Title of Oral/Poster Presentation

Serial Killer Fandoms: A folkloric perspective

Presenter Information

Naomie BarnesFollow

Class

Article

Department

English

Faculty Mentor

Lynne McNeill

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

Serial Killer Fandoms: A folkloric perspective Many psychological studies have been conducted in reference to violent perpetrators (in this case serial killers), and those who become obsessed with the criminals. These studies focus on the psychology of the killer, and attempt to answer the reason why their fans are fixated on the horrific details surrounding the murders. However, the psychology world often bypasses information as to how and why these fans create social groups, or fandoms, and the purpose these groups serve. My research is focusing on folklore within these fandoms. Specifically, the research includes an in-depth look at: memorabilia, music, and legend-tripping. Memorabilia includes items associated with the serial killers, the victims, and the locations where the crime took place. I will draw connections between the folklore traditions surrounding saint relics, criminal corpse beliefs, and the modern practices surrounding the buying, selling, and trading of souvenirs. Murder ballads are a tradition dating back to medieval times. European folk songs eventually moved to the Americas, where the songs were changed over time to reflect local stories. These ballads portray the events leading up to the murder, the murder itself, and usually end with justice being served. There is a similarity between this traditional genre and the newly composed music surrounding serial killers. Legend-tripping involves traveling to a specific location where an event took place. Often these locations are believed to be haunted, or where a violent or tragic incident occurred. These trips are linked to holy pilgrimages, and are also connected with current fandom practices. Fans will travel to crime scenes-sometimes on their own, and sometimes paying for a professional tour. By researching the history of these topics, analyzing surveys, and conducting interviews, I will propose reasons why these folklore traditions have been and will continue to be practiced.

Start Date

4-9-2015 4:00 PM

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Apr 9th, 4:00 PM

Serial Killer Fandoms: A folkloric perspective

Serial Killer Fandoms: A folkloric perspective Many psychological studies have been conducted in reference to violent perpetrators (in this case serial killers), and those who become obsessed with the criminals. These studies focus on the psychology of the killer, and attempt to answer the reason why their fans are fixated on the horrific details surrounding the murders. However, the psychology world often bypasses information as to how and why these fans create social groups, or fandoms, and the purpose these groups serve. My research is focusing on folklore within these fandoms. Specifically, the research includes an in-depth look at: memorabilia, music, and legend-tripping. Memorabilia includes items associated with the serial killers, the victims, and the locations where the crime took place. I will draw connections between the folklore traditions surrounding saint relics, criminal corpse beliefs, and the modern practices surrounding the buying, selling, and trading of souvenirs. Murder ballads are a tradition dating back to medieval times. European folk songs eventually moved to the Americas, where the songs were changed over time to reflect local stories. These ballads portray the events leading up to the murder, the murder itself, and usually end with justice being served. There is a similarity between this traditional genre and the newly composed music surrounding serial killers. Legend-tripping involves traveling to a specific location where an event took place. Often these locations are believed to be haunted, or where a violent or tragic incident occurred. These trips are linked to holy pilgrimages, and are also connected with current fandom practices. Fans will travel to crime scenes-sometimes on their own, and sometimes paying for a professional tour. By researching the history of these topics, analyzing surveys, and conducting interviews, I will propose reasons why these folklore traditions have been and will continue to be practiced.