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Top 10 FBI Profiler Tricks in Serial Killer Interviews

Since Netflix released its popular series "Mindhunter", the fascination for criminal profiling has increased again. The main characters are loosely based on real special agents John E. Douglas and Robert K. Ressler; Her research helps the local police force her investigation to get the cold-blooded killer out.

After arrest, they use a specific strategy to reveal the serial killer’s true personality so that it can be exposed during the trial. Douglas and Ressler were the first criminal profilers to interview some of the most notorious serial killers in history, including Edmund Kemper, David Berkowitz, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Donald Harvey, and Gary Ridgway.

The questioning of serial killers requires many years of training and preferably a degree in psychology. However, there are some tips that experts have shared over the years on how to penetrate the mind of a serial killer. In her own words, "If you want to understand the artist, you have to see the painting."


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When Trading With Some of the Violent and Complex personalities in the world, comprehensive preparation is the key to getting the most out of an interview. Before interviewing the serial killer, every file must be thoroughly researched and the crimes of the individual intensively investigated.

There are no two serial killers that are exactly the same – despite the similarity of some of their crimes. In "The Killer Across the Table" by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker, the retired special agent explains: "The offenders we investigated were all murderers, but they were all different. Each murderer and predator represented many layers of subtle distinctions.

There are a number of reasons why a serial killer would agree to speak to a special agent, some of whom like to take part in a psychological examination of their own minds, some who are law enforcement fans and enjoy being with the police, some of whom say so that they may be given special treatment when “working with” the active ingredients, some want a welcome break from everyday prison life and others just enjoy telling their gory fantasies in gruesome detail. [1]

9 Play To Their Ego

One of the fastest ways to get a Seri Making murderers open about their terrible crimes is to pretend to their ego. Many of these criminals have a very poor superego, which means that they are not very fearful, violently aggressive and often sadistic in their criminal behavior. They will most likely also have a heartbeat that enables them to commit such unimaginable crimes and then sit down to dinner with their partner the following evening as if nothing had happened.

So how can you convince a highly functional criminal? in high pressure situations to finally drop the guard? Of course, play with your ego. Robin Dreeke is responsible for the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Counterintelligence Elite Behavior Analysis program. He recommends not contradicting any opinion and "doing everything about them!" Dreeke goes on to explain: “Do not confirm any opinion in a judgmental manner. If you don't agree, just ask, "This is a fascinating / insightful / thoughtful opinion. Would you mind helping me understand how you came up with it?" Again, your brain will reward you for this on several levels. “[2]

8 Put yourself in the position of a hunter

Criminal profiling is like working on a complex puzzle to understand the crime and the person who committed it. If you want to solve this riddle efficiently, experts recommend that you fit into the mindset of the hunter.

If you cannot imagine yourself as a serial killer, introduce yourself as a lion in the Serengeti Plain. There is a herd of antelopes and you are looking for subtle signs of weakness. Train your eye on these vulnerabilities to determine which herd will be your next victim. This is the same way that many serial killers chase their potential prey. It is the thrill of hunting itself that motivates them.

In & # 39; Mindhunter: Inside The FBI Elite Serial Crime Unit & # 39; From John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker, Douglas writes: "I have to put myself in the position of the attacker to think how he thinks, to plan to understand him, to feel his satisfaction in this one moment in his life whose pent-up fantasies come true and who is finally in control is fully able to manipulate and dominate another person. I also have to slip into this murderer's shoes. “[3]

7 Never write anything down

One of the most difficult obstacles that an interview with serial killers can bring is that these conversations can last between 2 and 2 hours and you cannot write anything down. There is also a 57-page document that must be filled in after the interview is finished so that the criminal profile can be created later. Therefore, a good memory is certainly required for the job.

Douglas learned early in the interviews that shooting motifs would keep them in defensive mode. He said, "I'm not going to play a tape recorder. So what you see on TV, maybe on the Mindhunter show that is based on me … they play with these big tapes. We did it in the beginning and it really makes it out. Because you are dealing with very paranoid people – because for security reasons they are not where they are, for security reasons they do not want to be perceived as a snitch. "

Add:" If you record it (they think), who will hear this band? " If you write notes (they think), why are you writing notes? “[4]

6 Sometimes you have to come down to their sinister level

When you speak to serial killers, you may have to lower yourself to their sinister level to gain their trust. Richard Speck was a mass murderer who systematically butchered seven student nurses at South Chicago Community Hospital in 1966. He incorrectly counted the number of victims and one of the nurses was able to hide until he left. Two days after the murders, Bacon tried to cut his wrists, and while he was being treated in the hospital, a doctor recognized his "Born To Raise Hell" tattoo that the survivor mentioned.

