Be Careful In Whom You Trust

Behind the Headlines: Predators Among Us – Interview With Dr. Anna Salter

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In December 2013, we spoke with Dr. Anna Salter on SOTT Talk Radio. Dr. Salter is a licensed clinical psychologist who received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and Public Practice from Harvard University. She is the author of the best-selling book, Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, and Other Sex Offenders, Who They Are, How They Operate, and How We Can Protect Ourselves and Our Children, provides expert testimony in high-profile criminal trials in the US, and has given talks internationally.

Dr. Salter’s invaluable contribution towards exposing and understanding the predators in our midst comes from her tremendous courage in both treating the victims of violent sex crimes, and also from studying the offenders, interviewing them and compiling the videotaped interviews along with her commentary and analysis.

What motivates sexual abusers? Why are so few caught? Lifting the lid on an unspoken, unacknowledged reality that sees countless thousands of sex crimes take place in towns and cities everywhere, Dr. Salter shows that sexual predators use sophisticated deception techniques and rely on misconceptions surrounding them to evade discovery.

Arguing that even the most knowledgeable among us can be fooled, listen as Dr. Salter dispels the myths about sexual predators and gives us the tools to protect our families and ourselves. As Dr. Salter put it: “Knowing how they think and act and operate is the only protection we have.”

Running Time: 02:04:00

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Here’s the transcript:

Niall: Hello and welcome to another episode of SOTT Talk Radio. I’m your host Niall Bradley. With me in the studio today are Pierre.

Pierre: Bonjour.

Niall: Juliana and Laura.

Juliana: Hello.

Laura: Hello.

Niall: This week we’re honoured to be speaking with Dr Anna Salter. She’s a world renowned psychologist who received her PhD in clinical psychology and public practice from Harvard University and who does training, consulting and publications on sexual abuse, sex offenders and victimisation. nna’s best selling book will probably be familiar to most of our listeners because we’ve discussed it on our online forum. Its called Predator and the subtitles really says it all Paedophiles, Rapists And Other Sex Offenders-Who They Are, How They Operate And How We Can Protect Ourselves And Our Children’. Welcome Anna

Dr Salter: Thank you for inviting me.

Niall: Its great to be able to talk with you. I’d like to begin by thanking you first of all for your hard work. Your book on Predators is not an easy read by any stretch.

Juliana: Oh you can say that again.

Niall: But it’s required reading. I really think everyone who cares has got to read this book.

Pierre: It’s horrifying.

Dr Salter: This is a book that wanted to be written. I don’t know how to explain that, but I think books sort of – when there’s a book to be written – at least this is true for me – its sort of beats at you, until you finally write it down. It wasn’t an easy book to write either and I appreciate that it’s hard to read. It felt like the things I said, needed to be said.

Pierre: I find it horrifying to read but at the same time fascinating because somehow it’s a journey within a psyche that are so foreign to our way of thinking, of feeling, of treating others that in the end we learn a lot about some kind of sub-species people who look like humans but obviously at the most fundamental level, they are not really human, they are almost opposite to human.

Dr Salter: Well I think the most surprising thing about, let’s just say sexual sadists, people who get sexually aroused by torturing other people, is that it seems like almost a reverse empathy. When most of us see someone is being tortured or hurt, we hurt with them. They see the same thing but they have an opposite emotional reaction. They have a reaction of a high, of enjoying the suffering. And that’s hard for any of us to sort of make sense of.

Pierre: That’s funny you mention this part because that was the first quote I had under my eyes. You write “What few sadists then is then not a belief that people are objects…”, and that’s usually the way psychopaths are depicted but, you go on “…but rather, it’s a kind of reverse empathy. Rather than being indifferent to how other feels they are exquisitely attuned to it.” So they can read our emotions and they can trigger those fear and suffering and they feed on it.

Dr Salter: Yes, that’s very true. Psychopaths are people who don’t have a conscience but it doesn’t make them want to see people suffer. If you get between a psychopath and what he or she wants, in some cases they may beat you to death and they don’t mind doing that. They don’t care. But that’s not the purpose, the purpose is your check book or whatever it is that they were trying to get. The really bizarre thing about sadists is the enjoyment of the suffering.

Pierre: Something that you mention in your book several times, but that cannot be totally conveyed by your book is their grin, their expression when they remember what they did. And for the listeners I can recommend to watch your video, especially this video about this rapist who said how he prepared his step daughter from the age of one to become his object basically, and the grin of those people, their expression when they remember what were they doing, which are the most horrific things but you can see on their faces the joy, the satisfaction, just by thinking about what they did.

Dr Salter: Yes. I have a training film on a sadist who did some pretty horrible things to his step-son. And in the beginning of the film he has his head down and he’s trying to communicate to me how sorry he is and how hard this is to talk about. Then he raises his face and you see that his pupils are dilated. Well there were two banks of lights just outside camera range. So his pupils weren’t dilated because of a lack of light, they were dilated out of interest and enjoyment. And I do find that. I find that the sadists that I’ve talked to, when they relive the incidents, their eyes get dilated and they seem to get very excited. I found with psychopaths, when I talk to them the narcissism of them comes out and they are just thrilled with what we call duping delight, the fact that they can fool people and get away with it. And they light up over that, over the ability to manipulate others.

Laura: I have to say Dr Salter that I am kind of in awe to be just talking to you because I have only a remote inkling of an idea of what it must be like to actually have sat in a room with such people, to have listened to them, to have talked to them, to have taken on board completely the kinds of things they say and the descriptions of the things they do. So you know, I do write a great deal about this sort of thing because it’s taken me over ten years to wrap my head around it. To just hammer over and over again into my head that there are people who are not benevolent in their core. That everybody is not created the same, everybody doesn’t want the best for themselves or their children, for happiness, a peaceful world and end to war and everybody to have food to eat. Tthat there are people who are not like that. They don’t want that. They don’t care about that. And it’s been very difficult for me. And during the course of this time I have encountered many, many people who have said to me “if you keep looking at the darkness, that’s the kind of reality you’ll create for yourself.” And of course I get very angry about that because I say “If I don’t tell my children that there’s traffic in the street so stay out of the street, they’re going to get killed.” So what’s the difference? If I don’t tell my children about predators and this sort of thing. So how do you deal with that? That’s what I am getting at. How do you cope with that because for me reading your book was really, really, it was really a tour de force, I have to say. How do you deal with it?

Dr Salter: Well some days, I do think it’s my mission in life to spread anxiety and depression as far as possible {laughter}. You know I definitely regret that. In my mind’s eye – and I have no proof of this, but I think of people, let’s say empathy versus callousness, I think of it on a normal curve and there are people out there who are so much profoundly more empathic than most of us, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, they’re people on one extreme. And then most of us are kind of in the middle and then there are people on the other end who are as callous as Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa were empathic. And they just exist. They are hard for the rest of us to understand because if you look at, for example, there’re some new research on people who have to look at child porn as part as their business, police officers, ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) members. And there’s a new studies that show the impact on them. And they get depressed. Many of them burn out. They are exposed to really ugly and sometimes absolutely horrifying images all the time. And what it does, they don’t get use to it. They start having anxiety symptoms and so forth.
So I think most of us don’t grasp, can’t grasp the people on this other end who get a delight in that and that’s ok, that we can’t grasp it. But I think what’s dangerous is when we pretend there’re not there.

Laura: Absolutely.
Dr. Salter: And I can’t tell you how many reports I’ve seen of really horrific behaviour like locking a child every night in a cabinet that was under the sink and making them spend the night there. I had a case recently where they put a child in the basement at aged ten and I believe she weighed eighty five pounds that point, five years later when she was fifteen she weighed sixty eight. So they systematically starved her over that period of time. We’re not going to really understand that, but what really is unforgivable are the number of reports that say things like “Oh the parents lost control”. Or “It was a sudden outburst” No. Torture is not an example of someone losing control. You lose control when you back hand a kid because you’re angry, not when you systematically starve a kid for five years. And that is very dangerous, in our desire to protect our own hearts when we fail to recognise the reality of malevolence. We don’t have to understand it, but we do have to recognise it.

Juliana: Dr Salter are you noticing any changes in the system when you’re in court cases or in front of judges, are they really grasping this? Or are they still going on about how, “Well they can’t be evil, say by birth” or “They can’t be born that way. Probably something happened to this father who abused this innocent child that made him that way.” I mean, are still getting away? Because, that’s really what gets me sometimes, to see – we have it all the time, even in movies and things. Hardly anybody depicts a sadist or a psychopath in a realistic way. There’s always some kind of childhood trauma that explains it all and they did not mean it and they changed it in the end of the movie or whatever. How are you seeing it all in real life? With real cases?

Dr Salter: I see it exactly like that. People are meaning makers. We want a story we can understand. When we don’t understand something, we just make it up. So we don’t really understand where some of this comes from and there are cases like the Austin Sigg case where there was no, there simply wasn’t any abuse in his childhood. And millions and millions of people have far more abusive childhoods than he had. So we don’t know where this came from. But in the absence of knowing, people try many times to minimise someone’s malevolence. We want people to be sorry, we want them to show they’re sorry. If they either are sorry or put on a convincing act that they’re sorry, then somehow it’s better, they should get a lesser sentence, something like that. We minimise really horrible behaviour all the time because it makes us feel safer to not acknowledge the degree of malevolence. I do see that unfortunately.

Niall: It makes us feel safer and we actually are in more danger as a result

Dr Salter: Feeling safe and being safe are two different things. It’s been interesting to see how much feeling safe will triumph being safe for people. I remember giving a lecture when I was at Dartmouth Medical School and I was doing a grand rounds. And I showed some films of sex offenders talking about how they fooled people. nd in the middle of it this OBGYN doc jumped up and said “Anna, what are you saying? What are you saying? How are suppose to protect our children?” And those people really don’t want to – the world is dicier than people want to admit, I’ll put it that way.

