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Who was Ed Kemper's mother and why did he hate her so much?

For those who don't already know, Ed Kemper hated his mum SO MUCH that he cut her head off and raped it, then put her vocal cords down a waste disposal. Here's what we know about Clarnell Stage, and about the dynamic of their mother-son relationship - mostly in the Co-Ed Killer's own words...

Who was Ed Kemper's mother?

Clarnell Stage (born 17 March 1921) was the mum of serial killer Ed Kemper. She gave birth to him - her middle child - in Burbank, California, but moved back to her home state of Montana with him when he was young after splitting from her husband, Edmund Kemper Jr.

Does Ed Kemper have any siblings?

He has an older sister, Susan, and a younger sister, Allyn Lee.

What did Ed Kemper's mother do to him when he was a child?

Aware of her young son's penchant for killing and torturing animals, assaulting his sisters, and pulling the heads off their dolls, Clarnell feared his behaviour would escalate to the point of rape. To prevent this, she forced Ed to sleep in a locked basement, which he claims was rat infested.

His dad Ed Jr, was furious with the sleeping arrangement, discovering during an irregular visit to the family home - eight MONTHS after the basement rule was put in place. He later said: “He [Ed] was terrified of this place. There was only one way out. Someone had to move the kitchen table and lift the trapdoor. I put a stop to it and threatened her [Clarnell] with the law.”

Ed Kemper's half brother David Weber (his dad's son from his second marriage) previously spoke to the Daily Mail about the kind of woman Clarnell was.

He said: "His mother was a complete alcoholic psycho. She was the cause for Guy turning out the way he did. Sociopaths can never escape the cause of their demise. He will die cursing her name. My father had to work away from home quite a bit in order to pay the bills she'd run up. My father had no idea that she would always ridicule Guy because he looked a lot like my dad whom she hated. She would even lock Guy up in the basement. Anytime he tried to talk to her about girls, she would say something about girls never wanting to date someone so ugly as him."

Later she shipped him off to live with his estranged father in California. It was a disastrous decision, and his dad also didn't want him around, claiming that he was making his new wife and family uneasy.

The teenaged Kemper lad was moved away to live with his paternal grandparents - who he shot dead, aged 15.

When he was later released from a psychiatric hospital he was returned to live with his mum.

It has been claimed that she refused to ever show him affection "in case it turns him gay", and that she told him that he was ugly and no woman would ever want him.

Why did Ed Kemper's parent's split up?

The couple separated in 1957 and divorced in 1961 on terms of "mental cruelty".

Edmund Jr, Kemper's dad, was a former WW2 soldier who worked testing nuclear bombs after the end of the war. However, he is quoted as saying that living with his wife was his hardest mission, having to put up with her cruel comments and nagging about his "menial" work as an electrician.

He said: "suicide missions in wartime and the atomic bomb testings were nothing compared to living with [Clarnell]..." and that she affected him "more than three hundred and ninety-six days and nights of fighting on the front did."

When did Ed Kemper kill his mother?

Clarnell was her son's penultimate victim, meeting a very grisly end on the night of 21 April 1973. She arrived home from a party, waking Ed up in the process. He recollected entering her bedroom where she sat reading a book. She asked him: "I suppose you're going to want to sit up all night and talk now", to which he replied, "No, good night."

How did Ed Kemper kill his mother?

Once Clarnell had fallen asleep he returned to her room and bludgeoned her with a claw hammer and using a pen knife chopped her head off. He then had sex with her severed head, before using it as a dart board.

Kemper told police: "[I] put [her head] on a shelf and screamed at it for an hour ... threw darts at it," and, ultimately, "smashed her face in."

There was more. He cut out her tongue and larynx and put them in the waste disposal, but they were 'spat' back in to the sink. Kemper mused: "That seemed appropriate, as much as she'd bitched and screamed and yelled at me over so many years."

He hid his mum's corpse in a wardrobe, and after going for a drink at a nearby bar, invited Clarnell's best frend Sally Hallett over for dinner. He killed her too.

How tall were Ed Kemper's parents?

Ed Kemper III stood 6'9" tall. His dad Edmund Kemper Jr was 6'8", and his mum Clarnell Stage was 6'0".

What did Ed Kemper say about his mum?

  • "My mother was there. She was there to beat me, she was there to humiliate me, she was there to use me as an example of how inferior men are."

  • “I certainly wanted for my mother a nice, quiet easy death like everyone else wants.”

  • “You know, wooing and dating, you’re one thing, but after you’re married you let it all hang out. She was just too powerful. She would drive them (the men in her life) away, attack them verbally, attack their manhood."

  • “My mother was very strong and she wanted a man who was strong. My father was very big and very loud, but he was very weak and she wanted the opposite.”

  • “I found out that she didn’t need any protection at all. She used always to tell me how much I reminded her of my father, whom she dearly hated, of course.”

  • "My mother and I started right in on horrendous battles, just horrible battles, violent and vicious. I've never been in such a vicious verbal battle with anyone. It would go to fists with a man but this was my mother and I couldn't stand the thought of my mother and I doing these things. She insisted on it and just over stupid things. I remember one roof-raiser was over whether I should have my teeth cleaned."

1 Comment

Wild Fire
Wild Fire
Apr 07, 2023

And I thought my upbringing was brutal....

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