During Speck's interview with Douglas and Ressler, the killer decided not to work together and to ignore both agents instead. Douglas then changed tactics and talked about bacon as if he wasn't in the room. He turned to a consultant and said, "He took all eight of our ass off. Do you think that's fair?" Then Bacon broke his silence and laughed, "You're crazy. It has to be a fine line, separate you from me. “Then he opened up to the agent with more information about his crimes. [5]

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5 Learn how to cut through the BS

When you interview serial killers, you want to not that most of your time spinning is a lot of lies to feed your own ego. Especially since the criminal profile itself must give a precise insight into your own mind and motivation. Although many of these criminals are being interviewed on death row, they will still try to control the situation by beautifying an event that they have repeatedly played in their own minds. In short, serial killers are often total fantasists.

In the summer of 1976, David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz shot six people in and around New York City. Berkowitz claimed that his neighbor's dog, Sam, was owned by a 3,000-year-old demon, who forced him to kill. However, he did not buy it during his interview with Douglas. When Berkotwize told the property story, Douglas said to him, “Hey David, stop it. The dog had nothing to do with it. “Berkowitz laughed and nodded and agreed that the agent was right, which meant that they could move on to the real motivating factors behind the crimes. [6]

4 Do not ask them to feel remorse or guilt.

The ability that most of us morally well-adjusted people feel desperate when we witness another person's misery or suffering. We should also feel moved enough to do something to alleviate that person's suffering. There is cognitive empathy, the ability to know what other people are feeling, and emotional empathy where you feel what they are feeling.

Many serial killers understand that another person is desperate, they recognize the fear, they just don't feel moved, other than reacting with predatory behavior. This enables them to take advantage of the tearful child who has been separated from their parents or the young girl who goes home alone. Once you've instinctively acted as a predator, it's almost impossible to ask if you feel bad about your crimes.

Mary Ellen O'Toole and Alisa Bowman write in their book "Dangerous Instincts: How Intestinal Instincts Tell Us": "When you ask a psychopath what repentance or guilt feels like, you ask a man how it feels to be pregnant to be. It is an experience they have never had before. If you keep asking a psychopath about his feelings (e.g. "What do you think of these victims?"), They become irritated. They see (emotions) as problems, not something valuable. “ [7]

3 Set your body language as if you were on a date

Body language is 55% of communication according to current statistics is extremely important in an interview environment how you hold yourself. Many serial killers feel as comfortable as possible for the interview process, which can take many hours – often the cuffs and chains are removed before they sit down.

Your body language should be set as if you are on a date – the arms should not be folded, the eyes should be in contact with the person, your voice should be relaxed and your feet should be pointing forward. Avoiding words like "kill", "murder" and "rape" are also recommended, as this can put the serial killer back into defense mode.

Another tip is that you should position yourself so that you look up to the serial killer. Douglas recommends: “I would look at him easily throughout the interview. I wanted to give him the one psychological advantage of feeling superior. “ [8]

2 Stand Guard Of Your Own Mind

Serial killers are often very manipulative people's ability to read people well enough to know exactly how to deal with them Skin goes.

In "Whoever Fights Monsters" Ressler writes that almost everyone in his unit fell victim to situation stress and that many special agents stopped profiling after a few years because of the terrible nightmares they had suffered at night. He also recalls how he saw an agent caught under the cold-blooded murderer whom he had shared with the office to develop the murderer's appeal against his own death sentence. Ressler recommends that stability in your personal life helps to prevent these manipulators from taking control of your emotions.

Douglas also said: "You are dealing with the victims of violent crimes, which is very painful emotionally, and you are talking to the people who perpetuate the crimes who really could care less about the victims." And then do an interview with them as if nothing was wrong with the guy. You can even indicate that you have empathy for him if you really don't. But you have to do this acting. " [9]

1 Never go into an interview alone

Edmund Kemper was described by investigators as a" naturally born murderer "6ft 9" tall and weighed over three hundred pounds offered Douglas and Ressler many valuable (and very scary) insights into the mind of a depraved murderer.

Ressler spoke to Kemper again, but this time the agent was alone. At the end of the four-hour interview, Ressler pressed the call button to signal the security guard – but nobody came. 15 minutes later he pressed the call button again and this time Kemper noticed the agent's fear. Kemper said to him: "If I went in here you would have big problems. I could unscrew your head and put it on the table to meet the guard. “

It was a painful 30 minutes in which Kemper and Ressler tried to dominate the other in a battle of words. Ressler told the serial killer that there would be consequences if he killed an FBI agent, and Kemper scoffed, "What would you do to cut off my TV privileges?" Finally, when the guards opened the door, Kemper said to the shaken agent, "You know I was just kidding, didn't I?" Ressler made an important point to never conduct an interview alone again. [10]

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Cheish Merryweather

Cheish Merryweather is a true crime fan and a fanatic of curiosities. Can either be found at house parties that tell everyone that Charles Manson was only 5 feet 2 inches tall, or at home to read real crime magazines. Founder of the Crime Viral Community since 2015.

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