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Final Destination: Boston, MA

When you associate serial killers with the city of Boston, only one thing should come to mind: The Boston Strangler.

Now, before I begin, I just want to make it clear that no one was ever found guilty of the murders that the Strangler committed, though there were many people that claimed responsibility, including one Albert Henry DeSalvo (who I will get back to later in the blog). But first, let’s talk about the Strangler himself, whoever he may be.

His crimes took place during the 60s, and like many of the other serial killers we have discussed, the Strangler was not only a murderer, but also a rapist. However, his victims were not always young, attractive females that seem to be such easy targets. His first victim was a 55-year-old woman named Anna E. Selsers. At the initial time of the crime, it was deemed a suicide. The story later changed to a potential burglary gone wrong.

Anna was actually the youngest of the Stranglers initial victims. Within the next two or so months, he was said to have killed 5 other women, all in their elderly years, and all deemed to be killed by method of strangling.

However, there was a big change in the Strangler’s victimization towards the end of that year. He began killing young teenage girls, which completely threw off any police that were investigating the case. Could there be two serial killers in the city of Boston, all in the same year?

Police began to look at men like Arnold Wallace (who was deemed legally insane and spent most of his time in a mental facility), Lewis Barnett (who was the very first suspect in the murder), and then Albert DeSalvo came into the spotlight.

DeSalvo was already a registered sex offender, child molester, and rapist. He dealt with charges that spanned over the multitude of his life. During his last arrest, he not only claimed responsibility for the sexual assault allegations made against him, but also for being the Boston Strangler.

At this point, police wanted so desperately to charge DeSalvo and close the case for good, but there was too much evidence from the crime scenes that would leave DeSalvo an innocent man if it went to court. Unfortunately, they never could find the true identity of the Boston Strangler.

Okay, because this blog is also about a popular TV show, let’s briefly talk about Criminal Minds. Specifically Season 11, Episode 19: Tribute.

DISCLAIMER: If you have not yet seen this episode and hate spoilers, watch it before reading on!!

In this episode, Michael Peterson is the killer. He was known as being a serial rapist, and strangled his victims to death. He was only caught by the BAU after they concluded he was a Boston Strangler copycat, therefore the patterns of the Strangler led the team right to him. Interestingly enough, Emily Prentiss actually mentions that she believes the Boston Strangler was DeSalvo. This is a fascinating episode that seems to be a bit more personal to Prentiss. Perhaps she has done work in relation to the Strangler in the past?

Although I have a pretty solid theory as to the true identity of the Strangler, I will leave you guys to make your own assumptions.

Theodore Robert Cowell: Handsome AND Charismatic?

Ted Bundy: an American serial killer, rapist, kidnapper, burglar, AND necrophile. Could he possibly be anything more? Yes, he can. Ted Bundy may be one of the most notorious serial killers of all time, but he was more than that. What made Bundy stand out from the rest was his overall physical attractiveness that he used to his advantage to lure in young females.

Bundy started in his teenage years with petty crimes; often times stealing sporting equipment from local stores. During the 1970s, Bundy killed up to 30 (or maybe even more) young women and girls. He would use his good looks and charming personality to approach them in public. After killing them, Bundy would go back and perform sexual acts on the decomposing bodies. He decapitated 12 out of the 30 victims. Gruesomely, he would keep the decapitated heads in his apartment for long periods of time.

Bundy’s youngest victim was 12-year-old Kimberly Leach. He kidnapped her right outside of her school. He then raped and killed her, and disposed of her body in an abandoned pig pen.

After all of the sick things Bundy did, he was arrested for driving a stolen vehicle. The police eventually tied him back to some previous murder cases.

Over ten years later, in January of 1989, Bundy was executed via an electric chair. “I’d like you to give my love to my family and friends” were his last words. Even in his final moments, Bundy remained as charming as he was throughout his time of killings.

Considering the fact that Ted Bundy was such a famous killer, there are dozens of episodes of Criminal Minds where the killer’s mirror Bundy’s methods. However, the episode I want to discuss today is the very first episode ever created: Season One, Episode One “Extreme Aggressor”.

DISCLAIMER: If you have not yet seen this episode and hate spoilers, watch it before reading on!! (Although if you’re even a fan of Criminal Minds at all, you should have definitely seen this episode by now).

