Have you ever known a truly evil person?

My current fave fiction genre of choice are those gawdawful paperbacks that tell stories of seemingly normal people who go mental when they encounter black-haired girls, boys with tatts, older ladies with face-lifts [insert the fetish of your nightmares here]. The culprit slashes and trashes the victim, with or without a sexual component, the cops are without a clue until the last few pages, but then (of course) our hero/heroine spots the missing pieces and the perp is either killed in action or arrested to spend the rest of his days incarcerated.

Now, yes, I know it’s trash (it serves to keep me amused and occupied during my morning commute, shuddup OK? :smiley: ) but I got to wondering whether any of my learned StraightDopers might actually have made the acquaintance of such a person? Have any of you known, either personally or indirectly through friends etc, an individual who for all intents and purposes is functionally OK, but in their other life/lives display the evil traits exemplified in pulp-fiction?

Oh, btw, not seeking a mentor. :stuck_out_tongue:

I worked with sex offenders for a couple years. They presented normal faces to the world while sexually vicitimizing others, primarily children. Some of them were, arguably, mentally ill. Many of them were simply evil, IMPO. Not a one of them ever expressed any actual contrition for what they had done that I can remember. All they were sorry about was getting caught.

Yes, my ex. And no, I’m not being funny or bitter. He is a charming, conscienceless hollow man, capable of fooling almost anybody.



When I was in high school, I taught third-graders Sunday School. One day, trying to elicit the point that there is some good in everyone, I asked if they knew anyone who was truly evil. In unison, they named a boy in their class. I knew the kid, and knew he was an amoral little bastard (you literally couldn’t turn your back on him–it was a lead pipe cinch he’d be doing something destructive if you did), but I never thought he was THAT bad.

He’s serving a life sentence for murder now.

My mother claims to have met some of the Manson Family pre-Tate/LaBianca. She reports that Charlie didn’t impress her much, but some of the girls were pretty scary.

My husband’s brother was married to a woman who, while not a murderer (as far as I know) she clearly didn’t have a conscience when it came to honoring commitments, whether financial or marital. I lost track of how many apartments they were evicted from and how many vehicles were repossessed, how many times their power and phone were cut off… And I have no idea how much money they “borrowed” from my inlaws and never paid back. Then when she decided she didn’t want to be married any longer, she called us and told us to come pick up my brother-in-law (he’s mildly mentally handicapped, and she pretty much treated him like a pet till she got tired of him.) As a parting shot, she forged his name on their last tax returns, then didn’t pay, sticking my BIL with a huge tax burden. He claimed he still loved her and that she’d come back for him, so he paid the debt - even tho he’d not worked at all that year.

She also reported her own father to the IRS and collected a reward because of his tax under-reporting or something. Then she didn’t understand why he didn’t want anything to do with her.

She’s as close to evil as I’ve encountered in my very sheltered life. Oh, and she was on husband #3 last we’d heard. I don’t know what men saw in her - not to be catty, but she was not an attractive woman physically. No matter - she’s out of our lives, forever, I hope.


Sociopaths, sex offenders, sadists, practicing pedophiles, even a few serial killers.

Yes, I know evil. I’ve walked up to it, listened to it rant and rave, looked it in the eye, and even stuck my finger up its butt when medically indicated and necessary (after obtaining informed consent, of course.)

I occasionally get to stick scalpels into it too. That’s the best.

I think you hit the nail on the head, there.

“Living with his wife, daughter and three step-children…” ow, those poor kids!

My maternal grandfather is the closest I come. AFAIK anybody he killed was in the war and doing soldiery things, but he was both a charmer and a sadistic bastard; he’s been known to destroy somebody’s job because he could; sexually abused/tried to abuse (with different degrees of success) both of his daughters and all five grandchildren… But as someone who’d lost a job to his wiles and I once conmiserated, anybody who hadn’t felt his bite ripping out half a lung would never believe us. He was a “community leader”, don’tchaknow.

Brilliant bit of prose that.

