Stockholm syndrome is a syndrome in which hostages begin to sympathize with their jailers, thanks (or because) of certain survival mechanisms. It takes its name from the robbery of a bank in the eponymous city of Stockholm. So, well, luckily the robbery wasn’t done in one of the cities with the worst name, otherwise the syndrome could potentially have been called “The Belbèze syndrome”, and apart from a syndrome that automatically makes all people Beaufs, we don’t really know what it would have evoked for us.
1. The one to whom we owe the name of the syndrome, Kristin Ehnmark
In 1973, Jan Erik Olsson robbed a Danish bank in Stockholm, soon joined by his former cellmate. Two policemen arrive fairly quickly, but one of them is shot by the robber and the second is taken captive. Jan Erik Olsson and his cellmate then take 4 other people hostage and barricade themselves inside the bank with them. For 6 days, these bank employees will be locked up in the bank with the kidnappers. After 6 days, when the hostages were freed, some of the victims had sympathized with their captors, even helping them in their quest.
Before leaving the vault, criminals and hostages hugged each other warmly. One of the captives, Kristin Ehnmark, had even had the opportunity to have the Swedish Prime Minister on the phone during her captivity, imploring him to let her escape with the kidnappers. Later, during the trial, all the victims refused to testify against their captors and took the side of the defense, even visiting them in prison. The name Stockholm Syndrome therefore came from this infamous story.
2. Natascha Kampusch
On her way to school one day in 1998, 10-year-old Natascha Kampusch was grabbed by two men and thrown into a white van. Despite the searches, the police will never find any trace of Natascha. For 8 years, Natascha will be imprisoned in the cellar of a man named Wolfgang Priklopil. At first, Natascha was not allowed to leave the 54m2 cellar, without windows and without sound. But, the more time passed, the more she was invited to go to other rooms of the house. As the years passed, she was entitled to more and more freedoms in exchange for her silence. Every morning, Natascha and Priklopil ate their breakfast together. However, he continued to beat and rape her, while threatening that the windows would be filled with explosives if she tried to escape. One day in 2006, she managed to escape when Priklopil received a phone call and left her alone in the house. She escapes by running to a neighbor who immediately alerts the police. When Priklopil realized that she had escaped and that he would be sentenced to life, he threw himself in front of a train and took his own life. When Natascha learned of this, she cried for hours and asked to be left alone with her coffin for several hours. Several years after the escape, she still continued to carry a photo of Priklopil in her wallet.
3. Jaycee Lee Dugard
We are in 1991 when, at 11 years old, Jaycee Lee Dugard is kidnapped by Phillip Greg Garrido. For 18 years, he will convince her that it was “demons” in his head that allowed him to kidnap her so that she could help him with his sexual orientation problems that society condemns (i.e. say child abuse and rape). He even made Jaycee listen to the “voices” he had heard in order to prove to him the veracity of his words. Even though Garrido was already married, many psychiatrists have established that in Jaycee’s eyes, they were both in a husband and wife relationship, in part because they had 2 children together.
Jaycee was so controlled by Garrido that upon meeting the police who came to rescue her, she introduced herself under a false identity by the name of Alissa. Even though Jaycee was aware that Garrido was a sexual abuser, she defended him to the police, advocating that he was now a changed man and was an amazing person with their children. She lied to the police in defense of Garrido, saying she was a former battered wife that Garrido had saved. The union’s two children, ages 11 and 15, had also been brainwashed and saw their father as a “God.” Only after Garrido’s arrest, Jaycee admitted that she had adapted to survive her captivity.
4. Colleen Stan
Colleen Stan was a young woman of 20 when, in 1977, she hitchhiked to a friend’s party in California. A couple and their child offer to take her on a ride. The presence of the child being reassuring, Colleen accepts. But, very quickly, the husband, Cameron Hooker, puts a knife to her throat, takes her to a deserted place, rapes her and tortures her.
Hooker’s plan then is to make Colleen a sex slave, with the help of his wife. On top of that, Hooker makes a coffin-shaped box, where he locks Colleen 23 hours a day for 7 years. She was renamed “K” and called “a piece of furniture” during all those years of torture. One day, Hooker makes Colleen put a gun in her mouth and pull the trigger. When she does and discovers it’s empty, he explains to her that it was to test her loyalty.
After 4 years of captivity, Hooker takes Colleen to her family, and even lets her spend the night there. Her family was unaware of what Colleen was going through, and she never informed them, and even left with Hooker to pick her up the next day. Finally, it is Hooker’s wife who puts an end to his torture by helping him to escape after 7 years. Cameron Hooker was sentenced to 104 years in prison. Conversely, Colleen will explain that the couple were very loving and affectionate with their little girl, which contributed to feeling sorry for them.
