Happy Halloween! Let’s hope no zombies eat our brains.
For most of us, Halloween is a time of dress-up and pretend. This reviewer is wearing a wreath of garlic and John the Conquerer and reading a couple of great new finds on the history of American occultism, making ready to receive his piece of the wild supernatural energies active tonight! Those reviews are coming soon. Be kind enough to allow this reviewer to treat you readers to a sampling of some of the scariest stories from REAL LIFE ever profiled in this column!
The element of crime has long been a subject for brooding, malevolent American fiction, but true crime is a genre full of engrossing, even terrifying tales, ranging from kidnapping, as in the case of establishment heiress Patti Hearst, to assassination, as befell late gay mayor Harvey Milk, or organized crime sticking out from its hiding place in the backyards and barrooms. That’s how they caught Whitey Bulger.
Perhaps most chilling of all are the accounts of deliberate serial murder by maniacs, as in the case of The Black Dahlia Murder—whose all but convicted (late) slayer may have been responsible for the Zodiac slayings and many others, according to his (erstwhile) son, former LAPD homicide detective, Steve Hodel.
Or the rash of Los Angeles murders known as the Tatae-LaBianca slayings committed by members of the “slippie” cult now known as the Manson Family, which have been recounted from multiple perspectives, ranging from fact to dark fiction
Indeed, true crime has long been the playground for fictionalizers and revisionists, whose postulations often seem every bit as plausible as the consensus opinion, but never fully sealing up the mystery. Halloween can be a time when even our most trusted friends become monsters! As when Joseph Nizgoda posited the notion that John Lennon had sold his soul in exchange for the Beatles unprecedented fame in the USA, attended by the ecstatic screams of teenage boys and girls who often left the seats smashed to sopping bits of kindling after a show. Would this explain John’s assassination at the tender age of 40, or is it merely vicious slander?
One of the saddest instances of the American readership’s pursuit of the criminal ethos may be found in the tragic example of the self-named Last Victim, Jason Moss, who courted all the top serial killers by m,ail and ended up winning the friendship of several, including “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez and “killer clown” John Wayne Gacy.
Trick or Treat, dear readers! See you on the other side!!!