Psychologist Robert Hare contends there are 2 million psychopaths living in North America. The figure is staggering, but it comes from a reliable source. Hare is one of the world’s leading experts on psychopathy. The idea that millions of psychos are roaming the streets is a frightening one. The good news is that not all psychopaths are criminal offenders. The bad news? They all pose a threat—emotional, financial, psychological—to those they come into contact with. They lead parasitic lifestyles, draining others of love, finances and a sense of security.
Morally depraved, psychopaths lack the emotions and empathy that make us human. On the surface they may appear normal enough, but this is a disguise, what Hervey Cleckley—another expert in the field— dubbed the “mask of sanity.” (1941) Psychopaths are akin to aliens attempting to mimic human behavior. Although beyond the norm, psychopaths are not considered insane. History is littered with psychopaths. Henry VIII, Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Adolf Hitler are a few of the most obvious.
The list also includes such darlings as Roman Emperor Caligula, who laughed as he told his dinner guests he had the power to have their throats slit; Elizabeth Bathory, the Hungarian countess who slaughtered hundreds of young women so that she could bathe in their blood; and Grigor Rasputin, the charismatic “Mad Monk” whose fake resume and alleged mystical powers gained him access to the Russian Tsar’s family in the early 20th century.