Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Killer IQ Part 6: An Eye For Killing

Visual-spatial intelligence has to do with, well, vision and judgment of where things fit in space (such as where pieces of puzzles fit together). People high on this intelligence are typically very good at visualizing and mentally manipulating objects and often very skilled at solving puzzles. They have a strong visual memory, generally have a very good sense of direction, and are often artistically inclined.  Artists, engineers, and architects are all careers that require visual-spatial intelligence.

Awfully Artistic

There's a number of serial killers who've shown off their creative sides in painting or drawing - John Wayne Gacy, Richard Ramirez, and Henry Lee Lucas to name a few. Perry Smith, killer of the Clutter family known from Truman Capote's famous nonfiction work In Cold Blood, was also known to be a prolific artist. And there are also many a killer that seem to consider what they do "art" fact frequently law enforcement will feign being impressed with what the killer has done ("it was a masterpiece!") to try and get a confession.

In one case though it's possible these two ideas collided, that a killer tried to copy art pieces in a crime scene...the infamous Black Dahlia case.  While the case has never been officially solved and, like Jack the Ripper and Zodiac, so much myth has seeped into reality, one man posed a rather interesting theory that, if true, certainly shows how "artistic" a killer can be.  Steve Hodel, a former LAPD detective (years served total: 1963-1986), believes it was his own father, Dr George Hodel who killed Elizabeth Short and that's not all.  According to Hodel the doctor posed the body at the murder scene after two of his Surrealist artist friend, Man Ray's, pieces...Minotaur and Lovers.  At first this seems a rather wild accusation but, if one were to compare the crime scene, what was done to the body of Ms. Short, it does begin to appear to be a real possibility.

Minotaur, shows a woman's bisected body, with arms posed above her head, the elbows bent at 90 degree angles, just as the killer has posed Short's at the crime-scene.  Lovers, too, involves a bisected woman as well as a pair of elongated lips with a series of (faint) cuts running down on the bottom lip.  According to the corner's report on Short: “There are five linear lacerations on the right upper lip which extend into the soft tissues for a distance of 1⁄2 [inches, I presume]”...It would seem that the killer switched it up some, cutting the upper lips rather than lower, but the fact there are still five cuts is a little suggestive...especially if it were Dr Hodel who enjoyed the image of the lips in Lovers so much he once painted his own version!

This is just a theory set forth by Steve Hodel but, if it were true, it'd certainly be one of the most gruesome examples of a killer's high visual-spatial intelligence - which Dr Hodel did seem to have even in just his hobbies of photography and painting -  being used in a crime.

No comments: