Behind A Stranger When He Calls

Starting in December 1977, some of the past victims of EAR began to receive phone calls. These were not like the hang-up phone calls many of them had received before they were struck. Those kind had been so common amongst the victims that it was later judged by detectives to be one of EAR’s methods for determining the schedule of his intended victims. At a contrast, these December 1977 calls were from someone who spoke. Victim No. 21 picked up the phone to hear: “Merry Christmas. It’s me again.” It was a hoarse whisper, similar to the way EAR inflicted terror into his victims in person.

Others were soon to receive these strange phone calls. Even one of the Stockton victims received one. Each call basically was of the same kind– their purpose was to instill terror in the past victims.

Sac Co. Sheriffs anticipated others victims may receive the calls. They had traps put on some of the phones. The caller took the bait, without knowing there was bait.

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On January 2, 1978, he called Victim No. 1. She had been raped back on June 18, 1976. It was now a year and a half from that point of terror. She hit the record button on the tape recorder affixed to the phone every time it rang and before she picked up. During that evening we got lucky. The perp called. She hit the recorder and picked up.

What she heard we shall hear. A voice intentionally strained pulses of heavy breathing. The caller’s mouth was close to the receiver. He continued to breathe in and out. Then he spoke. It is a very young voice. I think a little too young. But EAR was thought to have a higher pitched or boyish voice, and the recording reflects that.

8 heavy breaths:

Gonna kill you. . .gonna kill you. . .gonna kkkill you . . .

Bitch. . .bitch. . .bitch. . .bitch. . .bitch . . .fuckin’ whore . . .

Aside from being a young voice, it seems as if it is a bit congested.

It is what is behind this caller’s call that still has investigative meaning. I do not mean his motive to inspire terror. People are speaking in the background. There appears to be two women and one man.

For argument’s sake, I will list the caller hereafter as EAR. We know this was an evening call on Monday. Business would be closing at this time of evening, and the voices in the background seem to reflect this. EAR seems indoors. A machine winds over a few times around 1:02 in the recording. We must assume that EAR felt he was in a location where no one would simply walk into him. Is he in some back office and the voices behind him are either in a main office or warehouse?

The recording begins. The words below are subject to interpretation. It is hard to pick up the dialog.

Woman No 1 to (unknown): “Were you combing a book?”

Garbled due to heavy breathing of EAR.

@33 seconds (Woman No 1) “He’s going to tell me about paying on a loan. . .”

Garbled . . .

@42  (Woman No 1) Garbled . . . “go off and make a payment. . .”

@45 seconds  Man (speaking already) “OK . . .” garbled.

@46 Woman No 2 (loudly calling) “Edward, out of here first.”

Sounds of some rolling (metal?) door ratcheting down a few notches.

@55 seconds (Woman No 1) “I, I don’t know how . . .”

@1:02 Some type of machine commences briefly.

@1:08 (Woman No 1) “When you get the comb, I dare you to enter the (Sands?) tomorrow.”

@1:13 (Woman No 2, loudly calling) “Hey, Jethro, Que es?”

There is much garbled or low dialog between these snippets, and some of what I list is subject to interpretation, but it is enough to stimulate some solid leads.  The names are the most intriguing leads there are, of course.

But to the point of this article, rather than the process of following clues.

Clearly, the “loud woman” had some authority. As they are closing, she tells Edward he’s to go first. This is in keeping with the time of evening and leaving off work. Woman No 1  is going off somewhere to make a payment.

The word “comb” is curious. Is it “coaming a boat?” Neither interpretation fit at the end, where Woman No 1 sounds as if she is speaking to Woman No 2 (loud, authoritative woman) about if she gets a “comb.” It must have some other meaning. I have re-listened with earphones time and time again, but I cannot pick up clearly the word that sounds like “Sands.”

The question is, is our man EAR remaining inside? It sounds as if Woman No 2 is instructing people out and she has to lock up. Then is EAR outside at a payphone and this is picked up in the background? What then is that sound @1:02 into the tape?

There are no sounds of traffic.

The voices sound indoors. Does EAR (for argument’s sake) have authority to remain? Or is he in an upstairs office, such as those that have a window that look out over a warehouse bay, and would he actually leave by the front office space door and not out the warehouse?  If indoors, he certainly didn’t feel those who were clearly audible to him in the background could just walk in on him.

IS this even EAR? Or is it a crank? If a crank, how did he get the phone numbers of the victims, even the phone number of a Stockton victim? Around this same time Excitement’s Crave is mailed to the Mayor, the police, and a news station.

I will continue to listen to it more and more, and append any further results on here. There are other snippets I suspect I have down pretty clearly, but I did not write them out. I did not want to lead anybody. I thought this would be enough to start others examining it in this context and perhaps much more can be gleaned.

*         *          *

Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress. 

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4 thoughts on “Behind A Stranger When He Calls

  1. ~42 seconds has some of the clearest dialogue. Listening through, I’m pretty sure the man gives his name– Edgar, not Edward or Edwards.

    Woman 1 says something like “gotta clean all the crap outta here”, interjected with “Edgar here, how are ya?”, and Woman 1 “In/clean the bathroom first”.

    Woman 2 also seems to answer someone (a customer? both responses have sounded like customer service, complete with the “how are you?”) at 55 seconds. Like “Turn Down and Iron, how are you?”

    Could he have been in a hotel/motel, visiting the area, and couldn’t resist calling his victims and sending a taunting note to the authorities? Along this hypothesis, could “combing the boat” perhaps be “cleaning the pool”? The time of day seems wrong for that. Maybe it is just a TV going, though one would think a TV conversation would be a lot clearer and more readily understood, and these voices talk over each other and are generally indistinct and varying in volume.

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