Crypto-criminology refers to the dark, devious and dangerous side of human nature. That strain of humanistic proclivity that crosses the boundaries of civility into brutality. This is a realm of “practical criminology”, applicability to the real world, where human behavior defies profiling, prediction and precise definition. Such an investigation descends to the depths of human depravity, to damp gloomy dungeons of mental mayhem. For which, modern science has no useful, effective and efficient means to explain all the possibilities. Of course, myth, magic and metaphor are allusions constantly present within this region of discussion. In one sense, it’s the exploration of human evil and all its inherent manifestations. And, in another sense, crypto-criminology seeks to delve into the mystery of why people commit crimes. This is an assessment of criminal behavior to walk the eerie landscape of human deviance that foments criminality. The search for modern explanations includes consideration of the influence of “gothic metaphors” in literature, movies and other mass media. As such, “crypto” refers to the hidden, the secret and the unrevealed. Like the word “gothic”, reference is made to the primitive and primeval notions of human nature. A world of howling psychic werewolves, dreams of death and demonic influence. That subterranean mindset of monstrous meanings, vampiric violence and cunning cruelty.
In similarly related aspects of study, there is the term cryptozoology. This often refers to the investigation of unknown or missing “animal” life forms. From this point, we could extrapolate that “crypto” suggests the hidden, secret and mysterious nature of living things. By connection, there are also the elements of knowing, studying and understanding unexplained phenomena. Such a notion aptly concerns the field of criminology. To this day, we have a multitude of so called schools of thoughts. All of which fall short of satisfactory explanations. The result has been a misguidance of social policy, public confusion and failed application within the criminal justice system. Fact merges with fiction, and contemporary society flounders in the flawed chase of illusion and fabrication.
As truth becomes entangled with untruth, metaphors assert their presence to stumble at clear-cut rationalizations. The more we label, define and profile people the more we find the difficulty in understanding the commissions of crime. So, the pursuit of the inexplicable nature of humans follows the mystifying pathways of baffling occurrences, bizarre incidents and sordid acts of debauchery. “Crypto” pursues the macabre mind, especially in terms of primal existence, event selectivity and criminal causality. People make premeditated choices to commit crimes. Even the most atrocious acts of violence are planned and carried out with a uniqueness of logic and rationality. Yet, we stand in awe, shock and horror when such things occur. Maybe its because we see a sense of ourselves in the violence, aggression and destruction. In this sense, crypto-criminology is presented as a mental mechanism by which to pursue a course of study in deviant behavior. And, as a consequence, that behavior that causes injury, trauma and death. By inquiry into the strange, perplexing and complex nature of criminology, we find the seductive connectivity to gothic notions of fable, legend and allegory. Suffice it to say, the secretive, dark and shadowy mental process of human behavior remain elusive to various fields of the “pseudo sciences”.
In particular, the nature of evil eludes the precision of definitive understanding or specificity of prediction. It remains dark and buried in the fantasy of myth, magic and daydreams. So, in the realm of practical criminological issues, we look for alternatives on multi-dimensional levels. Avenues of the chase bring the forefront premeditated capers on fringes of the exotic, the supernatural and the gothic. Or, preferably the ever-expanding realm of “crypto-criminology”. These cerebral processes engage in the eternal warfare of balancing the struggle between good and evil. Myth, magic and metaphor surface in watery illusions of psychic aberrations. As we think, so do we act. To know, be and do is human nature. When we fantasize, we also want to touch, feel and sense the manifestations of our creativity. Take it from one dimension to another. Lift it out of the psyche into the real world.
Looking in the mirror, ours is a reflection of what the face of evil looks like. Criminals are us and we are them. The only difference, some control their behaviors, while others choose not to. We’re the lone gunman on the grassy knoll. And, we’re also werewolf hunter with the silver bullets, stealthily stalking in our own delusions. For us, ghouls, specters and phantoms huddle in the hidden caverns of the brain’s special mirror, the mind. Figments of imagination find eventual fruition in urges, desires and motives. Gloomy thoughts hunger after the lust of life and the opposition of death. The study of crime, criminals and criminalistics, should never cease searching the limitless spires of human thinking. Crypto-criminology asserts a developing foundation of inquiry into the deep murky projections of mental reflections. And, in this eternal quest, our sleight of hand tactics become one of answering which is the final question. Is it a who done it? Or, is it a why done it? If the latter, then why?
For a basic investigative query, we flip the pages of the basic continuum in the who, what, why, where, when and how? Open minded, interdisciplinary and logical, we should consider the mischief afoot by following rigorous investigative efforts, insights and intuition. This enigmatic inquiry presses toward the cagey weirdness of human beings. If, as some suggest, we’re “mind hunters”. And, the mind is an illusion the brain conjures. Then, aren’t we really hunting something that doesn’t exist? An apparition from the abyss of human ideation, deep in the caverns of the cerebral processes? From religion to science, and everything in between, we baffle ourselves. Questions remain unanswered in the quest of greater understanding of human personalities, motives and proclivities. By dreams and fantasies we create our inner world, which transforms at a constant rate. Figuring out deviant behavior becomes one of speculation and educated guess work. Most of which, we can’t begin to comprehend. The vast reaches of the mystery confound the scientist, the priest, the press and politicians. When relegated to the philosophical regions of metaphysics, such as religion, the universe of ideology is wide open to speculation. The dreamscape of the dominion of human darkness invites the images of vampires, werewolves and demons. Supernatural entities exude a kind of special attachment in our furtive trickery cryptic mental wanderings. The human puzzle has a multitude of pieces. Putting them all together occupies a timelessness that never ceases. In an evil world, anything is possible. Even the surprising strain of goodness.
