Ed Kemper

By now, many of you probably heard about the Netflix original show “MINDHUNTER“.

The Netflix show is based on the infamous psychology book “Mindhunter”, in which FBI agents John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker describe their interviews with America’s most notorious serial killers. I didn’t read the book yet, but it went straight to my top 5 books to buy and read.

The TV adaptation of the book shows the agents travelling across US to try to understand some of the infamous murderers. One of them is very noticeable: Ed Kemper.

Ed Kemper was a serial killer who went on a killing spree in the 60’s and 70’s.  He murdered 10 people and on April 23, 1973 he made a call to the Santa Cruz police and confessed his crimes. Yes, he turned himself in.

Ed Kemper

During his interviews with the two agents, at one point he estimates there are “far more than 35” serial killers at that time. But was he right? Or close to the truth?

According to  information from the Radford University/FGCU Serial Killer Database, in the 60’s there were 217, yes 217 active serial killers in US.  See table bellow.

Decade US International Total
1900 49 23 72
1910 52 23 75
1920 62 41 103
1930 55 31 86
1940 55 45 100
1950 72 41 113
1960 217 76 293
1970 605 160 765
1980 768 217 985
1990 669 322 991
2000 371 295 666
2010 117 113 230

Ed Kemper was right when he said “far more”, however he was really underestimating the number.

So you can say that his estimation was far from the real number, but definitely he was right.