“Spring Heeled Jack” figure spotted
A few months back I wrote a post about the stories behind “Spring Heeled Jack”:
Read again if you would like to http://the-magic-bullet.tumblr.com/post/8770716757/legends-of-spring-heeled-jack-reports-of-his
Haunted Wandsworth. Picture: James Clark
Paranormal experts and monster hunters have been queuing up to give their interpretation of a mysterious “dark figure with no features” spotted in Ewell last month.
Scott Martin and his family were travelling home by taxi on Tuesday, February 14, at about 10.30pm when they saw the terrifying figure they have likened to the legendary Spring Heeled Jack dart across the road before leaping 15ft over a bank as they approached Nescot College on the Ewell bypass.
The couple, an accountant and a manager of a building company from Banstead, their four year old son and the taxi driver all reported seeing the same figure.
So spooked were the family that their son was too scared to sleep on his own that night while the taxi driver admitted he didn’t want to drive back alone.
Theories put forward to explain the apparition include the road being haunted, natural scientific phenomena and even that it was an alien life form.
Jack Bowman, 32, writer and director with the Wireless Theatre Company who produced a three part radio series on the legend of Spring Heeled Jack, said: “What absolutely intrigues me about this is that Spring Heeled Jack hasn’t been seen since 1986.
“He’s pretty much been forgotten but here in 2012 he is being talked about again. I don’t for a second doubt that the family was terrified or what they had seen.
“He’s probably a physical phenomenon. He was witnessed by two people, a child and a taxi driver so he’s something physical which rules out any ghosts.
“A scientific explanation might be that he was an extra terrestrial entity for example and possibly an alien.
“If he came from somewhere with greater gravitational pull he would be able to jump higher.”
Neil Arnold, 37, a self proclaimed full time monster hunter and author who has been investigating strange phenomena for 20 years, said: “I don’t think that what they saw has got anything to do with Spring Heeled Jack.
“He began life around 1837 pretty much around Kent, London and Surrey and basically attacked people.
“He dressed in very dark garb and a black coat. They said he used to spit blue flames in people eyes. Most of the time he would attack women, rip their clothes off and then run off.
“About three of four years ago I got a report of a woman driving when a dark figure walked across the road and she crashed her car to avoid it. I spoke to her and she was absolutely terrified. So witnesses are clearly seeing something.
“The trouble is that stuff happens all the time and it never gets explained.
“I would say if this was a normal person, something which seems unlikely, then we are probably dealing with a haunted road or road apparition of some sort.
“People used to say Spring Heeled Jack was an alien or a ghost. I’m not sure but I think he could have been a prankster which got out of control.”
The original story was one the most read articles on our website epsomguardian.co.uk over the past fortnight.
One reader said: “The theory was that SHJack was an alien from a heavy gravity planet. No explanation in either case of how he got here.
“Possibly the planet he is from regards him as a criminal and he’s sent here because he is as insane as we are.
“With only one of his kind here it would be a kind of hell.”
Fossils foot bones hint at mystery walker
Scientists have obtained a fascinating new insight into the evolution of humans and our ability to walk.
It comes from the fossilised bones of a foot that were discovered in Ethiopia and dated to be 3.4 million years old.
The researchers say they do not have enough remains to identify the species of hominin, or human ancestor, from which the right foot came.
But they tell Nature journal that just the shape of the bones shows the creature could walk upright at times.
The fossil haul consists of eight elements from the forefoot - bones such as metatarsals and phalanges.
The specimens were pulled from clay sediments at Burtele in the central Afar region, about 520km north-east of the capital Addis Ababa.
It is a significant discovery because it demonstrates there was more than one pre-human species living in East Africa between three and four million years ago, each with its own method of moving around.
The other creature was the famous “Lucy” animal (Australopithecus afarensis), whose remains were first identified in the Afar in the 1970s.
Lucy’s body was built for walking. Her big toe was aligned with the other four digits of the foot, and she had a human-like arch that allowed for very efficient locomotion.
The owner of the partial foot from Burtele was not afarensis; that can be said definitively.
The fossils indicate it had no arch and the big toe was opposed to the other digits, enabling the animal to grasp branches in a tree.
But the fact this creature could and would walk on the ground is evidenced by the nature of the bone joints. These were arranged such that the foot could push off, or toe-off - something only humans do as they walk, and something flat-footed apes cannot achieve.
“If you look at the lateral metatarsal head along with the proximal toe bone, the phalanx - that particular joint is really unique in hominids,” explained team member Dr Bruce Latimer of Case Western Reserve University, US.
“You can see it’s a very different kind of a joint, because when you toe-off and push forward in that last phase of walking, your toes are highly flexed. In order to achieve that, you have to change the base of the phalanx and the metatarsal head - you have to change both sides of the joint. And it’s a highly characteristic type of change that we can pick out immediately,” he told the BBC.
The scientists can only speculate as to identity of the Burtele species. Without skull and teeth elements, a formal classification is impossible.
The team says the animal’s morphology is reminiscent in some respects to a 4.4-million-year-old creature known as Ardipithecus ramidus. Although, again, it is not ramidus.
“It may be a relic species that was lingering around until 3.4 or 3.3 million years ago, and which had its origins way back in Ardipithecus ramidus times,” suggested team leader Dr Yohannes Haile-Selassie.
“But obviously we cannot put it into the Ardipithecus genus or call it a ramidus species because we do not have any craniodental elements associated with this foot.
“We’ve kept digging at the Burtele site; we have a few isolated teeth, but that’s all,” the Cleveland Museum of Natural History curator told BBC News.
It is, though, a remarkable thought that there were these two very distinct species effectively rubbing shoulders with each other 3.4 million years ago in what is now Ethiopia.
The landmark Lucy specimen unearthed in 1974 was found at Hadar, about 50km from Burtele. Other remains of afarensis have been discovered closer still.
Dr Isabelle De Groote is a palaeoanthropologist at London’s Natural History Museum.
“I think this is really exciting,” she said.
“We have so few foot remains, they so rarely preserve, that we tend to take great leaps through evolution where there are no specimens at all representing long periods of time,” she commented.
“This new foot helps elucidate the process of how the bi-pedal foot evolved. We can see something of the sequence in how changes to bones occurred.”
UFO Researchers Seek ‘The Truth’
With so much planet hunting and spotting going on, we are in a showdown to see whether the universe is perhaps chock-full of extraterrestrial life.
Distant starfolk is one thing. Having ET stopovers here on Earth, via UFOs, is another. And that was just the topic du jour here at the 38th Annual International UFO Symposium, subtitled An Estimate of the Situation: The ET Hypothesis, held August 10-12 and sponsored by the Denver-based Mutual UFO Network, Inc., or MUFON for short.
As a yearly affair, the symposium provides a platform for specialists and investigators that delve into UFOs, purported military cover-ups and denials, physical evidence surrounding UFOs, as well as those “high strangeness” encounters with alien visitors.
The MUFON summit brought together more than 500 people – a true gabfest for the flying saucer devotee.
Passion for the truth
James Carrion, MUFON’s International Director, said the organization is fervent about resolving the scientific enigma known as unidentified flying objects.
“To me, it’s all about the truth. I have a passion for the truth,” Carrion told SPACE.com.
Still, after decades of pursuing “the truth” behind UFOs, Carrion admitted that the quest is befuddling. “Why is it always within out of reach…kind of there, but it’s not there?”
A new MUFON initiative being implemented this year is outreach to engage mainstream scientists, Carrion said, to assist in taking a more detailed look at the data. An open letter to the professional scientific community is now being drafted, to be issued before year’s end, he said.
“We have to gain respectability here … so we’re trying to kick-start intellectual curiosity out there,” Carrion added. “We know that there are folks in academia who have an interest, but they don’t know what to do with it.”
The MUFON strategy initially centers on the hypothesis that UFOs are human-manufactured and then evaluate the data amassed to date against that premise, Carrion advised. “If this triggers your intellectual curiosity … help us out,” he said.
Carrion said that MUFON is also forming two research teams: One to dive into the history of “UFOlogy” and government archives, the other to probe into the abduction encounters.
“I’m a skeptical believer,” Carrion pointed out. “I’ve never seen a UFO. But I’ve read enough of our own evidence. There’s something real to this. To me, it’s an issue of what is it?”
Tell it like it is
For nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman, there is no doubt that some UFOs are alien spacecraft. Moreover, the subject of flying saucers, in his view, represents a “Cosmic Watergate” - a colossal government cover-up.
