Several years ago two graduate students and I submitted a paper to a scientific journal. The paper described an experiment in which we had used a biomedical recorder to monitor electrical activity in the brains of several groups of adult men while they performed a language task. This activity was traced on chart paper as a series of waves, referred to as an electroencephalogram (EEG). The editor returned our paper with his apologies. His reason, he told us: “Frankly, we found some of the brain wave patterns depicted in the paper very odd. Those EEGs couldn’t have come from real people.”
Some of the brain wave recordings were indeed odd, but we hadn’t gathered them from aliens and we certainly hadn’t made them up. We had obtained them from a class of individuals found in every race, culture, society, and walk of life. Everybody has met these people, been deceived and manipulated by them, and forced to live with or repair the damage they have wrought. These often charming – but always deadly – individuals have a clinical name: psychopaths.