Imagine if you could figure out the rhythm of a serial killer and help hinder future murders from occurring.
According to researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, a formula known as the "Devil's Staircase" can do just that. Mikhail Simkin and Vwani Roychowdhury mapped out the timeline of "The Butcher of Rostov" Andrei Chikatilo's killings, which occurred in the Ukraine between 1978 and 1990.
Although it may seem that the pattern of his murders were fragmented, with long periods in which he seemed to lay dormant, peppered with several murders occurring within a short period of time, a definite formation appeared.
The researchers compare the urges felt by serial killers to people who experience epileptic seizures, as both experience a firing of numerous neurons in the brain. After this intense firing, there must be a period of time that passes before the firing happens again.
"Killers are more likely to strike again directly after a murder, and their ‘murder probability’ falls during long quiet periods — but it adheres to a broadly predictable pattern of killings. The researchers think that the neural impulse to kill overwhelms the killer even after the ‘sedative’ effect of killing — leading to ‘bursts’ of murderous activity."
The killings act as a sort of release for the killer, which creates a tranquilizing effect. This would explain why there are long hiatuses in which no murders are committed.
While there is much fine tuning left to be done on this formula, researchers feel they are on the right path. With such a formula, the ability to help police and the like in following serial killers could hopefully lead to capturing them.
Perhaps we will be able to capture killers before they are considered "serial."
[Source: Twisted Minds]