Friedman is a globe-trotting lecturer on UFOs and is the original civilian investigator of the celebrated UFO crash case in Roswell, New Mexico. That out-of-the-blue happening supposedly occurred some 60 years ago, in 1947, involving no less than two crashed saucers, strewn debris and recovered alien bodies, he reported at the MUFON meeting.
“I come on very, very strong. I’m not an apologist UFOlogist…I tell it like it is,” Friedman told SPACE.com. He senses that a “big sea change” is taking place on several fronts.
“My overall impression is that people are more ready to accept [UFO visitation] because the world has changed…space travel being an important part of that,” Friedman noted. “What I’m saying is that the notion that most people don’t believe in UFOs isn’t true.”
Also, the media is giving UFO sightings a much fairer shake than in the past, Friedman suggested, citing not only Roswell coverage, but the reporting of UFO sightings made at O’Hare Airport late last year and more revelation concerning the Phoenix lights saga of March 1997.
“I don’t look for advocacy…I want fairness,” Friedman added. “I feel the world is ready. I’m outspoken, yes. But I try to make it a rule: Fact in hand before mouth in gear.”
UFOs as visitors from afar would be a simple, easy-to-grasp explanation, suggested George Knapp, an investigative reporter for KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, Nevada. But he wonders if there isn’t a mind-bending finding waiting at the bottom of the UFO barrel.
“It seems to stay one or two steps ahead of what we can do…from airships to the saucers, to giant flying triangles…almost teasing, taunting, or inspiring,” Knapp told SPACE.com. Given cutting-edge physics, talk of the multi-verse and parallel universes, along with threshold biological and computer work, there are fundamental paradigm shifts ahead, he said.
“Although we can’t figure out a way to get there…doesn’t mean they can’t figure out a way to get here,” Knapp said. Involved in UFO reporting for some two decades, Knapp said he’s committed to the journalistic credo that the public has a right to know.
“But you know what? Maybe not! It goes against everything in my professional life that I believe. What if it’s not something we should know? That the truth is so unsettling that our social institutions would, in fact, crumble,” Knapp confided.
Knapp underscored the prospect that perhaps we Earthlings live in the middle of some other kind of intelligence. Perhaps our planet is nothing more than a cosmic drive-in theater, he added, and UFOs skim in and out of our skies just to watch goofy movies.
“And if it’s something else - like they live here among us and everything we do is like being in a glass shower - people are going to go crazy. So maybe there is a reason for keeping this secret…and a need for government cover-up which I believe there is,” Knapp said.
Knapp’s on-air investigative work focuses primarily on government corruption and organized crime. But asked about the angle that his next investigative piece on the UFO phenomenon will take, he quickly responded. “Nothing I’m going to tell you about.”
Albert Bender and International Flying Saucer Bureau (IFSB)
In 1953 a man by the name of Albert K. Bender was running an organization called the International Flying Saucer Bureau (IFSB) and editing a little publication called Space Review that was dedicated to news of flying saucers. The IFSB had a small membership despite its rather grandiose title, and Space Review reached at best, no more than a few hundred readers. But they were all deeply devoted to the idea that flying saucers were craft from outer space.
In common with other true believers, these saucer buffs were convinced that they were in possession of a great truth, while most of the rest of the world remained in darkness and ignorance. They felt very important, and thus it was with a sense of surprise, even shock, that they opened up the October 1953 issue of Space Review and found two unexpected announcements: “LATE BULLETIN”.
A source which the IFSB considers very reliable has informed us that the investigation of the flying saucer mystery and the solution is approaching its final stages. This same source to whom we had referred data, which had come into our possession, suggested that it was not the proper method and time to publish the data in Space Review.
The second and more shocking item read: STATEMENT OF IMPORTANCE: The mystery of the flying saucers is no longer a mystery. The source is already known, but any information about this is being withheld by order from a higher source. We would like to print the full story in Space Review, but because of the nature of the information we are very sorry that we have been advised in the negative.
The statement ended with the ominous sentence, “We advise those engaged in saucer work to please be very cautious.” Bender then suspended the publication of Space Review, and dissolved the IFSB. The tone of the announcements would have been familiar to anyone who had much experience with occult organizations. Occultists often claim they are in the possession of some great secret which, for equally secret reasons, they cannot reveal. Even the appeal, “please be very cautious” was not unique.
It made those engaged in “saucer work” feel more important. After all, who is going to bother to persecute you if you are just wasting your time? Shortly after Bender closed down his magazine and organization he gave an interview to a local paper [in] which he asserted that he had been visited by “three men wearing dark suits” who had ordered him “emphatically” to stop publishing material about flying saucers. Bender said that he had been “scared to death” and that he “actually couldn’t eat for a couple of days”.
Some of Bender’s former associates tried to press for a more satisfactory explanation, but to all questions he replied either cryptically or not at all. This state of affairs created considerable confusions among the flying saucer buffs. What were they to think about such a strange story? Some were openly skeptical of Bender’s tale. They said that his publication and organization were losing money and the tale of the three visitors who ordered him to stop publishing was just a face-saving gesture.
Yet, as the years went by the “Three Men In Black” began to sound more respectable and they took on a life of their own. Some of Bender’s friends first thought that the Men In Black were from the Air Force or the CIA, and indeed Bender’s original statements do seem to sound like [the men could have been] government agents. But after a while the Men In Black began to assume a more extraterrestrial, even supernatural air. Finally in 1963, a full decade after he first told of his mysterious visitors, Albert Bender elaborated further in a book called “Flying Saucers and the Three Men In Black”. It was a strange, confused and virtually unreadable book that revealed very little in the way of hard facts, but did significantly enhance the reputation of the Men In Black as extraterrestrials.
The book also introduced into the lore “three beautiful women, dressed in tight white uniforms.” Like their male counterparts in black, the women in white had “glowing eyes”. But even before the publication of Bender’s book in 1963, the Men In Black (or MIBs as they were known to insiders) had already been reported to be visiting others besides Albert Bender. By now they have been reported so often that they have become an established part of the UFO history.
The Men In Black, naturally enough,wear black suits. They also usually wear sunglasses, presumably to disguise their “glowing eyes”. Most of them are reported to be short and delicately built with olive complexions and dark, straight hair. They are often described as “Gypsies” or “Orientals”. Most MIBs are reported to travel in groups of three and usually ride around in shiny, new, black cars, often Cadillac’s. These cars are even supposed to “smell new”. Sometimes the MIBs pose as investigators from the CIA or some other government agency. They may flash official- looking credentials, but these can never be checked out. Occasionally the MIBs display badges withstrange emblems on them, or have unrecognizable symbols painted on their cars.
The purpose of the visits seems to be to get people who have seen UFOs to stop talking about them, of somehow to confuse and frighten the witnesses. People who worry about MIBs tend to lump all sorts of mysterious visitors into the category, even if they don’t wear black, have no glowing eyes nor show any of the familiar MIB characteristics.
The primary qualification for the Men In Black is that they be of unknown origin, and that they appear to act oddly and vaguely menacing. Some of those who write about UFOs and other strange phenomena rather casually mention “countless” cases where people have been visited by Men In Black.
In reality these “countless cases” are difficult to pin down. In fact, there really seems to be a rather small number of MIB cases where there are any details available at all. The impression given by the writers is that the publicized cases represent only “the tip of the iceberg”.
Beyond these, say the writers, are many “more sensational” cases, the details of which cannot be revealed for a variety of reasons. In any event solid evidence for a vast number MIB cases is lacking. But we are, after all, dealing with beliefs as much as with reality, and ‘impression’ is an important one.
Our Lady of Fatima and the Miracle of the Sun
The Miracle of the Sun is one of those events that was witnessed by as many as 100,000 people in 1917 on October 13th in Fatima, Portugal.
The miracle was told by Lúcia Santos and her cousins, siblings Jacinta and Francisco Marto. in the area that it would arrive on the above date at noon who were given this information by Our Lady of Fatima, one claim that most newspapers claimed was ridiculous, however, people flocked to the area on the off chance that the miracle did occur.
According to tales of the time, Our Lady of Fatima came to the three children on May 1, 1917 telling the children that she was Our Lady of the Rosary, which is another name that Our Lady of Fatima goes by, as well as a combination of the two. The woman told the children of the coming events and urged them to go tell the others. It was believed that this was a sight of the holiest of those that people believed in and instantly many people believed the children. In order to illiterate the point, the children said that Our Lady of Fatima came to them every month up until the miracle occurred.
