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  • The year is 1978 and on one particular evening, millions of people in the USA have tuned in

  • to watch their favorite TV show, The Dating Game.

  • At the start of the show after a partition moves to the side, three silhouetted bachelors

  • are revealed.

  • Host Jim Lange introduces bachelor number one, a man he says is a “successful photographer

  • who got his start when his father found him in the darkroom at the age of 13...fully developed.”

  • As the audience laughs at the gag, he adds, “Between takes you might find him skydiving

  • or motorcycling.”

  • Lange announces his name as Rodney Alcala, just as the spotlight shines on a longhaired,

  • handsome man with glistening white teeth.

  • What no one knows is this man is a prolific killer, who murdered before the show and he'll

  • murder after.

  • He's a psychopath of the highest degree who'll one day be called by police a “killing

  • machine.”

  • He also wins the heart of the bachelorette in the show, but the date doesn't go down

  • very well.

  • We'll come back to that later.

  • First of all, to appear in one of the most popular TV shows in US history while you are

  • in the process of becoming one of the world's most vile serial killers is about as brazen

  • and pathologically narcissistic as you can get.

  • To understand this, we must look at Alcala's past.

  • He was born on August 23, 1943, in San Antonio, Texas.

  • When he was a kid his pop moved the family back to Mexico, but a few years later his

  • dear old daddy just picked up and left.

  • A few years after that, the mother took 11-year Rodney back to LA along with his two sisters.

  • It wasn't a happy childhood, and he certainly was never discovered in the darkroom by his

  • father at the age of 13.

  • At that point in his life, his pop was well gone, and wanted nothing to do with Rodney.

  • But abandonment by a parent is hardly that unusual.

  • It can be devastating for a child, but in the history of serial killing, childhood traumas

  • run deeper than being brought up in a single-parent family.

  • Still, something happened during his formative years that may have led to what he became.

  • It was evident something was wrong with him not long after he joined the army at the age

  • of 17.

  • Three years later he went AWOL after having what was described as a breakdown.

  • When he returned to the army a military psychiatrist diagnosed him with an antisocial personality

  • disorder.

  • That's when a person shows no regard to how others feel about their actions.

  • This lack of conscience can manifest as aggression, sometimes getting involved in petty crimes.

  • Whatever Alcala did was enough for the army to discharge him on medical grounds.

  • The army was right.

  • Years later he'd be diagnosed with malignant narcissism and sexual sadism comorbidities.

  • If you don't understand those terms, you soon will.

  • Personality disorders aren't always evident to other people, and so Alcala seemed to have

  • no problems picking up a degree from the UCLA School of Fine Arts.

  • It was 1968 when he graduated, the year after thesummer of love”, a time when being

  • a budding artist was a fashionable endeavor.

  • Nonetheless, Alcala was far from embracing the hippie movement and the endless love it

  • promoted.

  • He'd already decided to become a monster.

  • That year he lured a young girl named Tali Shapiro to his apartment in Hollywood.

  • There he beat her with an iron bar until she was unconscious.

  • He'd been spotted, though, taking the girl back, and that person called the cops.

  • It was just a pity that when they got to his apartment, they found no sign of Alcala and

  • only a girl lying in a pool of blood.

  • What they didn't know is that he was hiding somewhere nearby, but because the girl was

  • still breathing all efforts were focused on keeping her alive.

  • That's when Alcala somehow slipped away.

  • The girl was in a coma for 32 days and later had to learn to walk again.

  • The good news is decades later she testified against him, with her loving husband watching

  • from the gallery.

  • Knowing he was now wanted, he left California and went to New York where he enrolled at

  • NYU film school.

  • There he changed his name toJohn Berger”.

  • In the meantime cops back in California had found something worrying: photos he'd taken

  • of young women and girls.

  • It seemed likely that this man would strike again.

  • In New York, though, when frequenting the trendy clubs and bars with his camera in hand,

  • he was the arty photographer guy who people loved to pose for.

  • They had no idea that when he looked at them through the viewfinder, he was imagining what

  • they'd look like after he had killed them.

  • In 1971, the FBI put him on its Most Wanted list, and that meant pictures of Alcala being

  • circulated.

  • He'd already killed again by this time, a young woman who worked as a flight attendant.

  • She'd been strangled, and the killer had arranged her body in a certain kind of pose.