Laura: Dicier is an understatement I think.

Pierre: Another wrong belief concerning predators and those kind of abuses, is that it is only a minority that is affected, a minority of the population. And from your book we learn that actually according to some statistics, it’s fifty percent or a bit less than fifty percent of the population that is victim of such a behaviours. And another figure that I found totally flabbergasting is that on average offenders have 150 victims.

Dr Salter: Well there are studies that show up to fifty percent have been victimised if you include exposure, exhibitionism. But the number of hands-on offences are lower than that and the estimates run now between 15 and 30 percent. In general, crime is going down. All kinds of crime have been going down for the last twenty years, all kinds of violent crimes and most forms of non-violent crimes have been going down. So in general, the society has been getting safer as we go along, but it is true that it’s just not in terms of sexual sadism or psychopaths, but in terms of paedophiles and people who molest children – the vast majority whom are not sadistic – it is true that they have a really large number of victims. The offender I talked to who had the most, said he believed he had close to 1,250. He had operated for over twenty years as an athletic director in a middle school and he said he had molested four or five different kids a week. You know, whether his number was exactly accurate or not, would you feel any better if it was three hundred less? No you wouldn’t. We have – most of the people who molest children molest one or two children, but there is a small group of offenders who have very high numbers. Gene Abel has said he thought that five percent of the offenders committed 70 percent of the offences.

Laura: There’s another thing that people think, that makes them feel better, they like to think it and that is that they can tell when somebody’s lying and this is something that you emphasize in your book, that that you can’t tell when they’re lying. And I would like to ask you, is that even true in the case of say, a polygraph, or other you know lie detection methodologies? Are they able to lie their way through anything?

Dr Salter: No. It is true that the research online shows that people are rarely better than 50 percent unless they’ve had some very specialized training and most groups don’t ever get above 60 percent. Well, when you can get 50 percent by flipping a coin, you have to admit that people, without some very specialized training, are really not very good at detecting lies. Unfortunately, they think they can. And the problem is, if I ask a group of people – and I do this regularly – what’s conventional wisdom about the signs of lying? And they would say “Oh nervousness, they look away, they fidget”. OK, well no actually no they don’t. The research shows that the only people you’re only going to pick up who act like that are newbie’s. They’re people who haven’t committed a lot of crimes before and they haven’t had a lot of practice. But you’re not going to get the real pros at lying by looking for signs of nervousness. First of all, psychopaths feel duping delight when they lie and nobody’s ever trained that joy can be a sign of lying. But in some individuals it is.
Now, as far as the polygraph, I believe that the polygraph is better than the average person at detecting lying. It’s not perfect for sure, but its more accurate than most people are and it picks up psychopaths as well as it picks up anyone else. And the reason for that may be that their duping delight triggers the machine. But whatever it is, {laughter} the reaction that they have – it’s true. It’s picked up by the machine, by the increased heart rate and the other physiological signs that it measures.

Laura: Well that’s the first time I’ve heard it put that way, but that kind of makes sense, yeah.

Dr Salter: If you don’t feel guilty about what you do, if you don’t feel ashamed of it, then you’re not going to show signs, you don’t even have to fake it, you’re not going to show signs of embarrassment or shame or guilt because you don’t feel it.

Niall: The answer to a question I have might seem a bit obvious, but would it be true to say that the kind of sexual sadist and predators that you’ve written about are also clinical psychopaths and vice versa? Are all psychopaths sexual sadists? Do the two always go together?

Dr Salter: No, no they don’t always go together. Psychopaths pretty much do what they want to do. A lot of them want money. lot of them are cheque forgers. Some of them are CEO’s and no doubt there’s some that are politicians as well. But what..

Niall: Like who?

Dr Salter:..the difference between them and other people is, that they don’t care who they hurt. They don’t have a guilty conscience to get what they want. That doesn’t mean all psychopaths want to see people suffer. They don’t. Sadists is sexual, or one form of sadism, the form that is in the DSM series, is sexual sadism and they are sexually attracted to the suffering of others.
When we catch someone who is for example a serial killer, they are almost always psychopathic and sadistic. And the reason for that is, if you are have to some degree sadism, some sexual enjoyment of suffering. what the average person does who is not a psychopath, is they join an S&M club and they make arrangements with another person for exactly what’s going to happen and what the word is that will stop the whole thing and so forth. So they get someone who wants to be, who is masochistic essentially. But the ones we catch don’t want the person to enjoy it or to be consenting and they want to do things that are so extreme in that no one would consent. That’s why when you catch them, they are often psychopaths and sadists, but the two do not always go together.

Niall: OK, but part of the reason I asked that question is your description, I think it’s on the chapter specially dealing with sadists, and your description of their – you’re explaining that no – for them the child or the other person is not an object, it’s not as simple as saying they’re an object, otherwise they’d go and do something to a tree. No, they are actually in it because – you described it as “they’re engorging on the emotions, the negative emotions of the victim”.
Dr. Salter: They are.

Niall: And what struck me is that I’ve read that sort of description before and it’s about psychopaths, like a CEO when he’s doing that over hundreds of employees. Or it could be a politician doing it over thousands of people. That description seems to fit the kind of enjoyment that they might get from what they do.

Dr Salter: For most of them the enjoyment is in the money or the winning. If they have to lay off 7,000 people, they don’t care about it. But they don’t lay off 7,000 people just because they want to make people suffer they lay off 7,000 people because it is of some benefit to them, generally monetary.

Niall: OK it’s a consequence of their actions.

Dr Salter: A consequence and they don’t really care about the consequence. Buy companies, tear them apart, lay off people, fire people. They just don’t care about that. What they care about is winning and the yacht that they have and so forth.

Laura: So it’s instrumental.

Dr Salter: Instrumental. Psychopaths are very instrumental. They’re known for instrumental aggression over emotion-based aggression.

Pierre: You write in your book, to go along this topic, “Why does it take 30 years of research for the rest of us to understand phenomena that inmates grasp intuitively. It seems clear who the real experts are.” Can you expand on this idea of how psychopaths or inmates how this very acute, very sharp grasp of human psychology?

Dr Salter: Well it is interesting. At one point I was interviewing inmates who had compromised more than one staff member. So I actually interviewed one inmate who was running four staff members at the same time. He had one officer who brought in a cell phone for him. He had alcohol in his cell. He had illegal protein supplements for his weight lifting and he was having sex with another officer. And none – actually I think the sex was with the librarian. But none of these people knew about the other.
Now when I talked to him about the seduction process and how he compromises staff, then I may go to another inmate in another institution who has compromised several staff, and it sounds exactly the same. And I’ll talk to three or four where they’re not necessarily talking to each other, and it always is a mystery to me how well some of them read people and know just what the weaknesses are.

Laura: Can you describe it?

Dr Salter: But they…pardon?

Laura: Can you describe what they do, I mean his description of the seduction process?

Dr Salter: Well the thing that surprised me, that they pretty much all say is it never starts with the inmate asking for something. It starts with the inmate doing a favour for the staff. So, for example, the inmate will give them information, tell them who’s dangerous and who isn’t, tell them which situations are dangerous so they’re not – set themselves up so that the staff member is relying on them. And they all talk about that. They may you know, “Let me clean your office, I’m doing the hall anyway and the guy who does your office, he didn’t do a good job”. Or if they are a copy clerk “Let me copy that extra stuff for you, I don’t have anything to do”.
They do this because in every culture that has been studied there’s an unwritten rule, and the rule is that if someone does something nice for you then you owe them. So the second part of it – and the next part of it is that then they ask for something back. But it’s going to start out being very, very small. It has to be small because it has to get under the radar. So they can’t ask anything big. They can ask for an extra pencil. They can ask for a French fry, if a staff member’s eating McDonalds. “Hey man, give me a fry.” But then you have the staff member assuming that they owed this person who has done something nice for them and what’s the harm. It’s just a very little thing. And then it builds from there. After the staff member has done something really incriminating, has taken a letter out for them or brought something in for them, then all of the niceness stops. They own the staff member at that point and the staff member isn’t asked anymore, the staff member gets told what to do.

Laura: Wow.

Pierre: And actually, what you describe in your book is that those people, while they do those nice things, and give those presents, they say those nice words, their smile, actually all that is an act, part of a premeditated plan.

Dr Salter: Yes, in the case of the psychopath, I’m obviously not saying that every inmate is psychopathic, I’m obviously not saying that every inmate, when they smile is being false. I’m talking about a narrow group of inmates probably between 10 to 20 percent of the prison population that score as psychopathic. And for that group of inmates, what I learned from interviewing them was that it was pre-planned from the very first conversation. They might say something like – start a conversation and then “Hey man what were you doing before you were here?” Ok? Now that sounds like an innocuous question “Oh I was in this other prison” or “I wasn’t a correctional officer I was working outside …” you know, whatever. They don’t care what you answer at that point because the point of the question is not to get information, it’s to see if he’ll talk about personal matters. And to a one, they said if they would talk about personal matters they could be, as they put it ‘worked with’.

Laura: Wow.

Juliana: And they’d do that with you, I imagine when you interview them?

Dr Salter: Oh its almost funny at the end of one interview, the guy said “I checked up on you and I was told that you were very professional, very good at what you do”. You can almost roll your eyes because he’s just been telling me how he manipulate his staff with flattery. And then another one said “Well why do you make films?” and I said “I like to make educational films”. The best answer is a non-information answer. And he says “Yeah, but why?” He leans back and puts his hands behind his head and says “Why?” And you know, what can you say at that point? I mean, I am always very polite and respectful when I interview offenders because how we treat people has to do with who we are. It doesn’t have to do with who they are. So we treat Ted Bundy the same as you’d treat anybody else, because of who we are. So I didn’t say “For Christ sakes, you’re trying to con me?” you know. But it was ….I did say “I appreciate your trying to give me an example of your work, I appreciate that” {laughter} butin my head I was thinking hubris, hubris, hubris. I’m not a potted plant, I’ve listened to you for three hours talk about how you manipulate staff and the first step is to get them to talk about something personal. You know, this is – wait a week for Christ sakes. You’re doing it in the same interview.

