In the upcoming months I am going to begin
presenting a project I have been working on over the last few years. I
present this theory with a visual aid, which I have labeled The Fantasy
The theory began by studying the crime scenes of endless violent acts
committed by serial murderers. I have written about my views on serial
murderers and the seemingly qualitative differences of these individuals,
which in my opinion separate them from others that have killed several
victims. Although there are many definitions for the serial murderer,
most of these focus on a number of victims or a quantitative criterion.
It is in this area that I have a differing view than most in that I believe
a common theme in all acts of serial murder involve a fantasy element.
I am not the first to write about the role of fantasy in serial murder.
Hazelwood & Michaud (2001), Hazelwood & Warren (2001), Ressler et al.
(1988), Douglas et al. (1992), Keppel & Birnes (1997), Brown (2003), Geberth
(1996; 2003), Prentky et al. (1989), and others have all contributed to my
understanding and assisted either directly or indirectly in the development
of this theory. Again, where I differ is in my belief that all,
not most serial murderers utilize and are driven by a fantasy
component while committing their offences.
The basic premise to the Fantasy Wheel, is that an offender may develop
fantasies having several components. Other offenders may have less
components or may develop components so abstract or personal that only s/he
understands the significance. For this reason I believe serial
murderers operate based on a fantasy and continue to do so throughout the
The first thing to understand is the center of the Fantasy Wheel. The center
of the wheel represents a crime scene (criminal), or non-criminal behaviors,
which contain evidence of the existing fantasies. To interpret the
fantasy elements I first need to explain each of the sections that surround
the crime scene, which are the components of fantasies that are most
relevant in these crimes.
The links provided above will direct you to individual articles about each
of the variables on the Fantasy Wheel.
Brown, P. (2003). Killing for sport: Inside the minds of serial killers.
Beverly Hills, CA: New Millennium Press.
Douglas, J.E., Burgess, A.W., Burgess, A.G., & Ressler, R.K. (1992).
Crime classification manual: A standard system for investigating and
classifying violent crimes. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Geberth, V.J. (2003). Sex related homicide and death investigation:
Practical and clinical perspectives. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Hazelwood, R. & Michaud, S.G. (2001). Dark dreams: Sexual violence,
homicide and the criminal mind. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press.
Hazelwood, R. & Warren, J. (2001). Practical aspects of rape
investigation: A multidisciplinary approach (3rd ed.). Boca Raton, FL:
Keppel, R.D. & Birnes W.J. (1997). Signature killers: Interpreting the
calling cards of the serial murderer. New York, NY: Pocket Books.
Prentky, R.A., Burgess, A.W., Rokous, F., Lee, A., Hartman, C., Ressler, R.,
& Douglas, J. (1989). The presumptive role of fantasy in serial sexual
homicide. American Journal of Psychiatry, 146(7), 887-891.
Ressler, R.K., Burgess, A.W. & Douglas, J.E. (1988). Sexual homicide:
Patterns and motives. New York, NY: The Free Press.