Forensic Psych: Serial Killer Phases

Forensic psychologists identify a cycle that a serial killers goes through when planning and executing a murder. It is generally six phases - 

1.) The Aura Phase: This is where the motive to kill begins. A serial killer fed up with the stressors of real life will slowly begin to shift into a fantasy world. Here, the ideas of murder will begin to flourish; fantasies of the impending satisfaction and details of the killing will become an obsession. If the killer drinks or does drugs, use will increase tremendously. 

2.) The Trolling Phase: Now the killer will begin to lurk and “troll” around for a potential setting - and potential victims for their crime. They usually seek areas that they are familiar and comfortable with.

3.) The Wooing Phase: Kinda self explanatory. The killer has focused in on his/her potential victim. Now they work on luring the individual in, whether through grooming, charming, or gaining their trust. The wooing phase leads to…

4.) The Capture Phase: Again, self explanatory. After gaining a victim’s confidence, the killer captures them. They are now in almost complete control of the individual.

5.) The Murder and Totem Phase: The killer’s vision is finally fulfilled. They finally indulge in a murder, satisfying themselves in whatever way they see fit - either for sexual, excitement, or financial/material gratification. This provides the ultimate high; a killer feels in control of his/her life in a way that is impossible anyway else. But the high cannot last forever, and that is why many serial killers take an extra step and keep some kind of totem. Whether it’s a photograph of the victim, a piece of clothing, or even a body part, many keep these little charms to try to lengthen out the feeling. 

6.) Depression - But even a totem is not enough. Soon the killer snaps out of the delusion. The victim was a brief break from a reality, and depression sets in. We have now come full circle! Because the serial killer will soon grow exhausted and fall back into the Aura Phase, beginning the cycle again.

[ NEWS ] Forensic examination determines weapons used on 9th-14th century remains, Turin, Italy

In this paper, “Weapon-related Cranial Lesions from Medieval and Renaissance Turin, Italy”, remains recovered from the Cathedral of S. Giovanni in Turin were examined to determine if they had died due to violent injuries (combat), and to attempt to identify the weapons used to perpetrate these injuries.

A total of 113 sets of remains were recovered, including 17 children below the ages of 14. Of the adults, 69 were male, 22 were female and 5 were unidentifiable. Anthropological examination of the remains allowed the researchers to specifically identify those exhibited extensive bone trauma to the skull and skeleton.

Two sets were from the early Medieval period (9th century) and the rest from the Renaissance period (14-15th century).   Except for two injuries, all traumas were identified as taking place perimortem (before death).

As the researchers note: “The aim of this study was to investigate these traumas from an osteological perspective, in order to better understand the patterns of interpersonal violence in medieval and Renaissance periods in Italy.”

  • Defining weapons and the types of damage they inflict

The authors started by defining the types of damage they expected to see, and the nature of the weapons which would cause such injuries.

“Sharp force traumas are caused by bladed instruments, such as swords, daggers, axes and poleaxes, which produce linear lesions with clean well-defined edges and flat and smooth cut surfaces; blunt force fractures are produced by blunt instruments, including war hammers, maces and top spikes of poleaxes, which leave concentric or radiating fractures with an internal bevel; and projectile force traumas are inflicted by projectile weapons, such as arrows and crossbow bolts.”

For sharp force trauma, direction of the cut was determined by the effects of the trauma:  if entering at right angles, damage would be equal on both sides of the cut.  If entering at an angle, the entry side cut would appear smooth, the stop-point would fracture/flake. Whether a fracture was caused by blunt weapon impact or a projectile weapon was determined by what side of the skull exhibited “beveling” fractures (internal bevels indicating a blunt weapon, external bevels indicating a “rhrough-and-impact” projectile strike on the victim’s skull.

  • The nature of the remains

The authors note that the two early Medieval remains were found in individual graves of a type reserved for the upper social classes of the time.  The Renaissance remains were all found in the same large grave, suggesting they had all perished in the same combat.

  •  Examination of the remains

The researchers then go into the details of the remains, were they were located, and describe any traumas identified on both the main skeleton and cranium, but focusing specifically on the skull traumas. This is because skeletal remains only allow for injuries reaching the bone to be identified.

Forensic anthropologists would not, for example, be able to assign a cause of death to a fatal soft-tissue injury, such as the heart being struck or a major artery being cut (at least one other set of remains buried in the Renaissance grave showed well-healed traumas; it may well have been that this person died of soft tissue injuries).

