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Fact or Fiction: Serial Killers
by Staff
Serial killers aren't always creepy loners who live with their mothers -- sometimes they're seemingly average churchgoers with wives and kids. How much do you know about the history of serial killers -- and would you know if one were living next door?

A person has to murder five people to be considered a serial killer.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: A serial killer has at least three victims.

There have been about 400 serial killers in the United States in the past century.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: The number is more like 300.

The Green River Killer is considered to be the first serial killer in the United States.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's actually John Wayne Gacy.

More than 95 percent of serial killers are male.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Eighty percent is the right number.

Serial killer John Wayne Gacy was a precinct captain for his local Democratic party.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It was actually Ted Bundy.

David Berkowitz, aka "Son of Sam," was a "thrill killer," and Ted Bundy was a "lust killer."

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's the other way around.

Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was the inspiration for the Buffalo Bill character in "Silence of the Lambs."

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It was Peter Woodcock.

Dennis Rader, convicted in 2005, was known as the BTK Killer. "BTK" stands for "beat, torture, kill."

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's "bind, torture, kill."

In childhood, serial killers often wet their beds, commit arson and exhibit cruelty to animals, behaviors known as the MacDonald triad.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: The MacDonald triad is bed-wetting, running away from home and doll torture.

Charlize Theron won an Oscar for her portrayal of Ilene Wuornowski, a Florida prostitute who was convicted of killing seven men.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's Aileen Wuornos.