Science & Tech

Learning From a Killer: The Kemper Tapes

John Douglas

Lesson time 13:45 min

John shares never-before-heard clips with Ed Kemper, known as the “Coed Killer,” who murdered college students, along with his mother. John’s interviews with Kemper set him on a path to understanding that all criminal minds exemplify three personality traits: manipulation, domination, and control. John challenges you to identify these traits in people you know to avoid being manipulated.

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Topics include: Three Traits of a Violent Criminal • Assignment


[MUSIC PLAYING] JOHN DOUGLAS: So we're all set for the interview. We have a very small tape recorder. My partner, Bob Ressler, is here. But I want him to feel I'm not intimidated and really interested. And this is our goal. This is our aim here. We're trying to learn from you, so we can apply your knowledge to ongoing cases. And he just started opening up. What I'm trying to do is I'm trying to turn on the CD in their brain because these crimes start off as fantasy. And some people, they never go past the fantasy. But with others, the fantasy is no longer satisfying, so they're going to act out these fantasies. What you're about to hear is a tape that I have that really is-- no one's ever heard this tape before of Ed conveying to us the relationship that he had with his mother. A very, very poor, very, very dysfunctional type of relationship. He had a very, very bad night with his-- with his mother. He's had it about up to here. Now, he's going to go out on the hunt, looking for victims. And the victims, who he will be targeting, will be these college co-eds. College co-eds that his mother said he never would be able to even have a date with these girls. But he's going to show his mother. [MUSIC PLAYING] There are three personality traits that serial killers and violent offenders will exhibit-- manipulation, domination, and control. With Kemper, the motivation is manipulation, domination, and control. And it's all about power. Even though there may be a sexual component to the crime, it's still-- its power and control over others. Very, very interesting interview. The next clip you'll hear has to do with manipulation. It will give you a clear idea of Ed Kemper's style and pattern of behavior here. - This being a hobby-- a side hobby of mine, which is driving around. I love to drive and picking up anybody who wanted a ride. And then, later on, focusing on more difficult cases. People I was convinced wouldn't want to get in because I'm a single male young adult, two car, two-- excuse me-- two-door car. They're not going to want to get in and ride with me. I made that a challenge, almost like a chess game. And the more clever they got about checking me out ahead of time, the more clever I got about appearing innocuous and in a hurry and a businessman. And the best one for assuaging that last check of me was just a glance at my watch, and look slightly irritated, and, oh, well. I guess I can stop and give this person a ride. It seemed to have a very positive effect, even with the most sophisticated hitchers, which included the Pesce and Luchessa girls-- the first two victims. JOHN DOUGLAS: He's very, very clever. He's very, very manipulative. Surprisingly, when you hear something or someone talking like that-- and here you are at Vacaville for the criminally insane-- you wonder why he's not over in San Quentin because he's covering his tracks. Everything is well planned in advance. He...

About the Instructor

Netflix’s “Mindhunter” was inspired by the FBI’s first criminal profiler, John Douglas. As chief of the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, he conducted groundbreaking interviews with notorious criminals such as Charles Manson and Ed Kemper, changing interrogative tactics forever. On MasterClass, he teaches you to use his methods in everyday life, unlocking your intuition to read people's motives.

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John Douglas

Legendary Special Agent John Douglas teaches how criminal profiling methods can help you predict people’s motives to benefit your everyday life.

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