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Episode 4 - Abnormal Psychology

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On December 29, 1962, twenty-three-year old Patricia Bissette was found strangled in her Boston apartment. She was second young victim, and the seventh overall attributed to The Boston Strangler. But there were some who weren't so sure Bissette was a victim of THE Strangler. There was legitimate suspicion that Bissette’s boss—a married man with a motive for keeping his affair with Bissette quiet—had killed her. In this episode, host Portland Helmich reveals how one significant detail, Bissette’s address, might have helped police find the real killer in 1962. We’ll hear more about the tragic consequences of this missed opportunity, and we’ll meet Adele Roof, who believes that she befriended the Boston Strangler in 1962—and almost became one of his victims. Episode Title: Abnormal Psychology.

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There's a point in this episode where the quick thinking of a woman is said to have, "probably saved her life." The man they're talking about certainly should've been pursued as a suspect, but to imply that he was "probably" a murderer is a ridiculous stretch that doesn't belong in a journalistic podcast.


I also dislike the narrator's tendency to insert herself into the narrative. At one point she interrupts an interview to say, paraphrasing, "I put myself in her shoes and wonder what I would've thought." Who cares?


I like the podcast, to be clear, these things just stand out because the subject is so important and the rest of the podcast is done so well.

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The boss still seems like the most likely culprit. As was covered in the episode, he had both motive and access. Considering the prevalence of violence and harassment perpetrated by men against women, it's not much of a stretch to believe that two different women who lived in the same apt in a heavily populated city were each subjected to violence/harassment by two different men. Take any apt in any major city where a murder has taken place and survey its residents over the years—you'll likely find multiple instances of men targeting women with violence and/or harassment.


The flasher/wanker just sounds like a wheedling, voyeuristic masochist who gets off on shame and humiliation—not a sadistic strangler serial killer. Kneeling down before her to "take her measurements," making himself pathetic by masturbating in front of her, apologizing profusely and begging her not to tell his mommy—it's certainly aberrant sexual behavior, but it's all too passive and too neurotic to fit the profile of a dominant, sadistic serial strangler. Care should be taken not to let the desire to uncover new information lead you to overestimate the significance of coincidence and ignore obvious inconsistencies.

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