“Man guilty of pushing wife off Colorado cliff to her death” — Harold Henthorn

“Henthorn told investigators that his wife paused to take a photo of the view and fell face-first over the ledge. His attorney, Craig Truman, said prosecutors failed to prove he killed her.

Prosecutors argued during a two-week trial that Henthorn carefully staged Toni Henthorn’s death to look like an accident because he stood to benefit from her $4.7 million in life insurance policies, which she didn’t know existed. They seized on Henthorn’s inconsistent accounts of the fatal fall and said the evidence did not match his shifting stories.”  http://news.yahoo.com/man-guilty-pushing-wife-off-colorado-cliff-her-210941943.html

The same articles also states his first wife had died when their car fell off the jack while changing a flat.  Toni Henthorn, who died here, earlier had a 20 foot beam fall on her head while they were working on their mountain cabin.


henthorn court2 henthorn court1 henthornyoung

Note the identical expression he wears in the top photos — his chosen ‘mask of sanity’ (from Cleckley’s Mask of Sanity).

My greatest psychopathy teacher


She gave me psychopathy’s family jewels.  That psychopaths had self knowledge and a group identity.  Even more importantly, that they backed each other up versus the empath world.  And finally, that their self control is actually very difficult, appearing normal is an effort.

I was called into Lehman HR by this SVP and a manager (this manager was a male lover I believe of the blackmailing psychopathic Don Juan/Dress Grey rapist whom they were seeking to protect).  They stated that my assignment at the firm was being canceled due to my handing out to friends 8-10 cut and paste sheets from Cleckley’s Mask of Sanity and Hare’s Without Conscience.  She kept saying they were sexually inappropriate. ‘But I deleted all sexual behaviors and crimes, that’s why they are cut and pastes, not straight copies,’ I said.  She just repeated the same thing again.  Her superiors wouldn’t look over her shoulder, that’s the corporate chain of command. The truth didn’t matter and there is no appeal or promise of fair play or due process in corporations.  Then when I said, against her protestations that she didn’t need to know, that I was giving them out due to the presence of a psychopathic co-worker (mentioned above), she started screaming, “WE HAVE 150,000 EMPLOYEES, OF COURSE LEHMAN HAS PSYCHOPATHIC EMPLOYEES!!”  Then she immediately and visibly calmed herself down and regained her self composure.

After leaving friends told me of rumors following my exit.  It was practically a novella. Made up out of whole cloth, not even based/exaggerated on/from something real. The only truthful elements were getting my name and a few other co-workers’ names right.  These were co-workers whom I had never interacted with off-premises.  But the novella had all kinds of goings on and involvement of outside players.

She denied any knowledge of the source of these rumors.  But I imagine the source was the Lehman HR department, from my experience with psychopathic HR departments in various Wall St. firms.  Destroying exited co-workers’ reputations is something they all do all the time, this was just more extreme.  At HR conventions, they must sit around bragging about their lies, comparing notes and refining strategies, just as psychopaths and con artists do.

I couldn’t find a lawyer who thought we could trace down the vaguely sourced campaign of lies or win an appreciable amount of money.  I should have filed a John Doe case pro se, at least as a record if I couldn’t build a case.  I settled for sending a truthful accounting to my personal friends and all the co-workers listed in the company address book.

The novella was incredibly detailed.  Perhaps that’s a standard psychopathic character assassination campaign strategy. Normal people probably just can’t imagine that such a detailed account could be a lie.  Of course, this is because they couldn’t imagine doing it themselves.  That’s part of the naive prey response syndrome, people still try to understand psychopaths from their own viewpoint, not understanding that they need to step out of their own world to understand psychopaths’ motives and to recognize them.  Finally, most of us are not only naive prey to psychopaths, but naive prey to evil.

Back to basics: a psychopathy checklist

From Profile of the Sociopath:

  • Glibness and Superficial Charm
  • Manipulative and Conning
    They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
  • Grandiose Sense of Self
    Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”
  • Pathological Lying
    Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.
  • Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
    A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.
  • Shallow Emotions
    When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
  • Incapacity for Love
  • Need for Stimulation
    Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.
  • Callousness/Lack of Empathy
    Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.
  • Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
    Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.
  • Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
    Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet “gets by” by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.
  • Irresponsibility/Unreliability
    Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.
  • Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
    Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.
  • Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
    Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.
  • Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
    Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.

