Friday, January 24, 2014

Attracted to Evil: The Hybristophiliac

Attracted to Evil: The Hybristophiliac

by Tina Glasneck

Every day we are almost beat upside the head with tales of horrible crimes: murders, rapes, torturing and armed robberies.  Yet, while many of us gasp and shake our heads in outrage, others feel a deadly attraction. It is when the ultimate bad boy becomes an object of intense desire.

As you may know, my research takes me everywhere and I believe that to create believable characters, I also need to understand them. This month, my research has broached a topic I was unfamiliar with by name, but  familiar with by concept.

We all have our kink?

Hybristophilia, also known as the Bonnie and Clyde syndrome, referencing the dynamic crime duo of the 1930s, is nothing new, and the most popular case thereof, dates back to the 1890s.

With the romanticizing of darkness, our once hardened shell has become more accepting of finding the barbaric and atrocious appealing, evident by the rising trend of hybristophilia. By performing an internet search of it, you’ll notice that this paraphilia has been playing in the background of society for a while, but also that it is rising in the limelight.

The hybristophiliac seeks out companionship with violent criminals and is most known for their fan letters to serial killers, and are often referred to as serial killer groupies. In their letters, they often express their love and devotion.  In fact, it is estimated that a once notorious serial killer, who shall remain nameless, “received about two hundred fan letters each day from female admirers” while incarcerated. 

There are two main categories or  types of hybristophiliacs: passive and aggressive. The passive hybristophiliac is not serial killer fan because of her overwhelming interest in the crimes committed by the criminal, but because of her exaggerated attraction to the ultimate “bad boy.” Somewhere between fan letter and her knowledge of her idol’s crimes, she convinces herself that the perpetrator is either innocent, as in he didn't do it; or, he been reformed by the criminal justice system and has changed, or, he will change because  her love can be a catalyst of change, i.e., I love him enough to make change happen. Through her love, she truly believes she can change and rehabilitate the beast, changing his nature from feral to domesticated.

The aggressive hybristophiliac can be a ticking time bomb, whereby she can be involved in the crimes of her “bad boy.”  According to Love Art History website, “[She is] willing to help out [her] lover with [his] criminal agenda by luring victims, hiding bodies, covering crimes, or even committing crimes.” As an active criminal element, she is willing to do anything and everything she can to achieve that which she wishes to have.

When our appreciation of the anti-hero climaxes, and leaves us longing for more, and we've soaked up all that we can throughout hours of laid back entertainment, and we start to see monsters as men, we teeter on being swayed by our romanticism, until we reach the true dark side.

And you? What are your thoughts?What is your take on the serial killer fan club?

For more information on hybristophilia, please check out the following resources:


TINA GLASNECK loves storytelling. She is currently working on the next story in her Spark Before Dying Series, and loves her entertaining research. Her dark novella, and most recent release, ANGELS CRY, is exclusively available on Amazon.


  1. Women's history of fascination with the 'bad boys' has a name, Who knew? Tina did!

  2. I hope to one day locate the first evidence of hybristophilia, but as of yet, there isn't much data as to the first case (and I'm not referring to Bonnie). Gotta love the research, right? :)