Laura: Jesus, that’s crazy.

Niall: But Dr Salter, chances are it has worked with another psychologist before, right?

Dr Salter: Chances are very good that its worked. But you know the reason I think that’s so strange when they do it is because the other psychologist wasn’t interviewing them about deception techniques, you know? And even when you interview them about this, and they just told you their deception techniques, it’s remarkable how narcissistic they are. Many of the psychopaths are, and how they think it’ll work with you anyway.

Laura: Well let me ask you, considering that notorious lack of reliability of psychopathic self-report, how do you get them to talk to you as freely as they do?

Dr Salter: Well not all will of course and when I interview offenders I always wait until after the appeals are over, if I can, if I’m doing it for educational purposes. And I find that the offenders – because nobody tells you anything while they’re still appealing the case. But I find that the offenders who talk the most freely to me are the psychopaths because they’re not ashamed of what they’ve done and they never get a chance to tell people just how clever they are. Narcissism is the Achilles heel of the psychopath. If you want to interview them, narcissism is the Achilles heel. Bob Hare who originated, perhaps not originated, but who has developed the concept of psychopathy in this century more than anybody else, Bob Hare tells a story of giving a training and two detectives were there from a west coast city. They had come to the training because they had a guy who they knew had killed two women but they thought he had killed more than that.a Ad they couldn’t get him to ‘fess up to it and they were saying things to him like “The families need closure” and all of that. Well of course that’s exactly the wrong tactic with the psychopath.
According to Dr Hare, after the training the officers told him later that they looked at each other and said “We’re barking up the wrong tree.” So they went back and said to this guy “You know Bundy had 35. You only have two.” {laughter} You know he ended up taking them to the graves. It’s narcissism. You’re never going to get anything out of the psychopath by asking them to feel sorry, or guilty, or to help the families, or any of that. It’s appealing to their narcissism is much more effective.

Juliana: Which then makes me think of, what does the solution? People think that going to jail will cure them, save them, whatever. And we know that’s not going to happen. What do you do? You’re not even safe when they’re in jail. And they seem to get better even, or somehow because they’re forced to not do anything while they’re in jail, once they’re released they get worse. What solutions are there? If any?

Dr Salter: We don’t have solutions. People hate admitting that. I do support jail for crimes, particularly violent crimes because I think there is a point to keeping them … the public, simply keeping the public safe by removing them from the streets for whatever length of time the crime permits. But I do not believe at this point that we have treatment programmes that are effective for psychopaths. And there are some data that suggests they actually get worse with treatment. There are at least two studies out there in which the psychopaths who were treated re-offended more than the psychopaths who aren’t treated.
Now as far as the sadists go, I don’t know of any studies of what will help sadists. And the reason is that when we catch them, we don’t usually let them out. So, if you have someone like Austin Sigg recidivism is not an issue because people just don’t let out Austin Sigg, or the Ted Bundys or the Dahmers once they’re actually caught. So we don’t know if they could be or not.

Laura: Dr Salter, are you familiar with the Fred and Rose case that happened in the UK, oh what, 15, 20 years ago, or something like that?

Dr Salter: No, I don’t think so. What were the circumstances?

Laura: Well Fred married Rose and they had children and I think he even had a child from a previous relationship. And they were not only sexually molesting and torturing their own children, but they were kidnapping young women and bringing them to their house. They had a special torture chamber in the basement and they had pretty much a standard technique for the whole torture process they went through. They murdered, or she murdered one of their children, buried them under the patio in the back yard. It was so horrific that I actually, after reading one description of the events as they were reconstructed during the trial, I couldn’t read the rest of the reconstructions because I just had to skip to the end of the book to find out how it turned out. I couldn’t take any more. It was really that horrific. Yeah, so I was just wondering if you were familiar with this one and if you had kind of had made an assessment?

Dr Salter: No, I’m not familiar with that particular one, but I’m familiar with that type of offender.

Laura: If you just type in Fred and Rose in Google you’ll get it. I mean it’ll just pop up.

Niall: Fred and Rose West .

Laura: Yeah it was just it was probably the most awful thing I’ve ever read.

Niall: This research – go ahead.

Dr Salter: You can see why people who work with, who interview people like Fred and Rose, who can easily see from your reaction why they often end up traumatized.

Laura: Yeah, well the funny thing is, is that Fred committed suicide before he could be brought to trial. There’s some interesting twists in the way the case turned out and I, you know I just kind of, I couldn’t get the fact that he committed suicide before he could be brought to trial.

Dr Salter: Not going to jail. I’ve seen that before too, where – there was one case and I don’t remember the name of the offender, but he was pulled over for a traffic stop and he just assumed they were pulling him over for the torture chamber he had in his basement. And he had a suicide pill on him and he killed himself. And the truth was that was just a routine, some kind of routine traffic stop. But when they went to his house, they discovered the high speed incinerator, the torture chamber below it. I think a number of them make that decision, that if they’re ever caught, rather than live their lives in prison, they’re just going to kill themselves.

Laura: Oh boy.

Pierre: Something that is heartbreaking in your book is that apparently those kind of individuals target, above all they target the most empathetic ones, the most caring ones. One of your interviewee says “‘The reason I can be so successful’ an inmate tells me ‘is I find people who really care about other people'”.

Dr Salter: Oh, that’s pretty common. I have had offenders tell me that they love churches because people are more gullible in churches, that they look for the best in everyone. You know the real, oh gosh I don’t know the word, but the truth is that offenders, predators don’t just prey on our weaknesses, they prey on our strengths as well. They prey on the fact that many people are trusting, that they do look for the best in people, that they don’t consider the worst in people. And those are natural victims for them. Most of them are not actually looking for a challenge, they’re looking for the easiest victim.

Laura: Are you familiar with the work of Sandra Brown who wrote the book Women Who Love Psychopaths?

Dr Salter: No. I’ve heard of it, but I haven’t read it.

Laura: Well she did, she did actually a study, more or less a pretty good one, and determined that most of the women who get involved in personal relationships with psychopaths were very empathetic, they were very – they were strong. They basically had a lot of juice, you know.

Dr Salter: Mm hm. That’s interesting because Reid Malloy has a book out on women who are involved with violent offenders and they found that they were had a lot of personality disorders. So I haven’t read Sandra Browns book but …

Laura: I highly recommend it because …

Dr Salter: Oh I will.

Laura: We’ve had her on the show before, she’s a nice lady.

Dr Salter: That’s great.

Juliana: Well I’m not surprised that they have some disorders because, in a way people who are strong, or good, or who have a lot of strength, who get sort of crushed by the system are sort of insecure because they don’t want to hurt somebody else, they want – there’s all of …

Laura: What Sandra was dealing with was women who love psychopaths who were not violent necessarily because they were, they were kind of like…

Juliana: variety.

Laura: … the mind rapers.

Dr Salter: Are you talking about emotional abuse? Are you talking people who traumatize people outside the family?

Laura: Yeah, it’s mostly emotional. It’s like mind rape. It kinda like that movie Gaslight, where they take this absolute delight in just screwing somebody’s mind yp completely and getting them to love them so much that they you know fall on their knees and beg for them to stay home and then they “Oh no I have a new girlfriend now you just have to stay here and cook my meals and wash my clothes while I go and run around with other women” because they enjoy this psychological suffering.

Dr Salter: Well they will use anybody for sure and they can be quite charismatic. That’s part of the problem with them. There was a very interesting study by Gottman who sort wired abusive couples up to machines that measure their heart rate and their skin conductance and so forth. Essentially, things that would measure how physiologically aroused they got. And then he asked them talk about something, some topic that caused violence in the past. And there were several really interesting things about it. One was that there was a small group of domestic violence batterers who were, in my opinion from reading the results, psychopathic. And as the other person got more upset in the argument, they got stiller, in terms of their emotional response, like a predator. Like a – they called them cobras because they would – you know a predator isn’t dancing around before they strike. They get very still. And this group got very still and their heart rates actually dropped in the middle of a argument, for example, where the other person got more and more and more aroused. They were more violent, the violence was more sudden and unpredictable and the violence came when someone tried to control them and asking them to take out the trash might be their definition of control.
But the point I was making is, even though the other group, the pit bull batterers were less violent and were not psychopathic, their wives left them far more often than the women left the cobras. And part of it had to do with the charisma of the cobra. These guys can be very, very charismatic. And they talk a good bit.

Laura: Yeah I think that might be the kind that she’s dealing with. Take a look at it and you’ll see that it’s kind of a whole different population I think, of women. And she was looking for various specific types of relationships. So it’s a really interesting book. And I think I’ve read the study you’re talking about, about the heart rate going down. I’m pretty sure, yeah I’ve got that one. Like I’ve said I’ve spent ten years trying to wrap my head around, this reading everything I can get my hands on, you know, just to hammer it in that its real.

Pierre: Sandra Brown as well mentioned when describing this charisma, this almost supernatural skill, supernatural charisma and its hypnotic power upon the victim. During your work did you experience, during your interviews, did you experience these hypnotic effects on you?

Laura: Oh yeah ..

Pierre: …and explainable, the impact effects on you?

