Astrology Has a Creepy-Accurate Explanation for Serial Killers (2023)

You know how the FBI has an entire team dedicated to psychologically profiling murderers? Well, maybe they should just use astrology instead. It’s cheaper. And bizarrely on point. Because it turns out that some serial killers have a whole lot in common, astrologically.

Let me explain: In the zodiac, the 12 signs are divided into three groups by something called modality. Each sign is either a fixed sign, mutable sign, or cardinal sign, and each of these modalities has a different set of personality traits that go along with it. And it turns out, a sign’s modality has a little something to do with…murder.

Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces are known as mutable signs, meaning their signs fall at the end of a season (Gemini falls at the end of spring, Virgo at the end of summer, Sagittarius at the end of fall, and Pisces at the end of winter). (For comparison, cardinal signs fall at the beginning of a season and fixed signs fall in the middle of a season—and both have personality traits to match.) Back in 2008, a Dutch statistician named Jan Ruis, PhD, looked at the birth charts of almost 300 serial killers and found that “serial killers are frequently born when celestial factors are in mutable signs.”

More recently, in October 2022, TikToker Lauren Elaine Skirvin made a viral TikTok about that same stat. “Virgo shows up the most. That’s crazy,” she said. “You know their crime scenes are immaculate though. You know they’re bleaching those crime scenes within an inch of their lives. And they’re perfectionists so no stone is left unturned.”

So, what are the traits of these mutable signs? Well, they’re known to be adaptable and frantically indecisive. They’re like chameleons, experiencing episodic and frequent change throughout their lives. Combine that with these signs’ energies and personalities and you’ve got a recipe for people living double lives. No, really….

Let’s talk more about the mutable signs.


Geminis are symbolized by twins and known for having multiple sides or ­hidden personalities. A charming outer persona and a darker, disturbed inner one? Yup, a real possibility.


Virgos are meticulous and systematic—they live for patterns and routine. Serial killers tend to commit acts that follow a characteristic, predictable behavior pattern. Also, Virgos are v good at cleaning up after themselves. So.


Sagittariuses are charismatic and thrive on adventure. It makes sense that thrill-seeking Sags might be more likely to take a chance on going through with a heinous act. They are impulsive and spontaneous…and don’t always think things through.


Pisces are empathetic, but that empathy could backfire. Because they have the ability to feel collective pain, they can get overwhelmed and turn way inward as a coping mechanism. They also tend to live with their head in the clouds and can be detached from the real world.

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Serial Killers’ Zodiac Signs

Round up a few of America’s most notorious serial killers and you’ll get a whole lot of mutable signs: Ted Bundy (Sagittarius), Jeffrey Dahmer (Gemini), John Wayne Gacy (Pisces), Andrew Cunanan (Virgo), “Son of Sam” David Berkowitz (Gemini), “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez (Pisces), “Boston Strangler” Albert DeSalvo (Virgo), Randy Kraft (Pisces), Larry Eyler (Sagittarius), and “BTK” Dennis Rader (Pisces).

And that’s just Sun signs—you see even more mutability when you look at Moon and Rising signs plus the placement of all the other planets in a birth chart. Like: Ted Bundy (Sagittarius Moon), John Wayne Gacy (Sagittarius Rising), Peter “Yorkshire Ripper” Sutcliffe (Sagittarius Rising), Richard “the Night Stalker” Ramirez (Pisces Moon, Sagittarius Rising)—you get the picture.

Of course, not every serial killer is a mutable sign. Other studies of serial killers’ birthdays have found that a disproportionate number of them are Aquariuses (Gary Ridgway, Robert Hansen, and Luis Alfredo Garavito), Tauruses (H. H. Holmes, Michael Ryan, and David Copeland), and Capricorns (the Sorcerer, Freeway Killer, and Wolf of Moscow), Cancers (Carl Panzram, “Brain Eater” Robert Maudsley), and Scorpios (Charles Manson, Belle Gunness).

The 12th House

Ruis also found that “the frequency of planets in the 12th house is significantly high.” In astrology, your birth chart is divided into 12 sectors called houses, with each house representing different areas of life. While your Sun sign is determined by the date you were born, the houses in your birth chart are determined by the time you were born. Your Rising sign, indicated by the zodiac sign on the horizon when you were born, is always on the cusp of your 1st house. The 12th house, the last house in your birth chart, is sometimes called the “house of the unseen,” and it rules intuition, mental health, spiritual health, mysticism, and—significantly—endings. Having a lot of planets in this house indicates that those factors will play a significant role in your life.


