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The Story Behind Stockholm Syndrome

You've probably heard of "Stockholm Syndrome," in which a hostage begins to sympathize with his or her captor, such as in stories about the Patty Hearst case. But where did the syndrome get its name? From a case of bank robbery in Sweden a year before Hearst was kidnapped.

The whole thing went down over a period of six days, from August 23 through August 28, 1973. On the first day, Jan-Erik Olsson strolled into Kreditbanken in central Stockholm, Sweden, and single-handedly held the place up. Of the two policemen who responded to the call, Olsson shot one in the hand and made the other sit in a chair, ordering him to sing something. (The policeman chose “Lonesome Cowboy,” in case you’re interested.) Olsson then took four hostages and started making demands: He wanted his friend and expert bank robber Clark Olofsson brought to the bank. He wanted 3 million Swedish Kronor. And he wanted a couple of guns, some bulletproof vests, some helmets, and a fast car.

Over those six days, the hostages came around to trusting the bank robbers more than the police. Read the rest of the story at mental_floss. Link

(Image credit: BBC)


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