Dr Salter: I don’t think of them as hypnotic at all. But I think of them – one of the reasons I suspect that Sandra Brown got some findings that she got, is that good people forgive other people. They look for the best in them and they will minimise the bad. So women who are very kind would be very likely, when he sobbed afterwards and said he was sorry, to forgive them. In prison, one of the psychopaths that I have interviewed, one of them said to me is “It’s all a question of time, how much time you have to get to somebody”. And my interviews, I come in, I go out, I’m only interviewing them once typically and that’s just really not enough time for them to do what they do. So I don’t – but I will say this. I have discovered how likeable some of them are. And one of the most likeable men I’ve ever met was a contract killer. I have no idea how many people he killed, I know killed a woman in Madison, came in her house and put five bullets in her chest and afterwards said that he had been doing it for ten years. But oh my god, was this guy likeable. And that’s a problem that people have, our species have. We think likeability and trustworthiness go together, and they don’t. So if you like someone, people are quick to trust them and if you think someone is a jerk, you’ll sort of believe they’re capable of anything. To work in your field successfully you have to separate out the two. You have to realize that you will genuinely like some people who do horrific things and that it doesn’t make them one bit more trustworthy.

Laura: That’s true, my kids have a kind of a saying that if mom really likes somebody they’re probably a whacko {laughter}. I get taken in so much, I swear.

Pierre: You’ve just mentioned a fundamental paradox here, actually in our world. Individuals who seem the most likeable, the most charismatic are in reality the ones that are most destructive, so there’s a kind of reversal of values, or this clash between appearances and reality.

Dr Salter: Yes, I’m not saying of course that everybody is charismatic is a psychopath, but I’m saying that many psychopaths are very charismatic and that part of our job I think in growing up, is to recognise that the two, charisma and trustworthiness are totally separate. You can be charismatic and trustworthy and you can be charismatic and a wolf in sheep’s clothing too.

Niall: Mm hmm. And you quote several times in the book Gavin de Becker who says that “niceness is a decision.”

Dr Salter: Not a character.

Niall: Exactly.

Dr Salter: Well, I joke that if I ever get a tattoo, that’s going to be it {laughter} And There are days you know when I think I’d put it on my forehead. {laughter}

Niall: We have a question here from a listener

Listener: “Have you had any experience of child psychopaths and/or sadists and if so what do you think about their possible rehabilitation?”

Dr Salter: Well Austin Sigg, who I suspected your readers are familiar with, he abducted and raped, murdered and dismembered a little ten-year-old girl who was just walking to school. He was an adolescent at the time. It’s was pretty clear he was sadistic. He talked about watching films of dismemberment in a sexual fashion. And what I said at the sentencing is that those two concepts just don’t go together for the rest of us. There’s no form of dismemberment the rest of us would find in any way sexual.
But he was an adolescent at the time and there was an adolescent sadist in Wisconsin. I didn’t interview him but he actually kidnapped a younger adolescent and broke his legs and then all night he would alternately be very nice to him and then he would jump on the broken legs. And he survived because he crawled. The sadist fell asleep and he crawled something like five miles to get help. And while he’d been in captivity, the sadist had told him that he had done this to another kid who died and told him the kid’s name and that kid had indeed drowned. But no one had checked his bones. They exhumed the body and he had broken – his legs were broken. So why he drowned was because his legs were broken.
So that’s very, very rare, but there are adolescents who are sadistic. Psychopathy ,if you have it, it tends to start generally before adolescence and continue into adolescence. Nobody wakes up at 22 and suddenly they don’t have a conscience. So it is much more common to find kids who score high in psychopathy during adolescence than it is of course to find a sadist. They’re very rare.

Laura: Wow. Did you ever come across a fellow who kind of dominates the topic of narcissism since you mentioned it on the internet, a Sam Vaknin?

Dr Salter: No, who is this?

Laura: Well he claims to be a psychologist and it turns out that he got his degree from a diploma mill. That he had made – like I said, he was dominating the internet on the subject of narcissism, or what we would call – it was not toxic narcissism, it was malignant narcissism. And he claimed that he himself was a narcissist, which was why he was qualified to be the best advisor of people who were suffering from a narcissistic partners, or family members, or recovering from narcissistic abuse and so forth. And so there was a film crew that was down in Australia I believe it was, who got him to go and get tested and they filmed the whole thing and it was, it’s really kind of interesting because they made a film called I Psychopath out of it because after he got tested at some famous university, in I think it was Germany, they determined that he wasn’t a narcissist all. He was a full blown psychopath. Which was an absolutely fascinating film

Dr Salter: I can’t comment too much on it – I can’t comment at all because I really don’t know who this person is. But I would advise anyone who is suffering the aftermath of psychopathy to go to Robert Hare’s website. There’s a legitimate organization that is orientated around helping survivors of psychopathy. And it certainly wouldn’t surprise me a psychopath was narcissistic enough to set up a phoney business on the internet. Psychopathy has been called malignant narcissism before.

Laura: Well its absolutely hilarious because everywhere you go when you study or try to research on the internet, narcissism, that’s who you find, Sam Vaknin and his articles. They post them literally everywhere, as though he were the worlds living expert on narcissism. And we spent a period of time exposing him and we still get hate mail for it because every time we expose one of these con artists, we get subjected to a whole lot of hate mail and that’s one of them. But it was kind of like, I would recommend watching the film because its highly entertaining.

Dr Salter: What’s the name of the film?

Laura: I, Psychopath.

Dr Salter: OK, I would certainly do that.

Laura: And I think ..

Dr. Salter: I was just going say there are lots of people who are looking for somebody to help them understand what happened to them. I certainly get a lot of mail from people who say “You’re describing my ex-husband or my ex-wife” or whatever. And there is a legitimate organization. It’s called – it’s a non profit – called Aftermath Surviving Psychopathy. And I think that that’s a good place for people to go.
You know, you can’t underestimate the charisma of these guys. I was once talking with a colleague in corrections and she was telling me that as child her best friend’s father was a psychopath. He was an insurance salesman and he wasn’t sending the policies in, he was pocketing all the money. And when it came out, he just left town and he had mortgaged the house to the point that the family completely lost the house. The mother went into a profound depression and they were evicted and the neighbours got enough money together to put them on a bus to some other relatives. The mother was completely out of it at this point. But she said to me “You know, if he walks through the door tomorrow I’d be glad to see him.” And I found just an incredibly powerful statement. She knew exactly what he’d done to her friend, and her friend’s mother. And then started talking about funny things he would say. She spent the night at the house and they’d come down in the morning and he would say “What house have you two been haunting?” Even after all these years, after knowing what she knew, she’d still be glad to see him.

Laura: That’s jaw-dropping.

Pierre: And that’s gives a totally different perspective to the Stockholm Syndrome actually

Dr Salter: Yeah.

Pierre: Another point, another feature of psychopathy we didn’t address yet is these amazing chameleon-like abilities that you describe in your book, using the example of Alcibiades. I don’t know if I have pronounced it correctly? Could you tell us a bit more about these chameleon ability, chameleon skills?

Dr Salter: I interview offenders in prison, particularly child molesters. I often ask them about the double life and they all know what I’m talking about. They pretended to be one thing while they were another. But the psychopaths have the most interesting answers because they always say “Well I was more like a chameleon”, “I was a churchgoer amongst churchgoers”, “I was a hell raiser amongst hell raisers”. And I think that chameleon-like ability to be whatever you want me to be, really is characteristic of many psychopaths. If you look back in history, everybody’s favourite games sort of name the psychopath in history and I honestly think most of the recommendations or most of the names that people give are ridiculous. People who claim that Shirley Temple was a psychopath, Winston Churchill was a psychopath and ..

Laura: Oh jeeze.

Dr Salter: … all of those things are just totally ridiculous. But look at Alcibiades because he certainly shows the characteristics of psychopathy. He lived at the time of Socrates. In fact was a pupil of Socrates. He was extremely wealthy. He was born into an incredibly wealthy family and when his father died, Pericles himself became his guardian. So he lived a charmed life. He was extremely violent. He killed his servant at one point and his wife tried to leave him because he was so violent towards her. But he was beloved by the people. Plutarch writing much later said that even his enemies would be charmed by him, that he could talk them into anything.
Well, at one point he got in a lot of trouble because in one of his drunken episodes, he and his friends defaced the statues of one of the gods in the city and that was just too much for the Athenians to bear, because they were more scared of the gods than they were enamoured of Alcibiades. So, he was so popular they couldn’t arrest him, they sent him off on a mission to attack Syracuse. I don’t think there’s any good reason for doing that, but they did, and tried to recall him and he just disappeared.
So he showed up in Sparta. And here was this guy who use to eat out of gold plates and have a perfumer and drag velvet on the ground. I mean this was a guy who was use to the high lifestyle and somewhere on the way to Sparta he cuts hair close and he gives all that up and he starts dining on black broth. So he shows up at Sparta, the perfect Spartan and everybody became enamoured of him there. So then he gets the Queen’s wife pregnant, which was actually the King was away a little too long for it to be his child and besides, Alcibiades bragged that he had impregnated the wife, not because he cared about her but because he wanted his genes to rule Sparta. But that did put him on the Kings to be assassinated list. {laughter}
So he heads over to Persia where before long the Persian Satrap getting up early in the morning to have more hours in the day to talk with Alcibiades. So eventually he comes back to Athens and they are delighted to see him. Now he betrayed every country that he’s ever been involved with and they were. Yeah, he gave Sparta information about Athens and they still – when he comes back they greet him with open arms and make him a general again. And the irony of this story is that when Socrates was accused of corrupting the youth of the city, Alcibiades was one of the examples. So for myself, I find myself thinking good lord, even Socrates couldn’t change the psychopath? Far from Socrates having misled Alcibiades, Alcibiades proved pretty much immune to Socrates’ teaching. And that is more the characteristic of a psychopath, not for Pete’s sake Shirley Temple or Winston Churchill, but someone who will betray everybody and turn into whatever you want them to be. That’s the characteristics.

Laura: And one suspects he was doing the same thing with Socrates.