There’s more: Others have found that in comparing some of these criminals’ birth charts, patterns emerge. Bundy, Cunanan, Ramirez, and Kraft all share three key aspects (aka the significant angles planets make with each other) in their charts: a harsh and tense one with Pluto, the planet of death and repressed psychological behaviors; a soft and supportive one with Mercury, the planet of communication; and a Rising sign that is conjunct (aka in the same sign as) another planet.

Translation: Pluto can bring positive transformations, but when poorly aspected, it can also cause troubling self-sabotage—even a fixation with death. A Mercury connection enhances the gift of gab, a necessary skill for luring new victims. And when any planet forms an aspect to your Rising sign, it can amplify that facet of your personality. Bundy, for example, has a Venus in Scorpio that forms a stressful square to his Leo Rising. When Venus, the planet of love, forms an unforgiving aspect like this, there is a tendency for the person to struggle with self-worth and act out as a result.

Other astrologers pay special attention to Mars aspects when looking at serial killers’ birth charts. In a piece for The Hoodwitch, Lisa Stardust explains:

“Mars is the planet known for action and war. Therefore, it’s the main component of what we would look at in a birth chart of a serial killer. People who have Neptunian influences on their Mars can act out the most. This is due to their innate frustrations and delusions. Mars places on the South Node of Destiny in the natal chart can point to the native having an inability in expressing their emotions properly. This creates violent temper tantrums that can become deadly.”

A Different Study

Another study found that it’s not mutable signs but water signs that have the highest number of serial killers (note: mutable water sign Pisces falls into both groups). Astrology website went through a data set of 485 serial killer birth dates and found that Cancer, Pisces, Sagittarius, and Scorpio topped the list, with 46 serial killers each. That’s all three water signs (Cancer, Pisces, and Scorpio) plus one fire sign (Sagittarius), but these four signs don’t share a lot in common. Together, though, the four signs accounted for almost 40 percent of serial killers.

The study also found that although there weren’t as many Capricorn serial killers as Cancer, Pisces, Sagittarius, or Scorpio serial killers, Capricorn serial killers had the most victims, both total and on average. The serial killer with the most victims in the data set was a Capricorn: Harold Shipman, a British physician who killed an estimated 250 people in his medical care. The signs with the least serial killers? Taurus and Gemini, with 27 serial killers each.’s write-up concludes:

“Many people who follow astrology likely won’t be surprised to find Scorpio at the top of this list, given that the sign’s biggest weaknesses include violence, manipulation, and jealousy. Similarly, Pisces may be prone to allowing their outer emotions to run out of control, while Cancer may feel isolated, as they are unable to blend in with the world around them, and Sagittarius approaches life with no filter on their words or actions.”

Forensic Astrology

Interestingly, birth charts also aren’t the only intersection of astrology and true crime. Some forensic astrologers try to solve murders by looking at “event charts,” “crime charts,” or “last-seen charts” of what the cosmos looked like the day the murder occurred. These charts function similarly to a birth chart, but instead of putting the time of birth, you put the time a missing person was last seen or the time a body was found, for example. Others compare the birth charts of multiple suspects, looking for clues.

Some forensic astrologers pay special attention to a part of the birth chart called the part of fortune, a point in everyone’s birth chart associated with both financial success and physical health. Although forensic psychologists are skeptical of this, there are several popular blogs and YouTube channels dedicated to the field.

So before you freak out because you live with a Pisces, remember that birth charts are only a map. Everyone still has the power to exercise free will. Plus, every zodiac sign can claim at least one serial killer. Besides, “I’m a ­Gemini” won’t hold up in court, so yeah. Please don’t kill anyone.

Astrology Has a Creepy-Accurate Explanation for Serial Killers (1)

Stephanie N. Campos

Stephanie is an astrologer, psychic medium, and witch. She's studied the mystical arts for over a decade including the stars, mediumship, palm reading, tarot, curanderismo, and more. She is the author ofSeasons of the Zodiac: Love, Magick, and Manifestation Throughout the Astrological Yearand host of the podcastDaily Horoscope for Your Zodiac Sign. Her work has also appeared in Refinery29, Well + Good, Bustle, among other publications, and she has appeared on the Today Show as an astrology expert and modern mystic.

Astrology Has a Creepy-Accurate Explanation for Serial Killers (2)

Erika W. Smith

Senior Astrology Editor

Erika W Smith (she/her) is the current Senior Astrology Editor at Cosmopolitan. In her 2+ years at Cosmo, she's worked on everything from editing weekly horoscopes, to reporting on how astrology influences album release dates, to launching The Cosmo Tarot. Before joining Cosmopolitan in 2020, she was a writer and/or editor for Refinery29, HelloGiggles, and BUST magazine. Her book Astrosex: How to Have the Best Sex According to Your Star Sign was published in 2021. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @erikawynn.

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