Common Misconceptions About Serial Killers

Ellen Gutoskey
They're not always as smart as they seem.
They're not always as smart as they seem. / Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images

Thanks to movies like The Silence of the Lambs and the real-life stories of especially diabolical criminals like Ted Bundy, serial killers have a reputation for being much smarter than other run-of-the-mill murderers.

But on this episode of Misconceptions, Mental Floss host Justin Dodd is explaining why that’s not exactly true—and setting the record straight on other serial killer stereotypes that don’t hold much water. When it comes to intellect, studies suggest that serial killers generally rank in the middle. That said, some do have obsessive tendencies, which can come across as intelligence. 

Are all serial killers men, or mentally ill, or both? How many people does someone need to have killed in order to be considered a serial killer? Is criminal profiling really as effective as Mindhunter and Criminal Minds have led us to believe?

You'll find answers to those pressing questions and more in the video below.

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