Edmund Kemper: A Journey into a Dark Mind

Essay by sardiddleCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2006

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Looking into the mind and life of necrophilic serial killer, Edmund Kemper, is a dark journey that would make the most passive readers uneasy. Kemper's childhood, and his mother in particular, played a tremendous role in molding him into the monster that he would later become (Douglas & Olshaker, 1995, p. 104-105, 108-109). "...Kemper is an example of someone not born a serial killer but manufactured as one" (Douglas & Olshaker, 1995, p. 109). Known as the "Coed Killer," Kemper ended his reign of terror leaving behind six young, female students, his mother and his mother's friend. The murders of the six young women simply prepared Kemper to do what he yearned to do all along, kill his mother (Douglas & Oshaker, 1995, p. 102).

Edmund Emil Kemper III was born on December 18, 1948 in Burbank, California. He was the oldest of three children and, according to all accounts, had a dysfunctional childhood.

His mother, Clarnell, and father, Edmund Emil Kemper Jr., fought relentlessly with each other until their separation, which ultimately ended in divorce. At the tender age of ten, Kemper's mother forced him to live in a makeshift basement bedroom, which she justified with her fear that he would molest his younger sisters because of his alarming size. Kemper got his first taste of death that same year when he killed and mutilated the two family cats. Kemper further expressed this disturbing behavior when he would engage in death games with his sister, Susan.

Troubled by Kemper's behavior, Clarnell sent him to live with his father and stepmother. Soon after he moved in with his father, Kemper ran away and went back to his mother, who reacted by sending him off to live on his grandparents' farm. It was here that Kemper shot his grandmother in...