Our Lady of Fatima is the one that people believe to be involved in other miracles and warnings of the Miracle of the Sun. The most notable is that the Lady of Fatima gave a warning of the second war, by lighting up the sky in such a way that many people believed that there was a great fire going on and called the firefighters. A little over a month later, Hitler seized Austria. To this day the Lady of Fatima is viewed as one of those figures that if people have the opportunity to see, they are seeing a miracle.
The Miracle of the Sun is the most notable miracle of Our Lady of Fatima. During this time, people claimed that there was rain clouds and a torrential downpour occurred. The clothes of everyone standing there waiting for this miracle to occur was soaked and the ground seeping with moisture. Then, just as suddenly as the clouds had appeared, they rolled out suddenly and the Sun shown. However, it was the manner in which people reported the Sun that gave the occasion the title the Miracle of the Sun. Suddenly, everyone reported that their clothes became dry almost in an instant, while the moisture on the ground was no longer there. Other people reported that the Sun was making the entire area seem as if the colors of the rainbow danced along the ground and on the bodies of those standing there witnessing it happen. However, even other spectators reported that the Sun seemed to be moving as if it were dancing. Still, others, never reported seeing the Sun do anything differently than what it would normally do.
Those that were at the event believed that it was the end of the world since the Sun seemed to be getting closer and closer. After the event occurred, the number of people who had witnessed something were still amazed at what they had seen. Still, those that had been standing right with these people who reported seeing such actions, did not see a thing. There has been many speculations as to whether this was a true miracle or not. Some newspapers of the time claiming that it was a made up story to get people to believe that the children were lying and had never seen Our Lady of Fatima. Still, despite the criticism, people still believe that the Miracle of the Sun occurred.
Faith Healing: An enduring yet controversial practice
Throughout the history of humans, faith healing has played a major role in the diagnosis and curing of illness.
According to the New Testament, one of the earliest doctors using faith healing was Jesus Christ, who healed the blind, lepers and the deaf, among many others. Since the life of Christ there have been other faith healers who have invoked the power of God or the Holy Spirit for purposes of healing.
Ancient cultures also often invoked higher powers for healing purposes. The Egyptians practiced pseudo-scientific faith healing procedures, and often invoked the power of different gods for different ailments.
A number of rituals and practices are used in faith healing. These include praying, anointing, blessing, exorcisms, religious readings, the use of amulets and laying hands on the sick person. Specific holy book verses are reportedly better for healing, and certain oils are infused with healing power. Some prayers will be made one-on-one with an ill individual, while other types of faith healing advocate large groups of people praying over an individual. Some faith healers using faith healing in conjunction with Western medicine, but others rely solely on faith healing.
Accounts of mysterious and miraculous faith healing can be found throughout history. After being told he could not be cured, a doctor in 1887 was miraculously healed of heart disease. In 1991, an American woman experienced the powers of faith healing when her prayer invoked God to remove a suspicious lump from her breast. The woman, after visiting a doctor on a Friday afternoon, focused her energies on healing over the weekend. When she went back to the doctor, the lump had disappeared completely. A Canadian woman witnessed the power of faith healing by prayer after she came to God and asked for her sister to be healed. Shortly after her prayer, the woman reported feeling “as if a heavy weight” had been lifted from her. Her sister, who had been for 10 years afflicted with mental illness, was miraculously healed by the power of God, according to the woman.
In the present-day Middle East, faith healing is practiced alongside modern medical procedures for both physical and mental illness. Many healing practices in the Middle East are performed by women, and some women make pilgrimages to the shrines of saints who they can invoke for healing. The use of amulets, small pieces of paper, cloth or other materials, is common in the region. Prayer and chanting is also common.
Scientists who have attempted to study faith healing have produced conflicting results. A 2001 study on persons with rheumatoid arthritis concluded that patients who received in-person prayer showed “significant overall improvement” in their condition. A later study, on the other hand, determined no effect of prayer and criticized the earlier study for misinterpreting data. Although many scientists and theologians believe that practices such as faith healing can not be accurately measured by scientific means, others continue to study the phenomena.
Critics of faith healing argue that it is not a reliable form of treatment. Thousands of people have died after relying on faith healing, including a number of children. In the United States there have been numerous cases of children from faith healing households dying as a result of Measles, bacterial infections, diabetes complications and pneumonia, among other diseases. As a result many parents have been charged of neglect and even homicide and manslaughter after refusing treatment for their children.
Despite the controversy surrounding it, faith healing has been an enduring force and will likely exist for many years. Like the mysteries of other metaphysical phenomena, the mysteries of faith healing will very likely remain forever unsolved.
The Fresno Nightcrawler
The Fresno Nightcrawler
In late 2008, Jose, a Fresno resident, was woken late at night by his dogs barking in a very unusual way. When he checked the CCTV fitted to his house, he saw two odd creatures walking across his lawn. Jose was terrified but kept the tape and, eventually, approached Univision 21, a local TV channel about the incident. They, in turn, contacted Victor Camacho, a local UFO investigator and member of international body MUFON whose talk on the case brought it out into the open in 2008.
That holy trinity of separation, investigator to confidant to witness is very common, the information still held frustratingly out of arm’s reach and the situation isn’t helped any by some of the editing choices made on the video. For no readily apparent reason, a second of footage of an animatronic grey alien is used as a scene buffer, Camacho even apologising for this. Even worse, the footage itself is never spliced into the report. Instead, at several points we watch the footage from Jose’s CCTV camera being played on a TV which is in turn being filmed by another camera, the image all but lost beneath huge pixels, interference and a frankly surreal editing decision. It’s not even like the rest of the film hasn’t been post-produced, after all someone thought a second of animatronic Grey would be a good idea, but for some reason no one thought to splice in the original footage.
What’s tragic about this is that the Fresno Nightcrawlers might just be something incredible. The camera watches a tall, thin creature with no arms walk slowly across the lawn, stop and then proceed onwards. A few seconds later, a creature which looks for all the world like a billowing pair of trousers follows it, the flaps of it’s clothing, or body, clearly visible blowing in the wind. It’s less than two minutes long, you can barely see what’s there but what’s there looks strange, different, alien. If it’s a fake, it’s a great fake and the more you look, or squint, the more you see exactly how odd these creatures are. There’s a natural gait to their walk’ and they appear almost relaxed, ambling through Jose’s garden in the same way that people browse in a shop. They look confident, assured and crucially you see them moving for a relatively long time, something which is all but unheard of with most ‘alien’ videos. A couple of seconds, if you’re lucky, is usually all you get but here you get a clear view, a locked off camera and a chance to take a good look at whatever is using Jose’s lawn as a shortcut. Or you would do, if anyone had thought to encode the original film and upload it. Instead, you’re left squinting at something which might be incredibly important, on a TV screen, being filmed and shown on another TV screen. The million ring circus strikes again, the truth stays just outside the light.
James Burne Worson disappeared into thin air
On September 3rd, 1873 James Burne Worson, a man from Warwickshire, England, literally disappeared into thin air, leaving no trace as to how it happened, or where he went. Or so the legend goes.
Worson and two friends, Barham Wise, a linen draper, and Hamerson Burns, a photographer, were returning from a local pub after a night of drinking when Warson brazenly boasted about his skill as a long-distance runner. His friends then made up their minds to challenge Worson and decided that in order for him to prove his skill, he should run, non-stop, the 40 mile distance between Leamington and Coventry that night.
Worson, who was three-sheets to the wind, did not want to embarrass himself after such conceit, and promptly accepted to the challenge. It was agreed that Wise and Burns would follow along closely behind and keep watch from their horse and cart.
So the race began.
Worson managed the first few miles cheerfully, laughing and carrying on animated conversation with his challengers, when unexpectedly, his footing gave way and he stumbled, falling forward to the ground and then giving out the most ungodly scream. Without any warning, before Worson had time to collide with the ground below him, he disappeared into thin air, leaving nothing behind.
Burns and Wise, who were understandably stunned, hurried quickly to the nearest town to report what they had just witnessed to the authorities. They returned to the scene with scouts and searched the woods for many hours that night and though the area was thoroughly explored in the following days, the body of James Burne Worson was never found, nor an explanation for the manner in which he disappeared. That is to say of course, aside from the act of disappearing altogether.
This legend, often stated as fact alongside other “true” stories of mysterious disappearances, is most likely derived from a short story written by American author Ambrose Bierce titled An Unfinished Race, in which it ispositioned as a factual retelling of the tale. This is unlikely, as the first known materialization of the the strange yarn appears in Present at a Hanging and Other Ghost Stories, written by Bierce.