5. Mary McElroy
In 1933, Mary McElroy was 25 years old when she took a bath at her father’s house and was kidnapped by 4 men. They wait for Mary to get dressed and then take her to an old farmhouse, tying her to a wall in the basement. The purpose of this kidnapping is to recover the ransom money from Mary’s father, who is mayor of Kansas City. The sum of $30,000 is paid to the kidnappers, and Mary is released safe and sound two days later. Three of the men are captured a month later and therefore go on trial.
During this trial, Mary testified that she was well treated during her 29 hours of captivity and one of the men even offered her flowers. At the end of the trial, when all 3 men are sentenced to harsh sentences, Mary is consumed by guilt. She remained friends with her captors and even went to see them in prison several times. After her father’s death in 1939, Mary’s mental state collapsed and she committed suicide with a bullet to the head in 1940. On her suicide note, she would write: “My 4 kidnappers were probably the only 4 people on Earth who didn’t consider me a dark idiot. »
6. Mackenzie Phillips
One day in 2009, Mackenzie Phillips, an American actress, reveals that her father, John Phillips, singer of the group Mamas & The Papas, forced her to have incestuous relations for an entire decade, which began the day before her wedding, in 19 years old. His father made him take a lot of drugs, which had an effect on his brain. It therefore created a dependency on his father, who was both his abuser and his dealer. So that stopped Mackenzie from trying to get out of that abuse. Her father made her believe that their family was special and that was why he acted outside the law, a belief which she only began to doubt later.
7. Patty Hearst
Patty Hearst is surely one of the best known cases of Stockholm Syndrome in the world. In 1974, 19-year-old Patty Hearst was kidnapped from her home by a group of terrorists from the “Symbionese Liberation Army”, a movement that claimed to be revolutionary. These criminals beat up Patty’s fiancé and then kidnap her, with the motive of her grandfather’s wealth, William Randolph Hearst. They are trying to declare war on the United States. But very quickly, Patty joins the ALS movement herself, and even helps her kidnappers in a bank robbery. In 1975, she was captured and defended herself by saying that she had been brainwashed. She will do 2 years in prison then will be forgiven and will finally be able to get out.
8. Elisabeth Fritzl
Elisabeth Fritzl was 18 when her own father, Josef, locked her up in the cellar of their house. For 24 years, he repeatedly raped her and held her captive. Since her family was on Josef’s side, Elisabeth had no other hope than to be cooperative in order to make her father look good and abuse her as much as possible. She gave birth to 7 children with her own father, 4 of them who stayed with her in the cellar, and 3 others who lived in the house, with her father and his partner.
The father-daughter relationship and the fact that he is the father of his children therefore caused a big Stockholm syndrome for Elisabeth who was always very nice to him, until Josef sought treatment for one of his sick children and get caught.
9. Elizabeth Smart
At the age of 14, Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her room in 2002. Her kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, forced her to walk for long hours before they arrived at a campsite. There, they reunite with Mitchell’s wife, Wanda Barzee, who forces Elizabeth to strip. Mitchell therefore begins to perform a kind of wedding ceremony between him and Elizabeth, then concludes by raping her. After that, she was chained to a tree and abused. For 9 months, she was sexually assaulted, to the point of making her a submissive prisoner…
But, during this period, she had the opportunity to go out a lot with her jailers. During an outing to the library, she was questioned by the police and decided not to reveal her identity. In one of her testimonies, she testified to the police that she had many opportunities to escape but chose not to. One day, the 3 are recognized and Elizabeth is therefore released. 7 years after the facts, she will testify against her attackers who respectively took life imprisonment and 15 years in prison.
10. Shawn Hornbeck
In 2002, 11-year-old Shawn went on a bike to a friend’s house before he was intentionally hit by a car. The driver, Michael John Devlin, force Shawn into his car and drive off. Police, firefighters and dozens of volunteers search the area, without success. Four and a half years later, the police find Shawn in Devlin’s apartment, with another missing child by his side.
During those 4 years, Shwan was abused and assaulted. After his rescue, Shawn would report to the police that all this time he had access to the internet, was able to go shopping and even had a girlfriend. He could therefore have repeatedly escaped or alerted someone, but Devlin’s fear created psychological barriers in Shawn that made him a prisoner.
11. Casa de Papel BONUS
If you have seen the Casa de Papel (don’t lie, everyone has seen the Casa de Papel), you have surely seen the story of Monica, one of the hostages, mistress of the General Manager of the Bank, who falls madly in love of one of the robbers, Denver. In the series, the robbers end up becoming the heroes of the people and Monica then joins the team of robbers, taking the subtle name of Stockholm. There you go, too cute!