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Netflix's “Mindhunter” is based on actual events and — unfortunately — some very real murderers, but like most fictionalized accounts of reality, it’s at times difficult to decipher which details are accurate and which just make for more interesting entertainment. And when the two FBI profilers at the heart of the show go to visit two of America's most notorious criminals at the very same prison, it's hard not to be surprised at how much notoriety a prison can apparently hold.
During the second season, Holden Ford, a character based on real-life FBI profiler John Douglas, gets to finally talk to cult leader Charles Manson, who he’d been chomping at the bit to meet. But before Ford’s much-anticipated meeting with the ultra-infamous Manson, he and Bill Tench have a quick chat with serial killer Ed Kemper, who had become a regular (or serial) staple of their conversations in season one.
The two had decided to meet with Kemper so that he wouldn’t resent them for meeting with Manson, worried it would get back to Kemper and possibly make him jealous. That seemed likely to happen because, in the show, the two men appear to be imprisoned together.
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And as it turns out, Manson and Kemper really were in the same prison. The pair were housed together as inmates at the California Medical Facility, a state prison medical facility in Vacaville, which doubles as a psychiatric facility.
Kemper has been there since the 1970s, according to an archived New York Times piece. He’s actually still an inmate there now. Kemper, known as the Co-Ed Killer, murdered and dismembered 10 people over the course of his life, including his own mother.
Manson, meanwhile, was transferred to the facility briefly in 1974. It then again became his home for nine years beginning in 1976, according to the Daily Republic in Solano County. While Manson didn't technically kill anyone, he was convicted of murder after he orchestrated a series of killings in the state, including the murder of actress Sharon Tate, through his Manson Family cult.
The two criminals were even housed together in the same block, according to the book "Serial Killers: 101 Interesting Facts And Trivia About Serial Killers." It’s unclear if the two ever interacted with each other or what they thought of one another. Though, one former California Medical Facility counselor knew both Manson and Kemper, according to a 2017 Mercury News piece. So, it seems pretty damn likely they had at least spoken to each other.
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