While the legendary tale of James Worson may have a fairly lackluster explanation, the story itself retains a bit of it’s eeriness when juxtaposed against the rather strange disappearance of Ambrose Bierce himself.
In the October of 1913, At 71 years of age, Bierce left his home in Washington DC to tour the Civil War battlegrounds, eventually passing into Mexico and joining the army of Pancho Villa as an observer, witnessing the Battle of Tierra Blanca during the Mexican Revolution.
His last known correspondence with the world was in a letter written in the Mexican city of Chihuahua in December 1913, sent to friend and San Francisco journalist Blanche Partington. He closed the letter by saying, ”As to me, I leave here tomorrow for an unknown destination,” and from that point, was never heard from again.
To date, no search has turned up any substantial clues about what exactly happened to Ambrose Bierce. Some say that he was executed by firing squad in the town of Coahuila, others that he committed suicide, and still, there are many who believe that he never went to Mexico at all.
Despite the arguments about the fate of Bierce, the one thing that investigators do agree on is that he left no trace. In an odd bit of foreshadowing, Ambrose Bierce had effectively vanished into thin air, much like his literary creation of James Worson.
Bloody Mary is a ghost or witch featured in English folklore. She is said to appear in a mirror when her name is called three times or sometimes more while in a dark room, depending upon the version of the story, often as part of a game or dare.
One of the more common ways participants attempt to make her appear is to stand before a mirror (usually in the dark) and repeat her name 3 times, though there are many variations including chanting more than 3 times, chanting at midnight, spinning around, rubbing one’s eyes, running the water, or chanting her name thirteen times with a lit candle. In some versions of the legend, the summoner must say, “Bloody Mary, I killed your baby.” In these variants, Bloody Mary is often believed to be the spirit of a young mother whose baby was stolen from her, making her mad with grief, eventually committing suicide. In stories where Mary is supposed to have been wrongly accused of killing her children, the querent might say “I believe in Mary Worth.” This is similar to another game involving the summoning of the Bell Witch in a mirror at midnight. The game is often a test of courage and bravery, as it is said that if Bloody Mary is summoned, she would proceed to kill the summoner in an extremely violent way, such as ripping their face off, scratching their eyes out, cutting their head off, driving them insane, bringing them into the mirror with her or scratching their neck, causing serious injury or death. Some think if she doesn’t kill the one who had summoned her then she will haunt them for the rest of their life. Other versions tell that if one chants her name thirteen times at midnight into a mirror she will appear and the summoner can talk to a deceased person until 11:08a.m., when Bloody Mary and the dead person asked to speak to will vanish. Still other variations say that the querent must not look directly at Bloody Mary, but at her image in the mirror; she will then reveal the querent’s future, particularly concerning marriage and children.
Bloody Mary Worth is typically described as a child-murderer who lived in the local city where the legend has taken root years ago, somewhere in the west. There is often a specific local graveyard or tombstone that becomes attached to the legend and a destination for legend trips.
On the other hand, various people have surmised that the lore about taunting Bloody Mary about her baby may relate her tenuously to folklore about Queen Mary I, also known as “Bloody Mary,” whose life was marked by a number of miscarriages or false pregnancies. Speculation exists that the miscarriages were deliberately induced. As a result, some retellings of the tale make Bloody Mary the queen driven to madness by the loss of her children. The mirror ritual by which Bloody Mary is summoned may also relate to a form of divination involving mirrors and darkness that was once performed on Halloween. While as with any sort of folklore the details may vary, this particular tale encouraged young women to walk up a flight of stairs backwards, holding a candle and a hand mirror, in a darkened house. As they gazed into the mirror, they were supposed to be able to catch a view of their future husband’s face. There was, however, a chance that they would see the skull-face of the Grim Reaper instead; this meant that they were destined to die before they married.
REDRUM! Are All Serial Killers Demonically Possessed?
When someones goes over the edge and kills another living breathing human being. Why do they do it we might ask? Or how could they do it we might chime in with questions ringing through our mind of how could another human being take the life of someone else so easily usually without remorse. Most of us know that to take the life another human being is the wrong to do both morally and ethically. That the repercussions for taking someone’s life could lead to life imprisonment or worse yet punishment by death from our own state governments. We just sensibly know there are other ways to handle ourselves besides taking someone’s life from them. Some can’t see past this line of responsibility and go over the edge to a point of not knowing when to stop and continuing over and over to take human life. Say for instance someone like John Wayne Gacey or Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer. Who obviously in some unholy way goes over the edge and decides not to come back to reality on any level. Yes a lot of other factors play into the making of monsters known as Serial Killers. For instance childhood abuse or sexual abuse could lead some to go down this long hard road of hell. The question we are asking here is ,”Are Serial Killers Demonically Possessed?” As we search for this dark answer and dance between the bloody sheets of reality I will give some of my own interpretations of this possible type of affliction that some may suffer from that leads them to take another human life. Usually is a grisly morbid way to evoke attention from society through revenge for vengeance’s sake for all they have lost usually through the abuse from others.
I think the answer requires a special answer because it is so controversial to ask to begin with. Do I personally think there are negative entities that influence mankind to do evil? Yes I do think they exist and they may find someone who is easy to control through addictions and psychological dependency to do their bidding. Even though I do not like to blame everything bad that happens on the devil or some evil entity. I do believe that there are extreme cases where a Serial Killer maybe used as a tool to do the bidding of something sinister and negative and evil. I also believe that for some who take this path just weakness and ignorance play a result and that not all cases are influenced by an evil entity but could just be from pure stupidity or animal ego nature that goes uncontrolled or unchecked and that snaps. Like for instance someone that snaps and kills their spouse and who has never killed anyone before. Someone who just gets caught up in the moment and lets loose and does the death defying deed of taking the life from another human being. Then we get to the masters of the kill the sic ones who society seem to glorify on some level through film and television and true crime books. The ones who are doing it for the sake of making a horrific mark on society for the pure evil of it. The Dahmer like cannibals who eat the flesh of another human beings just for the sake of doing it because it tastes good. Are these beings infected by unholy evil that Christianity speaks of from an unholy source of all out evil? I believe so.
In a recent show last month of The Church Of Mabus Radio Show we interviewed Jeff Mudgett about H.H. Holmes in a show entitled The Church Of Mabus: Jeff Mudgett: The Devil Inside: The Evil Of H.H. Holmes: Author Of Bloodstains: Jeff inherits the diary of America’s 1st Serial Killer. Battling for his very soul. Was Holmes also Jack the Ripper? Brought to by Jeffery Pritchett & Guy Weddle we delved into the dark soul of H.H. Holmes. In this broadcast Jeff Mudgett goes through seizures and often times has communications with H.H. Holmes the serial killer. I feel this show embodies the question this article asks on many levels when it comes to serial killers in our world. Another show I could highly recommend would be our show with Adam Gorightly about Charles Manson entitled Adam Gorightly - All in the Manson Family which the show description reads as follows,”Guy Weddle & Jeffery Pritchett interview “Crackpot Historian” Adam Gorightly author of his new book “A Who’s Who of the Manson Family”. Adam discusses why he believes the CIA and other Government agencies were involved in disrupting the counter-culture of the 50’s and 60’s and that the Manson murders were actually drug deals gone bad. Delving into the childhood and life of Charlie Manson and what inspired his evil legacy to his current life now behind bars. As well as discussing many other killers who may have strange death cult ties. So sit back and carve a swastika in your head and remember Charlie loves you! We are rated R for language! “ These are certainly killers who are worth noting for possible candidates of sometime of evil soul possession no bones about it. Of course all these fine shows are brought to you by The Church Of Mabus Radio Show which can be found broadcasting on Saturday nights at 11pm Eastern or on the archives after wards anytime at your leisure at UFO Paranormal Radio Network. This is just a walk into the bizarre cases of killers who have gone over the edge which leads us to our world’s view of Serial Killers which certainly has influenced many to walk the path of murder and mayhem unfortunately in our world and society.
