“When I was young, I was about 8 or 9 years old, I went to this little come-on, it was like a record store or something. And they had this crowd of kids there and there was a magic show. And this guy… You’ve probably seen it, the fake guillotine, hand-pressed and they put the potato there. And someone puts their neck in the brace and they slam this thing down and the potato down below chops in two, but the person’s head doesn’t fall off, right? And everybody gets very fascinated by that: Oh my god!”
“I’m out standing in this crowd watching this show and he wanted a volunteer out of the audience. And some quite beautiful little 16-year-old girl gets up there, and this big laugh, and they’re all giddy and stuff. And I started getting caught up in this. I said: Wow! Right at that moment, I departed reality because, logically, I should have been able to ascertain that that could not happen. You’re not gonna get away with chopping somebody’s head off in the middle of Helena, Montana. But the concept of it was so raw and it was titillating. I says: Wow, gee, gotta watch this. And he had her girlfriend come over and put her hands there to catch her head, so it wouldn’t fall in the basket, you know. And he was making jokes about this. I got caught up in this interplay between normal concerns-you don’t want to get a bump on her head-well hey, if you’re chopping her head off, it doesn’t matter, right? And this is catching in my mind somehow and I’m saying: Wow, and naturally, everybody let out a shriek and they’re all excited: Oh wow! And as he chops and the potato falls, and her head doesn’t go any place and he unlocks the brace and she gets out laughing, and he gives her some little prize for coming up and participating in the experiment. That’s the first time I’d ever seen a show like that. You know, you see things like that on TV, it’s one thing, but to be there and watch things like that, you get more caught up in it. And I went from there. That became another piece. That’s… the only event in my life that I can align that fascination with was the fact that she was a very alluring young lady.”
– Edmund Kemper discussing his fascination with the beheading of women and how it might have entered in his secret fantasy world.
“I always felt like a social outcast, I never managed to find my place. I couldn’t stay put, the need to move was constant. From ages five to seven, while we lived in Los Angeles, I had problems in public schools. I changed schools several times. I was a difficult child at that time, but at least I was ‘normal’, because I wasn’t internalizing my problems. [he laughs] I didn’t kidnap classmates or break windows. I was insolent, I was disobedient and I didn’t do much work. The teachers often called my parents. But you know what, that was definitely better than my attitude in the following years, where I was troubled, very calm and where I hardly spoke. People who really knew me were very few. I remained locked in the basement with my dark thoughts. I became interested with everything related to morbidity. I was fascinated by lots of things that revolved around death, destruction and Evil, with a capital E. But that had nothing to do with Satan or any devil worshipping. In fact, I feared these things.”
– Ed Kemper about his childhood fantasies
Source : L’Ogre de Santa Cruz (Stéphane Bourgoin, 1998)
“As I explained to you, I don’t kill all the girls who get in my car. It’s a bit like playing Russian roulette, except that I’m not the one who risks death. I’m flirting with danger, I’m quite aware of it. I know that at any moment I can strike, and it’s something that excites me. As soon as I take out my gun, I have to go all the way, there’s no going back. I tell them that they’re mine, that I own them and that I will do what I want. If I take out my gun and let them go, I know very well that they will complain to the police and that time will be running out. I have a double murder on my record, and now I kidnap and threaten young women. What’s going to happen? They will not hesitate for one second to send me to jail for a million years. I regret that they didn’t do it.” – Ed Kemper about kidnapping co-eds
Source : L’Ogre de Santa Cruz (Stéphane Bourgoin, 1998)
“I imagine myself committing mass murders, where I gather a large number of pre-selected women in one place, killing them before passionately making love to them. Taking their life, possessing everything that belongs to them. All that would be mine. Absolutely everything.”
Source : L’Ogre de Santa Cruz (Stéphane Bourgoin, 1998) / Photo ©Joey Tranchina
When asked why he killed women, Edmund Kemper cited his own insecurities.
“My frustration. My inability to communicate socially, sexually. I wasn’t impotent, but emotionally I was impotent. I was scared to death of failing in male/female relationships. I knew absolutely nothing about that whole area, even of just sitting down and talking with a young lady.”
Source: documentary No Apparent Motive (1984)
In August 1974, a UCSC symposium entitled “Minds on trial” took place with 5 experts on the criminal mind: John Monahan, assistant professor on social ecology at the University of California at Irvine; District Attorney Peter Chang; Joel Fort, MD specialist in crime and violence and author of the “Pleasure Seekers”; Jerome Neu, assistant professor of humanities at UCSC; and David Marlowe, expert witness in numerous murder trials.
Moving into the Ed Kemper murders, the panel explored the possible motives behind the eight killings and discussed Kemper’s childhood and personality. “I don’t think we’ll ever know why he did what he did,” said Marlowe. “He wasn’t particularly different from many people. He wasn’t crazy. The question is ‘What accounts for his loss of control?’ Many others with similar fantasies and upbringings never commit a violent act.”
While author Fort said sexual repression, large physical size, a need to be near his father and his lack of friends were all contributing motives to the killings, Kemper could not pinpoint which special event led to his need to murder.
“To him and other mass murderers, killing is as acceptable as eating a meal or brushing your teeth. This type of behaviour didn’t bother him in the least.” District Attorney Chang added other dimensions to Kemper’s personality. “One side of him really had a conscience. I think he really wanted to confess.” However, Chang also said “Ed never showed remorse or guilt. He told me ‘One thing I learned at Atascadero was you don’t get far if you regret anything.’”
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, Sunday, August 18, 1974
Edmund Kemper killed Cynthia Ann “Cindy” Schall with a single bullet to the head as she lay in the trunk of his car. She died instantly.
He decapitated her the next morning after engaging in sexual acts with her body. He disposed of her remains and her things, except for her head that he kept and buried in the backyard, just under his mother’s bedroom window.
Artwork by: @kkdtrooper / kkdtrooper.tumblr.com/