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Chapter 23 - Living in Farmyard Squalor

from Part II - Biographical Sketches

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 May 2022

Frederick Toates
Affiliation:
The Open University, Milton Keynes
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Summary

This chapter continues the theme of the last two in terms of imprinting on a particular object and event, but the two cases described are somewhat more speculative. They are paired together because of their similarity. Both killers were raised in very squalid conditions under the powerful influence of their mothers. Both were exposed to an animal carcass being strung up by their parents. Both subsequently strung up female victims in a manner comparable to the carcass, suggesting a transformation of something aversive into something attractive. Apart from killing two women, Gein dug up bodies of women,who bore some resemblance to his mother, and used body parts as fetish objects. Gein’s behaviour was not associated with dominance. Pickton was subject to harsh punishment as a boy. He was sometimes high on crack cocaine and his victims were sex workers in Vancouver, who were killed in the act of intercourse.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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