, which helped him lure victims. Dahmer was eventually caught and sentenced to life in prison, where he was killed by a fellow inmate.

Richard Ramirez, AKA The Night Stalker: ESTP

Richard Ramirez was an unhealthy ESTP. Unhealthy ESTPs are known for being extremely impulsive and they often don’t consider the consequences of their actions. They also tend to be highly logical and can have a lack of empathy and regard for other people’s feelings. Richard Ramirez showed these traits. Starting out as a drug addict who robbed houses, his crimes rapidly progressed to much more serious offenses, such as rape and murder. Ramirez was a “disorganized serial killer.” A disorganized serial killer is someone who commits murder without planning or forethought. They kill on the spur of the moment, without any sort of strategy or goal in mind. Disorganized killers are often impulsive and erratic, and their crimes can be violent and random. Ramirez murdered his victims in their homes at random. He also left many of his victims alive, which suggests that when he made a decision to kill he made it spontaneously at the scene. He did not disguise his face and he left forensic evidence behind.

ESTPs are characterized by a need for excitement and they are often sensation-seeking individuals. This was extreme in the case of Ramirez Ramirez. He was a sadist who enjoyed torturing and killing his victims. He showed a total lack of remorse for any of his actions, even going as far as bragging about them to the media and taunting the police. This complete disregard for others is a hallmark trait of an unhealthy and evil ESTP. Even after receiving his sentencing, he stated, “Big deal. Death always went with the territory.” Bizarrely, Ramirez garnered a lot of attention because of his physical appearance during his trial, with many women writing him love letters. He even got married to Doreen Lioy in prison, who wholeheartedly believed he was innocent. But Richard Ramirez was a violent sociopath, and his crimes were beyond heinous. His known victims ranged from a 9-year-old girl to a 79-year-old woman. He was finally apprehended after a massive manhunt and sentenced to death.

Zodiac Killer: ENTP

Now, there’s a disclaimer for this one because they never actually caught the Zodiac Killer – so we can only make an educated guess from the information available. But from what we do know, the Zodiac Killer showed many characteristics of an unhealthy ENTP – and a particularly sadistic one at that. We know the Zodiac Killer was a white male, around six foot, and in his late twenties or early thirties during the murders. He was highly intelligent, loved playing mind games and was 200lbs with brown hair. But what about his personality? There’s one thing we know for sure. The Zodiac Killer wanted to be known. He loved the attention his murders were getting, and he loved toying with the police (and the public) by sending them coded messages. He was bold, arrogant, and loved the thrill of the chase. In other words, he was an unhealthy ENTP through and through.

ENTPs are known to love abstract theories and they can see patterns and connections that others can’t. This helps them to come up with creative solutions. However, in the Zodiac’s case, this same skill helped him to come up with creative ways to kill people. He had an interest in cryptography, hence his letters in the Zodiac alphabet, and he loved nothing more than watching the world try to solve his puzzles. Unhealthy ENTPs can taunt and torment others for their own amusement. They use their intelligence to create chaos and can be manipulative, callous, and even sadistic. The Zodiac Killer certainly fits this description. He loved playing games with the police and the public, and he got a kick out of watching everyone try to figure out who he was. The only thing that mattered to him was the game – not the lives he was taking. And that’s what makes him one of the most famous, uncaught serial killers to date.

Harold Shipman, AKA Dr. Death: INTJ

Dr. Harold Shipman was an unhealthy INTJ. He was an egomaniacal, power-hungry sociopath who saw people as objects for his sick experiments. He was a doctor who murdered 218 of his patients, but this figure is thought to be more like 250. Unhealthy INTJs are highly critical, both of themselves and others. They tend to be isolated individuals who lack empathy. They’re often obsessed with control, power, and perfection. This can definitely be said for Harold Shipman. As a child, he was his mother’s favorite and that gave him an air of superiority. He went through life trying to maintain this by distancing himself from people. In school, he is said to have been a “loner”, anti-social, aloof, unemotional, and a control freak. These traits can also be attributed to an unhealthy INTJ.

Shipman was disliked by colleagues because of his know-it-all attitude. However, he was adored by the community and his patients. With his intelligence and understanding, he had the ability to charm certain people he needed to. This is how he was able to get away with his crimes for 23 years. Shipman is said to have been unflappable, self-controlled, and calm, all core personality traits of an INTJ. And at the extreme end of the spectrum, these qualities made for a cold, calculated, and heartless serial killer.

H. H. Holmes, AKA The Torture Doctor: INTJ

One of the most prolific serial killers in American history, H.H. Holmes is a perfect example of an unhealthy INTJ. His diabolical crimes were carefully planned and executed with precision, showing his mastery of both logic and strategy. What’s more, he was able to keep his cool under pressure, maintaining his innocence even when confronted with overwhelming evidence. It’s this combination of traits that makes unhealthy INTJs some of the most dangerous criminals out there.

H.H. Holmes managed to manipulate and deceive those around him in order to further his own twisted goals, and he will go down in history as one of the most notorious killers of all time. In his murder mansion, Holmes created a labyrinth of rooms designed to confuse and trap his victims. He was a true master of deception, and his cold, calculating nature makes him the perfect example of an unhealthy INTJ. Holmes also lacked total empathy for his victims, seeing them more as objects to be used for his own amusement rather than human beings worthy of compassion. This lack of empathy is a common trait in unhealthy INTJs, who often view other people as mere pawns in their games.

Ed Gein, AKA Butcher of Plainfield: ISFJ

Ed Gein was an unhealthy ISFJ who found joy in killing people and making their skin into household objects or wearable items. As an ISFJ, Ed Gein was extremely shy and reclusive, and many who knew him described him as being gentle and kind. He worked as a handyman and babysitter in the town. In fact, he was regarded by the townsfolk as honest and reliable. However, his dark side was always there, lurking beneath the surface. Ed Gein had a complex relationship with his mother who was extremely religious and domineering. She instilled strict moral codes in her son and taught him to believe that sex and women were evil. His mom restricted him from socializing with other kids his age, which only served to further isolate him.

Ed Gein’s complex relationship with his mother and his fixation on what it would be like to be a woman are said to have driven him to commit his heinous crimes. He even went as far as to make a “woman suit” out of the skin of his victims. Gein’s unhealthy ISFJ traits also made him extremely self-doubting and self-conscious. He was constantly second-guessing himself and he felt like an outsider in his own skin. It’s important to note Ed Gein was diagnosed with schizophrenia and antisocial personality disorder. So there are two different sides to him. Overall, Ed Gein is an unhealthy ISFJ who was extremely capable of violence.

While it’s important to remember that not all serial killers are the same, studying their personality types can provide us with valuable insights into their mindsets and how they operate. There is no single “type” of serial killer. However, understanding the motivations and behaviors can help us to better understand why they do what they do. Hopefully, this blog post has helped to shed some light on this dark subject matter. And now you have a little more insight into one of society’s most notorious figures.

You may have noticed we did not include one of the most, if not the most, famous serial killers ever, Jack The Ripper. That’s because much of the evidence and information on his case is still disputed and he was never caught. However, you can listen to Parcast’s Serial Killers podcast to find out more about him.

If you’re a fan of personality types, check out the psychopathic trait of each personality type.

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