Emma Spool is the main antagonist of the 1983 film Psycho II. She is the sister of Norma Bates and aunt of Norman Bates, although she deluded herself into thinking she was actually Norman's biological mother and murdered his father when he was an infant. She was involved in a killing spree after Norman's release from a mental institution in 1983, although Norman began believing he may have been responsible his sanity slipping once again.

Emma Spool is killed by Norman, and her body kept in his house like her late sister. In Psycho III she appears as a corpse.

She is played by Claudia Bryar.


Early life

Emma Spool fell in love with John Bates, but John chose Emma's sister Norma. She deluded herself into thinking her nephew Norman was actually her son and not Norma's. She killed John and abducted an infant Norman, but was later arrested and institutionalized.

Psycho II

In 1983, Spool worked as a cook at a diner in Fairvale, California. After Norman was released from a mental institution which he was placed into after the events of the original film, Spool urges the diner owner Ralph Statler to give Norman a job as a cook's helper. On Norman's first day he interacts with Spool, unaware of who she truly is.

Spool begins conducting a murder spree in order to "protect" Norman. She murders a sleazy man who had helped run Norman's motel in his absence and whom Norman sacked for allowing drugs to be used on the premises. When a pair of teenagers entered Norman's basement to take drugs and have sex, Spool stabbed to death the male teen whilst his girlfriend escaped and alerted authorities. During this time Norman was locked in the attic, although the police didn't go any further due to another diner worker, Mary Samuels, giving him an alibi.

When Mary's mother Lila Loomis - the sister of Norman's murder victim Marion Crane - went to retrieve an outfit resembling Norman's mother in order to try and send him over the edge and have him locked up again, Spool appeared and stabbed her in the mouth and through the head, killing her. When Norman and Mary found the corpse, Mary got mad and believed Norman killed her mother, but before she could kill him the police arrived and shot her dead. The police concluded Mary must have been responsible for the murders, especially when it transpired her mother was trying to send Norman over the edge.

After it was over and Norman returned home, Spool paid him a visit. She revealed to him she was actually his mother. Whilst drinking tea which Norman poisoned, she began feeling the effects just as Norman hit her over the head with a spade - killing her. Norman then carried her corpse up to Norma's bedroom, and used her as his replacement for "Mother" and began talking in Mother's voice again.

Psycho III

A month passes after her murder and Ralph Statler shows concern for her. Despite Norman's past, nobody in the town suspects him of being responsible for her disappearance, although a reporter in town named Tracy Venable suspects Norman.

Norman continues interacting with Spool's corpse and speaking in the "Mother" voice. Norman ends up causing a third killing spree in the town.

Tracy begins digging and discovers Spool was Norman's aunt, not his mother, and that she was insane as well. She confronts Norman at his house where he is dressed in his mother's clothing. He begins pursuing Tracy with the intent to kill her, but snaps out of it and instead stabs Spool's corpse, lashing put at "Mother" at long last.

Norman is later taken away, and once again institutionalized with no hope of being released again, although he declares that he is "free". Whilst in the back of the police car, he is shown to be holding Spool's hand.


At first glance Mrs. Spool appears to be a friendly, elderly lady who seems to get on well with people and is a forgiving person, as she was responsible for getting Norman a job as she felt it was her Christian duty. However, Mrs. Spool is a delusional psychopath who secretly commits murder sprees against anyone she feels is a threat to her "son" Norman, and she was also responsible for killing his father and trying to kidnap a baby Norman.


  • Mrs. Spool was created for Psycho II and appears as a corpse in Psycho III. But in the fourth made-for-TV Psycho movie Psycho IV: The Beginning, she is omitted as it chooses to ignore the events of the two previous sequels. The backstory for Norman's history is modified, and instead his father dies when stung by bees when he is a small child.
  • As such, the modern adaptation of Psycho named Bates Motel (which acts as a blend of a prequel and reimagining) leaves out Mrs. Spool, and instead Norma in that continuity has a brother and Norman was responsible for killing his father.