When you first start developing an interest in forensic psychology, it can be difficult to get enough of the subject. You want to learn as much as possible, and you want to look at as many interesting cases as possible. Psychology is a fascinating area of study, and when you start to dig into different cases, it can foster an interest that leads to a career. Whether you are already a forensic psychologist, currently in school getting your degree in forensic psychology online or offline, or you just have a passion for the subject, the web is a great place to find information.
Other students of forensic psychology and criminology have been looking at these cases and others like them for a long time, developing some of the knowledge that we now have regarding criminals. It can be fascinating to look into the past and examine some famous cases containing some terribly twisted people. The following are some of the myriad strange cases that you might want to learn more about and study on your own time. This is a great starting point. Dive deeper into these diabolical cases and see what you might be able to discover on your own.
John Wayne Gacy
From 1972 to 1978, John Wayne Gacy was living two lives. He led the life of a successful businessman and family man who loved children and entertained at parties as Pogo the Clown. He was also raping and murdering more than 30 boys and young men during this same period. Gacy hid the bodies in the crawlspace under his home, buried some in his backyard, and threw others into the river when he was running out of space. Gacy and his lawyers tried to claim that he was a paranoid schizophrenic, but the prosecution had psychiatrists and other expert witnesses on board who were able to show that Gacy was indeed coherent at the times of these murders, and that he knew what he was doing.
Son of Sam
David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam, is another famous case where an insanity defense came into play. He claimed that he received orders to kill from his neighbor’s dog. Psychiatrists said he was paranoid and delusional, but they found him fit enough to stand trial. Strangely, he didn’t follow his lawyer’s advice and plead that he was insane. Instead, he pled guilty to murdering six people.
With all the strangeness of cannibalism in the news lately, from the case of the man devouring another man’s face of in Miami to the 21-year old college student in Maryland who killed and at part of his roommate, minds recall one of the most famous cannibalistic cases in history. The name Dahmer is synonymous with evil in the minds of many people. He pled not guilty by reason of insanity, but the jury found him guilty of 15 counts of murder. He received 957 years in prison, but later died at the hands of another inmate.
The Blood Countess
Falling further into the annals of history’s most fearsome predators, we come across Elizabeth Bathory, the Blood Countess. Bathory was something of a tyrant, and one day while bathing, she slapped one of her servant girls, causing the girl to bleed. The Countess believes that the blood from the young, virginal girl caused her own skin to take on a youthful appearance. Vanity was another of the Countess’s flaws. Along with her assistants, she proceeded to murder countless young women and bathe in their blood in an attempt to keep her youth. Her crimes eventually came to light, and she was locked in a tower until she died.
These are just some of the many strange cases that you might want to consider researching. Learning more about the cases and the people involved in them can be an interesting and useful study in forensic psychology. Online resources should make it very easy to find more information.