Here is another candidate for inclusion in Profilia, my forthcoming anthology of profiles. This one is forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz, an expert on serial killers and other dark individuals.
Park Elliot Dietz owns a complete set of serial killer trading cards. He keeps them—the Jeffrey Dahmer card on top—in a wall-length display case in the study of his house. There is other stuff here. Antiquarian texts on criminology and psychiatry, among them a goatskin-bound first edition of the earliest published work on forensic medicine, written in the early 1600s by the papal physician Paolo Zacchia. Trophies from shooting matches. Insignia from law enforcement agencies. Miniatures from Paris, including one of the French serial killer Henri Landru, “the Bluebeard of Paris,” who stands, dressed in a black frock coat and holding a handsaw, beside a little washtub filled with the blood and severed limbs of is latest victim. Atop a book rests a human skull, named Arbutus, which has been in the Dietz family for three generations; family lore identifies it as the skull of an executed criminal, but its present owner is skeptical.
These objects are tokens of Dietz’s extraordinary interests and uncommon professional life. Dietz is one of the country’s most prominent and accomplished forensic psychiatrists. As a researcher, consultant, and expert witness, he applies psychiatric knowledge to legal problems and issues of crime and public safety. He has testified at the murder trials of John Hinckley Jr., Jeffrey Dahmer, Better Broderick, Arthur Shawcross, and Joel Rifkin. He has consulted for the FBI, the CIA, US attorneys general offices from Miami to Honolulu, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, the US military services, the Department of Justice, and more than 120 corporations. He has investigated the behavior of serial killers, family annihilators, sexual sadists, celebrity stalkers, product tamperers, cannibals, necrophiliacs, and the sort of people who show up at a workplace one day and gun down five people with an assault rifle. The human soul has a lot of dark, infested alleyways, and Park Dietz has walked down most of them, asking questions and taking notes.
... Dietz is part medical examiner, pat private detective, part scholar of the bizarre. In interviewing Jeffrey Dahmer, he discussed dismemberment techniques and the right temperature for preserving body parts. To collect information for litigation against Soldier of Fortune magazine, he attended a weapons demonstration in the desert with some of its heavily armed readers, who despite his name tag didn’t realize who he was when they expressed their desire to kill “those sons of bitches who are suing the magazine.” To gather data about sexual bondage practices, he interviewed New York prostitutes and inventoried sex shops in Times Square. In one porn parlor he had to memorize a tabulation of the magazines for sale, then duck into a peep show both to write down the data; he had already seen the shop owner cane one customer who had annoyed him. Among the scholarly articles listed on his curriculum vitae are “Compliant Victims of Sexual Sadists,” “Mass, Serial, and Sensational Homicides,” and “Murder at Work.”