By Robert Hare
Jeffrey Dahmer. Ted Bundy. Hannibal Lecter. These are the psychopaths whose stunning lack of conscience we see in the movies and in tabloids. Yet, as this report makes abundantly clear, these predators, both male and female, haunt our everyday lives at work, at home, and in relationships. Here’s how to find them before they find you.
She met him in a laundromat in London. He was open and friendly and they hit it off right away. From the start she thought he was hilarious. Of course, she’d been lonely. The weather was grim and sleety and she didn’t know a soul east of the Atlantic.
“Ah, travelers’ loneliness,” Dan crooned sympathetically over dinner. “It’s the worst.”
After dessert he was embarrassed to discover he’d come without his wallet. She was more than happy to pay for dinner. At the pub, over drinks, he told her he was a translator for the United Nations. He was, for now, between assignments.
They saw each other four times that week, five the week after. It wasn’t long before he had all but moved in with Elsa. It was against her nature, but she was having the time of her life.
Still, there were details, unexplained, undiscussed, that she shoved out of her mind. He never invited her to his home; she never met his friends. One night he brought over a carton filled with tape recorders—plastic-wrapped straight from the factory, unopened; a few days later they were gone. Once she came home to find three televisions stacked in the corner. “Storing them for a friend,” was all he told her. When she pressed for more he merely shrugged.
Once he stayed away for three days and was lying asleep on the bed when she came in midmorning. “Where have you been?” she cried. “I’ve been so worried. Where were you?”
He looked sour as he woke up. “Don’t ever ask me that,” he snapped. “I won’t have it.”