Date of Award

Spring 5-20-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Humanities (PhD)



First Advisor

Viktor Osinubi, Ph.D./Timothy Askew, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Kelly DeLong, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Alma Vinyard, Ed.D.


This study examines the psychology of fictional and real-life serial killers and the behavioral similarities between them. Three fictional murderers, mainly Macbeth (William Shakespeare’s Macbeth), Buffalo Bill (The Silence of the Lambs), and the Creature (Frankenstein),as well as real life killers such as Charles Manson, Ed Gein, and Edmund Kemper were researched in depth. The data for this study was gathered from a variety of sources such as biographies, television interviews, published novels, articles, and documentaries. This study also focuses on predispositional factors and personality traits that led these killers to a life of crime. While no single behavioral trait was found to be present in every murderer studied, some of the psychological factors that were found to have predictive value included: abusive upbringings, mother hate, adoption, pornography, and brain damage were also reliable predictors in the lives of fictional and nonfictional perpetrators.