Joanne Wickenburg, Astrologer
(c) Joanne Wickenburg 2008
This particular research project started as a fluke. Having all of my planets on the setting side of my chart, almost everything I get into is a fluke. This particular fluke occurred in 1989.
As far as statistical research was concerned, I was a novice, and even a bit naive as far as the process of statistical research was concerned. This little fluke started when my phone rang; it was a detective with the Homicide Division of the Seattle Police Department. The detective wanted me to “look at something.” He seemed reluctant to state specifically what it was all about, but he finally acknowledged that it concerned a murder that had recently occurred in the Seattle area, which he suspected was the birth of a new serial killer.
Of course, I said: "Sure, come on out." I had no idea what to look for in an astrological chart as an indicator that someone was a serial murder. But like many astrologers, I was a great detective novel buff, so I thought this would be interesting if nothing more. Aren't all astrologers detectives at heart?
The next day, he came to my office, and gave me the birth date of a young man who he suspected to be the perpetrator. I had recently read about an axe murder, so I wasn't surprised when the detective told me that he was working on the case. Apparently, a block away from the murder site, the detective had found a man who appeared homeless. After talking to the suspect the detective discovered that the young man was a Buddhist, and he believed in reincarnation. The fact that he believed in reincarnation was why he was a suspect in the eyes of this detective. I was a little surprised that the young man's belief system seemed so disturbing to the detective. So we had a little talk about how many people believe in reincarnation.
The detective wasn't very happy with what I had to say, but still, I agreed to do a Solar Chart for this young man. Having no birth time, and not knowing where the young man was born, was limiting. But what the heck, I was curious to see what I could find.
When I constructed the Solar Chart, I found that this poor young man was going through a Saturn return, and at the same time, transiting Pluto was going over his Sun; In other words, they were at the same degree of the same sign, or in a conjunction aspect. Certainly he was going through a major life transition, but does this mean he is a serial murderer? I felt a sense of dread about saying anything about the chart. A man in transition does not a serial killer make. I asked the detective if he could find out the time the man as born. The detective said he would try.
In the mean time, I was on a mission to find birth data for every serial killer. A week after the detective came to my office I went to a United Astrologer's Conference, where I was scheduled to speak. Because of my new interest in this research project, I attended some of the research presentations at the conference, and also talked to the late Lois Rodden. She had just come out with her new book, "Profiles in Crime." I found out about the ISAR-Rodden data base, and when I returned home, I ordered all of the charts of murderers., I knew that if I was going to profile serial murderers, I needed to select only the people on the research registry who were, in fact, serial murderers. I had decided before I started to enter the data onto my computer, that I would only use those people who had singularly committed the crime. I also eliminated all those who were considered serial murderers based on killing for money or love. The Seattle murder was a violent one, and his attacks involved rape.
At the same conference, I also met Alphie Lavoie from Connecticut. He had designed a very user-friendly Astrological Research software program (AIR,) where one simply input birth data, pressed a button, and the program would go through all of the charts and find all commonalities, as well as the percentages of how many charts had planets in each sign, the number of similar aspects, and much more.
After going through a stack of data of serial killers, I ended up with 44 clean charts that fit the FBI profile. (Generally they were are sexual and repetitive.). The charts were classified as A, AA, and one or two might have been B. That means that their birth records were proven accurate, the B being that birth data had come from an autobiography or a biography. I would not take any of the “dirty” data. Almost all of these charts were for the 20th Century, which is why I could not do much with the outer planets. I realize that 44 charts does not make a research project. However it seemed to be sufficient to get an idea whether or not there was a specific astrological factor showing up in these charts. Here are some of the things that I found:
Sun is in either Gemini or Sagittarius 25.5%
All of them except two had the Moon in either Capricorn or Sagittarius.
There is an opposition between Gemini and Sagittarius and an emphasis between Sagittarius and Capricorn.
I suspected that I would discover things in the charts that indicated personality characteristics that were more intense, such as Moon in Scorpio, which is often associated with repressed emotions based on childhood experiences. However…
None of the charts had the Moon in Scorpio.
Only two people had the Sun in Scorpio.
In fact, only 9% had the Moon in Fixed signs.
There was only one serial killer with an Aquarius Moon, and none of them had Aquarian Sun signs.
74% had the Sun or Moon in Capricorn or Sagittarius. That is 31 out of the 44 serial killers.
32% had the planetary ruler of the Ascendant in either Sagittarius or Capricorn.
It seemed like everything kept going back to those same two signs-Sagittarius and Capricorn.