I’ve met a handful of people who could very well have been evil. They scared me enough that I didn’t get close enough or stick around long enough to find out.

I knew these three men. The ringleader hired his two buddies to kill his parents so that he could have unhindered access to his grandparents’ money. All of them were teens at the time. They were found guilty and received lengthy sentences. All of them, as far as I know, are still in prison.

My mother and my brother. Although he’s far far worse than she is. She neglected me when I was a child and was intentionally cruel to me all my life. He followed her lead and was always nasty to me when we were kids.

As he’s aged his behaviour has not improved, his vocabulary for describing me as expanded from “I HATE you!” to other more personalised vicious comments. After our father died the will was read out - it was a bog-standard married person will whereby the surviving spouse inherits everything, and they in turn make a will distributing the estate, as they see fit, upon their death.

So Mother inherited everything - ie a house and whatever money was in the bank. Unbeknownst to anyone he’d also written an alternate will to cover the eventuality of him being the surviving spouse (if you see what I mean) whereby I inherited the house and any money was to be split between myself and my brothers. The solicitor read that will out in front of everyone - something she should not have done.

My brother was absolutely furious at having been cut out of the will, he threatened to have me arrested, then threatened to have me sectioned. When he realised he couldn’t have either things come to pass, he threatened to kill me. Mother thought this was hi-lar-ious.

He rang up one afternoon to tell me he was coming to visit us (mother and me) and he wanted me to go for a drive with him, out into the countryside, so that he could have a chat with me about my “behaviour and attitude”. Mother wanted to know what he’d been saying to me (apparently my face went a “funny colour”) and I told her. She was quite happy with the idea of my brother driving me into the countryside so we could have a “nice chat”.

I posted a transcript of the phone conversation online, a woman in Australia read it and rang someone she knows in England to ask her if she knew who I was in real life? She didn’t but she passed on the name of someone else on the site who does know me in real life, the Australian woman told her to tell me not to get in the car with my brother as it was clearly his intention to kill me and dump my body. That Australian woman is a homicide cop.

I’d never had any intention of getting in the car with him anyways, I’d posted the phone conversation online as evidence of his intent. Oh and I reported him to the Gardaí, who reiterated the warning not to go anywhere on my own with my brother (they cannot arrest him, or take any action, as he doesn’t live in Ireland).

My father in law is like that. My husband has been careful to make sure I never meet him, and I’m in full agreement with that. He’s a great guy and a pillar of the community and an excellent teacher… and abusive by every definition of the word I’ve ever heard, physical, financial, sexual, emotional, and more. He did everything he could to torture my mother in law (who is a sweet lady, though slightly anxious - gosh, wonder why?) before, during, and after their divorce. I sincerely believe his greatest contribution to the world would be as an organ donor.

And yet, my husband has several close friends who will speak in the guy’s defense, despite being told that he was hella abusive, because they just can’t reconcile it with his public image. They. Have. No. Idea. :mad:

I must be some kind of polyana, but I cannot honestly say I’ve met a truly evil person. If I did, their evil nature was not apparent to me. Incidentally, I am not good at manipulating others, but I am essentially impossible to manipulate.

Hopefully without anesthesia, but we can’t have everything.

Believe me you are being manipulated all the time. We can all be manipulated.

I also agree that I do not think I have met a truely evil person, but truthfully I do not think any such person actually exists. I have met sociopaths but they are just amoral.

As a general rule for healthy living I think it is best to try to find the good in people. Almost everyone is good in some way.

Corcaigh do you mind reposting the transcript of the phone call here?

I’m pretty sure my adopted father was a sociopath. He once told me that friends are like socks - you use them until they no longer benefit you and then you discard them. He also talked a lot about the human as an animal, and seemed kind of obsessed with the idea that humans had a conscience and animals don’t - like he really seemed envious of animals’ lack of conscience. We were always in the van driving through the country when he got like that, and I seriously came to fear him, in a serial-killer kind of way.

