Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Clifford Olson

The Beast of B.C.

The beast can take over to complete an identity if you leave a hole in yourself. In other words, it seeks a vacuum. In a healthy person the vacuum doesnt exist. Theres a sense of identity that prevents a need for the dark awareness.

A homicide offender describes his experience of the development of this dark side of the human psyche

Children are easy prey. Well aware of this, Clifford Olson took advantage of their innocence. He later told police that he quickly figured out that teenagers were alike, that they will tell you just about anything if you look and talk like you were interested in hiring them. Most were eager to get a job. Being the classic hardened con enabled him to control many situations. The confidence game gave him the opportunity to shield his real motives. He was used to getting his way, one way or another.

He appeared pleasant, friendly, even charming, openly approaching the children. However, his goal, far from friendly, was to gain their confidence until he was in a position to overcome any resistance.

Olson picks up the kids and offers them a job, said Cpl. Les Forsythe, Burnaby RCMP. He tells them hes a construction contractor and takes them to building sites to show them the jobs. Thats the line. He gets their confidenceand remember hes good at that. Hes shrewd. Hes not dumb. Hes not a bad-looking individual. He could be somebodys dad. These kids would follow along and hed offer them drugs, or a drink, or a beer. This is after hes felt them out and knows that he can probably do it with a degree of safety.

Robert Shantz, who would serve as Olsons defense lawyer for the child slayings, intended to show that his client had adopted Marcoux personality. Some evidence supported this theory:

Olson left five children in the same Weaver Lake-Mission area that Marcoux used for his victim.

One of the children was found close to where Marcouxs victim, Jeanna Doove, died.

Olson used the same type of ruse to pick up some of his victims.

Olson killed one of the victims at Whistler, connected to Weaver Lake by the back road Marcoux had mapped.

Like Marcoux, Olson used strangulation to dispatch some of his victims.

After Olsons sessions with Marcoux, Olson showed an insatiable appetite for child pornography.

More likely, Olson wanted to experience what Marcoux did. He has gone from being essentially a nobody to being a somebody now, said forensic psychiatrist Dr. Stanley Semrau. In his own eyes, he has celebrity status. He sees himself as the ultimate serial killer.

Peter Worthington, founding editor and a columnist of The Toronto Sun asked Olson after he was convicted how he compared himself with the famed fictional Hannibal Lecter, the cannibalistic killer of The Silence of the Lambs.

Peter, there is no comparison, Olson replied. Hannibal Lecter is fictionIm real.

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