The emphasis on Capricorn did not really surprise me, but at first the concentration on Sagittarius did. However, after thinking about it, it made perfect sense. Negative Sagittarius traits include fanatics, and in extreme cases, a “God obsession,” or someone who sees himself as god-like, a belief that they are more important than anyone else.
From a statistical perspective it really isn't important to understand the interpretive significance of the astrological data. A profile based on statistics is what I was really looking for. Consideration of the interpretive value of astrology may give insight into “why” someone does something as evil as murder, and it is certainly interesting, but my job in this study was to look at the charts from a different perspective. For example, I knew that the police detective probably would have no interest in understanding the reason someone does something. In his mind, I could be making it all up. He simply wanted the statistics. And so did I.
In 41% of the charts I calculated, the Moon was either the highest, most elevated, or the lowest astrological body in the chart.
Even though the interpretations of this these charts may not be significant from a statistical perspective, it is interesting to note that most of the FBI profiles of serial murderers indicate a strong emphasis on a dysfunctional family, and issues around the mother.
Saturn was the most elevated planet in 25% of the charts.
Saturn was rising (in the 1st house) or in the 12th house in 38.5% of the horoscopes. The Capricorn, Saturn, Moon, emphasis seemed to be a strong signature.
The mean average of Saturn rising or in the 12th house is 16%. However, in 38.5% of the serial murderers' charts, it was here.
When I looked at the Moon phases, I found that:
77.3% of these men had the Sun and Moon within 45 degrees on either side of the New or Full moon.
The First Quarter phase and the Third Quarter phase were not well represented in the charts. The mean average of 25% should have been in each one of these.
I also found that the Mars-Sun angle was significant. Of these 44 people, 56.8% were born when Mars was within 45 degrees on either side of the Sun. The mean average is about 25%. My study found more than twice what would be expected.
Pluto was also strongly represented in the charts, located between the Ascendant and the Midheaven. I found that 55.4% had Pluto between the Ascendant and the MC, or in the lasts three houses.
This is interesting from an interpretive perspective. Pluto has to do with what we are living out in terms of where we are in the social evolutionary cycle, and how we are contributing to either the positive growth or to the destruction of mankind.
When I started this project, I believed that there would be a more-than-usual number of retrograde planets, because retrogrades encourage us look at who we as separate and different from the mass of mankind. I discovered that my presumption was incorrect.
On an average, 19% of the general public were born when Mercury was retrograde. In the charts of the serial killers, 22.7% of them had Mercury retrograde, not a significant difference.
I expected to find Venus and/or particularly Mars retrograde, indicating possible repression of sexual urges.
Actually both Venus and Mars were retrograde less frequently than average.
On an average 37.5% of the people have Saturn retrograde
50% of the serial killers had Saturn retrograde.
Not having a background in statistical research, I honestly don't know if that is statistically significant or not.
59% of the serial murderers had Neptune retrograde.
As a personal note, my daughter had been working for the Seattle Police Department as a 911 operator/dispatcher. This gave me more access to the police department than most, and I had several opportunities to listen to 911 incoming calls, as well as see how they were dispatched. My daughter's Sergeant was a former detective, and I talked to him about the FBI profile files. He found the research interesting when I showed him the graphs of “normal” versus “serial killers” planetary distribution and aspects. (As an aside, one thing I found interesting is that he told me that to his knowledge, there were no FBI profiles for people who steal, because everybody is inherently dishonest, but everybody is not inherently a serial murderer.) Made sense to me.
The week that I was out of town at the ISAR conference, the police arrested the killer. I have to admit that a part of me was disappointed, but a much larger part of me was relieved that the animal who had so violently raped and killed an innocent victim was now in custody where he belonged. And, of course, it was not the young man who was going through a heavy Saturn return, looking for himself, whose only crime was his belief in reincarnation.
I never did get the chart of the person who committed the murder. He had only committed one crime, but the likelihood of having repeated it was very powerful
I never thought that I would be interested in statistical research, but now I find it quite exciting. I would encourage all of you design a research project. And be objective! Don't let your own predispositions regarding any astrological factor interfere with the pure objectivity that statistical research requires. As you can see, there was no one astrological factor ensuring that someone would grow up to be a serial killer. But there are hints, and I hope enough evidence to encourage more research into this field.
My lecture about this subject matter at the ISAR (International Society for Astrological Research) conference in the late 80's was transcribed, unedited, and placed on the ISAR website, as well as others. Because the tape of the lecture was transcribed, and some pieces were omitted or mistaken due to audio interferences, etc., I wanted to post it on my own website in a more accurate format.