Before you have dinner at grandma’s house you may want to hit up the nearest Olive Garden, especially if your grandmother is 68 year old Tamara Samsonova of St. Petersburg, Russia. Grammy Samsonova is suspected of cooking up her victims and eating them and she’s especially fond of the lungs and limbs of her victims.
This grandma, however, will not be cooking anymore dinners, as she now sits behind bars convicted of killing 11 people. The St. Petersburg Grandma kept detailed notes about sleeping, drinking, medications and her gruesome activities in a diary that she kept for years. One of her crimes dates back to 2005 when her husband mysteriously went missing.
As a student of psychology, one of the questions I get asked quite a bit is “How can another person do that to another human being?” They are not asking about the neurological studies that Dr. Kent Kiehl has done with the thousands of inmates across the U.S. People want simple answers as to why Grandpa “Albert” Fish cut up and ate his victims, and why a hundred and five years later Grandma Samsonova may have an equally unusual appetite.
I try to explain it this way: there are many types of human beings in the world as there were dinosaurs. You have the triceratops who have the biological qualities to protect themselves. Then we have the velociraptor who thinks differently from the triceratops. One is a predator the other is not exactly prey, but it can be if the velociraptor is smart enough. Even though they are of the same principal taxonomic category, they are part of an ecological system in the same way a serial killer is. Serial Killers think differently than us, their neural systems are very different for a variety of reasons. In the same way that a velociraptor thinks differently than a triceratops. Serial killers are a different type of human being although they are from the same taxonomic category.
Many people are morbidly drawn to the violence of serial killers because they cannot understand it and feel compelled to. Serial Killers provide a conduit for the public’s most primal feelings such as fear, lust and anger. According to Scott Bonn Ph.D “In many ways, serial killers are for adults what monster movies are for children.”
A person who has no concept of love, shame, pity, remorse, does not understand the social workings of those feelings. They are left to hide among the public committing atrocities and trying desperately to blend in to society. It is a lot of work to keep the inner workings of a velociraptor’s life secret in a world dominated by triceratops. When the judge announced she would be held in custody, Tamara Samsonova she smiled and clapped her hands. After all that is where all the other velociraptors are, she doesn’t have to hide anymore, Grammy Samsonova is among her own kind.
This article was written by Laurell Morse, a writer for dusk magazine.