When it comes to Hollywood and television we have shows like Dexter about a serial killer that kills evil serial killers. Which I don’t really have a problem with but even Dexter played by Michael C. Hall speaks of his Dark Passenger which embodies his darkside personality that he carries with him. He must follow a code brought to him in his childhood by his now deceased father who was also an officer of the law. There have actually been people who have killed and emulated Dexter with plastic wrap being found around their victims. Which of course is creepy and shows how easily people are seduced by fiction. Our world feeds this flame of hatred and murder through outlets such as music be it gangster wrap or heavy metal. It is part of our culture and exists and out there in the world real monsters exists who prey on other human beings be it for the pure joy of killing them or for sexual means. Since the creation of time man has killed another man for his own means and even women are on the rise as the new breed of killers. With crimes against their own children prevailing in the news so much it is definitely disgusting and horrifying on so many levels. So I would leave you with this thought we live in a spiritual world and perhaps the only way to truly battle this disease in our world is through our Creator and remaining strong and good and steadfast in a world that seems to burning with the fires of hell and influencing madmen be they 5 star generals dropping bombs or your next door neighbor burying his wife in his backyard at 3 am in the morning. Because if evil influences humanity to do its bidding then surely good forces must influence us to do good as well in the holy scheme of things. What do you think about demonic forces and spiritual warfare?
The murder spree initiated by a man known only as The Zodiac, has to be one of the most intriguing criminal mysteries the United State has ever experienced. No one is sure exactly when it began nor do we know when it will end. All we do know is that for over 22 years, someone has managed to outwit the California authorities all the while taunting, goading, and ridiculing the police while he maintained his cycle of viscous killings, often within sight of the authorities that sought him.
The first victim of the Zodiac may have been Chen Jo Bates (18), a student at Riverside City’s College. Her body was found near the college library’s parking lot. The only evidence left at the scene were a Timex watch (with the time stopped at 12:23AM) and a partial palm print. Other evidence soon arrived - delivered by the US Postal service. A letter to the Riverside Police and the Riverside Enterprise newspaper arrived soon after the incident with no postage.
…I AM NOT SICK. I AM INSANE. BUT THAT WILL NOT STOP THE GAME. THIS LETTER SHOULD BE PUBLISHED FOR ALL TO READ IT. IT JUST MIGHT SAVE THAT GIRL IN THE ALLEY. BUT THAT’S UP TO YOU. IT WILL BE ON YOUR CONSCIENCE. NOT MINE. YES, I DID MAKE THAT CALL TO YOU ALSO. IT WAS JUST A WARNING. BEWARE…I AM STALKING YOUR GIRLS NOW.
Six months later a second letter arrived bearing the simple text “Bates had to die. There will be more”. The only signature it contained was a single letter ‘Z’…
On December 20, 1968, what some consider to be the first true Zodiac attack, occurred at Lake Herman Road in Vallejo (20 miles northeast of San Francisco). A woman passer-by discovered two bodies lying in the middle of the road near a parked car. Later identified as David Arthur Faraday (17) and Betty Lou Jensen (16), both were shot at close range, David while sitting in the car and Betty Lou as she tried to run away. Witnesses recalled seeing a blue Valiant driving suspiciously up and down Lake Herman Road for about an hour…
About 7 months later, on July 5, 1969, the second attack occurred in Vallejo, California. Darlene Elizabeth Ferrin (24) a local waitress, and Michael Renault Mageau were parked in their car when a blinding flashlight was shone in their faces. A white male, 25-30 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall with a round face and brown wavy hair stealthily approached their vehicle and began firing. Darelene was killed instantly but Michael survived and told of the callousness in which Zodiac calmly walked back to his car, heard Michael moaning, then promptly returned to fire 5 more shots at his victims. This impassive behavior was further exhibited when the Zodiac began his relentless pursuit of recognition while tantalizing local Vallejo authorities with calls and letters. The first phone call arrived minutes after the Ferrin and mageau shooting spree…
I wish to report a double murder. If you will go one mile east on Columbus Parkway to a public park, you will find the kids in a brown car. They have been shot by a nine-millimeter Luger. I also killed those kids last year. Good-bye
Police quickly tracked the originating number and promptly called it back. The call came from a phone booth right around the corner from the Vallejo police station and practically across the street from Darlene Ferrin’s home. A passerby answered the ringing phone and informed the police that he had seen the man calmly lay the receiver down and drove off in a brown car.
This incident bore many bizarre characteristics that for some time, puzzled the local police. They felt that Ferrin may have been stalked some time prior to her demise and some speculate she may have known her killer (was it a coincidence that the killer phoned from a booth across the street from Darlene’s home). Darlene was married, and not to Michael Mageau and close friends told of Darlene receiving a private phone call earlier that night.
Michael’s behavior was quite perplexing too. At the scene, police were puzzled to find that Michael wore 3 pairs of pants, a long sleeved shirt, and 3 sweaters on a warm July night. They also discovered that he had left his home in a hurry - the door was wide open and the TV left playing.
Police pondered whether she was having an affair with Michael or if she simply brought him along as protection in order to meet her perceived stalker in a hastily arranged rendezvous. These questions may never be answered since Michael Mageau, the sole survivor, has since left the area and is living under an assumed name.
The Letter Campaign
On July 31, 1969 (possibly 08/01/1969), three of the area newspapers received mystifying letters. The San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle, and Vallejo Times-Herald received letters stating:
I am the killer of the 2 teenagers last Christmass at Lake Herman and the Girl last 4th of July. To Prove this I shall state some facts which only I+ the police know.
1 Brand name of ammo Super X
2 10 shots fired
3 Boy was on back feet to car
4 Girl was lyeing on right side feet to west
4th of July
1 Girl was wearing patterned pants
2 Boy was also shot in knee
3 Brand name of ammo was Western
Here is a cyipher or that is part of one. The other 2 parts of this cipher have been mailed to the S.F. Examiner + the S.F. Chronicle.
I want you to print this cipher on your frunt page by Fry Afternoon Aug 1-69, If you do not do this I will go on a kill rampage Fry night that will last the whole week end. I will cruse around and pick off all stray people or coupples that are alone then move on to kill some more untill I have killed over a dozen people over the weekend.
Each of the three letters were slightly different (the Vallejo version is shown above) but all stated precisely the same information. Each of the letters included 1/3 of a cipher, indicating if all three were solved then the identity of the killer would be revealed. The first letter (and first part of the cipher) was sent to the Vallejo Times-Herald and was marked with 4 stamps. The second letter was sent to the San Francisco Examiner and had 3 stamps. The 3rd letter was sent to the San Francisco Chronicle and had 2 stamps. The number of stamps used on each envelope was apparently a clue to the encryption method used in the cipher. Police did not discover this at first but it did not matter - a Alisal High School Teacher in Salinas broke the code and revealed the eerie message.
I like to kill people because it is so much fun. It is more fun than killing wild game in the forest, because man is the most dangerous animal of all. To kill something gives me the most thrilling experience. It is even better than sex. The best part will be when I die. I will be reborn in Paradise, and then all I have killed will become my slaves. I will not give you my name because you will try to slow or stop my collecting of slaves for my afterlife.
All three letters were signed with a Zodiac sign, a symbol representing the Zodiac, a celestial belt in space which encompasses 13 constellations. Because of this, the police dubbed him the Zodiac, a name which the killer quickly took accustom to and began using in all subsequent communications.
Police questioned the authenticity of the first letter or at least they publicly stated that they had their doubts in order to pry more information out of the killer. Either way, it worked. 3 days later another letter arrived from the killer, the first letter in which he actually addressed himself as the Zodiac. This letter certainly convinced the police that they were dealing with the actual culprit and that they had a major problem on their hands.
Dear Editor, This is the Zodiac speaking. In answer to your asking for more details about the good times I have had in Vallejo, I shall be very happy to supply even more material. By the way, are the police having a good time with the code? If not, tell them to cheer up; when they do crack it, they will have me.
On the 4th of July: I did not open the car door. The window was rolled down all ready. The boy was origionaly sitting in the frunt seat when I began fireing. When I fired the first shot at his head, he leaped backwards at the same time, thus spoiling my aim. He ended up on the back seat then the floor in back thashing out very violently with his legs; that’s how I shot him in the knee. I did not leave the cene of the killing with squealing tires + raceing engine as described in the Vallejo paper. I drove away quite slowly so as not to draw attention to my car. The man who told police that my car was brown was a negro about 40-45 rather shabbly dressed. I was in this phone booth having some fun with the Vallejo cop when he was walking by. When I hung the phone up the damn thing began to ring & that drew his attention to me + my car.
Last Christmass In that epasode the police were wondering how I could shoot + hit my victims in the dark. They did not openly state this, but implied this by saying it was a well lit night + I could see silowets on the horizon. Bullshit that area is srounded by high hills + trees. What I did was tape a small pencel flash light to the barrel of my gun. If you notice, in the center of the beam of light if you aim it at a wall or ceiling you will see a black or darck spot in the center of the circle of light about 3 to 6 inches across. When taped to a gun barrel, the bullet will strike in the center of the black dot in the light. All I had to do was spray them as if it was a water hose; there was no need to use the gun sights. I was not happy to see that I did not get front page coverage.
