Criminology has made significant advances when it comes to understanding murderers, their early lives, and how they can be stopped or even deterred before they develop a lust for blood. But what about the criminology of extra-weird deviants who claim to have supernatural powers, or to belong to nonexistent sub-species of humans such as vampires or werewolves? What drives a person to believe that he or she is different from the rest of the populace in this way? cIs it the desire to feel important, mysterious and dangerous in a unique and unparalleled way? Or is it simply mental illness which drives people to drink blood, howl at the moon, and act like a devilish creature during a trial which will dictate the remainder of that person’s life on earth? Do these people genuinely believe themselves to be non-human or undead, or is it all just an elaborate role-playing act gone too far? In gothic times, society harbored a very real fear of vampires, werewolves, and other menacing creatures of thenight. Today, that fear is less present (besides among religious nuts who are arguably just as crazy as those claiming to have vampire blood running through their veins), but there continue to be crimes committed by those claiming to be undead.
Richard Trenton Chase — The Vampire Who Didn’t Know What He Was
Richard Trenton Chase could possibly be called the most authentic vampire killer in history; he never flaunted or even mentioned the word ‘vampire’. Chase truly believed that he needed blood to survive, but never openly stated that he was a vampire — it was the name he was given by the authorities after examination of his heinous murders. A schizophrenic, Chase’s early life was full of physical abuse, animal mutilations, and impotency — three aspects noted by criminology as being common in the childhood of murderers. Chase was an extreme hypochondriac, and fretted over the slightest indication something may be wrong with his health. Some ofhis wild medical claims included having his pulmonary artery stolen, no heartbeat, and bones growing through the back of his head. For some reason, he was repeatedly released from mental facilities who deemed him as a no threat. Chase mutilated rabbits, drinking their blood and eating the entrails raw when he wasn’t making a rabbit intestines milkshake in the name of preventing his heart from shrinking into nothingness. Fellow inmates at a mental facility housing Chase called him Dracula after finding blood around his mouth and two dead birds by his window. Chase eventually graduated from rabbits and birds to neighbors’ cats and dogs, which apparently didn’t bother his mother — Chase once threw a dead cat at her feet before gnawing on the corpse, but she pretty much went about her day as if nothing had happened. Chase went on to murder multiple women and some children, all of whom were mutilated and partially eaten. Clearly a schizophrenic from childhood, Chase should never have been released multiple times, especially not after thebird incident.
Werewolves on Acid
Criminology has tried to explain the mentality of people who believe they are werewolves in a number of ways, and although some of them are plausible, there is no blanket reason that reasonably covers every criminal claiming to be super-human. Diseases such as hypersensitivity to light, or hallucinations from drugs such as LSD (or even from rotten foods) can cause a person to begin believing a number of wild untruths — including the idea that the mentally unstable individual has become a werewolf. There are accounts of individuals taking LSD, believing that they have transformed into a werewolf, and never growing out of that belief even when the drug has long worn off. This may, however, be indicative of a previously dormant mental illness emerging with help of the drugs. Another explanation is given by Dr Stephen Giannangelo, author of The Psychopathology of Serial Murder: a “pervasive lost sense of self and intimacy, an inadequacy of identity, a feeling of no control” manifests itself in an act of complete control and identity — murder, and the idea that the murderer is somehow special or elevated above ‘normal’ society. This is true of many teens who claim to be werewolves or other super-human beings.
I Was a Vampire Before it was Cool
In the late 90s, a group of teens were involved, one way or another, with the murder of a couple in their late 50s. Especially disturbing was the relation of the couple to one member of the group: she was their daughter, a girl named Heather Wendorf who described her living situation as “hell.” Roderick Ferrell was the mastermind behindthe crime, committing the actual murders and mutilating the body of the father with “his symbol”, a V shape composed of cigarette burns. The same V shape was used to represent Ferrell “Vampire Clan”, and Ferrell believed himself to be a possessed, soulless 500-year-old vampire named Vesago. These vampiric beliefs developed over time, beginning when Ferrell began playing an RPG computer game entitled “Vampire: TheMasquerade”, which prompted him to form his own vampire cult once the game’s novelty waned but his desires did not. When Ferrell and his ‘clan’ were caught after four days on the lam, he claimed to be too powerful to contain and also pointed the finger at a ‘rival vampire gang’ when asked about the murders, even though the mark he had adopted as his symbol was branded into the male victim’s chest. During trial, his mother was accused of neglect and child endangerment by allowing Ferrell to act in self-destructive ways and develop sick fantasies which were not only unregulated but seemed to be almost encouraged. Undoubtedly, his mother’s actions only encouraged Ferrell’s raging mental illness; she was also caught (during the time of the trial) to be writing sexually suggestive letters to a 14-year-old boy, asking him to perform marriage rituals to become her ‘sire for all eternity’ because she also longed to be a vampire. Criminology is way ahead of this kid: clear parental neglect, a mental illness, and a need to feel ‘larger than life’ through unreal fantasies all combined powers to create a teenage ‘vampire’ murderer.