Like a modern day mystery. These are my opinions, and I've tried to deal with the matter objectively, using only one source, Wikipedia and here are my findings on the topic. My advance apologies to those who may find the content offensive or the treatment of the topic insensitive. I'd like to also add, that I these are just my opinions, and are not backed by any scientific-psychology analyzing degrees.
- Most of the women I read about, seemed to kill one of these following categories of people: children, husbands or the elderly.
- A majority of the people killed were for monetary gain from insurance- though the modus operandi differed. For eg. early Victorian women ran schemes along the lines of the modern day adoption agencies, followed through with old folks homes schemes between 1890s- 1930s, peppered generously with stories of children & husbands dying across time.
- Older female serial killers seemed to be those with power (either that or the others were not important to keep track of), who killed those with lesser power. Common themes were :
- 1) Women of the nobility exerting themselves by murdering or torturing their slaves and serfs.
2) Slave abuse by female slave owners, bordering on torture and the like
- The trend seemed to shift slightly in the later part of the century, where there was a sudden instance of mothers smothering their own children. Most of these deaths were attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIFS) until, as in one case, the husband read the diary of this wife and turned her over to the police.
- There were out of a list of 72, maybe about 4 cases of lust murderers, and sexual assaults. As advised, the largest was monetary.
- And because this is about female serial killers, there has to be one case of 'shopping' being a motive to kill. Yes, you read right, there was actually a killer who killed, then lifted the credit cards of the victims and went shopping.
- No clear patterns on this one. It was noted that a lot of the women were products of broken marriages, single mothers: who also had a history of being abused either physically or sexually
- Where they came from families: they were from an authoritarian family where one parent was dominant and strict, either because of religion or because they just were.
- There were exceptions to this as well. The more violent crimes came from duos. That was where there was a pair up between a timid shy woman, and a dominant man. Who were in a relationship and that eventually led to a change in the woman, and a killing spree.
- Strangely, most of the killers were women who had positioned themselves as 'carers' or 'parental'. Nurses featured prominently on the list.
- Common methods of killing was the usage of poisons like arsenic, strychnine.
- Disposal methods- were common funerals and burials. As most of the victims were known to the murderers and not picked at random.
- Where it involved the murder of more than 40 or so individuals, the dead were normally thrown into water bodies or exonerated at a morgue. Once again, this pattern is presumably different to the methods of disposal employed by serial killers who are male.
Female serial killers are divided into nine categories:
- Black widows (kill husbands)- Belle Gunness
- Angels of Death (Nurses) - Genene Jones
- Sexual Predators ( Rosemary West)
- Revenge Killers (Aileen Wuornos)
- Profit Killers (Mary Ann Cotton)
- Team killers (Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Wood)
- Killers whose sanity is in question (Myra Hindley)
- Killers whose motives defy explanation (Martha Ann Johnson)
- Unsolved crimes.