Hypnotist in the Speedway Bomber Case Has New Task: Finding a Murderer

Virgil Vandagriff was also a polygraph examiner. He is now searching for his stepdaughter’s murderer. Jessie Whitehouse was 30 and was shot to death days after posting something on Facebook about another unsolved case.

Indianapolis Monthly:Image result for speedway bombing

In 1990, after 23 years as a Marion County sheriff’s deputy, Virgil retired from public service and hung his shingle as a state-certified polygraph examiner and private investigator. A barrel of a man with thick white hair and a bushy, tobacco-stained mustache, he had developed a reputation as one of the city’s most talented and unconventional detectives, working everything from missing-person cases to murder investigations.

Virgil wasn’t shy about using unorthodox methods. The son of an electrician who had practiced hypnosis on the side, he convinced the local sheriff’s department to send him to California in the 1970s to learn the craft from the Los Angeles Police Department. Virgil would go on to pioneer the practice in Midwest police work, using it in nearly 300 cases. In 1977, when Brett Kimberlin detonated six soda-can bombs in Speedway, wounding two, Virgil hypnotized RadioShack employees who had sold the criminal the rudimentary timing device. Using details unearthed from the employees’ subconscious, a sketch artist created a rendering of the suspect, which ultimately led police to Kimberlin.

That doesn’t seem to fit with my memory of the tale from Citizen K. Kimberlin was arrested at the copy center trying to get a fake ID. Timers in the car. The hypnosis angle was in the book, but I remember it being used by the defense.

I hope they solve the case of their daughter’s murder, and maybe they could look into the Julie Scyphers murder. Wiki. 



This entry was posted in Stupid and Evil, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Hypnotist in the Speedway Bomber Case Has New Task: Finding a Murderer

  1. Grace says:

    According to “Citizen K: The Deeply Weird American Journey of Brett Kimberlin” – the hypnosis sessions were conducted for the prosecution. The book states they were conducted on six witnesses by Virgil Vandergriff (Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy), along with Brooke Appleby (an Indiana State Police Sergeant).

    And, the book also states: “The physical descriptions offered by the Graham Electronics employees…” (I am not sure about the Radio Shack reference being correct in the “Indianapolis Monthly” article quoted in the text of this blog post.)

    The Domestic Terrorist Brett “The Speedway Bomber” Kimberlin made a huge deal over the use of hypnosis… to no avail. It doesn’t appear the felon dwarf had an issue with hypnosis being used per se (as he had offered to partake in a hypnosis session at one time himself versus a polygraph), as much as he believed the government had ignored their very own guidelines with regards to approval to do so and whatnot (“The Use of Hypnosis in Interrogation of Witnesses”).

    “Judge Steckler routinely reminded jurors not to assign greater importance to the posthypnotic testimony than to other evidence. One is left wondering, finally, how heavily the posthyponotic testimony weighed in the context of the full body of evidence.”

    (Appendix, Pages 372-375)


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