Thanksgiving Day (the fourth Thursday in November) 1963, as Ed was not yet
fifteen, he borrowed his mother’s car, without her permission, drove it to
Butte, Montana. From there, he got on a bus and returned to Los Angeles and
Dad. The father should understand, he felt, that it was his duty to support his
natural son rather than his stepson. To Edmund’s joy, his father agreed to let him
live with him. There followed a brief happy period which, in itself, was such a
novelty that it scarcely surprised him when it came to a sudden ending.
the Christmas holidays, Kemper Sr. took his son to visit his parents, who owned
an isolated farm at North Fork, a small town in the foothills of the magnificent
Sierra Mountain range. But the pastoral beauties of the place were lost on the
teenage boy. For him, the farm came to seem like a prison or an old folks’ home
and he felt bitterly betrayed when his father announced to him for the second
time in less than three months that he was not going to return to Los Angeles
at the end of the Christmas holidays.
had spoken to her ex-husband on the phone to tell him about the Siamese cat
episode (Kemper had killed the family cat and hid it in his closet). She warned
– This Guy (Ed Kemper’s family nickname) is a really funny bird. And you’re taking a risk by leaving him with your parents. You may be surprised to wake up one morning to learn that they have been killed.
Eight months later, in August 1964, Ed Kemper would shoot both his grandparents to death.
When we examine Ed Kemper’s existence, it is interesting to note how crucial the holiday periods were: Thanksgiving & Christmas 1963, and Easter 1973. For someone like him, who felt rejected by his loved ones and by society, these moments of celebration could be extremely difficult and stressful times.
Sources: L’Ogre de Santa Cruz (Stéphane Bourgoin, 1998) / The Coed Killer (Margaret Cheney, 1976) / 1973 Ed Kemper mugshot