I should integrate the concept of psychopathic throughlines with the checklist concept.  I’ll add it to my to do list.

In a rough way, I certainly do refer to check lists in my own thinking when considering possible psychopaths/sociopaths.   However it is a mistake to overly rely upon them in my opinion.  It is not possible to successfully follow a reverse engineering cookbook approach — ‘these are the ingredients, so this is the dish.’   I’m not arguing with Dr. Hare’s systemized use of PCL-R with trained raters in a prison setting.  However you will never catch an advanced SAP (socially adept psychopath) with one.  Basically I pay attention to psychopathic levels of arrogance/attitude and look for signs of severe arrested development, i.e., age inappropriate behaviors (even small behaviors), childish thinking patterns, etc.

Checklists can rise to the fore again however, when dealing with SAPs.  If behavior falls apart ( the “adult act” of psychopaths) under certain situations, checklist items can be of great help in recognizing psychopaths.  At one bank I worked at, we had a managing director who was ordered never to attend company parties, his behavior fell apart under the influence of alcohol.  (For those unfamiliar with corporate structure, managing directors are essentially standalone profit centers, they have to be rainmakers (profit-wise) for the company.)  This individual was widely considered to be a wild and crazy, fun guy.  Or sometimes psychopathic individuals will show their true character based on “food chain calculations” — when dealing with those they deem lower, their “inner psychopath” comes out; or when deeming themselves at the top of the food chain, the same occurs.

[A version of the first of the two above paragraphs was here earlier.  I have no idea what happened, perhaps I failed to save it correctly, perhaps there was a technical glitch, or perhaps . . . EGADS!  HAVE I BEEN GASLIGHTED BY A PSYCHOPATHIC HACKER?  “Why no, PW, whatever paragraph are you talking about.  You’ve been so stressed out lately, etc., etc.”  Psychopaths just love gaslighting campaigns, it gives them the “chortle, chortle” response that they cherish.  Gaslighting depends on the target not entertaining seemingly paranoid lines of thought.  Incidentally, I see my external links have disappeared.  I don’t know how that happened.]

At the bottom of the above factsheet, the author says “You may also find more at http://sociopathworld.com/.”  You certainly will, it is a psychopath website.

Finally the author says, “I . . . am not a psychologist and [claim] no special expertise in the subject.”  IMO, no special expertise is needed, or rather, anyone who has had intense emotional experiences with psychopaths does have special expertise.  Everyone needs to know psychopaths are out there and that they will interact with them.  If the so-called experts don’t tell us this, we have to inform each other.

Just came across another worthy checklist site:  The List of Psychopathy Symptoms: Hervey Cleckley and Robert Hare

“The psychopathic personality and human evolution” and why can’t women recognize psychopaths

“Dr. Robert Hare, who did seminal work in identifying psychopaths, refers to them as intraspecies predators.” This prompted questions from a Lovefraud reader who asked,

  • If psychopaths are indeed natural predators (by implication, their design is part of nature’s plan to maintain some balance) then would we ever be able to weed them out of society?
  • Do they have a purpose in the natural order of things?

In this article, I’m going to address the second question. Then, next week, I’ll suggest an answer to the first question.

I don’t know about a purpose, but there are researchers who believe psychopaths are around us today because they survived the natural selection process of human evolution.

These researchers call psychopathy “a nonpathological, reproductively viable, alternate life history strategy.” This theory is outlined in Coercive and Precocious Sexuality as a Fundamental Aspect of Psychopathy, a paper published in 2007 by Grant T. Harris, PhD; Marnie E. Rice, PhD; N. Zoe Hilton, PhD; Martin L. Lalumiere, PhD; and Vernon L. Quinsey, PhD.”


This article was written by Donna Anderson at  Lovefraud Blog.  The comment I posted is below.

I think it’s worth looking at other species. Another phrase with the same meaning as ‘intraspecies predator’ is biological ‘cheater strategist’.

Some spadefoot toad tadpoles become cannibals while the rest eat the normal algae (http://www.centre.edu/web/news…..storz.html). If there is enough food and the water doesn’t dry up (which is the norm) the normals keep their numbers up and things are more or less in balance. If the ponds dry too quickly then the faster growing cannibals are much more likely to survive to adulthood and reproduce. If the proportion tips in favor of the cannibals they eventually have to turn on themselves and the population crashes. In the rebuild, the normals again come to the fore. Rinse. Repeat.

