Five Cases That Shaped the Real Mindhunters

Updated on January 22, 2019
SilenceNoMore profile image

College graduate, freelance writer, cooking aficionado. Political junkie by day and screenwriter by night.

The FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit was started in 1972 by agents Robert Ressler and John Douglas. The two agents wanted to use elements of psychology to help create profiles of unknown spree or serial killers, also known as Unknown Subjects. Ressler is credited with creating the term "serial killer."

Since its start in 1972, the BAU has investigated some of the most infamous serial killers in American history. As the unit grew, it began to break into specific fields. The BAU as a single entity broke up in 2014. The BAU has been featured on the small screen and silver screen in Criminal Minds and Hannibal.

1. Jeffrey Dahmer

Jeffrey Dahmer was a cannibal serial killer who became known to the public in July 1991. Dahmer shocked the world and made headlines everywhere. During his lengthy trial, Dahmer's defense team called on Ressler to testify that Dahmer only killed during psychotic episodes.

Dahmer was on trial during the same time when Ressler retired from the FBI. Ressler was interested in someone who appeared to be an organized serial killer but lost control when they committed the murders, which would classify him as a disorganized serial killer. During Ressler's career, all serial killers were either organized or disorganized, not both.

Ressler was able to interview Dahmer several times. He considered the man likable, despite being a serial killer. Ressler says that Dahmer's open honesty set himself apart from killers like Gacy and Bundy. Ressler ended up not being allowed to testify.

2. George Metesky

From 1940 to 1956, New York City was being targeted by a man who was placing bombs in several public places, such as theaters, subway terminals, libraries, and buildings owned by Consolidated Edison. Nobody ended up being killed, but 15 people were injured.

The police could not figure out the true identity of the person who became known as the "Mad Bomber." The NYPD needed help finding the bomber before he started killing people. They called on a private psychiatrist, James Brussel. Brussel worked in profiling in World War II and the Korean War. Brussel created a personality profile based on the "Mad Bomber" crimes and locations of his bombs.

The "Mad Bomber" gave a major clue to his true identity in a letter, where he said he was injured on the job. The letter was seen by a file clerk at Con Ed, who discovered the file for George Metesky, who was injured on the job and later fired after only earning six months of pay. Metesky ended up getting sick from the injury.

Police ended up questioning Metesky and secured a search warrant. Metesky was eventually arrested but found unfit to stand trial and died at a state hospital.

3. Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy disturbed Ressler the most. Bundy was known for his looks, intelligence, and charm. He ended up on a violent rampage along the west coast of America from 1974 to 1978. His name still freaks people out. Bundy is rumored to have killed 30 women, but nobody knows the real total of victims he claimed.

The BAU ended up getting involved after Bundy managed to escape from a courthouse library in Colorado while preparing for an upcoming murder trial. The BAU developed the first victim profile to warn potential victims that they could be targeted by Bundy, making it the first time a profile was used to warn the public about a predator.

Bundy also transformed the BAU and how it operates because of his moving from state-to-state killing people. The police failed to link the crimes in each state to him. The BAU ended up developing a national database centered on the motive, personality, and victim type.

4. John Wayne Gacy

From 1972 to 1978, John Wayne Gacy managed to lure 33 young men to his Chicago home, where he killed them and buried them in the crawl space underneath his home. The BAU was not initially called in before Gacy's arrest because when police first suspected Gacy, it was for only one murder and nobody considered the reach of his crimes.

Ressler got involved after police were digging out the bodies from his crawl space. Ressler later revealed that Gacy was from the same neighborhood as him. It's rumored the pair were in the Boy Scouts together. Gacy was the first serial killer that Ressler interviewed.

5. Edmund Kemper

One of the smartest American serial killers that Ressler and Douglas ever met was Edmund Kemper. Kemper is a genius with an IQ of 136. Kemper committed his first murders at the age of 15. In 1964, he murdered his grandparents. He was sent to a psych hospital where he convinced them to release him to his mother's care.

Kemper grew to an imposing 6'9'' and weighed 300 pounds. While living with his mother in Santa Cruz, Kemper ended up killing six co-eds at a university in Santa Cruz. He was later given the nickname "The Co-ed Killer." The BAU was drawn to Kemper's articulate speaking.

Ressler ended up visiting Kemper alone and was accidentally locked up alone with the serial killer. Kemper did not hurt Ressler. Ressler kept interviewing him, but never did it alone again.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, soapboxie.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://soapboxie.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)