The analysis of the cranial traumas is extremely detailed.  Interestingly, several of the remains show old, well-healed traumas, suggest many previous wounds in battle. Traumas identified included (listed in order of remains being examined:

  1. (Early Medieval) 7 cm long sharp force cut, with fractures indicating the attacker pulled the blade out of the wound with force;  followed by a cut indicating it was delivered from above, with the victim reclining.
  2. (Early Medieval) 5cm long sharp force cut, shaving away the surface of the skull.  A second, apparently glancing blow would have likely have caused severe injury to the victim’s face.
  3. (Renaissance) A massive trauma to the front of the skull indicates a blade impacting and removed with force.  A second, healed trauma shows signs of medical intervention from a previous wound.
  4. (Renaissance) A diamond-shaped trauma on the right-rear of the cranium suggests a blunt force or projectile strike from behind.
  5. (Renaissance) A beveled impact on the top of cranium suggests the use of a blunt force weapon or a projectile strike.  A second, larger trauma is indicative of sharp force, penetrating and forcibly removed.
  6. (Renaissance) Multiple traumas, including sharp force blows and a projectile strike delivered with the victim both standing and on the ground.  The fatal blow is identified as a massive blunt force trauma.  Additionally, one long-healed blunt force trauma was noted.
  • What weapons caused the injuries

The researchers go into a quite detailed discussion of types of weapons and the nature of the traumas they inflict, quoting many previous researchers to defend their analysis. In the main, the results of the research resulted in the following table (click to view):

External image

  • Why are cranial trauma so frequently found?

The authors then discuss why cranial trauma is so frequently found on the remains of those who died in combat, as both their research and previous researchers have noted.  While this seems a simple question, the authors seek to prove what is commonly held beliefs in these reasons through scientific observation and fact.  Most simply put, they theorize that:  the head was a main target;  that men fighting on foot vs. those on horseback must receive more head trauma simply by nature of their respective platforms;  that body armour was so effective it made the head a primary target.

  • Examination of the Renaissance historical record and conclusion

At least for the Renaissance remains, there were a number of historical records  — dated to the same time as the grave — which suggests these warriors did not die in a major battle.  There was no recorded major conflict fought by Turin forces during this period.  There were, however, a number of city revolts and riots which took place.

Taking this fact into account, and the additional fact that the remains recovered included women and children, and that a number of the men showed previously healed traumas, the authors conclude: “Three sharp force lesions caused by bladed weapons were identified in two individuals from the early medieval period; in the Renaissance sample, the majority of the nine peri mortem injuries were sharp force wounds, followed by blunt force traumas caused by hand-held weapons. The lack of lesions caused by projectile force lesions and of post-cranial wounds at Piazza S. Giovanni was evidenced.”

“Despite the presence of weapon injuries, the results obtained from the study of the Renaissance sample are different from the findings of other contemporary battlefields. It is highly likely that the individuals of the Renaissance age were not young soldiers employed in war episodes and brought back to Turin for burial after battles that had taken place elsewhere. As attested by some old wound, they were probably mercenary soldiers, who had died in riots or in other violent episodes that had taken place in the city, as the historical records for the Renaissance age seem to confirm.”

Source: Copyright © 2014 Randy McCall |

The Siriraj Medical Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, to the layman, is a gruesomely fascinating formaldehyde pickled nightmare world; including a gallery of suicide, an exhibit of Siamese twins in jars, forensic evidence from crimes, cadavers cut in half and heads in jars.

Although extremely valuable and educational for students in the medical field, it is not for the squeamish.

The hospital is home to the preserved body of Chinese immigrant and serial child killer cannibal “Si-oui” (or Si Ouey) in a big glass display box. Si-oui is probably Thailand’s most infamous serial killer, responsible for the deaths of half a dozen young boys. He suffocated them and ate their hearts and livers as he believed the consumption of the organs gave him powers.

More posts at Real Life Is Horror << Click 

Gabriel is my substitute teacher - No. Seriously.

So, I take forensic science and my teacher was off sick.

We get this really cute, blond, short guy. He looked really nice.

Then he wrote his name on the board.

“Mr G.Novak”

I lost my shit.

At some point during the lesson, he opened his suitcase and pulled out a huge bag of lollipops and just sat there - eating them.

Nearer the end, he came up to me, said “Nice work, Curly,” and handed me a lollipop.

When the bell rang, he went into the staff-room. All I heard was, “HEY SIMON! Where’s the cake!? I brought Co-Co!”

See now this is all fine and dandy. Only a few resemblances to make my day better…


He spoke to me a lot that lesson. He was very sarcastic. I asked him if he had always liked science.

This was his response.

“Yeah I’ve always liked science. I know this guy and he’s really smart. A bloody lawyer. Was quite sad when he didn’t go into forensics. That kiddo’s going far.”


I’m just going to go squeal and die, now.

