Ep. 3: Bad Seeds

In this episode, Jack and J. J. delve into the dark heart of sociopathic kids.  From the famously violent Mary Bell to lesser-known case studies, this episode shares true horror stories and theories about children who lack any notion of empathy.  We finish with some ranting about parenting, the state of psychological diagnoses, and postulations about why psychopathy in children is so deeply disturbing.

Note: This episode has several mentions of anti-gay slurs, which take place during the reading of Mary Bell’s notes. The segment begins at 18:26 and ends at 19:04. 


Sociopathic Children and Psychopathic Traits During Childhood

Profile of a Sociopath with excerpts from DSM-IV

Conduct Disorder via Wikipedia

Conduct Disorder via DSM-IV

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) via Wikipedia

Mary Bell, “The Tyneside Strangler” via Murderpedia

Can You Call a 9-Year-Old a Psychopath? by Jennifer Khan of the New York Times Magazine.  (The story of Michael)

Case of a Young Psychopath: 10-year-old’s dark side frightens mother  by Jerry Davich of the Chicago Post-Tribune.  (The story of Thomas)

The Psycho Gene by Philip Hunter

Bad to the Bone by Michelle Griffin of The Age National.  (Callous, unemotional traits in children)

Additional Resources:

Child of Rage Documentary and TV Movie

The Bad Seed (1954)

The Children’s Hour (play)

I Hate My Child by tjhiggins

Child Psychology by Black Box Recorder (music video)

Music used in this podcast:

Drum Solo For Hospital Ghost (Lucas Perný) / CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Negative Silence by NegaNote
Only Questions Remain by NegaNote
Bongo Psilocybin by Sid Peacock

Special thanks to NegaNote, whose music was drawn on heavily for this episode.


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