Spadefoot normal and cannibal tadpoles

Imo, the achilles tendon of psychopaths is parenting. Being in a state of arrested development themselves and pathologically ego-driven, they are incapable of nurturing healthy children.

On a side note, there is also a question of the evolutionary relationship between normals and psychopaths. Specifically there seems to be a biological prohibition that keeps normal human females from recognizing psychopaths. It’s a defect that might as well be invisible to them (in the majority, imo). Why would this be?

I used to think that psychopaths simply had the “evolutionary jump” on normal women, in the same way that introduced predators have on island animals that have never experienced predation. Forgive this example, but the most well known instance of this is probably the flightless pigeon, the dodo, that sailors could just walk over to and hit on the head. In this scenario human females would simply not have evolved a response quickly enough.

However what does evolution “want?” Evolution simply passes on genetic traits that produce greater number of offspring that survive to maturity and reproduce themselves. So evolution “wouldn’t care” (“want” and “wouldn’t care” are simply shorthand ways of speaking) if the father was a normal or a psychopath. If a psychopathic child grew up and murdered their mother, if it was past the mother’s childbearing years, then this would be of “no concern” to evolution. In evolutionary terms, the passing on of one’s genes, that mother would still be an evolutionary “winner.”

In otherwords I’m now inclined to believe that normal women have an evolved blindness to male psychopathy. When I first read Cleckley’s Mask of Sanity I found it very hard to believe the stories of normal female/psychopathic male interactions. However the sheer number wore me down and then I started seeing examples in real life (actually I had often seen real examples but now I could recognize them for what they were).

So where does this leave us? I dunno . . . .

I’m bringing in the two comments below to expand the main idea:


A leeetle angry at the ladies, eh?


That’s not the way I look at it. Have you ever read “Mask of Sanity” or witnessed/experienced a female devotee’s devotion to a male psychopath? “Devotee” is a description I proudly claim originator of, in this context. (Obviously there are male devotees also, but I believe they’re relatively rarer and qualitatively different.) There comes a point where there is nothing a female devotee can’t explain away, nothing about the beloved psychopath that the devotee can’t translate into acceptableness. Challenger: “You don’t know his last name.” “You don’t know his first name.” “You don’t know where he lives.” “You don’t have his phone number.” “Did you know he spent time in prison and/or a mental hospital?” “He derides you in public, saying he’s only playing you.” Devotee: “Oh yes, he explained that all to me. And the last, why that’s just locker-room tough talk.” Challenger: “OK, maybe I was wrong, please share and enlighten me.” Devotee: “Oh no, he requested my confidentiality.” Challenger: “Ahhhhhhh! . . . But, . . he throws passes at all of your friends!” Devotee: “That mad impetuous boy, he doesn’t know what he wants. I’m the one he needs, the only one who understands him!” Challenger (the long defeated challenger): “He has no more feelings for you than an alien reptilian shapeshifter illusionist!” Devotee: “Oh pshaw, you don’t think a mother knows her little defiant two year old!!!” Not those words exactly of course, but the impluse, the intensity, the root cause is identical. The “hook” of the male sociopath is triggering aspects of the mothering instinct.

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Open letter to Alice Miller

For those unfamiliar with her or her thinking I’ve summarized her thinking in two sentences (as I understand it, or perhaps just the area of interest to myself).  First, individuals when they become parents, all too often, seek to answer their own psychological neediness by “feeding” off the child, rather than answering the child’s own psychological needs — this pattern can last for generation upon generation.  Secondly, children only know they are entitled to their emotions if an adult mirrors these emotions.  I believe these two ideas to be extremely powerful.  The first one shows a way out from the phenomenon of generations of dysfunctional families.  The second promises the possibility of training “witness for soul” therapists as opposed to the hit or miss current system, in which capable therapists are essentially individual accidents.

Dear Alice Miller,

Some ten years back, I read and studied quite a number of your works.  Since that time I have, on my own, studied, thought and written about sociopaths.  I don’t recall much mention of sociopaths in your works but I don’t expect you to believe they are born, not made.  However, I don’t actually know that, this is just a surmise.  I’m very curious to know your view of sociopathy, if you have a chance to answer this.