  • Now we need to explain something.

  • Serial killers might have a modus operandi, which could be how they pick up their victims,

  • but they may also leave a personal mark on their crimes, called a signature.

  • The MO often changes, but signatures nearly always stay the same.

  • That's because they relate to the psychological needs of the killer, and for Alcala, he derived

  • sexual gratification from leaving his victims in certain poses, an act criminal profilers

  • callstaging”.

  • Police didn't know it yet, but in the years to come, they would find quite a few bodies

  • that had been staged.

  • After getting a job at a New Hampshire arts camp for children, one day two of the kids

  • Acarla taught saw his face on a wanted poster in the post office.

  • They called the cops and Alcala was swiftly arrested and sent back to California to face

  • the music.

  • Ok, crime solved, surely that must have been it, but you know very well one day he'd

  • win the Dating Game.

  • What went wrong?

  • The main reason why he didn't spend a long, long time in prison was that Shapiro's parents

  • had decided to leave the crime-infested USA and move to Mexico.

  • They didn't want their daughter to return to the US to testify and suffer more trauma

  • than she'd already gone through, and so with no other witnesses, Alcala did a short

  • stint in prison for the crime of assault.

  • Cops had no idea at this point he'd killed a woman in New York.

  • He was back out on the streets in 17 months after a parole board found the educated artist

  • with a smooth tongue to seem like a person who really regretted what he'd done.

  • Remember that this man was a psychopath, a monumental manipulator.

  • The parole board was no match for his deceit.

  • But then it should have been known to the authorities what Arcala was capable of two

  • months after his release when he was arrested again for picking up a girl when she was on

  • the way to school.

  • He pushed her into smoking some weed, after which he tried to kiss her.

  • She reported him, and for what he'd done, he ended up spending two more years in prison.

  • Yet again, he had managed to convince a parole board that he was mentally well and not a

  • danger to society.

  • He even persuaded his parole officer to allow him to stay outside the state.

  • He moved back to New York City where he murdered 23-year old, Ellen Jane Hover, a wealthy socialite

  • whose godparents were Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

  • In her diary that police later found, the last entry stated that she was going to meet

  • with the photographer, John Burgh.

  • That looked a lot like John Berger, and it was known that this very attractive woman

  • had been hanging around with some strange-looking dude.

  • In fact, her boyfriend asked her, who was the freaky guy she was with.

  • She replied, “Oh, he's all right.

  • He is a photographer.”

  • It took years to join the dots, though, and Alcala wasn't convicted of that crime until

  • 2013.

  • He returned to LA in 1978 and soon got a job as a typesetter for the Los Angeles Times.

  • After a while, he began showing hisartworkto some of his colleagues.

  • This art consisted of 100s of photographs he'd taken of girls and young women.

  • Those who saw the photos could have had no idea their colleague might have killed the

  • girls they were looking at.

  • One of his co-workers at the Times did later say that it seemed rather weird that Acarla

  • was shooting snaps of young girls.

  • That colleague later said, “When I asked why he took the photos, he said their moms

  • asked him to.

  • I remember the girls were naked.”

  • Boys also appeared in some photographs, and they were told the same as all the other people

  • who sat to pose for Alcala.

  • He was a professional, he saw something in them, they were his models, and one day he'd

  • make them famous.

  • Now we arrive at the beginning again when this killer had the audacity to smile in front

  • of the camera while millions of Americans sat glued to their TVs.

  • As you know, he won the game, but how did it go down?

  • He certainly came across as unnerving, unnatural, but that's easy to say in hindsight.

  • To give you an example of why he won, the woman behind the screen asked him, “I am

  • serving you for dinner.

  • What are you called and what do you look like?”

  • Alcala responded, “I'm called a banana and I look really good.”She then asked him

  • to be more descriptive, and he replied, “Peel me.”

  • Maybe that doesn't sound especially crazy, but his fake open-mouthed grin in front of

  • the camera did look kind of maniacal.

  • When it was announced she'd picked him as the winner, he smiled like a wolf who'd

  • just been told he'd won an all-expenses-paid day out with the three pigs.

  • They won some free tennis lessons and a trip to the Magic Mountain theme park, although

  • they never ended up going because the woman said he was just toocreepy.”

  • She called the show the next day and said, “I can't go out with this guy.

