Serial killers’ profiling



(Warning: Don’t read this article if you don’t have a strong stomach or your nerves are on the edge.)

The theory that abused childhood leads to problematic adults would seem, perhaps, a simplistic generalization to a psychologist.

They would prove it wrong in an instant with a simple argument: “Not all abused children become criminals”. And they would add: “After all, many problematic adults had wonderful childhood days”

But abuse is not necessarily physical or prominent and each individual reacts differently to outer strains.

(This “conversation” takes place in the context of a western and “safe” society. No matter how much love your parents show you, if you’re hungry and you see that they are incapable of helping you, you’re incurring abuse – a social one)


A First World’s child that experienced psychological – from his parents – abuse and retaliated in spades was Edmund Emil Kemper.

Kemper was born in the USA in 1948. After his parents’ eventful divorce, he grew up with his mother and his two sisters.

Unfortunately for him -and other people too as you’re about to find out- Edmund was bodily excessively developed. At the age of ten, he was already a “giant” (he finally grew taller than two meters).

His mother, who feared that Edmund would harass his sisters, put him to sleep in a basement with no windows and she used to lock him in there.

When Edmund dismembered the two cats of the family, his mother sent him to the grandmother’s ranch. There Edmund shot his grandmother and then stabbed the body multiple times. When his grandfather came home from his occupations, he killed him too.

When he was interrogated by the police he said: “I just wanted to see what it felt like to kill grandma”.

The minor Kemper was committed to the Atascadero State Hospital.


In 1969, at the age of 21, in spite of the spirited objections from the psychiatrists, he was released and went to live with his mother in California.

Three years later he picked up two students who were hitch-hiking. He killed them and carried their bodies in his room. There he took photos of their bodies, dissected them and amused himself with their organs.

Then he got rid of their body parts at the mountains of Santa Cruz.

After a few months another girl had the same fate. Only this time Kemper molested her body before he dismembered it.

The next day he went to the scheduled meeting with the state psychiatrists carrying the head of the unfortunate girl in the boot of his car. The psychiatrists adjudged that he constituted no more threat to the society and his file was closed.

In the following six months, three more women were dismembered by the man who “constituted no more threat to the society”.

But we should not blame the psychiatrists for their misjudgment. Kemper was far smarter than he seemed to be and managed to “manipulate” them to get their approval.

The continuation of the story is so nightmarish that if you’d see it in a movie, you’d say that the scenario is “unreasonably far-fetched” and you’d go: “These things don’t happen”.

And yet they do happen.

(I’m warning you once again: Don’t read this if you don’t have a strong stomach and nerves)


On Easter’s Eve Kemper went up to his mother’s room and killed her with a claw hammer while she was sleeping. He beheaded her and molested on the body. Then he ripped out her windpipe and put it in the garbage disposal.

Then he rang a friend of his mother and invited her over their house. He told her he had a surprise. When she entered he killed her and beheaded her.

He left the body of his mother’s friend lying and went to sleep at his mother’s bed.

The following morning he took his car. Driving eastward, he was twiddling with the radio knob expecting to hear his name, believing he was famous.

When he realized that nobody talked about him, he surrendered to the police. He was sentenced to eight life sentences and he was imprisoned. There, after several years, John Douglas went to meet him…


John Douglas is Hannibal Lecter’s spiritual father. Tomas Harris, the novelist who became known world-wide because of the cinematic remake of the “Silence of the lambs”, learned everything about serial killers from him.

Jodi Foster’s visits, as an FBI agent, at the cell of the cannibal’s cell are not a figment of imagination.

Doulas himself, who is the FBI’s Criminal Profiling Program founder (of the applied criminal psychology to be precise), used to visit the imprisoned serial killers to pick up evidence and information or  – in addition – to gain insight how a serial killer thinks.

His ability in foresight is such that he is likened to Sherlock Holmes – with a good dose of medium. Without being at the crime scene, before having any tangible evidence, just by listening to the circumstances in which the crime was committed, he could predict what was the colour of the car that the murderer had, and some of his special features, being a stutterer for instance.

His success, to quote himself, is based on two factors: He thinks as each individual killer does and represents intuitively the crime scene. And the fact that there are similar structure elements in the nature of all serial killers.

In their childhood Douglas discerns the “murderous triad” behavior: Cruelty to the animals, urination at later age and arson.

And they have been abused physically or psychologically during their childhood.

After coming of age, the following apply:

Serial killers are almost always men and most of the times they belong to the white race. They have high IQ (Kemper had IQ145 as opposed to the median which is 120, and thus Lecter was born!) but they have occupations inferior to their abilities. They are usually bachelors and have sexual problems. Their targets are always the weak (children and women) even though men associated with the victims pay the piper often.

They have a special attraction for the police, to the point they often buy police-like cars and get jobs that have to do with security – private police, prisons, etc.

The latter statistical observation, the “link” between serial killers and policemen, is compatible with the three basic motives of the serial rapist and killers: domination, manipulation and control.

The primary goal of a killer and rapist isn’t to kill or rape but to control, manipulate and dominate another human – or not- being.


When Douglas met Kemper came to the point of liking him. He was suave and talkative. He could analyse his behavior using psychiatric terms. He elaborated in detail the method he used to convince the girls that he was harmless (a man more than two meters tall and one hundred and twenty kilos!). Douglas perceived that Kemper might be smarter than him, to the extent that he could manipulate him, as Hannibal did Clarice.

But Kemper, in spite of being astute and not by a long chalk ruffled, didn’t seem regretful of what he had done. The only time he cried was when he remembered how his mother treated him!


In Greece, and generally in Europe – Russia is an exception, we are not used to serial killers and rapists.

But the case of the Norwegian serial killer Breivik is too fresh. Just like Kemper, Breivik too showed no signs of regret for the death he spread.

His primary goal was control. He wanted to dominate over an entire nation by murdering children.

And pay close attention to a detail: Breivik went to Utøya island, to the slaughter scene, dressed as a policeman.

Some will say that he did this to earn the trust of his victims and approach them more easily. But, if indeed this was the reason of his disguise, then why wasn’t he dressed as a priest or even better (worst) as a woman?


In conclusion (in fact, more questions are generated)
Child abuse, aside of being a crime per se, contributes to the breeding of psychopaths.

A psychopath is any man who kills or tortures without ever wondering if this is right or wrong.

In this group we shall include economic hit men, the primary serial killers of our time.

These guys, as well as the politicians who serve-oblige-them, have the same motives with the serial rapists and killers: Domination, manipulation and control.

The paradox is that the victims seem to be charmed by the murderers, fall under their spell, just like Clarice before Lecter, and not only they don’t fight them off, instead they embrace their ideas, which constitute their doom.


(Sanejoker was based on the book of John Douglas and Mark Olshaker: Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit

For the conclusions and the wording, sanejoker is responsible.)


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Translated by Alexandros Mantas