The series premiere kicks off with an unsub named Tim Vogel, also known as the “Seattle Strangler”. He worked as a prison guard, surrounding himself by killers on a daily basis. Eventually Vogel began killing too. He would find his victims online in various chat rooms, giving them something interesting to focus on. For example, he told his first victim he was selling a car. Then, he used his good looks and poise to lure in female victims. Vogel would rape and strangle these women. The more the victims struggled, the more he became aroused.

The BAU team eventually connected his killings to those of Ted Bundy, and it then became easier to find Vogel, and they could mirror Bundy and his ways. Vogel also committed his murders in the city of Seattle, where Bundy made his first two killings.

After tracking him down and exchanging multiple gun shots, Vogel was shot down and killed. Bundy was not killed until over a decade after he was initially caught. Although Vogel did not have nearly as many victims as Bundy did, it can be concluded that both of these men were very twisted, although still holding an undeniable charm about them.

She Eat Your Heart Out…Like Jeffrey Dahmer

When you think of the term cannibalism, what name comes to mind? Thousands of people would say that one name stands out in relation to eating another human being: Jeffrey Dahmer.

Ironically, I very recently made a trip to my grandmother’s house in Akron, Ohio. I am sure most of you know Akron as being home to the basketball legend: LeBron James. Not only did our “basketball God” grow up in Akron, but so did Jeffrey Dahmer.

Although Dahmer was born in Wisconsin, he spent most of his childhood in Akron. To the outside eye, Dahmer seemed to live a fairly normal life. As we later learned, this was not the case. Jeffrey became an alcoholic by his high school years and grew an odd fascination for dissecting animals. He started with capturing bugs and small birds that he would bring home to cut into. Creepy to think about, I know.

The bugs and birds soon turned into small animals, like cats or roadkill. He eventually became disinterested in small animals and committed his first murder in the year of 1978. He strangled a man named Steven Hicks to death, burying him with the rest of his animal victims.

After moving to Miami, Dahmer became obsessed with luring homosexual male victims into his home. There, he would strangle them and perform sexual acts on their decomposing bodies. Jeffrey would also consume various organs/parts of the body for his own pleasure.

He was eventually caught and sentenced to 957 years in prison with the charges of 15 murders (even though there were probably way more).

Yes, I know what you all were thinking: Dahmer. Was. A. Freak.

There have been countless episodes of Criminal Minds that have been based on or made reference to cannibalism. However, my personal favorite is Season 3, Episode 8: “Lucky”.

DISCLAIMER: if you have not yet seen this episode and hate spoilers, WATCH IT BEFORE READING ON!!

In this episode, a man named Floyd Feylinn Ferell abducted women and forced them to eat the fingers of his previous victims. The medical examiner who thoroughly studied the victim’s bodies, found fingers from at least TEN different people. Implying that Ferell murdered close to a dozen people previously.

Similar to Dahmer, Ferell would remove limbs from the victims and use the meat to make a variety of dishes for his own pleasure. He had a “recipe book” that was found after his arrest that had pages full of recipes that were made from human flesh. Like Dahmer, Ferell committed most of his killings in Florida. They also had a similar physical resemblance. Ferell was considered a Satanist, as most people also considered Dahmer to be as well. As satanic as Dahmer appeared to be, he never once mentioned any particular religion that he was a part of, he was just simply a terribly revolting excuse for a human being.

The Ripper…Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper. Probably one of the most infamous serial killers of all time. What makes him stand out from the rest is the fact that to this day, he was never/probably never will be caught (yes, he is dead, but his identity could still be revealed… but probably not). Although there are many people that were profiled to be this psycho killer, there was never enough evidence to convict anyone. So, who is this “mastermind” behind murder? Well, here’s a little background information on our old pal Jack:

During the late 1800s, Jack the Ripper committed his crimes in London, England (specifically in the Whitechapel district). Ironically, Whitechapel was known to have a very high population of prostitutes, drug dealers, etc. According to Criminal Minds, these people are known as “high-risk victims” due to their unique lifestyle that makes them more likely to be victims of crime. Therefore, Jack the Ripper targeted mainly prostitutes, having less of a chance of getting caught by police. Ranging from around 5-11 total victims, the “Canonical Five” who were Jack’s definite victims.

