Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

British Maniac Patrick Mackay

"Switching on the Dark"

Nazism, a version of fascism, was the ideology of the National Socialist German Workers Party, led by Adolf Hitler, referred to as the Führer. It refers most commonly to a period from 1933 to 1945, when the Nazi Party was in power: the "Third Reich." Adherents believed that great nations developed from strong military power, so Hitler called on Germany to stand strong and become more aggressive as a proud nation. Hitler and his followers viewed "Aryan" blond-haired Caucasians as the superior race, so they supported a strong heterosexual racial supremacy at the expense of other groups, such as Jews, Gypsies, and homosexuals, whom they perceived as inferior. They blamed Germany's deterioration on such people mingling with the purebreds, and deemed that these "mongrels" were not lebensunwertes, or worthy of life.

While the philosophy of Nazism was outlawed in Germany after Hitler's defeat in World War II, here and there political groups have revived the ideas as Neo-Nazis. The belief that certain races are superior persists, warranting both arrogance and aggression as a birthright.

Mackay worshipped Hitler, write Lane and Gregg, dubbing himself "Franklin Bollvolt the First." He made himself a crude uniform, sticking emblems on it symbolic of the Nazi regime, and purchasing stormtrooper boots. He considered himself quite powerful and believed that he would one day change the world.

In The Gates of Janus, Ian Brady — the British child killer who with his late accomplice Myra Hindley committed the famous "Moors Murders,"— comments on serial killing and ideology. He himself was inspired by Austrian philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche to become nihilistic, disdainful of others and assured of his own superiority. From his vantage point, having committed murder in the same country and just a decade before Mackay, he offers a perspective on the motives of others like himself:

"...most people observe legal, moral, and ethical boundaries for immediate personal comfort or from timidity. The criminal is more attracted and stimulated by the excitement of challenging the norm, of stepping into forbidden territory like a solitary explorer, consciously thirsting to experience that which the majority have not and dare not..."

He refers to this approach as "spiritually switching on the dark." The forbidden is a natural attractant, and some people who move toward it with ease possess "advanced criminal potential." The serial killer "lacks the patience to compromise and bear the stultifying lassitude of ordinary modern life. He... wants more NOW... in what is clearly perceived as an extremely uncertain and short life."

Once a person has committed his first or second act of murder unchallenged, Brady says, "he will gradually accept his own acts as normal, or supranormal." He has created a "microcosmic state of his own in which he alone governs, becoming as careless with other people's lives as are most rulers." He is, in effect, a mirror of certain societies that value power over human life.

Mackay was released from Moss Side at the age of 20 in 1972. It wasn't long before the real trouble began.


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