Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Clifford Olson

Olson's World

 We cant [sic] look into other serial killers minds as to what they do unless they allow to give there thoughts and views, You dont find many that have done this any place 

C. Olson

Clifford Olson is a classic case of the extreme psychopath. The extreme true psychopath is a thrill seeker with pathological glibness, antisocial pursuit of power and lack of guilt. It conjures up images of Anthony Perkins or Anthony Hopkins in their portrayals of the extreme psychopaths in Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs and its sequel Hannibal.

Chief psychiatrist at Penetangs Mental Health Centre, Dr. Russell Fleming, explains the nature of the extreme psychopath in a Toronto Sun article: an individual with a severe antisocial personality disorder that leads to criminal behavior. Although he never interviewed Olson, he speculated as to why Olson maintained composure and radiates serenity:

 Theres a core group of psychopaths, of whom Olson clearly seems one, who can be intriguing, charismatic, engaging, predictable and sinister, with the capacity to manipulate those around them. Recent studies indicate there may be a genetic component to psychopathy, a failure or `misfiring of the brain. At any rate, their brains are certainly different; its doubtful well ever fully understand the disorder.

Bottom line, the psychopath has deficient affective responses to people. Couple this with Olsons pedophilia and sadism, it is not surprising that he escalated to serial murder, of the most vulnerable kind of victim. The following examples of Olsons sadistic behavior further support the evidence of psychopathic behavior: he injected air bubbles into one victims arms, missed the vein, and ended up battering the victim to death with his hammer; he drove a nail into one victims head for no apparent reason since it was not the cause of death; he telephoned some of the victims families playing back a tape recording of one of the victims deaths, telephoned and wrote letters to others, relishing their pain; ran down one victim with his rental car; and, the violent treatment, control and manipulation of his wife.

In less than nine months Olson killed 11 times. There were also four other suspected murder victims for which he was not tried: Verna Bjerky, 17, was reported missing from Hope/Yale area and not located as of 7-30-81; Pamela Darlington, Kamloops, B.C.; Monica Jack, Quilchena, B.C.; Marney Jamieson, Gibsons, B.C.

The fact that he killed both girls and boys confused the investigation. In the 1980s the phenomenon of serial killers was poorly understood. Police relied too heavily on their prior experience with pedophiles, assuming that cases were not linked because the victims were of different sexes and ages. Pedophiles that prey on prepubescent children usually have no gender preference, while those preying on older children focus on one gender or the other, not both. While patterns of criminal behavior, whether based upon the experience of the police or expert opinions from criminal profilers, are very useful in understanding the criminal mind and leading police to the right suspect, police departments need to think outside the box. Because criminals do not feel confined to behave according to what other criminals have done in the past and what experts have profiled, police also must not constrain their investigations to these artificial limitations  

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