Methods of Killing: Jack would slash the victim’s throats. There were also bruises visible on the bodies of victims, older than the time of death. This brings the assumption that Jack would strangle his victims before he would cut their throats. He would also take an organ or body part as a token of his “successful kill”. A pattern began to show with his killings; they would always happen on a weekend, in the wee hours of the morning. Distinctively, Jack would write letters giving details about his killings, sometimes even leaving them with the victims.

How does this relate to Criminal Minds, you may be asking?

Season Two, Episode 18, entitled “Jones”.

PAUSE!!!! If you have not seen this episode yet, I recommend watching it before reading on, as I do reveal some spoilers.

Due to a traumatic past (explained in depth in the episode), Sarah Danlin became obsessed with Jack the Ripper, and her killings in the show replicated his killing style. However, because she is a woman, her method of killing had to be changed a bit.

Sarah would lure her victims (all men) away from crowded places with promises of sex. Once she got them into a private place, she would slit their throats. After killing about six men, the Behavior Analysis Unit (“BAU”) concludes that this must be the work of a Jack the Ripper copycat, as the methods of killing were quite similar.

Although Sarah would not take an organ from her victims, she would remove an organ from the body, leaving it at the scene of the crime. She did however take a trophy, like Jack would. Most of the time this would be small knick-knacks with little value.

Do you think she did enough to perfect the “copycat” role? Nope. There’s one last detail:

Sarah would also type out letters that reflected the writing style of Jack’s and would leave them with the victims at the scene of the crime.

As you may know, most episodes of Criminal Minds episodes end about the same. A murder occurs, the team makes a “profile”, they figure out who the killer is, Garcia finds the killer’s address at unworldly like speeds, and the team puts away the killer. So, it was inevitable that Sarah was caught and incarcerated in the end—unlike Jack the Ripper, whose case remains unsolved, even almost 200 years later.

Introduction: So Crazy, It Could Be Criminal!

Welcome, fellow passion bloggers/readers! If you got the chance to read my RCL post from this week, you would have read a statement a little out of the ordinary.

“When I was 9-years-old, I witnessed a man get stabbed right before my eyes.”


To any sane person, this sentence seems to be very alarming, so let me just elaborate on what really happened that day.

It was the fall of my 4th grade year, and my brothers and I were pulling into the parking lot of a nearby high school to pick up a car that we had left there the night before. As we pulled in, I heard the blasting of a car horn and many words being yelled that I do not feel are appropriate to include here.

“Hide underneath the seat, Sophia! DO NOT come out until I tell you to,” directed my brother.

Of course, being the curious 9-year-old that I was, I just had to peer out of the window to see what was going on. I was absolutely flabbergasted as I looked out to see a man holding a literal kitchen knife—like the one your mother would use to cut up vegetables—penetrating the abdomen of another man. Obviously, I was absolutely aghast and tried with all my might to block out the reality of the situation while my brother called 911.

I walked away from that encounter with thousands of questions as to why that man was doing what he was doing. The man’s name was Jerry. The police never revealed to us any more information, although I still sometimes try to Google the incident just to see if I can find out anything more. I wanted to learn all I could about Jerry and people similar to him.

One day I came across a story similar to Jerry’s. A man named Mamoru Takuma killed 8 people at a school in Japan with a kitchen knife. No, Jerry did not murder the man he stabbed, but he did use the same weapon, so there was clearly some overlap.

From that point forward, I became mesmerized by any story I heard on the news covering crimes, murder mystery novels, and crime shows. I’m sure all of you have a show that you could watch a thousand times and never get bored of. For me, that show is Criminal Minds.

To give a summary: Criminal Minds is a show that follows the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI, and takes viewers on a 40-minute thrill-ride through the process of catching a killer.

Out of the 254 episodes that CBS has produced of the show, there are hundreds of overlaps and distinct references to some of the world’s most famous serial killers. From Jeffrey Dahmer to Ted Bundy, Jack the Ripper to the Zodiac KillerCriminal Minds covers them all, and I can’t wait to dive deep into the minds of these notorious killers with you all.

So if you’re like me and fascinated by crime and mystery, strap in, this blog will be perfect for you. And if you’re easily spooked or creeped out by topics like this, stay with me. I cannot guarantee you won’t get frightened, but you will surely be entertained.

Stay tuned, catch up on your Criminal Minds, and I will see you all soon.