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Who Is 'Violent Minds: Killers on Tape's Dr. Al Carlisle?
Serial killer expert Dr. Al Carlisle’s got into the head of mass murderers like Ted Bundy through prison interviews.
How does one catch a killer? Having insight into what goes on in such a person’s head is an invaluable tool.
In his pioneering work in criminal behavior, clinical psychologist Dr. Al Carlisle conducted extensive research on murderers, serial killers and mass murderers. What was he able to extract?
“Violent Minds: Killers On Tape,” airing Sunday, April 2 at 7/6c on Oxygen, focuses on Carlisle’s hands-on interviews with such notorious killers as Ted Bundy, who confessed to 30 murders; Arthur Gary Bishop, who killed five young boys; and others.
Born and raised in Utah, Carlisle graduated with a BS and MS from Utah State University before earning a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Brigham Young University.
While working as a psychologist at the Utah State Prison, Carlisle evaluated Bundy after his first arrest in August 1975 at the request of the court. At the time, the chilling scope of Bundy’s crimes were unknown.
Carlisle spent “about twenty hours with Bundy on the psychological assessment,” he said in a 2012 Psychology Today interview with Dr. Katherine Ramsland. Between the evaluation and other sources, Carlisle believed Bundy could be dangerous.
As a result of the evaluation Bundy stayed behind bars, where his meetings with Carlisle continued. Material collected, Ramsland wrote, informed Carlisle’s “theory about serial killers in general.”
Carlisle maintained that killers could present an acceptable public persona, while harboring a dark secret side for violent fantasies. One of Carlisle’s areas of specialty was dissociative identity disorder.
Carlisle retired from Utah State Prison in 1989. He wrote several books, including “The 1976 Psychological Assessment of Ted Bundy,” which provides a window into the inner workings of a killer’s mind.
In “I’m Not Guilty! The Case of Ted Bundy,” he offers an analysis of the killer’s life and crimes based on conversations with the killer as well as his friends, lovers, neighbors and investigators who worked his case.
Before his death in 2018 at age 81, Carlisle presented workshops on serial homicide and was a Salt Lake City rape crisis consultant.
What insights did Carlisle pull from the minds of murderers? Episodes of the new series feature never-before-heard recordings that may shed new light on these infamous criminals and cases.
To learn more about Dr. Carlisle and his work, watch “Violent Minds: Killers On Tape,” airing Sunday, April 2 at 7/6c on Oxygen.