Overall though, we struggle in criminology to establish accurate measures of human behavior. Confused by one theoretical constructs after another, we reach for myth, magic and metaphor to express our frustrations in finding the ultimate answer. And still, we have to accept that human evil stems from human thinking. A medieval realm cloaks the desires, motive and intentions of the things we do. At the same time, various “schools of thought” contend with controversial notions pertaining to core essence of human beings. Such is the sensual realm of good and evil, vice and morality, normal and abnormal, natural and deviant. Wickedness, malevolence and immorality touch every level of society. Human hypocrisy colludes to cover and conceal exposing truths. Contemporary explanations of criminal behavior have failed, yet some cling to simplistic notions and deceptively easy solutions. Fad, fashion and quick fix foster the inadequacy of effective explanations. From biological theories to sociological configurations, the search for precise determinants of our criminal nature cannot deduce a specificity of factors. Instead, what we have is a multiplicity of academic theories subject to wide speculation. We’re left with stumbling in pursuing the darkness of human inclinations. Thus, we put on our black capes, grab crucifixes and holy water. Pick up wooden stakes and load silver bullets to become “mind hunters” to “hunt monsters”. To which, we discover the complications of the human safari. Hiding in the psychic landscape is the brain’s creativity, which is an illusion for mysterious cryptic cerebral processes.
Within the complexity of human behavior, resides the potential for criminality in all of us. Influential in this process of individual ideation, is the role of religious beliefs and associated philosophical ideologies. All over the world, people of different faiths, practices and rituals project personifications of evil, devils and demons. It is reflective in the expressions of our assorted world-view. We relish in seeing badness on the outside and never on the inside. Our mental housing keeping is very private. Thus, seeing God and Satan in mortal combat mirrors the Jekyll-Hyde constructs of our own personalities. To this end, wicked forces are seen to walk the earth, tempting men and women to do deviant things. Variations of “evil figures and forces” reflect cultural assertions about human nature in a planetary scheme. So, the ideas of dark images, primitive urges and gloomy scenery persist in our thinking about crime causation.
This duality of thought, good versus evil, portrays the ongoing allegory of our cosmic struggle. Such notions influence our reference points about the nature of crime. The who done it is always a why done it. Motive marks the myths of our thoughts. Often in the assorted media, we allude to the temptations of dark side of human behavior. In doing so, our fairy tales mingle with reality and merge fact with fiction. In chasing urban legends, we conjure up “vampires or werewolves” to explain deviance and criminality in others. Folk tales, fables and related stories evoke images of imaginary manifestations. The dungeons of our mind mirror the psychic proclivities of our personal seductions. We allow ourselves to be pulled toward the covetousness of our gain. From the yarns we spin, the chronicles of our thoughts hold the secrets relative to our motives and intents.
Crypto-Criminology takes us into these mental archives where we’ve filed our allegorical enchantments. The cryptic logic, by which we rationalize, excuse and mitigate atrocities, resides in this subconscious surreal realm of belief. Such prurient carnality lives in the vast legerdemain of our psychic. We don’t want to think about the nature of our own inherent inclinations. Our penchant toward shadowy selfishness, conceited and deviant activities, is worrisome and makes us anxious. But, we are the demons and they are us. Our self-interests come before those of others when ever possible. We’ll go to any lengths to get what we want, when we want. To fulfill the fantasies of our ideation, people are capable of any act of debauchery, defiance and deception. Nefarious deeds know no boundaries in the darkened tunnels of the human mindset. Given the pervasive extent of contemporary media forms, criminological fact has folded behind the curtains of fictional depiction. The visualization of a conception of evil has become a contemporary preoccupation in both story telling and real-life. Its linkage finds the pathway to the unconscious regions of mental processes. Mystifying conduits between fantasy and reality surround the senses. Our thinking provokes intrusion into consciousness. Once there, we find ways and means to project the expressions of the psycho-drama taking place within. The darkness of human spirit ignites the flames of a personalized “holy war” in the struggle of individual good and evil. In the shaded gloominess of the dark encounters, ours is the face of enemy which we created in our own image. Accordingly, the search continues for a comprehensive revelation concerning this perplexing species called humankind.
“Crime and the Gothic: Sexualizing Serial Killers”, by Caroline Picart, Florida State University, 2006 – School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany, Journal of Justice and Popular Culture;
Peck, M. S., People of the Lie – The Hope or Healing Human Evil, (New York, NY: Simon and Shuster, 1983), pages 40-41;
Schmalleger, F., Criminology Today – An Integrative Approach – Fourth Edition, (Upper Saddle River: Pearson-Prentice Hal, 2006) page 173;
Baumeister, R. F., Evil – Inside Human Violence and Cruelty, (New York, NY: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1996), pages 66-67;
Keen, Sam, Hymns to an Unknown God – Awakening the Spirit of Everyday Life, (New York, NY: Bantam Books, 1994), pages 60-61;
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