And he was so so so nice to me and everyone else, but every once in a while he would say something that was so out there - like I came home from school once and asked him if he wanted to know about my day, and he said, very calmly, “No, your life is no different than any other child’s so there’s nothing you can tell me that would interest me.” He also was a child molester - and it was hard for me to accept that this entire time I thought we had this great relationship, he was just manipulating me so he could abuse me. And the closest he ever came to acknowledging wrongdoing was, “mistakes were made.” I don’t think he even feels guilty.

His spotless public image has now fallen apart and I realize the person I desperately wanted him to be never existed in the first place. He is pretty much reviled by his own family now because after my parents’ divorce he ended up swindling a bunch of people, completely abandoned his business without even calling his clients to tell them he was closing, and forced my mother into bankruptcy just because he could… I still have nightmares about him raping me and dumping my body on the side of the road. If tomorrow it came out that he had murdered someone, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.

I’ve known one. He was about the smoothest talker I’ve ever met and could convince just about anyone of just about anything, as I’ll mention in his exploits. He is also completely without conscience, willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants, and is thoroughly self-destructive too. After I became wise of his behavior, I stopped being friends with him, but I couldn’t get a few of my friends or my brother to stop hanging out with them, and all of them ended up much worse off because of it. Last I heard, he’s still in jail for attempted murder; thankfully, he was too incompetent to pull that off.

Anyway, I’ll try to list out as much as I can remember. I became friends with him in about May or June of the year I graduated high school. Throughout that summer, I found out that he had tried to kill himself a couple times and, as it turned out, would torture and kill animals in the neighborhood (didn’t find that out until later). He was really into Robo-tripping, and had shoplifted anything and everything that had DXM in it from all the stores within walking distance of his house that they all either stopped selling it or made you specifically ask a pharmacist to buy it. And during that time, he almost killed two of my friends and my brother by OD on the stuff. And in August of that year, he ended up in jail because he stabbed someone in the heart over $50, almost killing him, and convinced my brother to lie on stand about it, so he only got about a 16 months instead of the 5-10 he should have gotten.

I learned about the truth of that last situation, having been sold on the lie they concocted, and didn’t want anything to do with him after that point. After he got out, he and my brother hooked back up as friends. At one point thereafter, he broke into our house and robbed us, and convinced my brother to take the fall, resulting in him getting kicked out of the house until he confessed. He then later drugged up one of my friends and raped her and then somehow managed to convince her that it was my fault and not his; I still can’t figure that one out, she hated me for months until she figured out she got mindfucked. I think that was all part of this larger horrific scheme he had where he’d find girls, generally just under 18 or so, who had terrible self-esteem, and he’d manipulate the hell out of them. He’d drug them up, have sex with them, take naked pictures of them, and didn’t even call them by name, but refer to them as Project #, and they were numbered sequentially. He got into selling drugs to my brother’s friends, but it wasn’t what he said it was. He’d buy rat poison, mix it into jello and sell it as acid, or mix tattoo ink with pot and sell it as some sort of exotic blend for 10x what he paid for it. He ended up back in jail again, for a few years this time, maybe 18 months or so after he got out, for a few years this time, when he got jealous of my brother’s girlfriend when he got her pregnant and held a knife to her throat, requiring the cops to tranq him. Fortunately, that was the last anyone I knew had any contact with him.

A few years later, I ran into his brother, who is ironically one of the nicest people I’ve met, and that’s when I found out his current fate. He’d gotten married shortly after he got out to one of his “projects” from before. Apparently things weren’t going to well, and not long after he tried to kill her by throwing her out of his car in the midst of heavy traffic. Fortunately, she didn’t get hit and that’s the last I heard of him.

So, yeah, it’s really surprising that, in all of that, he didn’t actually kill anyone, but I’m thankful he’s in jail and should be for a long time so he can’t hurt anyone else, or himself. In all of that though, if he hadn’t gotten caught up in his own ineptitude a few times, I think his bottom easily could have been on the level of a serial rapist and/or murderer.