Dr Salter: Possibly, but there is an interesting story of a retreat. Socrates was a fierce warrior, which most people don’t realise and he could bear hardship, he would march in the cold on bare feet. Aand there was a retreat at one point where the army was losing and they had to retreat and Socrates wouldn’t run, that’s like Socrates. He just stomped back to the lines. And Alcibiades protected him. He was on horseback and he protected him. And I have trouble with that. Why did Alcibiades protect Socrates? But I think he knew who he was. I think he protected him like he would protect a golden urn or something. I think he recognised what Socrates was. So that’s the story of Alcibiades.

Laura: Yeah, I think Cleckley includes that one in Mask of Sanity as an example of the psychopath in history and you know to me it’s kind of entertaining because most of my work is history. And I’m always reading about these people and determining who are the psychopaths? What can you really find out? Who are the crazy people and who are not? So it’s entertaining. And my favourite person to hate is Cicero.

Dr Salter: Oh really? And why Cicero over others? There’re many possibilities.

Laura: Oh let me tell you. Jerome Carcopino – well, I’ve read all of Cicero’s letters, his orations etc., etc, and the whole thing about how he was behind the assassination of Julius Caesar, and how Julius Caesar was presented as such an evil guy. And it turns out that none of that is even true. And when you compare Cicero’s public orations with his private letters, of which are over 950 have been published or were published after his death, and he certainly never intended for them to be published, you see that Cicero was as closer to a psychopath as anybody I have ever seen, based on the difference between what he said in public and what he said in private and the fact was, was that it was a gang of wealthy elitists who assassinated Julius Caesar because he wanted to give land to the poor. And that was basically what it was all about. And Cicero was a kind of the ideological mover and shaker of that assassination plot.

Dr Salter: That’s fascinating. Cicero has not been on my list, but he is now. I will go back and read Cicero because I am interested how this phenomena plays out in other centuries. I think we have always had them with us.

Laura: There’s a great book, it’s in two volumes by historian Jerome Carcopino and that’s C A R C O P I N O Carcopino, and its translated into English from French. It’s an amazing book because he shows exactly who and what Cicero is. But I had already figured it out before I read the book. I was just so glad I wasn’t alone.

Dr Salter: Uh huh. Well I will I definitely get it.

Niall: You raise something interesting here, the history of this. How far back does this go? We don’t know. It’s kind of like some people have always been aware of it. For us, we’ve been aware of it for a few years, but most people still have no awareness of the extent of the problem that’s out there. That’s what it comes down to isn’t it? You said it in the book, you phrase it that “people have got to acknowledge that malevolence is part of our reality” or a simple way of saying it that evil is real.

Dr Salter: Well it’s true. Wwe have those among us who intend to harm. We have those among us who don’t care who they harm. We have those among us absolutely enjoy harming others which is really my personal definition of evil. When I wrote the book, I had the chapter on sadists and I say right up front you don’t have to read this, you might want to skip it because it’s not going to make you any happier. And then I had the chapter on positive illusions, things that people say to themselves that get through the day everything happens for the best, that kind of thing.
I expected to get a lot of angry mail about the book chapter on sadism. I never had any response, the negative response to the chapter on sadism. But the chapter on positive illusions, I had Harry Potter howlers coming through my house screaming at me. People got so upset at the idea that some of what people believe has to do with denial. And I got emails saying, you just want make everybody sad and gloomy”. I had one professional refuse to endorse the book saying “I wouldn’t endorse this book to anybody, for anybody”. She said “My neighbour leaves her door unlocked because she says if I leave my door unlocked they may rob me one day. But if I lock my door they rob me every day”.
And I’m pretty common responding to the pros and cons of feedback that come in, but that really annoyed the heck out of me. And I wrote back and said “If all we were talking about was lost television set, I’d agree with your friend, but what we are talking about is the safety of our children and they can’t afford your kind of denial”. And I do believe that. People who want to think there’s good in everybody, and any kind of aberrant behaviour can be explained away, and they didn’t really mean to do it, I think those people, that form of denial makes them feel safe, but I don’t think it makes either them or their children actually safe.

Laura: So I think that what it really kind of comes down to, what you’re saying is, is that we need to know these things because then we can make choices to live in a safe reality. It’s not the illusion that makes your reality safe, because the danger is always there. It’s when you are aware of the danger, that you make choices, proactive choices to protect yourself, to protect your children, to protect your society, then you can begin to live in a society where those things don’t happen anymore because you’re aware of them, you’re alert to them, you are proactively heading them off at the pass, so to say. So that’s the only way to live in a safe reality where people don’t rob you, is to know that there are robbers and to lock the damned door.

Dr Salter: Yeah, lock your damn door. Yes, say someone’s dating on the internet. Yes, I know someone who is happily married because of someone they met on the internet. Yes, I know it works out a lot of times. However, when you go for the first date, make sure someone knows where you’re going. Make sure the person knows that someone else knows and meet them in a public place. In another words, yes, there are good possibilities out there but at the same time we always have to be aware that there are, in a minority of cases, there are some really bad possibilities out there. And we need to hope for the best and plan for the worst.

Laura: Yeah, that’s absolutely the truth. I mean it’s just, it’s just ah’s a jungle out there.

Niall: We have another question here from a listener concerning female offenders: “What about female sadists and or sexual offenders? Are there any significant differences between men and women sadists or predators?”

Dr Salter: Well, there are female sadists and they are rare. There are also female psychopaths and they are more rare than male psychopaths. But they are just as dangerous as male psychopaths. Look at the case of Karla Homolka in Canada, in which she gave her sister to her rapist boyfriend, 15-year-old sister, as a birthday present and they drugged the kid and then she put chloroform on the kids face and the kid actually – and they both sexually assaulted the kid while she was passed out – and she actually died from the chloroform. And then they went on to kidnap a couple of other women, young women, teenagers and also raped and murdered them.
So, yes there are female sadists out there. There are, in terms of paedophiles which is a whole different thing, those are people who are sexually attracted to kids, I don’t think they have the same typology as male sex offenders. It is far more rare to find a female sex offender who is an actual paedophile. There are different groups of female sex offenders. There is a group that molests kids, generally theirs, starting in the preschool years. And with that group there’s a high incidence of physical abuse and sometimes sadism as part of that. And then there is a group that’ll ask children to please a male. And then there is a third group and that’s what we call the teacher lover group. And that’s the only one you ever hear much about and that’s a group where a woman is typically on average in her mid-thirties and has sex with a kid who’s half her age, who’s 15.
And some of those are quite, it’s not that they go from kid, to kid, to kid. Some of them are like Mary Kay Letourneau, they become obsessed with one kid. And in Mary Kay Letourneau’s case I believe he was 12 when she began having sex with him and after serving time in prison she eventually married him when he turned 21.

Laura: How did that turn out, do you know?

Dr Salter: The last – I check on the internet regularly – and the last I read, it’s a completely non-functional situation. Neither of them work or are able to hold a job and they have lived, for a long time at least, lived off selling pictures of their children, pictures of their wedding, things like. That they sort of are surviving on the notoriety.

Laura: Yuck.

Niall: You mention paedophiles as a distinct group and you describe them as saying well they’re people who are actually attracted to children. So there’s gonna be some overlap, of course. This thing is not understandable to ordinary people. So are we talking about kind of another group of psychopaths here? Or is this …

Dr Salter: Less than, at least according to a study by Porter, less than 10 percent of paedophiles are psychopaths. They are more often people who are responsible in every other area of their lives, and psychopathy cuts across areas, but they are sexually attracted to kids. It’s no respecter of social economic status. We have paedophiles who are homeless and we have paedophiles who have won Nobel prizes. So, it’s not a general anti-sociality, although you can have paedophiles who are anti social. But what the term means is that they’re sexually attracted to children and we don’t know where that comes from anymore than they do. What they will tell you is when they were 13 or 14 and everybody else is getting excited about girls or maybe a same sex attraction, they were attracted to little kids. But …

Laura: ..Ten percent is..

Dr Salter: Pardon?

Laura: Ten percent is still higher than the number of psychopaths in the population I think, isn’t it?

Dr Salter: Certainly, certainly because you know if you’re psychopathic you act on things that other people won’t. Now I suspect, I think we can say for sure that there are paedophiles out there in the sense of men who are sexually attracted to children, who don’t act on it. Nobody acts on all their sexual impulses. You may be attracted to your best friend’s husband or you may be attracted to your sister’s boyfriend or you may be attracted, you know, you may be attracted – the man may be attracted to the 1-year-old baby sitter. It doesn’t mean he’s going to rape her on the way home, taking her home at night. People have all kinds of sexual attractions we just don’t act on. So there are very likely men out there who are sexually attracted to kids and who just go “I don’t think so, that’s horrible”. But the ones we’re concerned about are the ones who act on it. And yes, I think you would expect the incidence of psychopaths to be elevated over the general population because psychopaths really don’t care who they hurt. and if they happened to be sexually attracted to kids they would be likely to act on it.

Juliana: So are you saying that there’s a possibility for “recovery” for those who are attracted to children but feel guilty about it, even after they’ve acted on it? In some cases?

Dr Salter: Yes. The data on paedophiles and child molesters in treatment is not as grim as the data on psychopaths. And there are a series, there’s a whole Meta analysis of studies that suggests that treatment can reduce child molestation by 40 percent. Now the problem with that figure is that these are short term studies. They go typically on average of four years and there is at least one 12-year study which showed that the result wiped out after time. It may be that treatment doesn’t work like an inoculation for measles. It works like something that helps but you have to sustain it afterwards, you have to go to groups or you have to have some kind of aftercare. I don’t think we have the answers to this. But whether or not treatment works long term, is an open question. I do think there is some data that suggests it can reduce the incidence of child molestation, at least short term.

Laura: What do you think about castration as a treatment for predatory sexual behaviour?

