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17. Imp of the Perverse “The very intention to suppress a response has the paradoxical effect of producing it.”

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Old November 4th, 2003, 09:48 PM   #1
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Post Jack the Impious?

Excerpted from Murder Most Foul:

¡§The very intention to suppress a response has the paradoxical effect of producing it.¡¨26

One major trait behavioral scientists have too often overlooked is perversity. People often do things for no better reason than that it will hurt themselves or others. How many times has a murderer been heard to say ¡§I didn¡¦t mean to kill her; I don¡¦t know why I did¡¨? Many people who are otherwise law-abiding citizens have become criminals when confronted with an unexpected opportunity. A good example is the stealing of the purse or wallet of an accident victim by someone who had probably meant to help them initially, but who was quickly overcome by the sudden appearance of a vulnerable opportunity and temptation of ¡¥easy money¡¦. These would all be impulsive, spur-of-the-moment crimes that most likely would have never occurred under ordinary circumstances. Could the Whitechapel Murders be attributed to impulsive behavior alone? That of Martha Tabram or Polly Nichols, maybe, but certainly none of the other Canonical Five would have been murdered as the result of any impulsive, spur-of-the-moment urge.

However, an ¡¥impulsive¡¦ crime could have been one where the Ripper was unconsciously reacting to a stimulus, much as he might have swatted a biting insect without particularly thinking about it. As we shall later see, serial killers have killed in this fashion before, deviating from their usual modus operandi just because someone was annoying them or in their way. Had the Ripper always harbored ill-feeling toward streetwalkers, possibly because they offended or annoyed him as he went out in public? Had he always really wanted to say or do something vicious to them, but never had, instead just telling himself ¡¥easy-on, old fellow; remember the Golden Rule¡¦, day after day? Had they affected him to the point where they were always on his mind, so that it had become a continuous struggle for him to suppress the vile thoughts that he ashamedly wanted to think about them? Was this ¡¥imp of the perverse¡¦ in his mind a phenomenon like gravity, never giving up in its persistence? Did the constant ¡¥nagging¡¦ of this imp finally wear him through, just as dripping water can eventually cut through stone? For the Ripper-to-be, it may have been a situation like deliberately thinking about not scratching an itch ¡V it then gets worse and worse until one finally has to scratch it. Did he thus finally encounter a hapless streetwalker while occupied in these throes of suppression, causing him, in spite of any conscious intentions to the contrary, to involuntarily lash out, with the imp of the perverse then directing his actions afterwards? And then, upon assaulting (Ada Wilson) or killing (Martha Tabram, Polly Nichols) his first prostitute victim, did he realize just how good it made him feel and how much relief that the ¡¥scratch¡¦ had brought him, that he should do it over and over again?

Conclusion ¡V if the Ripper had had his own Imp of the Perverse, he would possibly have hesitated to kill initially, but would probably have done so mercilessly afterwards, likely being limited only by time. His other motives for mutilation and leaving of the victims in public could have been as follows:


„h Jack the Mad Man
„h Jack the Human-being Stalker
„h Jack the Egotist
„h Jack the Thrill-seeker
„h Jack the Anarchist
„h Jack the Godfather
„h Jack the Blind Man

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„h Jack the Practical Man
„h Jack the Egotist
„h Jack the Obsessed
„h Jack the Thrill-seeker
„h Jack the Anarchist
„h Jack the Litterbug


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September 1993

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23. http://www.wcb.vcu.edu/wcb/students/...s/poecrit.html

24. http://www.daveschultz.com/scum/clinton/bodycount.html

25. http://www.sociology.org/vol003.002/...icle.1998.html

26. http://www.psycharts.com/impofthe.htm

27. http://www.stormloader.com/thescorpion/17evil.html

28. http://www.ihr.org/books/ztn.html

29. http://jama.ama-assn.org/issues/v281...jbk0609-1.html

30. http://www.science-frontiers.com/sf065/sf065p14.htm
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