Jeffrey Dahmer was attractive
Why do women fall in love with serial killers like Ted Bundy?
While Bundy is probably the most famous case of a criminal who rallied female fans, something like this happens over and over again.
Elizabeth Woollett: I've always found true crime stories exciting. What I found most exciting were those of people who actually had relatively normal childhoods in which nothing bad happened. The How and Why these cases here is particularly interesting and mysterious to me. For the same reasons, I have always been particularly interested in female criminals. Women are not associated with crime as often as men for a variety of reasons, particularly when it comes to violent crime. It's so unlikely to happen anyway.
I've read biographies, true crime books, trial transcripts, newspaper articles, and letters. All the relevant sources that I could get my hands on. If possible, I also looked at documentation and original material. Eva Braun, for example, had a lot of home videos. In order to understand the tone and mood of the time, I also watched novels and films from the respective era and the countries in which these women lived.
If there is such a thing as common ground, it is probably a combination of insecurity and a willingness to let the men they've been with determine their self-esteem. But I believe that insecurity is something very human. It will be difficult to find someone who isn't insecure in some way, or at least has been at some point in their life.
If there is such a thing as common ground, it is probably a combination of insecurity and a willingness to let the men they've been with determine their self-esteem.
That depended on the information I had on hand. With women like Myra Hindley and Eva Braun it was easier to stick closer to the real role model because many books have been written about them. For them, it was more about choosing anecdotes or times in their lives that represented their character well. Who they were, what they did and how they got to where they ended up.
With others, like Janice Hooker and Veronica Compton, there was little information. I had to let my imagination run wild. I will probably never know how close these short stories are to the truth.
It was extremely important to me that all women have their own voice. I wanted each voice to come across as unique, real, and convincing. When people tell their own story, they usually want to generate compassion and to be vulnerable and human. I tried to keep that in mind when writing the stories.
It is difficult to say where the line between the "bad man" and the "antihero" is. There are some concoctions that often make bad men romanticized: They are tragically flawed, but human. They are dark and ominous, but exciting. As long as antiheroes are considered attractive, so will bad men to a degree.
I have my problems with the term brainwashing because for me it implies brainlessness and total weakness. That doesn't do justice to the complexity of real life and real people. I believe that there are very gifted manipulators who can initiate something dormant deep within the manipulated person and then channel it, while allowing that person to maintain a sense of agency and in some cases even strengthen their ego. I have seen this dynamic in many of these relationships.
I believe that there are very talented manipulators who can initiate something slumbering deep within the manipulated person and then channel it.
There is even evidence that some of them were very caring and had honest feelings towards their partner. Take serial killer David Birnie, who exchanged over 2,000 letters with his wife Catherine Birnie before breaking contact with him. Or Raymond Fernandez, who publicly acknowledged his love for Martha Beck again before he was executed. However, if caring means willingness to put someone else's needs and happiness above one's own, most men would likely fail this test. In general, however, very few of us would pass this test.
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