Dr Salter: I think it’s a non issue, because the US Supreme Court has found that its is cruel and unusual punishment. So, I don’t think it’s an issue.

Laura: Not even if the person wanted it?

Dr Salter: There are big arguments about that, whether anybody can volunteer for it. If you’re a prisoner, is that a free choice to volunteer for castration? Aand some people have volunteered for it and I believe they have carried through but that’s not going to reduce the incidence of child molestation overall because very few people are going to volunteer for it, even if the state permits them to have it.

Pierre: And here I might be wrong, but from what I understood, apparently for some of those individuals described in your book, the whole process is beyond sex as we experience it, where you describe the case of this individual who was getting really high, but beyond sexual arousal, just by thinking about cutting the head off one of his victims. So there’s no sexual interaction per se, nothing like that involved. It seemed to be a super high hormonal reaction to something that has no sexual connotations, cutting off a head.

Juliana: It’s from causing pain, not from sexual act itself.

Dr Salter: Well that’s true. There is a variety of sadism, there are some sadists who are sexually aroused by beating someone up or by hurting them in some way and it doesn’t have to be an attack on the genitalia. One of the films I made, he would put a bag over his sons head and then as the child turned blue and passed out, that’s what sexually aroused him. He wasn’t attacking the kids genitals at that point. He did at other points. And then he would rip the bag off the head and then force oral sex on the child as he was coming to. And that’s an example of someone who is aroused by something that wasn’t sexual at all. Most of us don’t think dismemberment has anything to do with sex and yet Austin Sigg was masturbating to dismemberment films. And that’s exactly what he did, is dismember a child. So yes, there is a variety.

Laura: Jesus!

Pierre: And here mentioning masturbation, but in some cases there’s not even masturbation there is some kind of hormonal reaction and persons describe like taking cocaine or getting super high because of violence, with no masturbation, no sexual stimulation at all.

Dr Salter: That’s true. I have talked to – and some cannot get erect in a rape situation or something, and they tell me that they get a high that is better than crack, better than cocaine, and it’s just a full body high. Obviously, it seems obvious that they are triggering some kind of chemical in their brains and that for whatever reasons, they have developed the ability to release these chemicals by being violent. Violence releases the chemicals and gives them a high. But it’s true, some of the super violent offenders don’t talk about orgasm at all, they talk about a full body rush.

Pierre: Yeah.

Niall: Creeeepy

Laura: I’m having a hard time coping with this.

Niall: Well, we’re having a hard time and it’s understandable that most people going about their lives have a hard time. What I don’t understand though, you touched on this in your book, is other researchers who are in a position like you, who have access to the same data you do, who come up with, they seem to do mental gymnastics in their own brains, to explain this away, invariable blaming the victims and or the parents.

Dr Salter: Yeah, I really worry where the field of child sexual abuse is heading because there is a gigantic swing in my field towards the notion that these guys are like everybody else, and they just want a good life, and they don’t know how to go about getting it. So if you help them develop a good life, then they won’t do this kind of behaviour. But that is actually true of some offenders. That’s true of many child molesters. That’s true of many rapists. But when you start applying that philosophy to people like, who have the deviant arousal pattern, for example Jerry Sandusky had a good life. There was nothing wrong – he was very successful in his field. He was successful financially. He had friends. He had meaningful work. He was adored, all of that stuff. It didn’t change the fact that he had an erotic attraction to children.
So, in the contingent of experts who are now saying that all these guys need is a good life, it bothers me tremendously that they don’t realise that that may apply to some offenders, but it cannot explain the behaviour of others. And it doesn’t explain the kind of deviance that would cause you to dismember a child. I am sorry, but they’re not trying to get the same things that the rest of are getting. Paedophiles for example could be, some of them are attracted to adults too and some aren’t. Let’s take someone who isn’t attracted to adults. You can offer him any adult you want. If he’s not attracted to them, his problem is that he is attracted to kids. That has to be dealt with.
Jerry Sandusky was apparently attracted to adults and he had a great life, didn’t change the fact that he was sexually attracted to kids. I think there’s a lot of minimizing going on in my field, a lot of blaming the victim, a lot of excusing behaviour, a lot of people just not recognizing the seriousness of the problem. And you’re right, it’s among the experts in the field.

Juliana: I mean that contention is ridiculous. There’s a lot of people who have a hard life and they don’t even turn into petty thieves. They become decent human beings. Why should that be part of the equation?

Dr Salter: I think what has happened is a lot of these people who advocate this, work only with offenders, and they don’t work with victims at all. I think they are often humane and caring individuals and they start caring for the people that they work with. Well that’s fine, but it’s not balanced unless you also see the victim side of it or you will end up making excuses for these guys

Pierre: When you see how prevalent this tendency to blame the victim is, you start to wonder to what extent our society has been psychopathized by psychopaths and somehow they gave us their mind and we start to see the world through their own distorted psyche.

Dr Salter: Oh, you could say a lot about the culture. For example in the DSM series, it is a mental disorder if you are hording. So if you’re collecting old newspapers and junking up the house with them, that’s a mental disorder. But if you’re so greedy that you’re collecting companies, or you’re relying on child slave labour in China to build your company, then that’s not a mental disorder. We’ve accepted that appropriate behaviour. In fact greed is likely to kill us all, the greed of certain individuals. But we’ve set that on a cultural level, we accept amassing fortunes. We accept ruining other people’s lives. We accept the whole of that. There’s nothing wrong with that, but greed on a grand scale is applauded. Hording is a mental illness.

Laura: Well, look at what they’re doing. I think it started kind of in the Netherlands, maybe in other places, where they’re trying to normalize paedophilia, to say that children – and I think this even started with Kinsey, that children have sexual urges and they should be entitled to fulfil those sexual urges. And adults, it’s normal for them to feel sexually attracted to children, and it’s good for the children, and it’s good for the adults, so if it’s good for everybody let’s just all get out there and do it, and have a party, and have fun, and you know, let’s do away with any of these nasty laws about how wicked paedophilia is. It’s just a natural, normal part of human life?!

Pierre: Freud, including Freud, who said the same basically.

Laura: Yeah. Yeah.

Dr Salter: Well it’s certainly true that there are people who take that stance. A man boy, love association. There is a political party in Holland that supports paedophilia. That has not really made its way in the mainstream. So, I don’t think that has made a lot of gains, but there are individuals out who do argue that. But I think what’s more common is that we normalize rape. That’s where we’re most likely to blame the victims, and especially if you’re famous enough, or wealthy enough, you can sort of get away with it.

Niall: Dr Salter, we have a chat room going here. Some people have been posting their comments and questions. I’ve got one here: “Do you think that the horrific abuse these people commit can be result of some kind of abuse they themselves experienced or were they born with those tendencies?”. That’s kind of the question, nurture or nature?

Dr Salter: In the field it is been accepted for a long time that most of the people are sexually abused were sexually abused themselves. But those claims were always based on what? It was based on self-report by the child molesters. Hindman, Jan Hindman did a study where she had one group of sex offenders and she said basically “Were you molested as a child?” and with another group she said “Were you molested as a child?” and they were told they had to take a polygraph on the results of the interview. She did this three times, five years apart, she and Jim Peters. What they discovered was that about two-thirds of the sex offenders said they were molested as children when they weren’t threatened with a polygraph and about 29 to 30 percent said they were, when they were threatened with the polygraph.
Now, this isn’t about how good the polygraph is because they hadn’t even taken it yet. This was just how good they thought it was. So, I don’t think we have evidence that most child molesters were sexually abused as children. Is it genetic? Is it an aberration in the brain? It may well be. We don’t know that. I think when we don’t know something we should just say, we don’t know it. And it bothers me how often people make up things when they don’t know. We really don’t know. What we know about psychopaths is there’s definitely a genetic connection in psychopathy and that their brains do function differently from other people. But I don’t think we have enough data on paedophiles to say much about where it comes from.
And to me it’s what is society going to do about it? Let’s say you discover that sadism is because of a lesion in some part of the brain. That’s possible, ok. What is society going to do with that? Are you going to say “Well, ok it’s not really his fault, so we’ll let him out on the street”? The thing to me is whether he acquired it during childhood, whether he was born with it, he is just as dangerous. So it gets back to what are prisons for? Are they to punish people? Or are they to keep society safe? Because if you’re going to argue that it’s not his fault and many people do, that it was either a bad upbringing or perhaps some faulty wiring, frankly everything has a component of either you were born with it or you got it somewhere along the way. Otherwise, where does it come from? How is society going to use that information, when we can be more specific about where it came from, because the problem is, if you let him out because its genetic he’s still going to go out and hurt someone.

Laura: Yeah, what’s the point of this argument? If it is what it is, you still have to deal with it.

Juliana: It doesn’t change what they did or what they will keep doing if you don’t contain them.

Dr Salter: Well that’s what I think, I think it doesn’t change that, that part of it, wherever it came from. But there are people who would passionately disagree that if someone is born with a genetic predilection for violence, that that should be count as mitigating factor. In fact there is quite a lot of research that suggests that some people do have a genetic predilection for violence. And I have read that when it’s used in court cases, it typically does result in lower sentences. But you know what, if it’s a genetic predilection for violence, you could argue that’s an aggravating factor, not a mitigating factor because it means you are very unlikely to talk him out of it.

Laura: And it means you should probably lock him up and throw away the key.

Dr Salter: You could argue that and I’m talking now not about your general child molestation, which would definitely should be punished but I’m talking about the people who are abducting kids, cutting off their arms and legs, like Austin Sigg did. They’re extremely dangerous predators. If it’s in his brain or if it came afterwards he’s still got it.

Laura: Yeah.

