The Cases That Haunt Us : From Jack the Ripper to Jon Benet Ramsey, The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Sheds New Light on the Mysteries That Won't Go Away
America's foremost expert on criminal profiling provides his uniquely gripping analysis of seven of the most notorious murder cases in the history of crime -- from the Whitechapel murders to JonBenet Ramsey -- often contradicting conventional wisdom and legal decisions.
Jack the Ripper. Lizzie Borden. The Zodiac Killer. Certain homicide cases maintain an undeniable, almost mystical hold on the public imagination. They touch a nerve deep within us because of the personalities involved, their senseless depravity, the nagging doubts about whether justice was done, or because, in some instances, no suspect has ever been identified or caught.
In The Cases That Haunt Us, twenty-five-year-FBI-veteran John Douglas, profiling pioneer and master of modern criminal investigative analysis, and author and filmmaker Mark Olshaker, the team behind the bestselling Mindhunter series, explore the tantalizing mysteries that both their legions of fans and law enforcement professionals ask about most. Among the questions they tackle:
Was Jack the Ripper actually the Duke of Clarence, eldest grandson of Queen Victoria, or perhaps a practicing medical doctor? And did highly placed individuals within Scotland Yard have a good idea of the Ripper's identity, which they never revealed? Douglas and Olshaker create a detailed profile of the killer, and reveal their chief suspect.
Was Lizzie Borden truly innocent of the murder of her father and stepmother as the Fall River, Massachusetts, jury decided, or was she the one who took the ax and delivered those infamous "whacks"? Through a minute-by-minute behavioral analysis of the crime, the authors come to a convincing conclusion.
Did Bruno Richard Hauptmann single-handedly kidnap the baby son of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the most famous couple in the world, or was he an innocent man caught up and ultimately executed in a relentless rush to judgment in the "crime of the century"?
What kind of person could kill six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey on Christmas night in her own home? Douglas was called in on the case shortly after the horrifying murder, and his conclusions are hard-hitting and controversial. Why, in the face of the majority of public, media, and law enforcement opinion, including former FBI colleagues, does Douglas believe that John and Patricia Ramsey did not murder their daughter? And what is the forensic and behavioral evidence he brings to bear to make his claim?
Taking a fresh and penetrating look at each case, the authors reexamine and reinterpret accepted facts and victimology using modern profiling and the techniques of criminal analysis developed by Douglas within the FBI. This book deconstructs the evidence and widely held beliefs surrounding each case and rebuilds them -- with fascinating and haunting results.
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May 31, 2001
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Excerpt from The Cases That Haunt Us by John E. Douglas
On its most essential level, criminology is about why people do the things they do; that is, it is about the human condition. And of all the millions of horrendous crimes that have been committed over the years, certain criminal cases seem to have lives of their own. Despite the passage of time, they continue their hold on our collective imagination, and our collective fears. For some reason, each of these cases and the stories surrounding them touches something deep in that human condition -- because of the personalities involved, the senseless depravity of the crime, the nagging and persistent doubts about whether justice was actually done, or the tantalizing fact that no one was caught. In any event, the case remains a fascinating and perplexing mystery and gets to the core of how we see ourselves as human beings and our relationship to society.
Each of the cases we'll be examining in this book has remained extremely controversial. And each of these cases contains some universal truth at its base to which we can all relate. Taken together, they present a panorama of human behavior under extreme stress and an inevitable commentary on good and evil, innocence and guilt, expectation and surprise.
Through the cases we'll examine, we hope to show the uses, benefits, and limitations of modern behavioral profiling and criminal investigative analysis as practiced by the behavioral science units of the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. The operational division that actually does the profiling and case consultations has undergone several changes of name and designation. At the time that I was its chief until my retirement in 1995, it was known as the Investigative Support Unit, or ISU. Sometimes, we can go a long way in determining the identity of an unknown offender. Sometimes, we can only say who it is not. Sometimes, we can't do either. But we've greatly improved our ability to interpret forensic evidence from a behavioral standpoint. Had the discipline been around at the time of the earliest cases in this book, I believe we would have solved them and delivered the offenders to justice.