Recently, I’ve been fascinated by an article from Psychology Today, written to cash in on the trending documentary about Ted Bundy that’s on Netflix. Having watched the documentary, nothing was shocking because it’s all information anyone with any interest in Bundy’s case already knows (plus it’s loaded with spelling mistakes, which is weird), however; it furthers the obsession with true crime, which is a good thing.
While reading Katherine Ramsland’s piece, I started putting the concepts and notions presented in the research to the figures I’m working with in this project and wasn’t particularly shocked to see how accurately they all match up to at least one aspect of what fits the moniker of a “psychopath.”
In the article, Ramsland focuses on the research of Al Carlisle, a prison psychologist who interviewed Bundy numerous times. “the ability to repeatedly kill and also function as a seemingly normal person develops through the evolution of three primary processes: fantasizing scenarios for entertainment or self-empowerment, dissociating to avoid difficult feelings, and compartmentalizing to be able to act as different people in different situations.”
In terms of those responsible for the events at Gilgo Beach, the responsible parties connected to the Long Island Serial Killer break down into the following categories (again, real names will not be used, as everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and also, lawsuits are no fun):
Fantasizing - The Purse, The Well-Spoken Man, The Good Doctor
Compartmentalizing - The Gentleman, The Face
Dissociating - The Banker
Now, two of these individuals I’ve mentioned in previous posts, but, the others, not yet. While it may be a little spoiler-y to reference that there are, at the very least, six individuals connected to this case, these individuals are confirmed by numerous law enforcement operators, as well as those connected to the case. There is one notable exception, though, and that’s The Face. This individual has only been referenced a couple times, but the connections are fairly obvious. More on that when we get to The Face’s eventual profile.
All of these individuals present a public persona that help create a smokescreen to mask their crimes. Ramsland breaks it down as “in other words, the actor can access the voice, the mannerisms, the behavior and the emotions of the role upon cue as needed, and then step out of the role when it’s not needed. The serial killer has a similar skill.” This is perhaps most evident in the case of The Banker, The Well-Spoken Man or The Gentleman, as these three individuals were able to maintain very public personas while also engaging in activity leading to the deaths of the GB4, as well as the others.
I think it’s fair to say that all of these aspects of the psychopath are important, but which one jumps out to you the most? Which seems to be the most important or most terrifying? Is it the ability to compartmentalize? To rationalize and accept one’s actions while also putting alternative actions into perspective and carrying on with one’s day? I don’t know.
Carlisle states: “The actor steps onto the stage to play out his role. The killer steps from one compartment in his mind into the other. The actor leaves the theater for a day on the beach. The killer shifts from the pathological compartment in his mind back into the socially acceptable compartment but he never completely leaves the theater in his mind. It is with him wherever he goes, 24-hours a day, day in and day out.”
These six individuals went about their business, every single day, acting their role of public and familial figure out, and then, in private, committed acts that have gone unsolved to this day.