Harold Goldberg,Helen Morrison

My Life Among the Serial Killers

In this memoir, a forensic psychiatrist chronicles her work with more than 80 serial killers and her thoughts on what compels them.
Judging by appearances, Dr. Helen Morrison has an ordinary life in the suburbs of a major city. She has a physician husband, two children, and a thriving psychiatric clinic. But her life is more than that. She is one of the world’s leading experts on serial killers, and has spent as many as four hundred hours alone in rooms with depraved murderers, digging deep into killers’ psyches in ways no profiler ever has before.
In My Life among the Serial Killers, Dr. Morrison relates how she profiled the Mad Biter, Richard Otto Macek, who chewed on his victims’ body parts, stalked Dr. Morrison, then believed she was his wife. She did the last interview with Ed Gein, who was the inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. John Wayne Gacy, the clown-obsessed killer of young men, sent her crazed Christmas cards and gave her his paintings as presents. Then there was Atlanta child killer Wayne Williams; rapist turned murderer Bobby Joe Long; Fred and Rosemary West, who killed girls and women in their Gloucester “House of Horrors”; and Brazil’s deadliest killer of children, Marcelo Costa de Andrade.
Dr. Morrison has received hundreds of letters from killers, read their diaries and journals, evaluated crime scenes, testified at their trials, and studied photos of the gruesome carnage. She has interviewed the families of the victims—and the spouses and parents of the killers—to gain a deeper understanding of the killer’s environment and the public persona they adopt. She has also studied serial killers throughout history and shows how this is not a recent phenomenon with psychological autopsies of the fifteenth-century French war hero Gilles de Rais, the sixteenth-century Hungarian Countess Bathory, H.H. Holmes of the late nineteenth-century, and Albert Fish of the Roaring Twenties.
Through it all, Dr. Morrison’s goal has been to discover the reasons serial killers are compelled to murder, how they choose their victims, and what we can do to prevent their crimes in the future. Her provocative conclusions will stun you.
Praise for My Life Among the Serial Killers
“A scary piece of work, with even scarier implications.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A profoundly enlightening book. Morrison provides startling insights into what factors breed serial killers, and she avoids the broad generalizations that make other books of the topic seem slick and superficial. . . . This is an absorbing, disturbing book that makes it clear just how much we have yet to learn.” —Booklist
381 printed pages
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