Niall: Yeah, and you emphasise this in your book, that whatever that earlier warning signs, they were missed, as soon as they crossed a line, its only going to get worse and worse. And even when they are incarcerated, they spend enormous amounts of time fantasizing about what they would do. You know it’s like they’ve already turned that way and it’s just going to get worse, even if they’re not actually in direct contact with the potential victims.

Dr Salter: Well for some of them. I’m not saying that every offender re-offends at all. I’m talking – because the data suggests that most offenders are low risk offenders who have a very low risk for re-offending, obviously. But I am talking about the small percentage of really, really predatory offenders who commit extreme acts and they are I think – once you have that, you know, sexual arousal to killing someone, for example, or torturing them, then yeah, that is likely to get worse.

Juliana: I think it’s, well I don’t know what you think, but while you were talking about what society will do, it seems to me that there’s going to have to be a big, big change in what people think and feel about these matters. It’s about learning to look at the bigger picture. One single individual who can commit these crimes and keep committing them, how many people is he going to hurt, you know? Specialists or professionals are arguing with paramoralistic arguments you know, “poor guy”, “he could have changed” or “its genetic” or “he will get better” or whatever. We’re talking about one person with data saying “he is dangerous” and against a hundred, two hundred, a thousand people that he, just one individual, can damage forever.

Dr Salter: It’s true that the very high risk paedophiles, very high risk psychopaths and the very few sadist out there, it is really true that they can damage a lot of lives. And I think what people often forget is they don’t just damage one person’s life. I mean look at the Sigg case. Just going into that community to testify and meeting that mum, and training police officers the day afterwards, it made me so aware of how this will traumatize, this kind of behaviour can traumatize an entire community. Officers who had to listen to the confession, a prosecutor said to me that he was watching through one-way glass and at one point he had to leave the room when Sigg was calmly talking about eating a sandwich while talking about dismembering this child. The damage is not only to the person, not only to that person’s family. These very, very rare but very predatory offenders can really damage an entire community.

Niall: Have you heard of a book by Kevin Dutton, The Wisdom of Psychopaths?

Dr Salter: No, but that sounds like another one that’s worth reading. What is his claim?

Niall: His claim is basically that, it’s the idea being promoted, that we ordinary people have something to learn from psychopaths, that they have certain characteristics that we aspire to, you know. Embrace the inner …

Dr Salter: such as

Niall: …psychopath. Such as …

Laura: Lack of conscience.

Niall: Well, from the lack of conscience you have decisiveness and good leadership and confidence.

Juliana: Charisma.

Niall: Charisma, confidence. And in his book he goes through a whole number of professions where being a psychopath supposedly is useful like, well being in military is pretty obvious. But then maybe if you’re in the police, or in other work that requires split-second decisions that there’s no time for thinking and dwelling. That’s kind of the message that’s coming through, that their decisiveness…

Laura: Martha Stout took his apart.

Niall: Oh good.

Dr Salter: Well it’s sad to say, I’m not sure after hearing that I’m going to read the book because I find that argument really silly. If you look at Babiak’s research on psychopaths, in organisations, they caused enormous harm to the other employers and the morale of the organization and they never actually got anything done. So they would rise through the ranks by stabbing other people in the back and lying about them, but they were not productive because they were more focussed on their getting ahead than the goals of the organization. Psychopaths will if any – I don’t think they do very well on the military either, because in the military you are supposed to be disciplined and you actually are supposed to sacrifice yourself, if need be for certain cause. That’s not the kind of thing a psychopath is going to do. A psychopath is going to discover that he can kill people and it doesn’t bother him, so he may go off and kill a few villagers and rob them, or something like that. The essence of psychopathy is an inability to attach to other human beings or feel loyalty. I do not believe that’s helpful in any legitimate endeavour.

Laura: I have to agree and I just want to give you just a little bit of background here. Back in 2002, we started publishing about psychopathy. And over the years we’ve really kind of almost single handedly popularized the concept of psychopathy in power. We published a book called Political Ponerology by a Polish clinical psychologist. And the funny thing is, is that as we have been putting out these articles, putting out these studies, correlating this material, making it available to the reading public in a kind of like, getting it out of academia and getting it out to the masses so that they can understand what’s being done in the research, there’s been this push back of this popularizing of psychopathy as being an alternative way of being. And this is something that’s kind of astounded us as we’ve been observing this phenomenon because we kind of being a news website, where we kind of tried to stay on top of all the news in all these different fields, all the time, every day you know, we’re like really news junkies, and this is a really interesting phenomenon. This push back, this normalization, this popularizing, and the twisting of the concepts. The psychopaths are just poor abused people, that being promoted, and “I was a teenage psychopath but I grew up to be a world leader so see how good it is. Try it yourself”. It’s crazy!

Niall: This is why I mention Kevin Dutton’s book in particular because this guy comes out of nowhere. He’s a researcher in Cambridge, in England I think, and his book is suddenly in New York Times bestseller.

Laura: A New York Times bestseller?! Can you believe that?! I mean this is what the masses of the reading public are taking in and we’re fighting like crazy to point out that basically, that’s why I say, before I’ve quoted you quite often in various articles and publications, saying that this is what Anna Salter says and this is what Martha Stout says and this what Paul Babiak says and this is what Robert Hare says and what Cleckley had said and Adrian Raines and so on and so forth you know, trying to – because these are the people that I considered – and there’s another guy too, there’s a British, what’s his name? Malcolm? There’s quite a few. Aand all of these people talking about what a dangerous thing this is and how bad it is for society and then this Kevin Dutton comes along and gets a New York Times bestseller?! You see what’s frustrating me here?

Dr Salter: Oh god, I do see what’s frustrating you and thank you for all the work you do. It really upsets survivors of psychopaths too and I get a lot of letters that say how much people get taken in by these guys and you don’t realise the suffering. That most people don’t realise the suffering that they cause other human beings. There’s nothing laudable about it. Part of the problem of course is that in the media, on television, and movies and so forth, they’re always portrayed as these sort of mastermind, brilliant mastermind kind of people. Well actually psychopathy cuts across all intelligence levels, so the sort of attractive, brilliant psychopath plotting the whatever he’s plotting and that particular program, is pretty mythical. Tthe reality is people who steal from their grandmothers. Seriously.

Laura: Yeah.

Dr Salter: People who kill someone else because they looked at them wrong. People who destroy companies because all they want is their own personal gain and they don’t really give a damn about the goals of the company whatsoever. People who would kill a villager rather than follow the rules in the military. The reality is that these are very harmful people and the people who make it excuses for them are doing all of us a disservice.

Laura: Yeah and it’s..I can tell you almost to the day it was in October of 2002 that I published my first article on the topic and within three days I had already received a death threat in the mail. I’m not kidding. And then the more I published, the more I tried to popularie the information, I mean I have been called a psychopath myself, defamed – what would you guys call it? It’s just like a campaign of destruction because you know, you can’t possibly listen to this women warning you about psychopathy and predators and that sort of thing because she herself is a psychopath. I mean, it’s crazy?!

Dr Salter: It is crazy. I get called all kinds of names. I was interviewing an offender recently and he said “Do you know what they call you?” This was in a civil commitment case. And I said “No”. And he said “You really don’t know?” And I said “No”. And he said “The princess of darkness”.

Laura: Oh my god!

Dr Salter: I get pushed back in my field. I was at a programme in England when we were trying to develop a programme for psychopaths, and very famous author and researcher said to me “Anna when I sit down and talk to these guys, they’re just doing the best they can and somehow when I read your work I don’t get a sense of that”. And I said “They’re doing the best they can? Then why are we here? Why are we here?” I said “I’m more optimistic about them than you are, because you think they’re just doing the best they can and I’m thinking they can do better”. But yes, I get tremendous push back in the field because they say well you make people think that these guys are dangerous”. I’m like “Yes, there’s a percentage of them that actually are dangerous”.

Laura: Oh my god it’s crazy.

Dr Salter: Yes.

Pierre: While you interview psychopaths, have you tried to question them about the fact, are they aware that they’re psychopaths? Do they self-label themselves as psychopaths? Do they recognize instantly other psychopaths?

Dr Salter: I go to a prison almost every week, a maximum security, and to be honest with you it’s actually super max, but there was a lawsuit in which they said that corrections couldn’t use the name super max anymore. So now nothing changed but the name so know I call it the institution formerly referred to as super max. But they have some of the most violent offenders you can ever imagine. And I’ve had several who’ve asked for me to interview them because they think they might be a psychopath. I’ve had others that were infuriated at the term and disagreed. So it just depends on whether they think it sort of adds to their narcissistic image or not. I had one guy take out an ethics complaint because I called him callous. Well I had scored him as callous on the psychopathy checklist, partly on the basis that he had decided to rob, he and his brother decided to rob an old man, and they planned in advance on beating him to death with a pipe. Then they went to a movie and then went and did it. And I considered that evidence of callous behaviour. And he actually took out an ethics complaint. So it all depends on…

Laura: Insane!

Dr Salter: … what their self image is. Pardon?

Laura: I said that’s insane

Dr Salter: And whether they think psychopathy is a good thing to be called or not, psychopaths.

Niall: It’s interesting that the term they use, princess of darkness, because if you think about it, you’re bringing a lot of these dark things to light, and a lot of people don’t want that to happen. So they will of course project its opposite onto you.

Dr Salter: Well the interesting thing about that was that in civil commitment, you’re interviewing only the top ten percent of offenders. In terms of whether they’re going to re-offend and have a diagnosis that will lead re-offending. And in reality, the majority of that ten percent I had said no to, that they should not be civilly committed because they didn’t meet the threshold. So that the strange part of the quote was I’d actually said no more than half the time. But I guess the ones that I said yes to weren’t all that fond of me.

