When I was small, I thought a psychopath was someone who was insane (obviously I confused it with psychotic). I still find many people making the same mistake – referring to someone as a ‘psychopath’ when they mean ‘psychotic’. However, psychopaths are not easy to identify, precisely because they are typically endowed with above average intelligence and they ability to make themselves appear normal.

“The Silence of the Lambs” movie introduced me to the true meaning of the term psychopath. I still get chills down my spine whenever I remember those eyes, those piercing eyes that make me want to run far away and hide. Perhaps, the reason psychopaths scare me more than the insane, is that we know that the insane are, well, insane. They are not thinking straight. However, not only is a psychopath thinking straight, he is quite intelligent too. He is hiding. He is hiding behind a facade of feigned politness and emotions. Where the insane is not thinking straight, the psychopath is cunning and manipulative, pretending to be normal, biding his time.

I still remember my heart skipping a beat and a slow panic build up, when Valerie’s expression changes and she admits she’s a psychopath (in Remorse, an episode of House). The scariest villains are not the raving lunatics, who scream at you, threatening to pull your entrails out and wrap it around your neck. The scariest villains are the ones we don’t even perceive as villains, the ones who manipulate us into thinking they are the good guys, while framing others for their crimes.