Criminal Profiling: Part 1 History and Method
The Psychiatric Approach
Throughout the next half century, some mental health professionals made a study of murderers and in their published works, the motives and backgrounds were often clarified. Psychiatrist Karl Berg questioned German serial killer Peter Kürten in prison in 1930 after he was charged with numerous counts of assault and murder. James Melvin Reinhardt, a psychiatrist and professor, published his interviews with spree killer Charles Starkweather in 1960. These reports were not behavioral profiles but attempts to understand the crimes. Yet the detailed analyses done contributed some structure and ideas to the development of profiling.
Hitler always walked diagonally from one corner to another when crossing a room, and he whistled a marching tune. He feared syphilis, germs and moonlight, and loved severed heads. He detested the learned and the privileged, but enjoyed classical music, vaudeville, and Richard Wagners opera. He also liked the circus acts that endangered people. He showed strong streaks of narcissism and sadism, and he tended to speak in long monologues rather than have conversations. He had difficulty establishing close relationships with anyone. Since he appeared to be delusional, it was possible that his psychological structures would collapse in the face of imminent defeat. The most likely scenario was that he would end his own life, because hed threatened it before, although he might get one of his henchmen to do it for him.
Hitler was more recently profiled through samples of his handwriting - not considered a scientific approach. Innes indicates that Sheila Lowe used Hitlers letters to analyze his pessimistic, rigid personality. However, despite Inness inclusion of this method in his book on profiling, its not considered psychologically sound and no professional profiler would use it.