hey, ted, what's your sign?

Ok, the following isn’t very scientific, but it is a quick, small sized study conducted by me. It was prompted by a meme (see above) that I spotted in my Facebook newsfeed. As you can see, according to the meme, which offers no evidence other than its say so, the top five signs that are most likely to murder are Aries, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Virgo, and Cancer.

Bullshit, right? Of course.

However, I thought I’d see what I could find out about the validity of this claim. I decided to make a list of 50 murderers, mostly American serial killers, and their zodiac signs. No, I can’t think of 50 serial killers off the top of my head, so I used Google and Wikipedia to find them as well as to get their birthdates. I also found a website that gave me the signs of the zodiac and their dates. Not believing in such childish silliness, I don’t have the signs set to memory.

I wrote each name down first and then used Wikipedia to find their birthdates and determine their signs. One name, Amy Archer-Gilligan, had to be scratched from the written list because Wikipedia did not have an exact birthdate for her.

Once a name was picked, Wikipedia gave me their birthdate, I checked the zodiac chart, and wrote down if it was a hit or a miss according to the meme. The list is in the exact order of the murderers I thought of or found. You will notice that there are a few in alphabetical order. Those were the ones I pulled from Wikipedia’s list of American Serial Killers.

Another name I struck from my original written list was Lizzie Borden. Borden is popularly thought to have murdered her father and stepmother, however she was acquitted of the crime, so, much like OJ Simpson, and she could not be included. I replaced her with Christopher Peterson. Borden would have been a hit and Peterson is a miss. Both names were chosen prior to my knowing their birthdates.

Here is the list, starting with everyone’s favorite Ted Bundy (My apologies these aren't aligned more nicely.): 

Ted Bundy                        Sagittarius           Hit
Jeffery Dahmer                 Gemini                 Miss
Henry Lee Lucas              Virgo                    Hit
John Wayne Gacy             Pisces                 Miss
Andrew Cunanan               Virgo                    Hit
Eric Harris                         Aries                    Hit
Dylan Klebold                    Virgo                    Hit
Aileen Wuornos                 Pisces                 Miss
David Berkowitz                Gemini                 Miss
Dennis Rader                    Pisces                  Miss
Gary Ridgeway                  Aquarius              Miss
Andrei Chikatilo                 Libra                     Miss
Richard Ramirez                Pisces                  Miss
Albert Fish                         Taurus                  Miss
Charles Manson                 Scorpio                Hit
Ed Gein                              Leo                       Miss
Edmund Kemper                Sagittarius            Hit
H H Holmes                       Taurus                  Miss
Timothy McVeigh               Taurus                  Miss
Ted Kaczynski                    Gemini                 Miss
Eric Rudolph                       Virgo                    Hit
Terry Nichols                      Aries                     Hit
Anders Behring Breivik      Aquarius              Miss
Jared Lee Loughner           Virgo                    Hit
Albert DeSalvo                   Virgo                    Hit
Carl Panzram                     Cancer                 Hit
Kenneth Bianchi                 Gemini                 Miss
Richard Chase                   Gemini                 Miss
Ottis Toole                          Pisces                  Miss
Charles Albright                  Leo                      Miss
Rodney Alcala                    Virgo                    Hit
Howard Allen                      Aquarius              Miss
Richard Angelo                   Virgo                    Hit
Benjamin Atkins                  Virgo                    Hit
Joe Ball                               Capricorn            Miss
Jake Bird                            Sagittarius            Hit
Richard Biegenwald           Virgo                     Hit
Richard Speck                    Sagittarius            Hit
John Allen Muhammad      Capricorn              Miss
Lee Boyd Malvo                 Aquarius               Miss
Wayne Williams                 Gemini                  Miss
Anthony Sowell                  Leo                       Miss
Robert Shulman                 Aries                     Hit
Paul Michael Stephani       Virgo                     Hit
Joel Rifkin                          Aquarius               Miss
Dorothea Puente               Capricorn              Miss
Marie Noe                          Virgo                     Hit
Susan Smith                      Libra                     Miss
Kenneth McDuff                 Aries                     Hit
Christopher Peterson        Aquarius               Miss

As I stated, this is not scientific and I’m sure it is likely that I may have made an error or two. I’m not a statistician, but I tried to be as accurate as possible.

So, counting the hits and misses, I get 22 hits (44%) and 28 misses (56%). I realize that another set of names could have the hits outnumbering the misses and that I just happened to get it the other way round. I also think that had the meme included six signs (half of the 12 zodiac signs) the result might just have approached 50%.

Regardless, there is no good credible scientific evidence that astrology is anything more than fanciful and wishful thinking. People should not be any more concerned with those who happen to be born under those five signs than of those born under the other seven.

By the way, my sign is Scorpio. Astrologers! Put your charts away!

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