  • There's weird vibes that are coming off of him.

  • He's very strange.

  • I am not comfortable.

  • Is that going to be a problem?”

  • It wasn't a problem, so the date never happened.

  • It seems a few people, including other male contestants, felt this guy was a bit unhinged.

  • The producer later admitted, “He had a mystique about him that I found uncomfortable.”

  • It was another rejection for Alcala, a reminder of the abandonment by his father.

  • The narcissist was furious now, and someone had to pay.

  • There could have been any number of victims soon after he was jilted by the bachelorette,

  • but as far as future convictions go, in 1979 he brutally murdered 18-year old Jill Barcomb

  • who had run away from New York and landed in California.

  • He hit her in the face with a rock and strangled her, after which he positioned her dead body

  • so her knees were on the ground and her head was in the dirt.

  • Police said she looked like a rolled-up ball.

  • Soon after he used a claw hammer to kill a 27-year-old nurse named Georgia Wixted.

  • Her body was found staged in her Malibu apartment.

  • Other victims included 33-year-old legal secretary Charlotte Lamb, who was found in the laundry

  • room at the bottom of her apartment block.

  • Again, the body had been staged.

  • 21-year-old Jill Parenteau was discovered in her apartment not long after, and she too

  • had been positioned in a certain way.

  • The same month Arcala was walking down a road in Huntington Beach, a city southeast of Los

  • Angeles known as Surf City.

  • There he met two young girls, Robin Samsoe and her buddy Bridget Wilvert.

  • He asked them to pose for him so he could take photos, but a resident soon approached

  • them after becoming suspicious.

  • Wilvert got on her bicycle and headed to her dance class, but the next time Samsoe was

  • seen was when police found her beaten up body at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains.

  • Her friends told police about the man who'd taken her photograph, and after a sketch of

  • the guy had been passed around Alcala's parole officer told them he knew the face.

  • The game was almost up.

  • Cops went to Alcala's mother's house and there they found a receipt that led them to

  • a storage locker in Seattle.

  • In that locker, they found Samsoe's earrings as well as hundreds of photos of girls and

  • young women.

  • In 1980, he was convicted of Samsoe's murder and sentenced to death, but that was overturned

  • when it was discovered that there had been some prejudice because the jury had been informed

  • about his previous crimes.

  • Years passed, and with DNA evidence he was indicted for more murders.

  • In prison, he wrote a book that described his wrongful arrest and the corruption of

  • those who'd put him in prison.

  • He even sued the prison after he slipped and fell, blaming the accident on the low-fat

  • diet he'd been refused.

  • This was all in line with his malignant narcissism diagnosis.

  • He was in and out of court over the years, but what police wanted to know was who were

  • all the girls in the hundreds of photos he'd taken?

  • Some of the photos were released to the public, but because of the sexual nature of many of

  • them, the vast majority remained behind closed doors.

  • 21 women who'd seen the photos told police it was them in the image, with another six

  • families coming forward to tell the cops they thought their loved one who'd gone missing

  • and was never found was in some of the images.

  • In 2013, police linked a cold case to one photo, but still today there is a mystery

  • about those people in the photos.

  • Moreover, 900 pictures have never even been released to the public.

  • That's why anyone involved with Alcala's case thinks he killed many more people than

  • the few he was convicted of killing.

  • He may have murdered as many as 130 women and girls, so he's still a person of interest

  • in various investigations.

  • It remains to be seen if the full extent of his crimes will ever be known, but when that

  • cop called him a “killing machinehe was likely right.

  • As we write this, Acarla is a 77-year old man residing in California State Prison.

  • Maybe he'll come forward and admit to more crimes, but psychopaths aren't generally

  • known for their remorsefulness.

  • We doubt he'll even ever admit he never once went skydiving.

  • As for if he will ever have his date with a lethal injection, that's doubtful seeing

  • as he's so old and in 2019 California instituted a moratorium on the death penalty, which means

  • a reprieve for those sentenced to death.

  • Now you need to watch, “Serial Killer With More Victims Than Any Other Killer in American

  • History.”

  • Or, have a look at

The year is 1978 and on one particular evening, millions of people in the USA have tuned in

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Serial Killer Appears as Contestant on Dating Game Show

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    Summer posted on 2021/08/06
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