3 months later, on September 27, 1969, the Napa, California police department received a unsuspecting call.
I want to report a murder — no, a double murder. They are two miles north of Park Headquarters. They were in a white Volkswagen Kharmann Ghia.
The Second Incident
When the operator asked the caller for his location he simply replied, “I’m the one that did it”.
Police arrived on the scene to discover Cecilia Ann Shepherd and Bryan Harrnell, 2 students from Pacific Union College. They were picnicking near Lake Verriesa (60 miles northeast of San Francisco) on a secluded shore of the lake. Both were found in the parked car. Cecillia died 2 days later of 24 stab wounds. Bryan survived and was able to describe a “pudgy looking man wearing hood with slits for eyes and clip-on sunglasses.” The hood fell almost to his waste and had a Zodiac symbol stitched on the front of it. Bryan stated that the man approached the vehicle claiming he was an escaped convict from Montana and that he desperately needed cash. They talked for a while when the Zodiac suddenly stopped and exclaimed, “I’m going to have to stab you people”. The selflessness of the attack was apparent went police discovered that the wounds on Cecilia formed a definitive cross shape and that the Zodiac had calmly painted his ‘symbol’ on their car with a felt tip pen.
Less than 3 months later the third and final attack occurred. Although this would be the last known attack, the relentless taunting continued for years after.
The Terror Ends?
On October 11, 1969, Robert Stine (29), a San Francisco cab driver, picked up a fare at the corner of Mason and Geary Streets in Union Square. His logged destination was Washington and Maple Streets in Presido Heights. For some unknown reason, the cab did not stop at it’s intended destination but rather stopped short at 3898 Washington Street where it joins with Cherry Street in the Nob Hill section of San Francisco. Robert Stine was found dead, of a single gun shot wound to the head. Witnesses told of a man wiping the cab clean and then walking calmly away.
In a bizarre and unfortunate twist, the first description the police received was of a black man. As they sped towards the scene, they stopped a man walking up Cherry street to ask if he’d seen the suspect. The man replied that he had indeed seen the black man running east up the road. Police turned and gave chase and would later find out that the misinformation they’d just received came from Zodiac himself.
When police realized they had been duped, they turned back in an attempt to apprehend the elusive Zodiac who had just slipped through their grasp. It is most likely that Zodiac escaped through the nearby park (a witness saw a man running through there). The San Francisco PD publicly denied the incident but it was later collaborated individually by both of the officers. The fact was also verified by Zodiac himself who would later reference the Paul Stine incident in many of his subsequent letters.
Up to this point, police only had partial palm and fingerprints, none of which matched anyone in their database. There only clues were the letters and phone calls that seemed to indicate a man of sub-average intelligence. At the beginning, police believed Zodiac to be an illiterate, a fact that they later countered when it became apparent that Zodiac had an extensive knowledge of math and chemistry. Gleemed from some of the references he made in his letters, some even suggest that Zodiac had a much higher degree of education than anyone suspected.
The Letter Campaign Continues
The next day, October 12, 1969, the San Francisco Chronicle received another letter from Zodiac with a shocking piece of evidence attached. The letter began “Schoolchildren make good targets. I think I shall wipe out a school bus one morning some time. Just shoot out the tyres, then pick off the kiddies as they come bouncing out.”. A bloody fragment of Paul Stine’s shirt was attached to the note.
Nine days later, on October 21, 1969, Zodiac phoned the Oakland police and stated that he would turn himself in if he could be represented by Melvin Belli and F. Lee Bailey (two famous lawyers). He also insisted on obtaining on-air time on the Jim Dunbar show. Police agreed and at 7:41AM the next day, Zodiac phoned the show and talked live with Melvin Belli. Of course, the police traced the call but the elusive Zodiac had thought of everything. During the course of the show, Zodiac would hang up and quickly call back from a total of 15 different locations.
In early November, another shorter letter was sent to the San Francisco Chronicle with double the necessary postage.
This is the Zodiac speaking I though you would need a good laugh before you get the bad news you won’t get the news for a while yet PS could you print this new cipher on your frunt page? I get awfully lonely when I am ignored, so lonely I could do my Thing!!!!!!
Still another letter was received on November 10, 1969 and in December of 1969, the attorney Melvin Belli received a Christmas card from Zodiac.
This is the Zodiac speaking I wish you a happy Christmass. The one thing I ask of you is this, please help me. I cannot reach out because of this thing in me won’t let me. I am finding it extreamly dificult to keep in check I am afraid I will loose control again and take my nineth + posibly tenth victom. Please help me I am drownding…
Five additional letters were sent during 1970. Another letter was sent in 1971 (signed with the Zodiac symbol and the number 17 followed by a plus sign). Three letters were received in 1974 in which Zodiac indicated his body count had risen to 37. Finally, on July 08, 1974, the last letter was sent postmarked in San Rafael, California.
All remained quiet until 16 years later when the New York Post received an odd letter that was postmarked in New York. The letter described 4 recent unsolved murders supplying such graphic detail that only the true murderer would have known. The letter ended with the chilling words: “NYPD 0, Zodiac 9”…
John Wayne Gacy - the Clown Killer
John Wayne Gacy, Jr. (March 17, 1942 – May 10, 1994) was an American serial killer. Between the years 1972 and 1978, when he was arrested, convicted, and later executed, Gacy raped and murdered thirty three young boys. He buried 29 of them in the crawl space underneath the basement of his home. When the crawlspace filled with bodies, he began dumping his vicitims in the Des Plaines River. He became known as “Killer Clown” because of the popular block parties he would throw for his friends and neighbors, entertaining children in a clown suit and makeup under the alias “Pogo the Clown”.
The Beginning - Growing up Gacy
John Wayne Gacy, Jr. was born in Chicago, Illinois, the second of three children, to John Wayne Gacy, Sr. His father was a machinist and his mother, Marion Elaine Robinson, somewhat of a sot. As a child, Gacy was overweight and unathletic. His father, an alcoholic whom Gacy desperately tried to gain the good graces of, repeatedly degraded his son, calling him a sissy and chastising him for not being a man.
An odd incident occurred when Gacy was 11, an event that may have contributed to his “problem”. When he was 11, he received a hard blow to the head from a swing. The trauma formed a blood clot in his brain that went unnoticed until he was 16 and began to suffer from frequent blackouts. Medication was used to dissolve the clot but by then, he had gone 5 years with a clot limiting the blood supply to his brain.
Gacy as an adult
During high school, his family moved often. Gacy attended four different schools during his high school years. As an antisocial, the frequent moves were troublesome to Gacy and he dropped out of school before completing his senior year. Without returning to high school, and after toiling at several meaningless and low-paying jobs, he enrolled in and eventually graduated from Northwestern Business College with a management degree. A management trainee position with the Nunn-Bush Shoe Company followed shortly after graduation, and in 1964, Gacy was given a promotion and transferred to Springfield, Illinois. While working in Springfield, he met coworker Marlynn Myers, and they married in September 1964. He became active in local Springfield organizations, joining the Jaycees and rising to vice-president of the Springfield chapter by 1965. Marlynn’s parents, who had purchased a group of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) franchises, offered Gacy a job as manager of a Waterloo, Iowa KFC, and the newlywed Gacys immediately jumped at the opportunity.
While living in Waterloo, the Gacys had two children: a son and a daughter. Gacy excelled in his management duties at Kentucky Fried Chicken and continued his involvement in local charitable organizations again joining the Jaycees. Rumors of Gacy’s homosexuality began to spread. He had made several suggestive passes at the young boys who worked for him at the restaurant. Still, rumors aside, the Jaycess Club named him “outstanding vice-president” of the Waterloo Jaycees in 1967.
While succeeding in his business life, Gacy’s personal life began to decline rapidly. Gacy cheated on his wife regularly and began submersing himself in drugs, prostitution, and pornography. Gacy even opened a “club” in his basement for the young boys of Waterloo, where he allowed them to drink alcohol while hmade sexual advances towards them.