I don’t see a contradiction between your thinking and the existence of genetic sociopaths.  Quoting my blog, “When one considers all the seemingly conscienceless and subtracts the attachment disordered, the narcissistically rigid, and the hideously abused and needy, there is still a core of the emotionally/morally colorblind, a.k.a. the Cleckley sociopath (from Cleckley’s Mask of Sanity), a.k.a., the Charlie Carewe sociopath (from the actress Mary Astor’s The Incredible Charlie Carewe).” https://pathwhisperer.wordpress.com/past-notes/.

I, and others, see sociopaths as developmentally arrested psychologically — but up through puberty they go through most of the same psychological developmental stages.  So following this line of thought, I would say that Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer were serial killers due to psychological abuse, their sociopathy simply made them extremely skillful at it.  Unclaimed and left in the hospital, as I recall from their bios, they screamed for their primal birthright, loving maternal attention, until their tear ducts dried and their psyches came to realize that help was not on the way.  This vast, unplacated, infantile rage then went subterranean to reappear again and again throughout life but now with an adult’s capabilities and, in their cases, a sociopath’s talents.

Perhaps you would be interested in my posts on incest, I believe I have adopted your view of psychological cause and effect:  https://pathwhisperer.wordpress.com/2009/03/08/incest-dad-represents-self-in-court-cross-examines-daughter/ & https://pathwhisperer.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/post-redux-josef-fritzl-and-reflections-on-incest-52308/.

I look forward to your reply.

Thank you,

The Path Whisperer

For more information on Alice Miller and her writings:  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw_3_12?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=alice+miller+prisoners+of+childhood&sprefix=alice+miller&sprefix=alice+miller&sprefix=alice+miller&sprefix=alice+miller, http://www.alice-miller.com/index_en.php.

Post Redux: Reflections on Josef Fritzl and Incest (5/23/08)

Fritzl, of course, is the Austrian accused of imprisoning his daughter in a cellar and fathering a family with her (three of the children also imprisoned, three raised in the aboveground household), BBC. All incest fathers are vampire fathers, they truly are draining the child’s lifeforce, but this is absolutely the most extreme case in my memory.

The question here is whether Fritzl is a sociopath.  Roughly what I do is check facts and behavior against an informal checklist and then attempt to flesh out the individual and understand his motivations.  For those interested there are well-thought out formal checklists for sociopathy.   The linked Mask of Sanity lays out a checklist in Section III, Clinical Profile, pgs 337 – 366, or see the Table of Contents.  Robert Hare, author of Without Conscience, has a formal diagnostic one, which can be used informally by anybody, in my opinion — not to diagnose, but in an attempt to understand behavior.  This seems to be a reasonable overview: PCL Overview. His own site is www.hare.org.

Fritzl certainly appears to be a sociopath.  There is no internal prohibition against incest for sociopathic fathers at all. Non-sociopathic incest fathers need to overcome their conscience and a very severe prohibition against such acts.  For sociopathic incest fathers it is merely childhood sexplay, as is all their sex.  They are absolutely, totally unaware of any “soul effect” on the daughter (or often, the son).  The sociopathic sense of entitlement is absolute — check.  Urge to dominate — check.  Lying ability — check.  Telling his wife the imprisoned daughter had run away and joined a cult.  Explaining three foundlings to the authorities and his wife (the three infants he brought up from the cellar).  This ability to lie while appearing totally sincere, with complete eye contact with the target to be duped is one of the key sociopathic abilities.  Self confidence — check.  Arrogance — check.  Optimism — check.  No remorse or guilt — check.

I understand he’s been complaining that his wife hasn’t visited him.  Sociopaths don’t understand the “beyond the pale” aspect of their extreme behavior.  For them it’s not beyond the pale, it’s not extreme.  Presumably they believe all of us are capable of the same behavior or would behave the same if we thought we could get away with it.  So now he’s hurt and perplexed that his wife doesn’t visit.

It’s reported that the possibility that he also molested his 19 year old daughter/grand-daughter, Kerstin, is also being investigated.  (It was the hospitalization of Kerstin that exposed the whole situation.)  It would be shocking if he hadn’t.