The Aresan Clan is published four times a week (Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun). You can see what's been written so far collected here. All posts will be posted under the Aresan Clan label. For summaries of the events so far, visit here. See my previous serial Vampire Wares collected here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Barely Avoiding Death

There's a story in the life of the serial killer Edmund Kemper he detailed in an interview with Stephane Bourgoin about two college girls that came very close to being killed. If you're not familiar with Kemper he was a killer who was active in California in the early 70s. He was a giant man, rising to about 6'9" and weighing in at bout 300 pounds. This made him a very imposing and intimidating presence. He had started his killing career early, killing his grandparents when he was just a teenager. He was jailed, served about five years, and then was released, and started living with his mother in Santa Cruz.

He developed a modus operandi which consisted of killing young women that he picked up as hitchhikers. This was a time and area when hitchhiking was not at all uncommon, and Kemper had honed his skill at picking up hitchhikers by picking up a great many of them before he started killing. He explained that to be a good hitchhikee, there are techniques for disarming any reluctance or concern a hitchhiker might have, such as making them think that you're in a hurry and are unenthusiastic about picking them up. Using these skills, he started picking up young female hitchhikers, adroitly locking them into his car, then driving them to an isolated spot in the woods where he would shoot them.

At some point in 1973, after having killed six girls, he had decided that he was going to stop killing, to kick the habit. The temptation didn't go away, but he was at least able to restrain himself enough to stop for a while. During this time he picked up two young female hitchhikers. The girls needed a ride to Mills College and he complied, driving in that direction down the highway. The girls though, were mistaken on the route that needed to be taken to get back to the college, and they actually told him to take an exit off the highway in the wrong direction. The wrong turn they insisted upon was coincidentally the turn that was necessary to take them to an isolated wooded spot where Kemper had performed previous killings. We can almost imagine the pull of temptation as they told him which way to go.

He said he wouldn't go the direction they insisted upon, since he knew the way, and said he would take them there. The girls were adamant they were right but he continued. Now, at this point in the tale, when you hear it from Kemper's lips he mentions that the girls were terrified, as if it's the most casual thing in the world. From his perspective, as he is telling this story, it's just some curious anecdote with an ironic twist, but this is coming from a sociopath who doesn't really understand remorse and fear. If we look at it from the girls' perspective, we got to imagine them trapped in the car with a giant intimidating man, who is moody, with poor impulse control and is telling them with evident vexation and ever increasing rage that he's going to take them where he wants, not where they want. The mask had been pealed off and they saw this man as the scary individual that he was. And make no mistake about it, this man was very scary, though he comes across in casual settings as an affable individual.

But he did know how to navigate better than the girls did, and he drove them up to Mills College, to their dorm and let them out. And those girls zipped out of there in terror, probably the last time they ever hitchhiked again. And even then, they probably had no clue how close they came to being killed.

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