Gacy goes to jail
Gacy’s middle class idyll in Waterloo came crashing down in March 1968. Mark Miller entered the local police station and explained that Gacy had tricked him into being tied up while visiting his home, and had violently raped him. Gacy professed his innocence, explaining that the Jaycee members opposed to him promoting him to the President position were setting him up. It appeared he might beat the charges, but in August of that year Gacy hired another Waterloo youth, Dwight Andersson, for $10 plus $300 more to pay off his car loan, to beat up one of his accusers. Andersson lured Miller to his car and drove him to a wooded area where he sprayed mace in his eyes and began to beat him up. Miller fought back though and broke Andersson’s nose and ran to safety. Andersson was caught and confessed that Gacy had paid him to beat Miller up. Gacy was quickly arrested. Before the year was out, he was convicted of sodomy and sentenced to 10 years in the Iowa State Penitentiary.
While imprisoned, Gacy’s wife file a petition for divorce. The divorce was finalized in 1969 and he never saw his children again. Gacy was paroled for good behavior in 1970, after serving only 18 months (prisons were overcrowded at the time and many prisoners were released early). After Gacy was released, he moved back to Illinois and lived with his mother. In 1971, with his mother’s financial assistance, he bought a house at 8213 West Summerdale Avenue, in an unincorporated area of Norwood Park Township, Cook County. The house had a four-foot deep crawl space under the floor.
Shortly after moving into his West Summerdale home, Gacy was charged with disorderly conduct. A teenage boy claimed that Gacy picked him up and tried to force him into sex. The complaint was dropped when the boy did not appear in court. Gacy was on parole at the time but the Iowa Board of Parole did not learn of the infraction and his parole discharged in October 1971, one month after the alleged assault. On June 22, 1972, Gacy was arrested again and charged with battery after another young man said that Gacy flashed a sheriff’s badge, lured him into Gacy’s car, and forced him into sex. Again charges were dropped.
In June 1972, Gacy married Carole Hoff, an acquaintance from his teenage years. Hoff and her two daughters moved into the Summerdale Avenue house. In 1975, Gacy started his own business, PDM Contractors, a construction company. At the same time, his marriage began to deteriorate. The Gacys’ sex life came to a halt, and John Gacy would go out late and stay out all night. Carole Gacy found wallets with IDs from young men lying around. John Gacy began bringing gay pornography into the house. After four years of marriage, the Gacys divorced.
In July 1975, one of Gacy’s employees, John Butkovich, disappeared. Butkovich had recently left Gacy’s employ after an argument over back pay Butkovich was owed. Butkovich’s parents urged police to check out Gacy, but nothing came of it and the young man’s disappearance went unsolved.
Things get worse for Gacy
After Gacy’s divorce from his second wife, Gacy began to unravel. In December 1976, another Gacy employee, Gregory Godzik, disappeared, and his parents asked police to investigate Gacy, one of the last people known to have spoken to the boy. The police declined to investigate in earnest. In January 1977, John Szyc, an acquaintance of Gacy, disappeared. Later that year, another of Gacy’s employees was arrested for stealing gasoline from a station; the car he was driving had belonged to John Szyc. The employee explained that Gacy had loaned him the car. When police questioned Gacy, he told them that Szyc had sold him the car shortly before he disappeared. Again, the policed failed to pursue the matter any further.
In December 1977, a 19-year-old man complained that Gacy had kidnapped him at gunpoint and forced him into sex. Yet again, Chicago police took no action. In March 1978, Gacy lured Jeffrey Rignall into his car. Rignall had recently returned from a winter vacation home in Florida to his home in Chicago. While walking through New Town, an area where many popular bars and discos could be found, he found his path blocked by an old black Oldsmobile. The driver leaned out of the window and complemented Rignall on his unseasonable tan. Gacy made small talk and then asked Rignall if he wanted to share a joint while they rode around. After riding and talking for a while, Gacy thrust a rag over his face doused with chloroform. Gacy took the unconscious young man back to the house on Summerdale, raped and tortured him, and dumped him in Lincoln Park. Police had little evidence to go on, but Rignall remembered bits and pieces of the incident including the black Oldsmobile, the Kennedy Expressway, and one particular exit that they had taken. Ringall also recalled waking at one point and seeing the naked man before his with a number of varying sized dildos. Ringall noted that Gacy pointed out the dildos to him and boasted how he was going to use each one of them on his prisoner. Later the next morning, Rignall awoke, fully clothed, and under a statue in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. He was taken to the hospital where he remained for six days. In addition to emotional trauma, Ringall suffered from skin lacerations, burns, and permanent liver damage caused by the chloroform.
Police were skeptical that the rapist could be found but Ringall was persistent and took matters into his own hands. Remembering one of the exits, he staked out the exit on the Expressway until he saw the black Oldsmobile again, which he followed to 8213 West Summerdale. Police issued a warrant and arrested Gacy on July 15. He was released on bail pending the trial.
More Gacy assaults
While Gacy remained bail waiting for his trial, his murderous assaults continued. Elizabeth Piest’s stopped by a pharmacy in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines, Ill., to pick up her 15-year-old son Robert. Just as Mrs. Piest and her son were about to leave the store, Robert shouted to him mother, “Mom, wait a minute, I’ve got to talk to a contractor about a summer remodeling job that will pay me $5 an hour.” That was the last Mrs. Piest saw of her son. Robert Piest, a 15-year-old boy, disappeared on December 11, 1978. Gacy denied talking to Piest when Des Plaines police called him the next day, but the Des Plaines police did what Chicago police failed to do and checked Gacy’s record, discovering that he had done time for sodomy. A search of Gacy’s house on December 13 turned up some suspicious items: a 1975 high school class ring, drivers’ licenses for other people, handcuffs, a two-by-four with holes drilled in the ends, a syringe, clothing too small for Gacy, and a photo receipt from the pharmacy where Piest worked. Detectives also noticed an offensive odor coming from the basement of the house.
Police took out a second warrant, went back to the house on Summerdale, and soon found a trapdoor in a bedroom closet concealing a 40 foot cralw space. A quick excursion into the crawl space and police found human bones. After being informed that he would now face murder charges, Gacy confessed to some dozens of murders, telling investigators that most were buried in the basement and on his property, and that after the crawlspace had filled, he threw the last five bodies off the I-55 bridge and into the Des Plaines River.
Gacy told the police that he would pick up male teenage runaways or male prostitutes from the Chicago Greyhound Bus station or off the streets, and take them back to his house by either promising them money for sex, or just grabbing them by force. Once they got back to his house, he would handcuff them or tie them up. Many times he would put handcuffs on himself and with a flourish, release the locked handcuffs. He would then put handcuffs on the victim but refuse to show them the trick. Gacy would often stick clothing in their mouths to muffle their screams. After this, he would choke them with a rope or a board as he sexually assaulted them. Gacy would also keep the bodies with him for as long as decomposition would allow.
For the next four months, more and more human remains emerged from the house, some with rope still tied around their necks. Twenty-nine bodies were found in Gacy’s crawlspace between December 1978 and March 1979. The youngest identified victims were Samuel Stapleton and Michael Marino, both 14 years old; the oldest were Russell Nelson and James Mazzara, both 21 years old. Eight of the victims were so badly decomposed that they were never identified. Robert Piest’s body was discovered on the banks of the Des Plaines River on April 9.
On February 6, 1980, Gacy’s trial began in Chicago. During the trial, he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. However, this plea was rejected outright While on trial, Gacy joked that the only thing he was guilty of was “running a cemetery without a license.” At one point in the trial, Gacy’s defense also tried to claim that all 33 murders were accidental deaths as part of erotic asphyxia, but the Cook County Coroner countered this assertion with evidence that Gacy’s claim was impossible. He was found guilty on March 13 and sentenced to death.
Gacy the artist
During his 14 years on death row, Gacy took up oil painting, his favorite subject being portraits of clowns. He said he used his clown act as an alter ego, once sardonically saying that “A clown can get away with murder”. His paintings included pictures of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and his fellow serial killers Jeffrey Dahmer and Ed Gein. They are among the most famous examples of serial killer art.
Many of Gacy’s paintings were sold at auction after his execution. Nineteen were put up for sale, prices ranging from $195, for an acrylic painting of a bird, to $9500 for a depiction of dwarfs playing baseball against the Chicago Cubs. Some bought Gacy’s paintings to destroy them. A bonfire in Naperville, Illinois in June 1994 was attended by 300 people, including family members of nine victims who watched 25 of the paintings burn.
The privately owned National Museum of Crime & Punishment exhibits two Gacy paintings including “Baseball Hall of Fame”, signed by 46 members of the Baseball Hall of Fame including Duke Snider, Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Sandy Koufax, Yogi Berra, and Roy Campanella. President Richard Nixon also signed the work. All signers were unaware that Gacy was the artist.