Niall: Guess not. You have, towards the end of your book, you get into discussion of detection. Now recently there’s been a lot of nonsense going around of how you can use Facebook and Twitter to spot the psychopath a mile away. You know, the top ten things so you know your husband’s a psychopath. I’m sure some of them are based on some ok ideas and clues, but as you point out in the book, it’s not easy detection. In fact it’s just about impossible, right?

Dr Salter: That’s right. There are people who are, they’re simply good actors and they’re good enough that they can fool people. And why don’t we understand that? We go to movies all the time in which people who we know are acting cause us to cry, or to be afraid for them, or to feel a variety of emotions. We know they’re acting, but they seem so real at the time. But in real life somehow people think they can tell whose acting and who isn’t. But the research is very clear over 30 years that we simply can’t tell. If someone is a good enough actor, the average person is not going to be able to tell whether they are lying or not.

Juliana: And there’s studies also, I was reading about Adrian Raines’ research. I don’t know if you’re familiar with him?

Dr Salter: Yes?

Juliana: And how he basically succeeded in interviewing successful psychopaths, or people who fitted the profile but weren’t in jail, weren’t criminal society judges it, and then there were people in jail. And he did brain scans on them and it seemed that they’re actually been better than normal people in many ways. The successful ones have certain areas that – they’re actually better, so how can you pretend that you can spot a psychopath, when they can be better at conning people, at planning, at acting at you know..

Pierre: Seducing.

Juliana:.. seducing, fooling others. I think it’s important to actually let go of our own ego in pretending that we can actually be good enough to spot them. All we can do is gather knowledge and protect our loved ones and yeah, learn from experience, but don’t ever fool yourself thinking that because the person looks at you in the eyes they’re not lying or because you know they seem nice, they’re not lying.

Dr Salter: That’s very true. You should always be looking at what people do more than what they say. And you should always be trying to separate how much you like this person from trustworthiness, from how much you can trust this person. And people don’t. And I think that gets back into the wanting to be safe. People want to believe that they can spot psychopaths because it makes them feel safer.

Laura: Dr Salter is there anything that you kind of like want to rant about, or that makes you feel frustrated about the system, the society, your own field today, because we have just a few more minutes and I’d really like to hear what you rant about in your most frustrated moments.

Dr Salter: Mmm. Well I think you’ve heard some of it. I’m very concerned for where the field of sex offender treatment is going. I think that many sex offender therapists are becoming advocates for offenders as oppose to advocates for victims who want to treat offenders so that they don’t offend again. I think people are jumping into therapies that we do not know work based on principles such as they just want what everybody else wants, they just don’t know how to get it and if we help them have a good life then really, they’ll be fine. Those things, that bothers me tremendously and frightens me. And I suppose because it’s my own field, it really hits close to home. So that really is the biggest thing. I don’t expect the average person to be able to spot a psychopath, I just think we all need to be honest enough to realise that we can’t.

Laura: Yeah and I think that a lot of people have difficulty acknowledging that because they want to feel or believe that they are able to protect themselves, protect their families, you know protect their children, with their pre-eminent wisdom and that everything is right in the world and God is in his heaven and good will prevail and so forth and it just ain’t so.

Dr Salter: Einstein at one point made a statement about what you can see depends on the theory that you have and if it’s not in your theory, you can’t see it. The problem with Pollyanna world views is that you don’t notice the discrepant things. You cover them up. I’m not saying that everybody is bad, on the contrary, most people are good and they do good things. We always have to keep our mind open to the fact that that nice coach could be a paedophile. Because you wouldn’t recognise him if he was, so get involved with the team. It doesn’t mean that you have to pull your kid out of every single activity, but it does mean that you ought to go on the overnights. It does mean if the team is going to a long away game, that you need to go too. It does mean that when they’re younger you need to volunteer to serve as a parent liaison. It does mean that you need to get involved in those activities and not take it for granted that they are all safe. And that’s what people do.
I was training at USA track and field I think two days ago or I guess it was on Thursday and one of the track coaches said to me “Will you please tell people to quit dropping off their kids for practice?”. He said “I see that over and over even with little kids that they don’t get involved, that they just assumed that everything is legit.” And he said “Please tell people to stop just dropping off their kids”.

Laura: I say amen. I raised five and I never left my children with a babysitter, ever.

Dr Salter: I understand. Many people who have child care for their kids, but the point remains, get involved in everything you can. Stay alert, don’t make assumptions that everything is safe. Be there with your kids as much as humanely possible.

Laura: I agree and I want to thank you from my heart because even though it was probably one of the most difficult books I ever read, I really, really appreciated your book and I think I mean it’s been years since I’ve been quoting it.

Niall: It was published in 2003, so ten years ago.

Laura: Yeah, so I’ve been quoting from it in articles for a long, long time and I appreciate it. I mean I love that part where you talk about the southern boy who lied through his teeth and he tells you he’s been living a double life. He says “Don’t you get it?” And I’ve quote that little thing over and over again because it like people really think that they can tell when a liars lying and I don’t think they can. I can’t! I’m lousy at it.

Dr Salter: We all are. I had a neighbour come over and say “I don’t worry about this Anna, I can spot a paedophile”. And I said “Really? Because I can’t”. And she said “Oh sure you can. You’ve been working in this field for years, you write these books, you write academic books, you write mysteries about them. Sure you can spot them”. And I said “You know what my 30 years has bought? I know I can’t and you think you can”. And I truly believe that, I can’t spot them anymore than anybody else can. Anymore a doctor can spot which patient walking in his or her office has AIDS. The doctors know that and we seem to find it hard to believe.

Pierre: And that’s a big difference because unlike your friend, you know that you can’t spot a psychopath, so you have a somehow an advantage because the friend who thinks he can spot a psychopath has a blind spot is starting to build some thoughts, some reasoning on false ground, false hypothesis. So maybe one of the best way to protect ourselves against psychopaths is to know ourselves better, our blindness, our blind spots, our weak spots our weaknesses and …

Laura: ..keep our eyes open all the time.

Pierre: Yeah.

Dr Salter: I would agree with that. Like it or not, there are good guys and bad guys in life and yes, there are fewer bad guys than good guys but you need to do all you can to protect your family from the bad guys and that means looking at your own assumptions. If you know you’re the kind of person who’s always trusting, get a second opinion from somebody else. Look for what they do, not just what they say. When the little anomalies start popping up, don’t excuse them right away. And you’re right, it comes from knowing your own blind spots.

Juliana: I think what you just said is very important, getting a second opinion as well is not gossiping. When you’re sharing data, when you’re sharing observations, you’re aware that you can have blind spots. You need to talk to people, people who know that other person and nowadays we’re taught that “It’s bad to talk badly about somebody? Bad to ask questions and that’s just gossiping”, and they keep us isolated in that way too.

Dr Salter: I was talking with a very violent offender who had kidnapped a psychologist in prison at one point and he said to me the first thing that happened after he kidnapped her was she said “I didn’t see that coming” and he said to me “You didn’t see that coming? Look at my record”. Sometimes, they’re more surprised, they’re as surprised as we are at the naivety. A sadist beat his child to a pulp, took him to the doctor and said “He fell down the stairs”. The child in a singular act of courage said it to the nurse “We don’t have any stairs”. The nurse said “Be quiet, I’m not talking to you” and turned back to the offender and said “What were you saying sir?” And I said to him “Why did she do that?” and he said “I don’t know?”. He thought the jig was up when his son said that and he was as surprised as I was, that she had said that.

Laura: And that’s the key to know their record. And the only way to find out a record is to share information. to talk, to express your doubts…

Dr Salter: That’s true.

Laura: … and get feedback from other people.

Dr Salter: That’s very true. If all of your friends hate him, there may be a reason. They may be seeing something that you don’t.

Juliana: Maybe we’re not clever enough alone but if we’re a group of people, we might get lucky and spot one, right?

Dr Salter: Oh absolutely. The sign of a psychopath in prison, for example, in one adolescent facility was, half the staff thought he was extremely dangerous and the other half thought he walked on water and that when kids reported him sexually assaulting them, they were just making it up. When you have a split staff like that, very often you have someone who’s a psychopath, because half of the people are seeing it or looking at his track record and the other ones are being seduced by how he’s acting.

Laura: A-ha, a clue.

Pierre: There’s a very similar example in Political Ponerology, the book previously mentioned by Laura, that describes exactly the same situation. Psychopaths seem to split populations between the ones who gets spellbound and the ones that can see beyond the projected illusion.

Dr Salter: That’s very true, that is very true. If you get into a situation in my world in the prison where something like that is happening, where the staff is really split, that’s something you have to look for right away, because that is a footprint of the psychopath.

Pierre: Interesting.

Niall: Dr Salter, thank you so much for being with us today. If you haven’t already got it listeners, you need to get her book, Predators Paedophiles Rapists And Other Sex Offenders. You’ll hear a lot more there, clues, case histories and as hard as it is to read it, it is enlightening.

Juliana: It’s liberating.

Niall: It’s liberating.

Laura: It’s not just that. Its a survival manual.

Niall: It’s a survival guide, how to. So thank you very, very much for being with us today.

Laura: Thank you.

Juliana: We wish there were more people like you.

Pierre: Thank you very much.

Dr Salter: Wish there were more people like you. Let me thank you for the work that you do.

Laura: Thank you.

Juliana: Thank you. Well at least you’re labelled a princess.

Dr Salter: I suppose so, even if it was dark princess.

Laura: I love it. Goodnight princess.

Pierre & Niall: Goodbye.

Juliana: Thank you, bye bye.

Niall: So, that’s it for another week. Join us again next week. We’re going to have… oh, we’ve another special guest on, Wallace Thornhill of ‘Thunderbolts of the Gods’ fame. He’ll be here to discuss the ‘Electric Universe’ theory with us. So, tune in for what promises to be another ‘electrifying’ show! Until then, pay attention left and right… and goodbye.

Pierre: Bye bye.

Juliana: Bye.


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