Medium-velocity impact spatter: usually considered to be a pattern of spatter in which the preponderant stain size ranges between 1 and 4mm in diameter. The force or energy for creation of the stains is said to be between 5 e 25ft/s.
Mancha de sangue de média velocidade: é assim considerada quando os diâmetros das manchas ficam entre 1 e 4 mm. A força ou energia para gerar esta mancha é entre 1,5m/s e 7,6m/s.
Tom Bevel - Bloodstain Pattern Analysis. #forensics #forensic #crimescene #bloodstains #realcsi

Made with Instagram

Please fire me. I have a forensics degree but I am forced to watch people shoplift from the store and say nothing due to “company policy.”


Jack the Ripper’s Been Unmasked At Last

Thanks to modern forensic science, it’s now been confirmed that Jack the Ripper was Polish immigrant Aaron Kosminski, one of the six historical major suspects.

Forensic science is such a wonderful boon to society. Almost every day I read stories in the news about prisoners being released after spending years in prison, being exonerated only after forensic scientists prove their innocence.

I fucking love science.

(this still needs to be peer reviewed so probably one should take it with a grain of salt but still: SCIENCE!)

New Student to Archaeology or Anthropology?

If you’re wondering what the best literature and textbooks are for these subjects we have a page full of our suggestions that we’ve gathered for you!

Here are a few of the most useful textbooks to have:

  • Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice (UK/Europe Link)
    Archaeology Essentials: Theories, Methods, and Practice (Second Edition) (US/Worldwide Link)
    by Colin Renfrew and Paul Bahn. Rating: *****
    “This book is highly acclaimed and is the ultimate archaeology bible for students, or people new to archaeology and want to get stuck right in. After being recommended it by two of my University lecturers, I took it out from the library to use for my assignments so many times I ended up buying it.”

  • The Human Bone Manual (UK/Europe)
    The Human Bone Manual (US/Worldwide Link)
    by Tim D. White and Pieter A. Folkens. Rating: *****
    THIS IS A MUST HAVE – If you are studying anything to do with human remains and anthropology!!
    “I cannot stress how important this book is to have. It is the ‘go-to’ guide on anything relating to bones and skeletal remains. It’s illustrated as well, so if your course isn’t too hands on – you will still understand what the book is talking about. It’s a must for any budding anthropologist, and one of my favourite books to read. It’s really small and concise so its pretty much a ‘pocket book’.”

Click here for a full list of anthropological and archaeological reading materials.

Also check out our “Quick Tip” posts where we breakdown subjects into easier, bite-sized chunks to help you learn about the practical sides of anthropology and archaeology.

We’ve currently covered these topics:

We’ve just added more unique, hand-crafted archaeology/anthropology tool rolls, which you can visit here:

We ship our tool rolls worldwide, and are all £24!! Above are a few of our brand new designs!

If you buy one of our Small Tool kits, it will contain:

12x Stainless Steel Small Finds Archaeology Tools!
4x Tweezers - to allow you to delicately handle finds!
1x Sharpie permanent marker pen - for labelling tool find trays or bags!
1x Mechanical Pencil - to help you write when the weather is gloomy!
1x HB Pencil - to allow you to sketch your finds, and with extra room to add your own personal tools.

If you buy our Delicate Tool kit, it contains:

6x Plastic, lightweight flexible excavation tools – these are perfect for excavating fragile and delicate materials like skeletal remains, as they provide precise digging without the pressure of metal tools!
5x Brushes - to help you clean your finds.
4x Tweezers - to allow you to delicately handle your finds!
1x Sharpie permanent marker pen - for labelling tool find trays or bags!
1x Mechanical Pencil - to help you write when the weather is gloomy!
1x HB Pencil - to allow you to sketch your finds, and with extra room to add your own personal tools.

Criminal Psychology: The Subtypes of Multiple Murder

The term “multiple murderer” is pretty self explanatory - you are a multiple murderer when you’ve killed more than one person. Psychologists have grouped multiple murderers into three categories - 

1.) The Mass Murderer: Whenever 4+ are killed in one period of time - it is classified as a mass murder. Sandy Hook, the Colombine Massacre, and the Virgina Tech Massacre are all examples of mass murder. It’s interesting to note that if the killer takes three lives, committing suicide would be enough to bump the number up to four - classifying as a mass murder.

2.) Spree Killers: Spree murders are classified based on a lack of “cooling period”. A murderer will kill in one location, and then travel to another and kill again in the same time frame rather than wait a few days. This category requires 2+ victims. An example of a spree murder would be the Beltway sniper attacks in which seventeen year old Lee Boyd Malvo and his step-father drove around several states for multiple days randomly shooting bystanders from their car. 

3.) Serial Killer: Unlike spree killers and mass murderers, a serial killing requires deliberate planning as well as a cooling period. This category is 3+ victims. An example of a serial killing would be Ted Bundy’s reign from about 1961 to 1974, during which he killed 36+ people.