Gacy spent the next 14 years studying books on law and filing numerous and exhaustive appeals and motions, all of which were unsuccessful. On May 10, 1994, Gacy was executed at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Illinois, by lethal injection. His last meal consisted of a dozen deep fried shrimp, a bucket of original recipe chicken from KFC, a pound of fresh strawberries and French fries.
According to reports, Gacy did not express remorse. His last words to his lawyer in his cell were to the effect that killing him would not bring anyone back, and it is reported his last words were “kiss my ass,” which he said to a correctional officer while he was being sent to the execution chamber.
Before the execution began, the lethal chemicals unexpectedly solidified, clogging the IV tube that led into Gacy’s arm, and prevented any further passage. Blinds covering the window through which witnesses observed the execution were drawn, and the execution team replaced the clogged tube with a new one. Ten minutes later, the blinds were reopened and the execution resumed. It took 18 minutes to complete. Anesthesiologists blamed the problem on the inexperience of prison officials who were conducting the execution, saying that proper procedures taught in “IV 101” would have prevented the error. This apparently led to Illinois’ adoption of a different method of lethal injection. On this subject, one of the prosecutors at Gacy’s trial, William Kunkle, said “He still got a much easier death than any of his victims.”
After his execution, Gacy’s brain was removed. It is currently in the possession of Dr. Helen Morrison, who interviewed Gacy and other serial killers in an attempt to isolate common personality traits of violent sociopaths; however, an examination of Gacy’s brain after his execution by the forensic psychiatrist hired by his lawyers revealed no abnormalities.
Known Gacy victims, with date of disappearance.
Timothy McCoy, 18, January 3, 1972
John Butkovich, 17, July 21, 1975
Darrell Sampson, 18, April 6, 1976
Randall Reffett, 15, May 14, 1976
Sam Stapleton, 14, May 14, 1976
Michael Bonnin, 17, June 3, 1976
William Carroll, 16, June 13, 1976
Rick Johnston, 17, August 6, 1976
Kenneth Parker, 16, October 25, 1976
Michael Marino, 14, October 25, 1976
Gregory Godzik, 17, December 12, 1976
John Szyc, 19, January 20, 1977
Jon Prestidge, 20, March 15, 1977
Matthew Bowman, 19, July 5, 1977
Robert Gilroy, 18, September 15, 1977
John Mowery, 19, September 25, 1977
Russell Nelson, 21, October 17, 1977
Robert Winch, 16, November 10, 1977
Tommy Boling, 20, November 18, 1977
David Talsma, 19, December 9, 1977
William Kindred, 19, February 16, 1978
Timothy O’Rourke, 20, June, 1978
Frank Landingin, 19, November 4, 1978
James Mazzara, 21, November 24, 1978
Robert Piest, 15, December 11, 1978
Man thought to be Gacy victim found alive in Fla.
Siblings who feared their brother was one of serial killer John Wayne Gacy’s eight unidentified victims were amazed and overjoyed to learn that he’s been living in Florida for decades. Tim Lovell and Theresa Hasselberg hadn’t seen their brother, Harold Wayne Lovell, since he left their family’s Chicago home in May 1977 in search of construction work. At the time, Gacy was trolling for young men and boys in the area. He was a contractor, and he lured many of the 33 young men and boys he killed by offering them work. Cook County Sheriff’s detectives reviewing unidentified remains cases discovered that eight of the 33 people Gacy was convicted of murdering never were identified, and they obtained exhumation orders over the past few months to test the remains for DNA, hoping relatives of young men who went missing in the area in the 1970s might submit to genetic testing. Lovell’s siblings, who now live in Ozark, Ala., were planning to do just that when they discovered a recent online police booking photo of their brother taken in Florida. They reached their brother, who goes by his middle name, by phone and bought him a bus ticket, and the family was reunited Tuesday for the first time in 34 years. Wayne Lovell, now 53, described the reunion as “awesome.” He said he left for Florida all those years ago because he wasn’t getting along with his mother and stepfather. Over the years, he’s worked various manual labor jobs and has had occasional brushes with the law in and around Tampa, including charges for buying marijuana. “I’ve gone from having nothing to having all this,” Lovell said. “I’m still pinching myself.” Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has said dozens of families of men who disappeared during the 1970s have come forward for DNA testing. Investigators searching Gacy’s home following his 1978 arrest found most of his victims buried in a basement crawl space, although detectives said Gacy dumped four victims in a nearby river after he ran out of room at his house. Gacy confessed to the slayings after his arrest and was executed in 1994.
Rapidly Inflating Volcano Creates Growing Mystery
Researchers from several universities are essentially working as geological detectives, using a suite of tools to piece together the restive peak’s past in order to understand what it is doing now, and better diagnose what may lie ahead.
It’s a mystery they’ve yet to solve.
Uturuncu is a nearly 20,000-foot-high (6,000 meters) volcano in southwest Bolivia. Scientists recently discovered the volcano is inflating with astonishing speed.
“I call this ‘volcano forensics,’ because we’re using so many different techniques to understand this phenomenon,” said Oregon State University professor Shan de Silva, a volcanologist on the research team. [See images of the inflating volcano here.]
Researchers realized about five years ago that the area below and around Uturuncu is steadily rising — blowing up like a giant balloon under a wide disc of land some 43 miles (70 kilometers) across. Satellite data revealed the region was inflating by 1 to 2 centimeters (less than an inch) per year and had been doing so for at least 20 years, when satellite observations began.
“It’s one of the fastest uplifting volcanic areas on Earth,” de Silva told OurAmazingPlanet.”What we’re trying to do is understand why there is this rapid inflation, and from there we’ll try to understand what it’s going to lead to.”
The peak is perched like a party hat at the center of the inflating area. “It’s very circular. It’s like a big bull’s-eye,” said Jonathan Perkins, a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who recently presented work on the mountain at this year’s Geological Society of America meeting in Minneapolis.
Scientists figured out from the inflation rate that the pocket of magma beneath the volcano was growing by about 27 cubic feet (1 cubic meter) per second.
“That’s about 10 times faster than the standard rate of magma chamber growth you see for large volcanic systems,” Perkins told OurAmazingPlanet.
However, no need to flee just yet, the scientists said.
“It’s not a volcano that we think is going to erupt at any moment, but it certainly is interesting, because the area was thought to be essentially dead,” de Silva said.
Uturuncu is surrounded by one of the most dense concentrations of supervolcanoes on the planet, all of which fell silent some 1 million years ago.
Supervolcanoes get their name because they erupt with such power that they typically spew out 1,000 times more material, in sheer volume, than a volcano like Mount St. Helens. Modern human civilization has never witnessed such an event. The planet’s most recent supervolcanic eruption happened about 74,000 years ago in Indonesia. [Related: The 10 Biggest Volcanic Eruptions in History]
“These eruptions are thought to have not only a local and regional impact, but potentially a global impact,” de Silva said.
Uturuncu itself is in the same class as Mount St. Helens in Washington state, but its aggressive rise could indicate that a new supervolcano is on the way. Or not.
De Silva said it appears that local volcanoes hoard magma for about 300,000 years before they blow — and Uturuncu last erupted about 300,000 years ago.
“So that’s why it’s important to know how long this has been going on,” he said.
To find an answer, scientists needed data that stretch back thousands of years — but they had only 20 years of satellite data.
Volcano rap sheet
“So that’s where we come in as geomorphologists — to look for clues in the landscape to learn about the long-term topographic evolution of the volcano,” Perkins said.
Perkins and colleagues used ancient lakes, now largely dry, along the volcano’s flanks to hunt for signs of rising action.
“Lakes are great, because waves from lakes will carve shorelines into bedrock, which make lines,” Perkins said.
If the angle of those lines shifted over thousands of years — if the summit of the mountain rose, it would gradually lift one side of the lake — it would indicate the peak had been rising for quite some time, or at least provide a better idea of when the movement began.
The local conditions, largely untouched by erosion or the reach of lush plant and animal life, lend themselves to geological detective work, Perkins noted.
“It’s a really sparse, otherworldly landscape,” Perkins said. “Everything is so well preserved. There’s no biology to get in the way of your observations.”
Perkins said that surveys conducted on the lakes last autumn didn’t indicate long-term inflation. However, tilting lakes are only one indicator of volcano growth, he said.
De Silva said the geological detective team is working to combine data from a number of sources — seismic data, GPS data, even minute variations in gravity — to pin down when and why the mountain awoke from its 300,000-year-long slumber, and better predict its next big move.